Stu’s Picks Keep Rolling Along

Stu MacGregor (to our left of MPS) and the Oilers amateur scouting department have had a splendid three seasons at the draft table. 83% of their draft picks are tracking well.

2008 Draft

  1. R Jordan Eberle NHL. (2010 36gp, 9-14-23 -4 .639ppg) (2011 12gp, 5-5-10 +3 .833ppg). Improved in the new year, and the only real negative all season was the injury. He has returned and delivered. A draft home run at 22nd overall.
  2. D Johan Motin AHL (2010 20gp, 1-3-4 -8 .200ppg) (2011 5gp, 0-0-0 +1 .000ppg). Motin has had some injury issues this season, and he’s also well down the depth chart based on boxscore observation. Scott Reynolds ran some numbers (here) that show some of those minus numbers early were probably well earned. Motin was taken in the 4th round (103 overall) and has played in an NHL game. I don’t think we can call this a hit or miss at this point, but if he doesn’t play another NHL game it would be tough to argue the Oilers should regret this pick.
  3. L Philippe Cornet AHL (2010 24gp, 0-4-4 03 .167) (2011 18gp, 4-4-8 +6 .444). He looked like a write off early on this season, but Cornet got with some skilled players and seems to have found a role on the team. Now the key will be posting enough offense to survive the summer flush and then get in there on a top 6 job for OKC in the fall. 133rd overall, he got a pro contract and he’s going to have a good shot at 100 AHL games. Not a hit, but a plus arrow.
  4. L Teemu Hartikainen AHL (2010 35gp, 10-8-18 -9 .514) (2011 23gp, 5-12-17 +6 .739). Hartikainen is a very strong arrow and a big positive for the scouting department. He was taken in the 6th round–that’s when the cleaning staff arrives and NHL general managers are well into the scotch in the hotel lounge. Hartikainen is among the AHL’s top 20-year old rookies this season and is also one of the Oilers better prospects. Trending as a  terrific draft value.
  5. D Jordan Bendfeld AHL (2010 9gp, 0-0-0 +2 .000) (2011 7gp, 0-0-0 -3 .000). Big man has divided his time between OKC and Stockton (ECHL) this season. AHL level would appear to be his outer marker and he’s going to have to work hard to have a career at that level. Still, he’s a 7th rd pick (193rd overall) and history tells us this is the career we should have expected for a player taken in that slot.

Five picks. One splendid rookie with a huge future, one impressive prospect building a resume in the AHL with an NHL shot in his future if the performance has sustain and he can avoid injury. Two AHL level talents learning the trade and grinding their skills into NHL calibre role players and an AHL depth defender. Eberle and Hartikainen would certainly go earlier in a re-draft of 2008’s list. I don’t think there’s a bad pick here.

2009 Draft

  1. L Magnus Pääjärvi NHL (2010 35gp, 4-10-14 +1 .400) (2011 24gp, 6-4-10 -3 .417). Slight upward tick for the Swede and he’s finding his way as a teenager in the best league on the planet. Plays the game beyond his years, he needs to answer the one remaining question (how much offense?) but he’s a player no matter. 10th overall, he’s a wonderful young talent who looks like he’ll cover that bet.
  2. C Anton Lander SEL (2010 30gp, 7-7-14 +1 .467) (2011 15gp, 2-7-9 -10 .600). Improved offensively during the second half but his plus minus has gone straight to hell courtesy a rough week (this one). Lander moved up the depth chart for Timra and it does appear to have increased the offense going both ways. I’ll be interested to see if the Oilers bring him over for some games at the end of his SEL season. OKC could use the help and it might give the organization an idea about how far along he is–it looks like another SEL season could be a possibility. Either way, on track for a 40th overall selection.
  3. D Troy Hesketh USHL (2010 22gp, 0-0-0 -12 .000) (2011 DNP). This would have to be considered a questionable draft selection. We should never say never when it comes to someone so young, but Hesketh appears to be at a crossroads in his hockey career and 2011 is not starting well. Selected 71st overall when there were plenty of famous picks on the board. Poor pick at this point.
  4. R Cameron Abney WHL (2010 26gp, 3-1-4 -3 .115) (2011 24gp, 3-9-12 -3 .500) Big improvement after a very poor start to the season. I’ll never be convinced this was a wise selection–these guys are available in later rounds–but Abney is showing a pulse as a player. If he’s as good a fighter as we’re told, and the Oilers plan on dressing one in future seasons, then let’s hope he develops and becomes a useful player in that role. Still a poor pick at this point.
  5. D Kyle Bigos NCAA (2010 16gp, 0-4-4 +2 .250) (9gp, 0-1-1 -1 .111) He’s a huge guy with toughness and a willing enforcer. His 112pims in US college hockey borders on impossible. I don’t know if he has enough skill or footspeed to have an NHL future, but based on being 6.05 230 my guess is he signs a pro contract. Not a strong pick, but at 99th overall it doesn’t sting like the previous selections. Jury remains out.
  6. R Toni Rajala SML (2010 22gp, 6-6-12 E .545) (2011 16gp, 3-7-10 -1 .625). Like Lander, Rajala is playing in a good pro league in Europe. The SEL is better than Finland’s elite league (source: Gabriel Desjardins) but we shouldn’t discount a pretty solid year. Taken in the 4th round–101 overall–this is a solid draft pick tracking well.
  7. G Olivier Roy QMJHL (2010 21gp, 2.95 .905) (2011 18gp, 2.76 .913) Impressive improvement and based on these results I’d say Roy is a lock to earn a pro contract. After a long period of dreadful goalie drafting, the Oilers appear to be on a nice little roll during the 00’s. Impressive pick based on pedigree (133rd overall).

