The First Pick of the Fourth Round

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The Oilers’ second pick at the 2014 NHL Draft – barring trades, which we’re doubtless going to see – will be at the very start of the fourth round. What kind of player might they be looking at there?

The Pick

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The 91st overall pick originally belonged to Buffalo, and was traded to Minnesota last year as part of the Wild’s acquisition of Jason Pominville:

  • To Minnesota: Jason Pominville, fourth round pick (No. 91, 2014).
  • To Buffalo: Johan Larsson, Matt Hackett, first round pick (No. 16, 2013), second round pick (No. 49, 2014).

Edmonton got the pick when it traded goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Wild. The Wild had both the Sabres’ pick and their own (No. 109) and apparently Craig MacTavish was able to insist on getting the higher fourth round selection in the deal.

Note: Edmonton’s official website has this listed as the No. 94 pick, not the No. 91 selection. I’m not sure as to the reason and as best I can figure, No. 91 should be the correct number here, but presumably the team knows what picks it has. 

Craig’s List

Craig Button’s final list for the 2014 NHL Draft came out on Tuesday, and it gives us a pretty good idea of the kind of player the Oilers might be able to land with that fourth round pick. I’ll be looking at a half-dozen players Button has ranked from 86-100 to illustrate the kind of talent available.

No. 86 Daniel Audette. The 5’8”, 177 pound Daniel is the son of 5’8”, 192 pound Donald Audette, who put up 509 points in 735 career NHL games. The younger Audette is a centre who NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr describes thusly:

“He’s a skilled offensive player with good awareness and smarts distributing the puck. He’s poised and clever and can create scoring chances; he’s quick to take advantage of opportunities. He’s got a very good shot, and is able to handle himself well in battles and can skate the puck through traffic.

Audette had 76 points in 68 games in the QMJHL this season; nobody else on his team had more than 44.

No. 88 Hunter Smith. Listed at 6’7”, 208 pounds, Smith had a breakthrough year in the OHL, jumping from one assist in 30 games up to 40 points in 64 contests this season. He’s technically an overage player (his birthday is September 11, 1995, meaning he was just barely eligible for the 2013 Draft) but understandably he was passed over last summer. In an interview with Yahoo! he showed a pretty good understanding of what he needs to do:

At 6’ 7”, I’m going to have to own the front of the net. That’s got to be my office… Speed, quickness, will be the main things I focus on for the next 3-4 years. That’s going to make or break me on whether I can jump to the next level. Strength will come. I am 18 years old. By the time I’m 22, I’m going to be pretty strong but it depends on how quick I’ll be.

No. 89 Connor Chatham. I’ll just quote the excellent OHL Prospects blog here:

Chatham… had only 5 goals in his first 33 games. The physical component to his game was there during that time, but he looked timid offensively and was not very effective with the puck. He slowly improved over the season though and as his confidence blossomed, so did his offensive contribution. In the final 26 games of the year (including playoffs), Chatham had 11 goals, and 10 assists. He used his size (6’3, 225lbs) to drive the net hard and became a very effective offensive player off the rush because he’s also a solid skater for a big man. The only negative thing for me is that as he got better offensively, I found him to be less engaged physically. Like any power forward prospect, he’ll need to find a way to use his size and tenacity away from the puck to fuel his offensive game with more consistency

Chatham finished the year with 31 points in 54 games after being wooed into abandoning his commitment to the University of Denver.

No. 90 Lucas Wallmark. Like Smith, Wallmark is technically an overage player (September 5, 1995 birthday) but this year he impressed at the World Juniors (eight points in seven games) and managed 10 points in 41 games playing against men in the Swedish Hockey League, which is excellent production for a player his age. The Elite Prospects scouting report makes him sound like a born Red Wing – great brains, vision, defence and faceoff ability – but it also notes subpar skating.

No. 91 Pavel Jenys. The 6’3”, 192 pound Jenys has a projectable frame and scored 0.50 goals per game at the U-20 level in the Czech Republic last season (he scored just twice in 29 games at the senior level). Elite Prospects describes a player with a hard shot who likes going to the tough areas of the ice but whose effort level flags from game to game.

