If the second round of Oilers drafting features some unusual choices, the third round is where the circus comes out to play. Tall trees from small towns, enforcers who never punched, and once again a distinct lack of offense.
I am hopeful we can have a reasonable conversation about Oilers past drafting, taking out bias and inserting rational thought. In order to do this, we absolutely have to agree on some things:
- We can’t judge a drafted player weeks after his selection.
- We can count arrows, and they are a good indicator.
- We cannot expect all of the picks to succeed, that isn’t reasonable.
- We have come to some kind of conclusion about a line in the sand and agree to it (the Cullen grades).
Cullen’s numbers suggest a third-round selection has a 27.3% chance of playing 100 NHL games. Notable Oilers picks from the third round this century include Zack Stortini (297 NHL games) and Theo Peckham (160 NHL games).
OILERS THIRD ROUND 2008-15
- 2008: No second-round selections (Kevin Lowe) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2009: Troy Hesketh (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2009: Cameron Abney (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2010: Ryan Martindale (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2011: Samu Perhonen (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2011: Travis Ewanyk (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2012: Jujhar Khaira (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2012: Daniil Zharkov (Steve Tambellini) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2013: Bogdan Yakimov (Craig MacTavish) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2013: Anton Slepyshev (Craig MacTavish) (Stu MacGregor)
- 2016: Markus Niemelainen (Peter Chiarelli) (Bob Green)
- 2016: Matt Cairns (Peter Chiarelli) (Bob Green)
- 2016: Filip Berglund (Peter Chiarelli) (Bob Green)
There are a number of picks—especially in the early years—that were poor the moment they were made. The first pick with a chance was Ryan Martindale (NHLE on draft day: 26 points) in 2010, and by 2012 things were a little more reasonable (although offense remained a concern). I think MacT had a fine day in 2013, both Russians have played in the NHL. No picks in 2014 and 2015, three this season and we will know someday.
2015 SUMMER (NHL GAMES)
- Jujhar Khaira 15
- Anton Slepyshev 11
- Bogdan Yakimov 1
Khaira represents the only third-round pick of the Steve Tambellini era to make the NHL—which he did this past season. Both of MacT’s Russians have played in the NHL. None of the men drafted in the third round since 2009 have played 100 games (Cullen’s line in the sand for success).
- “It’s over” arrows: Troy Hesketh, Cameron Abney, Ryan Martindale, Samu Perhonen, Travis Ewanyk
- Bad arrows: Daniil Zharkov
- Lukewarm arrows: Bogdan Yakimov
- Good arrows: Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepyshev
- Very good arrows:
Too soon to know for the recent draft picks. Khaira moved up from bad arrows and I nicked Yakimov a little this year. He still has a future, but is it the NHL? Khaira and Slepyshev are the real hopefuls among the 2008-2013 group.
ONE BY ONE
- D Troy Hesketh: 51 players who have played in the NHL were chosen after Hesketh, who had size and there were rumors that New Jersey was interested in taking him. Michael Latta was chosen right after Hesketh, who did not play hockey after 2011-12.
- R Cameron Abney: He hurt his hand after draft day and moved around after turning pro in 2011. Abney did not play organized hockey in 2015-16.
- C Ryan Martindale: Peaked in the AHL (202 games and counting). The pick seemed a reasonable bet on draft day, 48 players who have played in the NHL were chosen after Martindale.
- G Samu Perhonen: Finnish goalie didn’t show much in the two years after his draft, but recovered in the SM-Liiga and has posted two reasonable seasons in a row. No idea if we ever see him again, but seems to be establishing himself as a solid goalie at that level.
- C Travis Ewanyk: He was partial payment for Steve Staios (it was Aaron Johnson and the pick used on Ewanyk) and he was rated quite high on his draft day. Oilers drafted a bunch of forwards who were never going to make the NHL due to lack of offense.
- C Jujhar Khaira: Khaira’s AHL point-per-game average went up year over year (.196 to .551) and he looked good in his 15-game debut last season. He was chosen No. 63 overall, and beat 23 of the men chosen before him to the NHL.
- L Daniil Zharkov: Big strong Russian winger famous for saying he’d be better than Nail Yakupov on draft day (it was funny, not meant to be a diss). He came over to NA on a tryout (Bakersfield), suffered a severe injury and lost his season. Recently signed by Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL and we wish him well.
- C Bogdan Yakimov: His NA debut was spent in the AHL (.491 points-per-game) was about what he accomplished in year two (.417 points-per-game)—plus he skipped over to the KHL. It will be interesting to see if he is on the TC roster and plays in NA for the final year of his entry-level deal.
- L Anton Slepyshev: Scoring winger had a breakout season in the KHL (15 goals in 58 KHL games) during 2014-15. Came over to NA, and made the Oilers, but did not keep his job in the bottom 6F. He got hurt after being sent down to the AHL, and did not score enough at that level. Suspect he returns to Bakersfield this fall.