ENTRY DRAFT ’14: OILERS AND THE OHL

A major slice of the Oilers 2010+ cluster came from the Ontario League. Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Darnell Nurse are the marquee names, and Tobias Rieder, Ryan Martindale, Daniil Zharkov and Kyle Platzer were plucked from the Granddaddy junior loop. In recent years, the Oilers have undervalued the OHL compared to other NHL clubs. Our look last year (before the draft) showed Edmonton using the OHL for 12.8% of their draft picks, while the league-wide total (21.2%) showed more activity from the other 29 teams.

NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/OHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 37 from the OHL
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 48 from the OHL
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 46 from the OHL
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 42 from the OHL
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 42 from the OHL
  • 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 46 from the OHL
  • FINAL TALLY: 1265 total players, 261 from the OHL
  • PERCENTAGE: 20.6%

OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/OHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 2 from the OHL
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 2 from the OHL.
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 1 from the OHL.
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 2 from the OHL.
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 0 from the OHL.
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 0 from the OHL.
  • FINAL TALLY: 49 total players, 7 from the OHL.
  • PERCENTAGE: 14.2%

As you can see, it was a down year for the OHL, but the Oilers were exactly league-average (20%). In the last two seasons, Edmonton has selected 4 of 17 from the Ontario league (23.5%) so appear to be using the world’s best junior league more often for their player procurement. Of course, this is a very small sample size, and we should note that during this six year period the club spent 50% of their first-round selections on OHL players.

 TOP 20 OHL DRAFT ELIGIBLES

  1. C Sam Bennett, Kingston: Owns a wide range of skills, and can impact the offense at even strength—he was over a point-per-game at evens. June birthday.
  2. D Aaron Ekblad, Barrie: The best defenseman available, the only worry is that he’s already physically mature and doesn’t have the kick that the forwards will enjoy in the next two seasons of development. A complete defenseman in junior.
  3. L Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa: Quality scoring-winger who impacts the offense with a terrific shot and creativity. A good skater, he’s 6.02 and lean, I had heard that he had power-forward potential but Brock Otten of OHL Prospects put that to bed in his final rankings. If the Oilers trade down to No. 5, this might be their target.
  4. L Nick Ritchie, Peterborough: He’s 6.02, 226 and scored 39 goals in 61GP. The internet has decided they don’t like him, there doesn’t seem to be a reason. At that size, with his skill, I can’t see this player being drafted outside the top 10. Another player type Edmonton values.
  5. C Robby Fabbri, Guelph: He scored 45 goals in 58 games during the regular season, and is a bona fide phenom. People keep talking about his size, but he’s not 5.05 or anything and the guy can dance. A smart team is going to trade up, grab him, and never look back.
  6. L Brendan Perlini, Niagra: I can’t get a handle on him, but Brock Otten says he can be compared to Jeff Carter as a junior. Very good company, and he has a nice range of skills.
  7. L Nikolai Goldobin, Sarnia: Terrific shot and a nice range of skills, another guy who really scored well in his draft season (38 goals in 67 games). His assist total (56) suggests a playmaker, and he could be undervalued at the draft (I have him going between 20-30 overall).
  8. C Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie: A two-way player whose defensive acumen gets a lot of play, he’s shy offensively. History tells us that most of the NHL’s quality checkers began life as junior scorers. Still, he’s highly ranked by scouting services.
  9. R Josh Ho-Sang, Windsor: The hits just keep on coming, another offensive player who made good things happen (67GP, 32-53-85). I have him going late in the first round, reflecting the quality and depth of the OHL this season.
  10. R Spencer Watson, Kingston: This is a wonderful player, who will fall because he’s 5.09. However, Watson delivered over a point-per-game and is an April 1996 birthday. I really like this player for the Oilers, suspect he’d be a great complementary player upon arrival.
  11. L Michael Bunting, Sault Ste. Marie: A nice range of skills, and his draft number may have been hurt by an in-season injury. Brock Otten’s report is full of fabulous information, I have him here because his NHLE (82gp, 8-13-21) are solid for a first-year OHL player. Could be very good value.
  12. D Jacob Middleton, Ottawa: A nice range of skills and good size make him a quality prospect. Played for a bad team and didn’t have a lot of help, but the numbers are solid considering and he has a nice defensive reputation.
  13. D Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia: The moden Reijo Ruotsalainen, DeAngelo was easily the class of the OHL among offensive defenseman in terms of points-per-game.  Some maturity issues and the defensive elements will keep him out of the first round.
  14. D Roland McKeown, Kingston: A puck-moving defenseman with chaos issues, there’s no doubt he has enough talent to play in the NHL. The worry—and the thing that will hurt his draft number—is the one dimensional aspect of his game.
  15. R Eric Cornell, Peterborough: He seems to have turned a corner mid-season, and came in just below a point per game overall. He finished the regular season 20GP, 7-12-19 and might be that player who is underrated at the draft because of a late spike.
  16. R Brendan Lemieux, Barrie: A lot like father Claude if you read the scouting report, his offense (65GP, 27-26-53) is better than one would think. I’m sure his ranking has a little to do with reputation—if he’s his Dad that are 30 teams willing to sign him up—but he also projects pretty well all on his own.
  17. G Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth: Impressive season, he finished second in save percentage during the regular season (.925). If the Oilers were to acquire a second round pick, it could be used on this guy.
  18. L Ryan MacInnis, Kitchener: Al’s boy lacks a big offensive resume, but is well respected as a two-way player. I’ve seen him projected early second round, and that means the defensive side of his game must be exceptional.
  19. D Alex Peters, Peterborough: Big, stay at home defender. If this was 1974 he’d be inside the first round.
  20. L Kevin LeBanc, Barrie: He’s not a scorer, but a two-way player with a physical side. I like him because of Brock Otten’s description of the player, and he might be a nice later round selection.

