Last season, the Oilers used the first top 60 pick of the MBS era on a QMJHL prospect. Why? The exceptional quality of the Q 2013 crop warranted it—picking Roy was just good business. Will they do it again?
NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/QMJHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 31 from the Q
- 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 19 from the Q
- 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 22 from the Q
- 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 22 from the Q
- 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 23 from the Q
- 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 27 from the Q
- FINAL TALLY: 1265 total players, 144 from the Q
- PERCENTAGE: 11.3%
OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/QMJHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 1 from the Q
- 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 0 from the Q
- 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 0 from the Q
- 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 1 from the Q
- 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from the Q
- 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 1 from the Q
- FINAL TALLY: 49 total players, 4 from the Q
- PERCENTAGE: 8.1%
The Oilers have taken four players from the QMJHL in six seasons, which is one player below league average. That’s a little misleading, though—the club’s first high pick from the Q in this era was Marco Roy.
- 2008: Phil Cornet 133rd overall (Jason Demers was chosen two rounds later)
- 2009: Olivier Roy 133rd overall (no Q players have emerged taken afterward)
- 2010: Jeremie Blaine 91st overall (no Q players have emerged taken afterward)
- 2013: Marco Roy 56th overall (no Q players have emerged taken afterward)
From last year’s post, I identified Roy:
- #20 R Marc-Olivier Roy: Skill winger posted good numbers.
Oilers clearly took him higher than I had him ranked, but it’s good we at least identified the player. I’m interested this season in finding the kids that the analytics department identifies as being valuable. Roy’s the template: Good offense on a good team, not the leader, but he contributes.
- Roy evens in draft year: 65GP, 16-25-41 .631
- Roy power play in draft year: 65GP, 13-13-26 .400
I don’t know what the line in the sand is in this range, but remain convinced that somewhere in here, some threshold based on points-per-game, quality of team and maybe progression after Christmas, offers us some real insight.
- Roy evens 13-14: 39GP, 8-16-24 .615
- Roy power play 13-14: 39GP, 5-5-10 .256
Interesting. Despite a dropoff in production, it looks like Roy suffers mostly due to lack of power-play opportunity/production. His even-strength numbers are in the range. I like Roy as a pick, and do think it’s interesting the club hasn’t signed him as a pro yet. It could be that they would prefer the cautious approach—another season in junior—to the Pitlick/Hamilton route taken under the Tambellini regime.
TOP DRAFT ELIGIBLES 2014, QMJHL
- L Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax. 49 goals in 63 games. That’s crazy production. The kicker is 55 assists, and that his goal-scoring—29 at even strength, 13 on the power play and seven short-handed—displays his range of skills. In my mind, he’s Jonathan Drouin one year later. Could be wrong, but it seems very similar.
- L Ivan Barbashev, Moncton. A solid offensive player, scored 25-43-68 in 48 GP with the Wildcats. He’s a quality playmaker and also has a good shot. I don’t know much about his play away from the puck, but he’s a solid first round pick based on the numbers.
- C Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Val d’Or. A two-way center, he’s aggressive and is a good skater. Even-strength numbers suggest a player: 65GP, 18-19-37, that’s very good production for a guy who didn’t appear to be getting an offensive push. The most interesting prospect on this list after Ehlers and Barbashev, he’s not far from Roy’s EV numbers a year ago. Could the Oilers be interested?
- C Alexandre Goulet, Charlottetown. A scoring center (66GP, 26-22-48), I like his 21 even-strength goals and his 51% FO percentage. Interesting player, Edmonton may be wise to take him late if available. His EV totals: 66GP, 21-17-38, which is very close to a Roy match. Interesting.
- C Daniel Audette, Sherbrooke. Not many fans based on draft projection, not sure why. Draft eligible leads his team in scoring? Good arrow. Draft eligible has 3.29 shots per game? Good arrow. 68GP, 13-24-35 at evens, 68GP, 7-30-37 on the power play. I like him plenty, Audette’s going to get crushed at the draft because he’s 5.08, 177 but this is a really good prospect. A May 1996, either there’s something I’m missing or this is a player.
