COMBINE CURIO

It’s NHL combine week and there’s plenty of information for fans to sift through. Among the most interesting? WHY are some of these kids invited? The short answer is that NHL teams have requested the outliers, the players who don’t appear on Central’s top 75 and get invited because there’s significant interest. Any NA prospect outside No. 100, or Euro outside top 20, is an intriguing invite. Here’s the Invite list with NHL Central Scouting ranking.

  • D Nicholas Boka, No. 117NA. Plays for the USNDTP in the USHL, has average size, can move the puck and is a good skater. His major crime appears to be that he doesn’t possess any outstanding skill.
  • D Caleb Jones, No. 115NA. Same team, USNDTP in the USHL. More of a defensive defender, he’s a mobile player and has average size for the pro game (6.0, 194). He is Seth’s brother, interesting prospect.
  • R Mathieu Joseph, No. 125NA. Hard working two-way winger. Scored 21 goals for Saint John of the QMJHL last season.
  • D Justim Lemcke, No. 137NA. A big two-way defender, decent speed, his offense isn’t enough to get him PP time. I had him No. 25 on the OHL list for this draft.
  • L Hayden McCool, No. 147NA. PF with speed, enough skill to be interesting. I have him No. 117 overall.
  • C Brett McKenzie, No. 120NA. Two-way C with skill. I have him No. 98 overall.
  • G Luke Opilka, No. 12NA G. This is quite the outlier, his SP in the USHL was .888. Interesting story.
  • C Chase Pearson, No. 123NA. Scott Pearson’s boy, he’s a center with size who plays a checking game.
  • C Mitchell Stephens, No. 112NA. Speedy C had a massive U18’s. I have him at No. 41 overall.

We all have our favorites—and non-favorites too—but for me Girardi of the Rangers has some foot speed issues that take him out of the running. When we discussed possible options via free agency the other day, it really impressed upon me that signing a younger (Franson, Petry) UFA is really important. Craig MacTavish acquiring Mark Fayne and Niki Nikitin last season during the free-agent window didn’t turn the organization around, but lordy I agree with getting a younger free agent.

Great point by Supernova here. Lack would be a nice get (doubt Vancouver does business with EDM) and the Montreal pick (late second round, No. 57 overall) should be in play. I’d go No. 33 for Talbot, but Lack is a nice goalie too.

If the Oilers are going to set Marco Roy free, and today was the deadline, I hope it means Josh Winquist gets an NHL contract. The young winger spent extended periods in a feature role with the Barons and delivered quality offense. A good way to reflect those periods is via monthly scoring totals in OKC:

  • December: 9GP, 1-1-2
  • January: 7GP, 3-3-6
  • February: 10GP, 0-0-0
  • March: 12GP, 3-5-8
  • April: 8GP, 1-2-3

winquist ferguson 1415

(Josh Winquist, by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

Winquist is a smart player and a talented one. The Oilers depth chart at LW (among signed players) looks like this currently:

  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Benoit Pouliot
  3. Matt Fraser (RFA)
  4. Matt Hendricks
  5. Luke Gazdic
  6. Ryan Hamilton (No. 1 AHL LW)
  7. Anton Slepyshev (recently signed)
  8. Curtis Hamilton (RFA)
  9. Mitch Moroz
  10. Kale Kessy

The concerns are 3L at the NHL level and whether or not to sign Curtis Hamilton (I think they’ll walk him, but as a fan I’m hopeful). If the Oilers add Winquist in there, he’s the No. 3 scoring option in Bakersfield and maybe Slepy plays RW. Winquist has a scorer’s pedigree, as reflected by his NHLE’s over the years:

  • Age 18 (2011-12) 82GP, 7-8-15
  • Age 19 (2012-13) 82GP, 12-13-25
  • Age 20 (2013-14) 82GP, 17-17-34
  • Age 21 (2014-15) 82GP, 8-10-18

Did he show enough? We’ll find out soon.