I’ll have another look at the OHL before draft day, but this looks like a grand draft season for the league. They could take 30% of the first round, and even a guy like Watson—who’ll probably go in the third round—might be a first round talent.

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23 Responses to "ENTRY DRAFT ’14: OILERS AND THE OHL"

  1. Hammers says:

    I notice you don’t have weight or height for Fabbri but it seems his getting good notice from more than 1 source .If we do trade down ie, Toronto , Philly , NYI are all possibilities it seems there are some decent options . Just hope McT only makes that move with an established “D” or “C” returning .

  2. Bag of Pucks says:

    LT, let’s hope for one day at least (tomorrow afternoon specifically), the OHL isn’t the world’s best junior league. Would be great to see the Oil Kings bring this town a national title.

    Nice attempt to jinx them though ; )

  3. Lowetide says:

    NHL combine list has Fabbri 5.1025, 170

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=718423

  4. Hammers says:

    LT do you have any info on this years draft picks that should make the jump immediately . Last year there was about 4 or 5 I think , Colorado , Calgary , Nashville , Dallas all had there picks in the NHL and I’m not sure of any others.

  5. Rondo says:

    I asked Brock Otten ” Have you seen Reinhart or Draisaitl play? I wonder how they compare to your top 2?

    He answered:

    I’ve seen Reinhart and Draisaitl play several times (a few televised WHL games, the international events, and the top prospect’s game). Never seen them play live though, which obviously gives you a better and different perspective.

    I still prefer Ekblad and Bennett over both of them.

    I think Bennett has a little more offensive potential than Reinhart (I think he has the same smarts but is the more dynamic player), and he’s more consistent without the puck and a better overall player than Draisaitl.

    Just my two cents.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Hammers:
    LT do you have any info on this years draft picks that should make the jump immediately . Last year there was about 4 or 5 I think , Colorado , Calgary , Nashville , Dallas all had there picks in the NHL and I’m not sure of any others.

    I have been told that Reinhart and Ekblad may be NHL ready, but it’s unlikely the others will play next season.

  7. D says:

    This is interesting and may provide a clue as to Oilers’ management intentions. If the Oil draft Draisaitl, then the long-term rebuild is still at forefront. If the Oil trade down (or up to get Ekblad), then that could be an indicator of making moves to improve the team now.

    Lowetide: I have been told that Reinhart and Ekblad may be NHL ready, but it’s unlikely the others will play next season.

  8. rickithebear says:

    LT: Bunting last 3 monts 19 GM 5 EVG 11 EVA
    .842 PPG NHLE 34 EVP
    Jesus!

  9. Lowetide says:

    rickithebear:
    LT: Bunting last 3 monts 19 GM 5 EVG 11 EVA
    .842 PPG NHLE 34 EVP
    Jesus!

    AND in his first OHL season! SSM is smrt.

  10. gd says:

    It seems to me the Oilers are in okay position with 3, unless they think Ekblad is the next Doughty/Pronger he doesn’t warrant trading up for. One advantage to not having the 2nd and 3rd round picks is they should be able to focus 90 percent of their scouting resources on the top 4 guys. I’m hoping Stu, MacT, Bob Green, Katz’s kid are watching as much film on the top 4, analyzing as much stats and talking to as many sources as possible on these guys. Take the best guy on their list when their turn comes up.

    ps: I’m assuming Draissitl could play next year in the SEL if necessary.

  11. Lowetide says:

    gd:
    It seems to me the Oilers are in okay position with 3, unless they think Ekblad is the next Doughty/Pronger he doesn’t warrant trading up for. One advantage to not having the 2nd and 3rd round picks is they should be able to focus 90 percent of their scouting resources on the top 4 guys. I’m hoping Stu, MacT, Bob Green, Katz’s kid are watching as much film on the top 4, analyzing as much stats and talking to as many sources as possible on these guys. Take the best guy on their list when their turn comes up.

    ps: I’m assuming Draissitl could play next year in the SEL if necessary.

    He’d probably play in the SM-Liiga.

