Coke Machines

The Oilers are back on the Coke Machine trail but with some changes in requirements. The club is in search of that elusive “big man who can play” but I think the wording has been reworked. The idea (I think) is to find big, tough grumpy guys who can actually play hockey. John Ferguson is still the goal, but being able to play hockey is placed at a premium with the other elements (grit, truculence) secondary.

We’ve discussed this forever, mostly around the failed Prendergast selections. The problem for KP was that his aim wasn’t true and it cost the team an enormous amount. Not just the draft picks but also the trades for draft picks (Jason Chimera was sent away in search of Geoff Paukovich, as an example).

I think the Oilers have tried (in the last several years) to change the mission statement. Whereas the KP era saw them select big men who were physical and played hockey, the more recent drafts have been focused on hockey players with good (not great) size and some edge to their play. I know it’s simplistic and maybe it’s a poor way to explain it but that’s the idea.

These young men won’t be PIM champions but may be better at sending the puck in the right direction. Here’s a comparison of the KP Coke Machines and the more recent list that delivers size and skill.

  • 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
  • 2005-#97-C Chris Vande Velde, 6’2, 190

Here’s the new list:

  • 2008-#163- L Teemu Hartikainen, 6’1, 215
  • 2010-#31- R Tyler Pitlick 6’1, 190
  • 2010-#48- L Curtis Hamilton 6’3, 202
  • 2010-#166- L Drew Czerwonka 6’2, 192
  • 2011-#74- C Travis Ewanyk 6’1, 185

I didn’t include any first rounders on either list, although Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi qualify in terms of size. The current scouting department appears to be making bets on hockey players who are perhaps a little smaller (there’s no one the size of Brad Winchester in the group) but are better hockey players during their draft ages and junior eligibility.

Will list two be better?

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