Q School

During the Kevin Prendergast draft era (2001-07), the Edmonton Oilers spent a lot of their top picks on QMJHL players. Beginning with Ales Hemsky (13th overall, 2001) and ending with Slava Trukhno (120th overall, 2005) the Oilers drafted Jeff Deslauriers (31st overall, 2002), JF Dufort (205th overall, 2002), Marc Pouliot (22nd overall, 2003), JF Jacques (68th overall, 2003), Mathieu Roy (215th overall, 2003), Stephane Goulet (208th overall, 2004).

That’s a lot of Q picks in a short period based on the Oilers draft record historically. Even more substantial is that many of these were high picks. Between 2001 and 2005 the Oilers had a total of 6 first round picks and two of them (Hemsky, Pouliot) were first rounders. The other leagues the Oilers drafted from in the first round were SM-Liiga, WHL, OHL, OPJHL.

The kids from the Q have seen NHL success (Hemsky) and career ending injury (Dufort, concussion). Some are stuck in the AHL/NHL transporter (JDD, JDJ, MP) and one has covered the bet no matter what happens down the line (Roy).

We’re coming to a crossroads for Jacques and Pouliot. They are RFA’s this summer and the organization has other options. The Oilers can walk away from the player (ala Brad Winchester) which seems unlikely in either case, offer one or both a one-way deal or deal them for other assets.

Word today that Geoff Sanderson may draw back into the lineup and that Pouliot might be the HS. This cannot be viewed as a good sign and although he has shown some nice things in the latest callup, Pouliot would still appear to be on the outside looking in.

Jacques situation is more disconcerting. According to Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal, Jacques is in Edmonton taking treatment for a herniated disc in his back that isn’t getting better. Surgery is an option.

There is good news. Slava Trukhno has turned a corner in his first AHL season and is showing signs of being the player we hoped he would be. Quoting The Republican: “Slavy is our most improved player over the last half of the season,” Springfield coach Kelly Buchberger said. “He has played his way into being a point man on our power play. He’s a smart player, and he has worked to make himself better. He has the hunger.” Trukhno, who grew up in the Russian town of Khimik, now skates with Stephane Goulet and Liam Reddox, a converted winger who centers the line. -end quote.

That would be a helluva draft story. Pick a kid in 2001 from Pardubice, Czech Republic who played junior in the Q, draft several Quebec kids from that league who don’t deliver to one degree or another, and then top it off in 2005 with a kid born in Moscow who also plays in the Q and has an NHL career.

Well, at least we know it isn’t a language barrier.

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29 Responses to "Q School"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Good for Trukhno, interesting that they have him at centre though. IMO, his future would be on the wing.

    Maybe they are seeing what he can do in case Horcoff walks and Stoll never makes it back.

    Not sure if anyone has checked out this Oilers Nation blog that Brownlee writes for – I have a link to it on my site and Andy does as well I believe.

    Soem interesting stuff there – he talks about a talk he had with Hitchcock about Pitkanen and in one thread he says that neither MacT nor Lowe are looking to give up on Stoll anytime soon.

  2. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Reddox is centering that line, the Republican writer framed it funny.

    As for Brownlee’s blog, I didn’t know he had one but will put a link up. He’s been a quality writer for a long time.

  3. Black Dog says:

    Ahh, got it.

    Yeah, its him and a few other guys. Appears they put it together and contacted him to see if he would be a part of it. He posts pretty well daily, if not more. Its early but hoipefully he keeps it up. Its good stuff.

  4. GorillazXL says:

    Pouliot out for Sanderson?

    Christ, is it me or did Pouliot not play well in the 5-1 loss to the Avs? Hey I like Sanderson, but he hasn’t played well for us — definatly not better then Pouliot. There was alot of effort in the past 3 games in Pouliot then Sanderson has shown since November, he looked very good crashing the net looking for the loose puck. Heck there was that one backhand he made from his stomach that nearly snuck in. I can’t remember the last time Nilsson was willing to crash the net to make a play like that (not taking anything away from Nilsson’s skill).

    What pisses me off about MacT is that he plays his skilled players with such short leashes they’re doomed for failure (unless you’re Gagner or Cogliano — whom I think the worst coach in the league would do well with them and has).


  5. Lowetide says:

    gorilla: I honestly don’t think MacT is the problem. I’m a Marc Pouliot fan for crying out loud, but the guy can’t score.

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    Whether Pouliot can or can not score, how does the team exactly benefit by Sanderson playing?

    It’s simply inefficient waste of resources (games/at-bats) by giving ice time to a guy you will waive bye-bye to on July 1.

