The day Boston drafted Milan Lucic, it was not obvious to all the Bruins had selected a future impact forward. He had size–6.02, 204 according to Central Scouting–but he wasn’t at the top of the scoring charts (9 goals all season) and his PIMS (149) suggested long stretches in the sin bin for feeling shame. The Edmonton Oilers need a "Milan Lucic" and right soon–where is he?
At this point in time the Edmonton Oilers sadly lack big men with a wide range of skills. Steve MacIntyre is one of the best enforcers in the NHL currently, JF Jacques can skate extremely well for a big man but in both cases these men are mostly "stick optional" types. Jacques fit the PF bill quite well coming out of junior but lost an enormous portion of his fine motor skills when his back injuries began to take their toll.
So, along with grabbing the right guy at #1 overall and not blowing the LAK pick later in the first round when he takes a defenseman, Stu MacGregor and the scouting staff need to find a Lucic among the youngsters available this summer.
ANYONE ON THE HORIZON?
The Oilers current group of roster players doesn’t boast anyone who fits the bill (I believe Taylor Hall will be able to take care of himself, but no one in their right mind wants #4 dictating the physical tone of an NHL game), but there are some bubbling under candidates:
- Tyler Pitlick turns 20 in November and is 6.02, 188. However, he had only one fighting major with Medicine Hat this season and 31 PIMS overall. His goal/pim numbers (27/31) don’t really have that Lucic feel.
- Drew Czerwonka turns 19 in July and is 6.02 197. He would be my choice for strongest PF candidate of the bubbling under group as he clearly is a game rooster (6 fights in the WHL) and his goal/pim ratio (14/78) more closely resembles the player we’re looking for at this spot. Czerwonka has played some with skilled men on the Kootenay Ice roster and I think he’s a player of great interest moving forward.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE IN THE DRAFT POOL?
Anyone hoping Travis Ewanyk would slip through the cracks unnoticed is sol this morning as his performance at the U18’s turned some heads and got people talking about his range of skills. Jim Matheson talks about Ewanyk in his Sunday morning column here and will no doubt be reading about him more this spring. The Pipeline guys have Ewanyk blogging for them here. I count 10 fighting majors on his resume this past season.
Austen Brassard of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls is also getting some notice. He’s 6.02, 191 had 5 majors in the OHL and has good footspeed for this player type. There are some questions about his hockey sense but he’s definitely a player to follow in this category.
Stefan Noesen is from Plano, Texas and is 6.01, 195. Although he didn’t fight that much, his reputation is as a hard working, physical forward who won’t back away from the rough stuff. He scored 34 goals for Plymouth (OHL) this season so there’s a lot of skill with this player.
ANY DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH?
By the time we start talking about a player as a potential draft pick, one imagines NHL teams have a bunch of foolscap on said prospect. I think Medicine Hat winger Kale Kessy might be just what the doctor ordered for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s 6.03, 185 and scored 65gp, 10-14-24 129pims for the Tigers this season. 9 majors. There are several youtube highlights including this one.