IT'S GETTING LATE EARLY

Lowetide
October 31 2013 05:09PM

 

The Oilers struggles early in the season bring some familiar items from years previous, including the extreme value of high draft picks. With the Oilers currently 28th overall in the NHL standings, a top 3 selection is possible (if things continue). How valuable is a pick that high? Very valuable. How good is this season's crop? Early returns are mixed. 

EARLY TOP 5

The top 5 is an interesting lot, and of course this is so early that we'll expect to see all kinds of movement in and out of the top 10 as the season rolls along. 

  1. C Sam Reinhart 6.01, 185. A two-way center (righthanded) who can deliver offensively (his 15, 9-18-27 with Kootenay is an impressive start, "in the range" with other top end players of recent vintage). He's from a hockey family, you can't find a negative word about the kid. Extremely likely to be drafted by Buffalo unless Tambo wants to help at the lottery. I spoke to Guy Flaming about him yesterday, and he is regarded as an outstanding prospect with impact offensive potential. (Reinhart photo at the top of this article courtesy Lisa McRitchie, all rights reserved)
  2. D Aaron Eklbad 6.04, 217. OHL ProspectsEkblad is a tower of power on the blueline. He's a physical specimen that is incredibly difficult to play against in the corners and in front of the net. Offensively, he's still growing and gaining confidence in his ability to run the transition game, but he's made great strides on the powerplay where he looks more confident distributing the puck and using his shot.
  3. C Willie Nylander 5.10, 163. Elite Prospects: A highly skilled player offensively. Nylander skates very well, has impressive hands and is excellent at handling the puck at high speeds.Hockey sense is very impressive and he likes to shoot the puck a lot, but is also capable of delivering perfect passes. A very agile player that protects the puck well and skates hard in the offensive zone. On the other hand, his defensive game needs some work. Not a selfish player, but at times he tends to hang onto the puck for too long, instead of making the easier play. Has the tools and skills to lead his team in all offensive aspects.
  4. C Leon Draisaitl 6.01, 209. The "German Gretzky"  would be a good fit in Edmonton. Kris BakerDraisaitl plays the game at high pace, using a slick handle and elusiveness to break into the zone. He shows good strength on the puck, and isn't afraid of using his body to make plays at both ends of the ice. Draisaitl's passing skills make him a dangerous threat when chased. If he continues to fire the puck more often, Draisaitl could pile up the points in his draft year and cement his status as a top-five pick
  5. L Sam Bennett 6.00, 178. OHL ProspectsBennett is simply a fantastic all around talent. He's been consistently one of the most dangerous players in the OHL this season (10 goals, 10 assists in 10 games). If there's a job that needs to get done, Bennett is the man to do it. His offensive instincts are terrific and he's great at finding holes in the defense, which will allow him to score his share of goals at the next level. But he's also a terrific playmaker who can assume that bull in a china shop mentality to make plays. His work along the boards and on the forecheck is also excellent. As a penalty killer and defensive player, his game is growing leaps and bounds, which suggests that he profiles as an above average two-way player moving forward. TSN scout Craig Button recently suggested that he could challenge for first overall, a concept that isn't incredibly far fetched.

FUTURE VALUE OF THE PICK

In previous seasons, the Oilers were looking at either moving up (last season) or adding picks (Taylor AND Tyler) but this coming season may be one in which Edmonton's pick is long gone.

Why? If Craig MacTavish is trying to pry an upgrade for the current Oilers then the first round pick is probably going to be asked after by other NHL clubs doing business with the Oil. 

The third overall pick has delivered an outstanding young player in recent seasons:

  • 2008: D Zach Bogosian
  • 2009: C Matt Duchene
  • 2010: D Erik Gudbranson
  • 2011: L Jonathan Huberdeau
  • 2012: C Alex Galchenyuk
  • 2013: L Jonathan Drouin

OVERALL QUALITY OF THE PROSPECTS

Its early, but sources have suggested that the 2014 crop of prospects is not as deep as 2013, especially the top of the chart:

  • Redline Report: "we don't feel the talent at the very top end of this class rivals last year's star studded crop." 

