HOW GOOD IS AUSTON MATTHEWS

The Edmonton Oilers will get a ticket in the lottery April 30, and with their considerable ability to win lotteries, we should probably start at the top when discussing possible draft targets. This year, the top option is a 6.02, 194-pound forward who is described as an elite offensive talent. If the Edmonton Oilers win the lottery, and draft Auston Matthews, what will it mean? I think we are talking an earthquake of biblical proportions.

No matter what team you cheer for, it is very obvious winning the lottery in 2016 has high value. How high? One way we can begin to look at the issue is through NHL Equivalencies. Gabriel Desjardins fine work on the subject was groundbreaking, and with the exception of tweaks in how much air to let out of the tires, remains the industry standard. Desjardins in his own words is here.

For our purposes, I am using Christian Roatis’ calculator, and it is here.

Here are the NHL equivalencies for the last six No. 1 overall selections in their draft year, with Matthews slotted in. Numbers are total points per 82gp, which is the universal way of stating NHLE. 

  1. Connor McDavid 2015 (66.99 points)
  2. Taylor Hall 2010 (48.7 points)
  3. Nail Yakupov 2012 (43.1 points)
  4. Auston Matthews 2016 (41.91 points)
  5. Nathan MacKinnon 2013 (36.34 points)
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011 (34.0 points)
  7. Aaron Ekblad 2014 (23.98 points)

A couple of points. First, Matthews is playing in a pro league, making the comparisons more difficult. Connor McDavid played in a junior league where he would probably play more—more time-on-ice, more power-play time—so we should asterisk the Matthews line and make sure to keep that in mind. That said, this is an impressive total, and Matthews overall scouting reports suggest a can’t-miss prospect along the lines of Jack Eichel.

  • Auston Matthews (from the link above) on his style compared to Jack Eichel: “We’re both pretty big guys and we like to have the puck on our stick;
    we’re both power forwards. I think the style of
    our game might be a little bit different. Jack is obviously an
    unbelievable skater. I’ve never seen somebody skate like him. He has a
    great shot and is really powerful. I kind of am a little bit quicker in
    the corners and stuff with my hands. I try to use my hands and vision a
    lot.” Source

SCOUTING REPORTS

  • Elite Prospects: A high octane dynamo that thrives under the microscope, Auston Matthews
    is a complete offensive forward who consistently boasts quick hands,
    feet, and thinking at both ends of the ice. Naturally nimble skater that
    accelerates to top speed very quickly. An unwavering focus on fine
    tuning elements of his own game facilitates confidence and competence in
    his young, but mature, mind. Prolific goal scoring ability and doesn’t
    wait for opportunities to show themselves. He makes his own luck, so to
    speak, maximizing the use of his body and stick to gain leverage against
    the toughest of opponents. All-in-all, a generational talent that has
    the potential to develop into a top flight franchise center. (Curtis
    Joe, EP 2016) Source
  • Dan Marr, Central Scouting Director: “He would have been right at the
    top of that mix. We would have had a healthy discussion and debate as
    who they would want as No. 1. Just talent wise, Connor has the cleverness, creativeness and
    finesse to his game where I would say Auston has more the power forward
    game where he’s really driven on the play but his puck skills are just
    as good.”
    Source
  • Craig Button, TSN: Watching Matthews, I see a player capable of impacting the game in
    multiple ways. The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder is an excellent skater who can
    beat opponents with speed or quickness and is capable of executing plays
    at high speed. His passing skills are precise and he has the ability to
    score off the rush, off the cycle, from a distance, from in close. He
    has the intelligence of high-end players and exudes an uncommon
    confidence. He swats away obstacles as though they are merely irritating
    flies
    . Source
  • Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus: Although he is listed at 6-2 and 194, he is an agile skater who can move
    around on the ice without losing speed. He is able to make fast turns
    and does not get outskated. His skating balance is good which makes it
    hard for opponents to knock him off the puck with a quiet check.
    Matthews’ top speed is decent and helps him to start rushes in his own
    zone through the neutral zone without getting outskated. His first
    strides are powerful and he hits full speed within 3-4 strides. Although
    he has a good skating balance and leg strength, he isn’t an extremely
    explosive skater but can get rid of opponents in the corners with a few
    quick turns. He doesn’t have the “burner tag” though, but that could
    also be because of his size which does not allow him to a dancer with
    the puck. Source
  • Kirk Luedeke, The Scouting Post: The big center can really skate and push the offensive pace of a
    game- he has the skill and sense to bring a finesse style. However, with
    his big frame that is still filling out, he also has the ability to
    bull his way to the net, protect the puck on the cycle and excel in the
    greasy areas of the ice. In short? Matthews is the total package
    . Source

