Revisiting The 2008 Draft


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.

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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.

Jordan Eberle

Rank Drafted Player Comments
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.

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Johan Motin

Rank Drafted Player Comments
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.

Philippe Cornet

Rank Drafted Player Comments
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.

Teemu Hartikainen

Rank Drafted Player Comments
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.

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Jordan Bendfeld

Rank Drafted Player Comments
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.