When it comes to evaluating prospects, the accepted time frame is 5 years; five seasons after a player is drafted, signed as a minor league free agent or begins his career with a PTO. That’s when we can begin to view a player as a bust or a contributing hockey player. Before the five year window closes? We watch the arrows, good and bad.

If we adopt the 5 year view, then we can safely look at the 2008 entry draft when this season ends and make the call. Here’s what I see:

  • #22 overall: Jordan Eberle. Home run. An absolute out of the park on a rope big fly. Jordan Eberle represents extreme value for any organization and he was drafted deep into the first round. I don’t think you can count on that kind of return often. Ranks 2nd in NHL goals among players chosen in 2008’s draft.
  • #103 overall: Johan Motin. Safely back in Sweden now after playing in one NHL game. Once the first 100 names are called in any draft, I don’t think we can expect "NHL regulars" to crop up often. Motin was not a successful draft pick, but he was not a major disappointment either. I’d say his cost/benefit is about equal. No check mark for the scouting staff, but not black mark either.
  • #133 overall: Phil Cornet. Has played in 2 NHL games and has scored 34 AHL goals in his last 96 games at that level. As with Motin, Cornet is neither a positive or a negative; unlike Motin, Cornet is still in the organization and still has a chance at an NHL career (although not a strong one).
  • #163 overall: Teemu Hartikainen. Harski is (imo) a positive check mark for the organization’s scouts no matter how this turns out. For a club to grab a player this deep in any draft and get 47 (and counting) games in the NHL is quite rare. Give NHL scouts credit, most of the good players are gone by selection 100. Hartikainen’s GP total ranks 45th among players chosen in 2008–that’s mid-2nd round.

The club also drafted Jordan Bendfeld deep in the draft, but he was an organizational pick and barely made it to the AHL (26 games).

Overall, I’d say the 2008 draft was a terrific success. Eberle is now a quality regular in the NHL, Hartikainen is pushing for a regular job, Cornet is still in there trying and Motin got into a game before heading back home. The downside is that they didn’t have a 2nd or 3rd rd pick, but scouts don’t make those decisions and must play the hand that is dealt them.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

We have to wait a year before being able to evalue 2009, and the other drafts are years away from reaching the 5-year completion point. However, we can follow the arrows:

  • 2009: Magnus Paajarvi’s emergence this season serves as a cautionary tale in regard to judging a draft too soon. Paajarvi appears to have turned a corner, and if he ends up having a quality career then the 2009 draft will look better than it did even six months ago. Anton Lander is still pushing for employment and we know the organization remains high on him. Top 100 selections who did not deliver include Troy Hesketh and Cameron Abney, with the Kyle Bigos story still to be written. Picks outside the top 100 (Toni Rajala, Olivier Roy) are still working their way up the pro depth charts and we’ll certainly know more a year from now.
  • 2010: Taylor Hall was a worthy #1 overall selection, but the second round picks have been disappointing for the most part. Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton have battled injury, and their offense didn’t come with them to pro hockey. Only an incredible turnaround in the final year of their entry level deals can save them from oblivion. Martin Marincin is a second round pick who has played well at the pro level, and Ryan Martindale seems to be finding the range in the AHL too. After pick 100, Tyler Bunz, Brandon Davidson and Kristians Pelss are showing promise.

There are good and bad arrows from the 2011 and 2012 drafts, but it is much too soon to make sweeping statements about any of the prospects beyond the two #1 overall selections.


The 2008 draft is a success, 2009 is looking better with a year to go and 2010 should give the Oilers one or two helpers to go with Taylor Hall. Is that enough? The future will decide, but from here it looks like the 2010 entry draft will fall well short of what some of us felt it would accomplish.

The Oilers badly need some of these defensive prospects to cash. Among the group that includes Marincin, Klefbom, Gernat, Musil, Simpson, Davidson, Gustafsson, Bigos and Laleggia the club will need at least a couple useful players and maybe one or two tradeable assets.

We wait.

  • RexLibris

    Pitlick and Hamilton are, in my opinion, tracking to be prospects determined in years 6 and 7. Injuries and league adjustments, as well as getting the short end of the stick this season when it comes to ice-time because of the lock-out, has probably delayed them significantly.

    The good news is that the development system is now set up to maximize any available potential. The bad news is that the forwards-with-size issue may not be resolved internally, and this raises questions about the ability of the scouts to identify those players.

