THE 2012 ENTRY DRAFT: LAST CALL

The 2012 Entry Draft should have been a productive one for the Edmonton Oilers. The club won the draft lottery, moving up from No. 2, and that meant the same team would draft first overall for three years in a row. The Edmonton organization was not strong at that time, with management structure fluid and decision making in a state of flux based on reporting.

  • Mark Spector: Head amateur scout Stu MacGregor would ask the scouts to vote, and then he would leave the room. He’d come back with some alternate criteria to describe the type of player the Oilers wanted to choose, and they’d vote again. Every time, the vote came back the same. Nine votes for defenceman Ryan Murray, and two for Nail Yakupov. Truth be told, one of those Yakupov votes had started as a vote for Alex Galchenyuk, then morphed into support for YakupovSource
That article is a helluva piece of reporting, well worth the time to read again. A decision that belonged to Steve Tambellini, Stu MacGregor and the scouts ended up in the hands of owner Daryl Katz and his two chief lieutenants Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish. This never works. You have to give the man hired to do the chores an opportunity to do them and if your faith in that individual has been lost, then you have to fire that man. Same day.
The funny thing is the Oilers, in my opinion, made the right call. Nail Yakupov was too tempting a talent to pass over and Ryan Murray lacked the elite skills associated with a satisfactory No. 1 overall selection. At No. 1, you shoot the moon, you win Maria or die trying, you reach out to touch the face of God. We may not like how it turned out, but in my opinion Nail Yakupov wa the right call.

THE PICKS

  • No. 1 overall: R Nail Yakupov.  Through 3.44 seasons with Edmonton, he averaged only 32 points per 82 games played. He has talent but hasn’t developed without the puck and hasn’t earned the trust of the coach. I think Nail has the desire to be a responsible player but the attention to detail is lacking. No longer Edmonton’s problem, he was a major miss as a No. 1 overall selection. I said he was the right pick at the time, I’m not going to back off now. McKenzie on Yakupov draft week 2012“8 of the 10 scouts I talked to said he is the #1 prospect in the draft.” Still, a searing miss and a memorable disappointment.
  • No. 32 overall: L Mitchell Moroz. Moroz was ranked No. 56 by Bob McKenzie, but the Oilers clearly felt they couldn’t wait for No. 63 to grab him. As was the case with Yakupov, I think drafting Moroz this high did the player no favors. He enjoyed a very productive junior career but didn’t get a lot of play early in his AHL career. Peter Chiarelli had no attachment to Moroz (or Yakupov), so dealt him off for another 2012 selection in Henrik Samuelsson. Moroz signed with an ECHL team over the summer.
  • No. 63 overall: C Jujhar Khaira. Khaira is a successful third-round selection, the first sign of hope in the 2012 draft for the Oilers organization. Although injury impacted his 2016-17 season, it’s clear the big forward did enough during his entry-level deal to warrant another contract and (probably) a roster spot this fall. He is a player to watch as a LW, Edmonton needs youngsters pushing the veterans at the position.
  • No. 91 overall: L Daniil Zharkov. Russian winger will forever be known as having a brilliant sense of humor. On his draft weekend he announced he’d be better than Yakupov, but the ensuing years have been been unkind. Made a surprise appearance with Bakersfield that turned out badly as he tore the ACL in the same knee that forced him out of action the previous season. Absolutely up in the air as a prospect, elite prospects does not yet list him with a team for the 2017-18 season.
  • No. 93 overall: D Erik Gustafsson. This was a really nice pick. Gustafsson has basically covered his draft bet, he has been effective in the NHL and AHL since signing with Chicago. Sweden is in a golden age for defenders, so grabbing one every year is a good idea. I wish Edmonton had signed him but glad he made it all the way to the NHL. Ranks No. 2 behind Yakupov in NHL games from this draft.
  • No. 123 overall: D Joey Laleggia. He had a pretty strong AHL debut, posting 27 points in 63 games. The coach gave him playing time too (estimated 18:50). Laleggia is an older prospect—turned 25 in June—so his time is now. A new development last season (moved to LW from LHD) has elevated his status as a prospect. Important not to get ahead of ourselves here, but goal-scorers are rare talents.
  • No. 153 overall: John McCarron. He signed a pro deal and scored well in the ECHL, so there’s some traction for him as a pro player. He’s 25, so we’re not talking NHL potential but McCarron could have a pro career.