  7. Dennis says:

    PJO has the most salient point here, IMO. What’s really to be gained by giving Sanderson more starts? That’s not to say 78′s been lights out but at least there’s some chance he’ll be part of the future and I don’t think anyone can say that about Sanderson, can they?

    Speaking of framing things funny, not sure if it was Matty or Ireland, but you talk about jumbled today when they were trying to explain who might come out for Sanderson! The line I’m talking about in particular was the one that referenced 20 getting the short straw on Thurs but then skating on his usual place with Pisani and Reasoner. I’m guessing they meant he skated with them At Practice on Friday and maybe it was a muff by the editor but that was so jumbled it made my head hurt.

    Now, on to Pouliot and who’s made the grade.

    It’s not Jacques-esque but there’s something that doesn’t translate for Marc between the AHL and NHL. Hey, that’s been going on since there were minor leagues but the kid had a good start on a shitty Dogs club in ’06 and then put up 31 points in 33 games to start the ’07 season but when he comes up, he’s got a devil of a time scoring.

    Now, he has had, at least to my eye, three or four scoring chances since he’s returned but that’s not a lot and he’s buried nothing and has, what, five goals in ~65 games.

    I’m not about to paint that as anything positive.

    But, in terms of being an NHL player, Pouliot was hard to score on when he played his 40 odd games last year and he’s shown the same knack on his second go-around in ’08. In terms of who turns out and why and who covers the bet, you wonder if Oilers fans wouldn’t have more love for Pouliot if he was picked where Brodziak was.

    I honestly see them as comparable players; especially given the GA rates. That’s not a view that’s shared by a lot of other people, though.

    Anyway, back to Truk, if he keeps it going the last 15 games plus the playoffs then we’ve got someone to watch next year.

  8. Traktor says:

    When Trukhno was at the lowest of the his low early in the season it was me saying on HF that the kid would be a PPG player next season. People should know better than to write of a kid who is living on his own for the first time in his life.

    He’s going to make it in the NHL as a top 6er. The kid is a Milan Michalek clone but slower.

  9. Traktor says:

    How can anyone possibly endorse MacTavish as future manager of the team when he doesn’t even have the basic managerial knowledge that he should be playing the Pouliot’s over the Sanderson’s in a rebuilding year when the playoffs are out of the question?

    That’s just horrible asset management, no way around it.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Marc Pouliot is trying to win an NHL job and putting him in the pressbox sends a clear message to him about how well he’s playing so far. Not dressing Pouliot tonight might ignite him for next game.

  11. Traktor says:

    Dennis said: It’s not Jacques-esque but there’s something that doesn’t translate for Marc between the AHL and NHL.

    He’s going from an offensive role playing on the 1st line in the AHL to a checking role playing on the 4th line in the NHL.

    When was the last time MacTavish called up his top player in the AHL to play him in the top 6?

    It makes no sense to me to call up your top offensive player in the “A” to play him on the 4th line in a checking role in the NHL.

    If you want a grinder for the 4th call up Sestito or something.

  12. GorillazXL says:

    gorillaz: I honestly don’t think MacT is the problem. I’m a Marc Pouliot fan for crying out loud, but the guy can’t score.

    I know he hasn’t scored but for a while Brad Boyles wasn’t living up to expectation either and he’s now a 30+ scorer. Regardless of what I think is his potential, his play (of late) hasn’t warranted him to be in the press box for Sanderson — who is in the dusk of his career.

    Nice to see Truhkno starting to play well. I still remember when we drafted him I thought this was terrific, a potential 1st rounder grabbed in 4th round.


  13. Lowetide says:

    Trukhno with a goal and an assist already in the first period of tonight’s game.

    Geez Alou!

  14. Dennis says:

    Traktor: I saw something interesting on the NHL network during the all star weekend. Gary Green did this town hall sort of deal with Waddell, Babcock and Ron Wilson.

    So, it gets to be a question of how do you handle the kids when you bring them up? Wilson basically said that if they bring up a kid from the A that’s a potential scorer, they give him top six linemates and top six time because there’s no point in trying to slot him anywhere else. Now, I didn’t check the game logs of say a kid like Setoguchi, sp, to see if Wilson walks the walk but it would be easily done.

    Anyway, when Pouliot first came up last year, there wasn’t a whole lot of talent to play with and then after Smyth was dealt, there was even less to work with.

    In the here and now, you could conceivably put him with Hemsky and just keep him there and that would be a start, no?

    LT: Did Truk drop around draft day? I’ve been reading you talking about him for awhile now so someone must’ve put some buzz on him sometime.

