NO. 20 PROSPECT (winter 2016) DYLAN WELLS

The 2016 draft was progressing pretty well based on expectations. The Oilers lucked out in the first round, acquiring big Finnish winger Jesse Puljujarvi. The team grabbed another winger in Round 2, as Tyler Benson’s health concerns appeared to be behind him. What’s more, the team added some interesting defensemen in the third round, giving the club an extreme area of strength (especially on LHD). By the fifth round, the only spot unaddressed (that needed it) was goal—and the Oilers chose a goalie at that time. Dylan Wells? Well, he was coming off a terrible year, and it did seem as though Edmonton had once again invested poorly in a goaler. Everything about the selection made sense until Dylan Wells started playing goal for Peterborough this year—and having considerable success.

PREVIOUSLY NO. 20 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2006: D Cody Wild (0) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2007: C Ryan O’Marra (33) (Trade. GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2008: C Milan Kytnar (1) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2009: L Slava Trukhno (0) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2010: G Tyler Bunz (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2011: C Ryan Martindale (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2012: L Daniil Zharkov (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2013: R Jackson Houck (0) (GM: Craig MacTavish)
  • December 2014: D Brad Hunt (25) (FA Signing. GM: Craig MacTavish)
  • December 2015: D John Marino (0) (GM: Peter Chiarelli)

The final spot looks about right, Brad Hunt is up with St. Louis now so maybe he will end up having a career. If the list works as it should, no one this deep should be playing a large number of games in the future. Wells is the second goalie to land here, and keep in mind I absolutely punish goalies on this list.

WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY

  • Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: No doubt about it. Wells did not have a good year. Originally pegged to be the next star OHL goaltender, Wells struggled mightily this year. Of his 27 appearances this year, 16 of those saw him post a save percentage below .875. And he didn’t play for a weak team either. Wells remains a talented goalie. He was great at the Ivan Hlinka this past summer. He was excellent at the Top Prospect’s Game. He’s got size and athleticism and he shows flashes of brilliance. Let me remind you that Matt Murray had a save percentage of .876 in his NHL draft year. Look at him now. I could see Wells turning the corner in similar fashion and that’s why I think he’ll still be a fairly high NHL draft pick.
  • Check out Dylan’s interview from The Pipeline Show. Source
  • The Black Book: No. 97. Despite struggling quite a bit this season, Dylan Wells is still an intriguing goaltending prospect for the 2016 NHL draft. A big bodied, goaltender who moves well in his crease, Wells possesses good size and mobility between the pipes. A goaltender who is at his best when he gets to the top of his crease and challenges shooters, Wells does an excellent job of battling through screens and tracking pucks in traffic. Dylan plays his angles well, however when he is struggling rebound control is one of his issues.
  • Future Considerations: No. 111. Wells is an intermediate-sized goalie who moves fluidly in the crease. He is a kid who has had an up and down season so far. He tracks the puck very well, something that is enhanced with his excellent positioning and his ability to follow and anticipate the play in front of him. Wells is very calm and does not show any signs of panic or distress, even when facing heavy traffic.
  • Brock Otten, OHL Prospects. Like most top picks these days, Wells brings both size and athleticism to the crease and he’s worked hard to improve his rebound control and positioning. He can still overcommit when you get him moving side to side, but he’s a really solid goaltending prospect and I think that by season’s end, he’ll be the starter in Peterborough.

THE OHL STORY

At 16, Wells posted a pretty good season, usage was high for this level and at that age. As Otten posted above, he did well in summer tournaments and then fell flat in his draft year—on a good team. At that point, despite his international exposure and good scouting reports, his 2015-16 performance clearly impacted his draft number.

PREVIOUSLY ON THE TOP 20

  • Summer 2016: No. 31
  • Winter 2016: No. 20

The slotting of players in the day after their draft (my summer list comes out next day) often results in wild movements by the winter list. In this case, the move is up the list and frankly he has had a very encouraging year so far. As with all goalies, steady as she goes.

