The importance of draft picks – right now

Jonathan Willis
April 08 2013 10:36AM

‘Building through the draft’ has been the Oilers’ mantra for several seasons now, and they’ve accumulated some top-end talent in the number one spot. With Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and a host of other young talents on the team, has the importance of draft picks to the organization diminished?

Probably not, and if it has, it should not have.

There’s Something About Draft Picks

The thing about draft picks is this: their salary is rigidly controlled, initially through an entry-level contract, later by virtue of them being restricted free agents. That’s one of the things that makes them valuable: in most cases they are underpaid relative to unrestricted free agents. There are some exceptions – the difference between running an entry-level guy on the fourth line and a fourth-liner on the fourth line doesn’t typically add up to much dollars-wise unless the general manager has splurged on his role players – but for the most part it’s cheaper to run a young player whenever that player has shown ability to handle the role.

The other thing about draft picks is the timeline. When making selections, especially outside the first round, one is typically projecting five years into the future. This season represents Teemu Hartikainen’s fifth post-draft season; next year will be the fifth post-draft year for Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander – and while both of the latter players were rushed into NHL employment, they’re really only coming into their own now. Teams can say, ‘what do we need right now?’ and try and draft it, but since they’re looking five years into the future such an approach is fraught with difficulty.

That combination of artificially capped salary and delayed timeline makes the 2010-2013 drafts pivotal ones for the Oilers.

The Oilers’ Salary Structure

To date, the salary cap hasn’t been a real problem for the Oilers; all of their top talent has been playing on entry-level deals. That stops next season, when Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall graduate to being $6 million/year players. Sam Gagner’s contract also ends in the summer, leaving the Oilers in an interesting situation with him – do they pay the player or ship him out?

And the money only gets worse moving forward. The entry-level contracts of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz expire in the summer of 2014; Jeff Petry’s extremely friendly two-year bridge deal ends at the same time, and Devan Dubnyk will be an unrestricted free agent. Nail Yakupov’s deal ends the year after. If all goes as planned, the team will have some playoff success by then; it seems likely they’ll be augmenting their young core with, say, a veteran left-side defenceman somewhere along the way.

The point is this: come 2014-15, the Oilers could really use some affordable help. Assuming management has put together a winning team, they’re going to need affordable help from that point on.

Constant Pressure

Photo: James Teterenko/Wikimedia

The Oilers need to be able to produce a good, cheap, player or two out of every draft to help alleviate salary cap pressures elsewhere (to say nothing of the fact that, like many contending teams, they may well need the trade bait to add rentals and address areas of need). They’re likely to get two out of the 2009 group, though three other guys still have their hats in the ring. The 2010 draft, with the exception of Martin Marincin, looks underwhelming (though there’s still time). The 2011 group will likely add players on defence, though the forwards picked look weak.

Good teams that stay strong have constant pressure in the system. Every year, there need to be players on the farm pushing for NHL employment, and graduating players from the junior ranks pushing the prospects on the farm for their spots in the minors. Every spot on the 50-man contract list should be a tough decision. Teams are criticized for losing good players cheaply and rightly so, but in some ways that’s almost a good sign; San Jose lost Miikka Kiprusoff because they had so many good goalie prospects and only so much space, while Detroit lost Kyle Quincey on waivers because they simply didn’t value him the way they did other defenders on the roster and they couldn’t stash him any longer. (Kiprusoff's a good example - while Calgary clearly won the trade, San Jose added a second round pick for a guy they had no room for; that second round pick became Marc-Edouard Vlasic.)

There is a reason first round picks have become such a premium commodity at the deadline – the days when teams like the Red Wings could trade all their draft picks and live on the free agent market are gone. Every team needs affordable options, which means every team needs good prospects coming out of the draft every year. The draft picks made after the team has finished tanking are going to be almost as important to its success as the picks made in the bad years; teams that do the former well and the latter poorly end up looking like Atlanta.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 11:18AM
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Oilers draft picks from 2009, excluding last year:
(Bolded are guys that have established themselves already).

