ROCKS OFF

It has been a few weeks since we discussed the 2017 entry draft, and things have changed. With the trade deadline complete, we now know Edmonton’s picks and approximate slot in each round. I have a mock draft after the latest Top 93.

  • I use NHLE as a strong guiding light. Christian Roatis has my current conversation calculator here.
  • My list list rewards offense heavily, and the most gifted offensive players will be at the top.
  • Players with a range of skills usually do well, but there is a fine line between a two-way player and a checking future. I think teams spend a lot of first-round picks on future checkers, this list tries to send them into the second round.
  • The list does not give high numbers to players who have a lot of their value tied up in the defensive side of the game. Some of the names who appear as first-round selections on other lists are not inside my top 100.
  • Goalies are graded (almost exclusively) by save percentage, although success over more than one season has terrific value. Prevailing  wisdom counts as well.
  • I view Bob McKenzie’s list as the draft Bible, but my list does not factor in any scouts input beyond the obvious.
  • My list does not attempt in any way to predict the draft (BMs does it very well) and does not take his list into account.
  • Craig Button’s list has high value for me, I like the fact he has the courage of his convictions. My list does not factor in Button’s list.
  • I pay attention to Red Line Report, Corey Pronman, Kirk Luedeke (also Red Line), McKeen’s and Steve Kournianos. I do not copy their rankings (this should be fairly obvious if you look at the rankings of the scouting services) and don’t actively pursue their rankings until early June, when Red Line is released—my list will be complete by that time.
  • I have found Simon Boisvert (frequent guest on Lowdown) to be an increasingly valuable resource and his input has impacted this list.
  • Mark Edwards Black Book is a brilliant reference. His release last year has been very useful for this year’s draft.
  • My list is unique, but in some cases I will reference other resources. Some of those sources may seem obscure—Brock Otten, Cody Nickolet, Adam Sherren, Simon Boisvert—but are invaluable.
  • Scott Wheeler delivers great information in this area.
  • It is very rare for me to rank a defenseman No. 1 overall. Last time? Victor Hedman, 2009.
  • My list is not designed to compete with, or copy any of the sources mentioned above. Organizations like Red Line, ISS, McKeens, Future Considerations and others employ actual scouts who observe, evaluate and project. None of their work is contained here. In fact, there are no claims here in regard to scouting—or saw him good—it is merely a labor of love. Beware of fascinations that begin in childhood.
  • This list uses math, previous draft trends (the CHL delivers enormous talent to the NHL), various pieces of anecdotal information volunteered by scouts and observers along the way, and an educated guess based on watching these things unfold since 1971.
  • The NHLE for the first round has been included this time.
  • Grant McCagg has been doing this for years and has a brilliant new site. I have visited, but want to spend a lot of time there. I wanted to publish this list before heading over, which I will do in the coming days.