No. 99 Nikita Lyamkin. The Russian defenceman has a projectable frame (6’4”) but hasn’t come close to filling it out yet (175 pounds). He came over to the QMJHL to play for Chicoutimi this season – despite not speaking a word of French or English – and has been taking language classes to get caught up. He was a point-per-game defender for Russia at the U-18’s. Sportsnet provided the following scouting report last October:

[H]e is a smart, physical defender who keeps it simple with the puck and simply wins battles in his own end. A tournament all-star at last year’s under-17s, the Russian projects as a rock-solid shutdown defender who can put up big minutes. He’ll likely never be a big point producer, but he is a good skater and teams can never have too many quality defencemen.

There are a pile of guys I’ve skipped over – physically gifted prospects playing high school hockey, sons of NHL’ers putting up lousy numbers, unremarkable scorers in major junior – but I think the list is basically what we’d expect: potentially useful players with significant warts.

There’s no point in evaluating how a player fits with team need this far down in the draft – the only sensible course of action is to grab the guy with the best shot of making it to the NHL because the majority of the players here won’t.

From the basic numbers we have, that guy is probably either Audette or Wallmark. Audette’s father made it at the same size and the son seems to have been the one and only offensive option on his team – and to have delivered remarkable numbers in that role. Wallmark, meanwhile, survived in a very tough SHL at a very young age, and posted pretty solid scoring numbers there; his skating is something to worry about but a two-way forward with that kind of offence in that league at that age seems awfully impressive.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Young Oil

    I like Hunter Smith(RW) or Keegan Iverson (C/RW) for their 2nd and 3rd picks and then Ty Edmunds (G) with their next pick. There isn’t alot out there for UFA RWs and the Oilers RW prospect cupboard is bare.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Another site has oilers drafting @91 – KAAOPO KAHKONEN from Liga 6ft-186lbs.. Would Tri Cities Parker Bowles be an option.? I’d like to see oilers draft 5Ft.9 in . 175lbs Jaedon Deschaneau ( a local boy ) who put up 95 points playing with Reinhart. Virtanen speaks highly of him and Reinhart being to much for Calgary to handle . at 137 I like Nicholas Aube-Kubel @ 5Ft. 11 in. – Voyagers . At 111 perhaps Christian Jones (D)Lulea @ 6ft. 4 in -205 lbs. or Eutu Sopanen @ 6feet 4 in.- 212lbs .

  • Young Oil

    Oiler nation is abound with speculation as it should be… After the first round unless The Oil can capture a #2 round pick—- the Draft table should be turned over to Stu MacGregor and staff. These guys have seen these player play-more than once–and the brass need to stay out of the discussions. I also think that the European Scouts should get full attention as we just may find some Euro-diamonds in the rough from them. And please-senior oil management get on the same page before the draft table.

  • Young Oil

    Until the Oil clean house at the top I have zero confidence in any drafting they do, including their pick at #3. Sorry but history gives me no reason think otherwise. The organization is a train wreck and quite honestly I can not see any hope as long as current management is in place. Dallas fires their GM and some how lands Nill and we get retreads like Mac T. What a joke. Look at the Dallas NHL, farm team roster and look at ours. Sorry no comparison. This is a complete joke of a management team.
    Six rings must go ! Time to clean house at the top. Failing this we are going now where for years to come.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    If the Oilers draft a guy that will not play and contribute this fall they must flip the pick for an NHL player that can help us get better and make the playoffs in 10 months. My patience is just about running out. Other teams turned around faster. Except the lameass SPoilers. ENOUGH!

  • Brad 21

    People think that we are picking a long shot in the 4th round but we have had quite a few 4th rounders pan out. Glenn Anderson,Jari Kurri,Jaroslav Pouzar,Esa Tikkanen and don’t forget Shawn Horcoff. The gems are there you just have to find them. By the way can we bring back the scouts we had in the 80’s doh.

