I wish I could be a fly on the wall during scouting meetings. Based on what we know, it’s 12 angry men in a room arguing over about 150 kids from across the northern hemisphere. As a long time fan of the draft, I wonder how conclusions are drawn (WHY didn’t anyone draft Nathan Noel? I had him No. 48?!!! Maybe I’ll go with bigger font next season) and some of the picks on other teams would never go to my team. As an example, Winnipeg took a guy Edmonton would never have on their list, guaranteed. How do I know? His scouting report. Edmonton has tendencies, pure and simple. Those tendencies have them draft a 20-year old goalie in the seventh round instead of Tyler Soy or Nathan Noel and those tendencies will be there again next year. 12 guys in a room creates bias and body odor, these things are true. In the Oilers’ case, their own brand of strange brew also created some nice things at the draft.
In Red Line’s scouting report, they say Ethan Bear is a ‘sharp, tape to tape passer’ and that’s an important part of today’s game. If you can send a puck to the forward in stride, there’s an electric moment when the other side engages and hit ‘haul ass’ mode. It’s fun to watch when you’re at the rink because good teams have only two forwards chasing and three men tracking. It’s kind of a sling shot moment when the forward (I’m imagining Taylor Hall) flies through the neutral zone and the crowd rises in anticipation. That happens many times in a game, most of the sorties crash and burn (or go offside, lordy I’ve lived through too many offsides) but the tic-tac-toe of a goal begins with that crisp pass from the dungeon to the sweet open ice where the great men push the river.
- Red Line: Stocky, powerfully built, and hits like a Mack truck.
- Black Book: he prefers to use outlet passes, which he is very good at delivering to his teammates—sometimes sending the puck tape-to-tape from his own goalline to the opposition’s blueline.
- McKeens: strong, physical defender – solidly-built and a tenacious competitor .. not flashy skill wise, however makes smart plays and packs a powerful shot.
- ISS: Does a lot of things well, but mainly plays a strong defensive and physical game. Strong in front of the net and along the boards, doesn’t run around in the defensive zone and has good positioning.
- Future Considerations: Bear is a puck-moving defenseman who plays a top pairing role with Seattle. He is a very mobile player, skating powerfully and exhibiting good speed and a knack for rushing the puck.
Good edge work and quick in transition allows him to have a good jump on the play.
I’ll do this for each drafted player over the next week or so.
SAIL ON, SAIL ON
- G Tyler Bunz: Injuries impacted him, he never really got traction in the minors. You never know with goalies, so maybe we hear from him again.
- G Frans Tuohimaa: He showed more than Bunz and he may be better off in Europe over the next few years, playing a lot and developing his game. Again, goalies can surprise you.
- D Keith Aulie: He was a better player for the Oilers than I thought he’d be, suspect Aulie catches on somewhere in an AHL-NHL way. I wonder how close EDM was to qualifying him.
- C Kellen Lain: One of those players we never really got to know.
- L Matt Fraser: His hands are NHL calibre but speed is vital in today’s NHL.
- L Curtis Hamilton: If he pursues his career, I can see him having one.
- L Brad Ross: Possibly the briefest Oilers career since Gilles Meloche.
No surprises really, wish all seven the best and hopefully they’ll have productive careers with other organizations. Bunz is from around here, was in the local papers many times and seems a nice fellow. It’s easy to forget that these men are early 20’s, damnable early for the crossroads. If they asked me, I’d tell them to ride that nag until it drops, play the game they love, put off growing up for at least another year. The joy of playing a game as a career has enormous appeal, and once they retire it’s forever and that’s a long, long time.
OILERS IN FREE AGENCY (BLUE MOVES)
It sounds like Sekera and the LAK are working on a deal and there are some issues here (Ehrhoff concussion, Green costing the moon). Looking at this list makes me miss the olden days, when the Oilers would sign a Steve Staios or trade for Jason Smith and they would emerge as completely useful defensemen. The Oilers broke the wand and they can’t get it back again. Maybe Chiarelli can find some, his first two attempts (Griffin Reinhart, Eric Gryba) are not big dollar additions and could hang around for years without making $5M a season, if it works out. Johnny Oduya isn’t on the list, he’s a new UFA.