    Looking over draft picks and relative values for each recently, the 2nd round is where good teams can make hay. The Canadiens have put together a very nice collection of prospects from this range over the past few years. The Oilers, less so. If there were an area of amateur procurement that needs addressing, this may be the best one on which to focus. That and goaltending scouting.

  • wiseguy

    Can we always ascertain whether it was a scouting/drafting failure or a player development failure? There are so many other factors that affect a player between getting drafted and playing in the NHL including team needs. For example, would hartski have played 47 NHL games if he was drafted by Pittsburgh?
    Its a nature vs. nurture discussion. Outside if the ridiculously talented top 5 picks, I would say that nurturing is more important than the skills they possess at age 17.

    • RexLibris

      I agree. Development can make something out of a half-decent prospect, and lack thereof can ruin even the most promising of young players. You need the talent to be there for some players (an elite core of skilled players) but you also have to have a development system that can churn out those coveted depth players crucial to championship teams.

      Ideally you want to have a system in place that complements the two. The Oilers are trying in the way they use Mike Sillinger and integrate the scouting data with men like MacGregor, Musil and company. But there is still work to be done.

      Montreal and Detroit have, off the top of my head, the strongest scouting regimes going right now, in my opinion.

    • GVBlackhawk

      This is a very valid point. To further add to it, I would argue that injury (i.e. bad luck) often plays a vital role in player development. Scouts cannot predict or prevent injuries.

      • Lowetide

        Very true. It’s difficult for a scouting staff to overcome an injury to a high profile selection, however.

        One of the main reasons Kevin Prendergast lost his job was the 2007 entry draft, and Alex Plante’s injuries after he was drafted certainly impacted his progress.

        Also, the 2003 drafting of Marc Pouliot is often pointed to as being a disaster, with few remembering his extensive injuries (before and) after the draft.

        So, scouts can’t prevent or predict injuries but they sure as hell pay for them.

        • GVBlackhawk

          Scouts cannot predict injuries is understandable, but past experiences and behaviours carry forward.

          If a guy has a history of getting hurt in the junior ranks/minors………I predict this will carry on into the future.

          If a guy is streaky point getter…….I predict this will carry on into the future. I think that the metrics ( Points, GF, GA etc) used to judge players is not sufficient. There are intangibles at play here and certain teams dig deeper to get a complete player profile including psychological analysis………before they even think of drafting a player.

          If a player has always been a leader ( captain, assistant) throughout his minor/major career, I predict that this player will also be a leader in the future. I think that too many scouts look for the hockey related stuff, at the expense of everything else.

          I’m in favour of the Detroit model that focuses more resources on the intangibles as well as player development, that straight hockey metrics. Scouts do not have to be crystal ball types in trying to figure out whether a player will be injury prone, but a good and complete evaluation system will help uncover these types of things.

          • Lowetide

            I agree there are all kinds of factors. Zack Stortini was a captain the Oilers drafted and his career lasted until his third NHL coach and that was it (because of foot speed).

            There are organizations that would have kept Gager in junior and spent 07-08 and maybe 08-09 using Cogliano in the ‘young C’ role before bringing Gagner along.

            It’s all part of it.

    • OilersBrass

      I disagree, though it maybe semantics. If you don’t have it you can nurture as much as you want and you will get no where. No matter how much you nurtured Reddox or Pouliot and even had two guys that wanted to and tried hard to learn, they just did not have it.

      Or sometime you get a Bonsignor who did not seem to care.

      So you need the skill, you need the attitude, only then can you nurture.

  • OilersBrass

    I think before getting a new GM the Oilers need some new scouts.
    They’ve made some good picks in the first rounds, but anyone can pick out a skilled player to draft for a first round. All they have to do is look at a freaking scouting report.

    • RexLibris

      I disagree, the scouts are fine. But they just hired someone to replace Billy Moores so they must have been unhappy with his performance. Let’s see what happens with the new head of development coach and if the plans they have for the kids improves for the kids coming up now.

      • OilersBrass

        Right now their line up is made up of MOSTLY all first round picks. They have hardly had any players out of the first round that have made the team, and stayed on the team. That doesn’t translate well for the scouts.
        I know it’s a hit and miss sometimes when drafting players, but they have scouted and made some horrible picks.