2009
MPS - Prior to this season, I wasn't sure about this
Lander
Hesketh
Abney
Bigos
Rajala
Roy

2010
Hall
Pitlick
Marincin
Hamilton
Martindale
Blain
Bunz
Davidson
Czerwonka
Pelss
K. Jones

2011
RNH
Klefbom
Musil
Perhonen
Ewanyk
Simpson
Gernat
Tuohimaa

Definite help on the way:
(Not looking at stats. Based on media and Oilers' and Barons' staff comments).

Centers:
Lander

Left Wings:
Hartikainen - edited (drafted in 2008)

Defense:
Teubert - edited (not drafted by Oiers)
Fedun - edited (not drafted by Oilers and not sure where his ceiling is though)
Klefbom

Possible help on the way:

Right Wings:
Pitlick

Left Wings:
Pelss

Defense:
Marincin
Musil

Conclusion

I'd consider defense to be a success if the possibility of 3 drafted defensemen maturing in the next couple of years exists.

Regarding the forwards: We have to acknowledge the fact that 3 of them have already made it. But because of that, it looks thin.

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#2 RDS
April 08 2013, 10:49AM
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So is it time to start cheering for losses to maximize draft position? There is still time to drop to a lottery position! Go Oiler's opponents/teams below them in the standings Go!

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#3 The Soup Fascist
April 08 2013, 11:31AM
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Will wrote:

So, what are we picking up with our first pick? Say we are drafting somewhere around 12th. Are we going to take a power forward LW to play in our top six? Do we finally nab a larger centre like Gauthier and hope he can take over at number 2 in a few years? Or do we still need to draft some top defensive prospects like another Klefbomb?

I would think Barkov / Monahan would be centers that could possibly be in the range that the Oilers could get. If not look for Lazar to be a consolation prize, depending on where they pick. Everyone will whine that he is not 6 feet tall, but the kid is thick, strong and does not play a soft game. Would not be the worst fit.

Be surprised if they took a winger or a defenseman (Seth Jones will not be in play, barring a miracle lottery result).

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#4 The Soup Fascist
April 08 2013, 11:49AM
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Will wrote:

Barkov would be sweet, but he's ranked pretty high on most lists, like top five. I have also heard the name Lazar pop up a bunch.

It will be quite the change this year to watch a player be drafted that isn't expected to make the team out of training camp.

I may be absolutely dreaming about Barkov unless the Oilers tank or can make a move to move up a few spots in the draft .... Good Luck with that. Monahan is a nice looking player, though not flashy by any means.

I know Shinkaruk from Medicine Hat is ranked higher than Lazar (at mid-season anyway) but based on the 1st two games in Edmonton, Lazar looks much more suited to be effective at the next level.

Certainly Lazar has a stronger cast than Shinkaruk, but he seems to be involved in the play and initiating more than his counterpart to the south. Shinkaruk is slippery, but I like Lazar if I am picking a player to play in the NHL.

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#6 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 12:12PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Positionally, the Oilers need forwards more than they do defencemen in the prospect pipeline.

But drafting for need would be a mistake. Get the best player you can, because it's hard enough to identify the guy most likely to be quality in the NHL; it's harder still to identify a bunch of them, project them all, project your team's needs forward five years, and pick the best fit.

The Oilers drafted for need all last draft. Are you saying they're incompetent? ;)

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#7 Ducey
April 08 2013, 12:24PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

A year and a half ago the 2010 draft looked just as promising as you described the 2011.

Drafts thin out pretty quick the minute guys go from playing junior hockey to the A.

There's a real chance Musil, Reider, Gernat, and Ewanyk don't pan out. And Simpson just finished an underwhelming 3rd year in collage.

Klefbom is the only "sure" thing from that draft class. Oh and NUGE® of course!

There is always a chance prospects won't turn out. All you can do is hope they take a step forward each year. Most of those guys have done that.

Simpson was the leading scorer among defensemen on his team with 24 pts in 42 games. He was the 6th highest scorer on the team. He was ahead of Derek Forbot, a 1st round pick, who had 17 pts. Not bad for a 4th round pick.

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#8 Supernova
April 08 2013, 04:32PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Don't overlook Bo Horvat of the London Knights. He is a good prospect in the same range. Exactly the kind of player that you are describing.

Does he play C and what is his size?

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#9 gcw_rocks
April 08 2013, 10:45AM
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Well said sir!

