Oilers Cast Lines in Familiar Waters

Since 2001, the Edmonton Oilers have called 71 names at the annual Entry drafts. Of those 71 players, 30 of them (or 42%) have come from the CHL ranks. Although there have been changes in the scouting staff over the last several years, chances are the CHL (represented in photo by Jeff Deslauriers) will have more representation than other leagues like the NCAA (represented by Cody Wild in photo, #45 fishing for the puck).

Here’s a list of players drafted by league since 2001:

  1. WHL-13 (last players drafted Eberle and Bendfeld ’08)
  2. Sweden-11 (last player drafted Motin ’08)
  3. QMJHL-9 (last player drafted Cornet ’08)
  4. OHL-8 (last player drafted Gagner ’07)
  5. USHS-5 (last player drafted VandeVelde ’05)
  6. Finland-5 (last player drafted Hartikainen ’08)
  7. US College-4 (last played drafted Wild ’06)
  8. Czech-3 (last player drafted Hrabel ’03)
  9. USHL-2 (last player drafted Petry ’06)
  10. AJHL-2 (last player drafted Glasser ’05)
  11. Russia-2 (last player drafted Bumagin ’06)
  12. OPJHL-2 (last player drafted Cogliano ’05)
  13. EJHL-1 (last player drafted McDonald ’03)
  14. NAHL-1 (last player drafted Rohlfs ’03)
  15. US U-18-1 (last player drafted Paukovich ’04)
  16. BCJHL-1 (last player drafted Nash ’07)
  17. Slovakia-1 (last player drafted Kytnar ’07)

Since Stu MacGregor (that magnificent bastard) took over before the 2008 Entry draft, we might want to pay closer attention to Sweden (1) and Finland (1) along with the CHL (3 picks, 2 from the dub) as we discuss the 2009 entry draft. If we narrow the view to only the top 50 picks from each season, the WHL is dominant:

  1. WHL-6
  2. QMJHL-3
  3. USHL-2
  4. OHL-2
  5. Finland-1
  6. USHS-1
  7. OPJHL-1
  8. BCJHL-1

A couple of points to make about this item: of the 17 picks listed here, 11 (or 64.5%) are from the CHL, and none from Sweden. A quick glance at the first ranking tells us that all 11 Swedish picks came from outside the top 50. Those who believe Edmonton might look to Sweden for their first round pick should be comfortable in the knowledge that if the Oilers do call a Swedish name at #10 he’ll have to buck a long established trend. Here are the GP totals by league:

  1. QMJHL (662)
  2. WHL (541)
  3. OHL (417)
  4. USHL (233)
  5. OPJHL (164)
  6. Finland (144)
  7. Czech (53)
  8. NCAA (23)
  9. US High School (2)

72.3% of the total games played by Oiler picks 01-08 have come from the CHL. And finally, the top 10 in terms of GP:

  1. Hemsky 421
  2. Stoll 360
  3. Greene 233
  4. Brodziak 175
  5. Cogliano 164
  6. Gagner 155
  7. Stortini 147
  8. Pouliot 141
  9. Markkanen 128
  10. Jacques 60

4 of the 10 players on the list (Brodziak, Stortini, Pouliot and Jacques) come from the maligned 2003 entry draft.

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19 Responses to "Oilers Cast Lines in Familiar Waters"

  1. Jonathan Willis says:

    Fun comparison – here’s how the Carolina Hurricanes have drafted over the past two drafts:

    CHL: 9 players.
    BCHL: 1 player.
    Other Leagues: 0 players.

    They haven’t drafted a European since 2005, and they haven’t drafted a European in the first three rounds since 2001.

  2. speeds says:

    As many guys as EDM has drafted out of SWE, I’m not sure it’s anything but chance that hasn’t seen them draft a Swede in the top 50.

    2008 – there were pre-draft rumors that they were interested in Anton Gustafsson, and he was picked 1 spot before Eberle so I guess it’s hard to know if they’d have taken him there or not. They could have taken Tedenby, who went two picks later, but went with Eberle again. No other top 50 pick

    2007 – The only Swede anywhere near where they were picking was CGY’s Backlund, who I thought they were going to take when they traded up. I think if you were going to build some case for anti-SWE bias early in the draft, that would be your best bet. But Backlund was also coming off an injury, so it’s tough to say if that’s why they passed on him, simply liked Nash more, etc.

    2006 – Only SWE in range near EDM’s only top 50 pick 45 (used on Petry) was Enroth, and they probably simply weren’t looking to pick a goalie at that point.

    2005 – Only 1 Swede picked in the first 79, and that was Bergfors before EDM made their 1st pick (Cogliano).

