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:
- WHL-11 (last player drafted Plante ’07)
- Sweden-10 (last player drafted Quist ’07)
- QMJHL-8 (last player drafted Goulet ’04)
- OHL-8 (last player drafted Gagner ’07)
- USHS-5 (last player drafted VandeVelde ’05)
- Finland-4 (last player drafted Luoma ’02)
- US College-4 (last played drafted Wild ’06)
- Czech-3 (last player drafted Hrabel ’03)
- USHL-2 (last player drafted Petry ’06)
- AJHL-2 (last player drafted Glasser ’05)
- Russia-2 (last player drafted Bumagin ’06)
- OPJHL-2 (last player drafted Cogliano ’05)
- EJHL-1 (last player drafted McDonald ’03)
- NAHL-1 (last player drafted Rohlfs ’03)
- US U-18-1 (last player drafted Paukovich ’04)
- BCJHL-1 (last player drafted Nash ’07)
- 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:
In terms of NHL games played since 2001, it looks like this:
- QMJHL- 292
- WHL- 223
- Finland- 144 (*all overagers)
- OHL- 98
- 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.