DRAFT AND COLLEGE (2017)

The Edmonton Oilers have chosen 32 ‘draft and follow’ players since the turn of the century. I define the term as any player chosen from a secondary junior league (USHL, BCHL) and on the way to college in the coming years. I’ve always thought it was a good way to find talent once the CHL and good Euro leagues were picked clean, the Oilers have chosen a few in the first round over the years. Two more were added to the group this year, let’s have a look at what this draft vine has produced over the years.

DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2000 TO 2004

  1. 2000—D  Jason Platt in the 8th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended college at Providence and signed with the Oilers after full four years in NCAA. Turned pro at 23.
  2. 2001—C Eddie Caron in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Phillips-Exeter Academy (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended college at New Hampshire, transferred but it got derailed or he left Dodge and he turned pro with Greenville Grrrowl at age 22.
  3. 2001—C Jake Brenk in the 5th round. Drafted out of Breck School (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended Minnesota State-Mankato all four years, turned pro at 23 by signing in Holland. Ref.
  4. 2002—D Matt Greene in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Green Bay (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended UND for three seasons, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers. Greene would play in the SCF’s that season and has enjoyed a long NHL career.
  5. 2002—G Glenn Fisher in the 5th round. Drafted out of Ft. Saskatchewan (AJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended U Denver for four years, and turned pro with the Oilers age 24.
  6. 2002—L Patrick Murphy in the 7th round. Drafted out of Newmarket (OPJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Northern Michigan for four years, and turned pro at age 23 by signing with Laredo (ECHL).
  7. 2003—R Colin McDonald in the 2nd round. Drafted out of New England (EJHL) after 17-year old season. Attended Providence College for four years, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers.
  8. 2003—R David Rohlfs in the 5th round. Drafted out of Compuware (NAHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Michigan for four years, turned pro at 23 by signing with the Oilers.
  9. 2004—C Geoff Paukovich in the 2nd round. Drafted out of USNDTP after 17-year old season. Attended U Denver for three years, and turned pro at 21 by signing with the Oilers.

No first-round picks and three second rounders, with Matt Greene playing 615 NHL games and Colin McDonald 148.

DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2005 TO 2009

  1. 2005—C Andrew Cogliano in the 1st round. Drafted out of Toronto St. Mike’s (OPJHL) after 17-year old season, he played at Michigan for two years and turned pro at age 20 with the Oilers.
  2. 2005—D Taylor Chorney in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s (USHS) after 17-year old season, he played for UND for three years and turned pro at age 21 with the Oilers.
  3. 2005—C Robby Dee in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Breck (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Omaha (USHL) for two years and then college (Maine) for four years before turning pro at age 24 in the ECHL.
  4. 2005—C Chris VandeVelde in the 4th round. Drafted out of Moorhead (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Lincoln (USHL) for one year and then college (UND) for four years before turning pro at age 23 by signing with the Oilers.
  5. 2005—L Matt Glasser in the 7th round. Drafted out of Fort McMurray (AJHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (U Denver) for four years before turning pro at age 23 in the CHL.
  6. 2006—D Jeff Petry in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Des Moines (USHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (Michigan State) for three more years before turning pro at age 22 by signing with the Oilers.
  7. 2007—C Riley Nash in the 1st round. Drafted out of Salmon Arm (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Cornell (NCAA) for three years before turning pro at age 21 by signing with the Carolina Hurricanes.
  8. 2009—D Troy Hesketh in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Minnetonka (USHS) after 17-year old season, he did not progress.
  9. 2009—D Kyle Bigos in the 4th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Merrimack College (NCAA) for four years before turning pro at age 24 by signing with the San Jose Sharks.

Some high picks in this five-year run, Andrew Cogliano (786 NHL games), Chris VandeVelde (278), Jeff Petry (445) and Riley Nash (323) were all chosen by Edmonton in these years. Cogliano and Nash were first-round selections, Petry was chosen in the second round.

DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2010 TO 2014

  1. 2010—F  Kellen Jones in the 7th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Quinnipiac (NCAA) for four years before turning pro by signing with the Oklahoma City Barons for his 24-year old season.
  2. 2012—C Jujhar Khaira in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Prince George (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Michigan Tech for one year and Everett (WHL) for one year and he turned pro with the Oilers at age 20.
  3. 2013—F Aidan Muir in the 4th round. Drafted out of Victory Honda Midget (MWEHL) after 17-year old season, he played with Indiana (USHL) for a year before heading to Western Michigan. Muir has played three college seasons, looks like we’ll find out about his pro career next year. May not have signed him because of injury.
  4. 2013—L Evan Campbell in the 5th round. Drafted out of Langley (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he played with UMass-Lowell (NCAA) 2013-17. Signed an ATO in the spring, played one game with Bakersfield and no official word on his future.
  5. 2014—D William Lagesson in the 4th round. Drafted out of Frolunda (Swedish Juniors) after his 17-year old year, he played the following season in the USHL before heading to the NCAA UMass-Amherst for two years. Edmonton signed Lagesson this spring and then loaned him for the 2017-18 season to Djugardens (SHL). It might have to do with the large number of young blue turning pro this fall.
  6. 2014—L Liam Coughlin in the 5th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 19-year old season, he stayed there for an extra year before playing college hockey in 2015-17 for Vermont. Now property of the Chicago Blackhawks, he may return for his
  7. 2014—F Tyler Vesel in the 6th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 20-year old season, he has played three seasons with U Nebraska-Omaha. Vesel is showing increased offense but he’s also 23 now. We’ll find out about him next spring but if the Oilers didn’t sign him in a spring when they needed forwards it’s probably a tell.

Highest pick was Jujhar Khaira in the third round and he looks like the best of the group. Lagesson hit some high notes (WJ’s) during his post-draft years as well.

DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2015 TO 2017

  1. 2015—Caleb Jones in the 4th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Program (USHL), he changed gears and played for Portland (WHL) for his two post-draft seasons. Quality prospect, turns pro this fall.
  2. 2015—John Marino in the 6th round. Drafted out of the South Shore Kings (USHL Pr), he moved up to the USHL in draft +1 (won Clark Cup) and then Harvard (and a trip to the frozen four) in year two. Reports have him progressing nicely.
  3. 2016—Matt Cairns in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Georgetown (OJHL), he couldn’t get into the lineup in the USHL (not a good sign) so played in the BCHL to complete his year. Headed to Cornell this fall, first thing to check for is how much he plays.
  4. 2016—Graham McPhee in the 5th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Team, he attended Boston College and played a support role. Like Dillon Simpson, McPhee arrived in college very young (he was drafted while 17) and that means he has more room to grow.
  5. 2016—Aapeli Rasanen in the 7th round. Drafted out of the Finnish Jr leagues, he played for Sioux City of the USHL. Solid year but he was hurt a bit. Off to Boston College this fall.
  6. 2017—Skyler Brind’Amour in the 6th round. Drafted out of the U.S. National Development Team, Brind’Amour is heading for the BCHL this fall. That’s a lesser league than the USHL, but he played only eight games a year ago and no doubt he’ll get a lot of playing time with the Chilliwack Chiefs. He’s young, was 17 on draft day.
  7. 2017—Phillip Kemp in the 6th round. Another player drafted out of the U.S. National Development Program, that’s four in three Chiarelli drafts. Kemp has a defensive reputation, he played 25 USHL games and is headed to Yale this fall.

With two more years to go in this five-year segment, it looks like ‘draft and college’ is growing in popularity among Oilers scouts. You can see the appeal—a player like Brind’Amour could blossom beyond anything that was available—but taking these players too early is probably a bad idea. The Chiarelli years have been good at this in my opinion, Caleb Jones was great value where they got him, or so it appears. 

THE FACTS

Since the turn of the century, Edmonton has:

  • chosen 32 ‘draft and college’ players
  • 20 have been chosen after their 17-year old season
  • 7 have been chosen after their 18-year old season
  • 1 has been chosen after his 19-year old season
  • 4 have been chosen after their 20-year old season
  • the 19-year old (Coughlin) was chosen in the MacT era
  • two of the four 20-year olds (Campbell and Vesel) came in the MacT era
  • All of the 20-year olds were chosen from 2009-2014 (Tambellini, MacT).
  • Peter Chiarelli’s choices on this list were all chosen after 17-year old seasons.
  • The best players from this group—Matt Greene (18), Andrew Cogliano (17), Jeff Petry (17), Riley Nash (17) were chosen after 17 or 18 year old seasons.
  • Only two first-round picks were in the group: Andrew Cogliano and Riley Nash.

DRAFT AND FOLLOW

I think the key ‘follow’ point is getting these kids drafted early. If you’re looking at 20-year old (Campbell, Vesel) as someone who can blossom, then it’s probably a good idea to go back and examine what the trajectory for kids age 17 looks like compared to those age 20. Chiarelli’s scouting department appears to be shopping in the right areas. There are no extremely early “reach” selections so far in his regime, also a positive. Caleb Jones is probably the strongest bet from the Chiarelli era at this time.

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18 Responses to "DRAFT AND COLLEGE (2017)"

  1. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! All these draft and college picks, fascinating reading your few tidbits on each: there is a book or a bunch of great articles that could be written: what becomes of these men? Their stories, the day of reckoning for them, the transition from being so elite, and so close, yet not good enough or lucky enough or blocked or injured or whatever.

