2017 DRAFT POST NO. 6: GAMBLING ONLY PAYS WHEN YOU’RE WINNING

At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Peter Chiarelli’s Bruins dressed some giant wingers. Milan Lucic (6.03, 233), Nathan Horton (6.02, 229), Blake Wheeler (6.05, 225) and Michael Ryder (6.01, 200) all played with skill and all had success. That edition of the Bruins had some bigger folks on the 4line too, but Boston was a load every shift and they came in waves that season.

The current Oilers have been getting bigger from the moment Peter Chiarelli arrived in town. Among the group that may make up the top six wingers this year? Milan Lucic (6.03, 233), Leon Draisaitl (6.01, 214), Patrick Maroon (6.03, 230) and Jesse Puljujarvi (6.04, 203). That’s some impressive size, and when JP turns 23 he’ll no doubt be as strong as an ox and may be 10 pounds heavier.

We’ve been looking at this draft six ways to Sunday and one of the players “in the range” at No. 22 is gigantic winger Isaac Ratcliffe. Listed at 6.06, 200, the scouting reports give us the impression he is an intriguing size/speed package with some skill rising. If he works out, we might be looking at a very valuable player. If he can’t score? Maybe Ethan Moreau.

  • Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: Ratcliffe is a very interesting prospect that is available this year. I could see him being drafted anywhere from 15 to 50. He has some extremely alluring qualities to NHL scouts. First thing you notice is his size at 6’6. And he skates very well, with good speed and acceleration. But he’s also not even 200 lbs yet. As he fills out, I don’t think we truly know how good he could be. Ratcliffe’s other best quality is his shot. He has an absolute rocket of a wrist shot and I think he’s got big time scoring potential. Once he’s able to add that aforementioned strength, he’ll be able to generate more scoring chances for himself as he can protect the puck better and look to be aggressive in driving the middle of the ice. His physical game is inconsistent and that’s another area of his game that will need to improve. Ditto for discipline. Source

That’s a fascinating scouting report and gives you some idea about what we’re looking at with Ratcliffe. He may take five years and he may not make it at all. Is that a player you consider at No. 25? Here are his boxcars:

  • 67gp, 28-26-54 (OHL) (14 first assists)
  • NHLE: 82gp, 10-10-20
  • 179 shots (15.64 shooting percentage)

MORE SCOUTING

  • Brock Otten: Anyone who watched the U18’s can tell you that Ratcliffe struggled with some lazy stick penalties and it was the same in Guelph too. He has the potential to be an excellent defensive player though with his size and skating ability. Playing for Guelph is a wild card all in itself. Because of how bad Guelph was at times this year, he had a propensity to disappear at times. He went an entire month without scoring a goal later in the year. And when he’s not scoring, that’s when the physical game and the cycle game really need to activate to make him more noticeable. Bottom line, the key word with Ratcliffe is potential, which I’ve already used several times to describe him. Huge kid who could develop as a scoring power forward under the right tutelage and with improvements to his conditioning. Source

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Based on their own established past and Peter Chiarelli’s emphasis on size, I think Isaac Ratcliffe is probably high on Edmonton’s list. The Oilers should draft a more skilled player there (Kailer Yamamoto, as an example) and maybe they’ll do it. It’s been a long time since we had so many possible candidates who could fall to the Oilers (all in a range of somewhat equal value, real or imagined). Excellent test of this regime.

COMBINE INVITES

I’m always interested in the combine invite list, specifically those players who get invited while also being well outside Central Scouting’s top 100 players. Why? Well, if they got invited someone was interested and the Oilers have drafted these men in the past (Graham McPhee was No. 110 NA a year ago, Caleb Jones was No. 115 NA, as examples). Let’s have a look at the group who were invited to the NHL combine but ranked lower than we might expect for such an honor.

  • No. 128 NA: LC Kale Howarth, Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL). Big center (6.05) with skill. I had him marked on the “Oilers and the Hinterlands” post and of course we know how much Edmonton likes the British Columbia league. I thought that might end with Stu MacGregor’s exit, perhaps there are other forces at play.

All other invites were in the range. I don’t know much about this young man and the interwebs have very little (nice story here). Still, he’s a name we’ll watch with interest during the draft.

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42 Responses to "2017 DRAFT POST NO. 6: GAMBLING ONLY PAYS WHEN YOU’RE WINNING"

  1. Rondo says:

    Strange year “The Draft Analyst” has Ratcliffe ranked #58
    Hockey Prospect #13

    http://www.thedraftanalyst.com/rankings/2017-nhl-draft-final-rankings/

  2. Rondo says:

    Interesting story about the bike guy at the combine regarding Joshua Norris

    “Inside NHL Combine With ‘Bike Guy’ Jordan Marwin”

    http://thehockeywriters.com/nhl-combine-bike-guy-jordan-marwin/

    “DP: Which prospect outside the top two impressed you the most?

    JM: [Center] Joshua Norris impressed me on several tests. I remember thinking, “Oh crap, the computer must be glitching,” when I saw his power output on the first five seconds on the bike. But after the test, everything checked out. He blew the pro agility, standing long jump and force plate out of the water. I’m so glad he was on my bike.”

