February 13 2011 08:56AM
This is Drew Czerwonka. The young forward was chosen by the Edmonton Oilers deep in the 2010 draft, where long shots, relatives and family friends are plucked by NHL teams. Czerwonka is tracking well ahead of his pedigree.
When the Oilers chose Drew Czerwonka 166th overall in the 2010 draft, most fans were still watching Taylor Hall videos or talking about the magical second round. Czerwonka's stats (54gp, 4-9-13, 106pims) suggested Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor had chosen a book end for tough guy Cameron Abney.
The two draft day scouting reports placed Czerwonka squarely on a future 4th line:
- Mike Remmerde/Redline Report: Good size, likes to play physical. Threw a lot of huge hits this season. Hands didn't seem to come around this season, needs to go back to planting himself in front of the net.
- Stu MacGregor: "A big, tough kid who shows up for every battle. We're trying to get that instilled in our organization. He's a competitive guy who has to improve on his quickness. He's a guy who likes to mix it up and that's what we're looking for."
166th overall is the place teams should be taking this type of player; the Cameron Abney selection (82nd in 2009) reflects a reach pick for a player of this type (although Abney is more of a fighter).
Czerwonka's 18 year old stats are solid comparables for Jean-Francois Jacques. Now remember, this was before Jacques back problems robbed him of the ability to handle the puck.
- Jacques at 18: 59gp, 20-24-44 (.746) 70pims
- Czerwonka 18: 53gp, 12-26-38 (.717) 65pims
Jacques played on a very offensive team (319 goals in a league that averaged 248 per team) and Czerwonka's league will average about 240 goals and his club will finish around 270 goals. It's a pretty nice comp, and if the Oilers can get a big, tough NHL winger with some skill out of Czerwonka that should be considered an extreme draft steal.
There are a plethora of 2010 Oilers picks who are eligible to turn pro, including forwards Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale. Drew Czerwonka will be back in the WHL next season and if he can continue to improve the Oilers will have to find room for him in OKC.
He's earning that first pro contract, something not everyone with his draft pedigree accomplishes. Drew Czerwonka is a legit NHL prospect.