FIVE LONG YEARS

For years now we’ve been waiting for that 2010 entry draft to stand and deliver. I’ve argued for a long time that it’s impossible to measure a draft’s success in the short term (unless it’s obvious, like Taylor Hall or Troy Hesketh) and in 12 months I think we’ll be able to safely make the call on the Oilers 2010 edition. How is it going?

THE 2010 NHL ENTRY DRAFT

  • TOTAL PICKS: 210
  • TOTAL OILER PICKS: 11
  • TOTAL NHL PLAYERS SO FAR: 68 (32.4%)
  • TOTAL OILERS NHL PLAYERS SO FAR: 3 (27.2% of Oilers 11 picks)
  • TOTAL NHL GAMES PLAYED SO FAR: 3,944 
  • TOTAL OILERS NHL GAMES PLAYED SO FAR: 300
  • Taylor Hall—246GP, 92-133-225
  • Martin Marincin—44GP, 0-6-6
  • Tyler Pitlick—10GP, 1-0-1

The Hall selection has turned out as well as hoped—there’s no special reward for the scouting department in getting that one right, only wrath if the picks fails. For a long time, the rest of the 2010 draft looked very poor, but in mid-season 2013-14 Martin Marincin and Tyler Pitlick were recalled and gave an indication that more help might be coming from the 11 Edmonton picks that year.

At the time of the draft, I wrote the following about the 2010 performance by Oilers’ scouts:

  • Overall impressions: A good, good draft. Hall
    clearly is going to be the story of this draft, but nice value in the
    second round (Pitlick, Marincin) and later (Davidson) tell us the Oilers
    set up their draft board well. I also like the Hamilton and Bunz
    selections, leaving only the Martindale pick as a question mark (they
    drafted for need) among the team’s most dear selections. Blain,
    Czerwonka, Pelss and Jones are probably scouts picks, payment for all
    those nights driving to little towns all over the world in search of the
    next Taylor Hall. These men are going to be under pressure to deliver
    more than an average number of NHLers to the show for the next several
    seasons and it looks like they’ve delivered this season. Report card day
    is around 2015 summer. See you then.

We’re just twelve months away from the five year mark and we have most of the draft surrounded, but there are still returns coming in and hanging chads hither and yawn. What are the problems facing the still developing members of the 2010 draft?

  1. Injuries as we discussed here.
  2. The lack of opportunity in the minors, due to those injuries, the lockout that impacted a significant portion of the 2012-13 season, playing time lost to AHL veterans playing ahead of prospects and impacting development.

There’s a fine line between reason and excuse involved in the second option there, but it is certainly true that the OKC Barons did not send Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton out for 15 minutes a night as rookies. The club DID give Phil Cornet a push, and AHL veterans got ice time, but the two second-round picks were depth players and battled injuries.

There has been talk that Craig MacTavish instituted a plan that sees prospects get a push in the minors, and there are fewer AHL veterans on the rosters these days. I’m not absolutely convinced this makes a difference but wanted to include it as a discussion point.

Either way, Pitlick has overcome injuries, lack of ice time and AHL veterans to become a legit prospect. 

pitlick ferguson

ABOUT TYLER PITLICK, 2014

  • Todd Nelson: He’s a strong guy, he
    has great speed and he has some skill, but he has to play a
    straight-lined game up and down his wing, being physical in the corners,
    finishing his checks, shooting the puck and keeping things simple. When
    he’s hitting people and he’s shooting the puck, he’s at his best. He’s
    always got pretty good wheels out there, he understands the game. Once
    again, it’s just a matter of being consistent. He’s knocking on the door
    to be a full-time NHLer.”
  • Nelson late in the season: “I think Tyler
    Pitlick has to be talked about. He’s taken his game to a whole new level
    and he’s ready to play up there. I see this guy as not being back in
    OKC next year, I see him playing in the National Hockey League… He’s
    really a lot more mature than he has been in previous years. He’s taken a
    quiet leadership role where he understands his play on the ice is
    contagious to the rest of the hockey team where he has to play a
    physical game and move his feet. As a coaching staff, we have confidence
    in him.”

There is still time for Curtis Hamilton, Brandon Davidson, Ryan Martindale (in another organization, he was traded last season for Steve Pinizzotto) but I think it’s safe to say this is the final year we should consider these young men as prospects.

