Over the weekend came news that the Oilers were conducting a housecleaning in their amateur and professional scouting departments. The professional side is hard to judge without knowing exactly what was said, though it must be admitted that the Oilers have done a poor job of adding veteran pros for many years now. The amateur side is more interesting, particularly since we can compare what the Oilers have done over the last few years with what Peter Chiarelli’s Bruins managed over the same span.
Stu MacGregor’s first pick as head scout was Jordan Eberle in 2008, so we’ll compare the group each team drafted between 2008 and 2014.
- Top-10 picks: Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton
- First-round picks: Joe Colborne, Malcolm Subban, Jordan Caron, David Pastrnak
- Top-100 picks: 13 in all. Six players with NHL games played so far, with Ryan Spooner, Craig Cunningham and Michael Hutchinson leading the way. There are some good players in the system, notably 2011 pick Alexander Khokhlachev and 2013 selection Linus Arnesson.
- Outside the top-100: 23 in all. Five players with NHL games so far, with Seth Griffith, Zach Trotman and Lane MacDermid leading the way. There are plenty of these guys still in the system, as one would expect; 19-year-old Danton Heinen may be the best of the bunch as he put up 45 points in 40 games at the University of Denver last season.
- Top-10 picks: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Magnus Paajarvi
- First-round picks: Oscar Klefbom, Jordan Eberle
- Top-100 picks: 23 in all. Six players with NHL games played so far, with Anton Lander, Martin Marincin and Tyler Pitlick leading the way. There are some good players in the system, with 2013 selections Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev perhaps the most promising.
- Outside the top-100: 24 in all. Six players with NHL games so far, with Tobias Rieder, Teemu Hartikainen and Brandon Davidson at the top of the list. There are a ton of these guys still in the system, and of the prospects on the list the most significant might be Greg Chase.
The great difficulty in comparing these two groups is that for most of these players there’s still a lot of story left to write. What we have isn’t more than a superficial picture; we’ll have a much better idea of these teams effectiveness five years down the line.
That’s not to say decisions can’t be made, of course. The data is imperfect, but it always is. The trick is to make the best decision possible based on the data available.
Boston’s track record under Chiarelli isn’t anything to get excited about. They did well in the top-10 and David Pastrnak looks like a steal, but much of the first-round yielded a mediocre return and outside the first round the team has yet to find an impact player. Alex Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner still have potential but their AHL numbers suggest we should revise expectations downward. The team has other guys in the system who may one day fit the bill but looking at the post-first-round group right now there isn’t a significant NHL’er in it.
With that said, Edmonton’s record in the same span is worse. The club’s record in the top-10 is just okay; Magnus Paajarvi hasn’t turned out as hoped and Nail Yakupov is still a question mark (albeit one that must be weighed against a weak 2012 Draft). The Oilers have done a better job of finding significant NHL’ers outside of Round 1 (Tobias Rieder alone has played more games than anyone in the same section of the Boston list) but done a worse job of finding players, period. With 10 more picks than Boston in the 30-to-100 range, the Oilers have produced the same number of NHL players so far and have a pile of high-profile misses.
Based on his team’s record, Peter Chiarelli may not be able to fix Edmonton’s amateur procurement department. There is, however, plenty of room for improvement.
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