A Few Good Men

As much I love the Entry Draft (I love all drafts, watch the NBA draft and haven’t watched a full NBA game in many years) this year’s edition is likely to be slow going for Oilers fans. With only one pick likely in the top 100 the first day of the proceedings will be rather uneventful and the entire Oilers draft could consist of 4 or 5 names.

With that as a backdrop (and mindful of what having 50 contracts can do to you), I think the Oilers might want to sign a college free agent or two this summer. The undrafted guys are older, you know what you’re getting (not much development left) and you can address weakness and perhaps add a roster player as soon as fall time.

I’ve chosen Derek Whitmore because he’s a goal scorer. In fact, in the entire NCAA he is third overall in goals (24 goals in 28 games played) and has 10 with the man advantage. He’s 5-10, 190 and turned 23 just before Christmas. He is about 2 and a half months younger than Colin McDonald, he played in the USHL the season after Matt Greene left. He’s from that era of prospects, which means the Oilers still have time to add to that group via the amateur procurement department. Whitmore is from Rochester, New York and his goal scoring has improved each season in Bowling Green (11, 13, 19 and now 24).

The scouting reports on him are vague, I can’t really give you much. Here’s what I found:

  • Whitmore moved out of his parents’ house at the age of 16 to play junior hockey in Wyoming
  • “[Whitmore's] a big part of our success,” coach Paluch said. “We went through a stretch where Derek wasn’t scoring, and we didn’t have the same results we had when he was scoring. He tried to do a little too much, and he wasn’t as effective when he was out there. But, he’s really been an outstanding leader for our team. What he means to our team – he’s been extremely valuable.”
  • His shooting percentage this season looks extremely good, as in he may never do it again. He has 24 goals on 111 shots (21.6%). Last season he had 19 goals on 124 shots (15.3%) and the season before that 13 goals on 82 shots (15.9%). As a freshman he scored 11 goals on 68 shots (16.2%).

I believe he went to Atlanta’s camp last fall (Ryan Duncan apparently went to St. Louis’ camp so that doesn’t apparently affect NCAA eligibility) so maybe they have the inside track.

Either way, it seems like every team has some guy with a strange non-hockey name playing in the NHL via the college fa route and the Oilers haven’t had one I can recall since Ty Conklin. Have the Oilers been bullied out of this area?

I think they should push right back by signing someone like Derek Whitmore.

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20 Responses to "A Few Good Men"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    Whitmore looks like a pretty good shooter
    Passing?
    Not so much.

    I looked at the top NCAA scorers a couple of weeks ago.
    Many/Most of the top point getters were not drafted

    What is “wrong” with them them?
    No way Riley Nash is leading the NCAA in scoring 4 years from now

    The first thing that leaps out is size
    The twelve guys I noted range in size from
    St Louis to Pisani
    None are big enough to be must-haves.

    I wonder how many of them are as fast as Glencross?
    My guess
    A couple of the St Louis-sized guys, none of the Pisanis.

    And then there is talent
    Gotta see ‘em – good or not
    ******************
    Simon Lambert RW
    Born Jul 29 1983 -Ste.-Therese, PQ
    Height 6.00 – Weight 180 – Shoots R
    06-07 R.I.T. 34 17 26 43 37

    Colin McDonald RW
    Born Sep 30 1984 — Hartford, CT
    Height 6.03 -Weight 205 -Shoots R
    06-07 Providence Col 36 13 4 17 30

    “Simon enjoyed another great year for us. He is a tremendous leader who can be counted on to play big minutes on the power-play, shorthanded or at even strength. He is an invaluable player in our program.” — Coach Wilson

    Fun fact – People named Simon Lambert include a flat track motorcycle racer in England, a poet in Australia, an orthopaedic surgeon, a musician, a mortgage expert….

  2. doritogrande says:

    We’ve got one such prospect toiling in our minor systems, Jacob McFlickier. I seem to remember you did a post on him earlier on in the season, and I’ve sort of kept tabs on him. Good scorer at the ECHL level but hasn’t been able to crack the Falcon’s roster as of yet. He was an ECHL all-star.

  3. PunjabiOil says:

    They have a 1st and a 3rd (2nd rounder was exchanged for Islanders 3rd)

  4. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: Whose 3rd do we have?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Just to clarify the question, it is my understanding the Oilers traded a 2nd rder to NYI for the EDM 3rd rder that went in the MAB trade.

    This was done in order to secure the Oil pick for the Penner offer sheet (well, the Vanek OS but you know what I mean).

    So unless I’m mistaken the Oilers have ANA’s first and then their first pick that is their own is 4th rd.

    Correct?

  6. doritogrande says:

    Edmonton trades Marc-Andre Bergeron and a 3rd round pick in 2008 to NYI for Denis Grebeshkov.

    Edmonton trades a 2nd round pick in 2008 to NYI for Allan Rourke and a 2008 3rd round pick.

    Edmonton signs Dustin Penner to offer sheet, Ducks get Edmonton’s 2008 1st, 2nd, 3rd round picks as compensation.

    Not that it matters this year, but we also have Philly’s 2009 3rd rounder as part of the Pitkanen trade.

  7. Lowetide says:

    So, just to be clear: Oilers do NOT have a 3rd rd pick in 2008.

    Right?

  8. PunjabiOil says:

    Lowetide, you’re correct. I knew we had Anaheim’s second, that was traded to the Islanders, but forgot we gave up that in the Penner deal.

    Boy, just 1 pick in the first 3 rounds, in a pretty deep draft. Hopefully Penner is worth it, because that early 2nd rounder may very well be classified as a late 1st.