 DRAFT TOP 93, 2017

  1. (1) RC Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Complete talent. 34
  2. (2) L Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). May go No. 1. Dynamic. 35
  3. (3) R Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Size, speed, sniper.  34
  4. (4) RD Timothy Liljegren, Rogle (Swe Jr). Mobile 2-way D. 13
  5. (6) L Elias Pettersson, Timra (Swe-1). Watch for late spring scouting reports. 61
  6. (5) LD Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Big two-way D, smart, creative. 24
  7. (7) RC Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (OHL). Speedy, creative, range of skills. 37
  8. (9) LC Casey Mittelstadt, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). High skill, quick hands, extra gear. 29
  9. (10) RC Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). Complete skills. 30
  10. (8) RC Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor Spitfires (OHL). Creative C with size, speed average. 33
  11. (11) L Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Plus skater, NHL shot and release. 23
  12. (14) C Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). Small skill C, terrific skills. 30
  13. (16) R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Smart, elusive, offensive. Lacks top gear. 32
  14. (13) C Michael Rasmussem, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Big C, physical, good skater. 24
  15. (15) RC Robert Thomas, London Knights (OHL). Speedy forward, creative. 25
  16. (12) LD Nicholas Hague, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Rangy, aggressive, emerging offense. 19
  17. (17) RD Cale Makar, Brooks Bandits (AJHL). Fast, exceptional puck-moving acumen. 16
  18. (19) LC Lias Andersson, Linkoping (SHL). Throwback 2-way C, aggressive, quick. 5.11, 200. 23
  19. (21) R Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Speedy W with skill. Good Oil option. 28
  20. (20) R Klim Kostin, Balashikha (MHL). Giant winger, good offense. Injured. 15
  21. (25) RD Conor Timmins, SSE Greyhounds (OHL). Smart, reads plays well, excellent passer. 24
  22. (18) L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars (WHL). Big, good skater, plus shot, passer. 22
  23. (22) R Martin Necas, Brno (Czech). High speed skill W, just 5.11. 15
  24. (24) RC Morgan Geekie, Tri-City Americans (WHL). C w/2-way rep and emerging offense. 30
  25. (23) L Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda (SHL). Big W, skilled, strong, can play L or R. 11
  26. (27) R Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Cerebral W with skill, anticipation. 26
  27. (31) L Matthew Strome, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Strong 2-way W, offensive potential. 26
  28. (28) RD Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Huge D, awkward skater, good passer, tough. 15
  29. (29) RC Ivan Lodnia, Erie Otters (OHL). Small skill C, great skater. 23
  30. (41) R Nicholas Henry, Regina Pats (WHL). Emerging scorer. Not fast. 26
  31. (30) LD Miro Heiskanen, HIFK (Sm-Liiga). Puck-mover, excellent vision and speed.
  32. (26) G Mike DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires (OHL). 46gp, 2.21 .922.
  33. (38) LC Jaret-Anderson Dolan, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Small, very quick skater and plus skill.
  34. (34) LD Uro Vaakanainen, JYP (Sm-Liiga). Fast two-way blue with a good shot.
  35. (33) L Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph Storm (OHL). Big winger, great skater, some skill.
  36. (32) G Jake Oettinger, Boston University (NCAA). 30gp, 2.07 .927. Fabulous numbers.
  37. (37) LC Evan Barratt, USNDTP (USHL). Small finesse center with substantial skills.
  38. (35) LC Jake Leschyshyn, Regina Pats (WHL). Quality two-way C.
  39. (36) LC Ryan Poehling, St. Cloude State (NCAA). Big skill C with an offensive reputation.
  40. (40) LC Alexei Lipanov, Dyanmo Balashikha (VHL). Simon Boisvert loves his skill.
  41. (39) RC Joni Ikonen, Frolunda (Swe SuperElite). Small skill center with good speed.
  42. (42) LD Noel Hoefenmeyer, Ottawa 67s (OHL). Fairly complete defender, good D and some offense.
  43. (43) LC Morgan Frost, SSM Greyhounds (OHL). Smart, skilled, and emerging.
  44. (44) RD Henri Jokiharju, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). Smooth skating Finn OD, needs defensive work.
  45. (49) LC Shane Bowers, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Impressive two-way C, plus skill.
  46. (45) R Stelio Mattheos, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Excellent skater, heavy shot.
  47. (46) L Alex Formenton, London Knights (OHL). An absolute burner, has some skill.
  48. (47) LC Joshua Norris, USNDTP (USHL). Two-way C showing good offense.
  49. (52) R Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Big (6.04, 202) forward who plays intelligent game.
  50. (51) RD Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL). Two-way D, some nice boxcars.
  51. (48) RD Kale Fleury, Kootenay Ice (WHL). Fascinating prospect. Haydn’s brother. Range of skills.
  52. (50) RC Alexander Chmelevski, Ottawa 67s (OHL). Impressive skills, outststanding TP game.
  53. (55) L Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Cze). Big forward, good skater, has plus skills. Nice range.
  54. (59) LC Marcus Davidsson, Djurgardens (SHL). Two-way center has some offense, nice range of skills.
  55. (64) L Zach Gallant, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Fast skater, intelligent player, boxcars moving.
  56. (57) L Mackenzie Entwistle, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Big winger, who can skate, check, some skill.
  57. (54) RD Artyom Minulin, Swfit Current Broncos (WHL). Big defender with emerging skills.
  58. (56) R Lukas Elvenes, Rogle (SuperElite). Highly skilled winger, terrific hands.
  59. (58) L Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). Skilled, good size, skating average.
  60. (60) RD Eemeli Rasanen, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). Giant defender with skill, mobility.
  61. (61) LD Patrick Brannstrom, HV71 (SHL). Undersized skill defender, outstanding skater.
  62. (63) C Jesper Boqvist, Brynas (SHL). Average size, good speed and skill.
  63. (65) RC Scott Reedy, USNDTP (USHL). Center with speed, range of skills, dynamic.
  64. (66) L Jacob Tortora, USNDTP (USHL). He is a burner and he is skilled and he is small.
  65. (71) RD Ian Mitchell, Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL). Undersized, mobile two-way defender.
  66. (67) L Grant Mismash, USNDTP (USHL). Physical winger with some skill.
  67. (62) G Keith Petruzzeli, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL). An actual giant goalie. Luedeke is on him.
  68. (75) RD Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Mobile, dependable, emerging. Could be a find.
  69. (69) G Daniil Tarasov, Ufa (MHL). Tall thin goalie impressed at U18s.
  70. (70) RC Nathan Schnarr, Guelph Storm (OHL). Big center with speed, a little shy offensively.
  71. (72) LD Dylan Samberg, Hermantown High (USHS). Big (6.03, 190) mobile blue. Offense a mystery.
  72. (68) L Jason Robertson, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). Big winger with a good shot. Speed hurts him.
  73. (73) LC Jordy Bellerive, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Undersized, nifty and aggressive F with skill.
  74. (74) LD Robin Salo, Sport Vaasa (SML). Two-way defender, mature.
  75. (76) LD Cameron Crotty, Brockville Braves (CCHL). Intelligent two-way defender, great passer.
  76. (77) LC Antoine Morand, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). Very small, very skilled.
  77. (84) G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Strong showing at TP game.
  78. (78) LD David Farrance, USNDTP (USHL). Great skater, good passer, shy on boxcars for OD.
  79. (79) L Pavel Koltygin, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL). Two-way winger.
  80. (93) RC Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). 1998 born, too much skill to pass on
  81. (80) G Olle Eriksson Ek, Farjestads (SuperElite). Big goalie with a good track record.
  82. (81) LC Austen Keating, Ottawa 67s (OHL). Offensive center, more consistent this season.
  83. (82) RD Brady Lyle, Brampton Battalion (OHL). Good size, speed two-way defender.
  84. (83) RC Greg Meireles, Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Smaller forward, speedy, responsible.
  85. (85) W Jonas Rondberg, Vaxjo (Swe Jrs). Smart offensive winger with plus skills, lacks top end finish.
  86. (NR) RC Kyle Olson, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Small and skilled, rising.
  87. (86) LD Scott Walford, Victoria Royals (WHL). Mobile defender who can close gaps.
  88. (87) LD Jonathan Smart, Regina Pats (WHL). Great outlet passer, is a good defender. Trade helped.
  89. (88) L David Noel, Val D’Or Foreurs (QMJHL). Strong winger with an excellent shot.
  90. (89) L Georgi Ivanov, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL). Skill F with some elements associated with a PF.
  91. (90) LC Joseph Garreffa, Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Small speed merchant with skill.
  92. (NR) RC Josh Paterson, Saskatoon Blades (WHL). Good size, smarts, speed. Some offense.
  93. (NR) LC Ivan Chekhovich, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL). Undersized skill forward.

