THEY COME FROM THE LAND OF ICE AND SNOW

Lowetide
May 15 2012 10:34PM

The night the Edmonton Oilers won their first Stanley, three European players won the right to have their names engraved on Hockey's Holy Grail. Jarri Kurri (Finland), Willy Lindstrom (Sweden) and Jaroslav Pouzar (Czechoslovakia) were all part of Edmonton's first elite team. How many Europeans will be on the run for glory this time?

The Oilers since 2008 shop in three main areas: the Canadian junior leagues, Sweden/Finland and then they select some kids from the tier 2 Canadian leagues and the NCAA. Here, let's have a look:

  1. CHL: 16 (fully half the list, led by  Hall, RNH, Eberle)
  2. Sweden/Finland: 8 (4 each, highest picks being Swedes Paajarvi and Klefbom)
  3. BCJHL/USHS/NCAA: 5 (most famous Tyler Pitlick and Dillon Simpson)
  4. Slovakia/Belarus: 3 (Marincin, Pelss, Gernat)

The Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Finland have gifted the city of Edmonton with myriad talents over the years. Finland's youth included Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Matti Hagman. Janne Niinimaa, Risto Siltanen and Jussi Markkanen are only a few Finnish hockey players who thrilled Edmonton audiences over the years. Sweden? Well, Fredrik Olausson spent a little time here, but the names we best remember from Sweden are Kent Nilsson and his boy Robert, Lindstrom and Tommy Salo.

Currently, Edmonton is mining both countries but using higher selections on the Swedes:

  • Oscar Klefbom, 19th overall in 2011
  • Magnus Paajarvi 10th overall in 2009
  • Anton Lander 40th overall in 2009
  • Johan Motin 103rd overall in 2008

This compares to the Finns, whose highest selection since 2008 is Samu Perhonen (62nd overall a year ago).

APPLYING IT TO THE COMBINE LIST

The highest European pick in Oilers history is Magnus Paajarvi. The club has a chance to take a European #1 overall this summer, and there is a Swede in the mix.

In order to establish that the Combine list is an excellent scouting source for Oiler fans in terms of possible picks by their favorite team, let's do a quick review of the last two seasons. An average team drafting #1 overall (and therefore 31, 61, 91) would reasonably expect four of the top 100 players (which is what the Combine basically represents) from each draft year.

The Oiler top 100 list and the NHL combine list have had a lot in common in the last two drafts:

  • 2010 (7): Tyler Bunz, Brandon Davidson, Taylor Hall, Curtis Hamilton, Martin Marincin, Ryan Martindale, Tyler Pitlick.
  • 2011 (6): Travis Ewanyk, Oscar Klefbom, David Musil, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Samu Perhonen, Tobias Rieder

Okay, with that established let's look at the Swedes and Finns eligible for this year's draft.

OKAY, WHO MIGHT THE OILERS BE INTERESTED IN? (SWE & FIN)

Filip Forsberg is the most famous of the Swedes this season, his name constantly tagged as being one of the first names likely called at the draft. But, what kind of player is he?

  • Filip Forsberg, Leksands (SWE-2). Big forward (6.01, 180 according to nhl.com) is a speedy left winger with good offensive ability. His shot is described as being very good and there have been reports of two way play. Interesting player in that he's not competing in the SEL (SWE-2 is a tier below) so his offensive potential is more difficult to project. It's frustrating, because if his scouting report is to be believed this young man grades out above average in most if not all categories. Plus he played a lot and impressed in international competition. Corey Pronman did a very nice job of describing him here.
  • Oscar Dansk, Brynas (SWE JR). Played some of his junior at Shattuck St. Mary's and impressed in international competition. Likely to go too early for the Oilers to have a real shot at him, but Dansk has good size and performed well at several levels this season. Consistently solid reviews, haven't really read anything bad about him.
  • Ville Pokka, Karpat (SML). Described as having a nice range of skills, reports stop short of suggesting he has a complete skill set. Intriguing offense at the lower levels, had a strong playoff. He is well regarded by some and barely mentioned by others, but would seem to be a good bet to go in the top 75.
  • Hampus Lindholm, Rogle (Swe-1). This is an interesting player, one I think we should follow closely as the draft nears. A good skating defenseman, he also has size and there's quite a bit on him defensively. Redline loves him--well likes him quite a bit--and there's some offensive potential too.
  • Esa Lindell, Jokerit (Fin Jr). I have no idea about the level of competition in Fin Jr as it relates to the CHL, but this kid went 48, 21-30-51 in the Finnish junior league and that's an outstanding number for a defenseman in any league. 

This is by no means a complete list, in fact many of the Finns and Swedes will go between Edmonton's first and second picks. However, the Oilers do spend draft selections in Finland and Sweden and there are some talented kids. I'd suggest that Lindholm kid would be especially appealing to the Oilers based on skill set.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

We always get information on the European kids late--Klefbom and Brodin were late breakers a year ago and the same is happening this season with a young man named Teuvo Teravainen. It's important to follow the Redlines and Bob Mckenzie from here on out. We know the top 30 north americans pretty well, but the Euros are just coming into view.

also in the series:

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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 6 ring circus
May 15 2012, 10:45PM
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It's time the Oilers get rid of Tambellini fist!!!

