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.