We should keep in mind that the draft year is just coming into view and not in complete focus. There's every chance the top 5 above will change order and others may work their way up to the top. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

It's a delicate balance. Craig MacTavish may have been mulling over trading the first round pick in 2014, but with that pick squarely in the lottery it may be too valuable to trade. That said, can the Oilers afford to put an emphasis on another high draft pick? Is it time to trade this pick BECAUSE it has such great (potential) value?

We'll see. A month from now the Oilers could be out of lottery territory and the point may be moot. Or they could be focused on the draft and next year. The draft pick--and the season--are in the balance.

Early. 

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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 Team 1260.
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#101 BLAKPOO
November 01 2013, 01:19PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I am as crazily optimistic as the most deluded Oiler fan, but i fail to see what you base your cheery outlook on. We have the same problem in goal we had three years ago - specifically, a streaky #1 goalie who rarely wins games for a porous defence, soft but skilled wingers who lack toughness and the compete level necessary for todays NHL, and the same boys on the bus in charge. What's different? A GM who has never GM'd in the NHL? and who still thinks you improve team toughness by signing a face puncher that can't skate?

Let me ask you, do you expect the Oilers will win against Detroit Saturday? Really? The best we can hope for is another gong show like we saw in LA, getting outshot by a 3-1 margin, playing five on five like we are killing a penalty and hoping whatever goalie is in net will be able to drag us into OT.

Most NHL teams expect to win their hme games. Calgary's loss to the Leafs this week was their first regulation loss at home this year.Oilers have yet to win in regulation this year.

I'm just facing reality. With this management in place this team will never turn it around.

I think they have a great shot at winning on Saturday.

If you think Gazdic was signed under the pretense that the rest of the team could play soft now that there's a goon on the bench, I should probably just stop typing now because I'm wasting my time.

If you also think that firing Lowe, MacT, Howson, Olczyk or anyone else on the management team at this stage of the game gives us a better chance to win games RIGHT NOW, or even 10 games from now, you're crazy.

"soft but skilled wingers who lack toughness and the compete level necessary for todays NHL"..

Your quote.

So you honestly want to tell me that Hall, Ebs, Perron, Yakupov - these guys lack the compete level and toughness required to be in the NHL? Is that why they were first round picks? I suppose we should put them on waivers then? Do you even read what you write?

MacT is aware of what the deficiencies are. He made plays for Bernier, Schneider, Raanta and Coburn. Did he make some rookie GM mistakes? Yep.. cause he's a rookie GM. Every GM is at some point. This doesn't mean he's incompetent, or will not be a successful GM in the future. All sources indicate he's working the phones right now, looking for goaltending and a top d-man. Not exactly the type of asset that other teams are gung-ho to let loose. Him just picking up the phone in the first place is a huge improvement over the other guy.

It's not that I have an overly cheery outlook, I'm just looking at it objectively. According to you, everything sucks and it all needs to change. To me, that's no better a point of view than a Canucks fan would have.

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#102 Shooter
November 01 2013, 08:24PM
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Shane wrote:

How long can you guys keep talking about the symptoms.

Treat the cause Not the symptom.

This team has cancer and the cause started with a tumor named Lowe. Remove the tumor and start the chemo.

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#103 big slick
October 31 2013, 05:25PM
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First time first

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#104 a lg dubl dubl
October 31 2013, 07:14PM
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DSF wrote:

Lowe also hired Steve Tambellini who hired Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Ralph Kreuger.

Now that Lowe has hired MacT (who has no experience), who was fired by Tambellini, who then fired Kreuger and replaced him with an AHL coach who has never won anything and has no NHL experience, we are expected to absolve Lowe of any culpability?

Good grief, he's the PRESIDENT of HOCKEY OPERATIONS.

How is the hockey operating?

because hes won 6 cups...

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#105 Spydyr
November 01 2013, 09:35AM
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Only an idiot would trade an asset before they knew what it was worth.A lotto pick is worth a lot more then a 10th overall or higher pick.

So I fully expect "the braintrust" to trade away that pick.They will do it to late to help this year.

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#106 Silver Streak
November 01 2013, 09:35AM
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Whats is the story on Pitlick`s injury.....charleyhorse or knee ???

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#107 SeahorseToucher
November 01 2013, 12:01PM
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kale wrote:

Naw, he is not fit or trim enough to play for the Oilers

But can you imagine how awesome a fit and trim Byfuglien would be...

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