  15. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Yeah he did drop on draft day. He was ranked much higher by pretty much every publication (ISS had him as a 3rd rd pick). He hurt his draft number with a poor performance at the WJC’s his draft year and he didn’t really represent a “typical” Oiler draft pick (wide track skater).

    speeds did a real nice item on him around draft time on his blog.

  16. PunjabiOil says:

    Your boy Trukhno is making you look good LT.

  17. speeds says:

    To quote myself, as I like to do, from my 2005 draft review:

    #120 – Slava Trukhno – I think of this player as somewhat of an oddball in Edmonton’s day. He’s pretty much the only player one might say Edmonton took after having a big slide, he’s 18 and from the CHL so his rights will only be held for 2 years, he’s Russian, I don’t think the Oilers like any of those things about him. I think they thought his skill and talent was simply too good to pass on, even though he doesn’t fit what they were trying to do.

    And from my 2006 top 11, in December:

    (2) Slava Trukhno – having read Guy’s top 20, I think the Oilers just lucked into this guy. He’s nothing like the typical Oilers pick, he screams “Sens draftee” to me. I think they still don’t know what they have in him. This is a guy that some had ranked in the late 1st/early 2nd of the 2005 draft, personally I think he had a better season last year than Cogliano and that’s why he gets the bump. On the other hand, Cogliano’s WJHC camp gets me a smidge excited, along with his recent play.Trukhno was 20th in the Q in scoring last season, 96 points in his team’s 221 goals. No one on the team who played serious minutes was really close in +/-, to Trukhno’s -1. F Danny Stewart was at -10, and the other players in the top 5 in scoring were -20 or worse. He had a torrid start to this season, and has recently slumped. Were there no slump I’d have him at #1.

  18. speeds says:

    Looking at it now, I may have overrated Trukhno at the time (but maybe not). While I had read that his skating wasn’t great, I didn’t know it was as it actually is.

    I would like to see Trukhno play more, because the few times that I have seen him play I’ve been very impressed with his read of the ice; he sees the game very well. If he improves his skating he’s a much better prospect than most think, and even without doing so it’s not unimaginable that he’s smart enough to play in the NHL.

  19. Asiaoil says:

    Can anyone tell me what could be lost by playing MAP between Hemmer and Penner for the rest of the season? Not like we would miss Stoll’s non-existent ES production, the kid line is fine, and neither Reasoner or Brodz are suited.

    Give the kid an extended shot already in the role he’s suited for – he’s probably the closest we’ve got to Horcoff style-wise (although clearly not results-wise).

    The Oilers coaches always seemed like parents that treat their kids differently – some are clearly indulged – other get the stick early and often. MAP just may be a kid that responds way better to carrots than sticks. This kid once had a reputation as a guy who wouldn’t quit if the going got tough – good thing we broke him of that habit :(

  20. choppystride says:

    A few years ago, as Pouliot was finishing his final junior year, I made a case in HF arguing how he did not seem like someone who projects to a legit top sixer (and took a bit of heat from that). With everything that has transpired since then, this looks to be the case, unfortunate as it might be.

    So with all the evidence in plain sight, I don’t understand why he’s still being seen as someone who deserves a trial on the top C spot – as if doing so would magically bring out his “inner scorer within”. It’s a similar notion – actually, a pretty popular sentiment from a while ago – to the one which suggested that he would have performed to bascially the same level as Parise had he been simply given the same role and opportunities. Both suggestions reek of unsubstantiated optimism.

    The really simple truth is that there are the Hemskys & the Gagners of the world, and then there are the Brodziaks and the Pouliots.

    Pouliot is now at the same age as when Horcoff started his NHL career, and to my eye Pouliot is not even as good as Horc was back then. And it took Horc a few more years to hone his craft in the bottom six before ascending to his current perch.

    With RFA pending, IMO the most urgent matter right now is to evaluate his ability to contribute as a reliable bottom sixer on this team, as Horc was back then.

  21. Lowetide says:

    choppystride: I really felt he was going to be a player. Injuries were a factor, but he hasn’t delivered. The current audition imo is like an 11th hour call to the governer but we’ll see.

    I’d bet more money on the Oilers signing Reasoner than bringing Pouliot back.

  22. Dennis says:

    LT: Sadly, I agree with you. Though I don’t know where to hell you play 19 if you bring back Stoll because Jarret should be your checking centre and even with me rooting for Pouliot, it’s hard to break up 20-51-46.

    I see some neat little things from Pouliot but the offense clearly isn’t there to challenge say a 12 — it’s like night and day comparing those two with the puck — and on the other side of things you have 51 able to mesh with 20-46.

