ENTRY DRAFT ’14: THE OILERS AND THE USA

The Edmonton Oilers scored big right after the 2006 Stanley run by drafting USHL defender Jeff Petry. Although the young defender paid off in a big way, the club has rarely returned to the American junior league.

NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/USA PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players,  53 from USA.
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 57 from USA.
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players,  52 from USA.
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 51 from USA.
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 53 from USA.
  • 2008 NHL draft,  211 total players, 42 from USA.
  • FINAL TALLY: 1265 total players, 308 from USA
  • PERCENTAGE: 24.3%

OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/USA PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL

  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 2 from USA
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from USA
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 0 from USA
  • FINAL TALLY: 49 total players, 6 from USA
  • PERCENTAGE: 12.2%

The Oiler use the USA about half as much as the other NHL teams, but have been more active in the last two seasons. I think you could make a very good case that they should be drafting more players out of the USHL, a league that (as you’ll see) is impacting the upper echelons of the draft.

THE AMERICANOS

  • D Troy Hesketh—Never pissed a drop after his draft day. Scout Mike Peluso was the scout who had a passion for him. He’s gone.
  • R Tyler Pitlick—Despite injury, he posted his most successful pro season. He may have a career after all, although how far he goes up the depth chart is an open question. Offense has not arrived with him in pro.
  • D Dillon Simpson—A most promising defender just graduated from one of the top flight hockey programs.
  • D Joey Laleggia—Undersized puck mover delivers offense consistently. One more year before turning pro.
  • D John McCarron—Big forward with some offense, reminds me of Colin McDonald as a college player.
  • L Aidan Muir—USHL winger, raw talent and years away. Ended the season well.

The Oilers saw their first NHL player from this group this season (Pitlick) and I’m betting Simpson won’t be far behind. Muir wasn’t drafted out of the USHL, but plays there now. As you’ll see, the Oilers ignore that league at their own peril. It’s a growing concern.

TOP PLAYERS FROM USA, 2014 DRAFT

  1. R Alex Tuch, USHL—Power forward with enough skill to play on a scoring line.
  2. L Sonny Milano, USHL—Skill winger who can make plays and score goals. Some defensive issues.
  3. L Dylan Larkin, USHL—Power forward impressed at the U-18 World Hockey Championships.
  4. C Nick Schmaltz, USHL—Creative center with quick hands.
  5. G Thatcher Demko, NCAA—A .935 save percentage is outstanding anywhere.
  6. D Josh Jacobs, USHL—Smooth two-way defenseman with size.
  7. R Austin Poganski, USHL—Intriguing scorer with size. Could surprise with draft number.
  8. D Jack Glover, USHL—Mobile two-way defender with size and passing ability.
  9. D Jack Dougherty, USHL—Defensive defenseman, good positional player. Good first pass.
  10. D Gavin Bayreuther, NCAA—Quality offensive defenseman, could be a sleeper pick.
  11. C Ryan Donato, USHS—Ted’s boy, intelligent skill F. Luedeke likes him.
  12. C Max Letunov, USHL—Impressive offensive player, tall and rail thin.
  13. D Ryan Collins, USHL—Huge defender, miles to go, but has talent. Impressive wingspan.
  14. D Ryan Mantha, USHL—Huge defenseman with some puck-handling ability. Work in progress.
  15. L Miles Gendron, USHS—Defender with size, some offensive touch. On his way to BCJHL.
  16. D Luc Snuggerud, USHS—Small two-way defender with skill.
  17. D Jonathan MacLeod, USHL—The new Scott Ferguson.
  18. C Shane Eiserman, USHL—Big, tough player who has power forward potential.
  19. C Anders Bjork, USHL—Two-way forward.

THE TOUCH LIST

Years ago, Kevin Prendergast (I think it was him) mentioned a ‘touch list’ to Guy Flaming. It’s (apparently) a list kept by the scouting director of ‘guys we really like who may not be high on anyone’s list’—I would compare it directly to baseball’s ‘draft and follow’ players. They may not be enough to warrant a pick now, but maybe a year down the road. Like if the Oilers had chosen Edgars Kulda with the Evan Campbell selection a year ago, that kind of thing.

I have a few chapters to go in this exercise (BCJHL, Czech) but wanted to create a ‘touch list’ of players I like who may never be drafted. Just for fun, to see if we can think along with NHL scouts. You’re welcome to add to the list, history tells us the posters on this blog have been right many times.

