Love those Vikings!

The Edmonton Oilers love those Swedes and increasingly are spending their valuable draft picks on Finnish kids too. For the second season in a row Edmonton invested a pick in a player from Finland, and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson from Sweden represents the highest ever selection by the Oilers for a European player.

The staple centers are still the CHL and American locations and the Russian kids are a distant bell. But Sweden and Finland are not only hotbeds for the Oilers, the selection of MPS signals a willingness to (for the first time) use the very important top picks on European kids. Here’s the rundown since 2001, which signals the post-Barry Fraser era:

  1. WHL-14 (latest Cameron Abney ’09)
  2. Sweden-13 (latest MPS and Lander ’09)
  3. QMJHL-10 (latest Olivier Roy ’09)
  4. OHL-8 (latest Sam Gagner ’07)
  5. USHS-6 (latest Troy Hesketh ’09)
  6. Finland-6 (latest Toni Rajala ’09)
  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. BCJHL-2 (latest Kyle Bigos ’09)
  14. EJHL-1 (last player drafted McDonald ’03)
  15. NAHL-1 (last player drafted Rohlfs ’03)
  16. US U-18-1 (last player drafted Paukovich ’04)
  17. Slovakia-1 (last player drafted Kytnar ’07)

Leagues and countries that saw no selections this season are in italics, basically half come from either the CHL or other Canadian junior leagues and 19% come from America. Sweden is next with close to 17%, Finland about 8% and the Russians, Slovaks and Czechs who the Oilers select at this point are playing junior hockey in Canada.

The big news comes from what we’ll end up calling the Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor era, which began in 2008. In the 2 drafts with Stu, Sweden and Finland are more important:

  1. Sweden-3
  2. WHL-3
  3. Finland-2
  4. QMJHL-2
  5. USHS-1
  6. BCJHL-1

So we’re going to have to pay a little more attention to some of the Euro kids under MacGregor’s watch, especially in the early rounds.

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46 Responses to "Love those Vikings!"

  1. raventalon40 says:

    Pre-draft interviews will still be important, because the KHL remains a major draw for the kids coming out of the SEL and other Euro leagues. Anybody who could contemplate jumping ship may be a bad investment.

    A la Omark, Mikhnov or Bumagin.

    Mikhnov had a decent season in the KHL last year, though.

  2. jdrevenge says:

    I thought MacGregor left for the US hockey program?

  3. Lowetide says:

    jdrevenge: Wow, I hadn't heard that. Too bad, I liked his two drafts and went to all the trouble of pushing his nickname.

  4. woody says:

    I thought MacGregor left for the US hockey program?

    Bob Mancini left the Oilers for USA Hockey, not Stu "MB" MacGregor…

  5. oil dude says:

    I thought MacGregor left for the US hockey program?

    I'm pretty sure you're thinking of former Oilers development coach Bob Mancini.

  6. raventalon40 says:

    In hindsight of my last comment, Omark may make a good trade chip depending on how he performs in the KHL next year.

  7. Alice says:

    Do Ingrid Bergman and her daughter count as Vikings? I'm pretty sure I saw one of them catching a draft here just yesterday…

    Oh yeah, we love them alright.

  8. Smarmy Boss says:

    WHL number one? Wish I could make a smug smiley.

  9. raventalon40 says:

    If we were to bring back Patrick Thoresen, would we have to acquire his rights?

  10. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    raventalon40 said…
    If we were to bring back Patrick Thoresen, would we have to acquire his rights?

    Invading Norway might be easier.

  11. Gerta Rauss says:

    Off topic-Jim Balsillie has continued his sharp stick the eye approach to winning friends and influencing people.

  12. spOILer says:

    "Love those Vikings!"

    Even with Brett Favre?

  13. hunter1909 says:

    The Irish are arguably vikings, vikings having(ahem) attracted all those Irish girls to them back in the day when Norway ruled Ireland.

    Which is why to this day Irish women can be hotter than hell.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    not Stu "MB" MacGregor…

    I'm not sure Stu MacGregor is a magnificent bastard any longer with the otherwise unforgivable selection in Cameron Abney.