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#10 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 10:51AM
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2010 draft class looked promising for a while...
Not so sure any more.

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#11 Smokey
April 08 2013, 10:54AM
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I concern myself with this run to the playoff the Oilers are going to miss picking up a needed 2nd line center or top 2 defensemen. I would not be so concerned however this management is incapable of making a splash in free agency, and I think the Oilers are a player away from having the nucleus of an elite team. I'm concerned an asset like a Yakupov or Gagner will have to traded to address a greater need of a top flight defenseman or 2nd line center. I know the Oiler's koolaid drinker think Gagner all the shiznit, the guys still getting out chanced most nights and I don't believe he is the answer long term.

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#12 Hayek
April 08 2013, 10:56AM
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So wait, a non playoff team such as Edmonton has actually given up valuable assets (such as a 3rd and a 4th rounder) for poor rentals such as Fistric and Smithson?

There was an opportunity cost (4th rounder) trading for a goon that could be picked up on waivers?

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#13 bdiddy18
April 08 2013, 10:56AM
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Also, drafting will switch to Bottom 6 forwards and lower pairing defencemen since the team will be covered on the other fronts.

And with that makes drafting that more difficult as it is probably harder to draft late in drafts and score an efficient bottom 6 than going for the known and well scouted top skilled lottery pick that 9 times out of 10 will pan out for your top 6 somehow.

easier to pick a Hall, Nuge, Yakopov and get the expected result.

Much harder to find a Wayne Simmonds(61),Alex Martinez (95), Derek Stepan (51), Jason Demers 186)

Way more misses than hits.

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#14 Rama Lama
April 08 2013, 11:08AM
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What is understated is that the only option it seems for the Oilers to acquire talent.......is through the draft, and waiting for player to fall out of the sky.

If we do not start drafting more effectively, we will never acquire proper bottom six talent. Outside of Eberle (22nd overall) if we do not have the very top pick, we seem to draft all the wrong players. Magnificient Stu need to pull a few rabbits out of the proverbial hat.......and do it in the second round.

Expecting Tamby to actually pull off a meaningful trade is dellusional.

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#15 Will
April 08 2013, 11:16AM
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So, what are we picking up with our first pick? Say we are drafting somewhere around 12th. Are we going to take a power forward LW to play in our top six? Do we finally nab a larger centre like Gauthier and hope he can take over at number 2 in a few years? Or do we still need to draft some top defensive prospects like another Klefbomb?

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#16 Lochenzo
April 08 2013, 11:20AM
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Blue chip prospects are good currency around trade deadline day as well. Hopefully when the Oil are ready to make their run for the Cup, they will be in a position to part with a couple of top prospects because they have several in the cupboard.

That was how the Red Wings did it. That's how the Penguins are doing it now. The Blackhawks are right there too.

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#17 Will
April 08 2013, 11:21AM
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If the Nordic Line can all keep developing and get better in their disciplines, that is some impressive talent acquired through the draft.

Basically, our number one goalie, and 7 of our forwards will have been had through the draft. Not to mention Petry and Klefbomb. One or two more defensive prospects work out, and that has to be some kind of current league record does it not?

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#18 Smokey
April 08 2013, 11:24AM
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Hayek wrote:

So wait, a non playoff team such as Edmonton has actually given up valuable assets (such as a 3rd and a 4th rounder) for poor rentals such as Fistric and Smithson?

There was an opportunity cost (4th rounder) trading for a goon that could be picked up on waivers?

I don't think the Fistric deal was a bad deal, if they resign him. The problem is this coach plays inferior players such as Potter in front of him.

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#19 Spydyr
April 08 2013, 11:25AM
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Smokey wrote:

I concern myself with this run to the playoff the Oilers are going to miss picking up a needed 2nd line center or top 2 defensemen. I would not be so concerned however this management is incapable of making a splash in free agency, and I think the Oilers are a player away from having the nucleus of an elite team. I'm concerned an asset like a Yakupov or Gagner will have to traded to address a greater need of a top flight defenseman or 2nd line center. I know the Oiler's koolaid drinker think Gagner all the shiznit, the guys still getting out chanced most nights and I don't believe he is the answer long term.

On L.A.'S first goal Gagner gave up the puck. Whitney did not cover his man in the deep slot. Boom early 1-0 lead.