If they succeed in a ‘hey, Colin McDonald is playing for the Islanders’ kind of way, I’m not sure we can consider this a draft success. 

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Last night in Winnipeg, Tyler Pitlick played a solid game. It was against young opposition and he may get passed by Pinizzotto or some Finn, but he remains a prospect with a chance. Curtis Hamilton also played well, and even though his situation looks more dire there’s still time for him to emerge as a legit NHL prospect.

Think of it as a baseball game. Every team gets 27 outs, and you can’t run out the clock. Pitlick and Hamilton have been trailing since the early innings, but there are still opportunities.

A year ago, few were talking about Martin Marincin as a player of significance. One more year. Then we’ll make the call.

  • ubermiguel

    Keep in mind they are high 2nd and 3rd round picks too.

    But can we give the Oilers a pass on one of those picks considering Pelss was drafted that year? Maybe call it 3/10?

    I was hoping to see a little #26 on the Oil Kings’ banners on Saturday. I know Pelss was in Moroz’s thoughts as he stood on the Rexall ice though.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Not sure the whole story has been written yet with Brandon Davidson. He might be buried here but I think there is still a player there somewhere.

    Hamilton looked great when he made the WJHC, since then a decided WTF?

    Martindale was a character issue out of the gate. The reports on the kid at the time … his give a Schmidt threshold was not all that high in junior, if I remember correctly. Bad pick there.

    I honestly think Pelss had a chance to be a bottom 6 guy in the NHL if not for the unfortunate cirumstances last summer.

    I though Bunz was a reasonable pick. Goalies are such a crap shoot. Where they picked him I think was a relative steal considering his WHL output. His pro career has been decidedly a dissapointment. Why? Because goalie.

    Overall, I don’t see this as a bad draft. As with every year, some good surprises (Marincin) and some bad ones (Pelss / Bunz). If Pitlick plays a fair bit in the league, I would call it above average. If he doesn’t likely average or below.

    Pitlick is likely the tipping point.

    • knee deep in it

      What is the story on Brandon Davidson anyway? Is he injured? Keep hearing about how highly they think of him in OKC but haven’t seen him on camp roster and nothing about him

      • The Soup Fascist

        You know Lee, that is a very good question.

        LT had him listed as injured on one of his TC depth charts but I honestly have no idea about the nature of the injury or how / when it happened. Maybe LT has more info.

        If there ever was a kid that deserved a break ……

  • Lowetide

    Soup: I agree. If Pitlick emerges as an NHL player, that’s three guys who are likely to have solid careers. Considering some of the misfortune that greeted their 2010 draft kids, Hall plus Marincin and Pitlick would be par for the course.

    • Craig1981

      Exactly. I’m a man that loves numbers, but percentage of NHL players can be very misleading in draft success.

      IN 2003 the Oilers has SEVEN picks play in the NHL. Jacques, Pouliot, Stortini, Roy, and so on.

      If those other 3 form 2010 reach the potential they are trending to, I would take them over 30 players of 2003 quality

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ^i dunno man, the Oilers had a whopping 11 choices in the 2010 draft, and to only have 2 or 3 make any kind of an impact to me is a bit disappointing.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        If Oilers have three players in the bigs they are just under average based on the other 29 teams having 68 players in the bigs. If they had four players they’d be above average.

        Nothing to be disappointed about. It’s not elite drafting, but it is average.

        That we have Hall with the bulk of these games played and a number 1 pick means that Oilers are average from the inside rail position.

        They also have 7.6% of the man games played so this is above average which would be 3.3% of games (30/100), all else being equal, and if based on their advantage of 11 picks the weighted average would be 5.2% of games. Again, Hall helps here but so would any top ten first rounder.

        Average. Not Chicago elite, but average.

  • Lowetide

    It is NOT true that Nelson played AHL veterans over Hamilton and Pitlick.

    Omark and Hartikainen were prospects, NOT AHL veterans. Magnus Paajarvi was a prospect, not an AHL veteran.

    Pitlick, when he was healthy, got ice time.

    Hamilton was outplayed by Paajarvi Cornet, and Hartikainen, none of whom were AHL veterans. and that is what hurt is ice time.

    The AHL vets were Josh Green, who was a centre, and Ryan Keller who was a right wing, neither of whom was in competition for ice time directly with Hamilton.

