Leading up to the 2012 entry draft, the Edmonton Oilers with Stu MacGregor as the head scout have been (for the most part) risk averse. Take the BPA–especially in the first round, and beyond that trust your board but pay great attention to the combine invites and consensus.
The 2012 draft changed things. Or did it?
First, let’s run the list of Oiler drafts since 2008 and the Bob McKenzie number where available. I use the McKenzie list because it was brought up pre-draft as the best available list (owing to how late it is compiled, the variety of scouts polled, and previous success rates). I’ve also taken the time to note if they’ve attended the combine, as Edmonton has in the past heavily focused on that group of 100.
2008 Oilers draft
- Jordan Eberle selected #22 overall, ranked #29 (attended combine)
- Johan Motin selected #103 overall, unranked (attended combine)
- Phil Cornet selected #133 overall,unranked
- Teemu Hartikainen selected #163 overall, unranked
- Jordan Bendfeld selected #193 overall, unranked
The first MBS draft is kind of a mush draft because the club had no 2nd or 3rd rd pick, meaning they could grab Eberle and then were looking at leftovers from the heart of 2008′s list. Still, I don’t think there’s a lot to quarrel over in this draft. In the one spot they could get a player, they got a top drawer forward.
2009 Oilers draft
- Magnus Paajarvi selected #10 overall, ranked #10 (attended combine)
- Anton Lander selected #40 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)
- Troy Hesketh selected #71 overall, unranked
- Cameron Abney selected #82 overall, unranked
- Kyle Bigos selected #99 overall, unranked
- Toni Rajala selected #101 overall, ranked #50 (attended combine)
- Olivier Roy selected #133 overall, ranked HM (attended combine)
This reminds me of the old Prendergast drafts (and a little of the 2012 draft) in that they grabbed “normal” selections early and then went walkabout after the 2nd round. Then, after the coke machines and tall trees they came back and picked up a couple of hockey players. The McKenzie ranks suggests the Oilers aren’t the only team wandering fromt he consensus list in the middle rounds.
2010 Oilers draft
- Taylor Hall selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Tyler Pitlick selected #31, ranked #25 (attended combine)
- Martin Marincin selected #56, ranked #71 (attended combine)
- Curtis Hamilton selected #48, ranked 57 (attended combine)
- Ryan Martindale selected #61, ranked 58 (attended combine)
- Jeremie Blain selected #91, not ranked
- Tyler Bunz selected #121, not ranked (attended combine)
- Brandon Davidson selected #162, not ranked (attended combine)
- Drew Czerwonka selected #166, not ranked
- Kristians Pelss selected #181, not ranked
- Kellen Jones selected #202, not ranked
This is the point where I started to see MBS’ draft style. The combine list is important to the team and of course the McKenzie list marched in (mostly) lock step with the Oilers list. Blain was a “touch list” area scout selection and we could put Czerwonka, Pelss and Jones in the same category.
2011 Oilers draft
- Ryan Nugent Hopkins selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Oscar Klefbom selected #19, ranked #21 (attended combine)
- David Musil selected #31, ranked #41 (attended combine)
- Samu Perhonen selected #62, ranked #51 (attended combine)
- Travis Ewanyk selected #74, ranked HM (attended combine)
- Dillon Simpson selected #92, ranked HM
- Tobias Rieder selected #114, unranked (attended combine)
- Martin Gernat selected #122, unranked
- Frans Tuohimaa selected #182, unranked
That’s probably as close to a perfect “risk averse” draft as you can get. Grab players from the McKenzie list who also attended the combine for as long as you can, then take a couple of guys who are either on the BM list or attended the combine. Follow that with a couple of “touch list” gems from the scouts and you’re good to go.
2012 Oilers draft
- Nail Yakupov selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
- Mitchell Moroz selected #32, ranked #56 (attended combine)
- Jujhar Khaira selected #63, not ranked (attended combine)
- Daniil Zharkov selected #91, ranked #47 (attended combine)
- Erik Gustafsson selected #93, ranked
- Joey Laleggia selected #123, ranked
- John McCarron selected #153, ranked
The Oilers once again borrowed heavily from the consensus combine list, but were less enamored of the McKenzie list. The selection of Moroz caused quite a stir, but in talking to Kirk Luedeke and others it would seem the young man was trending as the draft arrived. Still, he’ll be a lightning rod selection for the MBS regime. Khaira is an interesting player, I think Oiler fans are going to like him based on the numbers. Zharkov was pure value where they got him.
The Oilers under MacGregor are basically running four different races:
- The #1 overalls. MBS is completely risk averse here, good grief they simply grabbed the best player available and walked off the stage. I do believe the club has had periods of time in their history where they might have outsmarted themselves.
- The ranked/combine group. This is the heart of the MBS group-22 players were both on BM’s list and attended the combine. The best among this group (excluding the #1 overalls) might be Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, David Musil. It also includes the controversial Moroz selection.
- The walkabout bunch. This is the group that sees Edmonton grab players inside the top 100 who are not ranked in the top 100 and were not included in the combine group. This collection includes Troy Hesketh, Cameron Abney, Jeremie Blain. We shouldn’t expect this to be an area of strenth, this is “drafting for need” and rarely works out. I’m even more fascinated by the walkabout bunch after the club drafted but did not sign Jeremie Blain. What are they looking for from the walkabouts, people? I would have thought Blain was a W.
- The overage college kids. Beginning with Kyle Bigos and blossoming this summer, the Oilers seem to have a fascination in late rounds with overage draft and follows. That list would include Bigos, Kellen Jones, Loey Laleggia and John McCarron, and either play tier 2 or have already graduated to the NCAA. Edmonton has done this in the past, so I’m not certain it could be considered new.
The MBS regime has been superior to the Prendergast era, I think mostly due to staying the course and trusting the board. 2012 was a weak draft, we were told that from the beginning. Still, the Oilers first four selections were combine attendees and three of them were ranked by Bob McKenzie.