    – How do they adjust to the rest of their lives? Being so good and so committed to excellence: how do they go about putting together a life once the dream is over?

    – Something poignant about listing all these names IMO: so much failure in sport.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lots of no names in there and lots of solid NHLers in there – I guess that’s what you generally see drafting after the first couple of rounds.

  3. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Very interesting break down vis a vis success and age drafted.

    Thanks for doing the work LT.

    Very good read.

  4. jtblack says:

    Thanks LT. Wealth of Info as always.

    Do “we” all beleive the USHL is now a mainstream pool that is getting stronger by the year? Never seen a USHL game but have heard amazing things about the facilities and League.

  5. jtblack says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    ” Something poignant about listing all these names IMO: so much failure in sport.” – Odds of veing a Top 6 F or Top 4 D are alarmingly Low. Just go back and scour CHL bantam drafts. To make it all the way is Rare. The 10, 15 & 20 Yr career guys are Amazing and THE EXCEPTION

  6. Lowetide says:

    jtblack:
    Thanks LT. Wealth of Info as always.

    Do “we” all beleive the USHL is now a mainstream pool that is getting stronger by the year?Never seen a USHL game but have heard amazing things about the facilities and League.

    I think there’s more talent now in the USHL than in the QMJHL most years, but think the WHL and OHL (the king) remain a little down the road.

  7. flyfish1168 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:

    – Something poignant about listing all these names IMO: so much failure in sport.

    Scarey thought is how many of these failures are due to injuries that are probably life long at such a young age.

  8. Ryan says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Very interesting break down vis a vis success and age drafted.

    Thanks for doing the work LT.

    Very good read.

    Agreed. Excellent work LT.

  9. Gino says:

    More USHL & US National development team players taken every year. It would be nice to see the USHL champion play in the memorial cup in the future against the champs from the various CHL leagues.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: I think there’s more talent now in the USHL than in the QMJHL most years, but think the WHL and OHL (the king) remain a little down the road.

    More talent in the USHL than the Q? Wow, I never would have figured that.

    Thanks.

  11. dustrock says:

    Man, these are long shot picks other than your Cogliano or Petry. What’s the average NHL team ratio for success in a draft? Like getting 2 players in a draft year to 100 games must be a huge success.

  12. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    Ryan: Agreed. Excellent work LT.

    Here, here.

    Thanks LT, for all your insightful prose during the waning days of summer.

    A round, for the host!!

  13. VOR says:

    DUSTROCK,

    The record is 5955 games from one draft.

    The average is around 1,000 games per draft though the median is a bit higher. Every team has periods where they simply utterly tank a draft or 2 or more which pulls that team’s average way down. Most teams in most years get between 600 and 1600 games.

    Roughly:

    anything under 500 games when all is said and done is a complete fail.
    500 to 1000 is low end of average
    1000 to 1500 is true middle of the road
    1500 to 2000 is above average
    2000 to 3000 is good
    3000 to 4000 is excellent
    4000 to 5000 is extraordinary
    5000 and above is truly brilliant

  14. jfry says:

    Great post

  15. VOR says:

    DUSTROCK,

    The yearly averages move around quite a bit. In 2003 for example the average per team to date is 1456 (a strong draft and extraordinary opportunity have combined to create something of an outlier). 1456 is also the median (half of all teams are above, half below). The Oilers are actually above average to date.

    Based just on games played from the players drafted that year the Oilers actually outperformed their draft ranking.

  16. Evilas says:

    I have always thought John Marino to be a very intriguing prospect and an inspired pick at his draft number. He was smaller when drafted, but has gone from under 170 lbs to over 190 lbs since his draft day.

    Jeff Petry 2.0?

    Does anyone know what Petry’s height/weight was on his draft day?

  17. Evilas says:

    Evilas,

    Found it from your “Sail On” Article:

    Guy Flaming at Hockey’s Future: “Petry is a smart two-way defenseman who is an excellent skater with good mobility, which he uses to shut down opponents. The 6’2.5, 176-pound Petry plays with an edge and can lay out some good hits. He also doesn’t mind battling in front of the net. Offensively, Petry has a cannon for a point shot, but often uses a wrist shot as well so that it does not get blocked and does not allow the goaltender to set up. Petry also uses his skating and stick skills to make accurate passes out of the zone or to skate the puck up himself, which he has the speed and stickhandling to do.”

  18. Ducey says:

    Only problem is that guys can go UFA if they go supernova in their senior year.

    Not sure why the NHL doesn’t fix that loophole.

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