THE OILERS, THE DUB AND THE FUTURE

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:

  1. CHL: 16 (fully half the list, led by  Hall, RNH, Eberle)
  2. Sweden/Finland: 8 (4 each, highest picks being Swedes Paajarvi and Klefbom)
  3. BCJHL/USHS/NCAA: 5 (most famous Tyler Pitlick and Dillon Simpson)
  4. 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.

  • Rocknrolla

    Hey LT,

    Read this on twitter today…

    Tracy ‏ @TreenasOil

    Oilers are trying to acquire another top 5 pick and are willing to move prospects Musil and Klefbom ….A P G

    Have you heard anything about who this person is, and if the As Per Garfield stuff has been accurate…Thats a pretty big rumor, and my one friend says she has usually been right!

    Would be a pretty ballsy move by Tambi…she also says Renney will not be back as head coach…

    Would love to hear your take on TreenasOil!

  • TwoSkidoos

    I actually sat beside Tambo yesterday on the plane from YEG to Cowtown – spoke briefly about the draft.

    We spoke about Reinhart in particular, the Oil really like him. He laughed when I asked about trading the #1 and said hold on tight.

  • RexLibris

    A great read, LT. Thank you for the work and the analysis.

    I think this is the year that, outside of getting a second first round pick via trade, the Oilers will be walking away with forwards after rounds one and two. Maybe even round three. Hard to say.

    If Tambellini can swing a deal that would see the Oilers land the player they want and a second pick in the top 10 I would be surprised.

    I had a good look at the top five drafting teams and their respective roster needs to be addressed at the draft. The Oilers need a defenseman and a 2nd line center. The Blue Jackets probably want a center. Ditto for the Canadiens. Islanders need a defenseman and the Leafs need a GM, er, I mean a center (and a goalie, but that’ll be via trade). Based on their respective needs, and allowing that each team would think seriously about selecting Yakupov if he falls to them, and that there are multiple players at the defense and center positions to be had by the first two teams to prioritize those when selecting, then it would seem unlikely that any team would be willing to sacrifice other assets in order to alter their drafting order.

    That being said, it is draft day and anything can happen as long as the Islanders and the Leafs are in the top five.

    I have to wonder if the Oilers, Canadiens, and Islanders are sitting waiting to see if the Blue Jackets and the Leafs have anything in the works. Two Blue Jacket picks in the top five would dramatically alter their priorities and offer them tremendous flexibility.

    Anyway, that’s probably enough daydreaming for one evening…

  • RexLibris

    After the experiences with Pronger, Visnovsky and Heatley, I am assuming that management is targeting players from the area because they are more likely to want to come here and stay here. There are exceptions to this (Souray) but the probabilities are higher.

  • Clyde Frog

    aside from the first overall picks, none of this “impressive” list the oilers have compiled has had any impact at the nhl level. with alot of these picks it is too early to tell, but with alot of them i would argue that they have not shown the kind of progression that indicates they will be contributing nhl players. generally if you look at legitimate prospects who will play in the nhl, they score at a higher rate in their first year in the ahl than say a hamilton, or a pitlick. those are just two examples, but examining the progression of players who become good productive top nine players shows that if there has not been a significant jump in their production by year two in the ahl, then you are likely looking at nothing more than bubble guys. i also question, as usual, their decision making. i will not write off paajarvi yet, but when they drafted him he looked like jani rita, and three years later he looks like jani rita. how good would kulikov look on our back end. anyway, i have difficulty with the praise we have thrown at macgregor as i need some evidence other than being able to pick first overall. and don’t start with eberle, that is not a “great pick”. he is a good player, but with where he was ranked and where the oilers were picking, they would have been stupid not to take him. let’s see some actual results from these picks before we call it an impressive list.

    • Lowetide

      The Pitlick/Hamilton thing has been brought up several times, specifically by Tyler Dellow and Jonathan Willis.

      My suspicion all along has been that the Oilers brought both along slowly at the AHL. Not a lof of EV and PP TOI, that kind of thing.

      Pitlick has performed at about a point per game level since the end of the season.

      Also, the Oilers are going to be a team that has absurd offensive talent on the top 2 lines. Should Pitlick win a job alongside Hall, Nuge or others I’m pretty sure his numbers will be inflated just by the company he keeps.

      And if he doesn’t emerge as a 20-goal scorer (he has a very good shot) then he certainly has the tools to be a gritty 2-way winger.

      Don’t give up on Pitlick yet! Same for Hamilton, althought injury impacted his season.

  • Lowetide

    Its easy to say that picking Eberle was a no brainer. But by that same token so was picking Paarjvi. He slid all the way to 10th ala Cam Fowler. IRC he was ranked in the top 3 most of the year.

