Max Return

This week saw all kinds of news breaking around the 2011 Entry Draft. New Jersey won the lottery (Lou must have found the Crossroads shortly after Robert Johnson, buddy’s had a horseshoe implanted since the 80’s) and the Edmonton Oilers won too. The town team will select first overall. Or will they? 

One of the stories coming out of the draft lottery (Darren Dreger had the story April 13: here) is the Oilers willingness to hear offers for the first overall pick. This didn’t happen a year ago, and implies that the Oilers may value one or more players at the same level. Tambellini mentioned there were 6 players of interest to his scouts and we can probably guess the six names and be pretty close (RNH, Larsson, Landeskog, Couturier, Huberdeau, Hamilton).

My best guess is that the Oilers like someone aside from RNH and Larsson just as much as those two players and feel the guy they like might slip a little. If they can acquire a valuable piece for the future while also acquiring their target player, doesn’t that make sense?  


I don’t know, that’s why I said "my guess" is that there’s some disagreement about the number one player. When we look at each player’s season in the clear light of day it’s clear ALL of the top prospects this year have some things that both recommend them and suggest the Oilers may not look their way on the draft floor.

  1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins: Elite level passing ability and a ridiculous sixth sense in regard to the highest percentage opportunities, he’s the one guy I can see the Oilers walking up to the podium and selecting number one overall. Why wouldn’t they? RNH is not an elite level even strength player in the WHL, and his skill set is (somewhat) duplicated on the Oilers current roster. Other than that, all arrows point to him.
  2. Adam Larsson: When you’re choosing first overall, it’s generally viewed as being a wise decision to take an offensive force. Larsson isn’t that player, and more than that there’s a long list of evidence that suggests this player type has an extremely hard time covering the bet when selected in lottery territory. Jason Gregor wrote about the defense versus forwards discussion here.
  3. Gabriel Lansdeskog: Rugged winger with solid scoring skills is a perfect fit for the young Oilers. If they had the first three selections the club could address all of their needs but that’s not going to happen and the argument against Landeskog is similar to the argument against Larsson: not enough offense for a franchise player.
  4. Sean Couturier: The argument for Couturier has to do with his boxcars (58gp, 36-60-96) and his size: 6.04, 195. The toughest thing for the Oilers organization at the draft table is to pass on this kid. Why? Anyone who has followed this organization for the last 20 years knows that a center with size has been sought after over and over again. Hell, Jason Arnott was drafted almost 20 years ago and he’s still going. What if Couturer is Arnott? Would that be good enough? The downside is "what if he’s Doug Wickenheiser?" and answering that question makes certain the Oilers scouts will be earning their keep this spring. Couturier had a hand in 38% of his team’s offense (96 points for SC, 251 goals for Drummondville) despite missing 10 contests.
  5. Jonathan Huberdeau: This year’s Tyler Seguin in that he’s closing late and could end up going in the top 3. He’s a 2-way talent who can play center or wing and has dynamic and obvious offensive skills. The downside is that he’s not much bigger than RNH and he plays on a loaded Saint John’s team. Five Sea Dogs scored more than 30 goals this season, and their 324 goals were 47 ahead of the second place team. How much of that offense is Huberdeau and how much of it is the residue of the other Sea Dogs? Huberdeau took part in 32% of his team’s offense (105 points on a team that scored 324 goals).
  6. Dougie Hamilton: I think he’s closing the gap on Larsson. Hamilton enjoyed an excellent regular season and appears to be going super nova (9gp, 3-11-14) in the post-season. Hamilton has size, mobility and can move the puck and impact the powerplay.

Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon. Scheduled to appear:

  1. Kirk Luedeke from Bruins Draft Watch. We’ll talk about the American kids in the draft, the U18’s going on right now and his opinions on the best player available at number one.
  2. Craig Button from NHL on the Fly and tsn: Button’s mock draft after the lottery selection was a very interesting item and we’ll discuss that and his family connection to the Central Scouting bureau.
  3. Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show. Guy has a good handle on the NCAA kids and can talk to us about the youngest General Manager in hockey. He’s probably younger than you!
  4. Matt Bugg from McKeen’s and Dobber Hockey. We’ll look at the top of the draft and go deep too. Bugg is a very astute follower of each year’s entry draft.
  5. Cassie McLellan from Raw Charge dot com. We’ll talk about the wisdom behind selecting Hedman before Kane and ask if taking a defenseman that high looks good a couple of years later.
  6. Tim Currell from is making life miserable for Canucks fans. So we like him. 🙂
  7. Gregg Drinnan from Taking Note! the best source for WHL news.

