REVIEWING THE 2014 OILERS DRAFT

The Edmonton Oilers 2014 draft is one of the strangest in memory. The club added a tremendous talent in Leon Draisaitl in the first round, then sat out rounds two and three. Beginning in round four and through their next four picks, it appeared as though Edmonton (by choice) avoided the CHL in an effort to grab prospects they would not be forced to sign two years after. In doing so, they appear to have selected players who they may never sign at all. At best a curious choice, at worst a wasted draft year for an organization that simply cannot afford to be so reckless in procurement.

  • No. 3 overall: C Leon Draisaitl. Scott Cullen tells us this pick has a 100% chance of playing 100 NHL games (Leon passed 100 games this year) and the ‘average’ No. 3 overall pick is a top 6 forward or top 4 NHL defender. Draisaitl had such a terrific season, this looks like a strong selection in a good draft year. He ranks No. 2 among draft picks in points and games from the 2014 draft.
  • No. 91 overall: D William Lagesson. Cullen says there’s a 24.5% chance he’ll play 100 NHL games and the average selection at No. 91 is a minor league player destined to player under 50 NHL games. I was pleased with this pick (had him No. 77 on my list) and Lagesson has shown well since his draft day. A strong WJ this Christmas and impressive showing for UMass-Amherst when healthy this winter has some thinking he may turn pro this summer.
  • No. 111: G  Zach Nagelvoort. Cullen say’s it’s 14% for Nagelvoort to play 100 NHL games and the average is a minor leaguer who plays between 10-50 NHL games. This is the point in the draft (and this is true of pretty much all picks 100+) where the picks have basically equal value—it’s a lottery ticket and good luck, thanks for coming. Nagelvoort had a good draft resume (I had him at No. 91 on my list) on the strength of a .929SP at Michigan during his freshman year. Since being drafted, his SP’s are .906 and .893 and he lost his starting job with the Wolverines. He has one more year of college eligibility and maybe he recovers. Steve Racine was a senior this season, so Nagelvoort should be the No. 1 option this fall—but his performance was not strong enough to guarantee it. Will the Oilers sign him? I think it is unlikely at this point, especially with the recent signing of college goalie Nick Ellis by the organization.
  • No. 130: F Liam Coughlin. Cullen has it at 16% for this slot and the average remains career minor leaguer, 10-50 NHL games. Coughlin was in the BCJHL for an extra year due to entrance issues for college, but did find his way to Vermont in 2015-16. By that time, he was no longer Edmonton property, as Peter Chiarelli sent him away in the Anders Nilsson deal. Coughlin did not set the world on fire as a freshman, and at 21 will need to progress soon if he is to have a career in pro hockey.
  • No. 153: F Tyler Vesel. Cullen has Vesel’s chances of playing 100 NHL games at 15%, and the average remains career minor leaguer, 10-50 NHL games. He did not post a strong offensive season, but has solid two-way skills and is among the leaders in points for Nebraska-Omaha. I would think he (along with Nagelvoort and Coughlin) is a long shot for the pro game.
  • No. 183: G Keven Bouchard. In the time since his draft day, Bouchard stayed away from the .900 line in SP with spectacular regularity. Until this year’s playoffs, where he is playing well and boasts a .919SP. Don’t ask me.

This draft was a disaster. Leon Draisaitl was an excellent choice but the Oilers traded away picks:

  • No. 33 (Ivan Barbashev) to the St. Louis Blues in the David Perron trade.
  • No. 63 (Dominec Turgeon) to the Los Angeles Kings in the Ben Scrivens trade.
  • No. 93 (Nick Magyar) to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Mike Brown trade.
  • No. 123 (Matthew Berkovitz) to the Anaheim Ducks in the Viktor Fasth trade.
  • No. 137 (Tyler Bird) to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Nikita Nikitin trade.

This could easily be remembered as the Leon draft. It could have been so much more. You may enjoy re-reading (or reading for the first time) my ‘Harvest Moon‘ analysis of the draft right after it was completed in June 2014.

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34 Responses to "REVIEWING THE 2014 OILERS DRAFT"

  1. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    The worst thing about this draft is that I was so happy with MacT’s approach to the 2013 draft. Such a disappointment.