Both players are not the answer moving forward.

Whitney should of went for a pick before he walks this summer.Same with Khabbi.

Gagner should go for another center or a top 4 defenseman. They can get the Centre on another deal. Say Hemsky, that would open up the right wing spot for Yak.

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#20 oilers2k10
April 08 2013, 11:27AM
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I'm still afraid that the Rieder trade could come back to haunt us, in five years he could be a full time NHLer scoring 25-30 goals a season while Kale Kessy may find himself on the fourth liner...sure Kessy has a better chance of becoming a full time fourth line NHLer than Rieder has becoming a top six winger..but in the draft I would pick skill and speed everytime over size and grit.. Size and Grit are great intangables to have but I think theyre alot easier to find than top six skill.. If the oilers were worried about clogging up their RW they made the wrong choice, five years from now Hemsky will be traded and Eberle may ask for 9 mill per year...

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#21 bdiddy18
April 08 2013, 11:29AM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

GERNAT will pan out in some fashion

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#22 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 11:30AM
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@oilers2k10

Oilers are living proof that gritty forwards, who can skate and are able chip in offensively every now and again, are just as hard to draft as stereotypical top 6 forwards.

I wouldn't sweat this one.

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#23 vetinari
April 08 2013, 11:36AM
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I'm surprised that Tambi wasn't more active at the deadline on clearing some contracts out from OKC (like Plante, Eager or Hordichuk) for either some more veteran depth or to replace the picks used to bring in Smithson, Brown and Fistric-- not very good roster management in my opinion.

Also, I remember the pre-cap days when teams like NYR, Toronto, Philly, and Detroit would flip picks for veterans at the drop of the hat and let other teams be their developmental system until they couldn't afford the players anymore. Today, the draft is (or should be) the first priority for all NHL teams with UFA day as #2.

Any word on which of our UFA's may be sticking around for the long term? Jones? Khabibulin? Petrell? I'm presuming that Hordichuk is done in Edmonton but the others seem to be all question marks...

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#24 Will
April 08 2013, 11:36AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I would think Barkov / Monahan would be centers that could possibly be in the range that the Oilers could get. If not look for Lazar to be a consolation prize, depending on where they pick. Everyone will whine that he is not 6 feet tall, but the kid is thick, strong and does not play a soft game. Would not be the worst fit.

Be surprised if they took a winger or a defenseman (Seth Jones will not be in play, barring a miracle lottery result).

Barkov would be sweet, but he's ranked pretty high on most lists, like top five. I have also heard the name Lazar pop up a bunch.

It will be quite the change this year to watch a player be drafted that isn't expected to make the team out of training camp.

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#25 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 11:36AM
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@bdiddy18

Reason I left him out of the possibles is he's not in the AHL now, and isn't as good defensively as Klefbom and Musil.

I know he puts up a lot of points but I think he'll struggle to have an NHL career based on his defensive abilities.

I've been wrong many many times before though. :)

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#26 Ducey
April 08 2013, 11:40AM
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The Oilers are still paying for the KP era when their drafting record was brutal.

I like the Bruce Macgregor's drafting record. People like to list other teams' prospect lists but then forget those prospects are largely first rounders. The Oiler's 1st rounders go right to the show.

There have been plenty of good picks outside the 1st overall.

Marincin was a mid 2nd rounder. He is 6'5" and has gone 64 gp 6g 19a 25 pts with 40 PIMs and a +17 (leads the team) in his first year in pro hockey.

In 2010 they also took Pitlick (who apparently looks the part of a good player but has not put up stats yet), Davidson, who is doing ok in his first year in OKC and Bunz (who knows with goalies).

2011 they get Klefbom, Musil, Simpson, Reider, and Gernat? Add in Ewanyk and thats a quality draft.

There have been a few misses, but thats normal. In fact, most teams are doing well to get one or two players out of a draft 5 yrs later.

I am hoping the Oilers lose enough the balance of the season that they can finish 25th and nab Barkov. That would be sweet. Add in two 2nd rounders and they should have the depth needed to start filling secondary slots in the linep for years to come.