We won’t be at the Pint today, but will be back next week and have some big items on the way and especially as we move toward the entry draft. You can email questions to and thanks for all the great questions.

NOTE: The OKC Barons game will be live on Team 1260 starting at 2pm today. Take your "pocket radio" with you and keep it on 1260.

  • 24% body fat

    LOL, its funny how every topic on oilersnation turns into whether or not Gagner should be trade. I wish i was reading in his rookie year.

    How many more people would be willing to wait if we didnt get taylor hall this year.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I don’t understand this talk about trading Gagner. Amongst the 2007 draft class, only Kane has scored more than Gagner in the NHL. For $2.275 a year who do you really expect to get back?

  • 24% body fat

    Well, I’m sure glad its not me picking this draft. Talk about pressure. No clear-cut #1 pick. I have this sick feeling that Couturier is still the best guy in the draft. Scouts just got ansy on him. He had consistent points, and size. Stu will get the right guy though.
    The worry about RNH is that most of his points came on the PP. What happens if he only gets limited PP time this year?
    Couturier, Strome, Huberdeau, RNH all put up about the same points per game this past year. The only difference is that Couturier did it 2 years in a row. That’s pedigree. That’s what separated Hall from Seguin.

  • O.C.

    I think NJ is more about today, not three years from now. Devils didnt sign Kovy in hopes of falling out of contention. They didnt sign him for a rebuild.

    They will want to move draft choices, not develop them.

    Gagner for fourth overall is a great trade for both sides.

    • fuzzy muppet

      Except if they’re a team built for today, why would they trade for a 21 year old who hasn’t peaked? I love the idea, but the names are wrong. The Devils are going to want a top flight player in their prime, and that’s Hemmer. Hemmer and if it takes + 31 then it’s still a deal.

  • stevezie

    The famous busts, Wikenhieser, Lawton, Stefan and Daigle all played at least 400 games and had at least two decent season. They sure didn’t live up to their billing, but when I think “bust” I think Bonsignore, Brendl, Svitov, etc. Daigle’s “bust” rookie season has pretty comparable numbers to Hall’s. So there you go.

  • I think part of the problem of using history to try to show that Larsson is a risk is that history doesn’t apply necessarily. There has been a generational shift, where players are far closer to being NHL players in their draft year than they used to be, and much easier to project. There’s a reason why the players at the top of the draft tend to play right away. You can point to Zack Bogosian as an example of a player who is struggling, but the fact of the matter is that he was an NHL quality defenceman really, really quickly. Doughty was an elite level player within a few seasons. Hedman is doing reasonably well. I think we’ve encountered a generation of defencemen that, well, is a little bit less likely to go bust, and a little bit more likely to play sooner than later. Larsson is going to be a very good NHL player, and I wouldn’t use fear tactics of failed picks from the 90’s to scare people off the fact that he might well be the best player available.

    • Ca$h-Money!

      2006 – Erik Johnson (st. louis).

      The 4 teams that picked after St. Louis Picked: Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicholas Backstrom, and Phil Kessel.

      Phil Kessel might break even, but there is no way you can argue that, looking back, St. Louis doesn’t wish they picked Stall, Toews, or Backstrom. Johnson will be good, sure, but it’s really hard to say he’ll be the best defenceman drafted in his year, or competing for the best. Heck, he’s already been traded.

      • Erik Johnson hardly went bust, though. BPA available just didn’t happen to be a defenceman that year. It did happen to be a defenceman when LA picked at #2, and you could make an argument that Doughty might be a more valuable player to your team than Stamkos. All I’m saying is that BPA could be the defenceman, and they’ve at least been realistically in the conversation at the top of the draft the past several years.

  • fuzzy muppet

    Aside from EV strength scoring, I have other concerns about RNH.

    RNH himself says his greatest attributes are his vision (duh) and lateral quickness. Everyone expects him to put on 15-20 lbs. What if, in doing so, his lateral quickness is affected?

    Gagner said at the beginning of this year he lost weight in order to get back some of his quickness.

    There’s simply too many questions for them to take RNH 1st overall. Has anyone said he’s a generational talent? NO. So go safe and take someone else or trade out.

    They cannot afford to F*&k this up

  • Bust: Daigle, Bonsignore, Kelly, Stefan, Niinimaki. These guys have slightly superior points from goals totals than RNH,

    Best case results RNH becomes Ales Hemsky, Not likely based on Math, with a lower yearly goal(120th ranked) total.

