The Edmonton Oilers made six picks at the 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft last Friday (July 23) and Saturday (July 24), one each in Rounds 1, 3, 4, and 7, and two in Round 6.
With the majority of their selections coming in the latter half of the seven round-draft, the Oilers were looking to unearth a couple of hidden gems who will turn into bonafide NHLers down the line. Here’s a look at Edmonton’s draft class of 2021:
Xavier Bourgault (Round 1, 22nd overall)
A forward with the Shawinigan Cataractes, Bourgault was one of seven players to score 20 goals in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) shortened 2020-21 season. He also added 20 assists for a total of 40 points in just 29 games.
Bourgault was a finalist for the QMJHL’s Frank J. Selke Trophy, recognizing the most gentlemanly player in the league after totaling only six penalty minutes in the 2020-21 season.
The 6-foot Bourgault has 60 goals and 71 assists in 154 games over three seasons with the Cataractes, who drafted the L’Islet, Quebec, native 33rd overall in the 2018 QMJHL Draft.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Bourgault, who will turn 19 in October, at No. 13 among North American Skaters in its final pre-draft report.
Luca Munzenberger (Round 3, 90th overall)
A defenceman from Duesseldorf, Munzenberger suited up for Team Germany during the 2021 World Junior Championship, playing five games at Rogers Place in Edmonton last winter.
Munzenberger has played with Kölner of the German Development League over the past three seasons, totaling five goals and 19 assists in 57 games. He served as the team’s captain in 2020-21.
Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing nearly 200 pounds, the 18-year-old Munzenberger has recently moved to Burlington, Vermont, where he is preparing for freshman season with the University of Vermont men’s hockey team.
Jake Chiasson (Round 4, 116th overall)
Chiasson, a six-foot-two centre, made major strides with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, setting career highs with nine goals and 11 assists in just 23 games. Chiasson’s scoring average soared to 0.87 points per game, a giant increase from the 0.25 points he averaged in 2019-20, his first full season in the Western Hockey League.
In 84 career WHL games, the Abbotsford, B.C., product has totaled 14 goals and 21 assists with only 12 penalty minutes. Chiasson, who just turned 18 in May, was No. 61 among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final ranking.
Matvey Petrov (Round 6, 180th overall)
A Russian left-winger, Petrov scored 22 goals and added 20 assists in 58 games for MHK Krylya Sovetov Moscowin the 2020-21 Junior Hockey League (MHL) season. The six-foot-two native of Gus-Khrustalny represented his country in April at the 2021 U18 World Championship, helping Russia capture the silver medal.
Petrov, 18, was selected first overall by the North Bay Battalion in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Import Draft and is expected to play in the OHL in 2021-22.
Shane LaChance (Round 6, 186th overall)
The young left winger followed in the footsteps of his father, Scott Lachance, who was drafted fourth overall by the New York Islanders, three decades ago, in 1991. A defenceman, Scott spent 13 seasons in the NHL and was an All-Star Game participant in 1997.
Shane, who measures 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, is coming off a campaign in which he had six goals and nine assists in 25 games for the Boston Jr. Bruins of the National Collegiate Development Conference. He was ranked the 110th North American skater by Central Scouting.
Maximus Wanner (Round 7, 212th overall)
A blueliner from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, Wanner made his major junior debut in 2019-20, playing five games and recording one assist with the Warriors. He appeared in 17 games for Moose Jaw this past season, recording four assists and 12 penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder turned 18 in March. He was No. 223 among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s final ranking.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Edmonton is playing the long game with this pool of prospects, though it’s not as if the Oilers had much choice given the positioning of their picks. Even in the case of top selection Bourgault, it will almost certainly be at least a year before the first-rounder dons an Edmonton jersey, and in the case of the late-round picks, playing for the Oilers, period, will be a success story.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.