ENTRY DRAFT ’14: OILERS AND THE WHL

The Edmonton Oilers love homegrown talent. The WHL has been producing quality talent over the last six seasons, but the Oilers are gobbling it up at close to twice the clip of the other NHL teams. Is this wise?

NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/WHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 33 from the WHL.
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 32 from the WHL.
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 33 from the WHL
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 43 from the WHL
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 31 from the WHL
  • 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 37 from the WHL
  • FINAL TALLY: 1265 total players, 209 from the WHL
  • PERCENTAGE: 16.5%

OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/WHL PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 3 from the WHL.
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from the WHL.
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 3 from the WHL.
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 4 from the WHL.
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from the WHL.
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 2 from the WHL.
  • FINAL TALLY: 49 total players, 14 from the WHL.
  • PERCENTAGE: 28.6%

A normal number for Edmonton during these years would be 8 players drafted from the WHL, they have 14. Put another way, if you flush Edmonton’s contributions to the last six drafts, the NHL is using WHL kids 16.0% per cent of the time. Edmonton’s devotion to the dub is significant, and the players acquired include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, David Musil, Mitch Moroz and three last season—Jackson Houck, Ben Betker and Greg Chase. Those three, taken 94th, 158th and 188th overall, represent real value. The Oilers also selected some genuine clunkers, Cameron Abney, Curtis Hamilton, Jordan Bendfeld, and others.

A note about last year’s list, which is here. I had two Oilers picks:

  • #13 C Greg Chase: Nice combination of skill and grit.
  • #16 R Jackson Houck: Impressive player, physical and skilled.

And it does make me wonder a little about the WHL being undervalued. If Greg Chase can last that late—a kid named Vermin was taken two spots before—then I do wonder about the OHL bias. It’s probably a good idea to keep this post handy, chances are we’ll see a couple (well, maybe one, Oilers don’t have many picks) WHL men. I bet they take the goalie from this list.

