Stu MacGregor generally gets a lot of credit for his work since taking over as the point-man for the Edmonton Oilers at the NHL Entry Draft. I thought it might be interesting to revisit his selections and compare them to the players selected in the same range of picks, to evaluate how his group has done versus other NHL scouting groups.
We start with the 2008 Draft.
The following charts compare 10 players: the four players selected before the Oilers made their choice, and the five players taken afterward. This means that a fifth-place ranking should be considered the break-even line for each selection.
The ratings are subjective, but not to an extreme degree; it isn’t hard to differentiate between a good AHL’er and a lousy college player.
|1||27||John Carlson||Playing a top-pairing role for a Stanley Cup contender|
|2||22||Jordan Eberle||Flashy junior scorer has emerged as a capable two-way player|
|3||26||Tyler Ennis||Diminutive forward keeps racking up the points as a professional|
|4||20||Michael Del Zotto||Power play ace improving, but just dispatched to the minors|
|5||19||Luca Sbisa||High-scoring WHL’er has struggled at times, but already has 95 NHL games|
|6||24||Mattias Tedenby||Small, fast scorer not putting up the hoped for numbers|
|7||25||Greg Nemisz||Big centre struggling to score for an offensively inept Abbotsford (AHL) team|
|8||23||Tyler Cuma||Two way defenceman has been injured, seen offence disappear as a pro|
|9||18||Chet Pickard||Presently getting lit up in the ECHL|
|10||21||Anton Gustafsson||Two-way forward playing (poorly) in Switzerland; uninterested in NHL career|
Eberle was a very strong selection here. At this juncture, he and Carlson are clearly the cream of the crop, with a quartet of quality young players behind the. Interestingly, the Capitals rolled both box-cars (Carlson) and snake eyes (Gustafsson) here.
|1||106||Harri Sateri||Workhorse goaltender in the SM-liiga could be a special player|
|2||105||Michal Jordan||Czech defender playing a strong two-way game for Charlotte (AHL)|
|3||102||David Ullstrom||Big Swede enjoying a good if not overpowering AHL season|
|4||100||A.J. Jenks||Not scoring, but rare plus player in Rochester (AHL)|
|5||103||Johan Motin||Struggling to stay in the lineup in the AHL, but defensive defender has played an NHL game|
|6||108||Nick Larson||Energy forward will struggle to score when he leaves university|
|7||101||Justin Jokinen||Big winger finally scoring in third NCAA season|
|8||99||Colin Long||Small centre just below point-per-game mark in ECHL|
|9||104||Jordan Southorn||Big defender can’t score, has minus-10 rating in ECHL|
|10||107||Steven Delisle||6’6" defender hasn’t made the jump to the professional level|
Motin’s not a breakout pick the way Sateri or Jordan are, but he is one of five players who have shown they can play at a high professional level. The drop-off from five to six on this list is quite large.
|1||135||Tomas Kubalik||Leading scorer for Springfield (AHL) with 40 points in 59 games|
|2||134||Jacob Lagace||Energetic forward enjoying a decent debut season with Portland (AHL)|
|3||138||Maxim Trunev||Offensive forward has struggled to get ice-time in the KHL|
|4||131||Prab Rai||Injured forward has yet to play a professional game, but has been a goal-scorer in the WHL|
|5||133||Philippe Cornet||Two-way forward struggled to score early in AHL career, has improved lately|
|6||137||Brent Regner||Offensive defenceman has struggled to stay in the lineup for Springfield (AHL)|
|7||132||Teigan Zahn||Nasty defensive defenceman re-entered draft in 2010, went to Tampa Bay in the 7th round|
|8||130||Jerome Flaake||A bottom-sixer in the DEL|
|9||129||Joel Champagne||6’4" faceoff ace released by Toronto, is back in the ‘Q’ after failing to catch on elsewhere|
|10||136||Taylor Stetfishen||In WHL after aborted NCAA career, Stetfishen has not been overly impressive|
Tomas Kubalik has a bit of a jump on the rest of this group. After him are six prospects (including Cornet) with very little separating them. Nobody in this group is a blue-chipper.
|1||167||Joel Chouinard||Offensive defenceman lighting up the AHL after returning from injury|
|2||165||Mike Murphy||Second straight season of solid results for AHL goaltender|
|3||163||Teemu Hartikainen||Big power forward improved markedly for Oklahoma (AHL) in second half|
|4||164||Nick Crawford||Blueliner offers offensive upside; playing regular minutes for Rochester (AHL)|
|5||159||Brett Hextall||Ron’s son; smallish energetic forward can chip in some offence|
|6||160||Luke Witkowski||Tough defenceman with some offensive ability, stuck on a lousy college team|
|7||166||Jeff Foss||Unremarkable NCAA defender has a range of skills|
|8||162||Jonathan Carlsson||Two-way defender back in Sweden after year split between AHL/ECHL|
|9||168||Ryley Grantham||One goal in 89 AHL games for big forward|
|10||161||Mats Froshaug||Norwegian forward plays two-way game but is still playing in Norway|
I had expected Hartikainen to dominate this group, but he’s behind two exceptional prospects: Joel Chouinard, who had a breakout season last year and has been shockingly good in the AHL, and Mike Murphy, who looks like a very good goaltending prospect based on his AHL numbers. Hartikainen and Crawford are both quite good AHL players at this point and there isn’t much separating them.
|1||190||Matt Bartkowski||Two-way blue-liner was last defender cut by Bruins; has been recalled twice already|
|2||196||Joacim Eriksson||Athletic goaltender enjoying a solid debut in the Elitserien|
|3||192||Joe Gleason||Small, feisty offensive defenceman has been used as a forward at times this season|
|4||191||Morgan Clark||Middling goaltender in the QMJHL|
|5||194||Drew Daniels||NCAA depth forward has struggled to score|
|6||198||Alexander Deilert||Two-way defenceman has bounced around in Sweden|
|7||193||Jordan Bendfeld||ECHL tough guy was re-drafted by Edmonton after failing to sign with Phoenix|
|8||197||Mark Goggin||Dartmouth forward has fallen off the map|
|9||189||Tim Billingsley||OHL defenceman has regressed since being drafted by Phoenix|
|10||195||Samuel Morneau||Winger has run in place since being drafted|
Bartkowksi and Eriksson are the players worth talking about on this list; after them are a collection of long-shots and extremely limited players. Bendfeld falls into the latter category.