Risk Aversion

One of the key elements in the recent success of the Edmonton Oilers at the draft table: reducing risk.

IMMINENT DANGER

Back in the olden days, the Edmonton Oilers treated the first round like a crapshoot. Jesse Niinimaki was taken in the middle of round one despite being ranked #50 on the European list (making him a probable 4th rder). After the draft, we were told that the organization had heard New Jersey planned to take him so they were forced into the selection. A cynic might suggest that a team like NJD (run by honest Lou) might make up stuff and leak the rumor in hopes that someone bought it.

The problem with this kind of thing is that if your reach pick (that’s what I call them, reach picks) falls down the stairs or hurts his arm or finds women, God, liquor or ganja then you’re s.o.l. I believe Kevin Prendergast lost his job because of Niinimaki, the Pouliot/Jacques 2003 draft and the Alex Plante 2007 selection. All of them had their careers impacted by injury. Doesn’t matter. It’s on the scouting team and their leader (KP) is no longer employed as a scouting director.

GETTIN’ IT?

The Oilers made some changes during the latter portion of last decade, and one of those changes involved elevating Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor to the position of scouting director. MacGregor has been in the position for the last three drafts and this weekend will be number four.

MBS is risk averse. His selections of Taylor Hall, Magnum PS and Jordan Eberle were all in the range of expectation, and he’s rarely gone outside the norm during the first 75 picks (Abney, Hesketh being examples). His 2010 second round is already being compared to KP’s 2002 (Stoll, Greene and JDD) after the club plucked Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin and Curtis Hamilton in the second round a year ago.

A list like Bob McKenzie’s is a very valuable tool for the organization that can get past it’s own ego and recognize that these are in fact the consensus best player’s available. In fact, if a player is rated highly and your scouts are telling you to stay away, wouldn’t you like a very good reason for it? Wouldn’t you hope that scout had a really good reason? 

You could take Bob McKenzie’s top 60 to the draft, follow it exactly and come out on top of some teams on draft weekend. Scouting can help, but it can also hinder. What if you "saw him good" on the way day he was "beyond his best?" Should one of your scouts get stubborn on a fellow (say, Kenta Nilsson on Alexei Mikhnov) then you end up with a Traktor boy instead of an NHL player.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Here is Bob McKenzie’s top 60 list. I’d guess that Oilers picks 1, 19, 31 and maybe 61 could be on that list, and there are probably a couple more Edmonton selections on the NHL combine invite list.