THE OILERS IN THE 2017 DRAFT

  • First Round: No. 23 overall
  • Third Round: No. 75 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
  • Third Round: No. 85 overall
  • Fourth Round: No. 116 overall
  • Fifth Round: No. 128 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
  • Fifth Round: No. 147 overall
  • Sixth Round: No. 178 overall
  • Seventh Round: No. 209 overall

MOCK DRAFT (FOURTH EDITION)

  • First Round: No. 23 overall—R Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). I am probably going to bore you all spring with information about this fellow. He took a big step forward this season and has terrific speed and skill. I have even read he has a shoot first mentality, which has to be a positive for Oilers’ brass. Promising player.
  • Third Round: No. 75 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)—L Grant Mismash, USNDTP (USHL). Mismash is a physical winger with skill, and he is a shooter—something the Oilers need in the system. He appears to be the kind of rugged forward Edmonton likes, with enough skill to be considered a solid pick at this number.
  • Third Round: No. 85 overall—RC Morgan Geekie, Tri-City Americans (WHL). I have him in the first round, but he won’t go there. He has a two-way reputation and his offense is spiking, but it is difficult to find many people talking about him.
  • Fourth Round: No. 116 overallG Olle Eriksson Ek, Farjestads (SuperElite). He is a bigger goalie with a quick glove, I have read good and not good things about him. There are a bunch of good goalies this season, bet Edmonton grabs one.
  • Fifth Round: No. 128 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)—LC Georgi Ivanov, Yaroslavl (MHL). He is 6.0, 187 and plays an intelligent game. He is more shooter than playmaker, perhaps he will end up on the wing. Good skater.
  • Fifth Round: No. 147 overall—L Patrik Hrehorcak, Trinec (Czech U20). Skill winger who is lighting up his Czech league. Small, impressed at Ivan Hlinka and has a good shot based on scouting reports.
  • Sixth Round: No. 178 overallLC Ethan McIndoe, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). He is 6.01, 174 and a July 1999 so may grow. Scouting reports I have read mention skill and a power game, but there is no real buzz about him. He is going to score close to 20 goals in a damned good junior league, someone should draft him.
  • Seventh Round: No. 209 overall—LC Owen Sillinger, Penticton Vees (BCHL). This is Mike’s boy, he is undersized (5.10) and skilled. Scores a lot in close, does not shy from the physical side of the game.

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68 Responses to "ROCKS OFF"

  1. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    I’ve seen a lot of Bellerive the last couple years. Heck of a player. Good offensively though not mind blowing, and while he’s short he’s pretty thick and he plays VERY big. Upside is a good third/second liner in my opinion.

    Stuart Skinner was 6’4 and 200 pounds with a mustache when he was 15. He has 8 other kids in his family. Somebody needs to draft this kid and give him a contract so he can help his parents pay their grocery bill.

  2. Richard S.S. says:

    Every Draft GM’s go off the Board for whatever fancy caught their eye. Sometimes players slide for no reason at all. Edmonton could do very well.

