OPENING DAY DRAFT COVERAGE: MACT AND THE DRAFT

The Edmonton Oilers added a new GM last spring, and Craig MacTavish did impact the draft table decisions. How much? We don’t know. The club had been associated with Valeri Nichushkin and Darnell Nurse in the hours leading up to the draft, and MacT’s conversation with James Duthie in the moments after the selection suggested heavy involvement.

A few things about the MacT-MBS tandem that we can look for this season:

  • building up the middle (G-D-C) was a priority, with 2 defensemen and 4 centers selected.
  • Russia becoming more of a factor. Two Russians, including fast tracked Bogdan Yakimov, were chosen.
  • The WHL scouts were heard (Jackson Houck, Greg Chase, Ben Betker) and based on results we could see more and earlier dub selections.
  • MacT talked about advanced stats and advice given in the selection of Marco Roy, and that template may be in use this season.
  • appeared to act on a tip from Andy Murray in selecting Aidan Muir.

Let’s look at these issues one at a time.

  1. Building up the middle. Edmonton’s first pick, third overall, is very likely going to be devoted to a D or C. They don’t pick again until 91st, and I’m wondering if they might look at a goalie—say, Alex Nedeljkovic—at that spot.
  2. Russia! By the time Yakimov and Slepyshev were chosen, you could argue they were undervalued. I think the Oilers—who pick 3rd, 91st, 110th  overall,  130th overall, 137th overall, 153rd overall and 183rd overall—may be looking Russia at 110 and 130 (or so). Kids like Alexander Sharov and Ilya Sorokin might be available and worth the investment.
  3. WHL scouts! I think Draisaitl is well loved based on what we’ve been told, but there are some others worthy of pondering. Travis Sanheim, Brett Pollock, Adam Helewka and Dysin Mayo may be available (although the club could really use a 2nd round selection).
  4. Advanced stats seemed to be at work last draft. 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.” I don’t want to go too deeply into this, but wouldn’t Brett Pollock be a good candidate from this year’s group? I think he would.
  5. Andy Murray tips. I wonder if a late pick on Matt Iacopelli  or Paul Stoykewych is worthwhile?

It’s all fun, and it’s back! Consider this the official beginning of draft coverage on this blog. Are you ready?

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44 Responses to "OPENING DAY DRAFT COVERAGE: MACT AND THE DRAFT"

  1. BasketKate says:

    WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?! ;)

    I can’t wait… when well all this exciting playoff nonsense be over? Let’s get to the REAL stuff! Draft Day, Free Agency, blockbuster summer trades…pre-season hype*.

    *dread & uneasiness

  2. Rondo says:

    I still think Nichushkin quitting at the combine affected MacT’s decision.

  3. Derek says:

    If Edmonton chose Draisaitl with Reinhardt on the board left to Calgary because of *SIZE* I might shit a brick or two. Maybe an entire 19th century house.

  4. Rondo says:

    Lowetide,

    Who do you think is #1 -# 4 on Oilers list?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    Lowetide,

    Who do you thinkis #1 -# 4 on Oilers list?

    Well, I have no idea, but

    1. Ekblad
    2. Reinhart
    3. Draisaitl
    4. Bennett

  6. Rondo says:

    Lowetide,

    On your mock draft Oilers pick Draisaitl and Reinhart is still available?

  7. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    Lowetide,

    On your mock draft Oilers pick Draisaitland Reinhart is still available?

    Sure, but it’s a mock, not reality. I do think the Oilers would take Reinhart over Draisiatl, but suspect they would take the German before Bennett.

  8. Tarkus says:

    Lowetide: Well, I have no idea, but

    1. Ekblad
    2. Reinhart
    3. Draisaitl
    4. Bennett

    It would be fitting if the German went at #3…because if he goes at 2, he’d have to change his name to “Zweisaitl”.

  9. sliderule says:

    They will take Draisatl if Ekblad is gone.

    I have a really bad feeling about this player.

    The oilers have drafted mostly small skilled players and now in an effort to get bigger will not select the best player available.

    They had better be sure on the pick as other than Lowe all their jobs will be at risk.

  10. kooler says:

    Which one of these drafts is the closet to a Getzlaf or a Kopitar?

  11. Lowetide says:

    kooler:
    Which one of these drafts is the closet to a Getzlaf or a Kopitar?

    Bennett, sans size.

  12. kooler says:

    Can’t help watch the two of them face off and want one of them. Maybe I’m wrong but does LA bring up their kids staight to the 4th and climb the ladder. They are skilled and work hard.

  13. Rebilled says:

    sliderule,

    Sam or Sam please. or Ekblad.

  14. Rondo says:

    Wait and see how Draisaitl does at the Worlds if he makes the German team.

    Wait and see how the players look at the combine and their interviews.

  15. Woodguy says:

    . Are you ready?