2016-17

  • John Grigg: Wells’s play is making him look like a good pick for Edmonton at No. 123 in the draft last June and has the 18-year-old at least on Hockey Canada’s radar for the world juniors, hence his inclusion on Team OHL’s roster for Thursday’s contest versus Russia in North Bay. Source
  • Petes goalie Coach Andrew Verner: “The advanced stats showed, I think, what he was dealing with on most nights, as far as number of shots and the quality of those shots. That doesn’t slip past us here. We know we rely on him heavily to maybe do a little bit more than some of the other goalies in the league. “A lot more pucks are hitting him, especially what I call a ‘second-tier scoring chance’ not that ‘grade A’ chance, but not from the blueline, either.” Source
  • Dylan Wells: “I didn’t want to look at my stats at all this year. You can’t pay too much attention to your stats, and if you’re constantly checking them, you’re trying to maintain them all the time, you’re always worrying about it. Obviously it’s a pretty good feat, but wins are all that matter at this point, so I’m going to focus on that.” Source
  • Andrew Verner is a former Oilers draft pick, 1991.

THE FUTURE

As is the case with Tyler Benson, it was vitally important that Wells play a lot, and play well. So far, he has lived up to the best parts of his scouting reports, and perhaps his draft year was an anomaly. As always, goalies and their progress should have a wide range of possibilities—best to take it as she goes.

THE 2016 DRAFT

  • Jesse Puljujarvi—No. 4 overall. Edmonton has another tremendous talent in Puljujarvi, who is an aware player all over the ice at 18—very rare. No. 1 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Tyler Benson—No. 32 overall.  Healthy and playing top line minutes in all disciplines. Potentially a big piece of the future, depending on how fast he develops. No. 2 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Markus Niemelainen—No. 63 overall. Niemelainen is a big (6.05, 200 on draft day) defenseman with speed and raw skills. He has two-way ability. No. 18 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Matthew Cairns—No. 84 overall. He is another defenseman who has much development ahead, but in this case there appears to be an offensive payoff clearly visible. Now 14gp, 0-4-4 with the Fargo Force. He is big and has a nice range of skills.
  • Filip Berglund—No. 91 overall.  Has enough finesse to be considered a puck mover, he has good vision and is an excellent passer. A very nice skill set. No. 11 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Dylan Wells—No. 123 overall. Enjoying a strong bounce back season. He ranks No. 2 in the entire OHL among starters in save percentage, and has battled back from some wobble this year. A very good sign. No. 20 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Graham McPhee, No. 149 overall. Has shown flashes of offensive ability at college, has a range of skills.
  • Aapeli Rasanen, No. 153 overall.  A true center, he is an excellent passer who can finish, plays in all disciplines and is a fine face-off man. No. 15 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Vincent Desharnais, No. 183 overall. College defender appears to be losing some playing time. Outside the Top 20.

ROLLING TOP 20

  • We have reached the end of the Top 20 and balance eludes the list.
  • Nine defenders is a bit of overkill, and I expect we will see that change by this time next winter.
  • The Leftorium owns the oceans, the land, the shipping lanes.
  • Left Wing has one player, but Khaira and Caggiula may end up there in time.
  • Wells beat out a college defenseman, another goalie, and an AHL defenseman for this spot.
  • I will publish three additional posts related to the top 20: No. 21-30, No. 31-40 and then a summary by position and some comments.
  • Thanks for reading this, it is a labor of love and I do read all the comments, love the feedback and scouting reports.
  • After running this list, I would say it is imperative Edmonton add a second-round pick. And if they plan on trading their first rounder, then maybe two second-round picks.
  • This list is not close to how I thought it would look in June at the completion of the summer Top 20.

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40 Responses to "NO. 20 PROSPECT (winter 2016) DYLAN WELLS"

  1. gregsaint says:

    Don’t look now, but Justin Schultz is tied for second in +/- at +18 with Shea Weber…and then there’s Dubnyk leading in the goalie stats department. What up with all that!