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#27 Will
April 08 2013, 11:40AM
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vetinari wrote:

I'm surprised that Tambi wasn't more active at the deadline on clearing some contracts out from OKC (like Plante, Eager or Hordichuk) for either some more veteran depth or to replace the picks used to bring in Smithson, Brown and Fistric-- not very good roster management in my opinion.

Also, I remember the pre-cap days when teams like NYR, Toronto, Philly, and Detroit would flip picks for veterans at the drop of the hat and let other teams be their developmental system until they couldn't afford the players anymore. Today, the draft is (or should be) the first priority for all NHL teams with UFA day as #2.

Any word on which of our UFA's may be sticking around for the long term? Jones? Khabibulin? Petrell? I'm presuming that Hordichuk is done in Edmonton but the others seem to be all question marks...

I bet if they can't get a reasonable back up for a reasonable price (and it seems this UFA season might be the one for the goalies), then they resign Habby for a one year stint at low money.

Just seeing how Petrell was used this year, I bet he stays. Kruger loves to turtle when he has the lead and Petrell gets thrown out a ton in those situations.

I don't know why they wouldn't keep Jones unless, as mentioned above, there's simply no room for him and his contract. The guy is a steal at what he's currently being paid, but I understand if they think Harti is ready to take over that role.

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#28 Ducey
April 08 2013, 11:42AM
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Smokey wrote:

I don't think the Fistric deal was a bad deal, if they resign him. The problem is this coach plays inferior players such as Potter in front of him.

Potter is better than Fistric (and Whitney) all day long.

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#29 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 11:50AM
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Ducey wrote:

The Oilers are still paying for the KP era when their drafting record was brutal.

I like the Bruce Macgregor's drafting record. People like to list other teams' prospect lists but then forget those prospects are largely first rounders. The Oiler's 1st rounders go right to the show.

There have been plenty of good picks outside the 1st overall.

Marincin was a mid 2nd rounder. He is 6'5" and has gone 64 gp 6g 19a 25 pts with 40 PIMs and a +17 (leads the team) in his first year in pro hockey.

In 2010 they also took Pitlick (who apparently looks the part of a good player but has not put up stats yet), Davidson, who is doing ok in his first year in OKC and Bunz (who knows with goalies).

2011 they get Klefbom, Musil, Simpson, Reider, and Gernat? Add in Ewanyk and thats a quality draft.

There have been a few misses, but thats normal. In fact, most teams are doing well to get one or two players out of a draft 5 yrs later.

I am hoping the Oilers lose enough the balance of the season that they can finish 25th and nab Barkov. That would be sweet. Add in two 2nd rounders and they should have the depth needed to start filling secondary slots in the linep for years to come.

A year and a half ago the 2010 draft looked just as promising as you described the 2011.

Drafts thin out pretty quick the minute guys go from playing junior hockey to the A.

There's a real chance Musil, Reider, Gernat, and Ewanyk don't pan out. And Simpson just finished an underwhelming 3rd year in collage.

Klefbom is the only "sure" thing from that draft class. Oh and NUGE® of course!

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#30 Smokey
April 08 2013, 11:53AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Oilers draft picks from 2009, excluding last year:
(Bolded are guys that have established themselves already).

2009
MPS - Prior to this season, I wasn't sure about this
Lander
Hesketh
Abney
Bigos
Rajala
Roy

2010
Hall
Pitlick
Marincin
Hamilton
Martindale
Blain
Bunz
Davidson
Czerwonka
Pelss
K. Jones

2011
RNH
Klefbom
Musil
Perhonen
Ewanyk
Simpson
Gernat
Tuohimaa

Definite help on the way:
(Not looking at stats. Based on media and Oilers' and Barons' staff comments).

Centers:
Lander

Left Wings:
Hartikainen - edited (drafted in 2008)

Defense:
Teubert - edited (not drafted by Oiers)
Fedun - edited (not drafted by Oilers and not sure where his ceiling is though)
Klefbom

Possible help on the way:

Right Wings:
Pitlick

Left Wings:
Pelss

Defense:
Marincin
Musil

Conclusion

I'd consider defense to be a success if the possibility of 3 drafted defensemen maturing in the next couple of years exists.

Regarding the forwards: We have to acknowledge the fact that 3 of them have already made it. But because of that, it looks thin.