    However were you are drafted counts. Huberdeau, couturier are potential 35-40 goal scorers. Taking RNH #1 would be like taking Hemsky #1 before, Kovalchuk, and Spezza.

    Crazy just crazy!

      • O.C.

        you guys that compare hall todaigles season and other busts are nuts hall had 22 goals in 65 games and was just starting to get comfortable theirs a good chance he wouldve got 30. Dont worry about hall being a bust he loves playing the game to much

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Ratio: it is about %goals to Assists and Ev points to PP points. The variance between 30% points from Goals to 40% fromGoals to 50% from Goals. The closer to 50% the more likely you are to achieve you Desjardins NHLE. Guys below 30% are often 35% or more short of NHLE.

        Example Daigle. He had 2,58PPG in the 92-93 season. He turned 18 in FEB. the standard 17 year old season nhle (output by age 23) is .52 for october birthday after draft. and .74 for september the next year. ERxample this year landeskog is Nov. 92 54% of CHL PPG and strome Aug. 93 70% of CHLPPG.
        Daigle was Febuary so by age 23 Daigle should have been getting 60% of 2.58ppg = 1.58ppg However CHL players with low goal % count end up with NHLE production 50% or worse. Its historically there. Thats for the guys who try. The wastes that do not are worse. 20-40% of CHL PPG. See Bonsignore.

        Landeskog Nov Birth (54% chl PPG)
        He has a elite ev to PP points ratio. His numbers will not be skewed from unlikely PP success in an superior PK NHL.
        53 GP 36G (55%) 30 A 1.24PPG
        1.24 x .54 = .67ppg nhle He should be a 55PTS/season guy
        projects to 30G 25A

        Hubredeau jun 93 68-69% chlppg if a player has an 2evpts to 1PPpt ratio you can expect hisNHLE tpo be close.
        67GM 43G (41%) 62A 1.56 PPG
        1.56 x .68 = 1.06ppg
        Projects to 36G 51A

        Plus Goals win Games. The guy who can Bury the Shot has more of an influence on the game. They are shooting instead of passing. There will be blocks, there will be saves, but they score more goals.

        The passer has less of an influence on the game. First off the pass has to get there. there will be lane break ups. There will be poor passes. Already the shots per player poscession is reduced. then you get the same goal reduction once a pass ends up in another players blade. Start the blocks, Saves, Goals ratio. More goals per poscession for shooters. A hell of alot less goals from passer pocessions.

        Common sense re game play.

        Taylor Hall Nov 91 54% chlPPG
        Career 123G(44%) 157A chl ppg 1.85 draft year.
        .54 x 1.85 = 1 ppg
        Projects to 36G 46A
        there is a curve to tell the edpected on the transition to age 23.
        1st year is usually .3 of CHLPPG
        .3 x 1.85 = .57PPG
        Actual .65PPG

        Do get the point now. Nhle is fairly acurately trackable. until aguy is 30% points from goals or less. then they can be ib the 35% less orworse range. Add aguy who is High pointed on PP then they get in the 50% of NHLE or worse.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            He has posted it a few times in different threads.

            It is very interesting, I had just jumped on the RNH bandwagon and then he posted…. deffinitly has put doubt in my mind.

            That said, I don’t think we should make our decision bassed solely on that, especially considering all the other top prospets have major question marks.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Ya, I’ve basically given up on trying to decide on who I want this year.

            Like you, I’ll just be happy with whomever Stu gets. I think he’s earned that.

        • Wax Man Riley

          Have you emailed this to Tambellini?

          Seriously, I’m not trolling. At first I just figured you were throwing numbers out there. 42% of people know that you can make up statistics to prove 80% of everything. And that calculation works 60% of the time….every time.

          This is a very interesting look, and pushes me to Huberdeau. Where is your pick leaning towards?

          Mine is not leaning towards the junior PP specialist.

    • O.C.

      i dont understand how coutourier could be a 35 goal scorer hes not near hungry enough around the net in junior i would hate to see him play against men and his foot speed is very average which means he may not be able to get to the areas he needs to to score goals. soft and slow is not a good combination to have the scouts have dropped this guy in their rankings for a reason

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Landers not being on Swedens World team leaves even more question marks . Consensus seems to be he might only be a 3rd line center now . Landers might thus be trade bait in a deal to move up in draft . So might Pitluck and a few others from last year , if it means getting another 2-6 pick this season . Scenario’s are endless and our needs are overwhelming .