  3. Yeti says:

    LT – do you ever follow up after 5 years and see how your final list fares against actual performance of the drafted players? I’d be intrigued to know.

    P.S. would love this guy in the system: Fifth Round: No. 147 overall—L Patrik Hrehorcak

  4. DeeJay says:

    Nice to see a Kootenay ICE player (Cale Fleury #51) on your list. He is a fine defensemen and will do well somewhere I wager. The glory days of the ICE are behind them and this could well be the last season of WHL hockey in Cranbrook. The Nanaimo referendum for a new arena on March 8 will tell the tale. In their relatively short history, the ICE gathered three WHL Championships and one Memorial Cup……quite a feat. We also had ties to the Oilers with players such as Mike Comrie and Jarret Stoll.

  5. spoiler says:

    The top goaler, DiPietro… that’s a name that kind of leaps out at you..

  6. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Why do you have Poole so low?

    McKenzie has him 12 spots higher?

    Your list isn’t very predictive.

    Also,

    I really, really, really want EDM to draft Mishmash simply due to his name.

  7. geowal says:

    I know Principe is hoping you’re right with #75, so much potential

  8. geowal says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Great minds and all that…

  9. spoiler says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    To save you thread-hopping, just posted this in the last comment thread. “Who” also pointed this out.

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Not to pile on, but:

    https://www.nhl.com/video/edmundsons-first-career-goal/t-277350912/c-42936903

    There’s slo-mo too… for your phone. 😉

  10. Lowetide says:

    Yeti:
    LT – do you ever follow up after 5 years and see how your final list fares against actual performance of the drafted players? I’d be intrigued to know.

    P.S. would love this guy in the system: Fifth Round: No. 147 overall—L Patrik Hrehorcak

    I do look back, but still like my decisions no matter how it turns out. 🙂 I would still rank Jonathan Drouin No. 1 in 2013 because he is so so good
    http://lowetide.ca/2013/06/28/2013-entry-draft-post-23-the-final-30/

  11. OilClog says:

    Mismash all day

    Got to wonder who are the college men the Oil are looking at this go round

  12. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    spoiler:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    To save you thread-hopping, just posted this in the last comment thread. “Who” also pointed this out.

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Not to pile on, but:

    https://www.nhl.com/video/edmundsons-first-career-goal/t-277350912/c-42936903

    There’s slo-mo too… for your phone.

    I blame hockeydb

  13. N64 says:

    Woodguy v2.0: I really, really, really want EDM to draft Mishmash simply due to his name.

    And then Geekie in the same round. LT is all in tonight. Of course a computer blogger wants Mismash and Geekie. 😉

  14. lynn says:

    Off topic: Jujhar Khaira will likely return to the Condors soon, but it’s interesting that he was playing fourth-line right wing in practice today ahead of Iiro Pakarinen.

  15. Jaxon says:

    I really like the idea of either Timmins (21), or Popugaev (22). Timmins is a 6’1″ RHD, and scoring at almost a point per game in the OHL this season. Popugaev is a 6’6″, 203 lbs right shot with slick hands and some speed. Concensus rankings over at mynhldraft.com have him ranked at #25. They have Timmins ranked outside the top #31.

    Popugaev:
    ISS Hockey – Oct. 16th: “Physically dominant w/excellent skating tools. Offensive threat whenever he’s on the ice.”

    Jeff Marek of Sportsnet – October 4th: “He’s a second-generation player whose father Andrei played with Moscow Dynamo and Spartak. A big kid (6-foot-5, 208 lb.) who can really move his feet and make plays at top speed. He’s a right-hand shot who plays the left wing (traditional Russian). Between Noah Gregor and Brett Howden he’ll have a high-end centre to play with this season. Even with a huge frame, Popugaev still makes nice plays in tight.”

    Draft Site –Bill Placzek– : “The team that selects this huge Russian prospect will be doing so based on size, agility at his stature and his over-all skill level. Able to quickly start and stop, and be a frightening presence An off the charts skill-handler for a man his size. He plays it close to his feet that pops up very quickly. and gets maximum torque with shots and passes. His long stride gets him going quick so he can coast that looks like a jumbo jet about to take off. Plays strong on the stick and presents problems all over the attack zone as he turns quickly and then will cut back through the layers. Was traded and is leading his Prince George Cougar team with more than a point per game. All the signs point upward although a scoring a few more goals may seal the deal in the scout’s minds.”

  16. Jaxon says:

    Damn it! Ak Bars just advanced to the next round of the KHL playoffs. That means we have to wait at least another round to see if Edmonton will sign Paigin and bring him over to the AHL this spring. EDIT: digging a bit deeper. Paigin is not playing for the KHL team and the VHL team did not make the playoffs. I guess his contract lasts until the KHL team’s season is over in case they need to call him up during the playoffs. Too bad they can’t bring him over now. Or maybe Edmonton just hasn’t attempted yet.

