The 2012 NHL entry draft was a success for the Edmonton Oilers the moment they called Nail Yakupov’s name. A brilliant offensive player with a motor that won’t quit, a spirit borrowed from Rasputin and a flair for the dramatic not seen in the NHL for years, Yak City captured the heart of Edmonton without a throw.
Now. About the rest.
Let’s start with Bob McKenzie’s list
- #1: Nail Yakupov
- #47: Daniil Zharkov
- #56: Mitchell Moroz
Now, let’s look at the names who attended the combine:
- Nail Yakupov
- Mitchell Moroz
- Jujhar Khaira
- Daniil Zharkov
And finally the actual Oiler draft list:
- Nail Yakupov selected #1
- Mitchell Moroz selected #32
- Jujhar Khaira selected #63
- Daniil Zharkov selected #91
- Erik Gustafsson selected #93
- Joey Laleggia selected #123
- John McCarron selected #153
According to my thinking, the Oilers should expect performance from slots #1, #32, #63, #91 and #93. One guy should be an impact player for more than a decade, and after that the club should expect a couple of these fellows to pass 200 NHL games during their career. Which ones? Not a clue. That’s why we watch the games. I will guess below.
12-13 NHLE’s (Yakupov’s are his NHL numbers extrapolated over 82 gp)
- Nail Yakupov 21-27-48
- Joey Laleggia 9-16-25
- Jujhar Khaira 5-18-23
- John McCarron 7-12-19
- Daniil Zharkov 10-8-18
- Erik Gustafsson 4-10-14
- Mitchell Moroz 5-7-12
- The Impact Man: Yakupov’s number is even more impressive considering his TOI total and some of the linemates he’s played with this season. What a dream player. One never knows how things will work out over time, but this has been a wonderful year to watch the mad Russian and thank goodness he’s on our side.
- The undersized skill blue: Laleggia enjoyed the second best offensive season–impressive for a defenseman–but he’s still going to have a very difficult time making the NHL as a 200 game (or more) regular. Marc-Andre Bergeron’s NHLE was 14-20-34 at the same age. Still, he still warrants interest and I’d guess he’ll get a contract after his college career is up.
- The kid from Tech: I think Khaira has a real chance to be an NHL player based on first year results. He’s a center, 6.03, 195 and had 49 pims in 37 games (6-19-25) as a freshmen. Playing time appeared to go in and out but I’d say he’s the second best Oiler prospect in this draft after one year.
- Big man from Cornell: McCarron is interesting because he’s 6.02, 225 and has some scoring ability. He’s two years older than Moroz and could turn pro this fall (he’s 21 in a few days) or stay in school.
- We drafted another Russian? Zharkov is a guy I still like plenty, but his offense didn’t shine this year–that’s a concern.
- The Kingdom of Sweden: Erik Gustafsson had a nice season, have no idea what the organization thinks of him or if he’ll ever play in North America. He was taken deep in the draft and seems to have a solid career in Sweden, don’t know if these guys want the NHL badly enough to spend some winters in Oklahoma City.
- The guy they like: Mitchell Moroz did not have a breakout season. The Oilers loved the kid on draft day. Stu Macgregor: “You always have to step up if there was a player you like. We liked him, we followed him and his developmental curve is on the way up. He provides some toughness, but not just toughness, he’s a good hockey player. He takes the puck to the net real hard and he shows a little bit of touch around the net. He’s only played one year of junior and I think he’s got an opportunity, with continuous development and drive, to be a good player for us.” The numbers tell us he is a long shot.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers under MacGregor are basically running four different races:
- The #1 overalls. MBS is completely risk averse here, I’m completely satisfied they got the right guy.
- The ranked/combine group. This is the heart of the MBS group-15 players taken since 2008 were both on BM’s list and 7 more where either honorable mention or unranked but attended the combine. This year’s names are Yakupov, Moroz, Khaira and Zharkov. My guess is the next NHL player from the 2012 draft is from this group and it’s going to be Khaira.
- 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 from past drafts, and Erik Gustafsson qualifies from the 2012 edition. He seems like a fine player but I have no idea if he has NHL potential and or aspirations.
- The overage college kids. McCarron and Laleggia are interesting players and they certainly had solid seasons in 12-13. I don’t know that they improved or went backwards in the estimation of the organization.
As prospects, I ranked them like this and then brackets where they’ll be going on the June list:
- #1 prospect: Yakupov (graduates this spring)
- #7 prospect: Khaira (he’ll likely move up the list)
- #12 prospect: Moroz (he’ll be moving down the list)
- #15 prospect: Laleggia (he’ll be around the same number)
- #20 prospect: Zharkov (he’ll move up slightly)
- #30 prospect: Gustafsson (he’ll move up, possibly into the top 20)
- not ranked prospect: McCarron (he’ll certainly be among the top 30)
Up next: we’ll look at the 2011 entry draft (I’ll have that for you tomorrow). The GDT will go up around 5pm.
Lowetide at High Noon goes at 12pm today on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Former Edmonton Oiler Doug Hicks, who is part of a huge fundrasier for Alzheimer’s that involves you, playing with former NHLers and a weekend of fun.
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. We’ll talk Leafs, Randy Carlyle’s unusual decisions, Oilers and trade deadline
- Michael Parkatti, Boys on the Bus. Michael’s shot differential numbers have been an excellent guide to the season, and we’ll ask his opinion of men like Ryan Whitney, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky.
- Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey: We’ll talk trade deadline, Oilers in the summer and Curtis Lazar.
- Corey Graham, pbp man for the Oil Kings. I’ll ask Corey about the amazing run for the Oil Kings this spring, the job ahead for the team and get a prospect update on names like Gernat and Musil.
Hope you can tune in, best way to get questions and comments to our guests is on twitter @Lowetide_ or in the comments section below.