The Oilers, Minus Trades

2009 NHL Entry Draft, First Round

One way to assess the work done by the scouting staff is to go back and look at what a team would look like if they only used players taken in the NHL Draft. With news about the Oilers fairly slow at the moment, this seemed like a good time to indulge in this exercise with them.

One problem with this exercise is that the teams produced using just drafted players can be fairly unbalanced. In the Oilers’ case, this means they lack top-end defencemen (Matt Greene may be the best active defenceman drafted by the team) and a proven starting goaltender. Sometimes, teams address those holes by acquiring undrafted free agents – in the Oilers case, for example, we might add Marc-Andre Bergeron. However, since it’s difficult to track all those players, I’m going to exclude them.

Here’s the list of active NHL’ers, by position, drafted by the Oilers. I believe it to be complete, but please let me know if I’ve missed anyone.


Edmonton Oilers v Nashville Predators

  • Jason Arnott
  • Kyle Brodziak
  • Andrew Cogliano
  • Sam Gagner
  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Matthew Lombardi
  • Marc Pouliot
  • Jarret Stoll


Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Troy Bodie
  • Jason Chimera
  • Mike Comrie
  • Dwight Helminen
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Jean-Francois Jacques
  • Georges Laraque
  • Kirk Maltby
  • Fernando Pisani
  • Miroslav Satan
  • Rob Schremp
  • Ryan Smyth
  • Zack Stortini
  • Brad Winchester


  • Taylor Chorney
  • Matt Greene
  • Theo Peckham
  • Tom Poti
  • Mathieu Roy
  • Danny Syvret


  • Jeff Deslauriers
  • Devan Dubnyk

That’s some ugliness on defence, a lot of quality up front and depending on how one feels about Nikolai Khabibulin anything from a big drop-off to a vastly improved situation in net.

When I look at that group of players, I feel fairly confident that if Steve Tambellini had the option to swap out his current group for that group, he would. Even if one ended up moving some combination of Horcoff/Stoll/Lombardi/Cogliano for defencemen, I think the team would be better off.

Granting that this is an indulgent, hypothetical exercise, is it fair to argue that the last 10-15 years of Oilers drafting has outpaced the last 10-15 years of Oilers management? What if we narrow it down, tossing out the late ‘Fraser in Mexico’ years and just focus on the Prendergast/MacGregor stuff?

I think it’s fair to say that. I’m not defending Prendergast here; his work with the AHL team speaks for itself (I agree with Scott Reynolds’ evalutation of Prendergast) but I think the scouting staff has probably been about NHL average or maybe a little better, and to my eye they’ve improved since MacGregor took over. Even with all the misses, they certainly put together an enviable group of forwards.

  • BBOil

    Did a similar thing with ex – Oilers that were playing in the playoffs and have moved on to apparent greener pastures. May have missed a few guys, but not too bad of a team. Has its holes, but when you think of some of the success these guys have had it makes you wonder what if we had held on to a few.

    Smyth – Stoll – Guerin
    Cleary – Arnott – Chimera
    Torres – Hecht – Grier
    Maltby – Satan – McAmmond

    Pronger – Spacek
    Greene – Hamrlik
    Grebeshkov – Bergeron

    No goalie though, so just keep Bulin in net.

    • Why?

      “is it fair to argue that the last 10-15 years of Oilers drafting has outpaced the last 10-15 years of Oilers management?”

      If you’re compiling players drafted over the past 10-15 years in terms of how scouting has performed and comparing that group to players acquired by management, why not look at those acquisitions over the same period?

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      The one issue is that the scouting department gets to pick from whomever is available, while managment has to pick from whomever is available *and* will come here.

  • The idea here is to focus solely on work done at the draft – which is the most common measuring stick of an amateur scouting group.

    Sure, they help bring in guys like Gilbert and Grebeshkov too, but it’s difficult to know how much impact each has on those moves.

    By isolating things down to just the draft, I think we can get a feel for the overall performance of Oilers scouts to date.


    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Pretty sure with guys like Gilbert that are virtually an unknown to GM’s that the scouting staff is the one saying who to get.

      It’s a combiation of tasks they have to do. I’ve said for awhile that we may not be the best at scouting 17-19 year olds, but we seem to do pretty good when it comes to bringing in guys with a few more years of development under their belt. Even during the Sather era, drafting sucked but always seemed to get young talent from other teams.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      What? I really don’t understand this article. Why would you just rank who they draft and not the acquistions of prospects/young players as well?

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        I believe the point was to give another look at the teams drafting ability.

        I also believe Brownlee was probably commenting on this line:

        “is it fair to argue that the last 10-15 years of Oilers drafting has outpaced the last 10-15 years of Oilers management?”

        And from comparing his lists (trades) vs WIllis (drafts) I’d think you could argue the managment has actually outpaced the drafting.

        I guess that leads to the conclusiong that *retention* is problem

        • Maybe veering off topic, but I didn’t think Lowe did all that bad when it came to trading (prepares for the flaming of a lifetime). I think he generally was able to turn nothing into something with most trades. Sure there were some stinkers in there, but there were some pretty good deals. It wasn’t until after the SCF that things started to come apart in my eyes with bad signings and such.

          • smiliegirl15

            I think Lowe came out that first year after the lockout and showed the entire league how to successfully work a salary cap. We had an amazing team – got two heralded picks (remember the Peca and Pronger billboards?) a goalie at the deadline who got us to the final round of the Cup final (thanks Vancouver for giving us the chance) and then the wheels fell off. What Lowe did after that was a colossal failure and we now have the team to show for it.

            Someone pointed out in the past couple days MacTavish had better results with our current team than Quinn did. The biggest difference between last year’s team and this year’s has been the lack of Roli. How many games did Roli play last season, especially down the stretch? He was the difference maker because without him, we would have been pretty close to the same place we are right now.

        • BBOil

          Agreed that retention is likely the biggest issue of the Oilers over the years. Plenty of quality players have come through, few have stayed. There’s turn over on any team, but it seems that other teams have done a better job of choosing what the core of their team will look like, and then to maintain that core over a long period of time.

  • Maybe I’m missing the point, but if I put together a roster of 20 players acquired by Oilers management through trades or free agency from the group of candidates below (Oilers since 2000) they’d wax the drafted group.




    J Smith

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        serious? sarcastic?

        you think trades are made and nobody bothers to watch the players on opposing teams? you know, the guys who travel around a ‘scout’ other teams and players?

      • Ender

        Thanks for the tip.

        I’ll have to let the Oilers know immediately they’ve been wasting good money for years on their pro scouting department — the guys who do nothing but follow players with other teams both at the NHL and minor league levels.

  • Chris.

    I don’t think Prendergast was a great “communicator”.

    I’m not trying to be a smart a$$ here… I really believe this. When listening to interviews, trolling websites, etc. there often seems to be a wide disconnect between the mindset of the prospects and that of Prendergast.

    On another note, Prendergast seemed to draft an awful lot of small players with his higher picks.

    • Yep. No link, though… old school “Robin Brownlee” notepad-type stuff. Wouldn’t be too hard to put something together.

      Off the top of my head:
      Erase Luongo/Jokinen for Parrish/Kvasha
      Erase Bertuzzi/McCabe for Linden
      Erase Spezza/Chara for Yashin
      Heatley instead of DiPietro
      Redden instead of Berard
      Torres, Brewer, etc.

      They could’ve/should’ve been a consistent playoff team for the past decade.

  • Interesting exercise. I remember doing a “NY Islanders – What if Mike Milbury didn’t exist” type exercise a few years back… kinda makes the Oilers look good in comparison.