Draft and Follow

This is Travis Toomey. He plays for the Saskatoon Blades, he’s a 1990. 6-4, 189 and he shoots right. Passed through the NHL draft this weekend.

Have you ever heard the phrase “draft and follow?” I think the Oilers should consider a draft and follow on players like Toomey. Without getting to far into the idea, draft and follow players are eligible for the draft (Central Scouting #129NA) but would otherwise pass through and will be eligible next season.

The Oilers draft players all the time who have slipped through the previous season. Guys like Mathieu Roy, Kyle Brodziak, Danny Syvret and yesterday Jordan Bendfeld. Edmonton has been able to get a lot of quality out of that area of the draft.

So, why would they wait the season and risk a spike in value? If Kyle Brodziak was on the Oiler radar a year before he was drafted (and he was) then draft the guy. Right? And you’re taking a kid who has just completed his 17-year old season over a just-turned-20 prospect who you can sign for just dollars after the draft.

They may never make the NHL, but Toomey is far more likely to improve in the next 12 months than someone like Bendfeld. Toomey is probably not the best example but he’s the one I picked. A quick trip around the Al Gore tells us a few things about him:

  • 72gp, 12-12-24 with the Blades in 07-08.
  • 20gp, 9-7-16 in the final 6 weeks of the season.
  • Good size, skating an issue.
  • Tough, he had 5 fights and 99pims this year.
  • His nickname is “Tooms.” Hockey needs more imagination.
  • A scouting report from something called hockeyfights.com: Travis is a big kid with a good frame. Although his skating certainly needs some work, Toomey has also shown willingness to get his nose dirty and drop the gloves if necessary. He could very well be a late bloomer. I’d expect him to be selected in the fifth or sixth round.
  • His favorite NHL team is the Edmonton Oilers.

Look I’m no scout and these are just numbers. However, the kid is a 1990 and a year from now it’s a decent bet he’ll make Central Scouting’s list and be on the radar screen. I do not mean to be disrespectful to Jordan Bendfeld in any way, but Toomey was a better choice yesterday.

Draft and Follow. It’s the better plan.

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16 Responses to "Draft and Follow"

  1. godot10 says:

    You will get into “50 contract” hell in a few years if one signs free agent junior players to contracts.

    Plus, there is little incentive for the player to sign.

  2. Lowetide says:

    You don’t need the player to sign because he’s a 1990. The Oilers drafted Bendfeld yesterday and one assumes he’ll be an immediate “50 contract” guy.

    Draft and Follow means all these picks are 18 year olds so would be 2 years away (2 years you can follow).

  3. Ribs says:

    Seems pretty risky going your way, LT. You could more easily end up with “nobodies” than “maybes” without seeing them play another year.

  4. Lowetide says:

    ribs: I don’t think it’s such a risk, ribs. Plus of course the payoff is you get an actual player. The 20-year old kid has to sign with someone and the Oilers have a job for him in pro. If he signed with PHX the Oilers would have to find another from the UFA tree.

    Meanwhile, they have two seasons to watch this guy develop.

  5. doritogrande says:

    This is why we have an AHL farm team. This is a situation where the Falcons can sign him (I’m using Bendfeld) to an AHL/ECHL deal whereby at the end, if he pans out, we can sign him to a two-way NHL/AHL deal.

    It’s how the Manitoba Moose have found Alex Burrows and Rick Rypien. It just makes more sense.

  6. Ducey says:

    I think your idea has merit LT but in hockey, almost everyone drafted out of the first round is a “draft and follow”. In baseball, you have 1 year to sign your picks and if you draft a highschooler and he shows up for college in September, he is gone. So you have June – August to make a decision.

    Junior college guys are the “draft and follows” and really all you are getting is a year to make a decision.

    In hockey, you get 4 years for a college guy to watch them. 2 or 3 years for the rest. Right?

    Grabbing a guy who is not much now but might be in a year is really not that different than drafting a guy with a few warts and just seeing if he develops is it?

