Draft Week Post #3: Minutiae

Since 2000, the Edmonton Oilers have invested a tremendous number of picks in forwards with size. “Coke Machines.”

Since 2004, they’ve stepped to the podium in the first round to announce the name of a skill center under 6 feet three times (Schremp, Cogliano, Gagner).

Anything else? Here’s a list of things the Edmonton Oilers have done on draft day:

  • When they selected Alex Plante in the first round last season, it marked the first time a defenseman had been drafted by the Oilers in that round since Mathieu Descoteaux in 1996. Like 2007, the Oilers had the 6th overall pick in front of the selection.
  • The most popular position in the first round is center, with Jesse Niinimaki, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner and Riley Nash all being selected since 2002. In the same span, they’ve chosen one goalie (Dubnyk) and one defenseman (Plante).
  • During the “Coke Machine” era, the Oilers would routinely draft kids 40+ slots before one might have expected them to go. Geoff Paukovich was NA#80 (which would put him well into the 100s overall) in 2004 and they picked him 57th overall, dealing NHLer Jason Chimera for the right to do it. JF Jacques was ranked #88NA in 2003 and they picked him 68th overall.
  • Despite going 248th overall in 2003, Josef Hrabel was ranked #30 Euro by Central Scouting. His ridiculous hgt/wgt ratio (6-1, 176) probably helped the slide.
  • Rob Schremp fell big time. ISS had him top 5 and CSB had him #10NA but he fell all the way to #25. Mike Green went to Washington 4 picks later and he was ranked #9NA.
  • Every year the Oilers say they tried to trade up. They’ve been after Pitkanen, Coburn, Barker, Alzner, usually defensemen but it never works out.
  • The Oilers DO trade a lot on draft day but it’s usually down. The infamous Parise-Pouliot deal, the Niinimaki-Higgins trade are just two, although they did trade up for Riley Nash.
  • The 2002 trade that saw them send Jochen Hecht to Buffalo for 2 second-rounders featured Darcy Regier looking like he was about to pass out with glee on the draft floor. Seriously.
  • Lowe on the draft floor looks like a befuddled high school Math teacher looking for his shoes. Kevin Prendergast resembles a man about to receive the “Tobacco Rep of the Year” award and Craig MacTavish looks like the coolest grey hair on the freaking planet. He is definitely the Jesus of Cool.
  • Many think Barry Fraser arrived in time for the 1979 draft, but in fact Fraser’s first Oilers draft was the 1978 WHA amateur draft.
  • Garnet Bailey was a scout after spending a little time coaching once his playing career ended.
  • When they drafted Messier, several references in newspapers mentioned he was “raw-boned.” That phrase is seldom used these days.
  • Jari Kurri lasted until the 69th pick in 1980 because NHL teams were convinced he would remain in Finland for military duties.
  • Scott Metcalfe was compared to two-way LW Dave Hunter the day he was drafted.
  • We’ve talked about him a lot on this blog, but Tony Hand is the most interesting human interest story Edmonton drafted.
  • Through about 1983, the Oilers basically buggered the other NHL teams senseless at the draft table. They were that good.

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21 Responses to "Draft Week Post #3: Minutiae"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Please let this be the year that we draft an impact natural winger. Nilsson is a start, but if the best wing prospect we have is JFJ… fuck it, draft for need.

    For what it’s worth, hockeysfuture’s mockdraft is up, and we take Tyler Cuma. I’d still like a winger, and I’d be willing to trade down to get an additional pick if there are none left on the board that are of the immediate impact variety.

  2. Oilman says:

    Anton Gustafson seems like a surefire Oiler pick if he’s available – son of an ex-NHLer, big, two-way player, with a history of injuries.

  3. Oilman says:

    BTW – looks like Wheeler signed in Boston

  4. David says:

    I was listening to XM this weekend, and there was a 30-minute interview with one of the assistant GMs for the Wings. The line of questioning was “how do you do it” in all areas of running a franchise.

    There were all sorts if interesting comments (I hope like hell Kevin Lowe was listening, because he has a lot more to learn). With regard to drafting, the assistant GM said that they believe they have to get 2 NHL-calibre players every single draft, because they can’t afford a single year where you have a “gap” in development of young players – it is that important to have a steady pipeline with new players ready every year. Accordingly, they treat draft picks very carefully, and they do everything they can to have a full complement of draft picks available at each draft.

    Compare, if you will, that to the Oilers’ situation the last few years, where we have had either a dearth or a bonanza.

  5. Lowetide says:

    David: I’ve always said that the Oilers woes in the 1990s didn’t come from lack of dollars as much as awful drafting.

    It isn’t just drafting either. Signing college (and junior) free agents, finding bargains from the failure tree (Dan Cleary) and placing them in a role where they can succeed–there’s a lot right about Detroit aside from their draft record.

    Edmonton’s draft record under Lowe is quite good btw.

  6. Pat H says:

    I was listening to XM this weekend, and there was a 30-minute interview with one of the assistant GMs for the Wings. The line of questioning was “how do you do it” in all areas of running a franchise.

    There were all sorts if interesting comments (I hope like hell Kevin Lowe was listening, because he has a lot more to learn)

    Problem 1. We don’t have an assistant GM.

  7. David says:

    Problem 1. We don’t have an assistant GM.