    JM: You know I have my eye on Norris, wherever he goes. I’d like to see him develop as a player because he is an athletic specimen.

  3. Diablo says:

    Rondo:
    Interesting story about the bike guy at the combine regarding Joshua Norris

    “Inside NHL Combine With ‘Bike Guy’ Jordan Marwin”

    http://thehockeywriters.com/nhl-combine-bike-guy-jordan-marwin/

    “DP: Which prospect outside the top two impressed you the most?

    JM: [Center] Joshua Norris impressed me on several tests. I remember thinking, “Oh crap, the computer must be glitching,” when I saw his power output on the first five seconds on the bike. But after the test, everything checked out. He blew the pro agility, standing long jump and force plate out of the water. I’m so glad he was on my bike.”

    JM: You know I have my eye on Norris, wherever he goes. I’d like to see him develop as a player because he is an athletic specimen.

    Lol the Chuck Norris jokes would never end if we drafted him!

  4. Professor Q says:

    Diablo: Lol the Chuck Norris jokes would never endif we drafted him!

    No jokes about certain defencemen and certain awards?

  5. JDI says:

    Bob McKenzie‏Verified account @TSNBobMcKenzie 2m2 minutes ago

    NHLPA internal debate is whether to apply full 5% inflator or some lesser number than 5 but greater than zero. Virtually no chance it’s 0.

  6. Tarkus says:

    FWIW, the Hockey News Draft Preview has Ratcliffe at #20.

    One quote from a scout: ”You’re not looking at a guy whose skating you have to overhaul. I’d say 80-85 percent of his deficiencies are related to strength. He’s a project without the scary part of a project being attached to it.”

  7. Pouzar says:

    Just a sidebar, I was talking with Stephen Patrick yesterday (Nolan’s Dad) and we were talking about the upcoming draft. He said he is more nervous about it than Nolan and he hopes he doesn’t go #1. He says there is too much pressure with that label. Nolan, however, wants to go #1 BAD. He talked about how hard it is to play in the NHL after your draft year. Mentioned they were going to go down early and catch a ball game before draft. I told him to just make sure Nolan has fun with the whole process. I will be cheering hard for the kid to go #1.

    Also, not a fan of Button lol.

  8. JDI says:

    Faith…

  9. Lowetide says:

    Pouzar:
    Just a sidebar, I was talking with Stephen Patrick yesterday (Nolan’s Dad) and we were talking about the upcoming draft. He said he is more nervous about it than Nolan and he hopes he doesn’t go #1. He says there is too much pressure with that label. Nolan, however, wants to go #1 BAD. He talked about how hard it is to play in the NHL after your draft year. Mentioned they were going to go down early and catch a ball game before draft. I told him to just make sure Nolan has fun with the whole process. I will be cheering hard for the kid to go #1.

    Also, not a fan of Button lol.

    Patrick is No. 1 on my list and I do think he would have widened the gap had he been healthy. Flyers are probably a better spot for him, but we’ll see how it goes.

  10. Pouzar says:

    Lowetide: Patrick is No. 1 on my list and I do think he would have widened the gap had he been healthy. Flyers are probably a better spot for him, but we’ll see how it goes.

    Agreed.

    I will be surprised if NJ doesn’t go Patrick though.

  11. JDI says:

    Faith Hill is No. 1 on my list. I suspect we have different lists though…

  12. sliderule says:

    Patrick has two sports hernias .
    One was operated on last summer and the other not diagnosed last summer.
    These are the same injuries that have sidelined our Benson for parts of two seasons.
    Not a good year to be picking top five.
    Hope for best for kid

  13. Rondo says:

    The refs blow a call on a goal by Nashville. Horrible

  14. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    Patrick has two sports hernias .
    One was operated on last summer and the other not diagnosed last summer.
    These are the same injuries that have sidelined our Benson for parts of two seasons.
    Not a good year to be picking top five.
    Hope for best for kid

    Clearly something is happening with training for these youngsters, this is nuts. Hope he (and Benson) can recover and have productive careers.

  15. jtblack says:

    If the Oilers grab a 2nd round pick and Ratcliffe is still there, then take a chance. We dont need a home run at #22. We nèed a player.

  16. jtblack says:

    2013 WHL Bantam draft.

    BENSON #1
    STEEL #2
    PATRICK #4

    I wonder if the year round training could be affecting the kids. Obviously only 2 players but wonder if we start seeing more

  17. JDI says:

    @JTB

    I suspect it has more to do with these younguns not doing enough chores.

    #kidsthesedays

  18. jtblack says:

    JDI,

    +1 … bahahaha

  19. Professor Q says:

    Nashville deserves a break soon. They’re dominating but not getting bounces.

  20. The Hermit says:

    Justin Schultz is a two time Stanley cup champion.

    Anything is possible.

  21. Scungilli Slushy says:

    The Hermit:
    Justin Schultz is a two time Stanley cup champion.

    Anything is possible.

    It’s so fitting.

    Game won on iffy reviews which I see as called backwards.

    Schultz getting his name on key goals not actually a play driver on them and making constant weak plays defensively.