MAKING THE CALL

I believe in waiting five years to make a call on drafted players, and on a team’s overall draft year. For 2012, it was a very poor draft for Edmonton, especially considering the club had the No. 1 overall selection. In saying that, the club was in a tough spot at No. 1 overall and for me made the right call (going for the potential home run). The club has had a difficult time in the second round because (previous to Peter Chiarelli’s arrival) there was a willingness to leave skill on the table and draft possible checkers and defensive defensemen. I believe that tendency is no longer a part of the draft template but the Oilers are still paying for past sins.

The “lottery ticket” portion of the 2012 draft worked out well. Jujhar Khaira looks like he’ll have an NHL career in a bottom 6F role and Erik Gustafsson could also help in a support role. Joey Laleggia is an intriguing curio, maybe he will help this draft’s final score. Success has a thousand fathers. As it stands no, this draft is an orphan.

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38 Responses to "THE 2012 ENTRY DRAFT: LAST CALL"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Maybe Joey L., now a left winger, can help “save the draft”?

    Ughhh.

  2. Silver Streak says:

    Reading this is like watching game 7 of the Carolina series…..it stinks. I hope Katz learned from this. Yakupov or Murray were NOT the correct call….obviously…..Galcheniuk even on only one knee was. We really needed a centre at that time …remember ? UUUGH.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Silver Streak:
    Reading this is like watching game 7 of the Carolina series…..it stinks. I hope Katz learned from this. Yakupov or Murray were NOT the correct call….obviously…..Galcheniukeven on only one knee was.We really needed a centre at that time …remember ?UUUGH.

    Meh. Hindsight is 20/20. Galchenyuk was a very risky pick at the time and that really puts that draft into focus. As much as we would have liked Galchenyuk to be perceived as a better pick on draft day, even he doesn’t look like a real No. 1 overall.

  4. Westchester Oil says:

    It’s easy to second guess everything now, but in a poor draft year, a team that has the guts to trade down will likely get rewarded more often than not, IMHO.

  5. leadfarmer says:

    Unless you picked 5 or 6th or Forsberg you’re not happy with the top 1/3 of the first round. Sucks even more that we doubled down on this draft and overpayed for the #4 guy

  6. Connor_McDavids_Cat says:

    leadfarmer,

    There’s nothing you can do though. He broke a record that Stamkos set for goals by a first year player for Sarnia.

    If someone breaks a goal scoring record , you take him.

    Hindsight is nice though. Guys like Trouba, Dumba, Lindholm, Gostisbehere, Parayko and Rielly would be nice to have right now. Pretty solid year for d-men.

    Funny that Matt Benning was taken in 2012 too.

  7. jonrmcleod says:

    Off topic, but here’s an answer to a question I saw someone ask a day or two ago:

    Jonathan McLeod‏ @jonrmcleod
    @SJSeaDogs I’m an Oilers fan who’s wondering if Ostap Safin is playing for you guys this season?

    Saint John Sea Dogs‏Verified account
    @SJSeaDogs
    Replying to @jonrmcleod
    He’ll be joining the team soon!

    Maybe this was already answered, but there’s the answer in case we were still wondering.

  8. 36 percent body fat says:

    yakupov was the right pick.

    Hindsight, when pros were saying the draft was weak, was to trade down to 6 or 7 or whatever, grab a useful asset and draft Trouba. There were a lot of people talking about trading down that far as there would be good dmen on the board still. Which there was.

  9. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    Off topic, but here’s an answer to a question I saw someone ask a day or two ago:

    Jonathan McLeod‏ @jonrmcleod
    @SJSeaDogs I’m an Oilers fan who’s wondering if Ostap Safin is playing for you guys this season?

    Saint John Sea Dogs‏Verified account
    @SJSeaDogs
    Replying to @jonrmcleod
    He’ll be joining the team soon!

