Edmonton Supersonics 2018 Draft Reviewby Kent Clark | October 20, 2018, 11:44 AM ET
The Edmonton Supersonics have always been a team that plays the entry draft rather conservatively. While some teams like the Acadia Golden Bears will acquire loads of draft picks every year, and others like the Brandon Wheat Kings only draft by accident, the Supersonics usually pick between 5 and 9 players, and rarely find themselves with multiple picks in the first round.
But an aging roster and key players reaching unrestricted free agency in the same season has seen the team attempt a soft rebuild in recent years, while still trying to ice a competitive team.
By all accounts, GM Mike Franceschini succeeded in his goal. The team underperformed mightily in 2016-2017, missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 seasons, but there was reason for optimism as the roster was very strong top to bottom. That failure to reach the playoffs resulted in the best draft position in the Sonics 19-year history, and Franceschini couldn't believe his good luck when defensive wizard Cale Makar fell to them at #7.
The 2017-2018 season again saw pundits expecting the Sonics to easily reach the playoffs and maybe even surprise a team in the first round. But another underperforming season saw the team struggling around the playoff cutline for most of the season. While they would eventually qualify for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Canadian Conference, they met a swift demise at the hands of the regular season champion Vancouver Island Norsemen.
The silver lining: three first round draft picks for the upcoming entry draft.
In addition to their own selection, the Sonics held the Calgary Mustangs' pick from the Jarome Iginla trade two years prior, and the Dublin Shamrocks' pick from the Alexander Steen trade, again, two years previous. Franceschini had high hopes for the Shamrocks pick, thinking it a strong candidate for Rasmus Dahlin at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately for Franceschini, GM Ryan Torrie re-tooled the Shamrocks on the fly and battled their way out of the basement, heavily decreasing their lottery odds, but what can you do when not in control of your own fate?
When the draft lottery smoke cleared, the Sonics were sitting with picks 11, 14, and 15, and the hopes that this draft would be the one that jumpstarted the soft rebuild for the perennial playoff contenders.
All told, the Supersonics made seven selections at the draft, and GM Franceschini is happy with how things turned out.
- 1st Round (11th Overall) - Noah Dobson (D): Not unlike Cale Makar in last season's draft, GM Franceschini was truly not expecting Dobson to be available at #11, and had planned to pick forwards with all three of his first round picks. When Dobson dropped, he had no choice but to take him. "We think he's a solid, solid defensive prospect and get excited about what our blueline could look like in a couple of years with Makar and Dobson back there."
- 1st Round (14th Overall) - Ty Dellandrea (C): A highly skilled forward on a bad team, Dellandrea's character also stood out for Franceschini. "He had the opportunity to skip the circus in Flint and take his NCAA out, but chose to stick with it. That says alot about the man." Currently projected as a #2 centreman in the future, Dellandrea should be a perfect complement to Bo Horvat.
- 1st Round (22nd Overall) - Isac Lundestrom (C/LW): In need of picks in the second to fourth rounds, Franceschini dealt #15 to the Banff Rockies for #22 and #59. Sometimes described as a Swedish Patrice Bergeron, Lundestrom is a responsible two-way centreman with some offensive upside, an ideal fit for third-line duty at the SICHL level.
- 3rd Round (59th Overall) - Albin Eriksson (LW): Ericksson is a big body with skill, and as one of the youngest players eligible for this year's entry draft, seems like a good gamble for a third round selection. For right now, he's a player with boatloads of raw talent that needs to work on the decision-making parts of his game, often relying on his physical gifts to power his way through opponents; something that will be much more difficult at the next level.
- 5th Round (142nd Overall) - Giovanni Vallati (D): A playmaking defenseman, Vallati is a smart player that currently lacks the killer instinct required to step his game up to another level. The hope is that the Sonics development system will be able to work him into a third-pairing/power play specialist type.
- 6th Round (159th Overall) - Jesper Sellgren (D): Sellgren was on GM Franceschini's watch list for the better part of the 2017-2018 season. A strong two-way defenseman, Sellgren has good puck handling skills and smarts that should translate well at the SICHL level.
- 7th Round (188th Overall) - Dawson Barteaux (D): Barteaux is a bit of a blank slate at the moment, as is his SICHL future. He put up respectable numbers in the WHL in his draft year, but it's yet to be seen if that projects as a point-getting defenseman in the SICHL. The raw materials are there, it's now up to the individual to get noticed.