The Return of the Coke Machine

I believe we’re heading for a “Coke Machine” draft and we are absolutely in the Coke Machine 2.0 era since 2000. In the beginning, the Oilers under Kevin Prendergast began drafting big kids (mostly wingers) out of position. In fact, the first official selection by Prendergast was 2000′s 2nd round and Brad Winchester. Here, let me take a minute to post the group:

  • 2000-#35-C Brad Winchester, 6’5, 210.
  • 2001-#52-C Eddie Caron, 6’2, 230.
  • 2002-#79-LW Brock Radunske, 6’4, 199.
  • 2003-#51-RW Colin McDonald, 6’2, 190.
  • 2003-#68-LW JF Jacques, 6’3.5, 217.
  • 2003-#94-RW Zach Stortini, 6’4, 225.
  • 2004-#57-C Geoff Paukovich, 6’4, 207.

Now it is important to note that these kids were projected to be actual players. No goons, just big men who could handle themselves and even the playing field for the smaller skilled men who played alongside. I had a look at the group here and I think we can say with some authority that the Oilers overpaid for the group. 2003′s draft was especially costly in this area, with Colin McDonald and JF Jacques both being selected when there was pure quality available.

After the lockout, the Oilers spent some time pursuing the “new NHL player” who was smaller and more skilled. 2005′s draft featured small, cerebral picks like Andrew Cogliano and Taylor Chorney. During this period they did take a player who I’ve always counted as a Coke Machine (Chris Vande Velde) but he’s more skill than brawn so we’ll have to count him as being on the outskirts of the family. Don’t be fooled about him, though. I sincerely believe VV will surprise people at the pro level with his grit and skill.

In last year’s draft the club selected Cameron Abney, but I don’t count him as a Coke Machine. Abney is more of a fighter, well this side of someone like Zack Stortini (if you don’t believe me compare their junior scoring resume’s).

I think we’re heading back to Coke Machines. I’ve already suggested that the Oilers will select Tyler Seguin #1 and attempt to trade up for Dylan Mcilrath later in the first round. Now I’m prepared to tell you about the player (or at least player type) the Oilers will spend an “out of place” draft pick on this summer. A coke machine. I’ve chosen Cody Beach because I saw him on television and he’s big (6.05, 185) and gave out crushing body checks every time I watched him play. He’s a Coke Machine, and the Oilers are going to pick one at the 2010 Entry Draft.

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