MONTREAL — The Edmonton Oilers looked to Europe for some intriguing offensive potential at the NHL draft on Saturday while trading away restricted free agent forward Kyle Brodziak.
One day after taking Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson 10th overall, the Oilers quickly snatched up his linemate Anton Lander in the second round. Both play with Timra in the Swedish Elite League.
“They’re a good team and a great city,” said Lander, who describes himself as a two-way forward with some offensive ability. “Magnus says it’s cold up there and that’s great, it’s the same back home in Sweden.”
Oilers head scout Stu MacGregor said Lander needs to mature physically but the team is very high on his skill set.
“He’s a player we look at as a potential second-line centre with, for sure, third-line ability,” said MacGregor. “He’s a great faceoff man, competitive at both ends of the ice, smart, captain of the Swedish under-18 team.”
The Oilers are equally enamoured with their first-round pick.
“To get Paajarvi at 10 for us was significant,” said general manager Steve Tambellini, describing him as a player with “gifted athleticism, great speed, and a player that can get to the net.”
Tambellini said he was particularly taken with Paajarvi-Svensson when he played against Canada at the world junior championship. He’ll get a better look at both players during a development camp in July but neither is expected in North America for at least a year.
With Timra, they’ll play under Kent Nilsson, a former Oiler who has assured the team the duo will develop well.
A more immediate impact was made with the trade of Brodziak and a sixth-round pick to Minnesota for the 99th and 133rd picks. The move made in part to jettison an extra forward and create opportunities for young players like former first-round draft choice Gilbert Brule, who went sixth overall in 2005.
“He’ll get a very good look, there’s no question about it,” Tambellini said. “But I’m not sure that’s exactly what’s going to happen to that position. We do need to change our lineup a little bit, we have too many bodies at forward. We’re willing to give some people a chance that maybe they haven’t had before.”
The deal also opened the door to the drafting of goaltender Olivier Roy in the fifth-round.
Roy played in 54 games last year for Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and posted a 2.80 goals-against-average and .906 save-percentage.
“Our guys were very focused on (Roy) and we found a partner with Minnesota to get both picks,” Tambellini said.
McGregor said he was surprised that Roy will still hanging around in the fifth-round and expects the young netminder to develop into a good prospect.
“He’s been a No. 1 goaltender since he was 16 years old, he’s one of those guys that has a lot potential,” MacGregor said. “He’s a guy whose going to have a chance to play at the world junior level the next few years.”