    Maybe this was already answered, but there’s the answer in case we were still wondering.

    Still a little up in the air, haven’t seen it confirmed he’ll be in rookie camp. Sometimes these Euro kids get delayed by visa’s et cetera.

  10. Doc Savage says:

    Lowetide: Meh. Hindsight is 20/20. Galchenyuk was a very risky pick at the time and that really puts that draft into focus. As much as we would have liked Galchenyuk to be perceived as a better pick on draft day, even he doesn’t look like a real No. 1 overall.

    Yeah, but combine the Yakupov pick with the next two players they likely had serious interest in: Ryan Murray and Griffin Reinhart. The drafting crew deserves some serious questioning on who they were (and were not) focusing on – even in hindsight. Excusing them for Yakupov doesn’t make their alternatives any better.

  11. Richard S.S. says:

    I’ve been thinking of this for a few days. Why were the 2016-17 Oilers so very much better than anyone expected.
    1) No one expected the Offense to be very good since he was traded. In other words no one trusted Connor McDavid to be utterly amazing. No one trusted that Peter Chiarelli knew what he was doing, no one.
    2) No one expected the Defense to be as good as it was. AdamLarsson, Matthew Benning and Kris Russell were amazing. No one trusted that Peter Chiarelli knew what he was doing, no one.

    I think current expectations might be too low.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    jonrmcleod:
    Off topic, but here’s an answer to a question I saw someone ask a day or two ago:

    Jonathan McLeod‏ @jonrmcleod
    @SJSeaDogs I’m an Oilers fan who’s wondering if Ostap Safin is playing for you guys this season?

    Saint John Sea Dogs‏Verified account
    @SJSeaDogs
    Replying to @jonrmcleod
    He’ll be joining the team soon!

    Maybe this was already answered, but there’s the answer in case we were still wondering.

    That may have been me.

    I had read that he was going to be at camp in St. John but have also been advised that he’s not yet confirmed for rookie camp and, given he’s going to be playing Canada, I’m not sure why.

  13. OriginalPouzar says:

    Richard S.S.:
    I’ve been thinking of this for a few days.Why were the 2016-17 Oilers so very much better than anyone expected.
    1) No one expected the Offense to be very good since he was traded.In other words no one trusted Connor McDavid to be utterly amazing.No one trusted that Peter Chiarelli knew what he was doing, no one.
    2) No one expected the Defense to be as good as it was.AdamLarsson, Matthew Benning and Kris Russell were amazing. No one trusted that Peter Chiarelli knew what he was doing, no one.

    I think current expectations might be too low.

    Health was also a big factor – we already have a much more material injury than we had all of last year.

    We have some depth on D but not top 4 depth (at least not proven) and I fear another injury to the top 4 – could be devastating.

  14. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: That may have been me.

    I had read that he was going to be at camp in St. John but have also been advised that he’s not yet confirmed for rookie camp and, given he’s going to be playing Canada, I’m not sure why.

    Visa’s. These kids get caught up. Not saying that’s the case here but it’s always a hurdle to keep in mind.

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yup – valid point, could be true.

    I’m not sure why they can’t/don’t get their ducks in a row well in advance but I’m a huge planner (ex: I’ve already got a couple dinner reservations in Hong Kong over Christmas).

  16. Genjutsu says:

    Doc Savage: Yeah, but combine the Yakupov pick with the next two players they likely had serious interest in: Ryan Murray and Griffin Reinhart.The drafting crew deserves some serious questioning on who they were (and were not) focusing on – even in hindsight.Excusing them for Yakupov doesn’t make their alternatives any better.

    You mean they liked the guys that went 2 and 4 also at 1OV.

    Not sure what you’re getting at here.

  17. jp says:

    Genjutsu,

    He’s saying all the players they were interested in were the wrong ones.

  18. adamjames says:

    Gee, if these visa are causing so much grief they oughta get em Mastercards instead.

    *edit* I’ll show myself out.

  19. Lloyd B. says:

    Not a big tennis fan except for Wimbledon and the US Open.