        • OilersBrass

          Hamilton was a +48 after his draft year and put up 26-56-82pts in 62gms. Tyler Pitlick managed 27-35-62pts in 56gms and had some trouble adjusting from collegiate hockey to junior but as the year went on he started to play really well. Both were trending well until they hit the Oiler organization. They aren’t exactly the only cases of players who trended well until they reached the Oilers organization. At some point the development team has to take responsibility for the lack of progress with these kids. The scouts jobs end at the drafting table. What happens afterwards is the responsibility of the development department and ultimately the management team who hires them.

          • OilersBrass

            I agree with you except you need roster spots for young up and coming players to fight for………I’m talking about the Barons here.

            Our problem is we have turned our farm team into a dumping zone for all of Tamby’s, failed experiments. I believe we have 49 of 50 NHL contracts ……….with no room for entry level contracts? Just how do you bring in young players for development……….when we have a train wreck for senior management?

  • RexLibris wrote:

    Pitlick and Hamilton are, in my opinion, tracking to be prospects determined in years 6 and 7. Injuries and league adjustments, as well as getting the short end of the stick this season when it comes to ice-time because of the lock-out, has probably delayed them significantly.

    They won’t have that luxury. Their ELC’s expire next summer, and if they haven’t delivered something by then the Oilers simply won’t have room to qualify them.

    Both guys have a year to prove that they’re worth signing. At this point, they aren’t.

    • MarcusBillius

      I get the feeling that Pitlick improves a bit on his 32 points in 62 games in his rookie AHL season. Probably around 45 points, maybe as high as low 50s. Do you think that would be enough?

      • He actually only had 23 points in his rookie season.

        I’m less worried about offence – since Pitlick is one of those ‘range of skills’ players – than I am proximity to the NHL roster. If Pitlick isn’t playing well enough to be in the mix for a callup next season, cut him loose. My guess? ~40 points and a physical game gets him in the conversation.

    • RexLibris

      I agree. Pitlick, as is mentioned in these comments, is a “toolsy” player and I believe has the intelligence and awareness to grasp the necessity of changes to his game.

      I’m just not convinced that he’ll do it with the Oilers. He sort of reminds me of Josh Green, someone who may take some time to really come into his own.

      Hamilton will likely not become an NHL player.

      When considering that Bigos, Reider, Ewanyk and Gernat will all have to be added to the contract list in a few months, I think that room will be made via Plante, Hamilton and perhaps Abney.

      I suppose it is very easy and comfortable for us to sit and pass judgement on those picks three years out, but as has been mentioned, the scoring suggested that both were good prospects at the time.

      This is something I have been trying to press home when discussing prospects with fans at other sites. The numbers may look encouraging for a time, but prospects development is never linear.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Looks like 2010 is disappointing, really thought Pitlick would be a player. Still time but the arrows are trending downwards with most of that draft. It’s scary to think no one is coming up in the oilers organization to fill holes right now. My dog could have picked hall, nuge and yak. This is a big year for the scouting staff with 3 picks in the top 2 rounds in a deep draft.

    • Mike Modano's Dog

      I’m just having fun with you (as you made some really good points) but my dog would have picked Seguin, Landeskog and Galchenyuk at the time. 😉

          • DSF

            No I’m not Jon.

            My picks in the first round since the last lockout would have been:

            2007 – Voracek, Blum, Perron

            2008 – Eberle

            2009 – Kulikov

            2010 – Seguin

            2011- Huberdeau

            2012 – Galchenyuk

            Looks like Blum is a miss but I think that team would be pretty competitive.

          • Dawn

            MY GOD! Somebody hire this guy!

            He’s a freak of nature! With a gift for spotting talent! It freaks me out that he can do all of this AND jump to pump for DOMO! It’s a crime when talent like that goes un-utilized!

          • justDOit

            Actually, Seguin was a very good center in junior, but has been put on the wing in Boston because of the depth of that club.

            And who he would have drafted doesn’t take away from FA signings. So in theory, Belanger would be in that list as well.

  • Word to the Bird

    Agree that selecting Eberle at 22 in 08 makes that a good draft. Hartikanen has greatly out produced his draft slot and may have an NHL career. That is a good job. A terrfic draft would be Colorado’s in 09 a pair of top 2 centres ready to play immediately. Beyond the 08 draft, there is nothing that points to Stu McGregors draft picks being anything special. Nothing. That was, of course, what the Oilers sold us on the rebuild, ie the Oiler Plan. We will use all of our draft picks to fully stock our roster.