  2. Lowetide says:

    gregsaint:
    Don’t look now, but Justin Schultz is tied for second in +/- at +18 with Shea Weber…and then there’s Dubnyk leading in the goalie stats department. What up with all that!

    I think it is awesome. Love to see these young players flourish.

  3. norm_klassen says:

    gregsaint,

    i think it means if you go rebuild scorched earth your going to end up witj alot of casualties. Good people lost along the way to brighter days. We hope 🙂

  4. StixMalone says:

    gregsaint:
    Don’t look now, but Justin Schultz is tied for second in +/- at +18 with Shea Weber…and then there’s Dubnyk leading in the goalie stats department. What up with all that!

    It took some time but both are doing great. Justin was not great in Pittsburgh to start either. He’s found his mojo….

  5. Yak Efron says:

    Letang out with lower body injury, hope Justin has room on his mantle for the Norris.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Timo Meier scores in his NHL debut.

  7. jake70 says:

    Yak Efron:
    Letang out with lower body injury, hope Justin has room on his mantle for the Norris.

    Yeah wonder how it affects their D pairs, his ice-time etc.

  8. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide:
    Timo Meier scores in his NHL debut.

    This kid was a gunner in the Q and I had him inside my top 10 that draft year personally.

    San Jose drafted another dandy. He’ll score 30 one day I’d bet money on it.

  9. Centre of attention says:

    Question for the group:

    Who do you have ranked higher in your mind? Jones or Bear?

    I want to say Bear because he’s a right shot but the offense didn’t really come this year until Barzal arrived and that fact alone makes you go hmmmmm.

    The Winterhawks are a pretty meh team and Caleb’s offense is continually progressing, regardless of team performance. Caleb also has superior even strength numbers which is another thing that makes you go hmmmm.

    Personally I value Caleb more, even with the leftorium considered. The Oilers really might have something here. Lets hope those even strength box cars carry over to pro.

  10. nelson88 says:

    Don’t want to jinx the kid but having a hell of a game tonight as well.

    Looking like a steal given his draft number. I can’t remember ever being as impressed by the mid to late round picks as i have the past 3 – 4 years. Oilers are building a nice pipeline of cheap replacements to keep the competitive window open longer.

  11. nelson88 says:

    Centre of attention,

    Ya. It’s an interesting question. I like both players and think Jones will have the better all around game while Bear has more bust potential but he also has a ++ skill that could make him very valuable and in relatively short order. That one time bomb he has from the point is impressive and with all due respect to Barzal having McDeity, Drai or RNH putting it on a tee for him won’t be too much of a drop off.

  12. gregsaint says:

    Just shows how badly the oilers have handled young players over the desert years. Hopefully that’s in the past.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Wells wins another for the Petes, stopping 40 of 43.

  14. sliderule says:

    Petes win 4-3 in ot.
    Wells with 43 shots and 40 saves and named first star

  15. sliderule says:

    Wells tied at save percentage at .920 for goalies who have played more than 3 games.

    Wells has 14 wins just behind three tied at 15 and one at 22..Underated statistic for goalies.

    Just ask Grant Fuhr

  16. kinger_OIL says:

    – Congrats again LT! I swear, if they didn’t play any actual hockey, and all you could do was make rankings, you would probably be more happy! Great labour of love that you do for us. Thanks

  17. sliderule says:

    Correction.
    That was Wells 15 th win so he is tied for second in wins.

  18. Gordies Elbow says:

    Great post – really like Wells (although goalies are voodoo.)

    (PS: LT, you have John Marino in your rolling top 20 graphic, also as #20)

  19. Lowetide says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Congrats again LT!I swear, if they didn’t play any actual hockey, and all you could do was make rankings, you would probably be more happy!Great labour of love that you do for us.Thanks

    The hockey is always, king, Kinger. Always. 🙂

  20. Lowetide says:

    Gordies Elbow:
    Great post – really like Wells (although goalies are voodoo.)