  17. stush18 says:

    Jaxon,

    ARe we maxed out on contracts anyways?

  18. Pouzar says:

    Sit down JDI…I gotta a music post…

    Anyone heard of Richie Kotzen???? Sweet Baby Jezzuz.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkKBcEV75WE

    BEWARE: It’s Rock n Roll for all you old folk. 🙂

  19. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: Sit down JDI

    Should have warned me to strap on some Depends.

  20. Yeti says:

    Pouzar: Richie Kotzen

    Ja! Good stuff.

  21. pocession charge says:

    Pouzar:
    Sit down JDI…I gotta a music post…

    Anyone heard of Richie Kotzen???? Sweet Baby Jezzuz.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkKBcEV75WE

    BEWARE: It’s Rock n Roll for all you old folk.🙂

    Hadn’t heard of him. Sounds good — he has a real Cornell feel to his voice.

  22. Pouzar says:

    Yeti: Ja! Good stuff.

    Maaaaan…my bud in Yellowknife who is a music teacher and plays in a band just linked me up.

    Great stuff.

  23. Pouzar says:

    pocession charge: Hadn’t heard of him.Sounds good — he has a real Cornell feel to his voice.

    I am a huge Cornell fan. Seen him many times live. I think this guy is right there.

  24. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: I think this guy is right there.

    I forgive him for any time spent with the band Poison.

  25. Pouzar says:

    JDï™: I forgive him for any time spent with the band Poison.

    Ha ha great find!

    Have you seen what Winger has done since Beavis and Butthead? Unreal.

    Gotta evolve bro!

  26. spoiler says:

    Pouzar,

    That’s the best thing I’ve heard since LT posted his Rare Earth link.

  27. dustrock says:

    LT Steve Kournianos doesn’t have Geekie in his top 500 players for the draft unless I missed him.

  28. Pouzar says:

    spoiler:
    Pouzar,

    That’s the best thing I’ve heard since LT posted his Rare Earth link.

    This is literally the first time I’ve listened to this dude and I can’t stop.

    Took me an hour to realize he’s the only guy playin gui-tar up there lol.
    Very full sounding.

  29. spoiler says:

    Pouzar,

    He’s still running here. Even the buddy that’s over is raving about the music.

  30. Pouzar says:

    spoiler:
    Pouzar,

    He’s still running here. Even the buddy that’s over is raving about the music.

    Yeah!!!!!!

  31. spoiler says:

    My fucking Gord. Just saw the solo that begins somewhere round the 30 minute mark. I am nearly in tears.

  32. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: Yeah!!!!!!

    Also with the Winery Dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdfqZoz2ajE

    Great guit player and voice, but I don’t put him up with Cornell. Hagar in his prime, no contest, but Sammy was never the guitarist this guy is. Not even close.

  33. Pouzar says:

    spoiler:
    My fucking Gord.Just saw the solo that begins somewhere round the 30 minute mark.I am nearly in tears.

    LOL…I was at the 27 min mark when you posted that #SecondViewing

  34. prairieschooner says:

    Down memory lane
    Here is an article for all of you music fans

    Sound by GARNET
    Winnipeg’s patron saint of rock ‘n’ roll drove city’s sound
    John Einarson John Einarson Remembers By: John Einarson
    Posted: 12/21/2014 3:00 AM | Comments: 6

    Tweet 2 Post 198 Reddit 1 ShareThis 546 Print Email 16
    Hey there, time traveller!
    This article was published 21/12/2014 (802 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

    This Tuesday marks the eighth anniversary of the passing of Thomas Garnet “Gar” Gillies, the man who created the sound of Winnipeg rock in the 1960s, a sound that shook the world by the early 1970s.

    From the mid-1960s until 1989, Garnet amplifiers and PA systems, made right here in Winnipeg, represented the apex of sound, size and power
    ADVERTISEMENT

    .

    The Guess Who in May 1966 playing at Winnipeg Stadium with the first Garnet amps.
    RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014
    Photo by Hans Sipma
    The Guess Who in May 1966 playing at Winnipeg Stadium with the first Garnet amps. RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014 Photo by Hans Sipma
    The Guess Who recording in Chicago in June 1970 with Garnet amps.
    RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014
    Photo by Hans Sipma
    The Guess Who recording in Chicago in June 1970 with Garnet amps. RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014 Photo by Hans Sipma
    Gar Gillies in 1971.
    RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014
    Photo by Hans Sipma
    Gar Gillies in 1971. RE: Einarson column for Dec. 21, 2014 Photo by Hans Sipma
    As a teenager, there were three places I loved to hang out: Winnipeg Piano on the corner of Portage Avenue at Edmonton Street, the Record Room just half a block east, and Cam’s Musical Supply out on Ferry Road in St. James. All three are long gone now. While I generally annoyed the sales clerks at the first two establishments, the genial, middle-aged man in suspenders, half-glasses and suede Beatle boots at Cam’s always had time for me. Gar Gillies had time for everyone, and that’s why his was a very special place for every musician, whether novices such as me or local rock gods.