7 picks. One NHL player, a high 2nd rd pick tracking very well and two end of the draft prospects who have turned out well so far in Rajala and Roy. I’m tempted to suggest if those two had been drafted earlier and Hesketh/Abney were taken later then this draft class would slot well. Having said that, there are two draft errors from this season (Hesketh and Abney) and that’s unlikely to change over the years.


  1. L Taylor Hall NHL (2010 36gp, 12-10-22 -7 .611) (2011 25gp, 9-9-18 +1 .720) The kid has taken a step forward since the end of 2010 and his overall rookie numbers are impressive. Hall’s impact on the team is huge, as he’s posted impressive scoring chance numbers while facing tough opponents. Oilers had a tough choice at #1 overall and made the right one, and credit should go to the scouting staff. 
  2. R Tyler Pitlick WHL (2010 33gp, 15-21-36 +2 1.16) (2011 21gp, 9-14-23 +3 1.10) Closed the first half strong and started the second half the same way. He’s certainly on track as a prospect but you could make a case the other two 2nd rd picks have passed him this season. On track to cover the bet.
  3. D Martin Marincin WHL (2010 33gp, 10-25-35 +6 1.06) (2011 24gp, 3-14-17 -10 .708) Marincin fell off badly in January (he was -9 for the month) but has recovered some in all areas in February. Still on track as a blue chip prospect and definitely covers his draft number.
  4. L Curtis Hamilton (2010 31gp, 15-27-42 +27 1.35) (2011 21gp, 6-25-31 +16 1.48) It’s a little ridiculous now, what with Schenn joining the line. Hamilton is having a dream season in the WHL and looks like a draft steal despite going in the top 50. Is he this good? We’ll see. Either way, a re-draft would place him well ahead of 48th overall.
  5. C Ryan Martindale OHL (2010 34gp, 20-29-49 +27 1.44) (2011 22gp, 11-17-28 +10 1.27) Playing on one of the feature lines in the CHL, Martindale is posting a strong season. The problem is that his linemates (Toffoli and Prince) appear to be driving the bus. Still, tracking extremely well for a 4rd round (61st overall) pick.
  6. D Jeremie Blain QMJHL (2010 10gp, 1-7-8 +5 .800) (2011 23gp, 2-21-23 +3 1.00) Somewhat forgotten this season due to an injury in 2010, Blain is quality and already one of the key cogs in Acadie-Bathurst’s lineup. Injuries to prospects are always a concern, but that aside he is exceptional value for 81st overall.
  7. G Tyler Bunz WHL (2010 25gp, 2.47 .916) (2011 23gp, 2.59 .919) Bunz is having a strong season. Second in WHL save percentage, he’s been inconsistent at times but a gem overall. Goaltenders develop slowly so we shouldn’t expect to see him in the NHL for several years, but he’s definitely on track and good value for 121 overall.
  8. D Brandon Davidson WHL (2010 37gp, 5-24-29 -4 .784) (2011 25gp, 3-14-17 -1 .680) Pats rely on the young defender in all situations and he displays a nice range of skills. Offense has faded but only slightly and he remains worthy of 162nd overall.
  9. L Drew Czerwonka WHL (2010 35gp, 10-14-24 +6 .686 2011 (23gp, 2-14-16 +7 .696) He’s still playing a lot with the skilled guys and the results are there. I will say that the kid Reinhart is a splendid prospect and Czerwonka might be playing Tim Wallach to his Tim Raines. Either way, he was selected 166th overall and looks better than Abney. Covers the bet.
  10. L Kristians Pelss WHL (2010 30gp, 4-9-13 +8 .433) (2011 25gp, 9-3-12 +1 .480) Young man is 6-0-6 in his last four games and appears to be finding the range. Drafted 181 overall, it’s important to remember very few kids drafted that late end up playing in the NHL as regulars. He’s doing fine based on draft pedigree.
  11. L Kellen Jones NCAA (2010 20gp, 3-7-10 -5 .500) (2011 12gp, 3-6-9 +1 .750) Improved play in the new year for the undersized skill winger. Players taken at the end of the draft–especially in a season when the parent club selects 11 men–may not get a pro contract. If he does, that alone would make him a draft win.

