CHL: The Oilers Personal Development League

Lowetide
November 14 2010 08:38AM

This is a young Curtis Hamilton. He is among several Oiler draft picks who are posting solid numbers in the WHL. Hamilton is a more complete player than the Oilers have drafted in the past (he's more than a "Coke machine"), so his offensive numbers have a wonderful kicker--he can be effective in more than one zone.
 

The three Canadian junior leagues currently house most of Edmonton's top drawer amateur talent---just one of the innovations that have taken place during the Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor era. Drafting hockey players instead of Coke machines is another new policy and it's paying off in a big way.

MBS moved to the top scouting job in the Oilers organization in time for the 2008 Entry Draft, and since then CHL players (and Euro's heading to the Canadian junior leagues) have had elevated status on the team's final list. The results have been outstanding so far and we're reaching a point where some of us are outright giddy over the latest draft  (2010).

The Rare Lonsberry

Curtis Hamilton is described as a 2-way winger with enough offense to play on a skill line. His scouting report reminds me of a 1970's winger from the west--Ross Lonsberry. He combined skill, checking and work ethic and played for a long time in the best league on the planet. Curtis Hamilton has a long way to go before arriving in the NHL, but the tools are there to impact the game in all three zones.

That player type (even at the top end of the draft) runs counter to the previous administration who drafted Coke Machines in the hopes that they'd learn enough to post offense. Scoring goals is partly about effort, but a lot of it is about being touched by God. If a kid can post a strong number in junior, that should translate to a good one in the NHL (should the prospect make it).

18-year old kids have (usually) played at least one full season in the CHL. If that's the case, then the expectation for the player should be a huge improvement in their boxcar results. After all, they are now in the "older group" of players and if drafted would count among the group of the very best players in the three leagues. The Oilers CHL group is posting some very impressive numbers so far, with Hamilton, Ryan Martindale and (especially) Martin Marincin well ahead of expectations.

  1. Ryan Martindale (OHL) 21gp, 12-17-29 (1.38ppg)
  2. Curtis Hamilton (WHL) 20gp, 11-16-27 (1.35ppg)
  3. Martin Marincin (WHL) 21gp, 8-15-23 (1.10ppg)
  4. Tyler Pitlick (WHL) 16gp, 5-9-14 (0.875ppg)
  5. Brandon Davidson (WHL) 21gp, 3-15-18 (0.857ppg)
  6. Drew Czerwonka (WHL) 18gp, 6-5-11 (0.611ppg)
  7. Jeremie Blain (QMJHL) 2gp, 0-1-1 (0.500ppg)
  8. Kristians Pelss (WHL) 20gp, 1-3-4 (0.200ppg)
  9. Cameron Abney (WHL) 21gp, 3-1-4 (0.190ppg)

A couple of quick notes: Marincin and Davidson are defensemen, so their numbers are truly spectacular. Also, Marincin and Pitlick are new to the WHL so there should be an adjustment period (although Marincin's numbers are the most impressive in the group). Those numbers really do show how much of the Oilers future is housed in Canadian junior leagues. When we start talking about the 2011 draft, it would be wise to remember that MBS shops local.

I'm just starting to prepare my winter top 20 (it'll be posted both here and at the Lowetide blog) and can say that the players on the list above are well represented, along with some AHL pro's and a few European kids. I've been following Oilers prospects since the WHA days and honestly don't recall a time (since 1979-83) when there was so much top end talent. It's a great time to be an Oiler fan.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 m_kennedy13
November 14 2010, 08:40AM
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One might think you slept in for a Sunday there Lowetide, but your earlier 7:43 AM post over at your other site would prove otherwise. I've been patiently waiting.

Still pumping out quality, thanks for the reads.

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#2 oilersfan2k10
November 14 2010, 08:48AM
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I am sure that Tyler Pitlick's numbers will get alot better..he looked like one of the best prospects at training camp.

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#4 Arby
November 14 2010, 09:36AM
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There was a lot of talk about Joe Colbourn, that his dad was rich and therefore his desire was questioned. He still went in the middle of the first round where as Martindale is a big center that put up points (in a better league than Joe), but yet fell to us...... Why?