    This Shapovalov kid can tennis! Great to see the one hand backhand.

    Announcers are fawning all over him. He may want to avoid the showers if those two are around.

  20. flyfish1168 says:

    Lloyd B.:
    Not a big tennis fan except for Wimbledon and the US Open.

    This Shapovalov kid can tennis!Great to see the one hand backhand.

    Announcers are fawning all over him.He may want to avoid the showers if those two are around.

    He is amazing considering his age. But I will always remember him for :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIH0DopDr-U

    But i am very happy he has grown from that low point.

  21. Lloyd B. says:

    Accidental. He immediately went to the umpire and apologized.

    You will always remember him for that?

    The way this kid plays I suspect you will forget that moment in time.

  22. flyfish1168 says:

    Lloyd B.:
    Accidental.He immediately went to the umpire and apologized.

    You will always remember him for that?

    The way this kid plays I suspect you will forget that moment in time.

    He is rewriting people’s memories.

  23. russ99 says:

    Yak was the right pick, they should have sent him to Sarnia for his draft +1 year, since he needed to learn hockey skills you don’t pick up at the pro level. Maybe the agent shares some of the blame, with the KHL threat.

    Not to mention the nightmare that was Dallas Eakins, who messed up Yak more than any other of our players.

    The biggest takeaway I have from the rebuild is rushing first round picks to the bigs did us no favors.

    The only high pick who developed a complete (offensive) skillset was Eberle, and they left him in Regina for two seasons after his draft summer.

  24. Lloyd B. says:

    flyfish1168: He is rewriting people’s memories.

    Recency bias. It’s a thing. 🙂

  25. slopitch says:

    Just read about 5 scouting reports of Hampus Lindholm. Most suggested mid 1st round or early 2nd. Would like to know what caused Anaheim to draft him at 6. 2 reports mentioned late bloomer and most suggested some variation of intelligent player. But credit to the team for developing him properly and to Hampus for putting the work in. He came to the combine and destroyed the field on oxygen levels. Need a few bounces to go your way. Good organizations seem to get them and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

  26. BONE207 says:

    Lowetide: Visa’s. These kids get caught up. Not saying that’s the case here but it’s always a hurdle to keep in mind.

    I read somewhere that certain parts of Quebec and Manitoba are so hurdle free, people just walk into Canada. Maybe these kids should try there.

  27. stush18 says:

    slopitch:
    Just read about 5 scouting reports of Hampus Lindholm. Most suggested mid 1st round or early 2nd. Would like to know what caused Anaheim to draft him at 6. 2 reports mentioned late bloomer and most suggested some variation of intelligent player. But credit to the team for developing him properly and to Hampus for putting the work in. He came to the combine and destroyed the field on oxygen levels. Need a few bounces to go your way. Good organizations seem to get them and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

    If I r remember correctly he was a very high riser before the draft.

    I remember though I was still surprised. They definitely reached.

  28. stush18 says:

    DOEs anyone remember the rumour that the NYI offered up all of there picks or something to trade up and draft yakupov?

    I’ll see if I can find it, unless someone can confirm or beat me to it.

  29. stush18 says:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2012/06/new-york-islanders-columbus-blue-jackets-draft-picks-trade.html

    Here it is. I seem to remember them offering it to the oilers, and to be honest, they probably did.

    Why a team wouldn’t ever accept this trade is absolutely beyond me. The marginal difference between players in that draft year was ridiculously low. Everyone thought it was yakupov and then everyone else.

  30. stush18 says:

    stush18,

    I said when the oilers won the mcdavid lottery, they should trade down to number 2 with buffalo.

    I’m assuming it would have been eichel, risto, and the 16 and 17 first round picks. Or all of there picks for mcdavid. And honestly, I bet Murray would have done it too if you offered it to him.

    That would have been a absolute haul.

    Eichel, barzal, Colin white, jack roslovic, jeremy Roy, Mitchell Stephens, Brendan guhle, all from the first two rounds with no picks traded away.

  31. stush18 says:

    Last one lol

    I feel really awful for eichel. Murray went ahead and just messed up that team badly. They had a solid foundation of picks built up, and when Murray lost out on mcdavid, he just blew it up, skipped the proccess and tried to speed it up, just like Burke tried to do in Toronto.

