I had Dmitri Samorukov No. 133 on my list for the 2017 draft. Positives included league (OHL), scouting report (Pronman: He is mobile, particularly at 6.02, and capable of jumping into the attack. His skill level isn’t elite but he’s a smart puck mover who can make plays, and Pronman had him at No. 75) and he closed well while being a late birthday. Those are good arrows. Edmonton drafted Samorukov No. 84 and he spiked in year two. Let’s not get excited, long way to go. However, that’s the deal. Make a bet, player progresses in Draft +1. And again. Keith Gretzky made some interesting bets in Boston and in his one year with the Oilers (2017). What will we see a month from now at the Oilers draft table?
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- New Lowetide: Oilers hire three assistant coaches, receive positive response
- Lowetide: Pennants!
- Jonathan Willis: Al Montoya’s likely exit means an end of an era for Peter Chiarelli
- Scott Wheeler: Five Sleeper Picks
- Corey Pronman: Pronman mailbag
- Sunaya Sapurji: Oliver Wahlstrom has been in the spotlight for a long time, but his desire to be ‘special’ burns deep
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
Bruins 1st rounder David Pastrnak said he received a text from his idol, David Krejci, after the draft.
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) July 9, 2014
KEITH GRETZKY DRAFTS, 2014
The 2014 draft is one Bruins fans talk about as being special, it was Gretzky’s first as the scouting director. Here are the picks and a quick sketch on their draft day story.
- No. 25 overall R David Pastrnak. Red Line Report had him No. 14 (“small but fiery and passionate, loves to score) and he played 46 NHL games in his draft +1 season. Has scored 34 and 35 goals in the last two seasons, one of the best young scorers in the game. Note: Went undersized and skilled in round one.
- No. 45 overall C Ryan Donato. Red Line had him No. 65 (compared him to Sam Gagner) and remarked about his soft hands and impressive passing. He just arrived in the NHL and should have a great future on the No. 2 line with the Bruins. Note: Went undersized and skilled in round two.
- No. 116 overall LC Danton Heinen. Not ranked by Red Line, he was the third skill selection in a row. Gretzky: “The plan was we wanted some skill. Everybody wanted skill. You could see the picks, that were highly skilled guys. More of the ‘plumbers’ were coming later on and we were excited that we could get Donato and Heinen who are two really skilled players. We’re excited.” Source He played well in the NHL this past season.
- No. 146 overall L Anders Bjork. Red Line had him at No. 178, saying he had the skating and work ethic to be a checker. With the team’s fourth selection, in the fifth round, they take a player who doesn’t possess top 6F skill. That’s good drafting. He has played in 30 NHL games.
- No. 206 overall LD Emil Johansson. Swedish blue ranked No. 267 overall by Red Line, Good skater, moved the puck well and he made it to the AHL by age 21.
In 2015 the club made some big trades (Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton) and drafted three times in the first round and three more times in Round Two. This is viewed as a negative draft because of the names Boston passed on (like Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Thomas Chabot), let’s see if they went all skill in the top 116 again.
All 10 selections from the 2015 NHL Draft will be at Development Camp, including first rounders Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk & Zach Senyshyn
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 8, 2015
KEITH GRETZKY DRAFTS, 2015
- No. 13 overall LD Jakub Zboril. Red Line had him No. 27, calling him “intense” and raving about his “cannon shot” while comparing his style to Francois Beauchemin. He had a good year in the AHL and the scouting report talked about great skating ability and passing. Suspect he will have a career, but shy of the men passed over to take him. I don’t think he qualifies as a high skill selection.
- No. 14 overall L Jake DeBrusk. Red Line ranked him No. 25 and compared his style to Jason Williams. DeBrusk isn’t out of place with this draft number and his combination of skill and determination make him a nice fit in Boston. I don’t think the Bruins are disappointed in any way with this selection.
- No. 15 overall R Zach Senyshen. Red Line had him at No. 46, meaning this was a large reach pick. If you’re drafting out of place this badly, you better be right. Skill, size, good straightaway speed, I think the Bruins liked all of that but the kicker was his shot. Lightning quick release made him a feared junior sniper. Posted 12 goals in AHL debut.