    2004 – Edm drafts for need at 14 (Dubnyk), took a flyer on Schremp at 25. No Swedes go until 31. Oilers take Tesliuk at 44, could have reasonably take Grossman or Soderberg there.

    2003 – There have been some reports that they would have drafted Swede Nilsson were he still available at 17, but he was picked at 15 by NYI. Maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t, who knows. Only other Swede taken in the top 100 was Loui Eriksson at 33, who has turned out better than Pouliot but I’m not sure he was a better bet at the time.

    2002 – took a Finn (Niinimaki) at 15, not a Swede. Of the three Swede’s in the top 100, 2 went between the Niinimaki pick and EDM’s next pick. Had 2 early 2nds, one of which was Lowe’s get me a goalie pick of Deslauriers at 31, the other Stoll at 36. Lindstrom, the 3rd Swede in the top 100, goes before EDM’s next pick, Matt Greene at 44.

    2001 – Hemsky at 13, no complaints. Their other top 50 pick, Doug Lynch at 43, was a good one hammered by injuries. After 43, no Swede was selected until 61.

  3. knighttown says:

    Re Gustafsson:

    i think this is one of those things that slipped through the Conspiracy Theorist’s cracks. I’m certain the Washington Capitals THOUGHT the Oilers were taking Gustafsson. When you trade a pick to jump over 1 team (not two or three) that means you are pretty confident the guy you want is going to the team you’re jumping over.

    Now whether that was bad info or misdirection, or in fact, um, fact that led them to think that is unclear but there can be no doubt the Caps smelled something.

    Certainly not in the Doan/Kelly range but the popular pick was Eberle and I think the Oilers had him as their Plan B.

  4. B.C.B. says:

    How does fishing in Familier Waters relate to Best Player Available?
    I just think that the Oilers have not been in a position where the best player available was a Swede, or they have been drafting for position (Plante, DD . . .)

  5. Lowetide says:

    BCB: I’m not suggesting there’s an anti-Swede conspiracy (and as speeds pointed out there weren’t that many Swedes passed over in the top 50). I thought it was an interesting item over the decade though (11 picks and none inside the top 50).

    I’m all for BPA, but we should discuss what the Oilers would use to define it.

  6. Schitzo says:

    I’m all for BPA, but we should discuss what the Oilers would use to define it.I would have to think that “how sure are you” is a big factor, and that means that you’ll naturally favour the player that 5 scouts and the GM have seen, instead of the one Musil saw.

    And honestly, that’s fine with me.

  7. YKOil says:

    From my 2007 Oilers draft review (remember though – old data):

    It is interesting that the Oilers haven’t touched Finland since the Niinimaki blow out and in, what appears to be, a COMPLETE reversal of policy the team has drafted 8 Swedes in the last 7 years. In all of the 22 years prior… 3. Wow. It’s like magic.and

    Question: How about Sweden then? Answer: Don’t know anymore.

    I used to think that the Oilers, as an organization, just HATED Sweden. You would have thought the scout in Finland never crossed the border as they, obviously, never saw guys like Alfredsson play the game. This is shameful. Or was anyways. As noted, activity in Sweden has picked up considerably. Funny thing though… highest ever pick used on a Swedish player is… in 1987, in the 4th round, #64, Peter Eriksson. 1987. Wow. No Swede has EVER been picked before the 4th round by the Oilers.

    I have to think that a LOT of good players have been missed because the Oilers lack/lacked a decent scouting organization in Sweden. That kind of a record is beyond bad. It is pitiable.and, as LT referenced the College-happy drafting of the Oilers:

    Question: Why the infatuation with U.S. Highschools? Answer: Good question.

    To be honest some of those highschools/prepschools could possibly be reclassified as colleges or universities so my numbers may be off, however, I find it amazing that this organization thought there was, on a regular basis, better potential in U.S. highschools than in the QMJHL (for instance).

    It would be understandable if the team was taking a flyer every now and then but the number of players, and subsequent busts, drafted out of the US highschool systems is too large to consider anything but systematic.Please note – in the above, highschool is interchangable with college or university.

    The Barry Fraser effect cannot be understated.

  8. B.C.B. says:

    Schizo: I am sure the Nilsson lives in Sweden, too: the father-scout, not the son-player. So there must be a good set of eyes on the Nordic kids . . . Also, I can remember reading somewhere that a lot of the Oilers NA scouts (and TSN always claims that there are 10-20 GM at the World Juniors, on their broadcasts) go to the big European Tournments to help out Musil/Nilsson. This leads me to think That European also get a good look, but just maybe not as many looks as the junior Canadians.

