A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER?

Lowetide
May 18 2013 12:17PM

Long-time observers of the Edmonton Oilers at the draft table know the club has a tendency to go "walkabout" during the second and third rounds of the draft. Recent comments by the GM perhaps give hope that the club will go in a new direction for picks 31-100.

THE 2009 DRAFT

An excellent example of the Oilers "walkabout" at the draft table occurred in 2009. The club ended up with four players from Bob McKenzie's final list but went about it in unusual fashion. Here's how it actually went down:

2009 Oilers draft

  • Magnus Paajarvi selected #10 overall, ranked #10 (attended combine)
  • Anton Lander selected #40 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)
  • Troy Hesketh selected #71 overall, unranked
  • Cameron Abney selected #82 overall, unranked
  • Kyle Bigos selected #99 overall, unranked
  • Toni Rajala selected #101 overall, ranked #50 (attended combine)
  • Olivier Roy selected #133 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)

The Oilers have done this in the past (although 2010 had 5 BM names and 2011's list boasted 6), basically setting aside their list after round one or two and spending the "middle" selections on a very specific need--in the case of 2009, a tall tree blueliner, an enforcer of some repute, and a massive defender who could block out the sun.

If the Oilers had drafted (in order) Paajarvi, Rajala, Lander and Roy in their first four selections would the value of the player be more in line with the pick's value? Certainly. However, the fact that players like Rajala and Roy were available long after their projection suggests the Oilers weren't the only ones cheating for size over skill in 2009.

The question is: does that kind of drafting model produce results?

THROUGH THE PAST, DARKLY

Stu MacGregor's 2009 draft resembles several from the KP era, but I've chosen 2003's edition to compare. I am using Redline Report's draft rankings in this instance (McKenzie had Pouliot #13 ranked, but his list didn't go past round one in 2003).

2003 Oilers draft

  • Marc Pouliot: selected #22 overall, ranked #40
  • Colin McDonald: selected #51 overall, ranked #57
  • JF Jacques: selected #68 overall, not ranked in top 100
  • Michal Joukov: selected #72 overall, ranked #62
  • Zack Stortini: selected #94overall
  • Kalle Olsson: selected #147 overall
  • David Rohlfs: selected #154 overall
  • Dragan Umicevic: selected #184 overall
  • Kyle Brodziak: selected 214th overall
  • Mathieu Roy: selected #215 overall
  • Josef Hrabal: selected #248 overall
  • Troy Bodie: selected #278 overall

There are a couple of examples in this draft (using Redline's numbers) of Prendergast and his scouting staff going draft walkabout:

  1. Selecting JF Jacques late in the 2nd round and passing over higher ranked eligibles. Jacques was ranked #118 by Redline, which would have put him squarely in the 4th round.
  2. Selecting Zack Stortini #94 overall, ahead of higher ranked (by Redline) prospects. Stortini was #194 on the Redline list, and the Oilers would go on to select Kyle Brodziak (#185) more than 100 picks later.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

In a recent article, Jonathan Willis quoted Oiler director of scouting Stu MacGregor on his new boss:

  • "Every GM sees things a little bit differently, and he works a little bit from a coaching standpoint in that guys have to be able to think, players have to be able to figure out what the coach is showing and teaching."

There's always a danger in reading too much into these quotes; then again, I don't recall reading many articles on the "hockey sense" of what I'm calling the "walkabout" group. 

A change in the weather? We wait.

(OKC Barons photos courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved).

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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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#51 Rick
May 19 2013, 12:49PM
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DSF wrote:

Agree that Carolina is likely the best target if a trade up is in the works.

Who would you draft at #5?

You trade to #5 only if Barkov is available , however Carolina would want him too. Or

You might trade up to have the choice between Monahan or Lindholm, however if i'm Carolina and Edmonton makes an offer I go to Calgary and try for a bidding war

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#52 DSF
May 19 2013, 12:57PM
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Rick wrote:

You trade to #5 only if Barkov is available , however Carolina would want him too. Or

You might trade up to have the choice between Monahan or Lindholm, however if i'm Carolina and Edmonton makes an offer I go to Calgary and try for a bidding war

Yeah, Calgary has an awful lot more bullets than the Oilers with those 3 first round picks.

I can see them being very aggressive maybe trading someone like Cammalleri to Carolina.

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#53 Clyde
May 19 2013, 12:58PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I don't think you need to offer that much to move up from 7 to 5.

Hemsky, Musil and a 2nd round pick is as high as I go. It gives them a pick, a player and a prospect for the advantage of moving up two spots to 5th in a draft that is considered 4 deep.

Personally, I'd start Rutherford at Hemsky (50% salary retained) and the 7th with a corresponding swap of 2nds and maybe one of either Plante or Teubert.

From Rutherford's perspective he may still get the prospect he wants, as well as an NHL ready player he's seen firsthand, and a depth blueliner for a potential playoff push or to cover injuries.

If we keep saying that Hemsky isn't worth more than a 2nd round pick, and that moving up two spots at the draft is roughly equivalent to relinquishing a 2nd rounder as compensation, then the math would seem to equal out. Add in the fact that, if Carolina is out of it at the trade deadline they'd have an attractive UFA asset to dangle for more picks and prospects and I think there is a deal there somewhere. Besides, Rutherford signed Semin to that massive contract, so it isn't as though we're dealing with the second coming of Al Arbour here.

