OILERS AND THE Q

Some of the very best men to wear an Oilers uniform have come to our city from the Quebec League. The first pick in Oilers NHL history (Kevin Lowe), high flying Ales Hemsky and the legendary Georges Laraque were all drafted from the QMJHL. Edmonton clearly has a Q player on their radar this season, too.

Mikhail Grigorenko plays for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL and has been touted as one of the very best players available in this year’s draft. Proof? Look no further than the Edmonton Oilers invite list: Grigorenko is in Edmonton tonight for a visit with the Oilers brass (tomorrow) and to take a tour similar to the one Nail Yakupov took earlier this week.

Oiler fans know well that the Oilers do everything for a reason, so Yakupov’s early visit suggests he is the front runner. Still, a big, strong and skilled center like Mikhail Grigorenko would look very good in an Oilers lineup.

  • Corey Pronman: “He’s (Grigorenko) an exceptionally gifted player who can control the flow of a hockey game seemingly at will with elite puck skills, vision, offensive creativity, and overall hockey sense. He makes high level dekes seem effortless and is the kind of player who is able to slow the game down to his pace rather than try to keep up with it. His ability as a playmaker is really special as he is the classic “eyes in the back of his head” type of player who consistently makes high-level reads quickly and effectively. Grigorenko’s hand skills allow him to keep the puck away from pursuers very well and when he’s setting up in open ice, the chances of a defender being able to cleanly check him is low.”

THE OILERS AND THE Q

Since Stu MacGregor took over as scouting director in time for the 2008 draft, Edmonton has shopped heavily in the CHL Fully half of the MBS picks since 2008 have come from the Canadian juniors. However, the QMJHL represents only 3 of 16 CHL selections and none of them were at featured points in the draft:

  • D Jeremie Blain, 91st overall in 2010
  • G Olivier Roy, 133rd overall in 2009
  • L Phil Cornet, 133rd overall in 2008

Although these are picks outside the impact area of the draft, boy Roy and Cornet earned pro contracts and Cornet has played at the NHL level. Roy is progressing very nicely and could end up being an exceptional value for Edmonton.

A quick note: The television series Oil Change had a really nice segment about amateur scout Bill Dandy and his first draft with the Oilers. The story is here, but I’d suggest watching it, that story is probably a big reason why a guy like Bill Dandy works so hard in what must be a tough job many nights.

POSSIBLE Q TARGETS

  • Martin Frk: Skill winger with a good shot and some grit. Frk is 6.0, 198 with the downside being foot speed. He has what Kirk Luedeke described as a "thick body and a lot of natural strength" a year ago. He doesn’t really sound like an Oiler pick–speed being an issue–but the club is no doubt looking for some grit and Frk has enough skill to project as an actual player. Lost playing time with a serious concussion early in the season, another down arrow.
  • Dillon Fournier: Defender with plenty of offense should get a lot of interest at the draft. Plus skater and puck mover, he had some shoulder problems this season. LH, but Corey Pronman saw him playing right side which is a small plus arrow.  He seems to have some chaos in his game, but I haven’t read anything that makes me believe he’s the second coming of Marc-Andre Bergeron.
  • Thomas Hyka: Small winger is a speed burner and an interesting skill player. Scored 64 points in 50 games this past season and had an NHL team interested in him before the year began. The Oilers have drafted some smaller forwards during the MBS era (Cornet, Rieder) but this fellow is really small.
  • Francis Beauvillier: Interesting player, I’ve adopted him as a player to follow at the draft. He’s a stringbean and doesn’t appear to be a feature player, but he scored 16 even-strength goals in 67 games (tied for 2nd on the team). He’s a terrific skater and apparently played quite a bit on the PK. Might be worth a later selection.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers can’t exactly shout their entire draft list from the rooftops, but Mikhail Grigorenko is clearly a player of interest at the top of the draft. The last time the Oilers plucked a Q player in round one, it was Marc Pouliot in 2003. Grigorenko is obviously on a different level, and could be a major addition to the Oilers already ridiculous group of young skill forwards.

PREVIOUSLY IN THE SERIES

Up next: The 30 best players in the 2012 draft.

  • justDOit

    The BJs are picking in the 31st spot, according to wiki.

    Grigorenko was a player who initially looked like a first overall pick, but his ranking slipped with that bout of mono, I think. I would not be sad if Tambo stepped up to the lectern and spoke Grig’s name, but I’m not sure that I like him at 1st.

  • Reg Dunlop

    If the draft gets delayed a few weeks we might get Grig in the 2nd round. He is dropping faster than dung from a tall cow. Is hepatitas curable? Ya, momo, hepatitas, whatever. Stay away, stay far away.

  • Grigorenko has the most elite vision vision and hockey sense of all the draft class. The only question that comes into play is the few scouts who question the odd off night.

    I do still think Yakupov is the full package but IF the Oilers were to swing a deal, I want Grigorenko the CENTER not Murray the DEFENCEMEN.

    Our 2nd centermen is a big worry for me on the oilers.

  • You have only listed the upside of Grigorenko. What we have read from other NHL scouts is he takes more than the odd night off. Too often disengaged is how some refer to him. Perhaps this is another description of lazy. Just what the Oilers don’t need.

    I agree with other posters is a good, big, playmaking 2nd line centre is of greater need to the Oilers than Murray. Don’t know if Grigorenko qualifies.