    Bah!

  16. godot10 says:

    kooler:
    Which one of these drafts is the closet to a Getzlaf or a Kopitar?

    Which one of these drafts is closest to Toews or Kane?

    Okay, Eberle and Yak should cover off Kane. But why just Getzlaf and Kopitar, when Toews is the best player of the bunch.

  17. vangolf says:

    Lowetide: Sure, but it’s a mock, not reality. I do think the Oilers would take Reinhart over Draisiatl, but suspect they would take the German before Bennett.

    This makes no sense. Your mock has Sam R available when the Oil pick and Bennett gone.

  18. Lowetide says:

    vangolf: This makes no sense.Your mock has Sam R available when the Oil pick and Bennett gone.

    It’s a mock draft. In this specific case, I followed the Jim Matheson tweet in choosing Draisaitl to the Oilers. That doesn’t mean I believe it, or that they’ll do it.

  19. Zangetsu says:

    I wonder if the oil are building up draisaitl. It wouldn’t surprise me to see it go reinhart then bennett. I have a feeling macT would prefer one of those two centers, and is trying to do what he can to make sure they’re there. I think the oil’s list is:
    Reinhart
    Bennett
    Eckblad
    Draisaitl

  20. Death By Misadventure says:

    I’m excited for this LT! I’m a long time reader but mostly a lurker that comes to comment only around draft time. Or as I like to call it the Oilers Stanley Cup.

    Anyone else get the feeling that Draisaitl might be the classics draft dropper? Big man with questions about skating, movement, and agility? Kinda reminds me of Couturier and Grigorenko of recent past drafts.

    Both guys were in the conversation of top prospects for their respective drafts and yet those questions led to them both falling to 8 and 12 respectively.

    Please correct me if I’m crazy here, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Draisaitl available around that 8 spot with Mackenzie and Macguire both looking stunned at the camera.

    Lastly, to all the fathers out there staying at home on a Saturday night, it’s scotch time. In moderation of course.

  21. Death By Misadventure says:

    Lowetide,

    I really haven’t been paying much attention yet to the draft but if there’s one thing I”m 100% certain on (as certain as someone can be about 18 year old kids competing in a mens’ sport) is that

    Reinhart >>>>> Draisaitl.

    Not disagreeing with your mock LT. Just a general comment.

  22. Death By Misadventure says:

    Tarkus,

    As someone who speaks about 10 words and 3 sentences in German, well done sir.

  23. VanOil says:

    Sobering thought, both of the Oilers projected starting goalies were not considered good enough to stay on as backups for the two teams playing tonight.

  24. Younger Oil says:

    With all the polarized opinions about who to draft, regardless of who the Oilers take #3, I really hope that every single fan is able to realize that the Oilers are getting a really, really good player that fills a big hole.

    It would be really unfortunate if half of the fanbase spends the next decade pointing out every single mistake whoever they draft makes just because they wanted another player drafted. I know there are going to be comparisons no matter what, but I just hope whoever we draft doesn’t get run out of town because a bunch of armchair GMs who have only seen highlight packages and scouting reports think they know better than the scouting staff.

    I know this is probably an overreaction, but I dunno, this draft seems a lot more polarizing than any one in recent memory. There’s a lot of pent up aggression and frustration in this fanbase after missing the playoffs for 8 years and counting, and I just hope that none of that anger will be directed to the player we take 3rd overall when he does not immediately propel this team into the playoffs.

  25. Woodguy says:

    VanOil:
    Sobering thought, both of the Oilers projected starting goalies were not considered good enough to stay on as backups for the two teams playing tonight.

    Scrivens was an expiring contract and Jones is young, cheap and good.

    Ducks have an embarrassment of riches at goaltending.

    They’ll probably let Hiller walk (UFA this summer), and still have Andersen and Gibson on RFA contracts.

    Both teams deep at G and they were the odd men out.

    Think of Ben Bishop.

    Was traded as the odd man out in STL (who now need a goalie) 2 years ago, then traded out of OTT for basically the same reason 1 year ago, now he’s a Vezina candidate.

  26. G Money says:

    VanOil,

    Woodguy,

    Yeah, I’d say a more accurate statement was they were too expensive to stay on given their likely role as backups. And given the mercurial nature of goaltending (Devan says hi), for all we know, both teams may come to regret it a la St Louis.

  27. VanOil says:

    G Money:
    VanOil,
    Woodguy,

    a more accurate statement was they were too expensive

    Don’t ruin my pessimism with your logic.

    I actually like the price point and ‘two headed’ nature of the goal tenders for next year. If you are going to flip a coin it seems better to have more flips than less and to be flipping quarters rather than Toonies. Now, I am missing late nights at the Scona Hotel for some reason.

  28. Ducey says:

    There are a few other things we have learned from the draft last year.

