THE OILERS AND THE WHL (2017 DRAFT)

The Edmonton Oilers spent riches in the WHL a lot at the beginning of the decade, overspending there and not necessarily getting full value on investment. In the four drafts from 2010 through 2013, Edmonton chose a WHL player 11 times. Beginning in 2014, the club has been far more picky about players from the western league, choosing Leon Draisaitl (2014), Ethan Bear (2015) and Tyler Benson (2016). For this season, based on the math of the draft, I believe the Oilers should shop more heavily in the WHL. Let’s have a look.

NHL PLAYERS/WHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR

  • 2016 NHL draft—211 total players, 34 from the WHL
  • 2015 NHL draft—211 total players, 35 from the WHL
  • 2014 NHL draft—210 total players, 37 from the WHL
  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 33 from the WHL.
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 32 from the WHL.
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 33 from the WHL
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 43 from the WHL
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 31 from the WHL
  • 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 37 from the WHL
  • FINAL TALLY: 1,897 total players, 315 from the WHL
  • PERCENTAGE: 16.61% (35 per year)

TOTAL PLAYERS/WHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY THE OILERS

  • 2016 NHL draft—9 total players, 1 from the WHL
  • 2015 NHL draft—6 total players, 1 from the WHL
  • 2014 NHL draft—6 total players, 1 from the WHL
  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 3 from the WHL.
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from the WHL.
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 3 from the WHL.
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 4 from the WHL.
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from the WHL.
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 2 from the WHL.
  • FINAL TALLY: 70 total players, 17 from the WHL.
  • PERCENTAGE: 24.3% (2 per year)

The Oilers are far more likely to pluck a WHL player than the rest of the league based on the last nine years. Edmonton has added 24 percent of their procurement pool from the league, while the rest of the NHL spends 16.3 percent of their picks in the dub. Massive, incredible gap (six players!).

However, the past three seasons show a different trend. The NHL is drafting from the WHL at a 16.8 percent rate, while for Edmonton since 2014 the number is 14.2 percent. Oilers are in line with the rest of the league in the most recent seasons.

WHL OILERS SINCE 2008

  • 2008—Jordan Eberle (492 NHL games); Jordan Bendfeld
  • 2009—Cameron Abney
  • 2010—Brandon Davidson (92 NHL games); Curtis Hamilton (1 NHL game); Tyler Bunz (1 NHL game), Drew Czerwonka
  • 2011—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (380 NHL games); David Musil (4 NHL games); Travis Ewanyk
  • 2012—Mitch Moroz
  • 2013—Jackson Houck, Ben Betker, Greg Chase
  • 2014—Leon Draisaitl (176 NHL games)
  • 2015—Ethan Bear
  • 2016—Tyler Benson

Jordan Eberle was a massive value, he is averaging 26.5 goals per 82 games during his career, fantastic payment for a No. 22 overall selection in any year. Brandon Davidson also represents extremely good value and we may one day say the same thing about Ethan Bear. On the other hand, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (55 points per 82gp) is (so far) below average for a No. 1 overall pick and the team has missed on two second-round picks (David Musil, Mitch Moroz) from the league. We are early days on Leon Draisaitl, who may end up being the best in the group.