11 players, one a strong contender for the Calder. 8 more who are posting impressive numbers and the final two are holding their own. This draft has several years to develop, but as it stands now this looks like the motherlode. Seriously.


  1. Clear wins (3) Hall, MPS and Eberle
  2. Tracking strong (5) Hartikainen, Lander, Pitlick, Marincin, Hamilton
  3. Covering the draft bet (11) Motin, Cornet, Rajala, Roy, Martindale, Blain, Bunz, Davidson, Czerwonka, Pelss, Jones
  4. Losing ground but no harm based on draft pedigree (2) Bendfeld, Bigos
  5. Tracking badly (2) Hesketh, Abney

History tells us that some of these kids are going to move from category 2 to category 3, 4 and 5. It’s also normal for the 2010 draft to have more "tracking strong" players than the previous drafts. However, I submit it is unusual for the 2010 group to be performing so well all down the line. Normally in the year following a draft, there’s a scorer who doesn’t score, or a top prospect with big injury worries. Not so in the 2010 case.

The 2008 draft has 2/5 (40%) of the group looking like they are going to have at least a shot at an NHL career (Eberle, Hartikainen). 2009 has Pääjärvi and Lander (2/7 or 28.5%) with two long shots (Rajala, Roy), but the Hesketh-Abney picks (and where they were selected makes that draft the weak link. Stu MacGregor mentioned "extreme passion" from his area scouts in both cases and hopefully they give out those area picks later in the draft from now on.

2010? Too early to say. There’s a strong possibility one or more will go from covering the bet to losing ground in the next 12 months, but those players have not shown themselves yet. Credit to the Oilers scouting department and to the young men they drafted. Helluva list.


NOTE: We’re talking trade deadline on Nation Radio today at noon (Team 1260). Our first guest will be ON’s very own Jonathan Willis and we welcome your emails at


  • O.C.

    If there is one Huge fail, it is the lack of a star centre…

    …Unless Pitlick is going to be moved back in the middle or Hamilton tried in the middle or Martindale surprising everyone.

    Then again, throw all three on a line and see what shakes out.

  • O.C.

    At the very least, the list sets up the Barons roster for years with some potential good quality, assuming most sign pro contracts. Creating a winning environment in the AHL is important for the organization.

  • OKC should see some fine hockey in the next few years. It will be nice to have a pool of talent that can come up when they have proven themselves at a lower level instead of getting thrown into the deep end.

  • Aendayana

    I know there is a plan.
    However, this should be a short- and long-term.
    One big trade should do well.

    To LA Kings

    2nd 2011
    2nd 2012

    To Edmonton Oilers

    1st 2011

    Go ahead, rip it apart, however, 83 is not what we’ll need. He has been my favourite since Smyth is gone, but all Oiler fans know he is not the answer. Streaky, injury-prone, and the play dies with him a lot. As for Penner, even with him making his linemates better, just as 83 he can be streaky and very Houdini-like.

    Prospects are like taking a coin-flip. There is a love-in with Schenn because of the juniors however it is not guaranteed even he’ll be a #1 centre. But that is what we need. The Kings have enough prospects, the question is whether between the two most gunshy GMs in the NHL they’ll be able to do this.

    2011 draft, Adam Larsson or Gabriel Landesdog. The nucleus of the team could be ste for the next decade. There is a lot of skill and heart that is getting collected and trades like this are very hard to do but they do happen.

