Kevin Prendergast was the Oilers’ chief scout from 2001-07. Seven years, very few picks inside the top 10 (actually: ONE) and it’s safe to say he never reached the popularity and fame enjoyed by Barry Fraser or Stu MacGregor.
I have always felt that Prendergast’s track record was average or a hair above average. As mentioned he never did enjoy a 1st overall selection or even one in the top 5. KP had real success in the 2nd round of many drafts and was a champion of the overage draftee back when NHL teams could select men in their 20′s.
KP’S top 5
- Ales Hemsky, 13th overall in 2001: Mr. Prendergast himself lists this (or has in the past) as his best draft selection, and as luck would have it #83 was his first pick as head man. I well remember that draft year and Hemsky was not the obvious pick at #13. I held out hope the Oildrop would choose Red Deer Rebel Colby Armstrong and there were other talents available, but this was a home run.
- Jarret Stoll, 36th overall in 2002: A draft re-entry, I remember his selection for rumblings from other NHL teams about an unspoken rule: you don’t draft kids on re-entry higher than they were taken the first time. Like many of the NHL’s unwritten rules, it is idiotic and small minded and the type of rule that kept hockey’s old men from expanding until concerns over the WHL’s expansion forced their hand. Stoll has been a solid NHL player for years.
- Sam Gagner, 6th overall in 2007: Gagner still has time to move up this list and I think he’s tracking well. His progress can be measured, and even small steps are impressive as he’s done it for a team going the wrong way. Three NHL coaches in his 4 NHL seasons isn’t a record, but I think he’d benefit from consistency behind the bench.
- Matt Greene, 44th overall in 2002: It took some time for Greene to mature–his play in the 2006 SC playoffs could best be described as costly–but he’s a solid rock on the blue for the LAK. The Oilers could use one just like him on their own blue.
- Kyle Brodziak, 214th overall in 2003: Back in the HF boards days and about a year after the 2003 draft, I started a post that asked about Brodziak versus Pouliot and comparing them as offensive players. I don’t know that the answer to that question has been solved but Brodziak is the clear winner in the race to establish himself as an NHLer.
Plus there’s a few (Dubnyk, Petry, Cogliano, Peckham) who may one day rival or pass the names on this list. I don’t think KP was as good as MBS of the Mexican Marauder but there’s some quality here. At the end of the day, the first round picks miles from this list (Niinimaki, Schremp, Pouliot, Plante, Nash) probably cost him his job.
Nation Radio is on Team 1260 at noon Edmonton time today. A very interesting group is scheduled to appear:
- Kent Wilson from the Nations sites, Hockey Prospectus and the Score. Kent scored a new gig with the Nations that will see him add a lot of impressive content across the board. We’ll also discuss the Jets, Calgary’s efforts to have many, many men over 35 on their opening night roster and some other fun things.
- Scott Reynolds from Copper and Blue. The C&B folks are doing their top 25 under 25 and we’ll discuss that and some Oiler related news (and if we have time touch on the NW division for 11-12).
- Corey Graham, play by play man for the Edmonton Oil Kings and host of Edmonton Sports Night live on Team 1260. I’ll ask Corey about the Oil Kings and their chances in 11-12, we’ll talk a little about the World Juniors and touch base on the sweeping changes that we’ve seen in the dub this summer.
- Gabriel Desjardins, one of the true innovators in the field of advanced stats. Gabriel is an interesting character and we’ll discuss the return of his Jets to Winnipeg (well not really, but the Jets are back!) the moves made by the team so far and a couple of interesting articles he’s written recently.
Questions and comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope you can tune in.