This is the final installment of my 2015 draft coverage. It’s my favorite part of the year, although a playoff run wouldn’t go amiss around here either if it comes to that some day. I would like to thank Corey Pronman, Cody Nickolet, Kirk Luedeke and all who spent time discussing the draft with me on the Lowdown over these months.
Corey Pronman is a helluva scouting service. He’s one of three national evaluators (Woodlief, Button) who fans find accessible and forthcoming during the year. All of these men have strong opinions and all of them back up their statements with sound reasoning. I thought it might be a nice idea to look at all three services and how they saw Edmonton’s picks BEFORE they were drafted (important for two reasons: first, how many players did they mention in their top 120, second what exactly did they say about him?).
- No. 1: Connor McDavid. Get used to this name; he could end up as one of the faces of hockey for the next 10 to 20 years. McDavid is one of the best pure skaters I’ve ever seen.
- No. 86: Ethan Bear. He’s a well-rounded prospect but doesn’t have standout attributes.
- Hon. Mention (101-125): Caleb Jones. He’s a gifted athlete who skates well, creates plays by himself and can make plays at both ends of the rink.
- Pronman about Reinhart: I thought the deal was equitable for both sides. Only thing I heard around AHL rinks for Griff was praise, even if it wasn’t “he’ll be a star dman” level.
Corey’s stuff is at ESPN, highly recommended. It’s like $3.33 a month or something. There’s miles more in his reports, I’ve used only a little for each player but Pronman has very good descriptions of player, skills and shortcomings. I’ve been reading scouting reports since the 1970’s and his are extremely thorough and an easy read.
- No. 1: Connor McDavid. Dynamic speed and acceleration. Has a top end separation gear that’s a blur.
- No. 81: Ethan Bear. Good skater, laser shot, sharp tape-to-tape passes. Needs to refine positioning.
- Woodlief about Reinhart (before the draft): Griffin Reinhart, is easily the biggest defender available at 6-4, 207 pounds, though he’s not naturally physical or aggressive. Reinhart is a workhorse who can be used on both special teams and soak up big minutes. He plays an extremely calm game with terrific four-way mobility and puck movement skills, and has strong bloodlines as the son of longtime NHL blue-liner Paul Reinhart.
Woodlief is the gold standard and despite some misses over the years (Hemsky) would be my choice for ‘desert island’ scouting service. Woodlief and Red Line employ good people (Kirk Luedeke is a fabulous addition) and their scouting reports pull no punches. His service is more expensive but extremely worthwhile.
- No. 1: Connor McDavid. Two words; unprecedented speed. Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps even in Crosby’s draft year.
- No. 77: Ethan Bear. There’s a lot of substance in his game. He doesn’t get himself into trouble, you earn everything you get when playing against him. Coming out of his own zone, he understands what the options are and these are things that will translate to the NHL.
- No. 81: Caleb Jones.
- No. 86: Ziyat Paigin.
- Button on Reinhart (before the draft): He has a an excellent understanding of the game with a composure and patience that may suggest a lack of urgency but don’t be confused, his competitive waters run deep and he’s capable of being aggressive and assertive when necessary. He is a very good skater with strong balance and agility and along with his size, he is extremely difficult to break down 1-1 and gain an advantage on. He uses his body effectively and doesn’t lose position and is capable of punishing opponents. His vision is very good, he sees the play unfolding, knows what his options are and is capable of doing this very quickly. He makes very good plays in all areas of the game and ones that gain advantages for his team. His offensive skills continue to evolve and he is increasingly confident creating offense. Griffin has an assuredness in his play and along with his skill and physical attributes, makes him a player who has a chance to be an impact player in the NHL.
My list of the Oilers Top 20 prospects for Summer 2015 is here and the entire organization’s prospect list and 2015-16 expectation is here. This ends my coverage of the 2015 entry draft, hope you enjoyed it!