    1) They did not have their decision on their first pick until that day/ week. If you believe the story of Katz coming in late on Yak vs Murray, then that would be 2 years in a row.

    2) MacT will be active. He made multiple trades down, was trying to use picks for bodies

    3) No small guys need apply. The Kellen Jones, Tobias Rieder era of taking a flyer on a small guy is likely over. MacT talked about changing the draft philosophy. I think he wants guys who can project into different roles. I think he likely looks at picking a small guy who isn’t good enough to play top 6 as a wasted pick. Besides you can just get these guys for free as amateur free agents.

    4) Its hard to say based on one draft, but there might be more of an emphasis on the CHL than under Tambo. Last year we got the 2 Russians and no Europeans. Something to watch anyway.

    5)Some dude we have never heard of will get plucked out of the BCHL.

  29. VanOil says:

    Sideburns really are an issue in Alberta: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-teen-banned-from-baseball-team-over-long-hair-1.2630402

    I thought it was just a Simpsons reference.

  30. admiralmark says:

    Younger Oil says:

    With all the polarized opinions about who to draft, regardless of who the Oilers take #3, I really hope that every single fan is able to realize that the Oilers are getting a really, really good player that fills a big hole.

    It would be really unfortunate if half of the fanbase spends the next decade pointing out every single mistake whoever they draft makes just because they wanted another player drafted. I know there are going to be comparisons no matter what, but I just hope whoever we draft doesn’t get run out of town because a bunch of armchair GMs who have only seen highlight packages and scouting reports think they know better than the scouting staff.

    I know this is probably an overreaction, but I dunno, this draft seems a lot more polarizing than any one in recent memory. There’s a lot of pent up aggression and frustration in this fanbase after missing the playoffs for 8 years and counting, and I just hope that none of that anger will be directed to the player we take 3rd overall when he does not immediately propel this team into the playoffs.

    Sad but very very true. Especially with cowtown picking right after. Some fans just cant be helped.

  31. speeds says:

    admiralmark:
    Younger Oil says:

    With all the polarized opinions about who to draft, regardless of who the Oilers take #3, I really hope that every single fan is able to realize that the Oilers are getting a really, really good player that fills a big hole.

    It would be really unfortunate if half of the fanbase spends the next decade pointing out every single mistake whoever they draft makes just because they wanted another player drafted. I know there are going to be comparisons no matter what, but I just hope whoever we draft doesn’t get run out of town because a bunch of armchair GMs who have only seen highlight packages and scouting reports think they know better than the scouting staff.

    I know this is probably an overreaction, but I dunno, this draft seems a lot more polarizing than any one in recent memory. There’s a lot of pent up aggression and frustration in this fanbase after missing the playoffs for 8 years and counting, and I just hope that none of that anger will be directed to the player we take 3rd overall when he does not immediately propel this team into the playoffs.

    Sad but very very true. Especially with cowtown picking right after. Some fans just cant be helped.

    Last year’s draft was pretty polarizing on this blog as I recall (I guess I’d have to go back and look, but I’m pretty sure the majority wanted Nichushkin at 7, and not by a small margin either – maybe I’m just extrapolating from my take at the time that Nichushkin was the BPA by enough that he should have been the selection), but it was pretty early in MacT’s tenure and I think people were more interested in seeing the rest of the summer vs. the draft. Additionally, there were more than a few that wanted MacT to draft a D, so that kind of muted things a bit IMO.

  32. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Last year’s draft was pretty polarizing on this blog as I recall (I guess I’d have to go back and look, but I’m pretty sure the majority wanted Nichushkin at 7, and not by a small margin either – maybe I’m just extrapolating from my take at the time that Nichushkin was the BPA by enough that he should have been the selection), but it was pretty early in MacT’s tenure and I think people were more interested in seeing the rest of the summer vs. the draft.Additionally, there were more than a few that wanted MacT to draft a D, so that kind of muted things a bit IMO.

    Hmmm. Seems to have been a little more balanced than you remember

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/06/oilers-at-7-darnell-nurse.html/comment-page-1#comments

  33. speeds says:

    Lowetide,

    Re-reading, in that particular thread, yes. There was a bit more fire in the thread immediately prior:

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/06/the-new-jersey-hair-splitting-convention.html

  34. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Lowetide,

    Re-reading, in that particular thread, yes. There was a bit more fire in the thread immediately prior:

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/06/the-new-jersey-hair-splitting-convention.html

    I think people generally felt he was a reasonable pick at that number.

  35. slopitch says:

    The reaction to the Neiderider and Scheider trades is quit interesting too. Oilers were still in on Schneider I know for a fact. I wonder how many people would rather have Nurse over Scheider. Its gonna be 2 years before we know what we have in Nurse. Still looks promising but I think he gets another year in junior followed by a year in the NHL adapting.