  2. Philosophil says:

    Like a cheap wine this draft stays wretched despite age (sans LD)…pure shiite. The sins of MacT continue to be foisted upon PC and TM. Perhaps they can sue for peace. Or just fire MacT into the sun…

  3. Ducey says:

    No problem with the picks dealt (except for Brown). All were reasonable bets. NN was a bust, but so was the guy they would have taken at 137.

    Another example of why the Oilers should not draft goalies. I mean other than Tyler Bunz, these guys bust as soon as their names are announced. Spinal tap drummers = Oilers’ goalie picks.

    That link on Lagesson sounds like just worry warting of a fan. It is good to see that the performance makes it a legitimate worry, though 🙂

    Maybe they can convert Lagesson to a righty in his sophomore year.

  4. wheatnoil says:

    Acknowledging there were some good bets in there, at no point were the Oilers in a position to trade for rentals. In that context, it’s pretty damning to trade 5 draft picks from one draft year and have none of the players you acquired in the organization 2 years on. Nikitin was the one that stayed in the organization the longest!

  5. Centre of attention says:

    From last thread:

    Bakersfield running Hunt as 2nd line LW.

    Winquist scratched.

    Oh my.

  6. wheatnoil says:

    wheatnoil:
    Acknowledging there were some good bets in there, at no point were the Oilers in a position to trade for rentals. In that context, it’s pretty damning to trade 5 draft picks from one draft year and have none of the players you acquired in the organization 2 years on. Nikitin was the one that stayed in the organization the longest!

    Mind you, I guess they did turn Scrivens into Kassian, Perron into a 1st into Reinhart, and Brown into a draft pick in the exact same draft (Nagelvoort), so perhaps it’s a bit unfair of me.

  7. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil: Mind you, I guess they did turn Scrivens into Kassian, Perron into a 1st into Reinhart, and Brown into a draft pick in the exact same draft (Nagelvoort), so perhaps it’s a bit unfair of me.

    The tree on these trades go back forever sometimes. I used to pay attention but Parkatti or someone always does a better job. I think the Perron deal was a good one, they paid in full but he was a good Oiler (and the pay was good when dealing him).

  8. The Hermit says:

    Off topic, this article may be of interest to some of the readers here.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/14/hockey-is-luckiest-major-north-american-sport-researchers

  9. stevezie says:

    I think the trades suggest moving a pick for a real player is usually a good idea

  10. Lowetide says:

    The Hermit:
    Off topic, this article may be of interest to some of the readers here.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/14/hockey-is-luckiest-major-north-american-sport-researchers

    I had the author on today, very interesting chap.

  11. The Hermit says:

    Lowetide: I had the author on today, very interesting chap.

    I will have to listen to the podcast.

    My take on the article is that more scoring chances favors skill over chance.

    My belief is that the simplest and most cost effective way to do this in NHL hockey is to enforce the rule book.

    Or they could go to full time three on three 😉

  12. G Money says:

    The Hermit: My take on the article is that more scoring chances favors skill over chance.

    This is the reason why Corsi as a ‘measure of goodness’ statistic was postulated into existence in the first place.

  13. The Hermit says:

    G Money: This is the reason why Corsi as a ‘measure of goodness’ statistic was postulated into existence in the first place.

    Definitely makes sense. If your CF is dominant, usually the results on the ice reflect this.

  14. Philosophil says:

    Lowetide,

    Gents – well, ya, sorta not so bad :-)…good fortune shone on the Perron trade for conditional Pens 1st; and its been PC making calculated deals for GR and ZK. Not sure MacT does the same. PC turned MacT’s lemons into lemonade.
    Will admit to overlooking Mr.Lagesson in my eariler comment, jury is still out. Still contend its a stinker of a draft long term.

    PS My wife is a lifelong Blue Rodeo fan and is loving the RE series the year (and could care less about hockey), laughed out loud with the Taylor Hall “Lost Together” pairing. good stuff LT.

  15. Todd Macallan says:

    Maybe it’s not the cool thing to do currently but I instead of playoff hockey I watched the 1st period of the U-18 game to get a bette sense of some of the Cdn draft eligibles, oh the life of an Oiler fan.

    Of interest, Chychrun looks dominant, as he should against the Danes, but his skating really is something else. Dante Fabbro also looks great. incredible calm and smooth. Limited viewing against a weak opponent but I’ve always thought sounded like Duncan Keith on his scouting reports, and watching him skate confirms that comparison for me. Can only hope he is still around on Day 2 of the draft.