    • Lowetide

      And Tyrvainen, who was also a prospect, and NOT an AHL veteran.

      i.e. The left wing the last half of the season were Hartikainen, Paajarvi (although he also played some RW), Cornet, Tyrvainen, and Hamilton.

      No AHL veterans were blocking Hamilton from ice time.

      • Lowetide

        Tristan Grant was on that team, and iirc 27 at that time. Here’s an early game

        http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1008671

        Hartikainen had 8 shots on goal, Cornet 2, Hunter Tremblay had 3 shots on goal and Tristan Grant was involved in the game too.

        Hamilton rolls zero’s as he had much of the year. That’s an AHL veteran, a CIS grad in Tremblay, and the others ahead of him.

        As I mentioned above, I’m not in love with the argument and really Hamiltons should have been able to pass this group. However, he did in fact play depth minutes, there was no push.

        I asked Jim Byers (OKC pbp man) during that time about him and he suggested Hamilton was finding his way. I believe C&B had an article saying similar around the same time.

        The Oilers didn’t give a push to Pitlick and Hamilton, and in the early days of their pro careers employed Josh Green, Tristan Grant, Ryan O’Marra and others as veterans who played in front of them (and other prospects).

        The current Oilers employ fewer veterans in the AHL, notably Jason Williams and Matt Ford this season.

        We’ll see, but one expects Yakimov, Khaira and the others to receive more of a push under Nelson this fall and winter.

  • oilredemption

    Well czerwonka retired right out of junior because of his plague of injuries and personal reasons.
    Kellen Jones is a Smurf but his time as a pro has just started so he may have a chance as a pk specialist/4th liner.
    Brandon Davidson has to be the unluckiest fellar ever and he still has a chance.
    God rest pelssys soul. Tragedy.
    2010 I think was an excellent draft for the Edmonton oilers but as the old sane goes you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good. This draft had so many up arrows. It was incredible.

  • knee deep in it

    I count 6 impact players from the first round and we got the best one. 24 teams would not be in worse shape if they never had a first round pick that year.

    The second round has 3 guys with more than 20 career points. We might have two regulars this year. That is way better than par. That is a home run.

    If you end up with 3 nhl players from one draft, you did very well.

  • knee deep in it

    @Randaman

    Really? 1 assist and going 27% in the face off circle while your team gets beat 3-1 by a mediocre organizations “C” team is “tearing it up”? If that yous idae of a good draft choice then a team drafted by you would make the Oilers record of misery look Chicago-esque.

    @HardBoiledOil

    Kinda depends on where the picks fell. The Oilers had three 2nd rounders that draft, but also two 6ths and two 7ths. Seeing as the odds of getting a good players decrease exponentially per round(basically equaling little to no chance after the 3rd round) getting 3 players out of 5 who had a decent shot and 6 that had basically no shot is actually quite good. That said, we are still waiting to see if we actually got 3. Though we look like we got 2 for sure and have a small chance to even get 4 if Brandon Davidson turns out.

    • Randaman

      My point was that he was involved and at least three or four quality chances to score. Had a power play assist and even ran the goaltender. I never even noticed Drai in the Winnipeg game and I believe their face-off percentages were fairly close. Mark my words, Bennett is by far and away going to be better than Drai. I will however support my team and their choice but Drai is not anywhere close to ready for the NHL.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Impressive.

        Identifying which of two players selected one after the other is going to be a better NHL player (by a wide margin, no less) after two exhibition games.

        Impressive, indeed!

        Even the late, great Sam Pollock could not have pulled that off.

        • Randaman

          Touche’ Bennett was ranked #1 for a good part of his draft year while Drais was ranked #4 all along so I think I have identified the best player in terms of ranking. The Oilers felt otherwise based on need I guess. Tit for tat. Good one by the way.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            ^can we please stop with the “Oilers should have taken Bennett over Drai” crap or Bennett “will be” a better player than Drai. and it simply doesn’t matter who was ranked where in the top 4 at this moment when neither Bennett nor Draisaitl have yet to play on second of NHL regular season hockey. man o man!

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        “Bennett is by far and away going to be better than Drai.”

        ^ can i have the next winning numbers in the lotto 6/49? you being able to see into the future and all. i’ll share, i promise!!

  • knee deep in it

    This is all just fodder. The important topic is how the NHL club remains to be a bottom feeder run by the same individuals. Draft picks are fun to watch and critique, but what’s the point when pro team can’t get their you know what together?