WHL’S BEST, 2017

  1. RC Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings. Complete talent.
  2. LD Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City Americans. Big two-way D, smart, creative.
  3. RC Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks. Complete skills.
  4. R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs. Smart, elusive, offensive. Lacks top gear.
  5. C Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers. Small skill C, terrific skills.
  6. C Michael Rasmussem, Tri-City Americans. Big C, physical, good skater.
  7. R Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets. Speedy W with skill. Good Oil option.
  8. L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars. Big, good skater, plus shot, passer.
  9. RC Morgan Geekie, Tri-City Americans. C w/2-way rep and emerging offense.
  10. R Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos. Cerebral W with skill, anticipation.
  11. RD Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets. Huge D, awkward skater, good passer, tough.
  12. R Nicholas Henry, Regina Pats. Emerging scorer. Not fast.
  13. LC Jaret-Anderson Dolan, Spokane Chiefs. Small, very quick skater and plus skill.
  14. LC Jake Leschyshyn, Regina Pats. Quality two-way C.
  15. RD Henri Jokiharju, Portland Winterhawks. Smooth skating Finn OD, needs defensive work.
  16. R Stelio Mattheos, Brandon Wheat Kings. Excellent skater, heavy shot.
  17. RD Kale Fleury, Kootenay Ice. Fascinating prospect. Haydn’s brother. Range of skills.
  18. RD Artyom Minulin, Swfit Current Broncos. Big defender with emerging skills.
  19. RD Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors. Mobile, dependable, emerging. Could be a find.
  20. LC Jordy Bellerive, Lethbridge Hurricanes. Undersized, nifty and aggressive F with skill.
  21. RD Dylan Coghlan, Tri-City Americans. Two-way defender is a good skater, spiking offensively.
  22. RC Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos. 1998 born, too much skill to pass on.
  23. L Ryan Hughes, Portland Winterhawks. Damn incredible line: 5.08, July 1999, 55 pts/65 games.
  24. RC Kyle Olson, Tri-City Americans. Small and skilled, rising.
  25. G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes. Strong showing at TP game.
  26. LC Brayden Burke, Moose Jaw Warriors. Please draft him. Short player, high skill, he is 20. Please.
  27. R Lane Zablocki, Regina Pats. Two-way W with skill, kind of a throwback player.
  28. R Austin Pratt, Red Deer Rebels. Power winger who can skate. Offense still uncertain.
  29. L Ryan Peckford, Victoria Royals. Good skater, terrific shot.
  30. F Trey Fix-Wolansky, Edmonton Oil Kings. 5.08 skill winger.
  31. R Brett Davis, Kootenay Ice. Good size, impressive offense for a June 1999.
  32. R Sami Moilanen, Seattle Thunderbirds. Small buzzsaw who can score goals.
  33. LD Scott Walford, Victoria Royals. Mobile defender who can close gaps.
  34. LD Jonathan Smart, Regina Pats. Great outlet passer, is a good defender. Trade helped.
  35. RC Josh Paterson, Saskatoon Blades. Good size, smarts, speed. Some offense.
  36. G Zack Sawchenko, Moose Jaw Warriors. 19 years old, .920.
  37. LD Jarret Tyszka, Seattle Thunderbirds. Big, mobile shut down defender, some offense. Oiler.
  38. RD Will Warm, Edmonton Oil Kings. Improving two-way defender.
  39. R Mark Kastelic, Calgary Hitmen. Big winger with some skill.
  40. G Dylan Ferguson, Kamloops Blazers. No buzz at all, .919.
  41. L Ty Lewis, Brandon Wheat Kings. Skill winger (1998) who has spiked this season offensively.
  42. LD Brandon De Jong, Portland Winterhawks. Giant defender (6.05) is a raw talent.
  43. G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders. Highly ranked goalie, .893.
  44. R Ryan Bowen, Lethbridge Hurricanes. Big winger who can skate, has some offense.
  45. R Andrei Grishakov, Calgary Hitmen. Good size and skill, adjusted well to NA.
  46. RD Vladislav Yeryomenko, Calgary Hitmen. Two-way defender, solid year.
  47. LC Jayden Halbewachs, Moose Jaw Warriors. Small, 20, impact player. Late bloomer?
  48. L Ethan McIndoe, Spokane Chiefs. Has some elements of a power forward.
  49. L Simon Stransky, Prince Albert Raiders. Small skill winger, eligible last year.
  50. LD Scott Walford, Victoria Royals. Two-way defenseman with speed.
  51. L Egor Babenko, Lethbridge Hurricanes. Undersized W, skill & aggression.
  52. LD Brayden Gorda, Edmonton Oil Kings. Mobile defender, not a lot of offense.
  53. R Patrick Bajkov, Everett Silvertips. Skill F with a plus shot.
  54. LD Kristians Rubins, Medicine Hat Tigers. 1997 born, mobile, impressive. Boxcars shy.
  55. R Brendann Semchuk, Vancouver Giants. One dimensional burner.
  56. G Jordan Hollett, Regina Pats. Big goalie (6.04, 194) .893.
  57. L Jordan Topping, Tri-City Americans. Good skater, no dominant skill.

 OILERS PICKS AT THE 2017 DRAFT

  • First Round: No. 21 overall
  • Third Round: No. 76 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
  • Third Round: No. 83 overall
  • Fourth Round: No. 114 overall
  • Fifth Round: No. 131 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
  • Fifth Round: No. 145 overall
  • Sixth Round: No. 176 overall
  • Seventh Round: No. 207overall

Lots of interesting names in the group, I like any of the top seven players listed for the first round and expect young Geekie will available in the second round. A reminder, my list is based on math, so although I think Ryan Hughes is a very good prospect there may be skating issues or other that scouts have identified.

