New GM Craig MacTavish has a lot of questions marks on the big club, and there’s also plenty of work to be done underneath–goaltending and center are the main items, and a slight change in draft philosophy is also happening. (photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
MacTavish has given us some insight into what we might expect this draft, although specific items are probably outside the verbal he’s delivered so far this spring.
- MacT: “There’s the amateur side, through the course of this year I spent a lot of time with them I have a great degree of comfort in their ability. There are things we can do as a group that will benefit our drafting from a strategic standpoint, from a philosophical standpoint. We can hit better and more impact players in the later rounds, we’ve talked about it a lot on the amateur side, trying to get more impact players with our later picks. I’m happy with that group.”
Over the last few days, we’ve looked at selections in the top 100 of drafts 2008-12; here’s a list of 100+ selections during those seasons and prospect progress:
- 2008-Johan Motin selected #103 overall (1 NHL game)
- 2008-Phil Cornet selected #133 overall (2 NHL games)
- 2008-Teemu Hartikainen selected #163 overall (52 NHL games)
- 2008-Jordan Bendfeld selected #193 overall
- 2009-Toni Rajala selected #101 overall
- 2009-Olivier Roy selected #133 overall
- 2010-Tyler Bunz selected #121 overall
- 2010-Brandon Davidson selected #162 overall
- 2010-Drew Czerwonka selected #166 overall
- 2010-Kristians Pelss selected #181 overall
- 2010-Kellen Jones selected #202 overall
- 2011-Tobias Rieder selected #114 overall
- 2011-Martin Gernat selected #122 overall
- 2011-Frans Tuohimaa selected #182 overall
- 2012-Joey Laleggia selected #123 overall
- 2012-John McCarron selected #153 overall
There are lots of theories about how much to expect from draft picks in the fourth-seventh round, but I tend to think anything you gather up after pick #100 should be counted as found money. Teams can’t count on these guys working out beyond becoming useful AHL players, but sometimes a player will make strides after the draft and deliver a quality career. In my time watching and reading drafts, I’ve never found an article that establishes it is more likely that one team will succeed over another in the depths of the draft. There have been times (Euro invasion, Russians coming over) when teams had drafted players unavailable at the time in hopes they’d arrive in the future, but that’s not the same as beating the other scouts every season.
And of course some of this stuff is about opportunity; some of these kids are going to go the Walt Poddubny route.
It’s tough to evaluate this group at this point in time. We could list those who have signed (most of them) against those who have not, but signing a pro contract isn’t what we value–it’s NHL GP. We could list those who look like they might actually do something in pro hockey (my list is Hartikainen, Rajala, Davidson, Pelss, Rieder, Gernat) but that’s a guess at who knows?
So far, Teemu Hartikainen is the only player from the group to play in the NHL for more than a week. The vast majority of this list will either rise or fall in the next couple of seasons. We wait.
Back to that MacT quote at the top. What does it mean? Trying to get more impact players with our later picks? Well, let me offer up a couple of ideas as to what he might be talking about in this regard.
- Draft and Follow: This has been a pet item of mine forever, borrowed from baseball (of course). The idea is this: in later rounds, select someone like Edgars Kulda. He didn’t get to play much during the regular year but injuries gave him a chance late. I do think he’ll be selected (Central didn’t rank him) because of the strong finish, but certainly worth a shot.
- Coke Machines: Get ‘em, but get ‘em late. There’s a guy in this draft named Cooper Rush. He’s a giant. Take him after the 5th round and we’ll love him more.
- College Men: I do like the idea of taking older college guys who might be able to come out as needed (depending on year). A center like Jonny Brodzinski might fit.
Basically, get good players. I think the Oilers will go heavy on C’s and G’s this year, and would guess one of Barkov-Monahan-Horvat and one of Comrie-Jarry is an Oiler before we start drinking June 30th.
Today on the Lowdown with Lowetide (10am on Team 1260) we’ll talk playoffs, draft and trades/ufa’s. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey. We’ll talk Finn goalies, Russian blue, Hall’s future, Yakupov’s mentor and Oilers PP when they gain possession.
- Pat McLean from Black Dog Hates Skunks. We’ll talk Hawks, kids, luck and anything else we can think of.
- John Farlinger, former Eskimo. John is a former color commentator on Eskimos broadcasts and a former Eskimo. We’ll talk about the team and the season, and I’ll ask him to share some memories of the great Eskimos teams of yore.
- Kirk Luedeke, Redline Report. We’re counting down to draft day, Kirk will guide us through some NCAA, USHL and USHS names.
- Eric Rodgers will talk about the Barons and the most unusual weekend in team history.