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45 Responses to "COMBINE CURIO"

  1. ewarsaba says:

    NHLbyMatty: Edm not signing 2013 picks Marco Roy or Jackson Houck, both back in draft. Roy was 56th overall pick (pick from Ducks for Cogliano deal)

    https://twitter.com/nhlbymatty/status/605510616258715648

  2. supernova says:

    Wonquist is interesting. He was an excellent AHL signing. I would offer him another AHL deal and say prove it again. If he is hurt which he might be I tell him to shop the field.

    ——

    Roy and Houck being returned to draft can be looked at many ways.
    -teams that make hay in the top 100 picks tend to get better
    -Roy & Houck were drafted in their range and they didn’t progress. Whose fault is this?
    -this isn’t a case of Oilers screwing them up. If so maybe they need to be more involved at dictating to junior teams, like they did with Draisatl.

    In my opinion the draft is a crap shoot at best, if they can continue with the AHL signings they have been doing lately then they can keep filling their system.

    I still do that 5 for 1 trade that MacT did in that draft, you win some & lose some but make a dam decision.

  3. v4ance says:

    Thinking of Seth Jones, as a devil’s advocate, would you trade him for Patrick Kane?

    Solves a lot of cap issues for Chi and adds a younger D to an aging core.

    Nas gets an elite offensive center that they’ve needed for years.

  4. Mr DeBakey says:

    I was eyeballing MCool for a bit, but I’ve shuffled him off my list.
    He looks a long way away.
    A good athlete with size but otherwise there’s not a lot of there there.

    * * *
    Its hard to see either of those two RFA LWs getting a contract

  5. raventalon40 says:

    supernova:
    I still do that 5 for 1 trade that MacT did in that draft, you win some & lose some but make a dam decision.

    I like it. But does PC?

  6. ASkoreyko says:

    v4ance:
    Thinking of Seth Jones, as a devil’s advocate, would you trade him for Patrick Kane?

    Solves a lot of cap issues for Chi and adds a younger D to an aging core.

    Nas gets an elite offensive center that they’ve needed for years.

    The only problem with that is Patrick Kane is RW.

    Also I am not so sure how happy Nashville would be paying 10.5M to a single player. I believe they are a budget team and Kane does not come at any sort of discount.

  7. Bank Shot says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    I was eyeballing MCool for a bit, but I’ve shuffled him off my list.
    He looks a long way away.
    A good athlete with size but otherwise there’s not a lot of ther

    Pretty great name.

  8. speeds says:

    Question for the group:

    Would you claim Girardi if he were on waivers?

  9. Ryan says:

    As Oilercentric as I’ve always been…

    I know that the Oilers have long been tight relative to the 50 man… How much of that is a condition of being a perpetual cellar dweller (and drafting high) vs being loathe to let go of assets as the Oilers have been in the past? Do other bottom feeders have the same issue?

  10. Ray says:

    speeds:
    Question for the group:

    Would you claim Girardi if he were on waivers?
    Yes, but wouldn’t trade much of value for him.

  11. Doug McLachlan says:

    So when do we get a listing of the other unsigned picks from Roy’s class to see if there is anything of interest? Or is this just a problem that afflicts Oiler management?

  12. spoiler says:

    speeds:
    Question for the group:

    Would you claim Girardi if he were on waivers?

    If by Dan Girardi you mean Marc Staal, absolutely.

    Lol, I don’t know… judging by his minutes, even Vigneault still relies on him pretty heavily. So probably, yes. He has a big rep and one would think you could trade him for an asset down the road when the team cap limit is higher and his actual salary has shrunk.

    But I don’t think he gets past Buffalo. 😉

    And I’d hope for better… I’d rather sign Michalek at the same age, for less dollars and term.

  13. Mr DeBakey says:

    Doug McLachlan: So when do we get a listing of the other unsigned picks from Roy’s class to see if there is anything of interest? Or is this just a problem that afflicts Oiler management?

