MBS Strikes Again

Some goals are easier than others. For NHL scouts, delivering multiple players of exceptional quality from one draft is something that may come along once or twice in a career. It’s way too early to even be discussing it, but the Edmonton Oilers 2010 draft group keeps doing things to get noticed. It really has been an exceptional start to the season for the top 5 selections. Stand back, we don’t know how big this thing is going to get in the next 5 years.  

I believe it takes 5 full seasons to be able to get a good look at an NHL draft. Even then, you can sometimes be waiting on a goalie or college kid. An example: Devan Dubnyk was drafted in 2004 (6 long years ago) and is just now getting his chance to start two NHL games in a row (assuming he plays today).

However, there are early returns on a draft that can spell trouble.

A FEW EXAMPLES FROM 2003

  • Marc Pouliot was injured before the draft at the top prospects game (Phaneuf drilled him).  In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip) and that had a major impact on his 18-year old season. It also hurt his performance at the Oilers rookie camp just two months after being drafted. In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and a broken wrist. 
  • Colin McDonald had some questions coming out of the draft with regard to offense, and early in his NCAA career it looked like he wasn’t going to have enough offense to play as a regular in the NHL. That’s still true these years later.
  • JF Jacques was selected for his size and speed. He did not miss a lot of games in junior and when he turned pro it looked for all the world like the Oilers had a useful Coke machine. Injuries have derailed his career.
  • Mikhail Youkov was taken on a hunch. Scott Howson in 2003: “He’s a Russian playing in Sweden so he wasn’t eligible to play in any of the tournaments over there in Sweden or Russia. He played in the elite league, his father’s a coach in Sweden and that’s why he’s there. He’s a big strong guy that skates very well so we thought that, perhaps, he may be a little bit of a sleeper and we decided to step up and take him in the third round.”
  • Zack Stortini was taken very late in the third round. They liked his character and heart, plus he’d already established himself as a leader in Sudbury.

Five months after the 2003 draft, we knew Marc Pouliot would lose much of his 18-year old season to various injuries, the concerns about Colin McDonald’s scoring abilities were confirmed, Youkov was another blind pick (the most famous being Alexei Mikhnov). We knew those things 5 months after the 2003 draft. They are tells, just like playing fast when you hold a good hand or calling a girl 20 minutes after your date.

The Edmonton Oilers under Kevin Prendergast had a poor draft in 2003, made worse by the fact that it was so rich and deep. Some of that was bad luck (Pouliot was a first rounder on most pre-draft lists) but McDonald, Jacques, Youkov and Stortini were reach picks.

FAST FORWARD TO 2010

The 2010 draft is also 5 months old, and the top 5 selections are absolutely kicking ass.