  • justDOit

    To be honest I really dont want a bum Russian on this team. If they dont start with Evgeni or end in Ovechkin then there really isnt a reason to draft a person with as many down arrows as up arrows like Grigorenko. Can Yakupov be as good as the two featured Russians of this league? No cause of his size but he could very well be the next Parise, I think Yakupov sealed the deal with Edmonton with his visit here. Grigorenko is a bum, I would draft a lower ranked Canadian over Grigorenko any day.

  • I’m still in shock we’re even talking about this player instead of Galchenyuk. Grigorenko has dropped on numerous scouts lists. Look back to Jason Gregor’s interview with Mark Edwards from hockey prospect…

    “JG: What are your thoughts on Grigorenko?

    ME: I’m not a fan at all, not a fan at all. He’s got the elite skill, but he doesn’t have that same desire. He would be the polar opposite of Girgensons’ work. Girgensons will go through a brick wall to succeed. I just find flashes of brilliance from Grigorenko but then other times you wouldn’t want to give him another shift.”

    This is the player we’re considering taking over Yakupov… Did we forget his work ethic already? Remember this quote is from Andrey Osadchenko’s article on Nail: in his own words

    “Usually, I go to extra practice when we get two days-off in a row. Why? Because I know that the second day-off won’t do me any good. If I don’t practice for two days in a row, it’s hard for me to get ‘into the game’ the game, you know?”

    Do we want a player who takes every second game off or a player who trains on his day off?

    This draft is making me extremely nervous…

    • book¡e

      Don’t be nervous, the Oilers are just doing their due diligence to get their own measure of the players. There is no way Gregorenko gets chosen ahead of Yakupov.

  • Dear Lowetide,

    Dont ever put up a picture of Peca in an Oilers jersey again. He was to good to us in the short time he was here and seeing that picture just brings up bad memories that should have ended in good memories.

    Thanks,
    Tayranchula

  • I think the whole Grigorenko idea is if he drops in the draft and is still available at 8th or lower and the defenseman the Oilers like are gone, they might trade up to get him.

    Grigorenko is not my choice, Yakupov or Galchenyuk are but Grigorenko just turned 18 in May. Last year he was 17 in a new country, playing in a new league, getting mono at a critical time, he has a ton of talent, interviews well, I can see the appeal and the possibility of if he is still available around 8th the Oilers make a move.

  • Gregorenko wondered why one of the teams at combine asked him to take off his shirt.
    The answer is because he has middle age Potbelly.

    Mr Dithers and Stu can’t really be thinking of drafting this guy?Can they?

  • Dan the Man

    amazing how so many people start making wild ‘accusations’ of Grigorenko based on a few comments.

    Some Scouts NOT several has been concerned about work ethic. Of the popular and higher respected scouts, Grigorenko is ranked higher. Yes, he did drop, but only out of the top 3 as was originally thought,

    To say someone takes every second game off or is a Bum? Seriously guys? This guy has enough skill and talent to make most of those ‘beating down on him’ look pretty stupid in a couple years time.

    Mikhail is a highly inteligent Russian who came to North America to play in the greatest league in the world. He is a big player and almost all big players look slower on the ice when taking those big long strides. Malkin did not have that burst of speed and some his first year back in Russia (when he was still playing there) looked slower and some scouts were worried about the same. I hear Malkin takes games off, I hear OV takes games off. In the end, Grigorenko is a top talent and a awesome Centremen that some team will be thrilled to grab.

    Remember Someone named Sean Couturier? Remember the playoffs? Yeah he was known to be lazy and take nights off, yet put up numbers in a weak QJMHL.

    Yakupov is mostly projected to become a 1st line RW while Grigorenko is projected to be a 2nd line Center. Like Yakupov better, that’s cool, but why say a guy is a bum when you really don’t know a player or watch him. Most accusations are based off what they hear and believe me, very few scouts are saying much bad about Grigorenko.

    Last thought. Do we not trust the ‘Magnificant Bastard’? Well, if he got the invite, he got the interest of the Magnificant bastard as well. Something to think about.

    Did you guys notice how tall he looks walking beside everyone at the airport? The guy is not small by any means. Put on another 15 pounds of muscle over time and he could be scary to get off the puck. Just imagine if he dropped and Pittsburgh grabed him…lol

    Cheers

  • #16 revingev, I would agree with what you have to say here. What I would find interesting is just what teams these “Scouts” who do not like him are from.

    My guess is that they are not from the top 8 teams and perhaps a litte bad press helps create a slide back in the drafting process, making him available to them???

    I have no doubt that this could happen! Just another take on the games that could go on.

  • Dan the Man

    Lazy and taking games off mmmmmm you know people were saying the same thing about Penner and where is he right now?

    I honestly think the Oilers are taking Yakupov 1st no matter what. I don’t see anyone offering a good enough deal to trade it away. However, if Big Grig drops out of the top 5 and to say around 8th, I would think that Edmonton will try to trade thier 2nd rounder and a roster(maybe some extras) to move up and take him. I honestly think this will even out the roster a lot better than a defenseman right now. Murray sounds great and all but the Oilers need a defenseman that can put up points while being good defensively as thats their biggest weakness on defense.

    Schultz I believe is going to be a huge priority.

  • Dan the Man

    The Oilers are not taking Grigerenko, or Forsberg, or Reinhart first overall. They should take Yakupov of course, but they might panic and take Murray instead to fill a defensive hole.
    The other guys are just window dressing.

  • denmanlives

    Please sign Marc Crawford has head coach. Why isn’t he even given any consideration? He can help this team win a Stanley Cup like he did in Colorado in 1996!!!