Wonka

This is Drew Czerwonka. The young forward was chosen by the Edmonton Oilers deep in the 2010 draft, where long shots, relatives and family friends are plucked by NHL teams. Czerwonka is tracking well ahead of his pedigree.
 

When the Oilers chose Drew Czerwonka 166th overall in the 2010 draft, most fans were still watching Taylor Hall videos or talking about the magical second round. Czerwonka’s stats (54gp, 4-9-13, 106pims) suggested Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor had chosen a book end for tough guy Cameron Abney.

The two draft day scouting reports placed Czerwonka squarely on a future 4th line:

  • Mike Remmerde/Redline Report: Good size, likes to play physical. Threw a lot of huge hits this season. Hands didn’t seem to come around this season, needs to go back to planting himself in front of the net.
  • Stu MacGregor: “A big, tough kid who shows up for every battle. We’re trying to get that instilled in our organization. He’s a competitive guy who has to improve on his quickness. He’s a guy who likes to mix it up and that’s what we’re looking for.”

166th overall is the place teams should be taking this type of player; the Cameron Abney selection (82nd in 2009) reflects a reach pick for a player of this type (although Abney is more of a fighter).

COMPARABLES

Czerwonka’s 18 year old stats are solid comparables for Jean-Francois Jacques. Now remember, this was before Jacques back problems robbed him of the ability to handle the puck.

  • Jacques at 18: 59gp, 20-24-44 (.746) 70pims
  • Czerwonka 18: 53gp, 12-26-38 (.717) 65pims

Jacques played on a very offensive team (319 goals in a league that averaged 248 per team) and Czerwonka’s league will average about 240 goals and his club will finish around 270 goals. It’s a pretty nice comp, and if the Oilers can get a big, tough NHL winger with some skill out of Czerwonka that should be considered an extreme draft steal.  

There are a plethora of 2010 Oilers picks who are eligible to turn pro, including forwards Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale. Drew Czerwonka will be back in the WHL next season and if he can continue to improve the Oilers will have to find room for him in OKC.

He’s earning that first pro contract, something not everyone with his draft pedigree accomplishes. Drew Czerwonka is a legit NHL prospect.

  • SumOil

    Drew had a sweet run in the mid season, however he has slowed down lately.
    He looks like he just rounds out the top 6 for the Ice, as he is the 6th leading scorer among the forwards.
    He certainly has surpassed his draft pedigree, but I am still wary of calling him a legit Nhl prospect.

  • EasyOil

    LT: Been intrigued by this kid for a couple of months now, glad someone finally took the time to take a closer look at him 🙂

    He clearly had skill before the draft as he scored 16 as a rookie, evidently last year was an aberration. Good pick by MBS (again), at least in these still early days. You compare him points wise to Jacques – any idea how Drew’s skating compares to him? Be nice to have a shot at essentially developing a JFJ v2 and get what we originally wanted (without the stigma of a high(ish) draft pedigree).

  • Lowetide

    He’s had a couple of slow weeks since the season began, but from what I can tell of him he’s playing on a line with that kid Reinhart.

    My main concern for him is that Reinhart is probably the straw that stirs the drink.

  • SumOil

    Sum:

    I think Czerwonka’s slight dip in production might have something to do with the Cody Eakin acquisition. Everyone gets bumped down the ladder by one when you pick up a junior-aged talent like him. Perhaps he’s not getting the PP time he did before.

    • Lowetide

      K: I know the archives were being sent to Wanye yesterday afternoon, but I also know he said he was “sitting by his typewriter waiting anxiously” and there’s no app for Wanye. 🙂

      In all seriousness, I do know that 2 hours of verbal is a monster file. Monster.

  • Lowetide

    LT…i only have one concern with this young prospect at this point in his development…
    why is he being compared to JFJ when the general feel around here for JFJ is that he needs to be in the A…or at least on another team if anyone will take him …gawd don’t we all loath 22
    the comparison is genuinely odious [4me anyway] and i’m puzzled as to why even when Stu himself says he needs to improve his speed…

    oh,ok,his hand speed…

    i get it

    …BTW did you consider my request for free noodles for phone-ins on your sky-rocketing-in -the-ratings radio show yet?

    • Lowetide

      I think Jacques development was heavily impaired by his back problems. If Jacques (and Pouliot) had remained healthy it’s likely both would have been productive players. jmo.

      The problem with the free noodles thing is that Oodle Noodle is so damn good we’ll have people call in for reasons outside the show.

      “Yes, this is Anna from Clairview. I like hockey! Where’s my noodles?”

    • Lowetide

      thanks ..i kinda knew that but i cringe if JFJ is compared to anyone …the JFJ “of old” or not…i can only say i hope the hockey gawds are kinder to Czerwonka…speaking of which how are the hockey gawds treating the boys @ TWLHG…anyone hear anything ?… Neilson still alive?

  • Lowetide

    I completely undersatnd about the arrested development part with both players, specifically JFJ cuz the other slug did get shipped out to become what? Meh?
    … it’s just so unfortunate that JFJ is still taking such criticism where alot of us would gladly employ the expression:

    “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?

    as for Anna in Clairview?
    She needs to be on a diet!
    NO Noodles For Her!!!!

  • EasyOil

    LT: Reinhart may be the reason for much of Czerwonka’s success, but he must have some semblance of talent to be able to put away chances or get the puck to his linemates. Same way I feel about Martindale, he might be getting better opportunities courtesy his linemates but he has always been a talked about talent (Martindale, not Czerwonka) and he must be doing something right to put up the points. Taylor Hall was on a stacked team with an insane amount of drafted talent but he’s doing just fine in the bigs.*

    *In no way shape or form am I comparing Czerwonka or Martindale to Hall, but just making a point 🙂

    • Marincin is not going to be good today. PG is at the end of a monster road trip.

      I went last night in Calgary and the whole team just looked tired. They always do when the come here because the trip is always rough. Long travel and a lot of games in a very short time.

      It may be ugly tonight given how bad the historically awful Hitmen made them look last night.

  • Lowetide

    Easy Oil: Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel. If he wasn’t contributing, the coach would put him on a lower line and try someone else. He’s survived all season on a skill line from what we can see from here.

  • Lowetide

    Czerwonka was picked precisely where he should have been, and good on the Oilers for learning from their mistake in ’09. The team missed out on at least two players with NHL-level ability because they over-valued a very narrow range of skills.

    Having said that, as with goaltenders, a team annually needs to invest one (late) selection in players of this ilk. Czerwonka may be a player, maybe he won’t be, maybe he’ll separate his shoulder and never be as effective again. But by having Abney in the A next year, Czerwonka a step closer to the pro game, and some green heavyweight learning his way, we stand a good chance of having one play in an Oilers uniform. Just don’t spend a 3rd rounder on one again.

    In 2011, I expect a team to covet Prince Albert’s Austin Connor. 6’4, 228 lbs winger who bends guys with his pure strength in board battles. He can fight, he can handle the puck, he can shoot. Only problem is that he’s one of the worst skaters I’ve ever seen in his first couple of steps. He’s actually kind of agile with some tarmac, but it’s not pretty watching him try to gain speed. But if a team can fix that, he could be something.

  • CSimpson18

    Sorry if it’s been mentioned already but can someone point me towards LT’s show from yesterday archived somewhere? I’d like to listen to it again, I missed some of it screaming at Kevin Weekes to shut the f*** up.