    Make it so ST

    • K-UGER Industrial Smoothing

      10 million dollars in salary for one and a half years, in turn core of the next 5-10 years in Los Angeles? Not a chance.

      Hemsky+Cogs+ middle pick for Schenn.

      It doesnt help he’s averaging over 2 ppg in the WHL

  • Aendayana

    This is a great list. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was supporting offer sheets like Penner’s and Vanek’s because the Oilers were so poor at drafting and developing that I felt their best option was to “outsource” these services at a higher cost.

    So, I guess my question for you Lowetide is: is the Oilers new found proficiency a the draft table a complete cult of personality attributable to MBS or due to other resources around the team? If you ever get to interview MBS on Nation Radio, that would be my submitted question.

    All around the blogosphere people love to criticize Tambo and his painstakingly slow decision making. Sometimes I feel like those criticisms are justified, but other times, I wonder if he was so overwhelmed with the state of affairs of the Oilers’ franchise that he didn’t know where to start. Think about it:

    New dressing room, new scouting staff, a new AHL affiliate with new coach and GM, two new coaches, a new leadership nucleus on the NHL team, new training and equipment staff, a new play by play guy. I know all of these decisions weren’t in Tambo’s sphere of influence, but seriously, that seems like a lot of work.

    • Lowetide

      I think it’s the overall group. The Oilers now appear to be closer to parliament than dictatorship (the Barry Fraser era).

      But something has happened since Prendergast left. I don’t know what it is, but this group is less likely to take a risk with their early picks.

  • Lowetide

    Just for fun:

    Riley Nash – Charlotte Checkers AHL – 22 years old

    GP – 61 (all of their games so far)

    Goals – 12

    Assists – 15

    Points – 27 (good good for 10th on team with more games played than most ahead of him)

    +/- – +3

    (from their official website)

  • K-UGER Industrial Smoothing

    Oilers prospect Curtis Hamilton has 22 points in his last 13 games (1.7 ppg) (13 game point scoring streak).
    in 18 games since playing with Brayden Schenn he has recorded 27 points.

    prior to schenn 46 points in 35 games (1.3 ppg)- maybe Oilers should give up more to get Schenn?

  • K-UGER Industrial Smoothing

    Now I just wonder how many picks the Magnificient Bastard has for this years draft..word is that the draft is a weak one..I see weak, schmeak…there;s hidden gems in every draft..
    Here;s what should happen..
    GET STU AS MANY PICKS AS POSSIBLE..even if they are 4th and 5th rounders..but it seems like his specialty is in the 2nd and 3rd rounds..
    I wonder how hard it would be for Oilers to get an extra 1st rounder an extra two second round, 2 extra third round, and an extra fourth round pick for this years draft..

    How about..
    Hemsky+Smid to LA for Shenn + LAs 2nd, and 4th round picks this year..

    Penner+Cogliano OR Gagner to Buffalo for Buffalos 1st and 3rd round picks this year..if Gagner is involved, a top end prospect must be involved.(I like Gagner..just dont think hes a future top two line Center for the Oilers..maybe on another team, Oilers need more size)

    Vandermeer to a team that wants him for a 3rd round pick in this years draft.

    Gilbert Brule+Oilers 5th round pick this year to any team that is interested for a 2nd round pick

    Yeah, I play too much NHL 11.

  • K-UGER Industrial Smoothing

    I am wondering if anyone here knows what Stu MacGregor did before he started working for the Oilers, and how long has he been a scout before he became head scout?

    The mythical status he is currently enjoying should be tempored somewhat by the fact that he did work as an amateur scout for a few years before becoming head scout. What was his role? I do not know. That being said I am pretty sure he was in the room when the Oilers picked Marc Pouliot and Jesse Niinimaki. Perhaps he was the one at the table screaming “no don’t draft these guys” and that’s what got him promoted.

    Otherwise, not really sure why he is so universally loved around here. He has done well so far but three years in is not long enough to really evaluate, and if he is an important guy before, well, it’s not like the drafting was any good at that time.

  • derrickhands

    From the looks of thing Ryan Martindale has been demoted to the 2nd line. From the couple of games I’ve seen of the Saskatoon I think Curtis Hamilton has been the better player on the ice compared to Schenn. Becoming Schenn’s line mate has help, but Hamilton has kicked his game up that much.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Tyler Pitlick led his team back to victory tonight, scoring a hat trick tonight.

    Man, this is sweet to sit back – wait, and watch our young guys develop…now that we finally have prospects worth watching!