The 2012 NHL Draft is this week, and teams all across the league are filling in their draft boards as they prepare for the long process. Edmonton has the top overall choice again this year, and though the team has gathered a group of terrific young talent over the last few years, the Oilers need to address their back-line this year if they want to take that step towards becoming a playoff contender.
The team has four picks in the first three rounds, and with the top pick, they will likely select Nail Yakupov, the top offensive talent in this year's draft class. The young Russian has terrific speed and skill with the puck and will give the Oilers another piece to completing their rebuilding process.
In the second round, Edmonton will get their defensive help, and the latest from Bleacher Report has the team taking Brady Skjei. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, the young defender already has the size to play in the NHL and will give the Oilers some much-needed depth and toughness to their back-line.
The third round will see more defensive help with goalie Anthony Stolarz and defenseman Esa Lindell as the top two options. Stolarz is huge at 6'5" and will need to gain more experience in the lower leagues, but he has the skills to become a top-tier net minder in the league. Lindell is another big defender at 6'3" and 195 pounds and will add another tough defender to the teams back-line.
The Oilers are very close to becoming a force in the league, and with a good off-season, this team could challenge for a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs within the next year or two, but the young defenders will need to step in and play some good hockey, something the fans hope will happen in the 2012-13 season.