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#2 Dustin Terpstra
May 15 2012, 10:53PM
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Just a little correction Pelss is Latvian

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#3 Toro
May 15 2012, 10:56PM
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Lindholm and Klefbom ? Could work

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#5 The Beaker
May 15 2012, 10:57PM
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Draft Scarlett.

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#7 speeds
May 15 2012, 11:11PM
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LT, what have you read about D Calle Andersson?

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#8 Shaun
May 15 2012, 11:13PM
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Probably a dumb question and off topic but who's Name is x'd off the cup

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#9 Butters
May 15 2012, 11:17PM
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I think it's Peter Pocklington's dad.

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#12 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 11:22PM
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Shaun wrote:

Probably a dumb question and off topic but who's Name is x'd off the cup

I believe that would be Wanye Baron von Gretz, if I recall corrrectly.

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#13 speeds
May 15 2012, 11:23PM
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It's hard to tell at this point, as you've noted in the past, sometimes the hype for European players doesn't really get going until about now.

I have no problem imagining him being available at 32 (or 31, whatever they call it if NJD decides to forfeit their first this year), but that isn't to say I think it's a guarantee. Based on what I've read, I think he'll probably be available but it's pretty early yet, and even if it weren't there's always surprises.

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#14 Butters
May 15 2012, 11:29PM
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Is it just me, or could there be a German on our cup winning team? Tobias Reider maybe?

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#15 Rocknrolla
May 15 2012, 11:33PM
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Shaun wrote:

Probably a dumb question and off topic but who's Name is x'd off the cup

Hey Shaun,

I believe that was a Peter Puck incident. What I heard was that Pocklington had his elderly fathers name on the list of what was sent to the NHL to Engrave on Lord Stanley. When they found out he had swindled them into putting a name of someone not on the team, they XXXXX'd it out.

Apparently this is the one way to determine if it is the original Stanley, and not the "Floater" Stanley that they use for fan events etc.

I will defer if anyone else has a more accurate description, as I only heard these stories through the grapevine...

RR

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#16 Shaun
May 15 2012, 11:39PM
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Lowetide wrote:

As butters mentioned, it was Peter Pocklington's Dad. The NHL found out he did it (had the name engraved) and that was their solution. Crazy, huh?

Thanks .. Thats right crazy decision for sure , any other names that have been x'd out or is that the only one ?

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#17 Shaun
May 15 2012, 11:41PM
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@Rocknrolla

Great Story Thank you for the explanation

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#18 Reg Dunlop
May 15 2012, 11:53PM
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Interesting choice of the title.

'So now you better stop and rebuild all your ruins, for peace and trust can win the day in spite of all your losing'. Message to Tambo?

I still like Samuelsson. Even if he is half the jerk Ulf was, it would be a welcome change from the gentle and gracious hosts we now have. Is he Swedish or NA by birth?

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#19 TLHansum
May 16 2012, 05:25AM
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Im pretty sure ive read somewhere that Deadmarsh's name is spelled incorrectly multiple times on the cup

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#20 Fresh Mess
May 16 2012, 07:05AM
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Thank you for this info LT.

One small thing: it would be great if you could list the players position. In some of your descriptions it's not really clear. Of course in this age of google it's not too hard to find out for myself.

Good work.

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#21 Oilcruzer
May 16 2012, 07:56AM
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@Fresh Mess

Cuz it must be true if it's on the Internet?

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#22 Walter Sobchak
May 16 2012, 08:40AM
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Always had a soft spot for Janne Niinimaa, he was one of my favorite Oilers, old smiley face himself!

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#23 TLCC
May 16 2012, 08:40AM
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I think Lindholm will be gone by the mid first round. His stock is really soaring. Ludvig Bystrom is a name that I have heard a lot but if his name is there with the 31st pick I would hope he is on their short list.

Calle Andersson should be available in the 2nd round possibly even the third round. The 6'2 200 lbs, RHS defenseman is from Farjestads (same program as Klefbom) junior team. I think the Oilers scouts would have had a couple of looks at him. Andersson was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 15th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft. He is not listed in Craig Button's top 60.

THN had Emil Lundberg (6'3 205 lbs) around 50, that is the highest I've seen him rated. But if you look at his scoring stats he isn't that far behind Filip Forsberg. Skating seems to be an issue, but he appears to have good hands. He would appear to be a good mid-round pick & he's playing for Sodertalje in the Swedish D1 league on the same team as Former Oiler Jason Strudwick.

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#24 I'm a Scientist!
May 16 2012, 09:33AM
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What does it say "Bumonton Oilers"?

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#25 @Oilanderp
May 16 2012, 10:06AM
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All of it suuure means something.

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#26 geoilersgist
May 16 2012, 10:17AM
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@I'm a Scientist!

Its a bad picture here is a better one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stanley_Cup_-_Basil_Pocklington_x'es.JPG

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