I like to collect draft stories, and over the years the Oilers have had some funny ones. Here are a few you might find amusing.
- Glen Sather: "Edmonton had a rivalry with Calgary for years and we never made any deals with them. I heard they were going to pick a Scottish player, Tony Hand, in the last pick of the draft, and I knew it because our scouts had been talking to their scouts. We ended up picking him one pick ahead of Calgary just to piss them off."
- Fact: Sather was telling a story. Hand was in fact the last player selected in the 1986 NHL entry draft. Calgary didn’t have a pick after Hand was selected. Good story, though.
FIRST NHL DRAFT PICK–MAKE IT OR DEAL DOWN?
In 1979, the Oilers had the 21st overall selection (final pick in round 1) and their draft board was setting up pretty well. A player they had ranked #10 overall was still available, but the Atlanta Flames were offering #23 and another pick later in the draft for him.
Fraser and the Oilers kept the pick and selected Kevin Lowe.
That 21st overall selection–if dealt–could have gathered a very famous NHL player.
Scouting services were not convinced Ales Hemsky had the gumption to stand in against tough NHL defenders (and lord knows he was tested over the years). Redline Report said he had ‘no balls’ and The Hockey News scouting profile referenced it too.
- THN: When scouts talk about Ales Hemsky, they mention Martin Havlat in the same breath for good reason. They’re both from the Czech Republic and are highly skilled wingers. Hemsky is a top notch puck carrier who can reach top speed in a few quick strides. He handles the puck with poise and confidence and is such a good stick handler he’s often double teamed. “He has great skills,” said a scout. “He is a typical European winger with good hands, good skills, great skater. Size is an issue but we all knocked Havlat a little too. He is very creative.” Hemsky has a quick and accurate shot. He had 100 regular season points and led Hull in playoff scoring with 5 points in 5 games. The knock on him, however, is that he is a soft player. “He could be a Martin Straka or a Havlat,” said a scout. “I’d take a flyer on him.”