Bob Green and his staff have a very important job over the next several years. The team is going to be trading picks and prospects for the next several deadlines in an effort to find Stanley. Green’s job is to turn picks into players, to recover from the loss of traded picks and to create a pool of value in the AHL and amateur ranks. It’s a helluva job. (Baker Street).
BOB GREEN DRAFT LIST
- Round 1, No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid (127 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 117 overall: LD Caleb Jones.
- Round 5, No. 124 overall: RD Ethan Bear.
- Round 6, No. 154 overall: RD John Marino.
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: G Miroslav Svoboda.
- Round 7, No. 209 overall: LD Ziyat Paigin.
- Round 1, No. 4 overall: R Jesse Puljujarvi (28 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 32 overall: L Tyler Benson.
- Round 3, No. 63 overall: LD Markus Niemelainen.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Matthew Cairns.
- Round 4, No. 91 overall: RD Filip Berglund.
- Round 5, No. 123 overall: G Dylan Wells.
- Round 5, No. 149 overall: L Graham McPhee.
- Round 6, No. 153 overall: RC Aapeli Rasanen.
- Round 7, No. 183 overall: RD Vincent DeSharnais.
- Round 1, No. 22 overall: R Kailer Yamamoto.
- Round 3, No. 78 overall: G Stuart Skinner.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Dmitri Samorukov.
- Round 4, No. 115 overall: L Ostap Safin.
- Round 5, No. 146 overall: R Kirill Maksimov.
- Round 6, No. 177 overall: LC Skyler Brind’Amour.
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: RD Phillip Kemp.
BOB GREEN PICKS BY POSITION
- Where is Green spending the gold? Forwards. All three of his first-round picks are forwards and his only second rounder is also a forward (Benson).
- What about after that? Heavy on defense and goaltending. Of the 18 picks in Rounds 3-7, 13 were either defenders or goaltenders.
- Building up the middle? I think McDavid-Draisaitl takes care of center, but yes. Trying to hit a home run in later rounds on a goalie and some defenders.
- How many have played in the NHL? Two, McDavid and Puljujarvi.
- How many more have played a year or more of pro? Ziyat Paigin (KHL), Filip Berglund (SHL), Ostap Safin (Czech).
- How many will turn pro this fall? Several. Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Markus Niemelainen.
- Can we identify players more likely to succeed? Draft number means a lot, and the odds do inform. For instance, it is basically impossible for all of Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and Ziyat Paigin to become productive NHL regulars. It is far more likely that only one of three will play in the NHL to 100 or more games—and all of them could fail. That is what draft history suggests.
- Does the strength of the 2015 draft impact the odds? Great question and intuitively my answer is yes. I don’t know how to measure it, though.
- Who is the best prospect taken outside the first round? My vote goes to Ethan Bear, but for me Caleb Jones and Tyler Benson are also in photo. Dylan Wells is a player who has improved his stock markedly since draft day. We need more samples.
- How concerned are you about Benson? Very. He is an important prospect for this organization, has a range of ability and can play with high skill.
- Any sign of analytics in this draft? There are moneypuck bets in my opinion. The defensemen carry more offense than the Hesketh-Musil years, even the players who have a lot of value caught up in the defensive side of the game.
- And forwards? Benson was a breakthrough of sorts, because he has a fine offensive resume. Edmonton had a fairly long history of drafting players in the second round who weren’t going to bring enough offense to make the NHL in any real way. Benson breaks the string.
- So, name a Money Puck bet. Hmm. Kailer Yamamoto is a strong money puck bet, because the math would call him a top 10 selection.
- Oilers could have had that player in 2016, if they had drafted Alex DeBrincat in the second round. They seemed to have rectified the oversight, Yamamoto seems a pretty good comp for DeBrincat. You won’t hear people saying that, but for me that’s a pretty solid work around. I liked the Benson selection though, that may be part of it.
- Anything that should be worrisome? Not really, some of the 2016 picks flagged and that’s a bit of a worry, but miles to go.
- Who? Markus Niemelainen had an unusual season and Matt Cairns couldn’t get into a USHL lineup. The BCHL time would represent more playing time in a lesser league, that can’t be a good sign. Early days, but a down arrow.
- Name the down arrows. None from the 2015 draft, that looks like a dandy. The 2016 draft has Benson as an injury worry, Niemelainen/Cairns we’ve discussed, that’s about it. The 2015 draft has shown impressive sustain, that’s probably Green’s best arrow.
- How many of the 22 draft picks are going to have actual NHL careers? We should take the lottery picks out because McDavid’s already gone and Puljujarvi is a fantastically good bet.
- Okay, of the 20 players not named McDulujarvi, how many play 400 games in the NHL? I will bet Yamamoto makes it, after that all bets are off. Benson, the second rounder, has a growing injury history. Jones, Bear, others, are lower picks and expecting 400 games from any of them is a stretch. You hope they get there but it’s not something we can see from here.
- Your take year by year? The 2015 draft is trending well, you could get three legit players from that draft (say, McDavid, Jones, Bear). The 2016 edition may only bring Puljujarvi and the 2017 edition is too soon to call but I generally like the increased skill across the board. Even the defensive defensemen have a two-way bent. The Oilers aren’t drafting goalies too early (in my opinion) and took the third best NHLE in the draft at No. 22 overall (Pettersson, Suzuki). These are all good signs.
- Is skill the theme of Green drafts? Well, the Oilers are drafting mainly big men and have grabbed a mittful of defensemen (10 D, 9F, 3G). But your point is well taken, the last four drafts, including 2014, have given Edmonton a stunning group of skill forwards in the first round. I expect that will be the legacy no matter what else happens. Important for some of these depth picks to cash, though.
- Okay, it’s five years from now and you’re reading this. What is the thing you’re most relieved about? That I didn’t hang a nickname like ‘Magnificent Bastard’ on Bob Green.
- What was the best Stu MacGregor draft? The 2011 edition produced Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klebfom and Tobias Rieder. I’ll go with that one.
- Five years from now, you’re reading and what are you most pleased about? As a fan I cheer for all of these players, that’s part of being a fan. Reasonable expectations are probably four or maybe five men who will emerge with 100+ NHL games and I will hope that I got the names right.
- Why this song? I love the draft. There’s an anticipation for each one and they are all different. Great enjoyment for me. Another passion of mine is music, and hearing a new song on the transistor radio as a kid was one of my greatest joys. This song, originally by Gerry Rafferty, sprang out of the radio in 1978 and has lived with me since. I can maim the sax intro, destroy the chorus and sing the wrong words all the way through. Pure joy, this song, and it reminds me about why music is so important. I can still see (in my mind’s eye) the Anik radio that played this song for me the first time 40 years ago. It is embedded alongside the 1973 draft, the one where I wondered why Sam Pollock drafted a shy offensive winger named Bob Gainey No. 8 overall. I can’t tell you why it matters, only that it does. Both Rafferty and Pollock are gone now, and when I get to heaven I’ll say hi to Rafferty.