    (PS: LT, you have John Marino in your rolling top 20 graphic, also as #20)

    Well, I guess you know No. 21!

  21. Gordies Elbow says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks – you have a great site, and have built a great community!

    There isn’t a day that goes by where I haven’t read something that makes me pause and think. That, my dear sir, is a wonderful thing.

  22. JDï™ says:

    LT really nailed it when he called Columbus the Red Hots.

  23. frjohnk says:

    Thanks for doing this. I enjoyed your winter prospects list.

  24. Clay says:

    It warms my cockles to see the fLames lose a few finally. Samwise getting a goal against them is a bit of gravy.

    I’m glad he’s re-surging this year – he’s too young and talented to be out of the league yet.

    Thanks for the winter list LT – fine work as usual.

    If we move Jones and Lagesson from LHD to LW, can we call it balance? 🙂

    Stay warm y’all.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Kyle Platzer with his first of the season, Condors down 3-1 late

  26. Bruce McCurdy says:

    sliderule:
    Wells tied at save percentage at .920 for goalies who have played more than 3 games.

    Wells has 14 wins just behind three tied at 15 and one at22..Underated statistic for goalies.

    Just ask Grant Fuhr

    “goalie wins = worst stat ever!” — stats guys
    “Wins are all that matter at this point, so I’m going to focus on that”. — Dylan Wells + any goalie worth his salt, ever

  27. Hope is a good thing says:

    LT: Very much appreciate the research, insight, and parables as you presented the Top 20. Great stuff!

    Pondering the “disappointing” season of Nuge so far led me to examine a few other centres who might be receiving similar fan treatment due to a lack of goal scoring. This is non-scientific, and full of holes, but, if the bottom line is scoring goals:

    Player Goals Salary

    RNH 5 $6.0

    Tomas Plekanec 2 6.0

    Joe Thornton 2 6.75

    Lars Eller 2 3.5

    Ryan Getzlaf 3 8.25

    Anze Kopitar 3 10.0

    Patrice Bergeron 4 6.875

    Jonathon Toews 4 10.5

    There are many different angles including, injuries, playoff fatigue, quality of linemates and competition, schedule and travel etc., but this may provide some perspective, and perhaps even some breathing space for the Nuge! At the very least, he has some pretty good company…

    From Sportrac and NHL.com not including tonight’s games.

  28. MrEd says:

    Really appreciated Brownlee on Cam Cole this evening over on the Nation.
    Sports journalism then and now wonderfully told with links.

  29. MrEd says:

    Wells is 6’02”, 190. Sort of tall. Slight for sure.
    Either he’s super calm or an athlete.

  30. Dixs35 says:

    So was thinking left field trade to help fix leftoriam and add to the rhc depth and rw depth. Why not trade 2 struggling oil king prospects Lazar for Reinhart.

  31. ykjoe says:

    Thanks LT for the effort.

    Seems like 2016 Draft was a good one to restock depth, but that may be because the organization was so weak before.

    Benson seems okay, think debrincat was available in that spot. Did the oilers make a mistake, or is upside still there?

    I think the oilers are low on scoring talent and OHL prospects. Living in Kitchener, it would be nice to cheer for a oiler draft pick occasionally.

    On that note RNH vs Landeskog, seem to have had similar careers. Did they make the right choice?

    Thanks again, the site is my oasis in the Leaf Nation desert.

  32. Lowetide says:

    ykjoe:
    Thanks LT for the effort.

    Seems like 2016 Draft was a good one to restock depth, but that may be because the organization was so weak before.

    Benson seems okay, think debrincat was available in that spot.Did the oilers make a mistake, or is upside still there?

    I think the oilers are low on scoring talent and OHL prospects.Living in Kitchener, it would be nice to cheer for a oiler draft pick occasionally.

    On that note RNH vs Landeskog, seem to have had similar careers.Did they make the right choice?