    ‘His passion
    for getting the young guys

    playing

    was amazing’

    I first met Gar in the 1950s. My dad knew him through some Gimli connections — Gar being of Icelandic descent — and my parents bought all their appliances from Gar’s shop, Cam’s Electrical Appliances at 859 Sargent Ave. Gar was also a well-known musician and bandleader in the heyday of the big bands. I recall going there as a youngster and seeing Gar, in white shirt and sensible slacks, joking around with Dad calling him a “Goolie” (a slang term for Icelanders). I started playing guitar in 1965 and the following year begged Dad for an amplifier larger than the Harmony model we had purchased for $50 from Eaton’s. He took me to see Gar, now operating out of a shop at the corner of Osborne Street and Morley Avenue. Somehow he knew Gar was in the amplifier business.

    Walking into the shop, I instantly stopped dead in my tracks and stared wide-eyed. There before me stood Eddie and Jerry LeClair from the Luvin’ Kind, all long hair, groovy Stag Shop shirts, jeans and Beatle boots. Between them was Gar, decked out in equally hip duds, talking the talk with the rockers, peppering the odd phrase with an “F-sharp” or two. I was in heaven. Gar showed Dad and I a Garnet prototype, a single cabinet unit boasting 30 watts with controls at the back, one 15-inch speaker and a driver horn. It even had a built-in fuzz tone called a Stinger. Dad cut a cheque for $175 and I left with my very first Garnet amplifier, one of several I would own over the next five years — much to the envy of my rock ‘n’ roll peers.

    Gar’s transformation from fridges and televisions to rock amplification came at the behest of the early Guess Who. They had complained to road manager Russell Gillies their Fender amplifiers just couldn’t cut it in the larger venues they were playing by 1965. Russell’s dad, Gar, an acknowledged vacuum-tube expert, began boosting their Fender Bandmasters and Bassmans with bigger tubes before custom-building his first Garnet amplifiers for the group. “When other bands saw us using these cool, big amps they wanted them, too,” notes guitarist Randy Bachman of the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive fame. “That’s how the Garnet Amplifier Company began. Eventually he stopped selling and repairing electrical appliances and went exclusively into amplifier-making.” The band toured the world using locally made Garnet gear. “We became synonymous with Garnet equipment,” states the Guess Who’s Jim Kale.

    By 1967, Gar was building and selling Garnet Amplifiers out of a shop at 611 Ferry St. in St. James. It was big a risk. While everyone needed furniture and television sets, that was simply not the case with guitar amplifiers. Nevertheless, he recruited his sons, Russell and Garnie, and hired a crew to mass-produce several models of amplifiers, from the BTO (100 watts) and Pro (50 watts) professional series to the smaller Rebel and Lil’ Rock line. I had graduated to a Pro model. Every band in the city was sporting Garnet gear exclusively by 1968, with the humungous BTO (for Big-Time Operator) the tallest, loudest, toughest amplifiers this side of the Atlantic. A line of BTOs onstage behind you was the ultimate in cool and a “Sound by Garnet” T-shirt de rigueur for local players. I wore mine with pride.

    “The first real amplifier I ever saw was a Garnet Pro that my pal Marvin Finkle got as a bar mitzvah present,” recalls Bill Kroeber, bass player with ’70s Winnipeg band Charles Baker Harris. “He hooked it up and blew all our little 13-year-old faces off. Garnets had the look of a serious rock amp.”

    “The great thing about Gar was that, being a musician himself, he gave every musician credit,” recalls Bachman. “If you gave him five bucks a week or five bucks a month he was happy. That was something no one else gave us, and every band in Winnipeg is indebted to him for that attitude.” The patron saint of Winnipeg rock ‘n’ roll, Papa Gar had a heart of gold. “Gar would just about take your bottle or hub-cap collection on trade for what you needed,” recalls the Orfans’ Paul Loreque. “His passion for getting the young guys playing was amazing.” But musicians being what they are, sometimes the debts went unpaid. “Gar never got rich,” states Kale, “but he had this built-in empathy for the plight of the young rock ‘n’ roll guys.”

    In the early ’70s, the Guess Who toured the world delivering their self-styled “Wheatfield Soul” from an imposing wall of Garnet BTOs in concert halls and arenas from Toronto to Tokyo. Bachman’s distinctive lead guitar sound on No Time and American Woman was the result of Gar’s ingenious innovation, a pre-amp dubbed the Herzog. Developed exclusively for Bachman, it became the signature sound of the Guess Who. “My guitar licks came from Lenny Breau and my guitar sound came from Gar Gillies,” acknowledges Bachman.

    As if building amps wasn’t enough, Gar produced recordings by the Deverons, his sweet trombone gracing their version of She. And that’s him on the solo in the Guess Who’s 1966 hit His Girl. Gar loved being around young musicians, but it took a toll on his family, who rarely saw him. It also affected his health.

