Belated (And Positive!) Weekend Thoughts

With Brownlee and Gregor unleashing a torrent of material from their time at the draft, and Lowetide turning out his usual quality, I was given the opportunity to take the weekend off and enjoy the record levels of rainfall in British Columbia.

Still, I did want to take the time to reflect on what was a pretty good weekend for the Oilers.

Smyth Returns

I realize this is old news by now, but even so it’s such a positive development that it’s nice to reflect on it. Steve Tambellini was handed a wonderful opportunity to acquire a useful veteran who was only interested in playing for the Oilers, and he milked it for all it was worth – the Brule offer was delightful, and the departure of Colin Fraser and a seventh round pick instead is only slightly less excellent.

Once again, I’ll emphasize that Ryan Smyth adds a lot of things this team lacked – as it stands, he’s easily a top-six forward on merit, and he will bring a two-way conscience to the forward corps that can’t help but be a positive influence and example for the younger players (as well as contributing to a few more wins in the here and now).

Ignoring strategy and planning for a moment, this is a move that just feels right – Smyth is an Oiler, and he should finish his career in the city where it all began.

Draft Day Gems

While most of the focus was on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and to a lesser extent Oscar Klefbom, the Oilers added some interesting players a little later on in the day. Robin Brownlee has a nice piece up on former Oilers Frank Musil and his son David (who was a fine selection, for the record – there were one or two guys I liked better, but this wasn’t a reach pick by any stretch), but I’d like to focus on some of the players that went a little later in the day.

Samu Perhonen – I’m thrilled with this pick. I’m not a guy who believes in drafting goaltenders high, but Perhonen has it all – success in his draft year, great size, and glowing scouting reports. Finland has been a goaltending factory for years now, and Perhonen’s a superb prospect.

Travis Ewanyk – I thought this pick was a little bit of a reach, especially compared to some of the guys that got selected in the next few picks (particularly Logan Shaw), but there is a lot to like about him. It’s a depth selection, but Ewanyk’s got decent size, a willingness to play a rough-and-tumble game, and some scoring ability. The most interesting statistic for me is that Ewanyk scored four shorthanded goals this season.

Dillon Simpson – Another pick that felt like a bit of a reach, but again there are things to like here – like the fact that he was playing fairly regular minutes in North Dakota at the age of seventeen. If it weren’t for the history between Craig Simpson and the Oilers, this wouldn’t be a pick getting criticized.

Tobias Rieder – A very strong selection outside the top-100. I tend to think that European players in their first year of Major Junior hockey should be cut some slack when it comes to their scoring numbers, and Rieder’s play in various international tournaments and back in Germany suggest that he could very well be a player. Seventeen of his 23 goals came at even-strength, and two of them came shorthanded.

Martin Gernat – Wildcard picks tend to be the best options available late in the draft, and Gernat is one. He was a pretty good offensive defenseman in Slovakian junior, and he stands 6’5”, so while it remains to be seen how he’ll do against higher caliber competition those are two points in his favour.

Frans Tuohimaa – I’m actually a little surprised that Tuohimaa lasted as long as he did; he’s been a pretty decent goalie each of the last two seasons and this year certainly represented a breakout for him (his 0.931 SV% was the best number posted in Finnish junior hockey).  Like Rieder and Gernat, Tuohimaa is the sort of selection that has an outside chance at a career that really matters, as opposed to a good chance at being a solid below-NHL professional.

My take – this was a solid group of players, arguably as strong a group as we’ve seen from Stu MacGregor after the end of the second round.  There are a lot of positives to come away with from this weekend.

  • Colin

    Sequentially Superior!

    Edit: Adding something of merit – I’m generally inclined to agree. I’m not sold on simpson, but given that he was taken outside of the top 75 and the family connection I’m not overly disappointed. If he’s half the player his father was, he’ll be pretty good.

  • Dan the Man

    I certainly hadn’t even heard of Gernat prior to the draft but Stu compared him to Marincin and said that they’d had ranked in the top 35 if I’m not mistaken.

    It’s obviously way too early to tell but hopefully he turns out to be a steal.

  • “Ignoring strategy and planning for a moment, this is a move that just feels right – Smyth is an Oiler, and he should finish his career in the city where it all began.”

    AGREED!

    *fires AK-47 in the air in celebration*

  • Dutchscooter

    I don’t think any Bastard draft will ever match up against that 2010 draft. That was a cram packed full draft for the Oil. Marincin, Hamilton, Pitlick, they may be key players someday, and they were all selected in the same year.
    I’d call this a decent, unspectacular draft by Bastard standards. Ewanyk may be a 4th liner someday. Simpson, and Musil, 2nd pairing at best.
    The Klefbom is the wildcard in all this. If he turns into a top line D, that alone will make this draft great.