  1. Taylor Hall: Exceptional talent is learning at the very highest level of the game as a teenager. After 18gp, he’s 3-5-8 -9 with the Oilers. Stamkos was 18gp, 2-3-5 -7 to begin his NHL career. I’m not saying he’s Stamkos, but would suggest that Hall’s progress thus far this season–considering the quality of the team he’s playing for–is completely reasonable.
  2. Tyler Pitlick: Took some time to adjust to the WHL’s style of play, he’s 3-3-6 +3 in his last three games. For the season, Pitlick is 17gp, 7-11-18 +2 and those numbers should rise now that he’s playing better. Pitlick is a very important prospect in the Oilers system, because he can play center and has a nice range of skills. If there’s one thing we should be looking for in the next few months in regard to the 2010 draft, it’s strong boxcar numbers from Pitlick.
  3. Martin Marincin: 23gp, 8-17-25 +2 in the WHL. He’s still posting offense (1-6-7 in his last 7 games) but is a -7 for the month of November. The club is 2-5 in that stretch, so he’s not the only one having a tough time of it. I found Oil Change 2.0 interesting for lots of reasons, but one of them was the exchange with regard to Pitlick versus Marincin fascinating. MacGregor did the right thing (selecting the bpa instead of picking for need) but there’s every chance Marincin will end up being the better player based on early returns.
  4. Curtis Hamilton: The young man is having a big season. In November, he’s 7gp, 4-6-10 +9 and his overall numbers (22gp, 12-17-29 +22) have him tied for 16th in WHL scoring. He is 2nd in the entire league in plus minus, and like Pitlick represents a Godsend in terms of position and style. A rugged LW with skill is an organizational need and there’s every chance he’ll be lining up one a depth chart with Hall and Pääjärvi down the line. He is the one player in the top 5 we need to worry over in terms of injury, as his history pre-draft makes Pouliot look like Charles Atlas (Atlas in the 1950’s, not Atlas today).
  5. Ryan Martindale: What in the wide world of sports is going on here? Ryan Martindale is third in OHL scoring!! Based on draft pedigree that’s an overshoot of mammoth proportions and we can start to wonder openly about getting a draft steal at number 61. 24gp, 17-21-38 +20 and he plays on the number one line in the league (with Prince and Toffoli). He’s rocked November (9gp, 8-10-18 +10) and another month like that one and he’ll lead the league in points as Christmas. Even better, he’s only 5-5-10 on the PP (1-1-2 SH) so a lot of his points are coming at even strength (24gp, 11-15-26). This is a very, very goood sign. The only negative is that the entire line is ripping it up so we’re not sure who’s driving the bus. Toronto once drafted Laurie Boschman without realizing the key to the line was Brian Propp on LW. Propp went 5 spots after Boschman and delivered a much stronger career.

That’s the top 5, but there is more from this draft. Brandon Davidson in Regina (24gp, 3-17-20 -10) is having a strong season despite the -10 (there are two defenders with worse minus numbers) and is a player to watch. Kellen Jones was in a slump playing in the NCAA (12gp, 4-3-7 -2) but scored a goal last night in a win over Harvard.

Two things about this draft:

  1. It’s extremely early and there are no conclusions to be drawn other than the arrows are pointing in the right direction for the top 5 plus Davidson.
  2. That’s one helluva start for all 5 of them. Splendid.

Stu MacGregor, you really are a magnificent bastard.

  • Sure it is, just don’t set your sights too high on the roster player.

    Simmonds is probably the highest end you can get. If you want a D then Drewiske might be the ceiling.

    What are you looking for in return LT?

    Matt Greene is getting 5th 5v5 minutes, might be available, but not sure if you get Forbort with him for only 1 1/2 of Penner.

    I know you are afraid of magic beans, but Forbort looks to be the real deal.

    I’d like to see him play in the A for a year. While forwards can learn on the job in the NHL with some success, its usually near impossible for D to do it unless they are a special talent.

    I understand you wanting a guy who ready right away for Penner, but the right guy on the Kings isn’t ready right away.

    Spartacus,

    Sure. Its not mine. I got it from a friend in Calgary where there are a lot of fans more sick of their NHL hockey GM than most Oilers fans are of theirs.

    Not kidding. Revolt is coming down there.

  • Penner could be that final piece to a puzzle for a potential contender. He is more than skilled enough to be a perrenial 30+ goal scorer. He knows how to go to the front of the net. Most importantly though, he has always been an incredibly effective player in terms of providing offence vs providing defense. Teams like Pittsburgh and LA should be targets 1 and 2 for the Oilers. At the deadline when teams only need a little more than 1 million in cap space to afford him he SHOULD be a hot commodity.

    In a perfect world the Oilers wouldnt be 3-5 years away from really contending for anything and Penner would be worth more here than traded for future players. If it doesnt happen by the end of this year then I imagine he goes at the Draft.

  • Lowetide

    Woodguy: If I’m dealing Penner, then the weakness at D should be addressed. If the club can acquire a quality prospect who will arrive next fall or 2012 fall then maybe that’s good enough, but the number one item is getting a quality defense prospect you don’t have to wait 4 years to insert into the roster.

