THE DUB: OILERS HOME COOKIN'

Lowetide
August 14 2013 09:39AM

 

During the intense draft rebuild of 2010-2013, the Edmonton Oilers spent a tremendous number of draft picks in the Western Hockey League. Most of that home cookin' has yet to pay off, leaving Oiler fans wondering if the organization should cast a wider net. 

RUNNING THE NUMBERS

During the first 6 entry drafts of the Stu MacGregor era, the NHL as a whole selected 1265 total players, 209 (or 16.5%) from the Western Hockey League. That is significantly lower than the OHL total (21.56%) and would seem to confirm the widely held belief that the OHL is the superior development league. 

For the first 6 years of the MacGregor era, the Oilers have spent significantly MORE picks in the WHL than the OHL:

  • 2008 NHL draft: Oilers select 5 players, 2 from the WHL (211 players selected overall)
  • 2009 NHL draft: Oilers select 7 players, 1 from the WHL (211 players selected overall)
  • 2010 NHL draft: Oilers select 11 players, 4 from the WHL (210 players selected overall)
  • 2011 NHL draft: Oilers select 9 players, 3 from the WHL (211 players selected overall)
  • 2012 NHL draft: Oilers select 7 players, 1 from the WHL (211 players selected overall)
  • 2013 NHL draft: Oilers select 10 players, 3 from the WHL (211 players selected overall)

The Oilers from 2008-13 (6 drafts) have selected 49 players overall, 14 from the WHL (or 28.6% of their total picks). Comparing that percentage to the league overall (16.5%, as listed above) gives you an idea about just how many picks over average the Oilers have been in the west under MacGregor

This may well be random--players chosen based on merit through the eyes of the scouting staff, and it's possible all of the players Edmonton chose would have been taken by other teams during this period. However, I think it's reasonable to wonder about all the attention paid to the Western Hockey League--we'll see as things roll out--and its unusual prominence in Oilers drafting strategy. Since 2008, the Oilers have drafted 7 OHL players, and 14 from the WHL. The NHL as a group consistently prefers the OHL. Is the Oilers draft strategy wise? Or is this random luck, based on when the Oilers pick their players?

WHO ARE THE FOURTEEN PLAYERS?

The Oilers spent close to 30% of their draft gold in the west, you'd want to see plenty of return on that invesmtent. The good news? Those who have arrived are splendid!

  • Jordan Eberle is one of the best draft picks in franchise history. A home run from #22 overall, a very rare item. 
  • Jordan Bendfeld a late round pick who spent three seasons in pro hockey. 
  • Cameron Abney, an enforcer chosen in the 3rd round, remains in system.
  • Curtis Hamilton, a disappointing 2nd round pick who has not taken one step forward in pro hockey.
  • Tyler Bunz, highly touted goalie struggling in pro hockey and encountering concussion problems. 
  • Brandon Davidson, on track as a prospect, although NHL employment may be out of reach. 
  • Drew Czerwonka big PF who lost his career to injury before turning pro. 
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Baby Nuge is a sublime talent and plays an extremely important position. 
  • David Musil: Shut down defensive player in junior begins the minor league road to the NHL. Jury is out. 
  • Travis Ewanyk: Checking C in junior, questions about offensive ability have expectations low. 
  • Mitch Moroz: PF taken so high it clouds the view, playing shut down role in junior.
  • Jackson Houck: Interesting new pick, appears to be a very good 2-way prospect. 
  • Ben Betker: Stay at home type, a projection. A lot of unknown here. 
  • Greg Chase: Brilliant pick if they'd taken him 100 spots earlier! Love the selection at 188th overall. 

The WHL has 14 picks since 2008, double the OHL number. One thing the Oilers have done though is spend their first round picks (and two of the #1's) in the OHL. Whereas Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Darnell Nurse all came with high picks from the OHL, the only lottery pick from the WHL is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The WHL has only 5 picks inside the top 50 during this era (Eberle, Hamilton, RNH, Musil, Moroz) compared to the OHL's 3 (Hall, Yak, Nurse). 

My look at the OHL is available here

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

What? What? 

Seriously, the Oilers have invested a tremendous amount of picks in the WHL, I think they clearly prefer the WHL's tough reputation and size/skill combination. They have taken some long shots and flawed players in relatively high draft slots though (Moroz, Musil, Abney) and that will very likely impact the batting average.

One final thing: the Oilers scored well in a deep draft this season despite not spending any high picks in the WHL. I think you can make a case that Houck and Chase are better actual prospects than any of the WHL kids not named Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. 

That may be a reflection of the new GM, who put more emphasis on skill at this year's draft. If this is the result of lessons learned, then the Abney selection and others like it may have been worth it after all. 

(photo by 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 Team 1260.
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#1 Neil
August 14 2013, 12:34PM
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Jennifer Garner wishes she looked that good. That beautiful creature is Eva Green.

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#2 Dan the Man
August 14 2013, 10:28AM
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Something something something hockey something...mmmmmmm Jennifer Garner....

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#3 Archaeologuy
August 14 2013, 10:41AM
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I...uh...what?

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#4 DSF
August 14 2013, 10:59AM
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General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have named Bob Green Director of Amateur and Free Agent Scouting.

Green, who was honoured as the WHL's Executive of the Year in 2011-12 and 2012-13, will work closely with the Oilers Hockey Operations department and Amateur Scouting staff, assisting with identifying and recruiting NCAA, CHL and select European free agents, as well as develop a free agent priority list.

Green, 52, joins the Edmonton Oilers after serving as the General Manager of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League for the past six seasons. In 2012-13, Green led the Oil Kings to first place in the Eastern Conference and to the WHL league final for the second consecutive year.