NORTH AMERICAN SKATERS
NAME TEAM LEAGUE POS. HT WT
Seth Ambroz Omaha USHL RW 6-foot-2 211
Olivier Archambault Val d’Or QMJHL LW 5-foot-11 170
Sven Baertschi Portland WHL LW 5-foot-10 181
Nathan Beaulieu Saint John QMJHL D 6-foot-2 174
Myles Bell Regina WHL D 6-foot 214
Tyler Biggs USA U-18 USHL RW 6-foot-2 210
Austen Brassard Belleville OHL RW 6-foot-2 191
Daniel Catenacci Sault Ste. Marie OHL C 5-foot-10 183
Adam Clendening Boston University HE D 5-foot-11` 190
Nick Cousins Sault Ste. Marie OHL C 5-foot-11 166
Sean Couturier Drummondville QMJHL C 6-foot-4 197
Joseph Cramarossa Mississauga St. Michael’s OHL C 6-foot 188
Phillip Danault Victoriaville QMJHL LW 6-foot 170
Joel Edmundson Moose Jaw WHL D 6-foot-5 191
Travis Ewanyk Edmonton WHL LW 6-foot-1 178
Rocco Grimaldi USA U-18 USHL C 5-foot-6 163
Dougie Hamilton Niagara OHL D 6-foot-4 187
Jonathan Huberdeau Saint John QMJHL C 6-foot-1 170
Philippe Hudon Choate-Rosemary HIGH-CT C/RW 6-foot 190
Colin Jacobs Seattle WHL C 6-foot-1 197
Boone Jenner Oshawa OHL C 6-foot-1 204
Nicklas Jensen Oshawa OHL LW/RW 6-foot-2 187
Tomas Jurco Saint John QMJHL RW 6-foot-2 187
Alexander Khokhlachev Windsor OHL C/LW 5-foot-10 188
Patrick Koudys Rensselaer ECAC D 6-foot-2 190
Sean Kuraly Indiana USHL C 6-foot-2 192
Joseph Labate Holy Angels HIGH-MN C 6-foot-4 180
Gabriel Landeskog Kitchener OHL LW 6-foot-1 207
Zac Larraza USA U-18 USHL LW 6-foot-2 192
Maximilien LeSieur Shawinigan QMJHL RW 6-foot-2 203
Lucas Lessio Oshawa OHL LW 6-foot-1 197
Luke Lockhart Seattle WHL RW 5-foot-10 180
Adam Lowry Swift Current WHL LW 6-foot-4 186
Mario Lucia Wayzata HIGH-MN LW 6-foot-2 183
Scott Mayfield Youngstown  USHL D 6-foot-4 197
Mark McNeill Prince Albert WHL C 6-foot-2 201
Jonathan Miller USA U-18 USHL C 6-foot-1 198
Joseph Morrow Portland WHL D 6-foot 197
Connor Murphy USA U-18 USHL D 6-foot-3 185
Ryan Murphy Kitchener OHL D 5-foot-11 166
David Musil Vancouver WHL D 6-foot-3 198
Vladislav Namestnikov London OHL C 6-foot 166
Matthew Nieto Boston University HE LW 5-foot-11 175
Marcel Noebels Seattle WHL LW 6-foot-3 195
Stefan Noesen Plymouth OHL RW 6-foot 195
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Red Deer WHL C 6-foot-1 164
Scott Oke Saint John QMJHL LW 6-foot-3 185
Jamieson Oleksiak Northeastern HE D 6-foot-7 244
Xavier Ouellet Montreal QMJHL D 6-foot 174
Stuart Percy Mississauga St. Michael’s OHL D 6-foot-1 186
Zack Phillips Saint John QMJHL C 6-foot-1 178
Shane Prince Ottawa OHL C 5-foot-10 174
Matt Puempel Peterborough OHL LW 6-foot 196
Alan Quine Peterborough OHL C 5-foot-11 178
Jonathan Racine Shawinigan QMJHL D 6-foot-1 182
Rickard Rakell Plymouth OHL RW 6-foot 191
Ty Rattie Portland WHL RW 5-foot-11 163
Mike Reilly Shattuck-St. Mary’s HIGH-MN D 5-foot-11 150
Tobias Rieder Kitchener OHL C 5-foot-11 173
Brett Ritchie Sarnia OHL RW 6-foot-3 210
Robbie Russo USA U-18 USHL D 6-foot 189
Brandon Saad Saginaw OHL LW 6-foot-1 208
Reece Scarlett Swift Current WHL D 6-foot-1 164
Mark Scheifele Barrie OHL C 6-foot-2 182
Logan Shaw Cape Breton QMJHL RW 6-foot-3 197
Nicholas Shore Denver WCHA C 6-foot 195
Duncan Siemens Saskatoon WHL D 6-foot-3 192
Ryan Sproul Sault Ste. Marie OHL D 6-foot-3 175
Michael St. Croix Edmotnon WHL C 5-foot-11 176
Ryan Strome Niagara OHL C 6-foot 175
Colin Sullivan Avon Old Farms HIGH-CT D 6-foot-1 190
Ryan Tesink Saint John QMJHL C 5-foot-11 157
Vincent Trocheck Saginaw OHL C 5-foot-10 184
Andy Welinski Green Bay  USHL D 6-foot 188
Tyler Wotherspoon Portland WHL D 6-foot-1 203
Zachary Yuen Tri-City WHL D 6-foot 205
 
NORTH AMERICAN GOALTENDERS
Jordan Binnington Owen Sound OHL   6-foot-1 156
Laurent Brossoit Edmonton WHL   6-foot-3 193
Christopher Gibson Chicoutimi QMJHL   6-foot-1 193
John Gibson USA U-18 USHL   6-foot-3 205
Matt Mahalak Plymouth OHL   6-foot-2 183
Matt McNeely USA U-18 USHL   6-foot-2 205
Stephen Michalek Loomis Chaffee  HIGH-CT   6-foot-2 183
Michael Morrison  Kitchener OHL   6-foot 177
 