    And then I think you need something for the current team. Penner is a very useful player having a good season (again) so it is only reasonable to assume there’s going to be a big falloff once he leaves.

    Getting someone like Simmonds might help ease the blow a little.

    • DSF

      Simmonds is about as much of an untouchable as LA has.

      LA isn’t going to fill a hole on the roster and create another one in the process.

      Lombardi is NOT Tambellowe.

      I’d argue, at age 22, Simmonds is already a better hockey player than Penner and you want LA to throw in Forbort?

      Not going to happen unless Hemsky is riding shotgun on that trade.

      You have to remember which team is dealing from strength here.

      It’s not the Oilers.

      • Lowetide

        Well maybe there isn’t a trade there. Lowe already sent a Stanley to southern California and it seems to me the Kings could use Penner.

        I don’t think that an asking price of a top quality D prospect and a useful position player is out of the question.

        But if it is, well there might be another NHL team with interest in Penner.

        • DSF

          Oh, I think there is a trade there and I agree the Kings could use Penner.

          But Penner is not the only LW likely to be on the market.

          I guess you would have to further define “useful position player” because I doubt Lombardi would trade Simmonds for Penner straight up never mind throw in Forbort.

          • Lowetide

            Yeah, I think we probably disagree on the value of Penner. Anyway, good luck cheering for the Kings. They have a helluva team, I’m hoping Smyth gets his Stanley.

          • Lowetide

            Plus all of the guys who tried and failed in LA. Robitaille won his Stanley elsewhere, but I believe he’s in management there now and that would be terrific for him. Maybe they’ll bring back the triple crown line and Vachon and Hrudey to celebrate.

            There were a few old Rangers in the stands G7 1994. Rod Gilbert, for sure. I always thought that was a nice thing, for those guys to come back and see what they’d missed.

          • DSF

            I’m not sure they can take out the Wings unless they get that #1LW.

            Thing is, they’re $5.7M under the cap which at the deadline would allow them to add anyone they like.

          • John Chambers

            Soooo, if the Kings NEED that #1 LW to get anywhere in the playoffs, and we have Penner under contract through to the end of ’11-’12, doesn’t that imply that we’re trading from a position of strength?

            Who else do you suggest are going to be looking to deal a quality LW near the deadline? Maybe Florida, Minnesota, or the NYI? Maybe Calgary? Aside from Iginla who has a burdensome contract, there isn’t much to pick from there.

            With Hemsky and Penner (maybe Souray, too) we’ll have two of the top assets to deal to a whole number of teams in line who will be keen to add them.

            This inevitable trade will be a key key part of our re-build.

          • DSF

            Sooooo….Dallas is likely to miss the playoffs and have Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Brendan Morrow, Jamie Benn and Steve Ott all capable of playing LW…an embarrassment of riches at that position.

            I would think Neal would be a great target for LA.

            More than a PPG, Dallas needing defensmen and all.

            The OIlers are hardly the only dance partner.

            I agree it will be a key part of a rebuild but Steady could blow it if he over values his players.

          • Neal is as close to untouchable as Neiwy has. Same with Benn.

            If Dallas doesn’t have a new owner by the deadline he will be offering Richards around.

            Didn’t realize Simmonds was already playing toughs. Pretty impressive.

          • C-DOG

            They don’t need Penner, Iginla or any other wingers of that callibre, what they need is Brad Richards, once Dallas is forced to trade him. Schenn could be included in a sign and trade.

            L.A. might have the best assets of all the contending teams to pull that one off. Stoll/Handzus are not good enough 2nd line centres, they are both 3rd liners for a championship callibre team, and Kopitar isn’t that great of a 1st to make up the difference and Schenn is still unproven.

            I will add Penner is a better fit than Iggy, because you would have Smyth/Iggy making $13.25 mill cap hit for not only 2 wingers, but players who are on the downside of their careers.Iggy also has an extra year which could complicate thing for signing their young stars.

  • I like what Penner brings to the table. When Penner is on his games he free’s up whole lot of ice and he can’t be stopped when driving to the net…..but there is one problem. Every other team knows this.