  36. speeds says:

    Lowetide,

    Well, what’s “reasonable”? No, Nurse was clearly not a well off-the-board pick, but it was also the general consensus of rankings that there was a reasonably clear tier of 7 players at the top, of which Nurse was not one. Yes, Nurse was near the top of the 2nd tier of players, and yes there was the odd ranking that had Nurse higher than 7th pre-draft. To some that may constitute reasonable, to some it may not, and to others (this group includes me) it leaned towards not reasonable with the understanding that info was missing that could have tipped it either way.

  37. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Lowetide,

    Well, what’s “reasonable”?No, Nurse was clearly not a well off-the-board pick, but it was also the general consensus of rankings that there was a reasonably clear tier of 7 players at the top, of which Nurse was not one.Yes, Nurse was near the top of the 2nd tier of players, and yes there was the odd ranking that had Nurse higher than 7th pre-draft.To some that may constitute reasonable, to some it may not, and to others (this group includes me) it leaned towards not reasonable with the understanding that info was missing that could have

    Yeah, I think that’s where we disagree. I had Nichushkin and Ristolainen ahead of Nurse, but felt and still feel that it was a reasonable plan. I suspect voices are getting louder because of Nichushkin’s brilliant season.

    Nurse will get his opportunity, and I believe waiting for that portion of the puzzle will be impossible for some.

  38. speeds says:

    Lowetide: Yeah, I think that’s where we disagree. I had Nichushkin and Ristolainen ahead of Nurse, but felt and still feel that it was a reasonable plan. I suspect voices are getting louder because of Nichushkin’s brilliant season.

    I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think my voice is getting any louder because of Nichushkin’s season. Nichushkin’s season might make it look as though the gap between him and Nurse has grown, and that should not affect how we look at the decision at the time it was made – you are correct on that front. I also think Nurse is an excellent prospect; that doesn’t mean I don’t think the Oilers made a mistake in passing on Nichushkin. Would you really not trade Nurse for Nichushkin today, if you were the GM and DAL would make that deal?

    Lowetide:Nurse will get his opportunity, and I believe waiting for that portion of the puzzle will be impossible for some.

    I don’t think the issue is my impatience (which, IMO, isn’t much of an issue for me). The five year rule is something excellent to keep in mind, and you are right that it is important to not be definitive this early – I have no crystal ball and it is certainly possible that, over time, Nurse ends up becoming a better pick in retrospect than Nichushkin would have been. But there was a gap, in VNs favor, at the time of the draft IMO, and it would be hard to argue it has narrowed after one year. Might that change in 4 more years? Sure. But, honestly, which is more likely at this point?

  39. Lowetide says:

    I’m not really sure what to say, beyond we clearly disagree on this issue.

  40. judgedrude says:

    godot10: Which one of these drafts is closest to Toews or Kane?

    Okay, Eberle and Yak should cover off Kane.But why just Getzlaf and Kopitar, when Toews is the best player of the bunch.

    Yes, but there is no way that you would ever get Toews at 3rd overall…………Oh?!

  41. speeds says:

    Lowetide,

    I don’t think we disagree about the issue of the draft pick at all. I think you and I both preferred Nichushkin at the draft, and both would prefer him now. Accurate?

    Where we disagree is either (a) how big the gap is/was between Nichushkin and Nurse and (b) how much benefit of the doubt we gave/give to the Oilers as a scouting group. I think it’s really (b) that we’re talking about.

  42. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Lowetide,

    I don’t think we disagree about the issue of the draft pick at all. I think you and I both preferred Nichushkin at the draft, and both would prefer him now.Accurate?

    Where we disagree is either (a) how big the gap is/was between Nichushkin and Nurse and (b) how much benefit of the doubt we gave/give to the Oilers as a scouting group.I think it’s really (b) that we’re talking about.

    I am always pleased when the Oilers draft “in the range” and Nurse was in that range. I’m not certain any benefit of the doubt is required for the Oilers or Nurse, considering:

    1. He was a candidate to make the team at 18
    2. Was (correctly) sent down
    3. Plays a more difficult position
    4. Kyle Dubas, SSM GM: “Relative to the competition he plays [against], he does extremely well. Far greater than 50 percent of the time, the puck is not in our end. To me, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. If we’re taking the other team’s best players and forcing them to play in their end and away from the puck, that’s a successful day. The quality of competition he’s faced is higher than anyone else in our league, especially among defencemen.”

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nurse-makes-good-on-promise-to-dominate-ohl/

    I believe it’s very easy to miss out on Nurse’s progress because it’s happening in junior. I’m certainly willing to wait until we see more of the picture

  43. speeds says:

    Like I’ve said a number of times, the fact that I prefer Nichushkin doesn’t mean Nurse is a bad prospect – I agree he’s a good one.

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