    You mean solution
    The problem was when they used to sign these guys.

  14. Woodguy says:

    speeds:
    Question for the group:

    Would you claim Girardi if he were on waivers?

    Of course.

    He’s an actual NHL Dman and only makes $1MM more than Nikitin.

    After the year has passed and you can trade him, you probably do given his salary doesn’t match his abilities.

    I don’t trade much for him though.

    II hope like hell that Chiarelli doesn’t trade for him.

    He was beaten like a rented mule for most of the TBY series.

    Doesn’t bring any offence, has slow feet and makes $5.5MM for 5 more years.

    Bleh.

  15. NYCOIL "Taking Photos" says:

    Yeah, I wrote about Girardi a couple of days ago here, but retracted it for the HF-style trade proposal. I suggested Chia may send the 16th to get him. I hope not, but would think the name/rep mean Sather will command a mid-first. Do not want at the cost expected. Girardi has been struggling last couple of years. Sather goofed when he chose to pay him over Stralman. You know, but size (MOAR BIGGER) and rep and Canadian “grit” and all.

    No way Vancouver accepts the 57th for Lack without a plus going their way, in my opinion. Someone will beat that price. Lack is a good goalie, and big. 33rd straight up, with maybe a 4th coming back from Vancouver, or 57th and a 4th going from the Oilers? Benning and Chia must still talk.

  16. PeOiler says:

    Mr. McDavid has dashed my hopes that Sprong or Chlapik will be Oiler choices. Likely a D-man will be taken where they are projected.

    But I am holding onto hope that because of the Oilers recent attention to Q players and the fact that he was invited to the combine, Kameron Keilly may be taken with a later pick.

  17. Snowman says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    I’d have to think Lack might not get what he’d get in a usual year.. I don’t think that many teams are goalie shopping and there are a lot of G’s available and I don’t think Lack has the cache that a lot of the other names rumored do.

    You might be able to get Lack at a minor discount. He’s not my first choice by any means but he’s not my last choice. I hope Chia doesn’t spend the 16th on any goalie. The 33rd for the best of the crop would be the most I’d pay.

    It’s not a good summer to be looking and its an even worse summer to be selling.

  18. RexLibris says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    So when do we get a listing of the other unsigned picks from Roy’s class to see if there is anything of interest? Or is this just a problem that afflicts Oiler management?

    The only other one I’d heard of so far was Eric Roy (Flames pick, 5th round) of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

    He looked like a Keith Aulie type when I reviewed their prospect depth chart back in September. http://flamesnation.ca/2014/9/20/prospects-code-blue

    Here’s my synopsis on him:

    Bigger defender at 6’3″ and 194 lbs. Plays for the Wheat Kings in the WHL, had a miserable draft year managing 37 pts in 72 games but being sunk by a -32. Rebounded last year with 44 pts in 66 games and 51 PIMs with a -9. WHL career numbers are reasonable, 256 games, 0.61 ppg, 158 PIMs and -31, which is largely the result of one very bad year. Provides more offense than one might assume at first glance, and his career +/- coupled with his lower PIMs and assistant captaincy indicate a player who is relied upon and delivers. 2013 5th round pick by the Flames, 19 yrs old. Likely to return to WHL this season for his overage year with the Wheat Kings. Roy is somewhat unusual among the Flames’ defensive prospects in that he is a larger body who appears to be able to also play defense, as opposed to those above who seem to be one or the other. He provides some offense, and has good mobility and agility for a large frame, but faces challenges in becoming a more consistent player – something all junior players struggle to learn. The Flames have had prospects like this before in Keith Aulie so it is too early to expect much from the young man, but is in his final year of junior and will need to bring a more steady effort on a nightly basis if he is to progress.

  19. Henry says:

    NYCOIL “Taking Photos”,

    Either of your proposals for Lack sound about right. He’s pretty good, but hasn’t played enough to command more than the 57th and some change. Vancouver has to get younger.

