The Edmonton Oilers back story for the 2013 entry draft is slowing coming into view, and most of it (so far) comes from the hard working cameramen of tsn and some incredible video from the Philadelphia Flyers website. In this video, the Flyers begin the process of reviewing their draft board–which begins with Nurse and Monahan ahead of Samuel Morin but a very unhappy scouting director. He wants to know why Morin (the guy he CLEARLY wants) is behind Monahan and Nurse, and eventually Nurse ends up at #12–a drop of (by my count) 6 spots. GM Paul Holmgren then enters the room, has a look, and says “you guys are fading under the pressure.”
I think it’s fairly close–Bob McKenzie had Darnell Nurse #9 and Samuel Morin #17–but you can see that Morin has some appeal and he was closing as the draft arrived. A huge, raw defender, he seems to have turned a corner around mid-season and enjoyed a very strong post-season. If Morin is the best defenseman not named Seth Jones I wouldn’t be surprised, but what does have me flummoxed is the verbal in the video. I’m absolutely certain they cut a lot from the video, but that looks to me like a scouting director browbeating his staff into agreeing with him.
I welcome your input, but that’s what it looked like to me. Episode two is up tonight (just up now) but there’s no video of the many exchanges between Paul Holmgren and Craig MacTavish. Maybe episode three will have something.
Some other draft notes out in the ether:
- Darnell Nurse is–as you know–a player MacTavish really liked a lot. The Oilers were apparently very strong on him, and the Russian Nichushkin. I did not hear a WORD about Ristolainen around town, but there were whispers about Nikita Zadorov being in the mix.
- Marco Roy is a player that the scouts and the math apparently agreed on. I interviewed Michael Parkatti (the Hackathon winner who did some advanced work for the club on the math side of the draft) for the LDWLT and he said “the model really liked Marco Roy. There’s a lot of things to like about the player outwardly, and if you look at the statistics diagnostically it’s not just the point production but also the situation he found himself in. The team he played for this year was very good, but it was one of those situations where he wasn’t being dragged along by anybody. The way I like to look at it was he was the good player on the team, he played an integral part on that team. And you really saw that in the playoffs.”
- The drafting of Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev indicates the Oilers have a new Russian pipeline for talent and they are going to exploit it. There’s a tipping point in draft value that says even if a player is going to be difficult to sign–or that his playing rights won’t be easy to keep once he’s here due to the Russian option–there’s a line in the sand where that risk becomes worthwhile. I’m thrilled Edmonton took this step, absolutely thrilled. Nail Yakupov’s value as a hockey player is unquestioned, but if he can open up a lush hockey market for procurement he may end up being a true Oiler legend in more ways than one.
- I haven’t seen the quote in any msm, but lots of people have mentioned the Andy Murray-Craig MacTavish connection for Aidan Muir. The eyes I trust who saw him at the summer camp were impressed so he’s a player to watch this winter.
- I’m convinced the Oilers have a hidden gem in Greg Chase. At even strength last season, he went 69, 13-23-36, which is very solid production in the WHL for a 17-year old. First round pick Curtis Lazar went 72, 22-13-35 at even strength with the Oil Kings, and Lazar went 170 spots higher in the 2013 NHL draft.