  16. ashley says:

    The Hermit:
    Off topic, this article may be of interest to some of the readers here.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/14/hockey-is-luckiest-major-north-american-sport-researchers

    While not novel (I believe this was well-covered in the book Scorecasting by Moscowitz), it is interesting research.

    This brings into focus the comedy of play by play/colour guys (looking at you Hrudey) who lavish praise on the team that has scored the goal or the two goals in the game to that point, sometimes while being ridiculously out chanced. “They have a lot of jump. They’re winning the battles down low and doing the little things right” when sometimes the exact opposite is true. The losing team is showing better, but luck has given the winning and poor-performing team a lead.

    Ignoring that the luck factor shrinks with increasing sample size, it could make me feel better about the Oilers season. It wasn’t terrible execution by otherwise talented players and poor management decisions. It might have just been some bad luck. 😉

  17. The Hermit says:

    ashley,

    Thanks for pointing out that book, I just purchased it.

    Is it bad luck the refs hate the Oilers? 🙂

  18. Lowetide says:

    Dillon Simpson scored one tonight, Condors up 3-2. Mostly veterans playing and doing the scoring. A strange franchise.

  19. ashley says:

    The Hermit:
    ashley,

    Thanks for pointing out that book, I just purchased it.

    Is it bad luck the refs hate the Oilers?

    Interesting that you mention the refs. It’s been a few years since I read it, but I believe there is a chapter in there about referees and home ice advantage. Through well thought out research, it shows that all of home ice advantage can be attributed to referee bias.

    I would propose that since the referees find the young Oilers to be whiny and chirpy, they don’t get the calls that other home ice teams do and the home ice advantage is lost.

    The good thing is that success cures that. With more W’s the referees go from seeing whiny loser brats who have something to chirp about at every whistle to talented winning superstars with an occasional beef about a call.

  20. Philosophil says:

    Todd Macallan:
    Maybe it’s not the cool thing to do currently but I instead of playoff hockey I watched the 1st period of the U-18 game to get a bette sense of some of the Cdn draft eligibles, oh the life of an Oiler fan.

    Of interest, Chychrun looks dominant, as he should against the Danes, but his skating really is something else. Dante Fabbro also looks great. incredible calm and smooth. Limited viewing against a weak opponent but I’ve always thought sounded like Duncan Keith on his scouting reports, and watching him skate confirms that comparison for me. Can only hope he is still around on Day 2 of the draft.

    Life of the Oiler fan, for sure. My secret vice in non playoff years is watching WHL playoff hockey on Shaw, still has that 80’s local cable feed feel to it. Raw, grainy feeds, and gritty commentary, watching tomorrow’s stars and never will be’s. Loved it during the Oil Kings playoff runs the last few years, and restoring hope for the future watching LD’s dominance with Kelowna last year.

  21. Dr. Taboggan says:

    With the emergence of Parayko I imagine Shattenkirk might be one of the easier RH Dmen to acquire this offseason.

  22. The Hermit says:

    ashley,

    Yes Ashley there is a chapter on that.

    I quickly skimmed it, the assertion the authors makes is that the bigger the crowd, the more bias in calls that favor the home team.

    Their claim is that on average, the home team will enjoy on average two and a half minutes more of power play time than the visiting team.

    Moskowitz and Wertheim chalk this up to social influence defined as conformity on a subconscious level.

    Interesting stuff.

  23. russ99 says:

    Crazy Hawks-Blues game.

    They really need to dump that stupid offisides replay, even thought it helped my hometown team win.

  24. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Marco Roy carves out a nice season. 20P in 41GP. Glad they signed him

  25. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Just noticed the Steve Kelly stat on the Drai picture. You would have thought he would have been cursed.

    DOAN DOAN DOAN!

  26. Woogie63 says:

    Is Sami Vataten a healthy scratch tonight?

  27. slopitch says:

    Woogie63:
    Is Sami Vataten a healthy scratch tonight?

    Nope. Leads the ducks in toi after 2.

  28. LMHF#1 says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    Just noticed the Steve Kelly stat on the Drai picture.You would have thought he would have been cursed.

    DOAN DOAN DOAN!

    I definitely chanted DOAN! when Kelly was introduced at the last home gsme.

    That 2014 draft was not just terrible, it was embarrassing. Grounds for immediate firing if anyone cared. Sadly they didnt.

  29. D says:

    LMHF#1: I definitely chanted DOAN! when Kelly was introduced at the last home gsme.