  20. RexLibris says:

    The really frustrating part about Markstrom is that the Oilers, or 28 other teams for that matter, could have had him for free earlier in the season when he was on waivers.

    Brossoit/Bachman/Markstrom looks like a nice depth chart from here.

  21. John Chambers says:

    Any teams still looking for coaching or does New Jersey’s hire fill the last vacancy?

    In any event there doesn’t appear to be an upward move for Todd Nelson which could mean a season of two Todds from Saskatchewan.

    The offseason just keeps getting better. After the draft we just need to trade for Ekman Larsson, sign Sekara and Soderberg, and obtain Corey Crawford with Chicago retaining salary.

  22. Woodguy says:

    John Chambers:
    Any teams still looking for coaching or does New Jersey’s hire fill the last vacancy?

    In any event there doesn’t appear to be an upward move for Todd Nelson which could mean a season of two Todds from Saskatchewan.

    The offseason just keeps getting better. After the draft we just need to trade for Ekman Larsson, sign Sekara and Soderberg, and obtain Corey Crawford with Chicago retaining salary.

    Crawford at 4.5 >>> Crawford at 6.0

  23. stush18 says:

    RexLibris: The only other one I’d heard of so far was Eric Roy (Flames pick, 5th round) of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

    He looked like a Keith Aulie type when I reviewed their prospect depth chart back in September. http://flamesnation.ca/2014/9/20/prospects-code-blue

    Here’s my synopsis on him:

    Im actually surprised they let him go back through.

    Interesting story, I got to play against him a bit when he was in AAA in PA. He was absolutely dominating, and some of the filthiest hands I have ever seen. He struggled his first year, but I think most skill dmen do until they figure out that urgency. That was his problem back then, he would lollygag with the puck, messing around, making us look stupid. Then he would make a small mistake, and have to try for a second to get the puck back lol

    I would take a flyer on him, he has good size and hands.

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    John Chambers: In any event there doesn’t appear to be an upward move for Todd Nelson which could mean a season of two Todds from Saskatchewan.

    I think Nelson’s options were always going to be a choice of the following:

    1. coach the Oilers under a new head coach.
    This gets Nelson back in the NHL game, with a lot of new McDavid eyes watching. Allows him to ripen his CV and hopefully experience some McDavid success and get noticed for another job.

    2. coach for the Condors.
    This is going to be a pretty plum job all things considered. Bakersfield has an excellent (and zany) PR team and they are likely, for a variety of reasons, to gain a lot more media attention for their efforts than the Barons ever did.

    I’m not sure which he might prefer and can see the benefits of either path.

  25. LadiesloveSmid says:

    RexLibris: The only other one I’d heard of so far was Eric Roy (Flames pick, 5th round) of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

    He looked like a Keith Aulie type when I reviewed their prospect depth chart back in September. http://flamesnation.ca/2014/9/20/prospects-code-blue

    Here’s my synopsis on him:

    Derek Roy not coming back, not signing Marco Roy, now Eric ROY!! What is the deal!?!

    Ok there’s my Seinfeld

    Is Tyler Benson fair compensation for Eakins going to the giants? That’d be just about as ludicrous as the fired employee pick hand-over. If Edmonton waits til 2017 to fork over the picks, will that dumb rule be gone by then?

  26. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: 2. coach for the Condors.
    This is going to be a pretty plum job all things considered. Bakersfield has an excellent (and zany) PR team and they are likely, for a variety of reasons, to gain a lot more media attention for their efforts than the Barons ever did.
    I’m not sure which he might prefer and can see the benefits of either path.

    With the new Western Division of the AHL it will also help ease the travel hell Nelson had to endure in OKC which will be better for any coach and their family.

  27. LadiesloveSmid says:

    PeOiler:
    Mr. McDavid has dashed my hopes that Sprong or Chlapik will be Oiler choices.Likely a D-man will be taken where they are projected.