Up next: The QMJHL.

 OILERS NEEDS, LEAST TO MOST

  1. Center: If you include Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this is one of the deepest positions in the entire NHL.
  2. Left Defense:  At the big league level, the Oilers have youngsters Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. Griffin Reinhart may or may not force himself into the lineup, but he better hurry because Caleb Jones and or Ziyat Paigin could be pushing soon.
  3. Goal: The club has a quality No. 1 in Cam Talbot and Laurent Brossoit has earned his shot at a backup role. Nick Ellis looks like a bona fide prospect, but he is in year one of his pro career. Is he better than Brossoit? Might be.
  4. Right Defense: A lot of change and significant improvement in 2016 calendar year, including the acquisitions of Adam Larsson via trade and Matt Benning as a college free agent. Still, there is plenty of work to be done. Ethan Bear and recently signed CHL free agent Ryan Mantha will help in Bakersfield and at some point represent recall options.
  5. Right Wing: It was the weakest position one year ago, but the addition of Jesse Puljujarvi moves RW ahead of the port side. If Leon Draisaitl is listed as a RW, the need becomes far less but I don’t see the Oilers giving up on Leon as a center.
  6. Left Wing:  This position could be the weakest in the organization. The trade of Taylor Hall means the NHL team has no LW younger than 28 (Lucic, Maroon) on the everyday roster. Benson is an excellent prospect but injuries are impacting.

OILERS TARGETS BEST ON THEIR OWN PAST

  • Michael Rasmussen, Cal Foote, Tyler Steenbergen, Austin Pratt, Jarret Tyszka.

MY PREFERRED TARGETS

  • Kole Lind, Morgan Geekie, Ryan Hughes, Tyler Steenbergen.

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31 Responses to "THE OILERS AND THE WHL (2017 DRAFT)"

  1. Centre of attention says:

    L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars. Big, good skater, plus shot, passer.

    He’s struggled since moving to Prince George, only 15 points in 28 games.

    He could fall into the Oilers wheel house in the late first round IMO.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention:
    L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars. Big, good skater, plus shot, passer.

    He’s struggled since moving to Prince George, only 15 points in 28 games.

    He could fall into the Oilers wheel house in the late first round IMO.

    My guess is there will be four WHL kids taken inside the top 20: Patrick, Valimaki, Glass and Rasmussen. Oilers should have a clean shot at the rest. I would take Shaw, Yamamoto or Lind.

  3. Glass says:

    I like the idea of using the 1st on a RC such as Glass, R.Thomas, or RW such as N.Suzuki. Use both the 3rd round picks on LC, and convert them to LW when necessary. Depth picks on D.

    Defense isn’t a worry for me at the moment, especially LHD.

  4. Lowetide says:

    John Marino with an early assist tonight for Hah-vahd.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Tyler Vesel scored for Omaha. Long drought ends for him.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Nagelvoort stopped 14 shots in the first period for Michigan against Penn State.

  7. Rondo says:

    LT,

    Would Oilers trade up for Eeli Tolvanen? Seems to be the perfect fit.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    LT,
    Would Oilers trade up for Eeli Tolvanen?Seems to be the perfect fit.

    That kind of trade makes a great deal of sense to me. Don’t know if Tolvanen would be the target, but the general idea is spot on.

  9. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    We’re puttin’ on the foil, coach. Want some?

  10. JDï™ says:

    Great job, Jets…

    sarcastic clap and eye roll

  11. Jaxon says:

    Centre of attention:
    L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars. Big, good skater, plus shot, passer.

    He’s struggled since moving to Prince George, only 15 points in 28 games.

    He could fall into the Oilers wheel house in the late first round IMO.

    I really like Popugaev, too. He could be a steal in the first round. And his scouting report looks like exactly what Edmonton needs more of.

  12. Jaxon says:

    It’s pretty cool that former teammates on a Cup winning team (possibly even defensive pairing) have their sons being drafted in the 1st round at the same time. And they both went in the 1st round as well.

  13. speeds says:

    Northeastern eliminated in NCAA by Boston University. Talks can begin with Zach Aston-Reese. EDM, OTT, VAN among Canadian contenders…— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 12, 2017

    LT, what can you tell us about this player?

  14. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    speeds,

    Morning post has some details.

    A Caps win tonight should make it pretty clear we are in the dance at last.

  15. GMB3 says:

    Jaxon: I really like Popugaev, too. He could be a steal in the first round. And his scouting report looks like exactly what Edmonton needs more of.