    You are correct in saying that it takes time to evalaute these picks. In the salary cap world teams need a pipeline of young players who can replace existing players as they become to expensive to hold on to. Its one thing to have your 1st round picks work out. Another to have your 2nd 3rd and 4th rounders contribute at the NHL level.

    If Stu can use a 3rd round pick to find a replacement for Gagner, trade him for assets and have the club team not miss a beat then we can get ready have a new statue outside RX1.

  • Lowetide

    I agree that Pitlick is on a slow climb. I think he plays another year in OKC with an expanded offensive role next season.

    Next years edition of the Barons will be even better than this years. The depature of Omark and more than likely the elevation of MP and Lander to Edmonton should certainly be a boon to players like Pitlick and Hamilton. If Pelss joins OKC and and you can add another player like Travis Ewanyk it should be a pretty good looking lineup. Thier D should lineup Marincin and Brandon Davidson along with Musil. With Bunz and Olivier Roy in net it should be pretty solid in between the pipes.

    I would look at trading the Anaheim 2013 2cd round pick that we aquired for Cogliano to Tbay for a 2012 2cd round pick. I think they have 4 picks in the 2cd round this draft. The 37th or 40th pick would be nice to get. It would give ST and SMB options if they decide they like more than one of those WHL kids.

  • Lexi

    To me Columbus and what they do with Nash is the big wild card of the draft. I really don’t think there are many teams that will be bidding much for him, so my most likely scenario is Toronto trading the 5th pick for him. If Columbus has the 2nd and 5th does it not make sense for them to want Yak and Galchynyuk, especially because D is the one position they are actually okay on. In this scenario does it not seem possible for the Oil to end up with Johanson and Murray with some creativity. Stauffer has really been selling Murray this week.

    Nashville and Weber also are a wild card now. They went all in on this season and got two extra playoff games, a potentially fractured dressing room, no picks in the first two rds and I don’t think they have either the budget or future to sign Suter. My gut says Weber is majorly shopped this year as they can’t afford to lose Suter and Weber in consecutive years for nothing. I think they might have given the wrong guy the multi year $7Mill contract.

  • Badger

    This Coda Gordon kid deserves a look in the third round for the Oil. Hopefully they take a good look at him during the combine. He walked out of sub-AAA program last year and put up 30G last year in the dub…..all of them ugly. With all these fancy top picks we have, we’re going to need a few garbage-goals types.

    Super dangerous in tight, very instinctive. I saw him play a few times this year, including at the Cherry-Orr game and I like his style. Hopefully he can put some weight on, as the db says he’s only 179 lb. That won’t hold up to the cross-checks.

  • Clyde Frog

    @Reumatoid arthritis

    I was just going to say if insider information was this easy to obtain then maybe we should all just camp in the office parking lot and get our “Hot Gossip” via impromptu yet deep conversations.

    Next time TwoSkidoos is chatting with the big guy, can you please ask him for a pony for me? I would love one…

  • Lowetide

    My vote is for Samuelsson! he has some skill and brings a whole lot of nasty to the game, which is exactly what his dad brought and the Oilers need.

    I think his skill is under-rated by NHLE give he moved league mid-season and his playoff numbers seem pretty good.

    Oilers have lots of long lead time d-men in the system, but lack forward depth after the elite guys. Samuelson fills the hole with decent upside.

  • Lowetide

    @lowtide

    fair enough. you have been singing macgregors praises for a number of years now, but aside from the number ones, are there any tangible reasons for this? would you be so kind as to elaborate on what about that list of prospects you find impressive? hartikainen is a decent find, but at this point I still see only question marks with most of the players you have listed.

    • Lowetide

      I think it’s somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The story has been rewritten now in regard to Eberle, now people call it an “obvious” choice which is true in hindsight. However, Eberle’s selection should count as an enormous positive imo, one of the best selections in this organization’s history.

      So far.

      The rest of the 2008 draft didn’t get started until round 4 but even then all of Motin, Cornet and Hartikainen have covered their bets. Jonathan wrote a story about just this here:

      http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/05/01/johan-motins-single-nhl-game-makes-him-a-successful-pick/

      Okay, so 2008 gave us Eberle and a guy who could far outkick his coverage in Harski.

      2009 might look like a down year but Paajarvi and Lander are progressing and I’d suggest they are a big part of Edmonton’s future.

      Hesketh was a clear miss–the first inside the top 100 selections we’ve discussed–and Abney was an organization selection for a specific player. I don’t know that the scouting director should get a pass on taking an enforcer that late, but it was stated at the time it was an organizational need.

      And there’s still hope for later in the 2009 draft with the gigantic Bigos, goalie Roy and the Finn Rajala who had a solid step up in the SM-Liiga this season.

      I think–and said so–that 2010 was a watershed draft. Now, we’re not going to discuss the #1’s so let’s go right to the 2nd rounders and beyond.

      Pitlick is getting big minutes and showing well this post-season in a wide variety of areas. He started slowly but has shown well as the season wore on and I’d suggest to you that next season will see a feature role for him in OKC.