  • SLURVE

    Picking Dillon Simpson at 4th round is not quite a reach . He was a 16 year old playing in the AJHL (avg age 18-21) and won rookie of the year with a 12 G-29 A- 41 PTS in 58 GP. He enrolled in NCAA program at U of North Dakota as a 17 year old playing against men. He had limited playing time (maybe average 5 min per game) because of his rookie status but still had 10 pts in 30 games. Some scouts probably missed this observation. Blood line helps but I think Dillon helped himself. Some say his younder brother, Tristan, is developing at an even higher skill level than Dillon did. Great pickup by the Oilers.

  • fuck off

    @Willis
    “the Brule offer was delightful, and the departure of Colin Fraser and a seventh round pick instead is only slightly less excellent.”

    Did you partake in some of BC’s finest over the weekend?!? How the hell is Dillon Simpson worse than some random stretch pick in the bottom 30 of 2012?! AND this is on top of the premise that that swapping Fraser for Brule is an upgrade.

    Brule & a 4th = decent trade to alleviate cap space.
    Fraser & a 7th = DL got fleeced by Tambo!

    • paul wodehouse

      …i’m very intrigued with this “sleeper” pick

      kid’s supposed to be unreal and may be the next …i dunno Finnish Flash with biga$$ pads…

      my fear is that if his Nickname sticks will we have to endure the large SAMUUUUUUUUUUU! chant every time he touches the damn puck? ala the LOUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!chant i’ve come to loath…

      if that’s the case send back the kid and the trade and get a goalie we don’t have to SAMUUUUUUUU at….K?

      the kids name is FRANS ….!!!!

    • Dan the Man

      Since it’s not my money and the Oilers are unlikley to need the cap space I prefer the Fraser deal. I think Brule is a much more useful player when healthy…of course being healthy is the key.

      The Oilers still have the option of buying out Brule for $308 333/yr for the next 2 years as well if they decide that they would rather be rid of the salary.

        • D-Man

          Brule could also play center on the 4th line.. He plays with a lot more of an edge than Fraser… I just hope Brule can stay healthy…

          I’m guessing though that if Tambo can land Konopka, Brule may be bought out before training camp.

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

            3 (maybe 4?) coaches disagree.

            4th line energy winger is fine with me. If he can round out his game then he could look to move up the depth chart.

          • D-Man

            If he’s your 4th line winger, I’m assuming Cogs is your 4th line centre? That is of course assuming that we don’t bring in a FA and RNH doesn’t crack the lineup??

            I’d like to see Brule down the middle… He has a better FO winning percentage than Cogs and Gagner; we haven’t been able to see him there for more than a few games at a time due to his health.

          • D-Man

            Depends on who – but if Konopka is available, a $3.0 million contract over 2 years seems somewhat realistic.. But then again – I’m sure you could have Tambo call NYR and trade for Chris Drury… I’m sure a 3rd/4th line center at a $7 mill cap hit would work for you??

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

            Considering they would have to send us something else of value in return and how irrelavant the cap hit would be then yes, yes it would.

    • Since:
      a) Katz pays the bills…
      b) We don’t have to worry about cap space in the present time…

      …it unquestionably was worth it.

      It also showed that the Oilers recognize that Fraser is a waste of a roster spot.

      Great trade by Tambi, in my opinion. Brought in a veteran player that we need and moved out an unneeded player all for the low, low price of a 7th rounder.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I’m glad we’ve got SMBM, but maybe we should wait until he’s got someone picked outside of the 1st round actually producing at the NHL level before we get too wound up about him.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Just be happy the players PICKED in the first round are actually making an impact…actually correct that be happy they are actually making the team, remember 1997-2004 (except Hemsky).

  • I tried it at home

    Much as I liked Willis’s article, I’ll just put it aside for the moment and ask, “Has Wanye sobered up yet? It IS wednesday….”

    I was actually sold on Musil back when Vancouver Giants swiped him away, and I started to hear his name come up from various buddies who are into junior hockey. I dont consider him a steal at 31, so much as a preemptive strike.

    • At first, I had a moment where I thought “wow, did he sound unenthused about playing here?” too. But I think what it is, is that he might want to play back in Farjestad next year instead of OKC. I’m fine with that. The SEL is a good place for our prospects to develop some more.

      Anyways, re-listening to the interview, I didn’t get the feeling that he didn’t want to be here.. just he wasn’t sure if he would leave the SEL to come play in the AHL. And I think the Oilers are completely content with him going back there too.

      Re-listen here: http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=119335

      The agreement between Klefbom and Tambellini is that he comes over “when he’s ready”. No problem. I think we get a little knee-jerky because of past experiences. I admittedly reacted the same way, but I wouldn’t put too much thought into this. Seems like a good kid.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    The Gernat pick looks even better now that the Oil Kings drafted him. The Oilers definitely do their homework on these guys as Marincin and Pelss were picked last season and Pitlick went to the WHL instead of college. Playing in North America will only help this kid when he is ready for the pro ranks.