I can't see any of those players you mention being attractive for Rutherford. I do agree that it wouldn't take a bunch to move up in comparison to moving from say number 5 to 3 but it would still have a high cost with the potential of Barkov or Drouin slipping. The number 7, a second rounder and one of your top def prospects may get it done. Hemsky, Plante and Teubert aren't really incentive to give up a potential franchise player even if Carolina believes they can get their guy at 7 imo.

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#54 Rick
May 19 2013, 01:20PM
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Here are the possibilties as I see it

Colorado- Jones

Florida - Drouin/ MacKinnon

TB- Drouin/ MacKinnon

Nash- Barkov/ Lindholm - most likely Barkov

Car - Nichushkin, Monahan Lindholm Nurse, Zadorov

Cal- Nichushkin, Monahan Lindholm

Nashville if they wanted Lindholm they could possibly trade down 1 spot. Carolina - Might trade down if they want a D man Calgary could move up 3 first round picks

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#55 Rama Lama
May 19 2013, 02:48PM
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@RexLibris

I'm not sure if moving up two spots is worth anything ( let alone proven players and picks) unless the player involved is " exactly what you need"!

If the move up get you the player you covet, then it's probably worth taking the chance. If Brakov is that player........fine make the trade. The real question that needs asking, is Barkov that much of an improvement over Monahan?

If our scouting department can make the case, then I'm sure MacT has his strategy in place..........I still on the fence as to how good Magnificient Stu really is? Anyone can draft first overall.......real good scouting departments produce in the second and third rounds.

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#56 djc
May 19 2013, 04:01PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I do believe all teams not involved in the Playoffs are free to conduct business now. There's nothing that prevents them from improving their team the day after their seasons over.

MacTavish certainly appears to be just another puppet, much like Tambellini was.

How many trades have the GMs of the other 21 teams whose seasons are over made? Are they all puppets too?

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#57 Rick
May 19 2013, 08:12PM
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Rick wrote:

Here are the possibilties as I see it

Colorado- Jones

Florida - Drouin/ MacKinnon

TB- Drouin/ MacKinnon

Nash- Barkov/ Lindholm - most likely Barkov

Car - Nichushkin, Monahan Lindholm Nurse, Zadorov

Cal- Nichushkin, Monahan Lindholm

Nashville if they wanted Lindholm they could possibly trade down 1 spot. Carolina - Might trade down if they want a D man Calgary could move up 3 first round picks

Edmonton - Monahan Zadorov, Lindholm Nichushkin

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#58 Walter Sobchak
May 19 2013, 09:05PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I'm not sure if moving up two spots is worth anything ( let alone proven players and picks) unless the player involved is " exactly what you need"!

If the move up get you the player you covet, then it's probably worth taking the chance. If Brakov is that player........fine make the trade. The real question that needs asking, is Barkov that much of an improvement over Monahan?

If our scouting department can make the case, then I'm sure MacT has his strategy in place..........I still on the fence as to how good Magnificient Stu really is? Anyone can draft first overall.......real good scouting departments produce in the second and third rounds.

Isn't a legit elite two way center exactly what the Oilers need? Not to mention that free's up the possibility of moving Gagner for a defensmen.

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#59 Walter Sobchak
May 19 2013, 09:11PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I don't think you need to offer that much to move up from 7 to 5.

Hemsky, Musil and a 2nd round pick is as high as I go. It gives them a pick, a player and a prospect for the advantage of moving up two spots to 5th in a draft that is considered 4 deep.

Personally, I'd start Rutherford at Hemsky (50% salary retained) and the 7th with a corresponding swap of 2nds and maybe one of either Plante or Teubert.

From Rutherford's perspective he may still get the prospect he wants, as well as an NHL ready player he's seen firsthand, and a depth blueliner for a potential playoff push or to cover injuries.

If we keep saying that Hemsky isn't worth more than a 2nd round pick, and that moving up two spots at the draft is roughly equivalent to relinquishing a 2nd rounder as compensation, then the math would seem to equal out. Add in the fact that, if Carolina is out of it at the trade deadline they'd have an attractive UFA asset to dangle for more picks and prospects and I think there is a deal there somewhere. Besides, Rutherford signed Semin to that massive contract, so it isn't as though we're dealing with the second coming of Al Arbour here.

I think we can agree there is a deal there, in this type of draft I just don't see Hemsky alone getting it done, I honestly think a Paajarvi or Hartikainen would have to be involved along with a prospect.

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#60 Arnold
May 19 2013, 09:23PM
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100% Seth Jones top 3 pick

100% MacKinnon top 3 pick

75% Drouin top 3 pick

25% Barkov top 3 pick

It is possible Drouin could go #4.

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#61 RexLibris
May 20 2013, 09:38AM
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@Walter Sobchak

Hemsky's value to Rutherford is that he is an established NHL player.

But yes, Paajarvi and Hartikainen are perhaps a little more interesting for Carolina because they have potential.

There'd be a lot of risk in either case.

The alternative option is the Oilers try to trade back, picking up two picks to try and hope to end up with Zadorov and Horvat.

Or, you know, they could just pick at #7. *sigh*

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#62 RexLibris
May 20 2013, 09:41AM
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@Rama Lama

I'll give some time to MacGregor, but if Frank Musil recommends the player then I'd definitely lend an ear.

Agreed on the depth drafting. It isn't the worst in the league, but the next two seasons determine a lot for the Oilers' bottom six (do they save money by promoting depth from within, or lose it by hunting it on the open market?).

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#63 Al 77
May 21 2013, 06:17PM
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Why Arnold the oilers aren't small enough as it is?

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