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What to expect from Pick #29 (and those around it)

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Jason Gregor
4 months ago
The latest the Oilers have selected in the first round was the 25th pick. They took Rob Schremp in 2004 and then Andrew Cogliano in 2005. Schremp didn’t pan out, but 17 years, 1140 regular season games and 116 playoff games later, Cogliano is a Stanley Cup champion. Cogliano has played the third-most games from his draft class and has the 10th most points. The scouts got it right when they selected him and since taking Cogliano in 2005 the Oilers have had good success with draft picks in the 20s.
They’ve used the 22nd pick on Jordan Eberle (2008), Kailer Yamamoto (2017), and Xavier Bourgault (2021). Eberle is 2nd in goals and 3rd in points from the 2008 class. Yamamoto is currently 10th in goals and points from his class. It is too early to say how Bourgault will do, but he scored 50 goals and 104 points in 63 regular season, playoff, and Memorial Cup games for Shawinigan. He turns pro in the fall.
They selected Riley Nash 21st in 2007. He has played 627 NHL games, which is currently 27th from his draft class. He has mainly been a bottom-six forward, but he’s had a successful NHL career.
I wanted to look at picks 26-32, three before and three after the Oilers pick at 29, to get a gauge what type of player the Oilers could get. I opted to look at drafts between 2006-2019.
Players in Red are NHLers who have played 200+ games, or will reach 200 this season.
Players under 200 games played have their GP in brackets.
Players with an * are under 200 GP, but project to be regular NHLers.
The 2018-2019 class is still too early to say for certain if they will become NHLers. Some are still in NCAA, Europe or a first-year pro in AHL.
26th PickPlayerPOS27th PickPlayerPOS
2006Leland Irving (13)G2006Ivan Vishnevsky (5)D
2007David PerronLW2007Brendan SmithD
2008Tyler EnnisC2008John CarlsonD
2009Kyle PalmieriC2009Philippe ParadisC
2010Evgeni KuznetsovRW2010Mark Visentin (1)G
2011Phillip DanaultC2011Vladislav NamestnikovC
2012Brendan Gaunce (148)C2012Henrik Samuelsson (3)C
2013Shea TheodoreD2013Marko Dano (141)C
2014Nikita Scherbak (37)RW2014Nikolay Goldobin (125)LW
2015Noah Juulsen (56)D2015Jacob Larsson (165)D
2016Tage ThompsonC2016Brett HowdenC
2017*Jake Oettinger (79)G2017*Morgan Frost (77)C
2018Jacob Bernard-Docker (13)D2018Nicolas Beaudin (22)D
2019Jakob PelletierLW2019Nolan Foote (13)D
The 26th pick has seven NHLers and Oettinger seems a lock to be the 8th. The 27th pick has four NHLers, but Frost, Beaudin and Foote could join them in a few years.
28th PickPlayerPOS29th PickPlayerPOS
2006Nick FolignoLW2006Chris Summers (70)D
2007Nick Petricki (1)D2007Jim O’Brien (77)C
2008Viktor Tikhonov (111)LW2008Daultan LeveilleC
2009Dylan Olsen (124)D2009Carter Ashton (54)LW
2010Charlie CoyleC2010Emerson Etem (173)C
2011Zack PhillipsC2011Nicklas Jensen (31)LW
2012Brady SkjeiD2012Stefan Matteau (92)LW
2013Morgan Klimchuk (1)C2013Jason DickinsonLW
2014Josh Ho-Sang (53)RW2014Adrian KempeC
2015Anthony BeauvillierLW2015Gabriel Carlsson (75)D
2016Lucas Johansen (1)D2016Trent FredericC
2017Shane BowersD2017Henri JokiharjuD
2018Nils LundkvistD2018*Rasmus Sandin (88)D
2019Ryan SuzukiD2019Brayden Tracey (1)LW
The 28th pick has produced four NHLers while pick 29 also has four and Sandin seems destined to make it. The 29th pick had six players between 1-100 GP. Players who had potential, but couldn’t become regulars.
30th PickPlayerPOS31st PickPlayerPOS
2006Matthew Corrente (34)D2006Tomas Kana (6)C
2007Nick RossD2007TJ Brennan (53)D
2008Thomas McCollum (3)G2008Jacob MarkstromG
2009Simon Despres*D2009Mikko KoskinenG
2010Brock NelsonC2010Tyler PitlickLW
2011Rickard RakellRW2011David Musil (4)D
2012Tanner PearsonLW2012Oscar Dansk (6)G
2013Ryan HartmanRW2013Ian McCoshen (60)D
2014John Quenneville (42)C2014Brendan LemieuxLW
2015Nick Merkley (41)RW2015Jeremy RoyD
2016Sam SteelC2016Yegor Korshkov (1)RW
2017Eeli TolvanenRW2017Klim Kostin  (41)C
2018*Joe Veleno (71)D2018Alexander Alexeyev (1)D
2019John BeecherC2019Ryan JohnsonD
Despres (in red) has an asterisk due to not playing 200 games, but his career ended due to injury. The 30th pick has seven NHLers and Veleno seems a lock to make it eight. The 31st pick had four and was the only pick to have two goalies dressed for 200+ games.
32nd PickPlayerPOS
2006Carl Sneep (1)D
2007Brett MacLean (18)LW
2008Slava Voynov D
2009Landon Ferraro (77)C
2010Jared KnightC
2011Ty Rattie (99)RW
2012Mitchell MorozLW
2013Chris Bigras (46)D
2014Jayce Hawryluk (98)RW
2015Christian FischerRW
2016Tyler Benson (36)LW
2017Connor Timmins (39)D
2018*Matthias Samuelsson (54)D
2019Shane Pinto (17)C
Only two NHLers from pick 32, although Samuelsson projects to get there. Pinto probably as well, while Benson and Timmins might, but footspeed and health are questions for them respectively.

WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SAY?

Here is what the numbers tell us among the 98 picks over 14 years. So far 32 (32.6% of the picks) have become NHLers. If we project optimistically there could be another 10 joining them which would make (43%) of the picks become regular NHLers.
PickNHLersProj. NHLers100-200GP1-100GP
267114
274133
284124
294116
307104
314006
322108
I have cautiously projected six others to become NHLers, but there are many in the 2018 and 2019 class who could as well, but it is still too early to say how many games they will play.
Bernard-Docker, Beaudin, Veleno, Alexeyev, and Samuelsson from the 2018 class could all join Sandin as players who look like NHL regulars. And it is has been four years since they’ve been drafted, which illustrates my strong belief that you often need five years to determine what most draft picks will become. The top 20-25 pick you can tell earlier, but they are the exception.
The realistic expectation for the Oilers’ 29th pick is they will need three of four more years of developing before we know if they can make the jump to the NHL. The key is to not rush them. A few more years of developing in junior, then one or two years in the AHL is the normal path for most junior picks. NCAA players often need three or four years of college before turning pro, and many start in the AHL. European players can come to the AHL earlier, but unless they are physically and emotionally ready for a different style of play and a different lifestyle, I’d opt to let them keep developing and maturing in Europe.
The Oilers haven’t had much success drafting in the early 30s recently. Between 2010-2016 they selected Tyler Pitlick and David Musil 31st, Mitch Moroz and Tyler Benson 32nd. Pitlick has battled injuries, but still managed to play 325 games for six different teams including 58 games for the Oilers. Musil and Moroz were selected earlier than they should have been and didn’t have much chance to live up to their draft ranking, while Benson is still grinding to find his way. He has the smarts and skill to play, but his footspeed is a concern.
There are two obvious areas the Oilers need to improve in their organization — right shooting centre and right-shot defencemen. Centres, who might be available at #29, include Brad Lambert (although he might a winger in the NHL), Filip Mesar and Owen Beck. Right-shot D-men who could be available are Seamus Casey, Sam Rinzel, Ryan Chesley and Tristan Luneau.
Their rankings vary on most lists, but they are in the 25-35 range on the majority of projected lists.
Edmonton could opt to trade down to try and acquire another draft pick. Currently, they own the 29th pick, 158th, 190th and 222nd. They don’t have a 2nd, 3rd or 4th round selection. However, trading down in the late 20s doesn’t happen often.

DRAFT PICK TRADES...

Here are the recent trades that occurred at the draft and only involved draft picks similar to the Oilers #29.
2021: Carolina trades the 27th pick to Nashville for picks 40 and 51. Nashville selected Zachary L’Heureux at 27, while Carolina picked Scott Morrow and Ville Koivunen. Too early to say if the trade benefitted either team.
2018: Toronto trades the 25th pick to St. Louis for picks 29 and 76. The Blues selected Dominik Bokk while Toronto took Rasmus Sandin and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev. Toronto traded down and still got the better player.
2017: Chicago trades the 26th pick to Dallas for picks 29 and 70. Dallas selected Jake Oettinger at 26 and Chicago chose Henri Jokiharju and Andre Altybarmakyan. Dallas moving up to take Oettinger was a great move.
We have seen three trades with a team trading back, but they were all picked before selection 29. This year’s draft might entice a few more trading of picks as the rankings of players 20-40 is very different. “There is a lot of uncertainty in this draft,” said Oilers director of Amateur Scouting and Player Development, Tyler Wright. “That doesn’t mean it is good or bad, just that this is where players are at in their development and many are lumped in together.”
I spoke with Wright on my radio show on Monday and he agreed with the notion there isn’t as much separation between picks 20-40 as in other years. Maybe that uncertainty will allow the Oilers to trade down, if they wish, but recent history suggests trading down from 29 is rare.
Regardless of who the Oilers select at 29, or if they trade down, don’t expect this pick to make an impact in Edmonton for at least three years, possibly longer.

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