  12. nycoil says:

    Lowetide,

    Didn’t we see from an interview with their GM about Nurse that they use advanced stats, at least possession stats anyway, when evaluating players? Would love to hear more on one of your lowdown shows (forgive me if you have already interviewed SSM brass and I missed it).

    Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get this feeling that this draft is a lot better than advertised? It may not have as dynamic a top end as recent years, but I see quality players and NHLEs all the way down to the 15~20 range. Like the 2007 draft (I know it’s painful to think of the Oilers’ draft board vs the Habs’ that year), in retrospect it may turn out to be pretty strong.

    I am wondering if there is any way to move back into the first round to acquire a second, nice piece, like a Fabbri, Goldobin, Perlini from the list above or go with Rom’s pick of Barbashev, or maybe Fiala if he falls.

    I honestly also think this year we will see some bigger splash trades at the draft than past years. Too many teams that need to reshuffle the deck after disappointing results this year (as opposed to past years where there were less upsets of top teams).

    Philly hosting at home and picking #17 may want to make a big splash.
    Isles signed Halak and are in win now mode ahead of the Brooklyn move, team sale, and giving the ’15 pick to Buffalo.
    Pittsburgh needs to shed salary.
    Toronto seems in turmoil after their collapse.
    Boston has Chiarelli making noises about Marchand
    Columbus needs some scoring help on the wing after their young Cs made great progress this year.
    Florida has some very high end pieces and seems to not be sold on Ekblad for some reason
    Ottawa has some salary to shed and seems ready to re-tool after the not-so-hot Bobby Ryan trade
    Detroit needs an infusion of talent to go with the Tatar, Nyqvist, Smith, DeKeyser cluster
    Carolina seems to be mulling moving on from the expensive Staal brothers
    Washington needs a shakeup and the GM chair still sits empty.

    So many Eastern dance partners for MacT. He has the cap space to use in the right situation (where he is getting the nice asset for fifty cents on the dollar), that a lot of teams in the East that “failed” this year don’t have. The silver fox just needs to nurse his martini a while and watch the dance proposals roll in. He just needs to outfox Benning and Treliving/Burke. History suggests Calgary will look to quickly retool this summer, and I am not sure about Vancouver, but given they still have the Sedins, Kesler, etc., I can’t see them going full rebuild either so they are likely to be very active.

    I wish we could skip ahead to the draft already!

  13. flyfish1168 says:

    Off topic comment. Anton Belov may not be suited for N.A. hockey but he is showing pretty good at the worlds 9 games 2 g 3 a +11. He might have benefitted with a proper training camp and a little more adjustment time to NHL style and N.A. lifestyle. JMHO

  14. FPB94 says:

    Gotta let Belov have some time.

    Alexei Emelin looked shaky for a bit when he arrived, but now he’s a pillar that half the league would kill for.

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    a good piece on Niskanen

    http://www.defendingbigd.com/2014/5/24/5738332/dallas-stars-pittsburgh-penguins-matt-niskanen-nhl-free-agency-2014

    he’s going to get overpaid because of the points (I think we already knew this, but good reminder). Still a nice player.

  16. Beaker says:

    FPB94:
    Gotta let Belov have some time.

    Alexei Emelin looked shaky for a bit when he arrived, but now he’s a pillar that half the league would kill for.

    hard to give him time when hes already gone…

  17. Numenius says:

    flyfish1168:
    Off topic comment.Anton Belov may not be suited for N.A. hockey but he is showing pretty good at the worlds 9 games 2 g 3 a +11. He might have benefitted with a proper training camp and a little more adjustment time to NHL style and N.A. lifestyle. JMHO

    And the right coach.

  18. Rondo says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    That how I feel about Dion Phaneuf, Toronto is a team that needs D-men and yet they are willing to trade Phaneuf. Red Flag

  19. OilClog says:

    Beaker: hard to give him time when hes already gone…

    There was all the time in the world during the 82 game regular season that had just passed.. Our coach liked the likes of Anyone over Belov, Just another maddening occurrence that happened last season.

    Belov had some foot speed issues, yet was an actual Defenceman compared to what was being dressed… How are we suppose to have any faith going forward anymore? It’s probably best to absolutely expect the worse when it comes to the Oilers now.

  20. OilClog says:

    Rondo:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    That how I feel aboutDion Phaneuf,Toronto is a team that needs D-men and yet they arewilling to trade Phaneuf.Red Flag

    Dion is not the problem in Toronto, when does Toronto do anything right themselves? I wouldn’t be concerned about red flags. Dion would be our best defender until proven otherwise if he was to be traded here.. I don’t see any red flags with that scenario, he has a log body of work now that look back on. Calgary bungled trading him , Toronto will too.

  21. FPB94 says:

    OilClog,

    It’s pretty impressive how many jobbers this team has been able to hire. Jesus lord, can they hire somebody who knows power plays?

  22. Lowetide says:

    Trade values for some current Oilers

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/5/24/approximate-trade-value

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