    Seriously, we got talbot for some late draft picks, and they traded a first in a deep draft for lehner. They dealt Myers out for bogosian and Kane.

    And you could say yes those are reasonable bets, but they had so many holes to fill, and you were not going to fix them in one draft.

    Hopefully botteril can fix that mess

  32. Thinker says:

    stush18:
    stush18,

    I said when the oilers won the mcdavid lottery, they should trade down to number 2 with buffalo.

    I’m assuming it would have been eichel, risto, and the 16 and 17 first round picks.Or all of there picks for mcdavid. And honestly, I bet Murray would have done it too if you offered it to him.

    That would have been a absolute haul.

    Eichel, barzal, Colin white, jack roslovic, jeremy Roy, Mitchell Stephens, Brendan guhle, all from the first two rounds with no picks traded away.

    If Eichel is making like 9mil, what package with him would be worth connor? Risto, Maybe some salary retained?

  33. Doc Savage says:

    Genjutsu: You mean they liked the guys that went 2 and 4 also at 1OV.

    Not sure what you’re getting at here.

    Yeah, fair point – it’s not like the GM’s that picked at 2nd and 4th made brilliant choices. Still, they got it so wrong. I guess reading today’s post made me feel bitter towards the 2012 drafting as I was so invested in it at the time. I remember being happy when we won the lottery, though in retrospect that likely made no difference at all in choosing an impact player.

    My point is that the talent assessment in hindsight was horrendous and just irritates me that I wasted energy on it. Then someone mentions Dallas Eakins in another post as the problem and I can’t help but agree with that too! No deep message here, just venting.

  34. russ99 says:

    Thinker: If Eichel is making like 9mil, what package with him would be worth connor? Risto, Maybe some salary retained?

    Hypothetical, since Connor is going nowhere – but if we ever entertained the idea, the only recent prospect I’d consider is Laine along with one of the Jets top defensemen and prospects/picks.

  35. stush18 says:

    Thinker: If Eichel is making like 9mil, what package with him would be worth connor? Risto, Maybe some salary retained?

    At the time?

    Like I said, prolly eichel, risto, the other first rounder form the mat draft, and last years first rounder.

  36. stush18 says:

    russ99: Hypothetical, since Connor is going nowhere – but if we ever entertained the idea, the only recent prospect I’d consider is Laine along with one of the Jets top defensemen and prospects/picks.

    Now I wouldn’t do the trade.

    But at the time we didn’t know what drai was, and Larsson and benning were no where in siight

  37. Professor Q says:

    BONE207: I read somewhere that certain parts of Quebec and Manitoba are so hurdle free, people just walk into Canada. Maybe these kids should try there.

    Not going to touch what you are likely inferring, but that would require Safin to first get into the US then cross and then to apply for status and said Visa.

  38. YKOil says:

    Yakupov was the right pick.

    Other than always taking the best player in the draft if they also are simply dominant in play, my own rules of thumb comprise:

    1. Take the best player on your board
    2. If the best players on your board are close in terms of your internal grades then it is sometimes okay to take the 2nd best player if it fills a core rarity (dominant RHD or RHC, dominant BIG defenseman – any H – with all the speed and skills)
    3. If the best players on your board are close in terms of your internal grades and the first name is winger with limited C potential then it is okay to take the 2nd best player if it results in a better team build (C or D)
    4. If the best players on your board are close in terms of value, the top player doesn’t fill a ‘rarity’ spot and its a deep draft then trade down if a good package is available

    When I looked at the 2012 draft the deal was either Yakupov or the Isles offer (if truly there, and I believe Friedman); and I cannot fault the Yakupov pick even if I probably would have jumped on the Isles offer (that was a lot of free lotto tickets being given away there).

    That said, the Moroz pick was beyond the pale bad and the HO meddling was disgusting.

    The Yakupov pick is life throwing you a curve. The Moroz pick is you deciding to do a lot of headfirst dives into the shallow end of the swimming pool.

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