    That said, that is a kick ass nickname generated by Lowetide. Fantastic writer, and I selfishly hope he writes a hockey book in the near future. I'd buy it the day it arrives at Chapters.

  15. uni says:

    PJOil: I'm not sure how much Cameron Abney was Stu, and how much was organizational imperative.

    It could very likely be that Stu picked Cameron as the best mandated player type at that position based on his marching orders.

    If you look at the Leafs, their drafting has been pretty decent the last few years, but this draft they went off the boards a quite a bit once the 2nd round started closing out and got more bruiser type players, and I'm pretty sure we can agree that the GM had something to do with that direction as opposed to the scouts simply going by best player available.

  16. Jonathan Willis says:

    That said, that is a kick ass nickname generated by Lowetide. Fantastic writer, and I selfishly hope he writes a hockey book in the near future. I'd buy it the day it arrives at Chapters.

    Seconded.

  17. jdrevenge says:

    I was thinking of Bob Mancini. Sorry for the scare LT. lol. Bob was the guy responsible for our college picks if I'm not mistaken.

  18. Coach pb9617 says:

    If LT writes a hockey book with only pictures of gorgeous women, no hockey players or coaches, I'd buy a copy for all of my friends as gifts.

  19. James says:

    I'm still holding out for Disco Stu

  20. Tweezer So Cold says:

    I'd buy that book too.

    Love the Viking flavour to the Oiler drafts lately. They were the KEY to our early success in the NHL, and we can thank Bobby Hull and the Swedish Jets of the WHA for that.

    As for MB drafting Abney, maybe he's a diamond in the rough? We'll see. You can't teach tall, hope he fills out and becomes a terror on the wing (LW?)

    I love the pickup of Lander to complement Paajarvi.

    I also really enjoy watching the NFL Norris, but I am worried about Favre with Minnesota. I am not worried that the games will be more exciting than ever.Regardless, we are almost out of the sporting doldrums of summer.

  21. bookie says:

    That said, that is a kick ass nickname generated by Lowetide. Fantastic writer, and I selfishly hope he writes a hockey book in the near future. I'd buy it the day it arrives at Chapters.

    Seconded.

    Ssssssssh, we are currently getting the milk for free guys…Don't monkeywrench this up by making LT aware of our capitalist-like exploitation of his work!

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  23. Hockey Noob says:

    Sorry to thread jack yet again, but I've been searching through your blog labels and Pat Quinn/Tom Renney seem to be conspicuously absent. Any plans for a post about the two-headed coaching monster?

  24. Mr DeBakey says:

    I've been searching through your blog labels and Pat Quinn/Tom Renney seem to be conspicuously absent.

    Or, as he's known to some in the Rangereeosphere,
    Slumbering Coach Clueless

  25. Smytty777 says:

    LT: if you are going to do something on Quinn/Renney, could you throw in a note on the Oilers new hire as well?

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=487010&navid=edm-home-dl

  26. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: Some of the above messages make my drivelling tripe appear, in comparison like William Shakespeare.

  27. Bruce says:

    I'm not sure Stu MacGregor is a magnificent bastard any longer with the otherwise unforgivable selection in Cameron Abney.

    PJO: You've been bashing the pick since about 10 seconds after it was announced, but how many times have you seen Abney play?

    I didn't think so.

    Some of the above messages make my drivelling tripe appear, in comparison like William Shakespeare.

    Hunter: Just like one of those typewriting monkeys that writes the occasional sonnet?

  28. bookie says:

    Our new assistant coach

    Fleming previously was the Head Coach for the 2008-09 Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.

    When do we announce the Jagr signing?

  29. kris says:

    PJO: You've been bashing the pick since about 10 seconds after it was announced, but how many times have you seen Abney play?

    I didn't think so.

    Seriously Bruce? I'm assuming you're joking.

    I've never seen a one armed chimp play either, though I was nearly blinded by watching 5 min.s of the hockey playing chimp movie 'MVP,' but I can still say that picking one is a bad gamble with a good pick.