    That’s why I have no problem with Roloson/Sanderson/Reasoner moved for picks. I have a feeling Pouliot can replace Reasoner, and the other two are effectively not helping this team win games.

    Would you do Staios for a 1st rounder, LT?

  9. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: In this draft (2008)? Yes, I think it would probably be good value. Oilers need Staios’ money to retain the other blueliners and a pick in the 17-22 range (SJS) is likely to be a decent bet.

    PLUS of course the one thing Lowe does well is find these Dmen who have been bouncing around the league without establishing themselves.

    That’s one reason I’ve always felt Smid would be a player.

  10. doritogrande says:

    A thought occured. If we trade Staios for a pick at the deadline, would anyone jump to re-sign Jason Smith in the offseason to a 2-year deal?

    I think he’d come back to Edmonton, especially after what he’s witnessed being part of the Broad-street Bullies. Would a 2 year contract at 2mil per give us enough cap to sign both Pitkanen and Gilbert to extensions? Next year we could roll with:

    Pitkanen-Gilbert
    Souray-Smith
    Smid-Greene
    Grebeshkov

    I like it.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Any effort by the Oilers to sign Jason Smith this summer will be met with cheers from me. Although he is not a good bet for a long term deal, the fact is he’d be a very useful mentor to the (still) young Dmen.

  12. Dennis says:

    - Neither one of them could move the puck but it would be nice to see Smith coming back to mentor Greene in ’09. I must say that I feel bad for Gator, though. His game seems to be falling a little and that means he won’t get the big payday that so many of his peers did

    - Whenever I think of the Oilers signing a college FA, I always think of Eric Heffler. Fuck, that guy was bad

    - When’s the last time Any college FA had any kind of impact whatsoever? Maybe there’s someone I’m missing but we know Belfour and CuJo came out of college undrafted but I’m trying to think of someone else that emerged from that situation as well.

  13. PunjabiOil says:

    Dustin Penner

  14. jon k says:

    Lowe better be trying his darndest to move players not in the plans for 2nds and 3rds.

    The most interesting thing about this season has been how little I’ve missed Torres. With Moreau, Penner, GlenX, and Nilsson all healthy I think the team gets along pretty well.

    It would be nice to have all three of Moreau, Torres, and GlenX on the left side. Makes the team a hell of a lot rougher.

    However… Torres is making substantially more a physical winger should be making. I wonder if he’d be good for a 2nd, or better yet moving the 1st up some draft positions.

  15. speeds says:

    Dennis:

    ANA had McDonald, Kunitz, Penner on their Cup winning team last year. All 3 were undrafted college free agents.

  16. Dennis says:

    Seems funny to say but would Raffi’s pricetage prohibit him being moved for a first round pick?

    I know it’s on a team per team basis but if you’re the Wings wouldn’t you deal your pick away for a guy with grit like Raffi?

    Would you do it if you were Lowe?

    I doubt Raffi’s coming back next year. There are certain guys who have roster spots etched in stone and we’re already paying wingers like 27-83-34-18. Plus, there are talks of a scoring winger being needed and I’d imagine that’s a guy for Gagner to play with. Personally, I’d start with 27-89 and hopefully build some chem and I’d go look for a RW to play with them. I’d imagine a lot of people wouldn’t have a hard job scoring with 10-83. Or we could even put 18 up there and go power vs power.

    Anyway, mark me down as a guy who Does miss Raffi. I thought he was gonna be a force after that run. That guy was a fucking wrecking ball that spring. He changed the face of the SJ series by making them a one line team with his dismantling of Michalek and he was a fucking menace vs the Canes. First, he knocked out Weight and he hit Ward so hard that he said had there been one more game that year he would not have been able to play it.

    The 14-37-34 line was gold and if we do bring back 14 next year I’d go with a top nine of:

    18-10-83 – Power vs power
    27-89- New guy – buttersoft min and more sheltered than a home schooled Mormom.
    14-13-34 – Love that wing combo.

    Pouliot-Brodziak and someone else fill out the fourth line. I can’t think of a good reason not put Glencross there. I included Pouliot because I like him and we need a righthanded faceoff man. Allow me to go now and put a security lock on my comp before Bruce tries to cyber-destroy me for not including Zach:)

  17. Lowetide says:

    Don’t kid yourself, Raffi has value. You know it takes a little longer on the proverbial learning curve for some than others.

    Raffi isn’t 40 and if we think of the SC run there were things he did that were unique on this club.

    I think we need to remember that.

  18. Dennis says:

    Raffi’s clearly immature and also refuses to acknowledge what he has to do to be at his most effective.

    And that’s coming from a guy that likes him and respects and that he can close to even playing tough min.

    But he’s making over two mill now and he doesn’t make an impact on either ST unit so you have to ask yourself where he fits in.

    One things for certain, though. You’re starting to see the tiers for how forwards get paid and Raffi has a lot of work to do before he can jump to a guy who gets close to four mill.

    And yes I know what Penner’s making;)

  19. Bruce says:

    Dennis, it’s obvious: 27-89-46

    :)

    Seriously, unless your scoring winger is the next coming of Rick Tocchet, that line-up needs more toughness.

  20. Dennis says:

    Speaking of learning curves, our boy Pouliot had another goal tonight; game-winner in a 2-1 decision. He even managed an assists last night in their 6-1 beat; granted he was -3.

    Anyway, the guy’s making his stand and showing that he hasn’t given up and doesn’t want to be forgotten about.

    I hope’s he coming in the door anytime soon now.

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