I think you should temper your enthusiasm . Klefbom should be a year away, he's barely developed for two years because all the injuries. Marincin or Fedun or even Teubert may arrive before Klefbom. Chances are he will end up playing next season cause this management is so interested in having a shiny new car every year, rather then letting players develop. Landers had underwhelming results in Oklahoma too.

I don't know what Pitlick, Pelss have done to project into your thinking as players that are close. Pitlick should be in the ECHL albeit according to Lowetide his play has picked up since returning from injury. Pelss is what a 3rd or 4rth line energy forward in the AHL. Musil's probably 2 years away as well.

The players performing at proper expectations are Arcobello, Rajala, Davidson, Marincin, Fedun (who's picked it up). The two players who are most deserving of a sniff this season are Arco and Rajala. Rajala been the best player on the farm for the last two months, and deserves a sniff if someone goes down.

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#31 Time Travelling Sean
April 08 2013, 11:55AM
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Spydyr wrote:

On L.A.'S first goal Gagner gave up the puck. Whitney did not cover his man in the deep slot. Boom early 1-0 lead.

Both players are not the answer moving forward.

Whitney should of went for a pick before he walks this summer.Same with Khabbi.

Gagner should go for another center or a top 4 defenseman. They can get the Centre on another deal. Say Hemsky, that would open up the right wing spot for Yak.

Is it just me or is that a save Dubby should make 10/10 times? Richards was on the outside of the dots, no traffic, and it wasn't like the puck pinged off the crossbar and in.

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#32 Smokey
April 08 2013, 11:56AM
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Ducey wrote:

Potter is better than Fistric (and Whitney) all day long.

Read the underlying stats rather then watching the TV.

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#33 madjam
April 08 2013, 12:03PM
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In next years draft all 14 or 15 non playoff teams have a shot to be number 1-do you remain the same for every round? How does the order go after the lottery ,the same as usual ?

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#34 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 12:05PM
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Smokey wrote:

I think you should temper your enthusiasm . Klefbom should be a year away, he's barely developed for two years because all the injuries. Marincin or Fedun or even Teubert may arrive before Klefbom. Chances are he will end up playing next season cause this management is so interested in having a shiny new car every year, rather then letting players develop. Landers had underwhelming results in Oklahoma too.

I don't know what Pitlick, Pelss have done to project into your thinking as players that are close. Pitlick should be in the ECHL albeit according to Lowetide his play has picked up since returning from injury. Pelss is what a 3rd or 4rth line energy forward in the AHL. Musil's probably 2 years away as well.

The players performing at proper expectations are Arcobello, Rajala, Davidson, Marincin, Fedun (who's picked it up). The two players who are most deserving of a sniff this season are Arco and Rajala. Rajala been the best player on the farm for the last two months, and deserves a sniff if someone goes down.

I made sure I noted that I'm not basing this on statistics. Only on media and Oilers' management and Barons' coaches' feedback in interviews.

Arcobello and Rajala have good numbers in the AHL. But based on their size, and the type of game they bring, along with the Oilers' top 6 right now, I'll argue (to the death) that those two don't get a sniff at show any time soon.

You're right about Fedun and Teubert though. I was only looking at Oilers' draft picks. They should definitely be on the "on the way" list.

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#35 Will
April 08 2013, 12:06PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I may be absolutely dreaming about Barkov unless the Oilers tank or can make a move to move up a few spots in the draft .... Good Luck with that. Monahan is a nice looking player, though not flashy by any means.

I know Shinkaruk from Medicine Hat is ranked higher than Lazar (at mid-season anyway) but based on the 1st two games in Edmonton, Lazar looks much more suited to be effective at the next level.

Certainly Lazar has a stronger cast than Shinkaruk, but he seems to be involved in the play and initiating more than his counterpart to the south. Shinkaruk is slippery, but I like Lazar if I am picking a player to play in the NHL.

Hmmm, all these years of drafting a player who is expected to make an immediate impact have trained me to expect they will draft someone that will balance out our top six a bit, instead of actually wanting them to draft BPA.

Interesting article somewhere else about trading Gagner for Coutier. I know that Gagner trades are always a hot topic, but I really like that idea.