    I hope we start filling our needs this draft and not just our wants and desires ! We desperately need to build our core and have a decent base on which to move forward . Some players this draft appear to be the types of players that fill our needs and our wants and desires .

    We have plenty of smallish useable forwards that need to be sorted out , but would offer much to obtain anyone of them from their standpoints and not ours ? Eberle and Gagner ? The two we want to keep .

  • JohnQPublic

    I feel the Oil are going to trade down and try to come away with 4 picks in the top 31 – # 4, #9, #19, #31.

    This will be the last year of hard core rebuilding. After this, it’s seasoning of prospects.

    It’s a gut feeling.

    There’s a trade brewing this summer for prospects/picks – Gagner, Cogliano, or Hemsky will move.

    RNH’s 2 assists in 5 playoff games against The Hat doesn’t bode well for a number one overall pick. Larsson’s lack of offence for #2 doesn’t cut it, and Landeskog will be sacrificed due to the trade down.

    My best guess.

  • O.C.

    I often bag on Lowe and Tambellini, but I think the direction they went with defense, which was a gamble, will start to pay off.

    The gamble was that the league would enforce the rules and allow skill players to play. Crosby’s concussion seems to have been the deciding factor for the league. There will still be contact, but there is more chance of success for smaller players if bigger and/or less skilled players are limited in their physical play. Mobility and puck movement are king.

    Defensemen will have to be far more mobile than many have been if they can’t hold and use big dangerous hits as part of their game, and the Oilers have drafted quite a few mobile defenders who can skate and move the puck and have been considered too soft by many. Having Gilbert, Petry, Blain, Whitney when he plays etc might be huge in a few years the way things are going.

    Plante and anyone immobile are going to have a much harder time breaking in, or staying in the league. The days of giant pylons holding, hacking and gooning their way through the NHL are numbered I think.

    I still think size for forwards will be desired unless and until the league takes one of the last steps in cleaning up the game and deals with 2 second (“we allow late hitting here”) rule.

    If that gets tightened up, the world for Gagner, Eberle, Hemsky and Omark will become pretty rosey. They would see a lot less contact after moving the puck.

    This all leads me to think we might be seeing RNH in the Orange and Blue in June despite the Tambellini’s talk of getting bigger and tougher up front. The direction we’ve seen and their love of IQ and vision support this.

    RNH likely is the BPA, without drawbacks if the league keeps moving to protect talent. If not RNH is still a risky pick.

  • NastyNate

    Ken Hitchcock was mentioned in Matheson’s Sunday piece in the Journal, and said, in regards to RNH, he didn’t see the Joe Sakic comparison as much as a likeliness to Datsyuk (Stick skills, 2 way play). 2 way centers with as much offensive upside as him don”t come along that often. Put him with Eberle and hall in two years and his even strength production is bound to imporove. I still think he is the BPA, but maybe thats because i can’t comprehend all these advance stats being posted.

  • O.C.


    Is there not a problem with a speculative NHLE in that it operates on the underlying assumption that each team and opponent style and talent pool is identical?

    E.G. How does the equivalency adapt to one defensive style of team philosophy, or a team where the supporting talent pool can’t pass or can’t shoot or both?

    You say “the passer has less influence on the game.”. How so? Did Wayne or Stevie or Pavel or this year, Getzlaf, H Sedin, or Thornton (should I keep going?) fail to influence the game?

  • hoil

    For SC, RNH & Huberdeau I did a quick scoring percentage analysis by using the teams overall scoring per game and their individual ppg.

    example: RNH: 106 pts in 69 games = 1.54 ppg Red Deer: 268 goals in 72 games = 3.72 gpg

    1.54/3.72 = 0.41 of goals per game involve RNH

    Obviously this does not take into account actual scoring with and without these players in the line-up, that would take more research than I have time for.


    1) SC: 0.45 2) RNH: 0.41 3) JH: 0.32

    A quick look at the season scoring leaders in each league will reveal that RNH did it more on his own than the other two, but the stat does look good for SC regardless.

    It may or not be related that Red Deers GAA was 1/2 goal less than the next closest team in the WHL or SC’s team in the Q, as we are talking scoring here. It is related that SC & JH had a lot more help than RNH did. The Sea Dogs were a force in the Q and Drummondville had a linemate with SC with an equal number of points. Not sure how the those factors get corrected in NHLEs.