    Despite operating a thriving business, Gar still had time for “the little Goolie” and I would again stand wide-eyed staring at all the photos on the upstairs walls with sincere ‘thank-yous’ from dozens and dozens of bands scrawled on them. One was even from California’s legendary Buffalo Springfield with the words, “To Gar, thanks for the amps. Neil Young.”

    In 1974 Garnet amplifiers expanded into the highly competitive U.S. market. Production ramped up as Gar signed deals with Gibson and other names to manufacture amplifiers and sound gear. But by then, tube amplification was being supplanted by cheaper solid-state transistors. “You couldn’t get that warm sound with transistors,” explains Garnie. “We probably didn’t switch to solid-state fast enough because Dad hated them.” It would prove a costly miscalculation, and by 1989, Garnet Amplifiers had closed shop. Too restless to remain retired for long, in the 1990s Gar opened up a tiny repair shop on St. Matthews Avenue. His early amps were now treasured collector’s items with owners seeking out the man himself for repair tips. An acknowledged expert on tube amplification, Gar authored a book, The How & Why of Guitar Tube Amps. He even found time to record a CD featuring his trombone-playing.

    After many years, in 2001 I took the opportunity to visit Gar. As I entered his shop cluttered with tubes, wires and cabinets, a familiar voice greeted me. “Hey, it’s the little Goolie!” A mural dedicated to Gar was unveiled on the side of the building at 1349 Portage Ave. in 2003. Following a prolonged battle with cancer, Gar died in 2006.

    “Nowadays original Garnet amps are very collectible and go for big bucks,” says Bachman. “There are serious Garnet collectors out there.” The Garnet amplification legacy is being carried on by Winnipegger Pete Thiessen who, with Gar’s blessing, continues to manufacture and sell Garnet products using Gar’s original schematics. “It’s a responsibility I take very seriously,” states Thiessen.

    For further information on Garnet Amplifiers go to http://www.garnetamps.com.

    Read more by John Einarson.

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  35. Pouzar says:

    JDï™: Also with the Winer Dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdfqZoz2ajE

    Great guit player and voice, but I don’t put him up with Cornell. Hagar in his prime, no contest, but Sammy was never the guitarist this guy is. Not even close.

    Sammy is no joke on the 6 string from what little I know.

  36. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: Sammy is no joke

    Truth, but this guy impales him on a sharpened 20 foot pine stump when it comes to guitar, and easily hangs with him in his vocal prime.

    Can’t imagine him with Poison. Like Gretzky playing with the Kings!

  37. prairieschooner says:

    5 minutes of video on Garnett

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koykStZtUhM

  38. Gordies Elbow says:

    Rondo,

    Thank you for the post.

  39. Pouzar says:

    prairieschooner,

    Thx man. I will be sure to pass this on to my buds out here. I work with some older gentlemen who are really into music and play a mean 6 string in their own right. I am often astonished at the disproportionate number of guitar players on a floor full of computer nerds lol. They will get a real kick out of this.

  40. Pouzar says:

    JDï™: Truth, but this guy impales him on a sharpened 20 foot pine stump when it comes to guitar, and easily hangs with him in his vocal prime.

    Can’t imagine him with Poison. Like Gretzky playing with the Kings!

    Do you know how many fights I have gotten into (and got my ass kicked) in Sammy vs David?

    Don’t start with me people!

  41. JDï™ says:

    prairieschooner: Pete Thiessen

    I’m pretty sure it was Pete who I had a chance to talk with a few years back in The Peg. An incredibly knowledgeable amp guy.

    I would put meeting him up there with Glenn MacDougall (Fury Guitars), who recently passed away. Glenn was a genius when it came to designing guitars and the machinery to make them, as well as a hellova guy. I could have spent hours talking with him.

  42. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: Sammy vs David

    Sammy and Roth are both several steps down from Cornell, but Ritchie here can play guitar like few others can, and can sing like a muther as well.

    As for the Sammy Roth debate as Van Halen singer, Sammy sucks. DLR was the quintessential front man and imminent asshole, and presided over the best era of VH. Only someone born in the mid 70s could think otherwise.

  43. Pouzar says:

    JDï™,

    Great call on Sammy too…def sounds like him on a few tunes here. Vocally I mean.

  44. Pouzar says:

    JDï™: As for the Sammy Roth debate as Van Halen singer, Sammy sucks. DLR was the quintessential front man and imminent asshole, and presided over the best era of VH. Only someone born in the mid 70s could think otherwise.

    And moving on….

    How bout dem Jets!!!!

  45. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: How bout dem Jets!!!!

    Kind of boring. Not nearly cocky or flamboyant enough for me.

  46. Pouzar says:

    JDï™: Kind of boring. Not nearly cocky or flamboyant enough for me.