    That 2014 draft was not just terrible, it was embarrassing. Grounds for immediate firing if anyone cared. Sadly they didnt.

    I wonder if 2014 will end up as bad as 2003? 2003 was “we’re the smartest men in the room” at its worst.

  30. AsiaOil says:

    G Money,

    Sat down and read your BLH article on defense, systems and crucial habits. Good stuff, and again, where do you find the time. I think both Chia and TMac “get it” which you can see from the in-season trades to get functional size (you mean we can actually make trades between TC and the trade deadline?) and how much better the team looks with respect to system play and structure. They will be a lot further ahead this year come TC in the fall.

    In previous years they were so easy to play against. Just shut down the neutral zone, jam up the blue line, and watch them bang their head against the wall until it bleeds. Sure every once in a while an opponent would oblige them by not giving a damn and letting them free-wheel. The home crowd would go nuts thinking happy days are here again. False dawn. But they are actually getting both bigger and better at the dump and chase. Having Maroon, Kass and Nurse around also made it hard to focus on the one guy the Oilers always had who they thought would make them tough enough. Foolish and kind of like trying to win a guerilla war by threatening nuclear.

    Pretty optimistic as long as they get a couple of RH dmen, keep the centers, and lose a couple of wingers who are too old, too lousy or too one dimensional. This centers will make damn near anyone look good (see Maroon, Patrick) but having wingers with effective size for puck retrieval in the offensive zone and appropriate effort in the defensive zone will help.

  31. Marc says:

    LMHF#1: I definitely chanted DOAN! when Kelly was introduced at the last home gsme.

    That 2014 draft was not just terrible, it was embarrassing. Grounds for immediate firing if anyone cared. Sadly they didnt.

    The last four picks in the draft were thrown away, but a little perspective is in order.

    If they had used sound draft strategy and picked the best player available there is roughly a 1 in 9 chance that a player picked this late becomes even a marginal NHL player. So at best the Oilers might have got one bottom of the roster player from these picks had they been made more wisely, but it’s more likely that they would have ended up in the same place they are now – with no NHL players from the bottom of the 2014 draft.

    The impact of this mistake on the fortunes of the franchise is somewhere between minimal and nil. Mistakes like signing Nikitin or not signing Petry cost the team actual wins. They are a 100 times more important than screwing up the bottom of a draft.

  32. Genjutsu says:

    Other than the picks that got traded away I have zero clue the issues people had with this draft.

    3: C Leon Draisaitl – early days for sure but it looks like they made the right pick here.

    93: D William Lagesson – looked great at WJC and everything I’ve read about has him on track.

    After that they picked two net keepers and long shots in the +100 range you are supposed to make those kind of bets. The most derided of which they already cashed for a useful piece.

    What am I missing?

  33. Marc says:

    Genjutsu:
    Other than the picks that got traded away I have zero clue the issues people had with this draft.

    3: C Leon Draisaitl – early days for sure but it looks like they made the right pick here.

    93:D William Lagesson – looked great at WJC and everything I’ve read about has him on track.

    After that they picked two net keepers and long shots in the +100 range you are supposed to make those kind of bets.The most derided of which they already cashed for a useful piece.

    What am I missing?

    If you look at LT’s top 100 for the second day of that draft (http://lowetide.ca/2014/06/28/2014-draft-day-two-hurry-up-and-wait/), a lot of the guys he liked were still available in the fifth round. The only one of them that the Oilers actually took was Nagelvoort.

    The guys LT liked but the Oilers passed on mostly look like long shots for the NHL, but a lot of them look like better bets than the guys the Oilers did take with those picks.

  34. LMHF#1 says:

    Marc: The last four picks in the draft were thrown away, but a little perspective is in order.

    If they had used sound draft strategy and picked the best player available there is roughly a 1 in 9 chance that a player picked this late becomes even a marginal NHL player. So at best the Oilers might have got one bottom of the roster player from these picks had they been made more wisely, but it’s more likely that they would have ended up in the same place they are now – with no NHL players from the bottom of the 2014 draft.

    The impact of this mistake on the fortunes of the franchise is somewhere between minimal and nil. Mistakes like signing Nikitin or not signing Petry cost the team actual wins. They are a 100 times more important than screwing up the bottom of a draft.

    This misses the point.

    The strategy was so bad that it is indicative of horrible decision making abilities. If you can screw that up, how will you react properly when something important and complex comes along.

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