Eleven years ago, the Edmonton Oilers used a 1st and a 2nd round pick on QMJHL forwards. They were burned badly on both, and have ignored the league for a decade now (at least at the top of the draft). Improved prospect quality overall meant more players in the deep end of the pool, and this summer Edmonton drafted Marc-Olivier Roy in the second round.
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER THREE ON THE WINTER LIST
- December 2004: C Marc-Antoine Pouliot
- December 2005: G Devan Dubnyk
- December 2006: C Marc-Antoine Pouliot
- December 2007: D Tom Gilbert
- December 2008: D Theo Peckham
- December 2009: C Riley Nash
- December 2010: L Magnus Paajarvi
- December 2011: D Oscar Klefbom
- December 2012: D Oscar Klefbom
That’s a nice group of players, the middle of last decade gave the Oilers a starting goalie (Dubnyk) and a useful defenseman (Tom Gilbert). Klefbom is a player who looks like he’s going to have a career in the NHL and we’re just getting to know Marco Roy. If he can eclipse Marc Pouliot’s 192 NHL games Oiler fans should be thrilled, and it’s interesting to see that none of the #3′s on the prospect list have approached impact status. ALL of the best Oilers over the years–Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yak, Schultz, Gagner, etc, have been ranked 1 or 2 before heading to the NHL as regulars. The club has been graduating impact kids, but one (or two in 2010-11) at a time.
WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY
- Redline: While thought of as a grinder who brings passion and intensity to each shift (which is accurate), that is short-changing his skill level. Good skater with speed and balance, and accelerates well. Wins a lot of races for loose pucks and is always 1st into corners. Works his bag off every shift and comes back hard on the backcheck. He’s an absolute buzzsaw with a motor that never quits. If his team loses the puck, he wants to go and get it back immediately. Stays in constant motion in the offensive zone, making him very difficult to check or contain. Soft hands for both giving and receiving passes. Gets shots away quickly around the slot and shows good accuracy. Competes like a bastard and always has his head in the game. Rugged and persistent on the forecheck. Reliable player at both ends who is continually improving. Also 6’1″ with a nice frame to fill out.
- Corey Pronman: Roy is a late 1994 birthdate, and his late eligibility gave him extra time to take the next step in his development. That advantage allowed him to put up solid numbers in the QMJHL this season. Roy’s best skill is his skating, which is plus, as he can jet through the neutral zone with impressive top speed. He is a technically sound skater, and he is very elusive in tight. I have heard different takes on his offensive upside. One scout thinks he projects as an average offensive player, while another says his offensive instincts and puck play are very good but classifies his offensive potential as above-average. Roy has roughly average size, and his physical game can be inconsistent. He will, at times, show fine on-ice effort, but there will be times where he can drift off to the perimeter, while not overly impressing.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2013: 4
- Winter 2013: 3
In the week after the draft, I interviewed Michael Parkatti from the Boys on the Bus blog. Parkatti won the Oilers hackathon and did some numbers work for the Oilers before the draft, basically confirming what their scouts were viewing (or possibly raising red flags).
- Michael Parkatti: “The model really liked Marco Roy. There’s a lot of things to like about the player outwardly, and if you look at the statistics diagnostically it’s not just the point production but also the situation he found himself in. The team he played for this year was very good, but it was one of those situations where he wasn’t being dragged along by anybody. The way I like to look at it was he was the good player on the team, he played an integral part on that team. And you really saw that in the playoffs.”
Projecting players draft summer is a tough business, but if Roy continues to progress he should be a productive top 6 NHL forward. Roy’s 1.03 points-per-game total as a 17-year old is not terribly unusual for 2nd round draft picks, but it is a nice list to belong to for any forward. Since 2009 (5 drafts), there have been 15 (3 a year).
- Nicolas Petan 2013 (WHL) 71, 46-74-120 (1.69)
- Shane Prince 2011 (OHL) 59, 25-63-88 (1.49)
- William Carrier 2013 (QMJHL) 34, 16-26-42 (1.24)
- Tyler Toffoli 2010 (OHL) 65, 37-42-79 (1.22)
- Ty Rattie 2011 (WHL) 67, 28-51-79 (1.18)
- Ryan Spooner 2010 (OHL) 47, 19-35-54 (1.15)
- Alexander Khoklachev 2011 (OHL) 67, 34-42-76 (1.13)
- Valentin Zykov 2012 (QMJHL) 67, 40-35-75 (1.12)
- Adam Erne 2013 (QMJHL) 68, 28-44-72 (1.06)
- Boone Jenner 2011 (OHL) 63, 25-41-66 (1.05)
- Marc Olivier Roy 2013 (QMJHL) 65, 29-38-67 (1.03)
- Christian Thomas 2010 (OHL) 64, 41-25-66 (1.03)
- Petr Straka 2010 (QMJHL) 62, 28-36-64 (1.03)
- Devante Smith-Pelly 2010 (OHL) 60, 29-33-62 (1.03)
- Nick Sorensen 2013 (QMJHL) 46, 20-27-47 (1.02)
- Marco Roy on his wrist being injured in camp: “We did not know it was broken,. I played despite pain during other games and the preseason with the Oilers. “
- Michael Parkatti: Plays RW but can play C. He’s known for good 2-way game, is a wonderful skater.
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: Second rounder showed some nice things at camp, including speed, skill, and an attacking bent. He returns to Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL. With a late ’94 birthday, Roy has just one year of normal junior eligibility remaining, and might as well get cracking on it. Has an outside chance to play for Canada at the World Juniors.
POINTS BY DISCIPLINE, MARCO ROY
|ROY 2012-13||65, 16-25-41 .631||65, 13-13-26 .400||65, 0-0-0||65, 29-38-67|
|ROY 2013-14||8, 1-7-8 1.000||7, 1-4-5 .714||7, 0-0-0||8, 2-11-13|
These are early days (he missed 16 league games because of the injury) but the young man is involved in the offense pretty much every night (NHLE 82, 6-34-40).
The Oilers have a full complement of skill wingers 25 and under at the NHL level (Hall, Perron, Eberle, Yakupov), so there’s no need to hurry Roy. This season in junior should be followed by a prolonged audition in the AHL would seem to be the smart play with Roy. The rankings take notice of the following:
- Range of skills
- Established leagues
and does not give more weight to:
- proximity to the NHL
Roy qualifies for this spot due to the wide range of skills described above, his terrific early season performance and Parkatti’s advanced work. He will be in the Subway series against Russia and is in the conversation for WJC’s. Roy will turn 20 next summer, so the Oilers are likely to sign him and 2014-15 will be spent in Oklahoma City.