TOP DRAFT ELIGIBLES 2014, WHL

  1. C Sam Reinhart, Kootenay: He’s a wonderful prospect. Reinhart’s power-play totals (60 GP, 12 G, 28 A)  and his even-strength numbers (60GP, 22-41-63) are top drawer, and the things he doesn’t possess can’t obscure the talent. A worthy No. 1 overall, he’d be a steal at No. 3.
  2. C Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert: Music! Finally, a big No. 1 center falls to the Oilers. Fans are divided on this player, but it has more to do with the quality of the other players available than anything Draisaitl lacks. His even strength totals (64GP, 25-37-62) are in the range with Reinhart, and his power-play numbers (64GP, 12-28-40) are also close. I suspect 10 years from now we’ll know the answer to these 1-4 questions, but the math is so close it’s really impossible to make a strong argument for one over another. Unless you’re on the internet.
  3. L Jake Virtanen, Calgary: 45 goals led the draft-eligibles ranked near the top of the draft, and he’s a physical winger with size. Has surgery ahead, it might impact his draft number but I still think he’s quality. Remember Willi Plett? This guy is miles similar.
  4. D Haydn Fleury, Red Deer: There’s plenty of talk that he’ll go Top 10 overall, so my ranking may seem steep. I don’t see him as an offensive juggernaut, and don’t put a massive amount of value on the defensive side of this player. He might develop, Fleury is an awesome skater, but there are a dozen forwards in this draft I prefer and he’s probably 15-20 overall in terms of actual value in this year’s draft. Unless he’s Lidstrom in coverage, he’ll go too high.
  5. D Julius Honka, Swift Current: He might be my favorite player outside the top 5 overall. Honka is a skilled puck mover but he can also play defense. Alhough no one appears to be giving him credit in print, I give him huge marks for coming over to the WHL in order to prove he can play in a violent league. I believe he’ll go first round.
  6. L Nikita Scherbak, Saskatoon: Wildly underrated player, I see him as a possible Top 20 selection. 54GP, 26-43-69 and he plays a rugged game. Finished 35 points ahead of the second place scorer on the Blades.
  7. R Connor Bleackley, Red Deer: These players always remind me of the 70s Habs. Recent editions include Colby Armstrong and Curtis Hamilton—tradition wingers with enough skill to do damage and enough grit to stand on their own. I’d love to see Edmonton take this player, but he’ll be gone by No. 30.
  8. C John Quenneville, Brandon: A nice offensive center who flourished in the postseason. He’s a skill guy, under the radar a little but a sure fire second round selection this summer. His offense (61GP, 25-33-58) was solid, he went 7GP, 1-1-2 at the U-18s. I like him.
  9. D Dysin Mayo, Edmonton: I love the kid, bet MacT does too. He’s got game breaking speed and no fear (and that might hurt his number) but he’s crazy good with the puck. If the Oilers pick him draft day, assume I’m doing cartwheels. Woodlief: Coaches trusted young defenseman with top minutes down the stretch, and he produced regularly on offense while cleaning up own zone positioning.
  10. C Chase De Leo, Portland: Terrific player, I think he might go in the second round if a team has been paying attention. He isn’t Nic Petan, who will make NHL teams regret passing on him as soon as next season. De Leo is a player though, I’d be completely satisfied if the Oilers jumped up and took him in the second round this summer.
  11. L Brett Pollock, Edmonton: Skill-winger looked very good during the postseason but flagging now. I like his bio, decent size, and Woodlief liked him when Pollock was hot: Continues to push our perception of what his offensive ceiling might be at the next level. Has been an extremely consistent producer all season despite playing most often in a limited checking role.
  12. D Brycen Martin, Swift Current: Reliable type, his value would have been far higher in 1975. I have no idea about his skating, and he’ll go too high (second round) but if teams kept passing him up through No. 75 I bet he’d be good value. Here’s the trouble projecting him as an offensive player: He went 76GP, 6-31-37 overall but 3-21-24 came on the power play and he won’t play there. So, it becomes 76GP, 3-10-13 at evens, and that’s not something you buy in the second round.
  13. D Travis Sanheim, Calgary: 6.03, 181 and Kyle Woodlief really likes him: love his combination of size, skating, puck skills and shot. He looks like about 10 others guys by the math, but I do trust  Red Line to tell me the truth. I don’t think he’ll deliver a lot of offense, but suspect the same is true for Fleury and Martin.
  14. C Jayce Hawreluk, Brandon: Kyle Woodlief: Fierce competitor keyed Brandon’s first-round upset with 10 points in four games. Quietly outstanding all season and we’re surprised how little prospect love he gets. He had a nice season, doubt he gets much love but could be a late round selection.
  15. C Brayden Point: An impressive offensive player (72GP, 36-55-91) and he has all kinds of fun things like great faceoff ability. Showed well during the season and clearly is a quality playmaker at this level. He’s 5.09, 175 and I would absolutely love to see him as an Oiler.
  16. C Luke Philp, Kootenay: Woodlief: Got first-line minutes when Sam Reinhart left for the world juniors, and his confidence with the puck has been skyrocketing ever since. Philp’s boxcars are too good to ignore (71GP, 31-46-77), unless he’s an awful skater.
  17. L Justin Kirkland, Kelowna: Has some skill (68GP, 17-31-48) and a ‘projectable frame’ (6.03, 189) and he contributed in all three disciplines. I haven’t read enough about him to know about skating, etc, but he’s an interesting player just using math.
  18. D Aaron Irving, Edmonton: His stock is falling, as the young man has been moving down the OK depth chart. I guess I saw him good, but for me the speed and skill make Irving a worthy prospect. He might fall to the fourth round based on spring performance.
  19. C Colby Cave, Swift Current: Kyle Woodlief: He is worth a selection if only for the multidimensional game he brings every night, but now his point production has eclipsed anything we ever expected from him. He’s on pace for a 40-goal, 80-point campaign, which would double last year’s output. We think NHL clubs will have a hard time ignoring that. Finished 72GP, 33-37-70 and he’s certainly a prospect of interest. 1994.
  20. L Richard Nejezchleb, Brandon: His boxcars caught my eye and then this guy compared him to Tomas Holmstrom so now I’m plenty curious about him.
  21. G Jordan Papirny, Brandon: I wouldn’t include him (I’ll do final top 30s on the major leagues draft week) but he’s the best WHL goalie among draft eligibles and I do think Edmontoon would have interest. .900 all year, but that .914 in the playoffs turned heads, guaranteed.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Draisaitl and Papirny as Oilers after draft weekend.

