BEST. PLAYER. AVAILABLE.

pouliot6

Many moons ago, the Edmonton Oilers passed on drafting Zach Parise. Why? Well, he was a small forward, and the Oilers had several in the system already. They were covered at that spot, no need for overkill. Best player available? NOPE! Marc Pouliot (flying, in photo) and J-F Jacques were the return for the draft pick that New Jersey used on Parise.

How’s that working now? Well, let’s see if we’ve learned any lessons.

DRAFT TRENDS

One of the more bizarre elements of this year’s draft was the inclusion of two goalies in the six Edmonton picks. Kind of overkill, no? In the Stu MacGregor era drafts 2008-13, the Oilers selected four goalies out of 49 picks. That’s 8%. In this year’s draft, it was 33%. One would have to think this was a helluva year for goalies, right? I hadn’t read that, but Edmonton must have felt that way. If you’re taking bpa and two of your picks are goalies, that must mean it’s a good year for goalies.

  • Stu MacGregor, February 2014: “We need to find a goaltender. There are some good prospects. None are off the charts. But there are quite a few of them. As a group they are pretty good.” source

Hmmm. Sounds like drafting for need to me, and honestly I think we should have expected this after Edmonton lost out on Zach Fucale last year at the draft. Having said that, drafting for need in any season is a bad idea, especially when there is value left on the table.

This season, it appears that was the case.

QUALITY PLAYERS LEFT ON THE TABLE

Every NHL team left quality on the table this year, it was a wild edition of the annual selection. However, this year things were more pronounced. Here are the players from Craig Button’s final 100 list who were taken after No. 100:

  1. Michael Bunting
  2. Adam O. Mattsson
  3. Ondrej Kase
  4. Michael Prapavessis
  5. Ryan Mantha
  6. Emil Johansson
  7. Reid Duke
  8. Gustav Forsling
  9. Axel Holmstrom
  10. Kelly Summers
  11. Kyle Jenkins
  12. Oskar Lindblom
  13. Jaedon Descheneau
  14. Jack Ramsey
  15. Daniel Audette
  16. Austin Poganski
  17. Nikita Lyamkin
  18. Ryan Foss

By my count, the following players in Button’s top 100 weren’t taken at all in the draft:

  1. D Vladislav Gavrikov
  2. R Reid Gardiner
  3. C Alexandre Goulet
  4. L Vladimir Tkachyov
  5. L Daniel M. Bagenda
  6. C Tyson Baillie

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I think it’s a legit question this morning. At what point does drafting for need come into the equation? I would argue ‘never’ and suggest the Oilers should always take the guy who is next on their list.

DISCONNECT?

  • Stu MacGregor, June 2013: “Our mandate from Mac T is to pick the best available player and the
    management group will deal with what that player is. If they need to, they can use an asset within the
    organization to fill the holes we need to fill from a positional
    standpoint, but he wants skill.”
    Source

So. Last June it was bpa, this year it’s draft for need. I know it’s kind of silly to be arguing over the return on a 7th round pick, but this is in fact a pretty damn big deal. BEST. PLAYER. AVAILABLE.

Always.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    All I can add about BPA is that the Oilers have been in DIRE NEED of size and skill down the middle and took BPA winger Yakupov instead of the needed big center Galchenyuk.

    How is that BPA pick thought of now?

    • Yakupov was the unanimous first pick overall? Hence the term “fail for Nail”

      Yakupov was the BPA…..

      If you want a better example look no further then RNH draft year.

      2nd round, first pick, 31st overall, the Oilers took Musil instead of Jenner who was “Ranked” higher and was a centre with size and skill.

      That’s BPA.

    • THRNHJE

      Stamkos struggled early too, they both look like VERY similar players, TB don’t regret their pick on Stamkos I am sure, we won’t regret Nail. Trust me.

      This is Yak city.

    • Grant

      Wow ! Galchenyuk had 31 points last year. Yakupov has to get some things straight but he is not lazy ,and has a strong work ethic ,he loves the game ,and is not a floater.

    • Sorensenator

      Galchenyuk was injured almost the entire year prior to the draft. I think the Oilers would have been subject to major ridicule if they had taken an injured player with the 1st selection. They also took a centre the year before with RNH.

      Hindsight is 20/20, nobody was complaining about Yakupov after his first season.

      If we should have taken anybody else, it would of been Ryan Murray. I can’t see Galchenyuk translating to anything more then a 2nd line C.

    • ComeAtMeDog

      Yak City Yo.

      The kid is already working on his game.

      He moved his whole family to Edmonton. He took”the Lion” in for the summer. (So the new kid could hit the ground running.)

      Yak is a warrior and a gentlemen. I regret nothing. The kid may be a bust. So might Galchenyuk. But, this is # yakcitybitch.