  • R Juuso Ikonen—Liked him a year ago, like him still. Small and skilled.
  • L Leon Bristedt—Remarkable offensive prospect, small and one assumes hunchback since no one talks about him.
  • R Yegor Korshkov: Tall, lanky scoring winger who has played on some National teams.
  • D Alexey Sleptsov—Two-way Russian defenseman playing in Moose Jaw.
  • L Edgars Kulda—Sure, looks obvious now.
  • R Rourke Chartier—Don’t know a thing about him, but he scored in a strong league and that’s a crazy cool name.
  • D Matt Murphy—Nice boxcars, works with my theory that guys with pedestrian names have a harder time getting noticed.
  • D Gavin Bayreuther—Interesting progression as a prospect.
  • C Pavel Kraskovsky—Picked out for this list by Younger Oil in the comments section. YO: He’s a 6’4”, 187lb Russian center, and one of the most appealing things about him is that he is the youngest player in this year’s draft I believe. His birthday is September 11, 1996. The more I look at him, the more I see Yakimov, and I’m a huge Yakimov fan. Yakimov’s birthday is October 4, 1994, so he’s essentially 2 years older than Kraskovsky, while only being one draft year apart. Here is a comparison of their 17 year old MHL seasons:

 

A note about my slotting of prospects. I understand that Dillon Simpson is Canadian, but he plays in a USA league. So, for our purposes nationality is not the issue, where said player is doing his work takes precedent.

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27 Responses to "ENTRY DRAFT ’14: THE OILERS AND THE USA"

  1. bucknuck says:

    Do you think that the resistance to drafting from the USA might be that they have a fear that the players will flee to US markets as soon as they are able? Maybe a hangover (however irrational) from the Todd Marchant, Doug Weight, and Bill Guerin days?

  2. Lowetide says:

    bucknuck:
    Do you think that the resistance to drafting from the USA might be that they have a fear that the players will flee to US markets as soon as they are able?Maybe a hangover (however irrational) from the Todd Marchant, Doug Weight, and Bill Guerin days?

    I don’t think that’s a huge worry, because the Oilers can afford to be competitive (they were unable with Weight) financially. I do think the organization has a tendency to undervalue Gilbert-Petry types, those wonderful American defensemen who are so good at moving the puck up.

    The last time they reached a crossroads with one of them (Gilbert), they traded him for a lesser defenseman straight up. I don’t expect improvement when they deal Petry, because the club values the Jason Smiths more.

    I hope to be proven wrong.

  3. Younger Oil says:

    There’s one player that I’m really, REALLY interested in, I think I’ve mentioned him a couple of times on here already, but Pavel Kraskovsky is a player I think is really overlooked, and is definitely worth a late round pick. He’s a 6’4”, 187lb Russian center, and one of the most appealing things about him is that he is the youngest player in this year’s draft I believe. His birthday is September 11, 1996. The more I look at him, the more I see Yakimov, and I’m a huge Yakimov fan. Yakimov’s birthday is October 4, 1994, so he’s essentially 2 years older than Kraskovsky, while only being one draft year apart. Here is a comparison of their 17 year old MHL seasons:

    Yakimov: 46, 15-10-25 (0.543 PPG)
    Kraskovsky: 39, 10-17-27 (0.692 PPG)

    He also got called up to play 8 KHL games, in which he got a goal, which is very impressive for a 17 year old. I believe he was ranked #149 on the midterm rankings, and for final rankings he was the 54 ranked skater from Europe (so on pace not to be drafted). I would say he has more potential than most late round picks, and would love to see the Oilers pick him if he has any desire to come to the NHL. Thoughts?

    Sources:

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=212441

    http://thehockeywriters.com/nhl-draft-war-room-nhl-central-scouting-final-rankings-combined/

    The second article is actually a pretty good read, I’m not sure anyone has posted it here before.

  4. jake70 says:

    From the USA, do you mean American players or any players drafted while in US based leagues? HNIC did that thing before game 1 where players coaches introduced themselves….a lot of Canadian born guys it seemed for LA.

  5. commonfan14 says:

    The craziest thing about that Gilbert trade was that they really weren’t at any kind of a crossroad with him. He was signed securely for another couple seasons and they sent him away for no reason.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Jake: A note about my slotting of prospects. I understand that Dillon Simpson is Canadian, but he plays in a USA league. So, for our purposes nationality is not the issue, where said player is doing his work takes precedent.

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Jake: A note about my slotting of prospects. I understand that Dillon Simpson is Canadian, but he plays in a USA league. So, for our purposes nationality is not the issue, where said player is doing his work takes precedent.

