The Edmonton Oilers added a new GM last spring, and Craig MacTavish did impact the draft table decisions. How much? We don’t know. The club had been associated with Valeri Nichushkin and Darnell Nurse in the hours leading up to the draft, and MacT’s conversation with James Duthie in the moments after the selection suggested heavy involvement.
A few things about the MacT-MBS tandem that we can look for this season:
- building up the middle (G-D-C) was a priority, with 2 defensemen and 4 centers selected.
- Russia becoming more of a factor. Two Russians, including fast tracked Bogdan Yakimov, were chosen.
- The WHL scouts were heard (Jackson Houck, Greg Chase, Ben Betker) and based on results we could see more and earlier dub selections.
- MacT talked about advanced stats and advice given in the selection of Marco Roy, and that template may be in use this season.
- appeared to act on a tip from Andy Murray in selecting Aidan Muir.
Let’s look at these issues one at a time.
- Building up the middle. Edmonton’s first pick, third overall, is very likely going to be devoted to a D or C. They don’t pick again until 91st, and I’m wondering if they might look at a goalie—say, Alex Nedeljkovic—at that spot.
- Russia! By the time Yakimov and Slepyshev were chosen, you could argue they were undervalued. I think the Oilers—who pick 3rd, 91st, 110th overall, 130th overall, 137th overall, 153rd overall and 183rd overall—may be looking Russia at 110 and 130 (or so). Kids like Alexander Sharov and Ilya Sorokin might be available and worth the investment.
- WHL scouts! I think Draisaitl is well loved based on what we’ve been told, but there are some others worthy of pondering. Travis Sanheim, Brett Pollock, Adam Helewka and Dysin Mayo may be available (although the club could really use a 2nd round selection).
- Advanced stats seemed to be at work last draft. Michael Parkatti: “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.” I don’t want to go too deeply into this, but wouldn’t Brett Pollock be a good candidate from this year’s group? I think he would.
- Andy Murray tips. I wonder if a late pick on Matt Iacopelli or Paul Stoykewych is worthwhile?
It’s all fun, and it’s back! Consider this the official beginning of draft coverage on this blog. Are you ready?