    I mean, you can go too far with the criticism of the Oilers scouting; it is just one pick after all. But you can't deny that it was a terrible pick. It just was.

  30. Ribs says:

    The Team Canada Pipeline continues….neat.

  31. Black Dog says:

    I heartily endorse the many references to monkeys in this thread.

    I like monkeys.

    And I like bananas.

    And redheads.

  32. oil dude says:

    When do we announce the Jagr signing?

    When Tambo pulls off a Houdini-like escape from this cap hell. I seriously do wonder what the plan was when they almost signed Jagr at the trade deadline.

  33. gogliano says:

    If Jagr is coming Souray or Lubo are going. I can't think of another way to make it work.

  34. bookie says:

    Easy –

    1. Omsk fires Jagr and gives him his full $8 million in pay.

    2. Oilers sign Jagr for league minimum

    3. In unrelated news, Russian 'businessmen' get awarded $12 million dollar 'Diprovan supply contract' for Rexall Pharmacy's upstart European subsidiary's Kazak stores.

    4. Gary Betman dies in a rage of fury.

  35. PunjabiOil says:

    PJO: You've been bashing the pick since about 10 seconds after it was announced, but how many times have you seen Abney play?

    I didn't think so.

    I haven't seen him play unless youtube counts.

    Regardless, what's the defence on this pick that high? He has no offense, was a routine HS in junior. I know he provides ''jam'' [as RiversQ defined it - playing in your own zone without the puck], but there is no rational logic for selecting a guy when his comparables (MacIntyre) are available routinely on waivers or as UFA's. Even if the Oilers felt this guy could be something more, there are no indications that Abney's ceiling is high – as such, the Oilers didn't extract full value with their 3rd round pick. That cannot be disputed.

    If you make smart selections, there would have been no need to get rid of Kyle Brodziak as you would have Rajala and Roy selected in Bigos and Abney's spot.

    Just an absolute waste of a pick.

    It's quite sad, actually.

  36. linnaeus says:

    I just wanted to tell a classic story from scouting. In the late sixties the scout in question was at an Oshawa Generals game. A no talent young man caught is eye, famously he said,"he can't shoot, he can't puck handle, he can't skate and he sure can't pass but there is just something about the kid." Other scouts wondered if there was a bit of a man crush going on. However, that team, the Boston Bruins, drafted that kid with all the negatives. He never really did master any of those skills. Still Terry "Bloody" O'Reilly was the Bruins heart and soul for a lot of years. Ever since when scouts get that weird vibe about a kid, they say he's like Terry O'Reilly, meaning the kid has no obvious positives but there is just something about him. Cameron Abney is one of those kids. To write him off now and call him a horrible pick is just a wee bit premature. Lets see in four or five years.

  37. Lowetide says:

    O'Reilly and Abney at 17:

    TO (OHL) 46gp, 5-15-20
    CA (WHL) 48gp, 1-3-4

  38. Bruce says:

    Linnaeus: Exactly. I was going to say ask me in five years whether it was a terrible pick. It being a third rounder, chances are the kid won't make it … like most third rounders. But let's give him a chance first before being judge, jury and executioner based on what little we know now.

    I like to maintain the fantasy that our scouting staff had their reasons for picking the guy, no matter how obscure they might appear based on the kid's boxcars and track record to this point. I'm a patient man; I'm prepared to wait and see.

  39. Black Dog says:

    Well Bruce as an Oilers' fan its good thing that you are blessed with patience.

  40. PunjabiOil says:

    Linnaeus: Exactly. I was going to say ask me in five years whether it was a terrible pick. It being a third rounder, chances are the kid won't make it … like most third rounders. But let's give him a chance first before being judge, jury and executioner based on what little we know now.

    By that metric, that would mean no fan would be eligible to assess a pick at the time it was made.

    Which just isn't very fun.

    I'm not saying there is absolutely no chance that Abney could wind up as an NHLer. I'm saying based on the evidence provided to date, it is highly unlikely, and that there were, at least statistically speaking, better opportunities available in the third round.

    It's certainly bothersome that the Oilers valued a goon with limited capabilities over a goalie with starter potential (Roy) and a forward who broke Ovechkin's U18 points record (Rajala).