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37 Responses to "ENTRY DRAFT ’14: OILERS AND THE WHL"

  1. Hammers says:

    We can’t complain on what the Oilers got Eberle & RNH both big time wins .My guess is both Reinhart & Drasatil will be there at #3 so I expect another from the west . Good Luck to the Oil Kings.

  2. Rondo says:

    Oilers can move up to #1 if they want Ekblad . Florida said they are willing to trade #1, perhaps they are thinking of taking a center and think Edmonton will pay for the move.

  3. OilClog says:

    Why do I see a Grif trade on draft day if they select his bro.

    Gags and Petry

    For

    Bailey and Grif.

    I don’t want to move Petry for Grif at all.. But. Petry is rfa and well Oilers suck at rfa mostly. And this whole damn OilKing uprising.. I can see being asked.

  4. OilClog says:

    Rondo:
    Oilers can move up to #1 if they want Ekblad.Florida said they are willing to trade #1, perhaps they are thinking of taking a centerand think Edmonton will pay for the move.

    Doesn’t make sense though, Buff doesn’t need Ekblad as bad as they need a C in their stable.

    If Florida wants a C and Edm wants Ekblad everything already seems to be set up for that. Panthers are going to what? Threaten to take Ekblad? Pass up on the C they really want? Doesn’t make sense.

  5. Rondo says:

    OilClog,

    Perhaps Florida have Bennett and Reinhart rated the same. Maybe even add Draisaitl to that group.

  6. jfry says:

    I saw a lot of sanheim this year. And we always stood out in a positive way. Really effective with his size from the corner to the slot. Always forcing the cycle behind the net and to the other side, never in front. I like the kid plenty and think he has a little more offense than he showed this year.

    Fwiw

  7. Logan91 says:

    Rondo:
    OilClog,

    Perhaps Floridahave Bennett and Reinhart rated the same.

    If Florida picks a centre it will be a more offensive player (Bennett). Not one person on Florida got over 40 points last season, they need offence.

  8. Rondo says:

    Logan91,

    Draisaitl 64 games 105 pts

    Reinhart 60 games 105 pts

    Bennett 57 games 91 points

  9. oilgreg says:

    Just as Irving\s stock is falling, I would suggest that Edgars Kulda’s stock is raising. I would not be surprised to see him go well ahead of his Central Scouting ranking.

  10. godot10 says:

    OilClog:
    Why do I see a Grif trade on draft day if they select his bro.

    Gags and Petry

    For

    Bailey and Grif.

    I don’t want to move Petry for Grif at all.. But. Petry is rfa and well Oilers suck at rfa mostly. And this whole damn OilKing uprising.. I can see being asked.

    The Islanders didn’t pay MacDonald because they are relying on Griffin Reinhart being ready.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Ranking the top wingers
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2074139-ranking-the-10-best-wingers-in-the-2014-nhl-draft

    There are some beauties. Wish there was a way to get a center AND Dal Colle or Ritchie.

  12. gogliano says:

    Florida can always swap with Calgary if they want a center. They’d be practically guaranteed one of the three top centers. What would Calgary do with the #1?

    FLA dealing to another team who would take Ekblad is enough of a threat that if EDM really want him they can force EDM’s hand (unless they have a clear favorite — but then why deal?). I don’t think giving up value for #1 is a good idea but even if both FLA and BUF are set on taking a C Ekblad could still be off the board at #3.

  13. Lowetide says:

    gogliano:
    Florida can always swap with Calgary if they want a center.They’d be practically guaranteed one of the three top centers.What would Calgary do with the #1?

    FLA dealing to another team who would take Ekblad is enough of a threat that if EDM really want him they can force EDM’s hand (unless they have a clear favorite — but then why deal?).I don’t think giving up value for #1 is a good idea but even if both FLA and BUF are set on taking a C Ekblad could still be off the board at #3.

    i think the Flames might take Nylander No. 1. Matty had an article on it, makes sense to me.

  14. rickithebear says:

    Do not care about league.
    want the best players for the lowest picks.

    Establish quality players for low pick value.

    one example is .20 GPG and .30 PPg 18 year old players from Russia.

    History says they are 1st line Forwards.