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=680162

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#5 djc
August 14 2013, 10:03AM
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The WDIAM girls you are posting (especially recently) have been outstanding.

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THANK YOU LOWETIDE....THANK YOU.

Damn,Jennifer is FINE.

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#7 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
August 14 2013, 10:21AM
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LT, that gif made my day. I like the cut of your jib, sir.

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#8 Rama Lama
August 14 2013, 05:44PM
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If you want us to read your articles Allan..........stop with the pretty girls. Might I suggest a shower scene with Rosanne Barr........on second thought, forget that.

I'm good with the pretty girls until hockey season starts.

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#9 Benny Botts
August 14 2013, 09:48AM
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I had no idea what I was doing or where I was after seeing that Jennifer Garner gif...wowzers, Im a big fan

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#10 David S
August 14 2013, 10:57AM
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God love the WDIAM girls. Almost makes up for the loss of Gregor's Ice Girls of the week...before he got married that is.

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#11 Neil
August 14 2013, 01:54PM
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@ Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Absolutely!

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#12 jdrevenge
August 14 2013, 10:06AM
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I had always thought Tambo trumpeted skill at the draft and taking the best player available... Then I watched this vid and remembered he did a lot of talking but didn't ever really say anything, outside of cliches from the hockey interview handbook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeL4PemF4cM

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#13 D
August 14 2013, 11:17AM
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Today is one of those days when I wish the NHL season would just start already. Can't wait for October. Thanks LT for the Jennifer Garner GIF.

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#14 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
August 14 2013, 01:46PM
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@Neil

Wait really? On a 5 inch phone screen it looks like JG, but Eva Green is acceptable too

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#15 Toro
August 14 2013, 04:13PM
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Stupid shower curtain !

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#16 Rob...
August 14 2013, 11:15AM
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@DSF

That was entirely too objective, lacking the expected vitriol. Where's the DSF people love to hate?

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#17 Walter Sobchak
August 14 2013, 11:38AM
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Still no Kate Beckinsale eh?

Well, here you go LT & guest's, enjoy!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwu2j0r4z3g&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWwu2j0r4z3g

Wait......what were we talking about again?

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#18 1manwolfpack
August 14 2013, 11:53AM
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I keep re-watching the gif hoping for a nip-slip...if I watch closely and often enough, it will happen,right??

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#19 Romulus' Apotheosis
August 14 2013, 11:59AM
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It is really interesting that you posted this the same day as the new hire.

What are the lottery numbers LT?

I think this doesn't however mean that the W is going to stay so strongly in the sights of the Oil.

Firstly, Green's job isn't going to be scouting draft eligible players. Though, no doubt, he will be asked to advise on players he's seen.

Secondly, a lot of the extra (beyond league average that is) W picks followed the Tambo model of chasing "face-punchers" and their little brother "enforcers." That era is over.

Finally, this move is just part of the package of MacT making the team smarter. Smarter teams work hard to weed out bias: ie., love for the W.

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#20 Westcoastoil
August 14 2013, 04:14PM
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So in the GM anthology, where does trading J-Lo for JG rank. Do we give Mr. Affleck sneaky good status?

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#21 Sloppy Joe
August 14 2013, 10:39AM
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The big disappointment for me has been seeing Bunz go off the rails. A lot of the WHL names above (not counting Eberle, Nuge, and Musil) were the type of pick where an NHL career was far from certain.

I also know that projecting goaltenders is like alchemy (to steal a turn of phrase from LT). But Bunz just looked like such a good pick as his WHL career was winding up. It's a shame to see him struggling so badly in the ECHL.

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#23 RexLibris
August 14 2013, 12:24PM
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With regards to the WHL and the Bob Green hiring (as director of amateur free agent scouting or something of the sort) - the previous regime invested heavily in the WHL and yet the scouts that were routinely delivering were the ones overseas led by Mr. Musil the Elder.

I think MacTavish may have recognized this and has shifted focus. I get that MacGregor has a good eye for talent (good, not great) but the WHL is his backyard and sometimes it pays to look elsewhere for perspective. Shifting some focus away from the WHL is a good idea, and hiring another set of eyes to do so is a smart move.

Besides, with the way the NHL wind is blowing right now it isn't as though there are 29 other teams knocking the doors down to get some of these Eastern European kids, so why not take a page from history and select them in the draft?

Also, how is it one can watch a girl take a shower and suddenly feel dirty?

;-)

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#24 Oiler Al
August 14 2013, 01:00PM
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OHL and WHL, may have similar number of teams in the league, but the fact is that Ontario has a population of something like 13, million people, where as the West is more 8 million.

The point is that there a larger population in general to create your talent.

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#25 G Money
August 14 2013, 01:49PM
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The flip side question to ask (and I am not making this assertion, just raising the point) is whether or not the OHL selection bias - along the lines of all-star team voting bias - simply reflects the fact that there are a lot more NHL teams in and around the OHL than the WHL or the Q.

If that's the case, then the WHL 'market' would be less 'efficient' (in finance geek terms), and you are more likely to be able to beat the market performance by picking from the WHL than from the OHL.

Of course, excepting the Baby Nuge at #1, the Oilers are batting one for thirteen (oh but what a one!) in WHL picks, so its safe to say that our scouting so far is not Warren Buffett class.

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#26 Wäx Män Riley
August 14 2013, 03:44PM
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Neil wrote:

Jennifer Garner wishes she looked that good. That beautiful creature is Eva Green.

hhmmmmm... google says it is Jennifer Garner.

do you have a link to the movie it is from?

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