    What does BPA mean?

    I would think it is a combination of skill and consistency. This would lead me to think that NA kids have a slight advantage, because they have more eyes on them. Size, toughness, and athleticism would be tipping points rather then determining conditions.

  9. DBO says:

    not to hijack the thread, but looks like Jay McClement from St. louis signed a 3 year deal for just less then $1.5 mill per year. he was an RFA, who is a very good 3rd line center. I hope this sets the bar for 3rd liners, and it allows us to pick up a quality 3rd line center for around that money.

  10. Traktor says:

    What’s the site that tells me how many defensive and offensive draws a player takes?

  11. Master Lok says:

    I’m fine with the no Swedes drafted in the top 50, I read an article a while ago that the Swedish prospects were getting worse than the previous generation (Sedin, Sundin etc.)

    I would rather the Oilers stick with their strong tradition of Finns (Matti Hagman, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Jussi Markannen, Reijo Ruotsalainen, Raimo Summanen, and now Hartakainen)…

  12. Traktor says:

    R O:

    That link doesn’t allow me to enter a player to find his stats.

    I tried downloading “Greasemonkey” and still nothing…

  13. doritogrande says:

    I’m fine with the no Swedes drafted in the top 50, I read an article a while ago that the Swedish prospects were getting worse than the previous generation (Sedin, Sundin etc.)You happen to have that article handy? Because I think that I, along with Nik Backstrom (4th WAS), both Backlunds (24th CGY and 25t St. Lou), Jakob Markstrom (31st FLA) Oscar Moller (LA), Erik Karlson (15th OTT) and 09-elligible Viktor Hedman and Magnus Paajarvi would flatly disagree with such a statement.

    If anything, the prospect pipeline coming from Sweden is stronger than ever. And I’m including the days when Forsberg and Naslund were teaming up in the U-20 tounrnament. More swedes are forcing teams to notice them than ever before and teams willing to listen to their Scandinavian scouts are reaping the rewards. I’d even go as far as to say that Sweden has the stronger talent pool to draw on than the Russians at this point, and we could be looking at a shift in the International power balance in the coming years.

    It appears that Sweden is producing more and better talent than the Russians post-lockout. Including the ’05 draft the first two rounds have yielded, to my eyes, only one prospect that could be considered an “impact” talent from Russia and that’s Nikita Filatov (Note: Cherpanov also would have been considered, RIP). Other notable names that could become impact players include Slava Voinov and Simeon Varlamov, but that’s under the discretion of the individual observer. It’s also important to note the Q League-trained Kulikov could also enter into the equation this year.

    Now, in that same time span we have St. Louis’ Backlund, WAS’ Backstrom and LA’s Moller all having played games in the NHL with CAL’s Backlund a strong option for next year’s roster and Hedman being able to immediately step onto an NHL roster and you begin to see why I consider Sweden’s pool to be stronger than Russia’s.

    The years that flattered the Russians appear to be a thing of the past. Maybe it’s due to the transfer agreement, maybe the Swedes are coming on strong. I know where I’d be deploying my overseas scouts these days.

    And, to make a longwinded entry even longer, where the hell have the Finns gone? We’ve seen a sharper decline in their development than even the Russians. Going from 5 drafted first rounders in 02 (Lethonen, Pitkanen, Niinamaki, Bergenheim, Toivonen) to just two (both goalies) total in the last four drafts. Doesn’t seem like a cost-effective strategy to deploy your scouting team in Finland these days.

  14. Bruce says:

    DG: Agree with your point, but St. Louis’ Backlund is actually a Berglund.

  15. doritogrande says:


    Dammit. Too many Backstroms, Berglunds, Backlunds and Bergfors for me to keep track of. Apparently B-last names are Sweden’s answer to America’s “Smith”. Thanks.

  16. R O says:


    Just enter the player’s team and it will show individual player faceoff breakdowns by jersey number.

    Unless I am completely misunderstanding what you are looking for?

  17. knighttown says:

    You are of course correct DG, and 2009 might be the best Swedish draft of them all. It is very possible that 3 Swedes could go Top 10 (Hedman, Paajarvi-Svensson, Ekman-Larsson) and 4 more could go in the first round (Jacob Josefson, David Rundblad, Tim Erixon, Marcus Johansson). Of course, they all won’t but any could.

    Also, have a look at the Central Scouting Top 10 European skaters. Top 8 are Swedes and the first Finn is Rajala at 11.

  18. Bruce says:

    Btw, is a Bergfors the opposite of a Forsberg?

    Compelling evidence suggests “yes”.

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