    Thanks again, the site is my oasis in the Leaf Nation desert.

    Thanks for the kind words. I had DeBrincat mid-1st round and Benson early second round, so would personally have chosen DeBrincat. That said, one of the reasons I had Benson at 34 was his injury worry—Oilers had that info (that he was fine) by draft day.

    http://lowetide.ca/2016/06/04/here-comes-the-sun-final-2016-draft-list/

    Agree on the OHL btw, Oilers need more kids from a very strong league.

  33. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide,

    Raddysh as well. I think we’ll be fine with Benson, though. Those two Otters are insane however. Maybe McDavid gave his input on the two of them?

  34. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: “goalie wins = worst stat ever!” — stats guys
    “Wins are all that matter at this point, so I’m going to focus on that”. — Dylan Wells + any goalie worth his salt, ever

    Those two things are not mutually exclusive at all.

    Same reason a NHL coach should probably never say corsi or fenwick in any discussion with their players.

    Analyzing data is for trying to suss out what is important to winning and what is not. Who is doing well and who is not.

    It has nothing to do with playing the game or coaching the players.

    It has an important part in evaluating coaches and players though.

  35. Woodguy says:

    Love the update on the prospects LT.

    While I and many others comment much less in prospect threads than GDT and the morning “get your ya-ya’s out” threads, they are very much appreciated.

  36. jp says:

    gregsaint:
    Don’t look now, but Justin Schultz is tied for second in +/- at +18 with Shea Weber…and then there’s Dubnyk leading in the goalie stats department. What up with all that!

    Maybe one day “Jultzing” will be considered a complement.

    Glad to see him doing well.

  37. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Those two things are not mutually exclusive at all.

    Same reason a NHL coach should probably never say corsi or fenwick in any discussion with their players.

    Analyzing data is for trying to suss out what is important to winning and what is not.Who is doing well and who is not.

    It has nothing to do with playing the game or coaching the players.

    It has an important part in evaluating coaches and players though.

    I don’t think I said “mutually exclusive”, in fact I don’t think I said anything st all. But if I were to choose a word it would be “paradoxical”.

    I don’t disagree one iota about analyzing what is important to winning, however I still find it puzzling that counting wins themselves is considered anathema by many stats-oriented types. Just as shots lead to goals and goals lead to wins, /so are wins themselves part of the larger process that leads to successful seasons

    I do get that they are not the sole domain of the goaltender, obviously. I’d like to see published W-L data on all players, not as a be all end all but as contextual information

  38. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I don’t think I said“mutually exclusive”, in fact I don’t think I said anything st all. But if I were to choose a word it would be “paradoxical”.

    I don’t disagree one iota about analyzing what is important to winning, however I still find it puzzling that counting wins themselves is considered anathema by many stats-oriented types. Just as shots lead to goals and goals lead to wins, /so are wins themselves part of the larger processthat leads to successful seasons

    I do get that they are not the sole domain of the goaltender, obviously. I’d like to seepublished W-L data on all players, not as a be all end all but as contextual information

    All of that is very fair sir.

    I think you don’t want to focus on wins because so much of a hockey game is outside the goalie’s control.

    To measure its best to focus on the process and the best process indicate the best goalie over time.

    Let’s call this the “Chris Osgood Rule”

    Hehe

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: All of that is very fair sir.

    I think you don’t want to focus on wins because so much of a hockey game is outside the goalie’s control.

    To measure its best to focus on the process and the best process indicate the best goalie over time.

    Let’s call this the “Chris Osgood Rule”

    Hehe

    Agreed it’s not the only way to measure a goalie. However, “how did his team fare when this goalie was in net?” is a relevant question to me, worth tracking despite the shortcomings of the method.

    I have a certain antipathy towards the modern stats community’s eagerness to dismiss more traditional stats for their weaknesses, instead of simply incorporating them into the bigger picture as additional shades of context.

  40. Gino says:

    The prospect update is that nice feature I look forward to seeing between games, thanks LT.

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