Either way, this is going to be a very interesting year because for the first time in a while, it's not really set in stone who we should be taking with our first round pick, and there are a lot of options open that will require the scouting department to actually do some work. As long as we don't go all Jankowski, I think we'll pick up a solid player.

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#36 jdrevenge
April 08 2013, 12:12PM
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Surprised Rajala didn't make your list. Anyone that scores at a PPG in the AHL at his age should be worth a look.

He may be the 4th offensive RW in the organization but would garner some trade value to swap assets based on need.

He should be included IMO.

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#37 Eulers
April 08 2013, 12:13PM
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Wait a minute, JW!

Are you saying the Oilers should invest in their draft and pick the BPA instead of drafting Oil Kings or lottery tickets to the next Lucic (preferably both)???

Crazy talk!! After all those number 1 picks, the Oilers can just coast!

Let's hope that the Oilers 2012 Draft was a risk-loving anomaly in a weak draft year and that the Magnificent Bastard will hit some home runs this time around.

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#38 Will
April 08 2013, 12:13PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Positionally, the Oilers need forwards more than they do defencemen in the prospect pipeline.

But drafting for need would be a mistake. Get the best player you can, because it's hard enough to identify the guy most likely to be quality in the NHL; it's harder still to identify a bunch of them, project them all, project your team's needs forward five years, and pick the best fit.

I seem to remember Stu saying essentially the same thing when asked if this is the year the Oilers can finally afford to draft for positional need.

I think he said, there are some positions we need to upgrade at, but it is unwise not to take the best player available.

The drafting for need seems to be what is done in all subsequent rounds. Stu said you can never have too many defensemen, and we need to get a goalie this year.

Having said that, I wonder if other teams overlook the top defensive prospects and take forwards, if we go after one of them in the first round. As I've been saying, this year is actually going to be an interesting one for our first round selection. A combination of a deep draft, with a kind of something for everyone in the first round, and the Oilers having to do more than simply looking at Bob's draft list, should mean a very interesting pick.

Willis, outside of our 3 first overall selections, how do you think the Oilers have done at the draft in the last five years, compared to the successes of other teams int he league?

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#39 Lochenzo
April 08 2013, 12:19PM
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Klefbom is going to be great, but the Oil will be a Stanley Cup contender when we can say that we are comfortable trading away Klefbom for a rental player because our 23 man roster is solid and we have several other prospects almost as good as he is.

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#40 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 08 2013, 12:23PM
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jdrevenge wrote:

Surprised Rajala didn't make your list. Anyone that scores at a PPG in the AHL at his age should be worth a look.

He may be the 4th offensive RW in the organization but would garner some trade value to swap assets based on need.

He should be included IMO.

I don't know, man. Omark put up big numbers in the A as well. And he's as close to Rajala as any prospect the Oilers have/had.

To add to that, Omark was as much of a catalyst as his line-mates. I honestly don't know if that's the case with Rajala right now. Or is he riding the coat tales of Arcobello, Hartikainen, and Cheechoo?

He wasn't very effective when I watched a few games a couple of months ago. Mind you he was a recent call up from ECHL then.

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#41 Spydyr
April 08 2013, 12:30PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Is it just me or is that a save Dubby should make 10/10 times? Richards was on the outside of the dots, no traffic, and it wasn't like the puck pinged off the crossbar and in.

Dubby did not cough up the puck or fail to cover his man in the high slot. That being said if you notice I mentioned Khabbi should have been dealt. Dubby needs a young, potential starter to push him.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
April 08 2013, 12:39PM
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I'd think it would be unanimous amongst all 30 teams that there are is no such things as unimportant draft selections, nowadays or even 20 yrs ago. The singlemost deciding factor influencing todays game is that there just isn't enough talent to keep all 30 teams competitive. 3/4's of the teams in this league are either rebuilding, treading water or scrambling just to cover costs. When only 1, (or 2 if you're fortunate in each draft class) make your NHL roster someday, all drafting for areas of weakness issues go out the window with the current fail rate for draft picks being so high.

If the NHL clubs would move towards drafting 19-20 yr olds, it might cut that alsoran list (85% of kids drafted never go onto have productive NHL careers) in half, which would be a good start. As for the rest of the leagues issues, we'd need plenty'o heroin beers/sustenance to tackle those issues.