    The draft pick forwards, outside of th 1st round have been universally disappointing with Lander being the best of the bunch and he cannot score at either level :AHL or NHL.

    So now, notwithstanding that the forwards outside of the first round have underwhelmed, we are “sold” that the D prospects will all develop, be top notch and push for NHL employment. They may, but off of the track record of the forwards underperforming, that seems unlikely.

    Defense also takes longer to develop.

  • geeker99

    Lowetide, I have beena bit dissapointed in Eberle lately. If he is not scoring there is not much to his game. Don’t get me wrong I am long way from giving up on him. Just saying I would like to see him have a bit more try when things aren’t going in for him.I am glad that the kid line got split up.until we get puck moving d-men let the vets get punished in the corners. Save some shoulders till these kids become men.

    • Lowetide

      I think Eberle had a lot of things go right this season and those things have not gone his way this year. The problem now is that he has an enormous contract and may not deliver another 76 point season during it.

      For me, he’ll be fine. I think you’ll see lots of people turn on him but he’s about where I said he’d be here

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Eberle. He’ll be fine.

  • Citizen David

    Next year will tell a lot more about how our scouts have done as we will get to see what Rieder, Gernat, and Musil look like at the next level. I’ve given up on Pitlick and Hamilton. Martindale’s hanging on by a thread. I still have hope for Lander. Marincin will be a good second pairing defenseman in his prime. Hope we get to see him and Gernat be the two towers. Wouldn’t mind adding Zadorov to make our future D absolutely beastly.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Oilers missed on Taffoli, Saad and Jenner in the second round their drafting still sucks other than 1st overalls… I’m worried about this year too if they finish between 7th to 10th.

  • Word to the Bird

    I think that scouts ( especially head scouts) take their marching orders from senior management based upon the type of team management wants to build.

    I recall Lowe ( when he was the GM) telling the faithful that times have changed and the new rules will favour small fast players. He repeated this a few times, and it seems the direction the scouting staff went was for smaller faster type players. In fact over the last six years we have concentrated on small fast hockey players at the expense of bigger power forward types.

    Our scouting record under past and present scouts are still following this edict from senior management. Until that changes we can expect more skill coming our way at the expense of size…………we know how this story ends.

  • OilersBrass

    The Oilers will have some interesting descisions to make. Moroz and Ewanyk need ELC’s. If they choose to pass on Ewanyk he’ll make a great pick up if he decides to go the University route. Tough kid who probably would benefit from a program like U of A or UNB. I think sometimes were better off pushing these kids in the NCAA and CIS direction after we have drafted them.Rather than push them directly into the NHL or AHL. The benefits to a kid like Reider would be enormous. I think 4 years at a NCAA school would do him good. Look at some of the players who have come out of the University ranks, Horcoff. Justin Shultz. Tom Gilbert. The time in University is well spent on skills development.But the key is the time spent on social development. Defining themselves not only as players but as men. That growth at the University is huge in terms of maturity. I would like the Oilers to really make a push with their draftees to attend the University or Collegiate hockey level rather than turn pro at 18 -20.The WHL ensure a full ride if you play 4 years in the WHL. Why not take advantage of that rather then toiling for a chance at NHL stardom in the AHL when your 20 years old. The players who make it are few and far between at that age anyway. If we push to ensure the kids go to school at 18 we ensure complete physical and mental maturity by the time the player leaves school with an education in hand that will serve him longer than a NHL career will for most players. We need a more thoughtful approach to development. The AHL is a mens league. It isn’t right to put 18-20 year old players in with 25-30 year old guys and then hope they develope into something worthwhile down the road.The Oilers need a farm team. Yes. But they would be better served by ensuring that there draftees go to school and develop,than be thrown into something that is way above and beyond most of these young men. Hamilton and Pitlick would have been both better served by 4 years of University hockey. Especially Pitlick.

  • Word to the Bird

    Follow up. An example of what I was saying is Dillon Simpson who the Oilers drafted and id playing at the University of North Dakota. He is in his 3rd year after being drafted in the 2011 draft. He has 23 point this season. Perfect example of what to do with a player. Leave him at school and let him develop into a mature player. You’ll know what you’ll be getting after 4 years. Its so much better for everyone.

