Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

This is Jozef Hrabel. The numbers love him (Desjardins’ NHLE has him as the highest scoring defenseman in the Oilers system 06-07) but I’m not sure the Oilers think he’ll be a player. At this point it is uncertain he’s still Oilers property, as there was some question as to whether or not he needed to be signed this summer (he was not signed).

The Oilers have pretty much given up on European countries Kenta Nilsson doesn’t live in. Under the Kevin Lowe/Prendergast regime (2001+) they’ve spent much of their time looking in North America for good prospects, and 50% of their European picks have been from Sweden. Here’a draft breakdown 01-07 by league:

  1. WHL-11 (last player drafted Plante ’07)
  2. Sweden-10 (last player drafted Quist ’07)
  3. QMJHL-8 (last player drafted Goulet ’04)
  4. OHL-8 (last player drafted Gagner ’07)
  5. USHS-5 (last player drafted VandeVelde ’05)
  6. Finland-4 (last player drafted Luoma ’02)
  7. US College-4 (last played drafted Wild ’06)
  8. Czech-3 (last player drafted Hrabel ’03)
  9. USHL-2 (last player drafted Petry ’06)
  10. AJHL-2 (last player drafted Glasser ’05)
  11. Russia-2 (last player drafted Bumagin ’06)
  12. OPJHL-2 (last player drafted Cogliano ’05)
  13. EJHL-1 (last player drafted McDonald ’03)
  14. NAHL-1 (last player drafted Rohlfs ’03)
  15. US U-18-1 (last player drafted Paukovich ’04)
  16. BCJHL-1 (last player drafted Nash ’07)
  17. Slovakia-1 (last player drafted Kytnar ’07)

The Oilers haven’t taken a Finn since 2002 when they selected Jesse Niinimaki and Mikko Luoma, and three of the four taken from Finland were overagers (Markkanen, Haakana, Luoma).

Edmonton loves the Canadian junior leagues, Sweden and American high school and college kids. Russia is a distant bell.

In terms of top 50 picks since 2001, it breaks down thusly:

  1. WHL-5
  2. QMJHL-3
  3. USHL-2
  4. OHL-2
  5. Finland-1
  6. USHS-1
  7. OPJHL-1
  8. BCJHL-1

In terms of NHL games played since 2001, it looks like this:

  1. QMJHL- 292
  2. WHL- 223
  3. Finland- 144 (*all overagers)
  4. USHL-105
  5. OHL- 98
  6. Czech- 53 (*all overagers)

The OHL kids like Schremp and Gagner aren’t playing yet, so that number will rise. QMJHL has great representation on the GP list courtesy Hemsky and have some nice things coming up too (Pouliot, Roy) and is a better list than the WHL (Stoll, Dubnyk, Brodziak) despite having three fewer picks.

The big surprise here is Sweden. 10 picks, 50% of the European total, and zero NHL games to show for it. The Swedish players (Mikael Svensk, Jonas Almtorp, Fredrik Johansson, Mikhail Joukov, Kalle Olsson, Dragan Umicevic, Bjorn Bjurling, Fredrik Pettersson, Linus Omark, William Quist) are of interest because none of them were high draft picks and none have them have emerged as outstanding prospects. Jonas Almtorp may be an exception, and what we don’t know about the two new guys is a lot.

I think you could make a very strong case that those 10 picks might have been better spent in North America, where the Oilers clearly have some nice things happening.

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11 Responses to "Don’t Get Around Much Anymore"

  1. Big T says:

    Kenta has to go. The guy should show some results over that time period. Can’t believe that anyone in the org. with half a brain would listen to him anymore.

    T

  2. dawgbone says:

    I think part of the philosophy on using the picks overseas is that a lot of these kids are playing reduced minutes against men.

    So while there is that kid putting up 47 points in 65 games in the WHL, there’s a Swedish player putting up 5 points in 25 games in the elite league.

    It’s the Zetterberg principle. Everyone likes to give credit to the wings for finding the hidden gems, and calls it great scouting…

    If the Red Wings thought he’d be anywhere close to as good as he was, they wouldn’t have waited to pick him until 210th overall. They took a shot on kid playing in a limited role in another league and it paid off. Gambling your later round picks on these guys is going to net you a better chance at a homerun than doing it on CHL kids.

  3. Lowetide says:

    db: That’s fine, but maybe we should get another scout. Kenta is batting .000 in a lot of at-bats.

  4. doritogrande says:

    I was pretty sure we had a solid single in Freddie Petterson. When did that ball go foul?

    I know he signed back in Europe, but he could have been something in the NHL, judging from what he did in the WHL playoffs.

  5. Ribs says:

    Looks like Kenta needs to have a few more kids to make up for his lackings…Robert’s a nice start.

  6. godot10 says:

    You draft Europeans and US college players because NHL teams have a 50-man roster limit.

    If all you do is draft CHL players, you will run into that limit very quickly.

  7. Cam Fraser says:

    Call it my lack of faith in the org, but the fact that the Desjardins numbers love Hrabel means he’ll never get a shake here, which is a g-d shame.

    If I were an apologist, I’d point to Lowe’s mentioning of Billy Beane this year, but their track record is not strong (biggest examples being both Hejda–who was a tough minutes monster–and Dvorak).

  8. theoil says:

    The thing I always wonder about is the scout’s choices that didn’t get picked. I assume that somewhere buried in the Oiler’s office is a list of players that each scout wanted for every draft year. That there is a list, within their territory, that starts at ‘best’ and goes to ‘worst’ and that that list is what is used to judge a scout’s abilities rather than who got picked from their territory which is such a crap shoot given the fact that other teams get to pick and other scouts are pimping their players at the table as well and that senior scouts probably get preference where there is no clear cut choice.

    Of course, the fact that it seems to take 5 years for a prospect to show if he actually has anything does make scouting seem like a great gig if you are just looking for a half a decade or so of employment.

  9. Rob says:

    Someone mentioned the 50 man roster. Without checking out contract status I wonder if Lowe is just waiting for some other prospects to fall off the roster next year to sign him?

  10. Bank Shot says:

    godot: You have to have Europeans sined within 2 years now just like CHL players.

    ……………………
    In the last five drafts the Oilers haven’t taken a Euro-trained player any higher then their 4th selection in that draft.

    Do they not trust their European scouts or do they just not spend enough funds to properly scout the European region? Probably a bit of both. They’ve got what? Two Euro scouts and 5-10 North American scouts?

    If they don’t have any top notch Euro scouts then they should make up for it by having MORE of them. There is a greater chance of catching mistakes/finding the needle in the haystack if 10 pairs of eyes are watching.

    I think that is a better idea then apparently ignoring the continent which is how it seems as of late.

  11. Dennis says:

    Lowe has about as much in common with Billy Beane as he does Billy Martin.

    Maybe he brought it up because he runs a team that doesn’t spend a lot of money either but that’s really where the comparison ends.

    If Lowe were a Beane-type, you’d have to think that a guy like Jason Allison would be an Oiler or would’ve had a lot of offers from them considering he’s a PP specialist and the Oilers PP looked to suck last year. Beane’s all over HR and OBP and I think he’d take a flyer on an Allison.

    Anyway, the main thing I’d take from this is that yes, Kenta should be Kanned.

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