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Tkachuk expected Oilers to select him before 2016 draft-floor drama

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Before the Calgary Flames selected him with the sixth pick in the 2016 draft, Matthew Tkachuk believed that beginning his career on the opposite side of the Battle of Alberta was a lock.

The Flames' star winger said on Friday he thought the Edmonton Oilers were bound to select him at No. 4.

"Going through the whole draft process, I'm thinking of myself as a pretty good player at the time. You can ask anyone in the Flames organization, I thought I was going to Edmonton," Tkachuk told TSN 1050's "OverDrive." "After the draft, after all that stuff, I thought I was kind of a slam dunk to go fourth that year."

Entering the 2016 draft, the presumptive top three picks were Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi. The first two picks went as planned, but the Columbus Blue Jackets went off the board at No. 3 and took Pierre-Luc Dubois. That allowed Puljujarvi to fall to the Oilers at No. 4, which many believed was a win for Edmonton.

Right up until the surprise Dubois pick, Tkachuk believed Edmonton was targeting him.

"Some people at the Edmonton table, you could ask them - they'd probably deny it - they were kind of staring me down and kind of giving me smiles," Tkachuk said.

"The only people that saw it were me and my mom, so we were like 'alright, we're going to Edmonton.' Then Pierre-Luc Dubois went third overall and you just see those phones starting to ring like crazy at the Edmonton table," he added. "They threw a jersey underneath the table, looked like they stripped off the name, then gave the jersey to Puljujarvi with the next pick."

The rest is history, and four years later, Tkachuk is the Oilers' No. 1 nemesis following his role in this season's highly publicized battle against Edmonton agitator Zack Kassian.

Looking back now, perhaps the Oilers should have gone with Tkachuk, who's posted 235 points in 293 career games, while Puljujarvi has spent the 2019-20 campaign in Finland after requesting a trade.

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