The Edmonton Oilers selected forward Xavier Bourgault with the 22nd pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Bourgault is a well-versed offensive threat who can play both centre and winger, equally able to set up his linemates or bury the puck himself and his numbers tend to reflect that.
The L’Islet, Que., native is coming off his third season with the Shawinigan Cataractes in the QMJHL where he registered 20 goals and 20 assists in 29 games. The previous year he had 33 goals and 38 assists in 63 games.
The Oilers originally held the 20th-overall pick but traded down two spots to No. 22 and acquired a third-round pick (No. 90 overall) from Minnesota.
The Wild selected Jesper Wallstedt in that spot. There had been some speculation the Oilers would consider taking the Swedish netminder if he was available.
Edmonton dealt their 2021 second-rounder in the 2020 Andreas Athanasiou-Sam Gagner trade and their own third-round pick was included in the Milan Lucic-James Neal swap back in 2019, so adding another pick was clearly a priority for Edmonton’s front office.
Bourgault is just the second first-round pick of the Oilers outside of the top-15 since 2008 – Kailer Yamamoto (2017) was also taken with the 22nd pick.
The Oilers have won just one post-season game since the 2016-17 campaign despite boasting Hart Trophy winners Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
General manager Ken Holland knows he has his work cut out for him this summer and to get a head start on free agency he re-signed centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, goalie Mike Smith and traded for two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith. The team is also expected to make a push for Zach Hyman.