    It appears that the common knowledge among the opposition players is that unless they want to pay on the scoreboard and along the boards they are best just to let him do his thing.(Don’t wake a sleeping bear).

    Again, I like Penner but I don’t think we can afford a guy that is 6’4, 240lbs and throws fewer checks than Hemsky. Then again, tonight he’ll look amazing….thus refeuling my man crush.

    *blushes slightly and tries to pass it off as gas*

  • DSF,

    I agree with a lot of what you said in this thread, but I think you are under valuing Penner (I may be under valuing Simmonds, but Penner for Simmonds straight up is not a win)

    Most NHL teams track scoring chances and Penner has proven over the last few years that when he is on the ice, the puck moves the right way.

    I also think that once MBS has 5 years worth of picks under his belt, you’ll see the talent stock pile like it has in LA.

    The players starting to challenge for spots are still Pendergrast’s, except for the 3 first rounders.

    L.T,

    If you want help next year on the D, than LA isn’t the place to look, but Forbort is what this team doesn’t have in the pipe.

    I think you can address short term D help for next year trading Big Sexy in the summer. I am among those who think that his value with only 1 year left on his contract is much greater than 2 given the injury history.

    • DSF

      You are seriously under valuing Simmonds.

      Simmonds, Zeus and Ponikarovsky play the toughest competition for LA by a wide margin.

      In that role, Simmonds has scored 4G 3A 7P and is plus 1. GFON/60 1.94 GAON/60 1.29 (DIFF – +.65)

      Penner has scored 6G 2A 8P and is minus 1. GFON/60 2.55 GAON/60 3.40 (DIFF -.85)

      Scoring chances are nice and all but stopping the other team from scoring is even better.

      Since they have actually scored roughly the same number of points and since Simmonds, who is only 22, hits like a truck and wants to stay in LA, I would think Simmonds has more value than a 28 year old who is 18 months away from UFA status and likely won’t re-sign in Edmonton.

      Maybe that’s just me, but I’m guessing Lombardi could figure it out too.

        • DSF

          Context is the buzzword applied to self appointed mathletes when their ox is gored.

          There are many layers of context that can be applied in virtually any situation.

          I am sure the one you’re referring to would be Penner’s GAON/60 being the product of playing on a a bad team?

          Fair enough.

          I merely was responding to one WG who saw much value in Penner because he was responsible for the Oilers outshooting the opposition while he’s on the ice.

          Unfortunately, the opposition is outscoring the Oilers while he’s on the ice, at least according to the esteemed Mr. Desjardins at Behind the Net.

          Is there some other context you wanted to explore?

          • Penner still leads the team in Corsi and Relative Corsi by a fair margin.

            There’s no one nearly as good as driving the bus as he is on this team, and once gone it will get significantly worse.

            Teams like LA track this stuff, they’ll know what he’s worth.

            Interesting that they have another big LW who is much maligned and drove the Corsi bus for years on bad TO teams in Poni playing the toughs.

            I agree that Tambellini should get on moving Penner soon. At least before Dallas falls out of playoff contention and starts selling off Richards.

          • John Chambers

            You pose an interesting question: at what point of the season, or year, could you obtain the greatest return for a quality player like Penner?

            Is it early in the season, at the mid-point just after the holidays, or near to the trade deadline when competitive teams feel they can mortgage some of the future to go for it now.

            IMO I think the greatest value for selling teams occurs right around the All-Star break, but once in a while you see teams pay through the nose right at the deadline. I would assume that a lot of these deals are discussed from December onwards (like Kovalchuk’s), but some are last-minute shots at making a run for it (Pittsburgh’s deal for Hossa a few years back).

            Tambo should certainly have a high asking price for Penner. DSF disagrees with me, and pretty much anybody else, but any good negotiator sets the bar high (which I think should be Brayden Schenn), and then works it to the point where, playing multiple offers, makes the best deal for the club if it makes sense.