    Other interesting points made in the interview that I remember:
    - 2 NHL-level players a year from the draft
    - continuity in the scouting department. He said that their scouting organization had been intact for over a decade, which meant that everybody had the same philosopy, scouting notes from 15- and 16-year-olds were useful 3 years later for scouting 18-year-olds, etc.
    - not placing too much weight on any single characteristic when evaluating players. He had lots of good examples of this one – like the fact Datsyuk would have performed terribly at the draft combines.
    - continuity in the team (there was a definite pattern w/continuity). He talked about how you needed most of the team to return from year to year to really build the kind of relentless execution the Wings are famous for. He also talked about minor tweaks at the trade deadline – they might try and make a minor adjustment with one new face, but not more than that.

    Unfortunately, at that point I had to turn the radio off …

  8. PDO says:

    Think the Oilers would move up for Beach if he starts to slide?

    The Oilers clearly don’t mind kids with injury history (Plante, Pouliot both missed time BEFORE we picked them, did they not?), and they also don’t mind kids with supposed attitude problems (Schremp), and we know damn well they’ve been looking for anyone similar to Messier since they dealt him.

    Beach has talent, an ego and he’s crazy… so he at least has the tools.

  9. Islandlife says:

    David: There is a reluctance to learn from success (i.e. the Wings) that is almost baffling at times.

    Given the vicissitudes of the NHL over the past decade, their record is better than outstanding and their executive’s willingness to share their recipe is unprecedented.

    Makes one want to hire an Assistant GM.

  10. namflashback says:

    path, david, islandlife,

    What is Detroit’s roles and responsibilities for Assistant GM? How does this compare to what other teams have? Yzerman is a VP Hockey Ops — what does he do that Jim Nill doesn’t.

    Job title is one thing, how the work is distributed and who learns from whom is the more critical element I think.

  11. David says:

    What is Detroit’s roles and responsibilities for Assistant GM?

    I have no idea – what I know is what I heard, and my earlier comment is a very limited summary of the 20 minutes of interview I heard.

  12. doritogrande says:

    pdo: Doesn’t look like Plante missed any significant time to injuries before being drafted. I think this year was a one-off in that regard.

  13. Baroque says:

    I believe that Jim Nill is primarily in charge of the draft – although he could be a GM for a lot of other teams, he’s an assistant with Detroit. Mike Illitch has told him (and Yzerman, too) that they will be paid GM money, but if someone comes looking for them for a GM position, the other team will be told no, so don’t sign a contrct unless you want to stay.

    BTW, here’s an article the Detroit Free Press did on Hakan Andersson, who is in charge of European scouting for Detroit. If you’ve already seen it, I’m sorry to be repetitive.

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080609/SPORTS05/806090354/1053/rss17

  14. Big T says:

    Just read a little draft preview on the Oilers website. At the end it talks about drafting Gagner and how up until the last day or two they actually had Voracek ahead of Gagner.

    Just thought it was an interesting tidbit since many around here – myself included – were slightly disappointed they didn’t take the Czech player.

    T

  15. Dennis says:

    I don’t it’s a surprise that the Oilers were interested in Voracek; he eventually wound up in CBJ on Howson’s dime and we can assume Scott had some input on which way the Oilers draft winds were blowing before he got the promotion to the big chair in Coloumbus.

    Speaking of that, has anyone seen the news the BJ”s are close to pulling a Holmgren for Malone’s rights and offering him a contract ~5 mill a season?

    Seems like Howson’s learned from the best when it comes to UFA moves:D

  16. Knamely Lacked says:

    Yeah I noticed that too Dennis.

    Funny thing being Lowe, according to Matheson—whatever that’s worth anymore— was interested in Malone as well.

    He scooped Lowe again but this time I don’t think it will be nearly the value move the last time he did it.

    Hejda…Shhh

  17. Oilman says:

    Funny, Tyler over at MC79 had a post about how signing Malone to that kind of money would be all wrong

  18. pboy says:

    Andy’s going to be inducted in the HHOF. Well deserved honor for a great Oiler.

  19. ClaytonMagnet says:

    The simple way for the Oilers’ management to improve the quality of their draft selections is simple – have Stan Weir accompany them to the draft. All other teams will instinctively ask Mr. Weir who they should pick, and he could have them pick bums, leaving all the good players for the Oilers. Simple.

  20. jon k says:

    The problem I see is that though the Oilers have an organizational paucity of quality wingers, there’s really only two wingers projected to go in the first with any certainty (Boedker, Filatov). Both will be long gone by 10th overall even.

    Combined with an abundance of centres in the organization currently, and I’m led to believe that the Oilers will be drafting a defencemen at 22 overall, since there will still be a significant number of Dmen with attributes they like (see Cuma, Tyler) still available there.

  21. choppystride says:

    Somewhere in the first 2 rounds (perhaps via a trade), I hope we’ll take a shot at Tyler Ennis. Skill/finesse-wise, he’s right up there with Gagner, except Ennis is a better skater by several notches. Not only fast, but also extremely agile & shifty (READ: hard to hit).

    There’s an article on NHL.com that says his dad is apparently 6 ft 190 lbs. Now, if he can just experience a bit of the Jason Chimera-like magical post-draft growth spurt, we may be looking at a home run. Even if he can just bulk up a bit, he can be a very good player. I would love to see Lowe place a bet on this little guy.

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