    • Spydyr

      Today I doubt the scouting staff make any calls that are listened to other than best player available in rd 1 . The only thing I am pretty sure about this year is we will take the wrong guy with our 3 rd pick and Calgary will pick next and get another Monaghan. I want nothing to do with Draisatl as I think there are questions on his toughness and competitiveness, I fear another Steve Kelly but it already looks like the Oilers have another man crush going on with Leon.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        Ok scout, let’s see these “questions”, and even IF, and that is a huge if as it has already been said in the media MANY times that this type of comment is pure BS. Do you know who else had questions in his draft year – Ryan Getzlaf, hmmm tell me how that worked out.

        • You’re right, my bad. I am just so pissed at the Oiler’s management inability to get anything right when it comes to coaching or personnel moves. Lately it has been mostly coaching and management with Lowe ,Eakins and the asst coaches along with how they coach in general.

  • camdog

    It’s actually rare for the second round to have 30 players drafted. Usually there are 31.

    From Hockey’s Future

    “What are the exceptions to the ’30 players per round’ rule?
    The league will award a compensatory pick to a team that made a bona fide offer to a former first-round selection, but was unable to sign them to an NHL entry-level deal. The team is compensated with a second-round pick for an upcoming draft in the exact same selecting position as when the player was originally drafted. For example, if a club drafts a player fifth overall, but is unable to sign that player despite making a bona fide contract offer, then the club will be awarded the fifth pick in the second round of a subsequent NHL Draft.”

    Don’t know if there are 3 compensatory draft picks for 2014, sounds a little high, but possible.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    ^ya. all this “he’s another Steve Kelly or Jason Bonsignore” stuff is getting a little tiresome! the mystery has been taken out of this draft for the Oilers, who, unless the trade the pick, will take Draisaitl at #3. so some start to pick at his play and start to get themselves worked up about it. he’s big and every bit as offensively gifted as any other player in the top 5 and would fill a big need at center for us.

  • Wow, slow news day. So with Hemsky refusing Ottawa, does anyone see potential for a big free agent grab? Hemsky, Heatly, Penner. None are centres, but you could really pepper those guys throughout the line up and build a legit team.

    • Randaman

      What about signing Hemsky and trading for Spezza. They were dynamite together. Add Perron to that line? This is not as stupid an idea as some suggestions I have seen. Oh ya, trade Gagner ASAP

      • I would give parts of myself not needed for survival to get Spezza here. I would worry he’d bolt after next year and we’d lose him and the traded asset for nothing ala the Islanders and Vanek. I like where your head is at though and I too think it can not only be done, but would make the team better.

        What about Ebs and our first this year for Spezza and their first?

        I’m thinking if we could resign Hemsky and maybe one more RW free agent, then our line up looks kind of like this:

        Hall Nuge Hemsky

        Perron Spezza Yak

        ? (say maybe Heatly or Penner) Gagner ? (say either Winnik or Downie)

        Hendricks Gordon Lander

        Or, if you could keep Ebs and trade Yak, that’s even better.

        Hall Nuge Ebs

        Perron Spezza Hemsky

        Heatly Gagner Winnik

        Hendricks Gordon Pitlick

        That’s a pretty good forward core.

    • Tikkanese

      Hemsky? Even though I like him, he is more of the same(small forward) in the top 9 that the Oilers need to change the makeup of.

      Penner? Not with his history with MacT. Not with his healthy scratches at age 31 because he still doesn’t get it and is out of shape.

      Heatley?!? Do you not know the history of his brief association with the Oilers? Not to mention he is bad at hockey now.

      Wow.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I have an idea that may help our oilers in making the playoff, let get our goalie to eat so he can get extra huge than he can cover the whole net than our forwards and defence man can relax and just play sloppy hockey. JK relax

    • Spydyr

      Not necessarily . Isles only lose that 5th round pick if Boyle sign with them for next season (bargaining rights only at this time ) . We may have offered more , but then what are the chances Boyle would have resigned here ? We don’t know , maybe Oilers do .