    You know my list from 2000 on.
    but the idea is to get those players as low as possible.
    when i look at the draft history.
    the best value.

    Getting 2 of russias best from the last two draft eligible years in the 3rd round is a steal.
    Getting one of 3 18 year old WHL forwards top 20 in Goals; points; +/-
    Petan
    Bjorkstrand
    Chase in the 7th round.is a steal.

    Getting a 15 year top 15 goal scoring forward with the 22 nd pick when you hope to maybe get one in the top 3 of a draft is a steal.

    Getting what might be the best Defensive Defenceman in his draft at 46 is a steal.

    the gems are there.
    you take them from europe were MSM and league bias says you get better 1st round caliber in Rd 2 to 4 cause the NHL has largely picked over the NA leagues.

    you get them from NA leagues were scouting so over analyses flaws that MSM bias affects rational lists.

    i look A SMB drafting team driven agenda was in place from 2008 to 2010.

    Luckily we are clearly chasing the best in any way possible.

    Get an Advantage over the competition.

  15. Lowetide says:

    RTB: Let me ask you, without a 2nd and 3rd, is the best policy Europe after round 1?

  16. godot10 says:

    Lowetide:
    RTB: Let me ask you, without a 2nd and 3rd, is the best policy Europe after round 1?

    Two words.

    Greg Chase.

    One should never be too dogmatic about anything, well except for one thing! -).

  17. sliderule says:

    I would trust the OHL and Euro scouts way more than whl scouts for later picks.

    Marincin and Gernat came from Europe and Reider from OHL.

    In recent years the oiler later picks from whl have been busts.

    Chase may change that bit it’s early for him.

  18. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    I would trust theOHL and Euro scouts way more than whl scouts for later picks.

    Marincin and Gernat came from Europe and Reider from OHL.

    In recent years the oiler later picks from whl have been busts.

    Chase may change that bit it’s early for him.

    See Godot’s post.

  19. David says:

    sliderule:
    I would trust theOHL and Euro scouts way more than whl scouts for later picks.

    Marincin and Gernat came from Europe and Reider from OHL.

    In recent years the oiler later picks from whl have been busts.

    Chase may change that bit it’s early for him.

    Marincin and Gernat were drafted out of the WHL were they not?

  20. David says:

    Personally I’m a huge fan of taking WHL boys and especially Oil Kings. I would love to get Mayo and Irving this draft.

  21. speeds says:

    David: Marincin and Gernat were drafted out of the WHL were they not?

    Neither was drafted out of the WHL, though both played there in their first season post-draft.

  22. G Money says:

    When I did my comparison of draft success OHL vs WHL (http://www.coppernblue.com/2014/4/24/5650132/draft-success-ohl-vs-whl), the big picture data certainly suggests that the OHL has a slight success edge in the first round or two, but starting at about pick 80 or so, the edge – still slight but persistent – kicks over to the WHL.

    This suggests to me that teams, especially Western teams that should have a scouting edge in the WHL, should be keenly on the lookout for late pick WHL gems.

    There are more Greg Chases out there to be had, I’m certain.

  23. David says:

    speeds: Neither was drafted out of the WHL, though both played there in their first season post-draft.

    I see, thanks.

  24. David says:

    I know Rex along with others has been a supporter of drafting Kulda. Initially I was against it simply cause of his age-Kulda was draft eligible last year with a late birthday for that draft. But man the guy has game! I was thinking he’d be a great 7th round pick up but maybe with the amount of playoff and Memorial Cup success he’s had other teams might be thinking the same thing.

    At what point should Kulda be considered in this draft? 5th round? 6th? Or 7th?

  25. TheOtherJohn says:

    Any one know why Greg Chase had zero minutes played in the playoffs? OKC played 3 games and saw he played none of those playoff games. Found that surprising because Chase is clearly a top notch Oiler prospect.

    AHL site miss reporting games played?

    Also noted Musil played 2/3 games and Gernat 1/3 games: were they injured?

  26. TheOtherJohn says:

    Kulda plays like the Everready bunny…..he just keeps going and going…. Tons of energy. Decent skill

  27. Lowetide says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Any one know why Greg Chase had zero minutes played in the playoffs? OKC played 3 games and saw he played none of those playoff games. Found that surprising because Chase is clearly a top notch Oiler prospect.