            This is why I feel Tambo overvalued the market for Souray this summer, ditto for Burke in Toronto with Kaberle. I think both Souray and Kaberle will attract some interest come Jan / Feb.

          • You lost me the moment you called context a “buzzword.” That may be the most ignorant statement I have come across since the day my sister-in-law asked; “If Canada is North America does that make the United States South America?”

            Why don’t you try grasping the implications of those apparently contradictory statistics instead of just pointing to them as though they somehow make your point?

            I get it. You are interested in the argument, not the answer.

  • C-DOG

    Richards,Benn for Schenn,Simmonds,Stoll, Forbort & a pick. Sign and trade of course.

    L.A. would get another top centre,that plays the point on the p.p. and has a good 2 way game to replace/upgrade stoll & a cheap l.w with 1 1/2 elc years left, that has size and skill.

    Dallas is giving up 1 cheap player but getting back a bunch of prospect, for a player they might not be able to sign anyways, Ericson/Neal are left wingers, so they are dealing from depth. They would then have Ribero,Schenn & Stoll @ centre, good wingers and upgraded their “d”/farm system.

  • Maybe that’s just me, but I’m guessing Lombardi could figure it out too.

    Do you have a gene that forces you to be an ass?

    Everyone is discussing things quite nicely and you inject this baseless hate.

    You have some interesting things to say from time to time, but you wrap it in such a layer of assholiness that makes others discount the actual good stuff you have (when you have good stuff)

  • C-DOG

    Never mind DSF, he’s always come across as being an A-Hole but he does bring up good points to discuss about. I believe Penner is a good trade bait at the trade deadline. I certainly believe that if the Kings (or any team for that matter) is in a position to push for the cup they will trade a player like Simmonds or draft picks for a chance to win the cup. Now if the race is very close than I don’t think they would.

    Teams that will be pushing for the cup are: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit and Los Angeles (not much from the west).
    Other than Detroit, I can see the other teams make play for dealing for a chance to win it all.

    A good example is Edmonton over paying for Roloson for their Stanley cup run in 06. Yeah it came down to the wire but Lowe knew he had a good pieces of the puzzle, something the Oilers never remotely had prior to that year.

    Teams are willing to give up big value for a chance for the cup… getting a chance doesn’t happen very often for a GM unless your name is Ken Holland, do there will be GMs that will make the big push.

    GXL

  • Shadi,

    I don’t know the exact names for these symbols but, try this:

    “sharp left bracket “

    the letter b

    sharp right bracket

    then at the end of what you want bolded:

    “sharp left bracket

    left slash (usually below the ? on a qwerty keyboard)

    the letter b

    sharp right bracket

  • Crash

    Just for the record, Souray is un-tradeable until this off season.

    Souray has to pass recall waivers before he would be traded. Why would the team who wanted him pass on him on recall waivers when they could have him at half price? They wouldn’t.

    Souray will remain in the AHL for this entire season and they will try to move him after the season.

    So please stop with the Souray trade scenarios.

  • Mouse

    I think LA would be a very tough trade partner only because Lombardi is known for more waiting and analyzing than Tambi is. The people in LA are always up in arms because their GM won’t do anything, and now that he has stockpiled talent, impressively I might add, all the sudden people here are extolling him as the man.

  • Mike from Canmore's illegitimate love child

    Hey Lowetide what are the stats like for Kellen’s brother Connor? From what I understand they are not going to get split up and if one makes a team the other does as well.

  • Mike from Canmore's illegitimate love child

    Hey Lowetide what are the stats like for Kellen’s brother Connor? From what I understand they are not going to get split up and if one makes a team the other does as well.

  • Mike from Canmore's illegitimate love child

    Quick question for you. It’s clear there is not room for MP right now on this team, evidenced by his 0 minutes of PP time and low ice time with no linemates. Is he destined to become Cogs II? Or will the team be making room for him this summer by shipping Big Pens out of town? There are only so many spots for our offensive weapons.