    I hope the universe rights itself next season. And we see an unfair amount of winning.

  22. tcho says:

    Congratulations to Justin Schultz and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  23. JonyPro says:

    Worse Stanley Cup final game I have ever seen, wow.

  24. flyfish1168 says:

    The Hermit:
    Justin Schultz is a two time Stanley cup champion.

    Anything is possible.

    The question is how many ways did we go wrong with this player. Good to see he persevered and was saved by another organization

  25. Scungilli Slushy says:

    flyfish1168: The question is how many ways did we go wrong with this player. Good to see he persevered and was saved by another organization

    After watching this playoffs I think the Oilers got it right. He is not carrying the heavy load. If he gets more than 4M in his contract watch what happens.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Scungilli Slushy: After watching this playoffs I think the Oilers got it right. He is not carrying the heavy load. If he gets more than 4M in his contract watch what happens.

    That’s the problem for sure. I’m thrilled for Schultz and hope he gets paid a lot of money. The Oilers were not the right fit for him, and that’s a fact.

  27. Westchester Oil says:

    tcho,

    Ditto. Schultz put up a ton of points this season. I am happy for him and he deserves a nice contract.

  28. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide: Clearly something is happening with training for these youngsters, this is nuts. Hope he (and Benson) can recover and have productive careers.

    I had a big write up in one of my posts here regarding Benson. If you don’t mind I will quickly refresh everyone.

    Osteitis Pubis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteitis_pubis

    Some relevant quotes from the article:

    “…The increasing demand for size and strength among footballers. This has led young players to concentrate on building muscle mass before their bodies are fully mature. The additional strain that highly developed abdominal muscles place on the pubic bone explains the higher prevalence of osteitis pubis in young players. Some develop the condition while still playing school-level football.”

    “…The Australian Football League has taken some steps to reduce the incidence of osteitis pubis, in particular recommending that clubs restrict the amount of bodybuilding which young players are required to carry out, and in general reducing the physical demands on players before their bodies mature.”

    Replace foot ball with hockey kids and you get the same issue. Over training before your pelvic bone is completely fused together after puberty. There is a set of bones and soft tissues that essentially bind your two hip bones together right in your core, and that is where the damage is caused from over loading / over stressing.

    No doubt these #1 picks are being pushed a little too hard at a young age. So hard to judge because every players body is different and reacts differently. Some end up being fine while others develop debilitating injuries.

  29. JDI says:

    Thankfully that didn’t go to OT, so that now I can enjoy the rest of the Tony’s…

  30. rope-a-dope says:

    Congratulations to the Penguins. A bit unfortunate that a low scoring affair featuring a game-influencing officiating error decides the cup though. I have feeling Preds fans will be salty for a while.

  31. gadot10 says:

    How many Cups did Bylsma cost Crosby and Malkin?

  32. Richard S.S. says:

    Now, actual Hockey Business can be announced normally. Waiting for this was never-ending.

  33. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Gambling only pays when you’re winning
    I had to thank old Miss Mort for schooling a failure

  34. Chachi says:

    gadot10:
    How many Cups did Bylsma cost Crosby and Malkin?

    0

  35. Russian Rocket says:

    Centre of attention,

    I think you’re bang on on your diagnosis as to why this injury is occurring and the Wikipedia explains nicely as well under the biomechical portion.

    If you break down the causes of the injury you can reverse engineer treatment for it, although it should never really happen in the first place. Treatment isn’t difficult, you have to look at how to relieve stress off of the inflamed area, as you do with any inflamed joint.

    I don’t want to waste time on LT’s blog getting into biomechanics, if you’re interested in how it can be done feel free to contact me at tbochek@gmail.com

  36. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Gambling only pays when you’re winning
    I had to thank old Miss Mort for schooling a failure

    We have a winner!

  37. danny says:

    I’m not a big draft nut so I may be off on this, but I’ll throw the idea out there.

    Maybe the unusual variance in rankings where larger discrepancies are more common, may be due to advanced stats starting to seep into the process. As scouts build an understanding and faith in these stats as it applies to the readily available nhl results, varying degrees of access / understanding and confidence in advanced stats for amateur players will create a wider variation in projections.

    Pretty interesting thought. I suspect there’s millions to be made by any agency or individual that can more successfully identify outliers or sleepers / busts by applying a new layer of statistical insight to more traditional projection methods.

  38. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Richard S.S.:
    Now, actual Hockey Business can be announced normally.Waiting for this was never-ending.

    Now that those pesky games are out of the way.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  39. Professor Q says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Now that those pesky games are out of the way.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    Reminiscent of the DoD?

  40. Professor Q says:

    Boughner to Florida.

    Thompson the next announced Head Coaching hire?

  41. gadot10 says:

    Professor Q:
    Boughner to Florida.

    Thompson the next announced Head Coaching hire?

    Rocky Thompson was hired by Vegas to coach their AHL affiliate.

  42. Professor Q says:

    gadot10: Rocky Thompson was hired by Vegas to coach their AHL affiliate.

    I really *have* been out of the loop. Thanks. No idea how I missed that aside from being too busy.

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