      Besides, we needed Defense more than Center.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    Oil got it right this year with the big German….. Hopefully we will soon see a return of the days when teams dread coming into Alberta again, and when a Flames / Oiler game really becomes a battle of Alberta.

  • Serious Gord

    One of lowetides more bizarre columns…

    As I have written before the BPA strategy may no longer be the correct course going forward and may in hindsight already be the wrong track.

    Before I explain/repeat myself, it occurs to me that a better exercise than the silly – late draft examples that Lowetide cherry picked would be to look back the through the last twenty or so drafts and look at the kind of team one would have taking only number ones versus a selection of players based on position starting with the goalie first the. Defense followed by forwards.

    My wild-assed guess would be the ranks of number ones would be stiffed with significantly smaller than average forward with players and next to nil defensemen and defensive minded players. While the latter almost would kick the snot out if them.

    This need and prospect ranks should always be an influencer on who one picks especially if there is no crystal clear superior option on the table.

    But those huge overlooks are going to be far harder to find nowadays with the intensive third-party scouting and the exponential growth in advanced stats. Broad consensus and much higher accuracy in predicting outcomes will be the norm. Thus drafting for need – with very few exceptions – is the successful path forward.

    Predicting the future is almost by definition a very error-prone practice. That said using the data and analytic tools available and ruthlessly not letting sentimentality (Craig Simpsons kid) or stubbornness (not picking Shane doan) or regional loyalty (Finns and whlers too often) or kissing ass (letting Katz have any say) it the path to better than average success and far lower than average disasters).

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    LT used goalie picks to start debate.

    How exactly can we determine BPA between goalie and skater, or between power forward and possession center?

    It has to be BPA by type, then factor how much better across the types.

    If the goalie is significantly better than rest of BPAbT, then take goalie.

    Composition of team comes into play.

    Looks like Oil depth still needs some topping up as they goalie picks seem to violate BPA and BPAbT.

    ps. Flames fans may not have noticed but two other teams didn’t bite on Bennett even though he had more number one rankings. Seems like a saw off on projecting with these two.

  • Fatbob24

    This whole discussion about BPA is somewhat moot. Until Kitty Katz hires the B-Gm and B-Scouts available we are going to see the ball dropped regularly at the draft and in trades. I am seeing way too much hesitancy and stumble-bumming by MacT. McGregor has been no great shakes either after the first round or so. A couple of hits but way too many misses for my liking.

    What the heck is Mact doing by ignoring the recommendations of his scouts. The disconnect is symptomatic of major disfunction on Kingsway.

    • camdog

      Our drafting is still better than Kevin Lowe’s, let’s gamble on this guy or this guy, because if we hit were going to get a mega star. Kevin Lowe at draft day was like watching “that guy” who thinks he knows how to win at roulette at the casino. It’s fun watching “that guy” lose their money at first, but after a while it just becomes sad.

      • The Soup Fascist

        We appreciate your support and faith in us. We are really hoping to be part of the Flames roster this year!

        Sincerely,

        Mark Jankowski, Tim Erixon, Greg Nemisz, Leland Irving, Matt Pelech and Kris Chucko.

        * I’ll take Flames first round busts for 800, Alex.

        • camdog

          I don’t give one rats ass about anything that happens in cow town. I stand by the comment that Mact’s has a better understanding about drafting than Kevin Lowe lets play a game of darts drafting 101. On a side I don’t think anybody should try and analyse what Kevin Lowe was doing when he was at the draft table.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I hope you are correct. The truth is in most organizations the head scout makes the important decisions on draft day. I think it is more of an issue of Stu vs Pendergrast.

            Sorry, thought by “our” picks you meant Calgary.

            Truth is both organizations have had their share of bombs in the 1st and 2nd rounds.

  • MattyFranchise

    Dave:

    the league average for shots becoming goals is 8.5%

    Shots inside 25 ft get 8.5% or better.
    Up to 25%.

    Oilers had the worst goalie inside 25ft (dubnyk)

    last 3 years top goalies.

    #1 Bishop
    #2 Lundquist
    #3 Reimer
    #4 Scrivens
    #5 Rask
    #6 Lehtonen
    #7 Quick

    while thoughts and feelings are wonderful!

    the facts suggest you are rather bad at picking goalies!

    you wouldn’t be TOR old boys saw him good crowd with 47 years of stanley success!
    #17 Bernier

    I know you are not the

    are you the new Assistant GM
    who signed the #3 goalie.

  • camdog

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/draft/central-prospects.htm

    I am confused by this article, according to Central Scouting Ryan Getzlaf was ranked number 5 and they had Parise at #9. I would think 99% of Oiler fans would say that Geztlaf was the miss that draft year.