EUROPEAN SKATERS
Joel Armia Assat FIN RW 6-foot-3 191
Rasmus Bengtsson Rogle SWE-2 D 6-foot-3 189
Jeremy Boyce Rotevall Timra SWE LW 6-foot 169
Jonas Brodin Farjestad SWE D 6-foot-1 169
Max Friberg Skovde SWE-3 LW 5-foot-11 185
Markus Granlund HIFK FIN-JR C 5-foot-10 169
Gregory Hofmann Ambri SWISS C 6-foot 177
Dmitri Jaskin Slavia CZE RW 6-foot-1 196
Karl Johansson Brynas SWE-JR D 5-foot-9 167
Oscar Klefbom Farjestad SWE D 6-foot-4 200
Nikita Kucherov CSKA RUS-JR W 5-foot-10 163
Adam Larsson Skelleftea SWE D 6-foot-3 200
Joachim Nermark Linkoping SWE-JR C 6-foot-1 187
Victor Rask Leskand SWE-2 C 6-foot-2 194
Alexander Ruuttu Jokerit FIN-JR C 6-foot-1 183
Miikka Salomaki Karpat FIN RW 5-foot-11 198
Mika Zibanejad Djurgarden SWE C 6-foot-2 191
 
EUROPEAN GOALTENDER
Samu Perhonen JYP FIN-JR   6-foot-4 172

 

  • Horcsky

    RE: Pierre McGuire. When you make predictions, you win some and you lose some. Although some of his recent ones haven’t looked to good, as mentioned by commentors above, let’s not forget he was blasting every team for not drafting Parise as Parise slipped deeper into the ’03 draft and the Oilers gave up their chance to draft him.

    • raceguy

      That’s a good point.If it was easy there would never be any mistakes.Like Calgary taking Trevor Kidd well before NJ took Brodeur.
      As for McGuire he gets pretty revved up when he is on TV,but you can’t question his passion for the game.His radio persona is toned down considerably.He would make a great guest on LT’s show for a post draft review.

  • Souby

    I agree with most of the posts about McGuire, he is a absolute tool! He was going off about how stocked the Oilers are at forward naming Hall, Eberle, MP but if you don’t have a center to play with them how well are the going to do? Does anyone remember the center who played with Anaheim in between Kariya and Selanne? Anyone? Imagine how good they could have been with a top center between them.

    • O.C.

      Must… resist… off topic… Ah, Fail…

      Irrelevant. With a playmaker and scorer, often the third player is a pylon.
      For all the talent on the Oil, their option always was best with Semenko.

      Oil needs are more than just at centre. but yes, they need a centre slightly more than anything else.

      Here is the question…
      Do you take a Centre who looks like he may end up as a 90 on NHL 2016 or a D man who looks like he may become a 95?

  • Rogue

    I will pe P@##&D if they draft Larson first overall. I will adopt Flames And Canucks as my co-favorite teams in protest. Then, hopefully, if anyone truly cares for me, they will shoot me and put me out of my misery.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Not necessarily.

    If you believe with faulty reason like McGuire that Larsson is solely a need pick, then you’d be lumped in with him.

    If you believe Larsson’s the BPA and don’t believe the RNH hype, then you’re not.

    • Souby

      Larsson is a very good player and the Oilers would greatly benefit if they picked him, but given RNH’s talent and projected potential, I feel he has to go #1.

      It would be awesome if the Oil could move up from 19 to somehow grab Larsson, but the reality is, that is highly unlikely to happen.

      What I would love to see is the Oil move up and grab Dougie Hamilton. They would have to move up into the #6-#8 range to get him, but that would be great.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s good to see Steve pumping Hemmers tires like he is. There’s so many opportunities there with that 8th, someone’s gonna fall to that eighth spot, just don’t let it be Larsson please. Couturier or Strome would be great.

  • IHeartHemsky

    “Stupid is as stupid does”-Mrs. Gump on Kevin Prendergast.

    Next on Katz’s to do list should be pro scouting. Or will he wait until he wants the team to compete?

    • Chris.

      Tambellini is so proud when he talks about the new standard for due dilligence in amature scouting: “We talk to coaches, parents, teachers, friends… We get to really know what makes these kids tick”

      Too bad the standards for pro scouting is so poor (re the deer in the headlights look when Tambi was asked about Teubert being a healthy scratch, not killing penalties, or having “issues” with the Los Angeles management.)

  • IHeartHemsky

    Wasn’t the “Monster” 100% Sold that Tavaras should have gone #1 in 2009…When he makes up his mind…he gets pretty intense about it. He has been on the Larrson wagon since January.

  • Breaking news! Madjam is revealed to be Pierre McGuire! “I’m shocked yet still kind of expected this”, wrote one anonymous commenter. “It’s good in a way, at least now the wild insanity has been reduce to a single person to watch out for”, wrote another.

  • Why not continue to delay building a contender by not taking a blue chipper corner stone d- man like Larsson ? Why not just continue to build this team ass backwards ? While we are at it , not much sense in addressing size and/or toughness either if they want to continue to drag this process out .