- No. 37 overall RD Brandon Carlo. Red Line had him No. 41, saying Carlo had size, skating ability and footwork. Got solid grades for coverage and defensive acumen, RLR opined he wasn’t going to be a big point producer. Two years in, they nailed it. Note: Gretzky’s earliest pick (to this point) whose strength is something other than offensive skill.
- No. 45 overall RC Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson. Red Line ranked him No. 70 and rate him as a two-way center with Josh Bailey as a style comparison. He’s plenty skilled but I would rate this as a pick that overlooked skill in favor of a two-way player (Daniel Sprong was chosen No. 46 overall).
- No. 52 overall LD Jeremy Lauzon. RLR ranked him No. 59 and called him a super sleeper. They really liked the pick, comparing Lauzon to James Wisniewski. He’s a two-way type, tough player and he had a pedestrian debut in the AHL this season.
- No. 75 overall G Daniel Vladar. Red Line had him No. 67, impressed by his reflexes and footwork. Projected him as a future NHL backup.
- No. 105 overall L Jesse Gabrielle. RLR rank: No. 132, saying a ‘naturally abrasive cuss is like a burr in the saddle.”
- No. 165 overall LC Cameron Hughes. Late pick Red Line adored, posting him No. 71. Compared him in style to David Krejci, called him a two-way center. It will be interesting to see how he performs in pro beginning this fall.
- No. 195 overall RC Jack Becker. RLR No. 222, he’s a long ranger having just entered college in the fall of 2017. Big two-way C based on USHL boxcars.
Boston had so many picks in 2015, I think they looked for specific needs solutions by the Carlo selection and beyond. In two seasons under Gretzky, the top three selections in each draft had a large amount of skill attached. It would not remain the same in 2016.
Based on the @NEHockeyJournal draft preview I wrote, of belief that RDs Dante Fabbro or Charlie McAvoy could be solid bets for B's @ 14
— Kirk Luedeke (@kluedeke29) June 7, 2016
KEITH GRETZKY DRAFTS, 2016
- No. 14 overall RD Charlie McAvoy. Bob McKenzie had McAvoy No. 14 and Dante Fabbro No. 16. Red Line preferred Fabbro and actually faded McAvoy (this isn’t a shot at Red Line, they’re terrific) but the Bruins went McAvoy. Kirk Luedeke:I verified with Keith Gretzky, Boston’s chief scout, that it was indeed close between McAvoy and Dante Fabbro, but in the end- I think McAvoy’s proximity to the team HQ allowed everyone to see him with ease and the Boston brass was a little more comfortable with the level of competition and viewings they had. Source
- No. 29 overall LC Trent Frederic. McKenzie had him No. 54, this was a reach pick. Luedeke: Frederic has size and more of a defensive game than an offensive one. In talking to Gretzky and assistant GM Scott Bradley after the draft, the team recognized a need to get bigger at center- all three of their NHL pivots are 6-foot or under, and Boston felt that Frederic is emerging as more of a scoring presence than his numbers and performance indicate to date. Source
- No. 49 overall LD Ryan Lindgren. McKenzie had him No. 46, right in the range. Two-way defender who played well in college and will turn pro (at 20) this fall. He is not regarded as a substantial offensive contributor.
- No. 135 overall L Joona Koppanen. Huge defensive center scored a little better than expected in the Sm-Liiga before getting 10 AHL games in Providence.
- No. 136 overall RD Cameron Clarke. Lanky offensive defenseman who ripped it up with the Lone Star Brahmas (I kid you not) in his draft year.
- No. 165 overall RC Oskar Steen. He’s 5.09 and doesn’t have the kind of skill he would need to have NHL success at 5.09.
Luedeke: The McAvoy, Lindgren and Clarke picks all get A/B+ grades from me- they’re exactly the kinds of defenders the B’s can use and give the organization some solid options in the youth movement when you add some of their other recent picks and prospects into the mix.