Marincin on the other hand, is where my scepticism ends. I love the idea of having a lanky, top pairing, 30 minute a night d-man, and it's just icing on the cake that he's a big Slovak. I sure do hope kid is for real, and If he turns out being one of the three best defensemen in the '10 draft.... Stu will have to be assigned a number so it can be retired.

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#6 Ducey
November 14 2010, 09:41AM
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Davidson looks like a real steal in the 6th round. Although his -11 is a bit of a worry.

Pitlick seems to be struggling although I have not seen him play. I have been watching his PIM's and he doesn't seem to be taking many aggression type penalties. He is likely having to adjust to the difference in toughness between college and the WHL.

Abney is still a head scratcher for a third rounder.

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#7 Alex87
November 14 2010, 10:02AM
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Hey LT, I think I mentioned this in another one of your posts, but do we have a reasonable comp for Marincin yet? IMO, he's quickly moving to the top of the prospect list, for both his apparent ability and the Oilers' dire need for a blue chip defence prospect. Finding a comp seems like it'll be tough since there aren't too many Slovakian defencemen who came to the WHL the season after they were drafted. The only one who comes to mind instantly is Chara, and I think that's a bit optimistic (but still nice to think about). I wonder if anyone else has given this any thought?

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#9 madjam
November 14 2010, 10:10AM
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We have a lot of talent to develop and obviously more so after this season . Worrisome , is our ability or inability to develop chemistry and gel them into an effective team . It's been an awfull long time since we developed a team that could gel and have chemistry .

Just what is our chemistry ? Why do players we have bought into here not fit the type of character that will help us develop chemistry and gel our team together ? Our size is still a big issue , yet we seem resigned to holding on to all of them ? How many should we let go to other teams . etc . even though they can all probably play in NHL somewhere ?

Until management can draft and trade for players that can actually meld a chemistry and gel on a consistent basis our chances of having a competitive team are very slim to none . To date one has to question their ability or inability to do so . The toxic environment is a product of managements own mistaken insights as they assembled it to begin with .

I'd like to see an article dealing with the type of chemistry they plan on assembling here and how - not just the talk .

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#10 oilersfan2k10
November 14 2010, 10:37AM
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Not sure if this is Spamming, but I know my Mom would have no problem with what I'm saying if she were to look over my shoulder right now..I predict Oilers will win 5-4 against the rangers..and here comes the spam..www.oilerscountry.blogspot.com thanks for checking it out.

Sounds to me like this Marincin kid is alot like former Oilers defenceman Alexei Semenov..maybe with a bit more offensive upside..is that a fair comparison LT? What do you thinK?

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#12 Canadian Maniac
November 14 2010, 11:03AM
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I got to see both Tyler Bunz and Tyler Pitlick play in person just this Friday in Moose Jaw. Pitlick got a goal, but still didn't seem to have it together like he did in the pre-season. Bunz won the game, but a couple of the goals he let in felt a bit weak, the Warriors didn't bring a strong offense during the game. I had actually forgotten both were on the Tigers, so it was a pleasant surprise.

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#13 SumOil
November 14 2010, 12:50PM
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Amongst the forwards drafted after Hall, I am most impressed with Hamilton so far. He has been consistently good and has been a staple on the PK too. I am diappointed with Pitlick. I really expected much more from him. Well we will see how things turn out. It still is early in the season. Davidson is tracking well too. Nice offensive numbers. Early on he was a minus player but that has turned around too

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#15 SumOil
November 14 2010, 01:11PM
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@Lowetide

See the thing is that Pitlick is known for his physical play and left college to improve his offense.

We yes it is still early and maybe his splits will improve.

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#16 Skidplate
November 14 2010, 03:30PM
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Great article LT. Hamilton was a steal and MBS did a great job. The magazine I had, said all the right things about him. His injuries (shoulder I believe) are what dropped him in the draft.

Love these articles!

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#18 james
November 15 2010, 12:09AM
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#19 Beer + Wings
November 15 2010, 12:50AM
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I have to ask; what about Marincin's defensive game? Sure he's puttimg up points, but every time I see a boxscore of a Cougars game, they win 8-7 or lose 9-6, so I can't tell if his team is just apathetic defensively and focused on only offence, or just plain awful in their own end or have terrible goaltending or what. Because it seems like everyone is putting up points on that team, no?

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