I’ve been busy the last couple of days, so I haven’t had a chance to comment on TSN’s Top-12 Oilers’ prospects. Here’s their list:
- Jordan Eberle
- Devan Dubnyk
- Rob Schremp
- Riley Nash
- Taylor Chorney
- Jeff Petry
- Alex Plante
- Liam Reddox
- Theo Peckham
- Ryan O’Marra
- Slava Trukhno
- Bryan Young
It’s pretty bad, and it bears witness to a common bias, both among fans and the media in general: the desire to view every prospect by their draft position. Eight of the players listed were first- or second-round picks, and all of the top-seven fit into that category.
What people need to understand is that draft position is a snap-shot: it shows how players were rated only during that one season. Take Viktor Tikhonov as an example. He was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008, as a 20-year old player. He went undrafted the year before, but he could well have been a seventh-round pick in 2007; he’d be the same player, but he’s far more heralded as a first-round pick than he would have been as a late-round player.
As another example, consider Linus Omark who went unranked on TSN’s list. Right now he’s leading his team in scoring (by a lot) in one of the toughest leagues in the world, the Elitserien. He’s easily a top-ten prospect on the Oilers right now, even with the caveats around him (size, possibly work ethic, foot-speed). That performance should put him well ahead of Ryan O’Marra, a prospect completely indistinguishable from a common AHL fourth-liner, except for his draft position.
I’m not going to get into what my full list would be right now, except to say that none of the bottom three guys would be on it and players with big question marks (Dubnyk, Schremp, Chorney) would be much further down. Theo Peckham would be near the top; TSN says “he does not have the puck skills, the offensive instincts or the hockey sense to be anything more than a defensive defenceman,” yet he’s eight points back of Schremp, and six ahead of Chorney, both of whom are ranked higher on the list.
I’m emphatically not saying that I’m brighter than the scouts who drafted these players in the first round; what I am saying is that a lot has happened to (for example) Rob Schremp since he went in the first round nearly five years ago, and that’s something that people should pay more attention to.