    It's very possible Abney may not have been drafted at all should the Oilers not have selected him. And given that I have witnessed Vincour play throughout the year, he would have most certainly been a better choice.

  41. uni says:

    I heartily endorse the many references to monkeys in this thread.

    I like monkeys.

    And I like bananas.

    And redheads.

    You just stated 3 things that I love dearly.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Monkey lovers!

  43. kris says:

    Me: I mortgaged the house and put all the money on the Coyotes winning the cup this coming year… while playing in Saskatoon.

    Chimp From MVP: That was a bad bet. You had a nice asset and you risked it on something that by all objective evidence was highly likely to get you nothing.

    Me: Talk to me in a few months you know-it-all chimp and we'll see then if it was a good bet.

    Condescending Chimp: No, it's a bad bet now. Bad bets are bad bets regardless of the actual outcome, i.e. they're unwise even if you get fantastically lucky. That's how luck works.

    Redhead: Mmmm… I like bananas. Now, let's get down to brass tacks. How much for the chimp?

    /Strange Dream I Just Had

  44. Bruce says:

    By that metric, that would mean no fan would be eligible to assess a pick at the time it was made.

    PJO: Of course fans have the right to assess whatever the fuck we want. Your opinion has been loud and clear from the get-go. But after 40 times of hearing what a brutal pick that was, I think the point has been made.

    It's certainly bothersome that the Oilers valued a goon with limited capabilities over a goalie with starter potential (Roy) and a forward who broke Ovechkin's U18 points record (Rajala).

    It's interesting to compare picks within an organizational draft year — e.g. how Kyle Brodziak and Zack Stortini tracked into the NHL faster than Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Jean-Francois Jacques — but I'm not going to lose sleep how the Oilers could have had Roy and Rajala earlier. We got 'em, is all that matters. Who did the Red Wings pick before Datsyuk? before Zetterberg? Do you think their fans criticize their scouts for waiting too long to pick 'em?

    O'Reilly and Abney at 17:
    TO (OHL) 46gp, 5-15-20
    CA (WHL) 48gp, 1-3-4

    LT: Abney is in the dead puck era so you have to divide by 5 and … hey, lookit! We just drafted Terry O'Fuckinreilly!

    Seriously, the one thing we know about Abney's boxcars is that he wasn't drafted based on his boxcars. Obviously he's a "seen him good" pick, and just as obviously he did something positive in his limited role (and presumably, limited minutes) to impress somebody who has a little clout in the organization. Scouting and drafting isn't always an exact science, instincts and hunches play a major role. Even when they're wrong.

  45. kris says:

    Seriously, the one thing we know about Abney's boxcars is that he wasn't drafted based on his boxcars. Obviously he's a "seen him good" pick, and just as obviously he did something positive in his limited role (and presumably, limited minutes) to impress somebody who has a little clout in the organization. Scouting and drafting isn't always an exact science, instincts and hunches play a major role. Even when they're wrong.

    Bruce,

    My chimp and I love you, and bananas, but…

    If this is a defense if the Abney pick it's a defense of any and every pick the Oilers ever do or could select. If they pick me next year, you could say, "Sure Kris is 0-0-0 -756556 in 1 game played, but somebody on the Oil staff saw him good, had a hunch. Who are we to judge."

    Deferring to the Oil as authority doesn't make sense given that they have lost and lost.

  46. Bruce says:

    If this is a defense if the Abney pick it's a defense of any and every pick the Oilers ever do or could select.

    Kris: Yes it is, and yes it is. If a guy like Bob Brown or Chris McCarthy has a high opinion of a prospect, this fan who has a) never seen the kid and b) does not do hockey for a living, has to wait a while and see what happens. Sorry if I don't join the rush to condemn a pick out of hand. #82 is not exactly Niinnimaki/Mikhnov territory, there just ain't any sure bets left, so why not go off the board at that point?

    Could they have done better? Sure. Statistically there is probably a 99% chance that somebody picked behind Abney will have a better career. 'course you can pretty much always say that.

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