    • @madjam

      Tambo said it best.

      I ask our scouts when we get into our meeting when we get there is: ‘Point to me someone who is special, that can bring to us something that we don’t have, that maybe isn’t there right now but maybe a couple of years from now is going to be obviously elite.…

      RNH has the potential to be elite. Most scouts are now saying Larsson will be good, but not elite. Bobby Mac even said Larsson will be a 2nd pairing D-man on the PP. Do the Oilers really want that?

    • Hemmertime

      If the consensus pick was Larsson you’d say go for Couturier. If the consensus pick was Couturier you’d be pushing for RNH. Your shtick has gotten stale.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    RNH is the player. from where the teams at, there’s absolutely no reason to “play around” with the draft and select dudes who arent consensus BPA. if the Oilers traded out of this pick, id be completely shocked and laugh for a decade.

    all the “speculation” leading up to Friday is way too phony.

    theres also no point in trading into the top 8 unless they know for damn sure someone like Larsson, etc (one of the D) is a strong – cant miss – prospect. its almost a sure bet this team is finishing bottom 5 next year. theres still too much youth, and too much overpaid/overused vets who cant carry a hockey club. healthy or not. playing around with the 2012 pick would be a mistake.

  • So last night pretty much confirmed that McGuire is a tool and that at all costs the Oilers should draft RNH and avoid Larsson.

    Remember kids, if you want to draft Larsson #1, it means you and Pierre McGuire are in agreement. Think about that for a while.

  • EasyOil

    It’s really quite incredible how well Stu’s drafting has gone so far. It does seem inevitable that he will have a bad draft sooner or later, but at least he’s got the track record so far of success in order that we should give him the benefit of the doubt it and when such a draft should happen. It’s still the 2008 draft that stands out in my mind with Eberle and Hartikainen. Sure, the 2010 draft is looking fantastic right now, with the sheer number of successful seasons, but Eberle and Hartikainen just kickstarted that injection of swagger and success back into the organisation’s prospect bucket.

    By the way LT, is there any word on Myles Bell? Is he still in hospital? Still expecting to be drafted? Might be worth a late-round flyer if he’s still on the board past the hundred-mark.

    EDIT: Oops sorry for the triple post! Craaaazy internet here.

  • EasyOil

    It’s really quite incredible how well Stu’s drafting has gone so far. It does seem inevitable that he will have a bad draft sooner or later, but at least he’s got the track record so far of success in order that we should give him the benefit of the doubt it and when such a draft should happen. It’s still the 2008 draft that stands out in my mind with Eberle and Hartikainen. Sure, the 2010 draft is looking fantastic right now, with the sheer number of successful seasons, but Eberle and Hartikainen just kickstarted that injection of swagger and success back into the organisation’s prospect bucket.

    By the way LT, is there any word on Myles Bell? Is he still in hospital? Still expecting to be drafted? Might be worth a late-round flyer if he’s still on the board past the hundred-mark.

  • EasyOil

    It’s really quite incredible how well Stu’s drafting has gone so far. It does seem inevitable that he will have a bad draft sooner or later, but at least he’s got the track record so far of success in order that we should give him the benefit of the doubt it and when such a draft should happen. It’s still the 2008 draft that stands out in my mind with Eberle and Hartikainen. Sure, the 2010 draft is looking fantastic right now, with the sheer number of successful seasons, but Eberle and Hartikainen just kickstarted that injection of swagger and success back into the organisation’s prospect bucket.

    By the way LT, is there any word on Myles Bell? Is he still in hospital? Still expecting to be drafted? Might be worth a late-round flyer if he’s still on the board past the hundred-mark.

    • Lowetide

      Well Pierre McGuire took Larsson in the tsn mock last night. I don’t believe the Oilers would draft for need with #1 overall, and they don’t have a projected #1 C in the organization.

      I go back to Craig Button and what he told me on Nation Radio: you can’t trade for RNH’s and they don’t come available via free agency.

      Extremely valuable item.

  • Sparky

    This is the reason why I am against trading down in the draft. There is a lot less risk with first overall than there is at fourth and fifth etc. Unless there is star power coming back, too much risk IMO.

    • Lowetide

      Sparky,

      I’ve been thinking about this, and honestly the only way that it could happen imo is if Stu MacGregor tells ST that there’s another play they like equally.

      I don’t think that’s true. I believe it’s RNH and also believe the Oilers take him #1. Get the guy.