Sail On, Magic Man

That’s Kenta Nilsson being marked by another former Oiler (Bengt Gustafsson). Nilsson resigned as an Oiler scout after the team flushed his son. I think that’s the right thing to do, if you flush my family then I’m flushing you.

It is a little disappointing because the team has been doing better in the last few seasons. They spent a few years in the late 90′s-early 00′s where they seemed to devote high picks (Riesen in ’97, Rita in ’99, Mikhnov in ’00, Niinimaki in ’02) to Europe, but then they avoided the region like the plague.

Since Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor took over the draft in 2008, the club has plucked Johan Motin, Teemu Hartikainen, Magnus Pääjärvi, Anton Lander, Toni Rajala and Martin Marincin. Of MBS’s first 23 picks, 7 (or 30%) have been from Europe. The early returns are very positive, and some of it is surely due to draft position. Then again, MPS is the highest European selection in Oilers history (#10 in 2009) and that probably isn’t a coincidence.

I’ll be very interested to see how the Oilers European scouting staff lines up for next season. It is too important to gloss over.

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