    But I am holding onto hope that because of the Oilers recent attention to Q players and the fact that he was invited to the combine, Kameron Keilly may be taken with a later pick.

    How about Gabriel Gagne? 6’5 winger scored 35 in the Q this year

  28. John Chambers says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think McDavid tips the balance. If the apogee if your career isnt coaching one of the games greatest, what is? Todd Nelson has already received accolade for his time as HC, and one would think being on the Oilers turnaround caravan will almost surely land him a head coaching position at some point.

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    John Chambers:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think McDavid tips the balance. If the apogee if your career isnt coaching one of the games greatest, what is? Todd Nelson has already received accolade for his time as HC, and one would think being on the Oilers turnaround caravan will almost surely land him a head coaching position at some point.

    Nelson’s interest (presumably) isn’t in coaching McDavid as an Associate or Assistant Coach. He only takes that job to get to the next one. And, I bet he’s hoping the apogee of his coaching career isn’t being 2nd fiddle on a team lumbering toward NHL relevancy.

    McDavid will bring more exposure, but not great success. Not for some time.

    The appeal is the spot light and how he can use it to his own advantage. Even there, he may find a quicker path by going back to the AHL first.

  30. Rip Fan Winkle "OilOnslaught" says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Nelson’s interest (presumably) isn’t in coaching McDavid as an Associate or Assistant Coach. He only takes that job to get to the next one. And, I bet he’s hoping the apogee of his coaching career isn’t being 2nd fiddle on a team lumbering toward NHL relevancy.

    McDavid will bring more exposure, but not great success. Not for some time.

    The appeal is the spot light and how he can use it to his own advantage. Even there, he may find a quicker path by going back to the AHL first.

    “McDavid will bring more exposure, but not great success. Not for some time. ”

    What do you base this on?

  31. Rip Fan Winkle "OilOnslaught" says:

    This current Oiler team, with a stable goaltender and appropriate top pairing D even if average, will be in the playoff hunt.

    Add elite skill with shelter even better.

    Hockey isn’t that complicated. The NHL is.

  32. Stelio Kontos (Formerly Zangetsu-Formerly Thinker) says:

    So does anyone know how waivers actually works?

    Is there a rule that you gotta call the other GM up like “Hey Joe, I see you have so and so on waivers, do you want something for him, or do you want to keep him.”

    Too many good prospects/players pass through for it to now have a seedy underside.

  33. stush18 says:

    Rip Fan Winkle “OilOnslaught”:
    This current Oiler team, with a stable goaltender and appropriate top pairing D even if average, will be in the playoff hunt.

    Add elite skill with shelter even better.

    Hockey isn’t that complicated. The NHL is.

    Didnt we say that last year?

    We have a new coach again, who no doubt will be successful, although im sure systems will take some time again. We need to add a top four dman to be in the same spot as we were last year.

    Goaltending will improve, although if im correct people around here have shown that even average goaltending does not get us into the playoffs, only to around 20th.

    The only way we make playoffs next year is if we pull a calgary/colorado and ride unsustainable percentages, or mclellan is a yak/schultz whisperer and makes those two into first line/top 2 players.

  34. stush18 says:

    Stelio Kontos (Formerly Zangetsu-Formerly Thinker),

    From what I understand, your ranking based on your position in the standings determines who gets to pick first for a player, and that a waived player must be claimed within 24 hrs.

    Ive also heard that If a team picks a player, they are bumped to the end of the que. So during training camp, players who are sent down immediately stand lest risk of being claimed on waivers, cuz teams would rather wait for a “better” prospect. I seem to remember us arguing about this last year, however, so i could be wrong on this point.

    Thats where MacT succeeded, or lucked out, last year when he sent down pitlick and lander a day earlier than everyone else. Everyone waited and some, (ie toronto and panik) lucked out.

    Also im sure room on the 50 man roster plays a big part of it, most teams seem to carry an extra space or few.

