For Steve Tambellini, Stu MacGregor and the Edmonton Oilers one of the major questions on draft day involved Dmitry Kulikov’s signability and how long they might have to wait for him. When Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson fell into their laps, it was an easy decision for Edmonton.
- No. 10 overall: L Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. His scouting report talked about speed (likely fastest man in the draft) and NHL-readiness (Red Line felt he was, Pierre Maguire disagreed). We are now six years after the draft and MPS spent most of this season in the AHL (albeit with a deep organization). My feeling is that he’s stuck in the minors and that Paajarvi should be able to establish himself again if he gets another shot. Per 82 NHL games, he is 12-14-26, which is more than enough offense for a two-way type. Scott Cullen’s numbers suggest a player taken at No. 9 overall has an 85% chance of playing 100 NHL games (MPS is at 228) and the average player taken here is an NHL regular (Paajarvi is not, despite entering his prime). Players selected in the five slots following: Ryan Ellis (202 NHL games); Calvin DeHaan (117 NHL games); Dmitry Kulikov (386); Peter Holland (130) and Nick Leddy (336). I still think this was a good pick.
- No. 40 overall: C Anton Lander. I well remember Anton Lander’s scouting report because it ran counter to most: He was a defense-first center who could post enough offense to stay in the lineup. Lander’s development was hampered by a losing organization’s inability to stay out of its own way, but appears to have overcome his keepers and is headed in a good direction. Lander’s spot (No. 40) has an expectation of 34% in terms of 100 career games (he is at 132, so has covered that bet) and average from this slot is a very good minor leaguer (he’s surpassed that, too). Players taken in the five slots after Lander: Drew Shore (78) and Jeremy Morin (82). It was a good pick.
- No. 71 overall: D Troy Hesketh. Edmonton used to do this all of the time, but the walkabout selections don’t come these days until after No. 100 overall. This pick was dead in the water from the start, with Hesketh’s progress in question from the start. 26.5% chance of playing 100 games from this spot and the average is minor league player. Of the five selections after Hesketh, Michael Latta (70), Alex Urbom (34) and Andrej Nestrasil (54) all made the NHL.
- No. 82 overall: R Cameron Abney. Such a bad pick, just terrible. Drafting Abney is bad enough, this player type is available via free agency for just dollars. It wasn’t close to good enough. 24% chance of playing 100 NHL games, average is a minor league player. From the five picks after Abney, who made the NHL? Kevin Connauton (98), Nicolas Deslauriers (99) and Cody Eakin (237). The two picks from the third round represent a complete waste.
- No. 99 overall: D Kyle Bigos. Big college defender who was highly touted after draft day but a change in management saw the club trade Bigos instead of signing him. Getting this pick (and one below that was spent on Olivier Roy) cost the organization Kyle Brodziak. 24.5% chance of playing 100 NHL games (Bigos has played 8 AHL games in the San Jose system) and average is a minor leaguer. In the five picks after Bigos, value was available: Mattias Ekholm (145 NHL games); Marcus Foligno (192) and Kris Foucault (1 NHL game).
- No. 101 overall: L Toni Rajala. This was a better selection, small but skilled Finn who once looked like he might have a future. He scored at a point-per-game in 2012-13 for the Barons and his reward was a release to pursue his future as a free agent. He has had success in Sweden and Russia. His list is the same as Bigos’ except we have to add (of course we do) Sami Vatanen (123 NHL games). 19.5% (100 games) and average is a minor league player.
- No. 133 overall: G Olivier Roy. A famous junior goalie, he fell on draft day and Edmonton picked him in Round 5. He posted some strong numbers early in the low minors but has never been able to grab a foothold on an AHL job. He’s a goalie, so never say never. 16% 100 NHL games, career minor leaguer. In the five picks after Roy, Corban Knight (9 games) is the only NHL player.