    AHL site miss reporting games played?

    Also noted Musil played 2/3 games and Gernat1/3 games: were they injured?

    Chase played some regular season games, but they (iirc) employed Khaira and then the guys who came back from the Oilers. Don’t quote me, this is by memory.

  28. TheOtherJohn says:

    Yup, that also explains Musil and Gernat sitting as well. Nelson playing his best players to win. Chase had 5 games played in AHL 1 goal no assists. Testimonial JJK played all 3 playoff games

  29. TheOtherJohn says:

    Guess that also means Nelson thinks Khaira is much better prospect

  30. David says:

    Sorry to be hijacking the tread to Oil Kings but with all the swirling debates about should the Oilers go after Griffin Reinhart I thought I’d chime in. I’ve been against it primarily because we have Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse, Simpson, Gernat, Musil, and Oesterle as left shooting D’s.

    It has also been called into question how much Offense Reinhart would bring at the NHL level and just where would he fit in a depth chart? 3rd? 4th?

    I’m starting to wonder though about just how good is he? And it’s not something I could answer but how would Reinhart compare to what guys like Pietrangelo were in their draft +2 year in junior? Cause Reinhart is a beast out there. I unfortunately haven’t been able to watch the Memorial Cup but it seems like he’s getting the job done against the top threats. And against Portland I did see him play and he was unbeatable. Won virtually every puck battle, made fantastic plays and logged massive minutes. Nothing got by him. Could he be an elite defensive defenseman at the NHL level? Or will he be Ladislav Smid?

  31. Lowetide says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Guess that also means Nelson thinks Khaira is much better prospect

    That seems reasonable, Khaira is the older player, probably better able to handle the AHL.

  32. rickithebear says:

    Lt; each year is different.
    MSM needsa hitch each draft year.

    Lowetide:
    RTB: Let me ask you, without a 2nd and 3rd, is the best policy Europe after round 1?

    You take the BPA dependent on Scounting Board.

    Based on Draft day comments of Board rank for Gernat and structuring a trade of our third pick to get the 2 russians.

    The Oilers board is pretty damn good. when you get 2 of the best juniors from a mens league and a countries youngest olympic Dman.

    I like there approach and with Rail’s contacts in the federal hockey districts of russia. the guy must have knowledge of the next 10 years of russias best.

    I see 4 i would chase: in KHL; SHL; CHZ EXLIgga.

  33. vangolf says:

    LT, I love your product and it provides me a welcome respite from day to day drudgery…but the conclusivity with which you assign Draisatl to the Oilers is starting to annoy me. I really hope it is more than Matheson tweet you are going off of.

  34. Lowetide says:

    vangolf:
    LT, I love your product and it provides me a welcome respite from day to day drudgery…but the conclusivity with which you assign Draisatl to the Oilers is starting to annoy me.I really hope it is more than Matheson tweet you are going off of.

    lol, sorry about that, I use it for convenience. There are four guys who EDM could take and I don’t think it would make any difference. As for Matty’s tweet and my belief about what the Oilers do at #3, well the tweet was from March and they must have had meetings since that day. My opinion doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme, but if it makes you feel any better I have Bennett #1 overall.

  35. sumaclab says:

    Without picks in the second and 3rd rounds the Oilers are going to be hard pressed to pull a Kulda out of the hat.

    Dysin Mayo I could see going in the 3rd/round.If were lucky the 4th.

    The focus on OKings and the Storm players going into the draft will be huge. Valdor players did themselves a favor with their play also.Knight players are a factory for the NHL.

    I would love to walk away from this draft with Eckblad and Draisatl. How that happens I do not know.

    Is Carolina open to a trade? The Isles? Anaheim? The Leafs? Philly?

    The Leafs are the team I would target.They faded in the end and after watching the Canadians climb there will be a sense of desperation to do something big.

    I believe regardless of what came out of Hextalls mouth that there is a deal to be made bewteen the Flyers and the Oilers. Their defence is slow and cannot move the puck with any purpose to their forwards. The Oilers have a plethora of “young” dmen. The Oilers need a Coburn. He isn’t the fastest dman but we need a guy who can shut down the C big boys like Kopitar and Carter.Paired with a JS it my be what the Oilers need.

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