    I think in round 7 you just pick the guy you think is undervalued -for whatever reason.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Ducey: Yeah, it isn’t an exact match for the baseball rule (but I love the phrase). :-)

    I have tried to skirt the issue here but the specific point I’m trying to make is that Bedenfeld should have been drafted AFTER every kid who has just completed his 17-year old season that ANY team scout felt had a chance to be someone.

  8. transplantedjetfan says:

    Tough to criticize a 7th round pick. Just think of it as trading the yotes a 7th for an enforcer for the farm. There was a need there and the brass thought this was the best way to address it. They seem to feel this guy is more capable than the Flynn UFA types who were given a shot at the role last year.

  9. Ducey says:

    Found this at HF posted in April:

    “Jordan Bendfeld, D – Medicine Hat Tigers
    Drafted 2006, 5th round, 152nd overall

    Donning the captain’s “C,” Jordan Bendfeld lived up to expectations in Medicine Hat. A formidable defenseman with a sizable presence on the blueline, Bendfeld was also the Tigers main source of muscle this season. He finished the regular season with 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists) in 72 games.

    Bendfeld’s consistent effort helped the team all year as they earned a playoff berth. However, Kootenay ran the Tigers out of the playoffs in the first round.

    The Coyotes also declined to sign Bendfeld this year, which makes him a free agent. He also has one more season of eligibility in the WHL as an overager.”

    So I guess the Oil may not have to sign him right away after all. If they do sign him right away, you have to wonder why they drafted him rather than signing him as a FA. The only advantage is they have exclusive negotiating rights for a year I guess.

  10. jon k says:

    Does Central Scouting list overagers in their draft list?

  11. Lowetide says:

    I think they still do. Brodziak was 19 when drafted and he was #114NA that season.

    They don’t list draft re-entries like Bedenfeld though.

  12. rickibear says:

    //If they do sign him right away, you have to wonder why they drafted him rather than signing him as a FA.//

    Ducey: Its in one of the oilers draft video’s. They said they tried to get his rights from Phoenix but ran in to high demands.

    They choose to draft him rather than risk competing against the other 29 teams for his signature.

    They also said “we have a real good book on him, Bob Green coached him in Medicine Hat.”

  13. Jonathan says:

    This is why we have an AHL farm team. This is a situation where the Falcons can sign him (I’m using Bendfeld) to an AHL/ECHL deal whereby at the end, if he pans out, we can sign him to a two-way NHL/AHL deal.

    Similar to what has been done with Garret Hunt and Les Reaney- its a good strategy.

  14. Stuart van says:

    I totally disagree with you Lowetide. There are so many kids out there with signs of promise at 18. Why not wait until they are 19 or 20, and draft only the proven ones on the cheap as overagers? If you look at the draft steals over the years, most of the time they have been overagers picked up in the late rounds. Kyle Brodziak doesn’t qualify as a steal yet, but he certainly is a successful example of a late round overager panning out.

    Long(99), Azevedo (153), and DiBenedetto (175) all lasted until later in the draft, despite leading the WHL and OHL in scoring.

    I’d take them over Cornet anyday.

  15. doritogrande says:

    Think I should pass this on here, as noted in the comments section at oilersnation.com. Take it for what it’s worth…

    Gator Says:
    June 23rd, 2008 at 3:33 pm
    What I find intriguing is that during the summer Bendfeld is playing in the Edmonton Metro Ball Hockey League. But here’s the kicker, he’s playing in the lowest division against men who have little or no hockey experience.

    In a recreational league where no hitting is permitted, and most of the guys are out to have fun, Benfeld rips it up fighting players while slashing and roughing his way to glory. What a champ. Is this really the type of player the Oilers want in the lineup?



  16. Doogie says:

    Looks like he and his brother Jared are a tag-team of destruction. And that’s fine in the AHL or ECHL, but in ball hockey? Shit, I lose patience with some of the douchebags in the University of Calgary rec league, never mind those sorts.

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