SUN Hockey Pool

Good kids still there

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

The Edmonton Oilers aren't counting on having a top prospect fall into their lap with the 25th pick in Saturday's Entry Draft the way Robbie Schremp did last June.

But they are looking on the bright side after being ousted from the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes early yesterday.

"Crosby has sort of thrown a blanket over everybody else, but this is a really good draft," Oilers vice-president of hockey operations and chief scout Kevin Prendergast said.

"From the standpoint of North Americans, it's deep. There's going to be some good players there. Not the high-end players everybody is expecting in the first part of the first round, but some good kids."

The 2004 choice at 25th and Saturday's selection in the same slot rank as the lowest first-round picks since the Oilers joined the NHL in 1979, but they might have got lucky with Schremp, who was their second pick of the first round -- they got Devan Dubnyk 14th.

The difference in this draft is it'll go in reverse order in the second round, meaning the Oilers will also get the 36th pick.

"It wouldn't surprise me if a guy we have ranked in our top 20 comes down to where we pick," scout Chris McCarthy said.

"What we're excited about is having the sixth pick in the second round. Potentially, we could end up with two guys we have ranked in the first round."

The Oilers think they'll get a shot at least at one of a trio of players they covet with the 25th pick.

Brian Lee, a six-foot-three, 200-pound defenceman from Moorhead High School in Minnesota, is ranked 15th among North American skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau.

Lee will attend the University of North Dakota next season.

Matt Lashoff, a six-foot-two, 205-pound defenceman from the Kitchener Rangers, is rated 12th by CSB. Lashoff projected higher to start last season, but was slowed by mononucleosis and a concussion.

Guillaume Latendresse, is a six-foot-two, 215-pound left winger from the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

He's big, strong and competitive, but the knock is he's not a great skater.

That's the wildcard.


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