Bellemore 26, Diaz 28, Schlemko 27, Franson 27… those are all good guys to add if you don't want to get old.
— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) June 30, 2015
Burtch is a brilliant observer of the defensive game (I’m still trying to suss out his method but the results are fascinating and informative) so when he mentions these names (and their ages) we should pay heed.
Coyotes don't qualify John Moore and Mark Arcobello. Arcobello had 17G in 77 GP for four different teams. Someone's got to have room for him
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2015
John Moore is 24, has NHL experience, good size (6.03, 202) and is an excellent skater. He was part of the Yandle deal and I have to think an NHL team will grab him during the UFA period. He might be a nice add for Edmonton, stats look decent if unspectacular.
I’ll have a look at the forwards tonight. If we cobble together the current blue as they might appear opening night (Klefbom—Schultz for the Ozone; Reinhart—Fayne for the mid-tempo and Ference—Gryba for the tough minutes, while Niki Nikitin Niki Nikitin’s) we know there’s a lot of work. Several comments last night on the blog about not adding a top pairing blue, but rather tinkering. We’ll see, I do believe Peter Chiarelli is getting his future blue (Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart) in place but there’s two years of bleeding to come if he doesn’t add an actual NHL defenseman this week. I don’t think I’m wrong on that, folks. Peter Chiarelli may be ready to send a significant forward out of town for a defenseman in the name of balance. Hold on!
— Scott Cullen (@tsnscottcullen) June 30, 2015
Cullen always brings good insight and this morning he talks about things this blog has been discussing for 72 hours. A brief breakdown on his take on Oiler deals:
- Reinhart for picks to the Islanders: Eventually, the move should pay off for the Islanders, provided Barzal is as good as advertised, but Reinhart offers an upgrade at a glaring position of need for the Oilers, so that payoff seems to be closer.
- Talbot to the Oilers for picks: While there is some risk involved in acquiring Talbot – forecasting him as a starter still requires projection because he hasn’t done it in the NHL – he’s not a bad bet for the Oilers to take this season. If Talbot is really good, the Oilers will likely sign him to an extension and he can be part of the organization’s climb from the depths of the standings.
- Marincin to Toronto: For a Maple Leafs team that is looking to upgrade its defence, Marincin is the type of young blueliner worth taking a chance on. If it works out, he could play in the top four someday. If not, the cost to get him was minimal.
- Gryba to the Oilers: The Oilers didn’t give up much to get a player who can add toughness on their third defence pairing. It’s not a big win, but the edge goes to Edmonton. In combination with the previous deal, however, there is a decent chance that Marincin could provide more than Gryba and Edmonton had Marincin under financial control for several more years.
I took liberally from the article, so please click this link and read the rest. I’ll try to get Scott on later in the week to discuss.
The last day of that contract Shawn Horcoff signed w the #Oilers. I've always felt that he was unfairly judged by the $ and term.
— Kurt Leavins (@KurtLeavins) June 30, 2015
I loved Horcoff as an Oiler, would welcome him back too, save for the lack of speed (something Edmonton has too much of as it is up front). I hope he finds employment and wish the Oilers had kept him to mentor Nail (as he did with Hall and Eberle). The generation of centers who sustained the Oilers through the last good run (Horcoff, Stoll) are at a crossroads now and it’s possible they won’t be in the NHL this fall. That 2006 group at center (Horcoff, Stoll, Peca, Reasoner until the deadline) remains one of my favorites in team history. Opponents couldn’t piss a drop when Peca was on the ice, Reasoner mentored his brains out and the two youngsters emerged that season as real NHL players. Fantastic memories, thanks men, and a sincere wish for gainful employment, Comrade Horcov.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning (waivers at 10, we could see some deals) and we have it covered starting at 10, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. Draft and trade weekend, free agency.
- The fantastic Jordan Szoke, Superbike champion having another great year.
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk specifically about Griffin Reinhart and fan reaction to his acquisition.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!