  • Word to the Bird

    The oilers could same a lot of money if they let their scouting staff go and just buy a copy of the hockey news draft magazine.I think it is just as accurate.

  • Word to the Bird

    We actually did quite well at the 2008 draft. Only 5 picks and only 1 within the top 100. Our first rounder wasn’t even in the obvious range. Eberle was obviously a steal and Teemu has already met his draft bet. I think if you can come away with 2 actualy NHL players in a draft, then you are at least doing something right.

    • Word to the Bird

      You are talking about one year here……..what about the rest of the years, not so much to talk about there.

      The whole argument about BPA is so laughable, as if it is infallible. I’m with Nunyour…….just buy the TSN draft edition, fire all the scouts, and invest the money in your farm team development program.

  • GVBlackhawk

    I think we look too hard for the bottom of the roster players at the draft. If you draft the BPA, you can trade to fix holes later. Shoot them all and let god figure them out. For example why draft moroz when you can take colberg. There’s a chance he could be a gem, and even if he isn’t, he will at least be worth a Brown, Eager, ect down the road. I understand the thought is Lucic, but there’s only one of him.

    I also think size is overvalued. I would rather draft offence, and try to teach them to be physical, and defensively reliable. Instead we draft big players who may one day be able to pot six points a season. I don’t understand the logic.

  • OilersBrass

    With no 2nd or 3rd round pick in 2008 to judge I think Eberle and Hartikainen make that year a success. Eberle alone probably makes that year a success. Too much talent there not to.

    2009 draft class shows some promise. Paajarvi and Lander seem like they will be able to make the grade, but Rajala, Roy, Bigos (gotta get him signed) and even Abney still got a shot. Abney not so much, but Rajala and Bigos could really make 2009 respectable.

    2010 is a key draft year for me. Hall, well, “Franchise Player.” But, the key with this draft year is with the latter picks. I think there are two keys to this draft and that’s not taking anything away from the importance of Bunz and Marincin developing into NHL players. If Pitlick and Pelss reach their potential they will fill important roster spots on the bottom six.

    Pelss has got some moxie and plays with an edege. Ask the guy he two handed in the head in the ECHL. That aside, if he can score 15 goals and play crazy hockey in the show that’s a win. A steal of a pick he could be.

    Pitlick is big, strong, power forward type player. When he plays he does a lot of things right. Hits, skates hard and shoots a decent shot. His AHL career hasn’t been a bang, but I think more maturity will do wonders for him. I really hope he turns the corner. The Blue need this type of guy.

  • DSF

    Pitlick and Hamilton are older draftees and as a result very young for AHL .

    They should have played one more year in junior as overagers.Oilers rushed them.

    They seem to be taking the slow route with Marcinin who wasn’t getting a lot of time earlier.I don’t know about now but his boxes are very good and if oilers start to tank he probably will get a look.

    Rieder should be signed soon or he is going back in draft if they don’t move.

  • DSF

    We have conjectured for some time that DSF is actually Wanye drumming up business for the site……I have new theory….is it possible that we’re right about the dual personality, we’ve just got the players wrong…………when NewAgeSys takes his meds….he becomes DSF ?!?!?

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Agreed. Drafting is but a cog in the wheel. Development is the problem. Edmonton was a skill deteriorating hole in the 90s and early 2000s.

    Why else do we keep sending cast-offs to Detroit and they then turn out to be useful? Examples: Maltby, Devereaux, Cleary….

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Out of the D prospects I think we will see Klefbom Gernat Marincin and Musil in the Oilers jerseys the longest (150+ games). Simpson Bigos Laleggia and Gustafsson I think we play for the Oilers at some point and the reach will be Davidson.

    The players I think the Oil current D need (based on playing styles)the most right now is Klefbom Marincin and Bigos. Klefbom hopefully brings that two way game and is a replacment for Whitney (assuming he is gone) Marincin I see as a elder Schultz comparable with a little more offence and Bigos obviously your 12 minutes a night guy that plays 2+ mins on the PK. YES I KNOW THEY CANT STEP IN AND TAKE THOSE CERTAIN PLAYERS SPOTS RIGHT NOW THEY STILL NEED TIME TO DEVELOPE.

    If Smid is gone come next year does Musil take a big step and make the big club? He seems to be best compaired to Smid.