    As I’ve said, I still like Pouliot defensively and how he keeps the GA down but the guy has to score sooner or later in order to gain any footing. He’s had some chances in three of the five games he’s played but he still hasn’t turned on the lamp as of yet.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, the problem Pouliot has now is that even next season this will be a young team up front. A young player will have to earn his chance and you could easily see them bringing back Reasoner.

    The number of players who have passed Pouliot on the depth chart since that penalty shot in Toronto is devastating to his Oiler career.


  24. Traktor says:

    Dennis: The Sharks are arguably one of the top teams in the NHL when it comes to developing young players so it’s clear Wilson is doing something right.

  25. Dennis says:

    If I were running the show, I’d go 27-10-83, 12-12-89 and then have a shutdown line of 14-16-34. I’d get rid of Moreau and I’d have 20-51-46 with Pouliot as the 13th forward and maybe he could eventually bring more than either of the three guys on the 4th line.

    I’m not sure how Lowe’s gonna swing this — and there are questions to solve like how much and how long, if at all, for guys like 25 and 77, and I don’t even know if we’ll have enough money for everyone.

    I think Lowe breaks up 14 and 16 and the former’s out the door for a pick on draft day.

    But even with that happening and Reasoner not brought back, there’s still not enough room for Pouliot on the top 12.

  26. Asiaoil says:

    Wow tough crowd for MAP – guess you are supposed to show up from the AHL and in 5 games of bottom 6 time have 5 goals and 10 points. Seriously guys – get your expectations in line. Every young guy who is doing well this season has looked like crap for a period of time before settling into a role – all of them. They all got time to settle down and get into a groove – what’s the problem doing that with MAP?

    As far as him not deserving time with Hemsky and Penner – I defy anyone to tell me how Stoll with his pathetic ES numbers deserves 0.01 of what he’s been given this season in terms of chances. Giving MAP 5 or 6 games of prime time is nothing compared to the massive pump Stoll has gotten all season.

    As far as next year – it’s another development year and I’d deal Stoll in the summer. The guy will likely never again out-perform his contract (did he ever do that?) and we don’t need another bottom 6 guy making more than $2 million – especially one like Stoll who is not very good in that role (and never has been). He lives on his PP time and soft ES match-ups for points which makes him very poor value going forward.

    Like I said – next year is still development time and I’d run with Horcoff, Cogs, MAP, Brodz and bring Reasoner back for insurance. That’s cap friendly and putting MAP between Moreau and Pisani gives those two guys a bigger pivot who can pass – should be OK.

    But bottom line – get the expectation in line with MAP – 3 points and +2 in 5 games is fine for a kid who is scared shitless to make a mistake and get sent back down. Either we develop these kids or you trade them – and to do that you have to give them ice and live with it. For my money there are plenty of guys who can replace Stoll PP points and any 4th line center in the NHL could replace his ES points.

  27. PunjabiOil says:

    As far as next year – it’s another development year and I’d deal Stoll in the summer. The guy will likely never again out-perform his contract (did he ever do that?) and we don’t need another bottom 6 guy making more than $2 million – especially one like Stoll who is not very good in that role (and never has been)

    Stoll made close to league minimum and put up 68 points in 2005-2006. I’d think that was out-perform his contract.

    I’d probably be in favour of signing Stoll long term to something in the 2.5-2.7M range (say 4 years). At least then his contract is tradable in the event the Oilers need to trade him. And let’s be fair – he’s doing nothing on EV this year – but he was never as bad of a hockey player in his career as this season. Perhaps it’s the concussion symptoms and timing is off – but no reason to trade him for 30 cents on the dollar. His shooting percentage this year is also a career low – want to bet that he won’t duplicate it next year?

    Dumping him when his trade value is the lowest is bad asset management.

  28. Sean says:

    I agree with PunjabiOil on the asset management thing. Trading Stoll now would likely be poor return. Although I cringe at having our worst +/- centre playing hard minutes. I wonder if we could ever convince Peca to come back. 14-37-34 was a beaut and 37/34 are playoff gamers.

    If we keep Stoll, could we do this?


    Extras: 20 and 27 (Big G)

    Let 88 and 16 fight for the #2 spot.

    Having 14-13-34 wouldn’t exactly be a boost to 13′s offensive numbers but playing with 14/34 isn’t pigeon holing 13 to a defensive role. You could potentially have 60+ goals from that line. My biggest concern is that 16 doesn’t recover for next year and drags down 12 and 89. Or is that even possible?

  29. Bruce says:


    No! No!! A hundred times NO!!!

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