    More pass first giant men?

  16. speeds says:

    Aston Reese listed as a RH shot on hockeydb, but other info suggests he’s a LH shot? Anyone know for sure?

  17. Lowetide says:

    jp: Those are some extremely impressive boxcars. Do you know the NHLE?

    82gp, 26-26-52.

  18. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide,

    Ryan Lambert mentioned Vesey as a comp and honestly I would take that. If he’s better? Gravy. Maybe Vesey is a good line in the sand if anything else.

    The Oilers need serviceable depth that can chip in some goals.

  19. jp says:

    Lowetide: 82gp, 26-26-52.

    Very nice, and it sounds like he’s a 2-way player. He’d be a great addition.

  20. Centre of attention says:

    jp,

    Lots of PIMS for a college guy as well. (72 in 37 GP) Definitely has a competitive edge by all reports.

  21. Glass says:

    My gut feeling is that both Van and Edm will both be in heavy on Reese, it will come down to us two. I have faith!

  22. HT Joe says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    speeds,

    A Caps win tonight should make it pretty clear we are in the dance at last.

    Oh boy… this is gonna be close… boys gotta win tomorrow!

    *EDIT* I wonder if Petry is going to challenge himself tomorrow to hurt the Oilers’ playoff chances…

  23. trencan says:

    Glass:
    I like the idea of using the 1st on a RC such as Glass, R.Thomas, or RW such as N.Suzuki. Use both the 3rd round picks on LC, and convert them to LW when necessary. Depth picks on D.

    Defense isn’t a worry for me at the moment, especially LHD.

    I would take Suzuki in 1st round. Fantastic swiss knife – RHC playing PP, PK… Versatile player for many different situations. But I think he wil be drafted higher, draft rankings can change significantly during playoff, so we will see. Other interesting options for me -Yamamoto, Lind. But Chia likes size so I wouldnt be surprised to see drafted someone like Popugayev, Vesalainen or Strome.

    3rd round LHC – Adam Ruzicka. I wish we had 1st round NJD pick (in Hall trade – that would be more fair) and my choice would be Tippet if available – sniper for 97.

  24. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    trencan,

    Chia likes size, but he’s not obsessed with it.

    Caggiula, Benning, Desharnais are all pretty important additions to this club.

    I could see Chia using the pick on a smaller goal scorer. Yamamoto Yamamoto Yamamoto

  25. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!:
    trencan,

    Chia likes size, but he’s not obsessed with it.

    Caggiula, Benning, Desharnais are all pretty important additions to this club.

    I could see Chia using the pick on a smaller goal scorer.Yamamoto Yamamoto Yamamoto

    Kris Russell says hi

  26. Jaxon says:

    GMB3: More pass first giant men?

    I haven’t seen much reference to his passing on his scouting reports.

    Most of what I read was about his speed, his agility, his size (6’6″, 205lbs!), and his shot and release, which is exactly what Edmonton needs. He is also a right hand shot who is big part of the PP. I think if you were to describe a fictional player that is a perfect prospect for Oilers forward position, it would be similar to him. Both MY NHL Draft and DraftSite, which are compilations of scouting lists have him listed at #23, which is very close to where Edmonton might be drafting. I think they’d be very lucky to get him and speed and size with skill will probably push him up the chart on draft day, so it may be a long shot by then.

    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.”

    Draftsite’s 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.”

    Future Considerations – “A big, lanky, offensively minded winger…a massive and skilled player who shows offensive prowess and underrated skills without the puck…gets from Point A to Point B in good time, but has some work to do on his stride…has surprising agility for a kid his size…tends to lean toward being a goal-scorer…can really rifle the puck and has an exceptional release…dangerous as he trails the play looking for open ice to get a shot off…can really jive and juke around to shake opponents, showing craftiness in his hands…has good vision of the ice and acts quickly to make plays…has an unreal reach and protects the puck with it…a predatory player without the puck and won’t back off when applying pressure…when he gains more muscle and improves his skating, he will be an absolute force.”

  27. highgloveside says:

    The order I would look at for strengths in a prospect

    1) skill
    2) skating – if you can’t skate you won’t succeed in NHL ala Lander
    3) nobody small, meaning don’t draft anyone under 180 lbs so they will end up at 190 lbs
    4) right shot any position – NHL shortage and will be harder and harder to obtain these players in a trade
    5) aggression – no softies that play the perimeter
    6) 200+ lbs great if they have skill and can skate

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