    If the Oilers would have drafted the big Centre we would have won the cup in 2006. Trading that draft pick and drafting who we did was just bad management.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Will be curious to see if this plays out the same way as draft involving a similar situation a few years ago.

    Player 1 was an uber-skilled Canadian born CHL player who put up big numbers in his draft year. As good as he was offensively, he was known as an intense and devastating physical player who threw highlight reel hits, despite his rather small stature.

    Player 2 was a tall big framed player from a non-traditional hockey power, who left home as a teenager to play hockey in another country. The knock on the kid was that he didn’t use his size effectively and was an effective skater but had foot speed concerns. Plus there were the questions about his “will to compete”.

    Player 1 went 6th overall and is now a fireman in the lower mainland of BC.

    Player 2 went 11th overall is the best forward on a team that has won two Stanley Cups including the most recent.

    The draft year was 2005. And while it is insane to equate Bennett to Brule and Draisaitl to Kopitar (almost as crazy as it is to pretend to know right now which current 18 year old will be most effective nine years from now) I thought the parallels were interesting in their respective draft years.

    We wait. We see.

  • Serious Gord

    Marty:

    What was our results

    Versus stem east.

    1.With less than 2 top forwards injured
    13-5-4 .682

    2. With 2 top forwards injured
    1-9

    Versus the west:

    Agsinst CGY; NSH; WPG
    6-2-3 .682

    Against best of the west with Dubnyk; Smid; N. schultz; Belov
    1-20-2 .087

    Against best of west with Scrivens and Marincin
    7-7 .500

    MacT was brought in as Amateur VP in 2012 and GM in 2013
    He was involved in the addition of:

    Yakupov; J. Schultz; Arcobello

    He brought in 2013

    Perron; Hendricks; Gordon; Ference; Marincin: Scrivens; Fasth

    In 2014

    Purcell; Pouliot; Nikitin; Fayne; Aulie

    He added

    2 1st line FWD Perron (55); Purcell (70)

    2 2nd line fwd Pouliot (156); yak (164)

    1 2nd line pace forward Arcobello

    2 Primary tough zone start PK forwards Hendricks; Gordon

    2 Secondary tough Zone start fwd Pouliot; Purcell

    5 top 30 box protection Dmen Ference; Marincin; Nikitin; Fayne; Aulie

    1 top 5 Box Save% goalie.

    I look at a GM that modelled his team after

    CHI and COL forwards depth. 5 1st line and 2-3 2nd line production.

    LAK and BOS box protection D. Even bringing in the coach that strutted boston’s D. (Ramsey)

    NYR and LAK BOX Save% goalies.

    Please tell my why you thought has any Value!

    Tell me why matching CHI forward structure; lak D and goalie is not good management

    Retained: Petry; Hall; RNH; Eberle

    ADDED:

    Perron-Arco-Purcell

    Pouliot-Draisatl/Yakimov-Yakipov

    Hendricks-Gordon-Lander/Khaira

    Gaxdic-Jeonsuu

    Ference-XXX

    Nikitin-Fayne

    Marincin- J. Schultz

    Aulie

    Scrivens; Fasth

    19 of 23 positions. 17 in last 13 months.

    • The Soup Fascist

      First things first, it is too early on the morning to be smoking such high quality crack, I know it is probably a necessity to deal with the fact that you live in Edmonton. Secondly you forgot to add “Oilers domination to follow” at the start of your post. And finally when you plan your “We finally made the playoffs” parade route, be sure to avoid streets that have been decimated by pot holes.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        yes because the quality of life is so bad in Edmonton, right? funny how Calgary is such the place to be, people down there always brag about the mountains, forgetting that you actually need to LEAVE Calgary to get to Banff and Canmore.

      • srelio

        I have lived in Calgary for 30 years and must say that summer nights, river valley and the arts in Edmonton are far superior to Calgary. As for the potholes what part of Calgary do you live in? Get out of your parents basement suite and visit Edmonton. Girls wear red. Boys wear blue. Go Oilers!

  • The Last Big Bear

    BIG BEAR:
    TOR was the complete saw him good old boys Club!
    Cup wins since 1st expansion? 0 in 47 years.
    The assistant GM from SSM has 46 years to get a cup and be better!
    There are 30 teams.
    How do you not win a cup in every 30 years.

    Traditional old boys club view of stats guys is “the geek in mothers basement.”

    My view of the saw hymn good feelings old boys

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ldAQ6Rh5ZI

    Stuart is that you!

  • srelio

    BPA would be the perfect way to draft if there was any way of telling who the best player was. Many of the players who are drafted in the first round (who are considered the best in that draft year) never end up sticking in the NHL. Especially into the later rounds you have to draft for what you will need 2 or 3 years down the road. A player that fills a need is more valuable than one that doesn’t. All the scouts are doing is trying to get the maximum value possible out of a draft year.