- D Alexis Vanier, Baie-Comeau. Huge defender whose bio will instantly remind some (me) of Samuel Morin from one season ago. Kyle Woodlief: His puckhandling and offensive game are more advanced than Samuel Morin (the gigantic defenseman who went 11th overall to Philadelphia in last June’s draft) at the same stage last season. So, safe to say Vanier is becoming one of this season’s more intriguing packages of size and ability on the blue line. Ended his season in a slump (21GP, 0-5-5 after starting 40GP, 15-16-31) but showed enough to be a first round contender.
- R Vaclav Karabacek, Gatineau. Another throwback winger who’ll dig for pucks and has enough skill to cash. He could end up winning that checking role, the guy who can score 12-15 and not kill you 5×5, on the Oilers down the line. 65GP, 15-17-32 at evens.
- G Mason McDonald, Charlottetown. I didn’t even know Charlottetown had a team, but their starting goalie is draft eligible. .907SP in the regular season, but has to have been noticed posting a .930SP at the recent U-18 World Juniors. Lanky goalie with quickness according to Elite Prospects.
- C Danny Moynihan, Halifax. This is a very interesting prospect. Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme: “(Danny) has a lot of speed, and brings good offence with that speed. He has a complete game.” Over 50% on the dot, his EV numbers (68GP, 8-10-18) aren’t crazy good but I’m not sure how much playing time he was getting—that Mooseheads team is loaded up front.
- G Louis-Philippe Guindon, Drummondville. Workhorse goalie had a .905SP this season, which put him just outside the top 10.
- L Alexis Pepin, Gatineau. He’s 6.02, 238 and scored some (60GP 17-17-34)—23GP, 9-8-17 after a midseason trade to Gatineau. Future Considerations: Pepin is a hulking two-way winger who uses his size to protect the puck as he drives to the net. He has the shot to capitalize on scoring chances and the strength to win battles and play a physical game. His head for the game currently moves faster than his feet do though. (November 2013)
- D Matt Murphy, Halifax. He has size and can move the puck, the boxcars look good and there’s some nice things. He was eligible last season, and was not selected. Woodlief: As much as we like his skating, size and physical play, his decision-making is starting to make us wonder. He makes at least a couple of bonehead passes per game.
- C Francis Perron, Rouyn-Noranda. 68GP, 16-39-55 and on the power play 68GP, 3-22-25—meaning he wasn’t delivering a lot at even strength this season (68GP, 10-16-26) for a forward.
- D Olivier Leblanc, Saint John. Smooth skating defenseman with some offense (56GP, 7-26-33), he must be a helluva power-play quarterback (56GP, 6-18-24 with the man advantage). No idea if he can play defense.
- C Julien Pelletier, Cape Breton. Skill center delivered 67GP, 25-25-50 this season, he’ll need to improve those numbers markedly to be a legit NHL prospect. Skating issues mentioned here and there, his offense is on par with Phil Cornet at the same age. Being a center gives him some extra value, he had 12EV and 11PP goals this season—good in a way, but you’d like better EV performance.
- L Julien Nantel, Rouyn-Noranda. Two-way winger scoring at .5 points-per-game in junior, there aren’t a lot of impact players who begin life this way. Still, we don’t know the TOI and his reputation includes some defensive aspects.
- C Clark Bishop, Cape Breton. On line scouting reports talk about work ethic, he appears to be shy of skill. Which is weird, because his offense (56GP, 14-19-33) came on all three disciplines: evens (56GP, 5-15-20), on the power play (56GP, 7-3-10), penalty-kill (56GP, 2-1-3). You don’t expect a lesser-skill prospect to score half of his goals on the power play.
- G Julio Billia, Chicoutimi. Starting goalie for his team (.894), was also solid in his U-18 appearance for Canada recently.
- D Daniel Walcott, Blaineville-Boisbriand. Puck moving defender, 20-years old, his bio reads like Marc-Andre Bergeron with half the offense.
- G Keven Bouchard, Val d’Or. Had an .887SP in a backup role on a strong team.
Last season was a terrific year for the QMJHL, this season may see (15 of the first 60 picks a year ago were from the Q, including Roy) a reduction in players chosen. Still, there are some interesting players. Ehlers and Barbashev are quality, Vanier won’t get past No. 40, and I’d count Aube-Kubel, Goulet, Audette, Karabacek and McDonald as worthwhile investments.