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#43 DieHard
April 08 2013, 12:42PM
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We should be drafting centers this year - big with skill. Garon is UFA this year. He could make for a good backup and should be cheap?

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#44 Ducey
April 08 2013, 12:50PM
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Smokey wrote:

Read the underlying stats rather then watching the TV.

Okeey dokey Smokey. You mean like Rel Corsi?

Potter -1.1 Fistric -1.4 Whitney -12.1

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#45 GVBlackhawk
April 08 2013, 12:52PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Positionally, the Oilers need forwards more than they do defencemen in the prospect pipeline.

But drafting for need would be a mistake. Get the best player you can, because it's hard enough to identify the guy most likely to be quality in the NHL; it's harder still to identify a bunch of them, project them all, project your team's needs forward five years, and pick the best fit.

Can you please CC this to the Oilers head office? They don't quite understand the concept.

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#46 DSF
April 08 2013, 12:57PM
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Ducey wrote:

There is always a chance prospects won't turn out. All you can do is hope they take a step forward each year. Most of those guys have done that.

Simpson was the leading scorer among defensemen on his team with 24 pts in 42 games. He was the 6th highest scorer on the team. He was ahead of Derek Forbot, a 1st round pick, who had 17 pts. Not bad for a 4th round pick.

Derek Forbort has never put up points at any level.

He's a huge defensive defenseman so using his offence as a measuring stick for Simpson doesn't wash.

LAK have had a tremendous draft record since Lombardi was hired in 2006.

Just listing guys who still have a shot:

2006:

Jonathan Bernier - 1st round

Trevor Lewis - 1st round

2007:

Thomas Hickey (oops) - 1st round

Wayne Simmonds - 2nd round

Alex Martinez - 4th round

Dwight King - 4th round

2008:

Drew Doughty - 1st round

Colten Teubert (oops) - 1st round

Slava Voynov - 2nd round

Andrew Campbell - 3rd round

Andrei Loktionov - 5th round

2009:

Brayden Schenn - 1st round

Kyle Clifford - 2nd round

Nick Delaurier - 3rd round

JF Berube - 4th round

Linden Vey - 4th round

Brandon Kozun - 6th round

Jordan Nolan - 7th round

Nick Dowd - 7th round

2010:

Derek Forbort - 1st round

Tyler Toffoli - 2nd round

Jordan Weal - 3rd round

Too early to call the 2011 and 2012 drafts but Andy Anreoff, Michael Schumaker and Tanner Pearson are all tracking very well.

That's a very, very impressive list of pro hockey players the Kings have drafted in a 5 year period and that success has allowed Lombardi to use those assets to acquire veteran help.

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#47 Lochenzo
April 08 2013, 01:17PM
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Let me ask this. I'm going to list "stocking the cupboard with blue chip prospects" to the list of needs of this organization. We also need goalie depth, centre depth, power forward and puck moving Dman.

If stocking the cupboard with blue chippers is the priority, the Oil would be well served by taking the best player available in the 1st and 2nd rounds. Reaching too far as was the case with the Moroz pick at 32nd last year, don't be surprised if it doesn't work out.

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#48 Thinker
April 08 2013, 01:27PM
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This is exactly the reason I wanted to deal all the vets we could at the deadline. More picks allow us to find some of these cheap options, or we can use the picks as assets in future deals when we want to make a push in the postseason.

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#49 nunyour
April 08 2013, 01:44PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Is it just me or is that a save Dubby should make 10/10 times? Richards was on the outside of the dots, no traffic, and it wasn't like the puck pinged off the crossbar and in.

It's not just you!!! the oilers are going nowhere with Dubby in net,sorry to say,those soft goals are killers for a teams mentallity,when they know they are going to really have to battle hard for a win and then bang, a softy to start the game.he is always down on his knees.

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#50 GVBlackhawk
April 08 2013, 01:50PM
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Thinker wrote:

This is exactly the reason I wanted to deal all the vets we could at the deadline. More picks allow us to find some of these cheap options, or we can use the picks as assets in future deals when we want to make a push in the postseason.

Why deal select veterans for draft picks when you can keep them on the team and healthy scratch them?

Fistric, Peckham, Whitney, Potter, Jones, Petrell all fall into this category.

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