    Im sure the gms talk though.

  35. LadiesloveSmid says:

    stush18: We need to add a top four dman to be in the same spot as we were last year.

    That’s such a killer.

    Sign Sekera and they’re right back where they were last year. Gotta steal away a Petry from somewhere else to break even

  36. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rip Fan Winkle “OilOnslaught”: “McDavid will bring more exposure, but not great success. Not for some time. ”

    What do you base this on?

    He’s going to be a rookie NHLer.

    It’s important to put reasonable expectations on the line. Even if McDavid’s transition to the NHL goes perfectly (highly unlikely), he still can only improve this team so much by himself in his rookie year.

    The rest of the team needs a lot of work.

    I don’t think we can expect this to be a playoff team next year reasonably. Sure, they could have a Calgary-like swing at the %s, but more likely they experience measured improvement.

    For Nelson, the question is going to be how long until that measured improvement lands him interviews and does the interim period slag his market interest?

  37. Lowetide says:

    Agree with Rom. Even with McDavid and McLellain, reasonable is about 35 wins now. 35 wins won’t get you close to the playoffs.

  38. leadfarmer says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    And there was Matthew Roy, and Marc Olivier Roy before them. Not much success with guys named Roy

  39. Ryan says:

    Lowetide:
    Agree with Rom. Even with McDavid and McLellain, reasonable is about 35 wins now. 35 wins won’t get you close to the playoffs.

    While I completely agree with both of you…

    Imagine if I jumped into a time machine and spoke with 2008 Allan….

    “Look Allen, all I can tell you is this. In 2015, there will be an NHL team that will draft its fourth number one overall draft pick. This pick will be a generational talent like Sidney Crosby. The team will have a new coach, Todd Mclellan and a new GM, Chia Pete. This team is the Oilers. Sound good? Well the chances of them making the playoffs is better than ten to one against.”

    Just crazy, right?

  40. sumaclab says:

    83 points.

  41. Pajamah says:

    If 35 wins is the over/under, I think we will see the over, albeit slightly.

    I think 37 or 38 with a couple handfuls of OT or SO losses. 86 points would likely see the Oilers 10th in the conference, and 18th in the NHL. Huge improvement from 27th.

    PDO goes all Calgary on us, and who knows, maybe the team squeaks into the playoffs.

    No one here sees Chia sitting on his hands and doing nothing. He will make some changes to the goaltending (has to add as Fasth is gone), and will add to the defense (even as simple as buyout Nikitin and sign one of Sekera/Martin/Petry etc.)

    This precludes any trades he may make. And the man is not afraid to deal.

    Our summer of positivity and optimism is far from over.

  42. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Agree with Rom. Even with McDavid and McLellain, reasonable is about 35 wins now. 35 wins won’t get you close to the playoffs.

    As the team sits with no changes and assuming a AHL level backup for Scrivens.

    If (when) Chia improves D and G then that number will go up.

  43. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: As the team sits with no changes and assuming a AHL level backup for Scrivens.

    If (when) Chia improves D and G then that number will go up.

    Sure, but we can’t make a projection based on that. Rom’s point is correct.

  44. Visually better says:

    So cool seeing all the love for Josh Winquist LT. Close friend of mine, and is more than deserving of an NHL contract. I really hope it happens..

    As for the Draisaitl comment i made watching the Memorial cup, it was probably a little much. However, i just feel that after watching him a lot this season he has a loooong way to go if he wants to play as a C in the show right away here. I don’t know how beneficial it would be to him playing the wing (which has been mentioned quite a bit). I just haven’t seen the board work, backchecking, full 200 foot came that he would need to make it as a center IMO. I truly believe a year of playing with some good wingers in bakersfield would do him wonders. Thoughts?

  45. rickithebear says:

    Lets be honest!
    The west is tough.
    You look @ Carey Prices records versus the central and west.
    He gets you 53/100pt from 50 games.
    From a montreal team playing in West.

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