    The 60’s were kewl too brah. 🙂

  47. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar,

    So your Dad says.

  48. Pouzar says:

    JDï™:
    Pouzar,

    So your Dad says.

    50’s…

    My Old man (an American, who lives in NL, born in Macon Georgia home of Little Richard) said to my buddy back in the day…

    “Tell yer Dad I’m a Freak…..I’m an Elvis Freak!!!!”

  49. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar,

    You come from a long line of them then… 😉

  50. Pouzar says:

    JDï™:
    Pouzar,

    You come from a long line of them then…

    People be like “it all makes sense now”. 🙂

  51. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar,

    Takes one to know one.

  52. Fraktal says:

    Did anyone see this yet? Colby Armstrong and Ryan Whitney shared a story about Smytty…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/OilersNation/status/837520044674277376?s=08

    Can’t believe that Sportsnet didn’t put a stop to it :/

  53. stevezie says:

    I must be the only person in Edmonton not outraged by that story.

  54. GMB3 says:

    I think Martin Mecas has a real future and would fit in well with our offensive core.

  55. GMB3 says:

    Fraktal:
    Did anyone see this yet?Colby Armstrong and Ryan Whitney shared a story about Smytty…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/OilersNation/status/837520044674277376?s=08

    Can’t believe that Sportsnet didn’t put a stop to it :/

    Wow. My buddies met Smytty at a liquor store in Kelowna this summer and said he was an absolute class act. Kind of ironic that Armstrong chirps a dude who was a hero in a city, when most people wouldn’t even know who Armstrong was if they walked past him on the street anywhere he played.

    Ryan Smith is a legend for all the right reasons. I know this blog doesn’t put much on of an emphasis on heart and intangibles, but if you could create the perfect player i’d give them the desire to win that smytty had.

  56. GMB3 says:

    Damn autocorrect. Smyth

  57. meanashell11 says:

    GMB3: Wow. My buddies met Smytty at a liquor store in Kelowna this summer and said he was an absolute class act. Kind of ironic that Armstrong chirps a dude who was a hero in a city, when most people wouldn’t even know who Armstrong was if they walked past him on the street anywhere he played.

    Ryan Smith is a legend for all the right reasons. I know this blog doesn’t put much on of an emphasis on heart and intangibles, but if you could create the perfect player i’d give them the desire to win that smytty had.

    Agree completely. I met Smytty in the Oilers locker after a game back in the day. It was the game he returned from after the badly broken ankle. I can still remember how black and purple it was and he said it did not affect him at all! Great guy, spent a lot of time with my 8 year old son (Salo was even better as was Big Georges). But Ryan was a class act. Super down to earth and seemed genuinely happy that his lot in life was to play a game. A great ambassador for the team and the game.

  58. spoiler says:

    Is that Pettersen number for real? It’s outstanding.

  59. theres oil in virginia says:

    JDï™: Sammy and Roth are both several steps down from Cornell, but Ritchie here can play guitar like few others can, and can sing like a muther as well.

    As for the SammyRoth debate as Van Halen singer, Sammy sucks. DLR was the quintessential front man and imminent asshole, and presided over the best era of VH. Only someone born in the mid 70s could think otherwise.

    I was born in the mid 70s and I resent that affront to my character!

  60. Pouzar says:

    theres oil in virginia: I was born in the mid 70s and I resent that affront to my character!

    He’s old and he wants you off his lawn.

  61. theres oil in virginia says:

    Pouzar: He’s old and he wants you off his lawn.

    Next he’ll tell me that I and my generation think Black Sabbath was better with Ronnie James Dio.

  62. Pouzar says:

    theres oil in virginia: Next he’ll tell me that I and my generation think Black Sabbath was better with Ronnie James Dio.

    He has good days and bad.

  63. Pouzar says:

    spoiler:
    My fucking Gord.Just saw the solo that begins somewhere round the 30 minute mark.I am nearly in tears.

    Just linked a buddy here at work:

    “The guy seems to have it all, no? He’s got a great set of pipes, a keen sense of melody, and plays with a feel, proficiency, and impeccability. That’s quite a concentration of “plusses” in a single person. Why isn’t this guy more famous?”

    I’d say that describes it pretty well.

  64. nvan97 says:

    I’m expecting the Oilers to draft Miro Heiskane, if you catch my drift.

  65. Ice Sage says:

    I went to a hockey game and a rock concert broke out.

    Thx for the weekend’s soundtrack – first job is to beat those Motowners

  66. JDï™ says:

    theres oil in virginia: better with Ronnie James Dio.

    I’d say technically they were, but there was something about the collection of misfits that made old Sabbath special. Loved Ronnie though. Heaven & Hell was an amazing album.

    I also really like Born Again, but mostly for Gillan’s manic performance.

  67. JDï™ says:

    Pouzar: He’s old and he wants you off his lawn.

    Actually, if someone could rake it and fertilize, that’d be great.

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