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

In a just world, Edmonton would have finished higher in the 2015-16 standings. You can blame the players, the management, the coaching staff, the bells of Merthyr, injuries, that blasted puck or your neighbor. We are here. All the available evidence says Auston Matthews is the No. 1 option, and that any team would be lucky to have him. Including Edmonton.

Previously:

  • J.P Michaels

    I don’t think the Oilers should get the #1 this year. They need to trade who ever they get for a solid D-man. There are two reasons, one there enough forwards on the roster which still need more development and two the other 29 Teams must be laughing their asses off by now that the Oilers are running for #1 again. It’s just a joke with all the #1-4’s in the Roster to be on the bottom again. Some of the guys on the Team should have played good AHL min’s all year rather than bad NHL min’s. They’re not ready for another Season or two. They put the young guns on the frontlines in the big club way to early and mess up their development (e.g. Laurent B.). He might end up like some other Goalies before him.

  • Pouzar99

    We’ve been very lucky in draft lotteries, but I hope no one thinks that our past luck suggests anything about how it will go this year. I know the lottery is honest because there is no way on earth the NHL brass would have let us win last year if it wasn’t. Those little lottery balls have no memory.

  • Randaman

    We’re gonna win the lottery again!!

    For upcoming expansion purposes, Matthews will be drafted by Edmonton. Nuge, Eberle, Yak and Pouliot are probably on the way out in my opinion.

  • Word to the Bird

    If IF the Oilers get Matthews please trade it.

    I’m not of the believer to hold on to hopefulls and maybes, not anymore. Its happened way to many times in the past 6 years to do it again

  • hitchikerforajax

    Look how the Oilers have “developed”, their no 1’s. RNH, Hall, Yak, are all being considered trade possibilities. So their track record, has not been stellar. Matthews, could be another no 1, who will struggle, because he may be an Oiler.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    If the Oilers win Matthews I’d say draft him.

    We can run Duo’s of

    Matthews-McDavid

    and

    Draisaitl-Nuge

    I’d be ok with trading Hall if that was the core of our top 6. Plus we’ll never have to worry about center depth. Mclellan did the same thing with Thornton, Pavelski, Marleau and Couture.

    I like Hall but he would get us a good d-man.

  • Ivan Drago

    I was onside with trading our pick for a dman until the proprosed rules for expansion came out. Isnt it true if we kept our pick, he would not need to be protected due to lack of time in a pro league? Whereas
    if we trade the pick and keep, say Nuge or Ebs, then it would cost us a player on the protected list. That way we only need to protect the player we trade Nuge or Ebs for, not this this yrs draft pick. If we trade the pick for a player, then we would need to protected that player and Nuge or Ebs. Am I wrong on these rules?

    • RJ

      As far as I know they haven’t finalized the rules yet. But it would be roster players (4 forwards, 3 dmen, 1 goalie), and they can’t be on ELCs.

      If you drafted Laine as an example, then he’d be safe, McDavid would be safe Nurse would be safe, and they could protect another seven players.

      However…if you offered Hall/Nuge/Eberle and the #1, you could probably get a pretty darn good defenceman, since whoever they draft is going to be exempt from a future expansion draft.

  • GK1980

    I don’t want top 5 picks anymore. More wins please. Watching the guy in TSN look disgusted when they did a mock draft having the oilers win, I don’t blame him. I’m sick of this krap. Austin may be good but I’m just sick of this losing.

    Chia better make some smart moves this summer that gets this team over the edge. My fandom with the oilers is becoming less and less every disgusting year.

