The Edmonton Oilers scouting staff have delivered an impressive group with the 32 bullets fired in the last four years. In our latest look at the Oilers and the draft, we’ll talk about where the organization procures their talent.
The Oilers since 2008 shop in three main areas: the Canadian junior leagues, Sweden/Finland and then they select some kids from the tier 2 Canadian leagues and the NCAA. Here, let’s have a look:
- CHL: 16 (fully half the list, led by Hall, RNH, Eberle)
- Sweden/Finland: 8 (4 each, highest picks being Swedes Paajarvi and Klefbom)
- BCJHL/USHS/NCAA: 5 (most famous Tyler Pitlick and Dillon Simpson)
- Slovakia/Belarus: 3 (Marincin, Pelss, Gernat)
The Oilers shop heavily at home, especially in the west (they also do a fine job getting some of these kids under their control early using the CHL import draft). If you add the CHL and the kids drafted elswhere who played in the Canadian junior leagues (Pitlick, Gernat, Pelss, etc) the number of players Edmonton could view in Canada on a regular basis is 21 out of 32. That’s actually incredible in this day and age of global scouting. The Oilers like to see their prospects developing and it looks like the club trusts the Canadian juniors a lot in development.
APPLYING IT TO THE COMBINE LIST
Recently, the NHL’s combine invite list was released and it gives us a great opportunity to look at the list while paying special attention to possible Oiler picks. The list is here and there’s a link to the nhl.com article too. nhl.com does some very nice draft profiles as the spring wears along, if you enjoy reading about these kids it is a must see on a weekly basis once they start rolling.
First we should establish that the Oilers have been very predictable at the top of the draft since Stu MacGregor took over. It is unlikely that we’ll see a Jesse Niinimaki selected early on, as the club has grabbed a large number of combine list kids over the last two seasons (the combine invite list is made up of approx. the best 100 draft age men available).
The Oiler top 100 list and the NHL combine list have had a lot in common in the last two drafts:
- 2010 (7): Tyler Bunz, Brandon Davidson, Taylor Hall, Curtis Hamilton, Martin Marincin, Ryan Martindale, Tyler Pitlick.
- 2011 (6): Travis Ewanyk, Oscar Klefbom, David Musil, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Samu Perhonen, Tobias Rieder
OKAY, WHO MIGHT THEY BE LOOKING AT? (THE DUB)
Well, the possible picks at number one have been discussed at length, so let’s spend a few minutes discussing players who may still be available at 32+ from the WHL
- Tim Bozon, Kamloops Blazers. Skill winger who may end up going in the first round but the Oilers would certainly have interest if he slides to day 2. Bozon is a good skater and passer, and scored 36-35-71 in 71 WHL games. Desjardins’ NHLE suggests he would be in the 82gp, 13-12-25 range.
- Damon Severson, Kelowna Rockets. Has good size and can play a 2-way game. Boasts a big time shot from the point and has shown flashes offensively. Lacks consistency and his skating is a concern but knowing the Oilers they’ll pluck at least one defender from the WHL this draft.
- Henrik Samuelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings. Big power winger with some skill, he also has pro experience in the SEL and played in the USHL. Oil King fans will be familiar with his play and of course he’s both Swedish and plays in the CHL. His Desjardins’ NHLE (82, 6-14-20) suggests he would project as a role player outside the skill lines.
- Mike Winther, Prince Albert Raiders. Speedy center sounds like a poor man’s Todd Marchant based on scouting reports. Scored 32 goals in a very good league and has a nice range of skills. Craig Button loves him.
- Colton Scissons, Kelowna Rockets. Another big forward, Scissons skates well and plays with an edge. Stalled offensively he sounds like a future Oiler based on this scouting report.
- Mitchell Moroz, Edmonton Oil Kings. Oilers drafted Travis Ewanyk in the third round a year ago and Moroz is a similar player going down a similar path. Moroz is not a player who will (likely) find a home on a scoring line but Edmonton Oilers value "energy" on the 4th line and enforcer types. He is a little raw as a player but has enjoyed a nice run during the post-season.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers spent a lot of their draft currency in the WHL, especially early on. Their first round picks (RNH, Hall, Klefbom, Paajarvi, Eberle) feature 2 from the WHL (40%) and the second round is the same. The Edmonton Oilers like the western style, and I think it’s reasonable to suggest at least one of the 6 names above have a great chance to be Oilers on day two at the draft.
Up next: the Finns and the Swedes.