      Marincin is just completing a very successful junior career and is generally regarded as the second or third best Oilers D prospect in a deep pool.

      Hamilton was injured mid-season and of course struggled early. But I’d suggest it is way too soon to write him off, and we shouldn’t be expecting a top 6F for where he was taken in the draft. Not saying he won’t get there but Hamilton has a nice range of skills and may end up being an effective checker.

      Martindale is a player I can agree looks to be fading as a prospect. Wouldn’t give up completely on him yet but he needs to show more.

      Blain, Davidson, Bunz (WHL G of the year) and Pelss (who just signed) are all on track or better and I’d suggest Czerwonka is still a solid prospect although unlikely to be signed by the organization.

      I won’t spend too much time on 2011 save to mention that Dillon Simpson made impressive gains, Klefbom had a terrific WJ and a solid season, Gernat looks like a massive steal and Tobias Rieder may be his match.

      So, if you’re looking at “NHL games played” then sure MacGregor did not find an instant NHL player in the second or third round.

      But I’d wager a lot of dollars that his second round picks since 2008 (Lander, Pitlick, Marincin, Hamilton, Musil) deliver a nice percentage (as a cluster) to the NHL.

      But the overwhelming number of positive arrows from most of these young men is impressive imo. Some will fade, others will be injured and still others will be traded but I’d argue most have enough positive arrows to be considered legit NHL prospects.

      A great item on Dillon Simpson:

      http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/4/29/2986240/dillon-simpson-north-dakota-oilers

      It’s easy to be critical of the Oilers because of their NHL performance, but the draft picks as a group are progressing nicely. The could still be derailed and some of them might be traded soon.

      But as a group? I would argue that Eberle, Hartikainen, Paajarvi, Lander, Roy, Pitlick, Marincin, Bunz, Klefbom, Musil, Simpson and Rieder are all worthy of being called very good NHL prospects.

      • Lowetide

        thank you. i read your stuff regularly and listen to your program as well and your insight is always appreciated. i believe that we have some prospects that demonstrate the upward curve we want to see but i also see many of these guys not necessarily regressing, but not showing any real improvement that suggests nhl player. i think we can agree that we are a few years away from knowing the full story. and by the way, i hope i am wrong.

  • Badger

    @stonewall – Coda Gordon was one that I had highlighted too. He’s got decent size 6’1 and is one of the younger kids in the draft with a Aug 4th birthday.

    I really like Bozon (as a 2nd round option) he’s the son of a former NHL. Looks like he has 2nd line upside, good hockey smarts & although he’s not the most physically intimidating he’s doesn’t shy away from a battle either.

    Mitch Moroz is a guy that looks to have a lot of things going for him, size, good enough hands to play on a 3rd or 4th line and willing to drop the gloves. He seems like a guy the Oilers would take in the 4th round and they would have a big hand in developing him the way they want too.

    What does anyone think of Lukas Sutter if he falls to the 3rd round? He seems like a player that is built for the 3rd line.

  • Badger

    @non descript

    I think you might have a point.

    Here’s my synopsis, while bored at work.

    Look at the 2000-2007 drafts. Then take out the first rounders. Then take out the 8-9rd’ers, since the amt of draft picks has fluctuated over the years. Then see who you would call an NHL player.

    I really only see 4, Stoll, Greene, Brodziak, and Lombardi (who we never signed, but we’ll say I include Winchester and Storts in his number). So 4/56 I think. So ~7%….and Stoll was redrafted, so it took less scouting IMO.

    I think for me to call Stu brilliant, I’d need to see (out of his 28 non-first rder picks), 4 NHL’ers total, with at least 2 of those players that aren’t just grinders, and can play in top 2 lines somewhere sometime. Remember, we’re comparing him to Predergast, so he’ll need to annihilate his draft record.

    4/9 on firsts for Predergast….3/4 for Stu right now, but you’re right, hard to compare because Stu’s had two #1’s. Still, no Mikhnov’s or Niinimaki’s yet!

    Only time will tell.

  • Lowetide

    A source with connections to the Oilers told me they covet both Murray and Dumba… I don’t understand, from what I know I think Klembom’s upstide is greater than both of these Dmen. I would also think Gernat and Marincin have incredible promise, although that will be at least 4-5 yrs down the road, while Klefbom could be ready for the Oil in as soon as 2 yrs.

    Personally I think they should grab Nail and if they add a second top 5, then Galyenchuk or Grigorenko should be the target. Then the Dub should be where their subsequent picks come from. I am liking Sissons, Samuelsson and Moroz. Hopefully at least 2 can be had in the 2nd and 3rd rounds…

    I think the Dmen shelves are well-stocked for prospects and when the 2 required NHL dmen are acquired for this roster, there will NOT be any room for more D-prospects.