With the 32nd pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers have selected Reid Schaefer from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Tracker
Reid Schaefer may be the biggest rider of the 2022 Draft class, jumping up into the first round after putting together an incredible playoff performance for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. In 25 games, he scored an impressive 21 points and nearly propelled his team to the WHL Final, but fell just short to the Edmonton Oil Kings. That effort was a big reason why the NHL Central Scouting bumped him up from 85th in their midterm ranking to 31st on their final report.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Schaefer is a strong power forward, standing 6-foot-3 and already weighing in well over 200 pounds. He loves to crash the net and score big goals, evidenced by his 32 markers in the regular season, which ranked fourth among first-time draft-eligible players across the WHL. He’s competitive and fierce around the net while also demonstrating some decent defensive skills. There’s a ton of potential here, and he showcased it at just the right time to catch the NHL’s eyes.
THW Profile Excerpt
“So what will teams get if they draft Schaefer? The first and most obvious thing is his size. At already 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, he has the makings of being a power forward. He also has the ability to finish from range which stands out for someone his size. A big man who can score will have a lot of appeal to NHL teams.
“As mentioned earlier, he showed some playmaking ability in the playoffs as demonstrated by his 15 helpers. It shows he’s improving in his hockey sense and is also able to get the puck where it needs to go when he doesn’t have a clear lane to shoot.
“The questions Schaefer will have to answer start with his skating. It’s not bad but it’s average. This in my mind limits his upside. An improvement here will go a long way in becoming an important contributor on the top-six. Right now, I see a bottom-six forward with some upside who can play physically and add an element to special teams. An important thing here will be the team he lands with and his development. He is still raw in some areas of his game.
“Overall, teams who draft Schaefer will get what they hope is the next good power forward to come up the ranks. While he has some intrigue, he also has a lot of room to grow. Time will be needed here but it could be worth it if put in the right situation.”
How This Affects the Oilers’ Plans
The Oilers were in some cap trouble heading into the NHL Draft, but they managed to free themselves up a bit by trading power forward Zach Kassian to the Arizona Coyotes, along with a few picks, to move them back from 29th to 32nd. With their former winger likely still on their mind, they went for one of the most promising power forwards in the draft in Schaefer. Edmonton will be able to give him time to develop, as they have a decent crop of forwards ready to play, but having a bit of grit coming up through the system will help them as they look to make some deep playoff runs in the future.
An elementary teacher by day and an avid hockey fan, Dayton joined The Hockey Writers in 2019 and currently covers the Ottawa Senators, World Juniors, and NHL Entry Draft.