June 29 2009 11:15AM
The Oilers had a pretty good weekend, on the whole. I wasn’t thrilled with the Kyle Brodziak trade (Bruce has an excellent take on that deal here), but Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson slid and the Oilers added some nice pieces in Anton Lander, Toni Rajala, and Olivier Roy. There were some funny picks made too – a 20-year old BCHL’er, a high school kid who is at least five years away, but the strangest selection was Cameron Abney of the Everett Silvertips at 82nd overall.
Let’s do a quick comparison between the 6’4” Abney and a few picks made a little later. For the record, here is Abney’s stats line:
48GP – 1G – 3A – 4PTS, -17, 103 PIM
The obvious comparison is Zack Stortini, but Stortini put up 29 points in his draft year and had some other things going for him (including off-ice intelligence). Anyways, here are a few guys the Oilers could have drafted:
Cody Eakin, 85th Overall
The 5’11 forward put up decent point totals (24G, 24A in just 54 games) in Swift Current, and according to scouting reports is a very decent two-way player. He was the player of the game at the CHL Top Prospects Game, and his coach had this to say about him:
"Cody is a tremendous skater and a lot of the things he does come from his skating ability. He's also ultra-competitive, and where he has a lot of success is getting in on the forecheck and chasing and racing for loose pucks. He also uses his speed a lot with the puck on the entries into the offensive zone. His speed also helps him in the defensive zone by catching guys from behind and creating turnovers in situations where guys who don't skate as well wouldn't be able to do. He beats a lot of guys to the outside and that's because of his skating ability."
He’s a defensive forward with offensive ability, good skating, and a high compete level.
Alex Hutchings, 93rd Overall
Alex Hutchings is a player I was talking about before the draft. Not only did he produce a substantial portion of his team’s offense (34G, 34A in 63 games for a mediocre team in Barrie), but his character always earns high marks. Here’s a quote from the player – the sort of thing you love to hear:
The thing I would hate to be called is a soft forward,” said Hutchings. “That’s something I despise being called. I like to get into the exciting stuff. I like being known as a guy who plays both ends of the ice, go into the corner and take the hit. I’m always willing to battle in the corners. I’ll do some things other guys wouldn’t do, like take a hit from a 6-4 defenseman and try to get the puck again.”
David Savard, 94th Overall
Savard took a big step forward this season. The 6’1 defenseman went from 12 points and a -21 rating to 44 points and a +29 rating with Moncton of the QMJHL. He’s a good skater and a right-handed shot who projects as a two-way guy in the NHL.
Jean-Francois Berube, 95th Overall
J-F Berube didn’t play a lot this year, but has drawn comparisons from some to Blue Jackets’ goaltender Steve Mason. Redline Report’s Kyle Woodlief called him the best draft-eligible goaltender, and most scouts said that the only thing keeping Berube from being ranked higher was limited appearances (he only played 15 games) which meant that a lot of scouts never saw him play.
Linden Vey, 96th Overall
The smallish forward (5’11”, 176lbs) scored more than a point per game with Medicine Hat and drew positive reviews for the way he got those points. A succinct report is this summary from Hockey’s Future:
The Wakaw, Saskatchewan native is of average size and weight, but delivers above average results in most facets of the game. He's a leader and a grit player who inspires with a solid work ethic.
The Final Analysis
If everything goes right for Cameron Abney (a player not even ranked by Central Scouting), he may some day round out into an NHL pugilist similar to Steve MacIntyre – a part time player who handles policeman duties and not much else. Given that MacIntyre (and others like him) are available via the waiver wire or for a low draft pick every single year, I wonder about drafting a guy like this with a third round pick – especially with higher caliber guys still available.
This is almost certainly the Oilers’ worst selection, and I wasn’t against their work on the whole, but before I get to praising some picks I thought I’d get the negative stuff out of the way.