  • Armchair genius

    I don’t think chia will trade the pick this year! It’s all due to the upcoming expansion. So, weather you like it or not we will draft another kid, trade 2 of Hall, Nuge, Ebs, or Yak for some help on the back end, and then sign some more free agent dmen if possible. I may be wrong but if we are looking towards the future then I really only see this as the way to go. As someone said on here earlier #1 dmen are typically not traded for but developed, and with a little luck nurse or Reinhart just may turn into that. As well to think we will go from 30th to the cup next year is just delusional, but with the right key pieces we will most certainly develope into that starting next year!

    My prediction for next year is 2nd in the pacific and hopefully at least 2 rounds of playoff expiriance!

    Don’t trash me too hard guys, just my humble opinion!

  • Wintoon

    I am so tired of hearing the MSM and other fan bases take pot shots at the Oilers that I would absolutely love to see the Oilers win the draft lottery once again.

    This might make guys like Hrudey and Kypreos blow a circuit. It would literally be that sweet. Here is hoping.

  • Chelios is a Dinosaur

    I’m a huge Oiler fan but the thought of another #1 pick is about as appealing as my next hit of heroin. It might feel like all my problems have been solved, but we all know I don’t have the structure or guidance in my life to absorb the shock of another withdrawal. Where does it end? This team needs rehab.

    I mean defence. This team needs defence.

    Trade the pick if you can pull a Top D. Yes, its unconventional, and yes Matthews will be top 5 scoring until I’m in my 50s, (I’m 34) but Jesus Mary and Chain we are facing an existential crisis here. Right the ship, check in, cut off the enablers and proceed towards consistent living.

  • O.C.

    The top RH D man in this draft is slotted to go 11th (Fabbro). So not a hope of finding a player to fill a need this draft.

    Bear and Jones are great prospects; each has that “needs to work on footspeed” tag. Neither are In the NHL next year.

    Klefbom is the 2/3 slot. Sekera is as well. Hamonic is the only move that makes any sense. Trade for him. Draft and keep BPA.

    Unless someone makes a real stupid trade and right now, Vancouver is desperate.

  • BlazingSaitls

    Do you think Oilers would entertain hiring Marc Crawford in some capacity if they got Auston Mathews? Bear with me here.

    He has familiarity and a good relationship with Mathews. He has a history of working well with high end talent. He has a history of working well with young players. He is an offense minded coach.

    Perhaps he can help the horrid power play. I know the Oilers have no true pp quarter back but there is no way the Oilers PP should be so disjointed even without a true QB manning the point.

    I’m just throwing this out there. Not super serious about it. Maybe, just maybe the Oilers could bring in Marc Crawford as an assistant coach to work with the young guns and the PP.

  • wiseguy

    All this ridiculous worrying losing players in the expansion draft… Because teams are just lining up to take unprotected players from a last place team. These would be the same type of fans that agreed with Lowe when he declared that “half the teams would love to trade rosters with us” in 2013. Or, remember when we had the 3 headed goalie monster because Deslaurier, Dubby or Khabi? We couldn’t send any of them to the ahl because they would never clear waivers… Right???

  • Oilerchild77

    How good is Auston Matthews? Well, he’s not good enough to get this team into the playoffs. If Connor McDavid can’t do it, he certainly can’t.

    Simple solution is to trade down to improve the D. I’m sure plenty of people have posted this very same suggestion on here already, but I didn’t read all the comments.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    If we get #1 we will draft Mathews 100%. As some mentioned no team is going to take that pick for a true,stud #1 D-man like OEL.

    The other thing is with a potential expansion draft looming we can protect Mathews as he is exempt(where a player in a trade would not be except).

    We could shuffle our abundance of centers to the wings if needed just like numerous other teams do.

    Imagine having Mcdavid and a McDavid 2.0 .

  • Speed Junky

    look. it has been 10 years. but with 97. everything has changed. injuries killed us. blessing maybe if we get Laine or Austin. pujarvi or what every his name is looks good too.

    the D must be fixed. Need Proven players to win games.

    Maroon type players plz