I think Kirk nails it here. Boston had a ‘needs’ draft and McAvoy delivered beyond reasonable expectations and then some. The team drafted a future checker in the first round (although his offense improved) and shored up the defense. Now to 2017 and Gretzky’s first Oilers draft.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) June 24, 2017
KEITH GRETZKY DRAFTS, 2017
- No. 22 overall R Kailer Yamamoto. Bob McKenzie had him No. 24 and he was clearly a skill selection (along with Pastrnak, DeBrusk, Senyshen, McAvoy) in the first round. I think it’s fair to suggest the club will be looking for skill in round one (Zboril and Frederic the only real exceptions) this year.
- No. 78 overall G Stuart Skinner. Bob McKenzie had him No. 71 so this is right in the range.
- No. 84 overall LD Dmitri Samorukov. McKenzie had him No. 76 and he qualifies as a two-way defenseman. Edmonton has drafted a ton of them since 2015.
- No. 115 overall R Ostap Safin. McKenzie had him No. 51 overall and he was a skill selection.
- No. 146 overall R Kirill Maksimov. McKenzie had him honorable mention, which means top 100 overall. Like Safin, he is clearly a skill selection.
- No. 177 overall LC Skyler Brind’Amour. Skill center didn’t deliver a lot in the BCHL.
- No. 208 overall RD Phil Kemp. Two-way defender showed well, especially early, in college.
KEITH GRETZKY DRAFTS, 2018 (projection)
If the Oilers keep the picks at No. 10 and No. 40, suspect we’ll see them push for skill. Perhaps the organization will push as they did in 2014 (the Pastrnak draft) and go balls out after skill players. What would it look like?
- No. 10 overall. McKenzie’s late April list has a strong top 10 (here), so if Jesperi Kotkaniemi is the choice I suspect Edmonton would make the pick. If the available talent includes Evan Bouchard or Noah Dobson? I think Edmonton makes those picks, too. Among McKenzie’s top 10, is there any player Edmonton would pass on? I’ll guess Adam Boqvist, but it’s just that (a guess). Are there any players Edmonton might prefer to McKenzie’s top 10? I’ll suggest Ty Smith (because of course I will), Ryan Merkley, Joel Farabee.
- No. 40 overall. Craig Button’s final list isn’t out yet (latest here) but the players 35-50 are intriguing. Top offensive players include Cameron Hillis, Gabriel Fortier, Martin Kaut. If the Oilers take a forward at No. 10 they may pick a puck mover at 40. Candidates in the range on Button’s list include Sean Durzi and Alexander Alexeyev.
After that, we’re talking skill. Using prospect-stats.com and their projected 5×5 points per 60, here are some players who deliver enough offense to be considered during the second day of drafting.
- Adam Mascherin (3.10 estimated 5×5/60)
- Allan McShane (2.83 estimated 5×5/60)
- Akil Thomas (2.71 estimated 5×5/60)
- Serron Noel (2.71 estimated 5×5/60)
- Cam Hillis (2.07 estimated 5×5/60)
- Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (2.01 estimated 5×5/60)
- Liam Foudy (1.90 estimated 5×5/60)
- Ty Dellandrea (1.83 estimated 5×5/60)
- Cole Fonstadt (2.26 estimated 5×5/60)
- Benoit Olivier Groulx (2.48 estimated 5×5/60)
- Luke Henman (2.26 estimated 5×5/60)
- Philipp Kurashev (2.18 estimated 5×5/60)
- Alexander Khovanov (2.13 estimated 5×5/60)
30 Years Ago Today: Wayne Gretzky & Mark Messier help sweep Boston Bruins, lead Edmonton Oilers to Stanley Cup title pic.twitter.com/4VLsdh8klV
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 26, 2018
That was a great victory, remember enjoying it because by that point it was well established the Oilers were in fact a modern dynasty. We’ve discussed the ’80’s Oilers so much, but the thing I remember about them is Sather and Muckler kept the freewheeling style while building a strong defensive conscience. It wasn’t there in 1982, and wasn’t perfect in 1984, but by 1988 the team could hold their own. I always thought Kevin Lowe and Steve Smith stepped up during this period and imposed their will a little more on the blue.