The Edmonton Oilers continue to build their team via the draft, and increasingly those draft picks are coming from the OHL. How drastic has the change in philosophy been? Pronounced.
RUNNING THE NUMBERS
During the first two entry drafts with Stu MacGregor as scouting director, NHL teams selected 91 kids from the OHL (out of 422), representing 21.56% of the overall draft pool. That number towers over all other leagues, Canadian and elsewhere. The Oilers in those two seasons selected 12 players, none from the Ontario League–which by the way is generally regarded as the best amateur league on the planet.
Since 2010–and this coincided with the #1 trio of selections for the Oilers–we’ve gotten a much different draft map from Mr. MacGregor and his group:
- 2010 NHL draft–Oilers select 11, 2 from the OHL (210 players selected in 2010).
- 2011 NHL draft–Oilers select 9, 1 from the OHL (211 players selected in 2011).
- 2012 NHL draft–Oilers select 11, 2 from the OHL (211 players selected in 2012)
- 2013 NHL draft–Oilers select 10, 2 from the OHL (211 players selected in 2013).
The Oilers went from 0 OHL selections in 2008 and 2009 combined, to 7 picks in years 2010-2013. This may well be random–players are chosen based on merit through the eyes of the scouting staff, and it’s possible that the OHL didn’t appeal to the Oilers in those seasons–however, the OHL itself was very fruitful in those years:
- OHL picks in 2008: 46 (21.8% of the entire draft)
- OHL picks in 2009: 45 (21.3% of the entire draft)
- OHL picks in 2010: 42 (20.0% of the entire draft)
- OHL picks in 2011: 46 (21.8% of the entire draft)
- OHL picks in 2012: 48 (22.7% of the entire draft)
- OHL picks in 2013: 37 (17.5% of the entire draft)
During this 6-year period, there were 1265 players drafted, and 264 (20.8%) came from the OHL. In the two seasons Edmonton didn’t shop in the OHL, they didn’t really have a chance to select the elite OHL guys (Stamkos, Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo, Del Zotto and others in 2008, plus Tavares and DuChene in 2009); in the seasons since, they have taken Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Darnell Nurse at or near the top of the draft and are already seeing value for those selections.
From 2010-2013, the OHL represents 20.5% of the talent taken on draft weekend. Since 2010, the Oilers have chosen 41 players, 7 of them from the OHL (17.1% of their total draft); basically, the Oilers are now close to average in terms of how much talent they are grabbing from the NHL’s most popular procurement league.
WHO ARE THEY?
Oh my. WHAT talent. Since 2010, the Edmonton Oilers have plucked the following talents from the Ontario League:
- Taylor Hall, a young man who has been pushing the river in the NHL for some time. Already.
- Ryan Martindale, a tall drink of water still developing in the AHL (and he may be in his final year with the Oilers organization based on performance).
- Tobias Rieder, a quality prospect recently sent away, Rieder has a chance to be an NHL player if he continues to develop.
- Nail Yakupov, an exceptional talent just getting started; we’re miles from knowing just how good he is. So is he.
- Daniil Zharkov, another explosive Russian player whose story will develop over a few chapters, the latest being a season or two back home in Russia.
- Darnell Nurse, a top drawer two-way defenseman with a complete skill set. We’re just getting to know him, but first impressions have been outstanding. Mature beyond his years, a thinking man’s defenseman. More, please!
- Kyle Platzer, a depth player on a very deep team (this is where hidden gems are found) but we’re not familiar with him so that’s a chapter to come.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The rest of this decade is going to be a wild ride, and the OHL’s contribution promises to be very, very loud. Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Darnell Nurse represent a ridiculous three (in four) year cluster of first round selections, and when added to the WHL, QMJHL and others the future is pretty damn bright.
Up next: the Oilers and the WHL.