    Ha!

    that caught me up twice… in Sweden and Russia!

    hard to separate development league from nationality in the stupid brain. (of course, it doesn’t help that these damn kids hop from league to league sometimes).

    McCarron is interesting because he was drafted out of the NCAA but spent the 3 previous years in the USHL

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=117556

    I wonder if the Oilers had a scout watch him prior to his first year at Cornell… that would be valuable info for us…

    when do these kids pop on the radar? are they tracking them year over year through different leagues?

    ———
    In general, I think they’d be crazy to ignore the USHL. the Muir pick is an interesting one for that reason. I hope to see more (though Muir isn’t the best example of a draft victory… though he’s got years to go to prove himself).

  8. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: I don’t think that’s a huge worry, because the Oilers can afford to be competitive (they were unable with Weight) financially. I do think the organization has a tendency to undervalue Gilbert-Petry types, those wonderful American defensemen who are so good at moving the puck up.

    The last time they reached a crossroads with one of them (Gilbert), they traded him for a lesser defenseman straight up. I don’t expect improvement when they deal Petry, because the club values the Jason Smiths more.

    I hope to be proven wrong.

    </blockquote We need to remember it's not just the Oilers players that don't want to stay with us . It's happened to Ottawa , NYI , Florida , +++ and it makes no difference if there American or Euro/Russian .A player on average has about an 8-10 year career and those on the lower end in career years seem willing to play anywhere . Those in the 8-15 year range are typically your top players who will get the bigger bucks and are more likely to choose the team they want.to play for .

  9. B-Dog says:

    So I was reminiscing of the Oilers teams of my childhood when the name of one of my favorite players came to mind, Zdeno Ciger. Do you guy know why he went home to Slovakia after having his best season in the NHL as an Oiler?

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    who’s the poster really into Brock Nelson again?

    I’m giving him and Bailey an extended look at the rig tonight. If there’s anything you want me to address or include let me know.

  11. VanOil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    who’s the poster really into Brock Nelson again?

    I’m giving him and Bailey an extended look at the rig tonight. If there’s anything you want me to address or include let me know.

    Me

  12. VanOil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I would like you to look at his face-off % in the AHL and previous leagues. It is weak currently in the NHL but I would like to know if this is just a rookie thing or systemic. Thank you.

  13. zatch says:

    I have a strong feeling that in my lifetime (25 here) the USA will overtake Canada as a hockey power. They have weight of numbers and it seems like the money and training are starting to ramp up. The USHL produces more and more guys and the NCAA is a great place to stash a young guy, both to develop him and to save yourself from temptation. I also feel like there’s less institutional arrogance there (If Hockey Canada ran Finland, they’d be 10th-15th in the world by now).
    I won’t be sad. Canada has to manufacture most of its trials and tribulations. Some real ones can only make us better.

    Wrong thread last time!

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    VanOil:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I would like you to look at his face-off % in the AHL and previous leagues. It is weak currently in the NHL but I would like to know if this is just a rookie thing or systemic. Thank you.

    thanks!

    I included a hat tip to you in the post (it will be up later today).

    I looked at FO numbers for both him and Bailey via

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/stats/player-faceoff-statistics/2013/

    neither was employed as a regular center this year (nelson took more draws, but far less than a regular center would).

    AFAIK there is no public data on AHL or NCAA faceoffs. I’ve hunted around a bit (warning the arcana of US hockey stats is kind of mind boggling… it may be out there… but not well organized or accessible. At any rate, I couldn’t find it through several attempts.)

  15. spoiler says:

    The USHL seems the perfect league from which to draft defensemen. Not only has it been a bountiful source in recent history, seeding the NHL with some accomplished young blue liners, but the 3-5 year USHL-NCAA route could be the best-suited incubator for this position.

  16. VanOil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Thanks for the attempt, I look forward to reading the article. I recall reading some verbal about Nelson FO% when I started pinning for him when he was romping away as a top line center in the AHL. I have never been able to refind the article. It is possible I miss recall and just inferred he was good at it.

    Like how you ‘discovered’ Draisaitl while keeping tabs on Rieder. I fell for Nelson trying to figure out how Snow was screwing up Nino Niederreiter and thinking Ralph could work some magic saving him. Nino did get free of Snow eventually and has kind of worked out for the Wild.

    I see Nelson as an OK 2nd line Center for the Oilers next year, if they can’t land Garbo. If the 3d overall pick eventually beats him out for the job he can become a great third line Center or a large bodied winger in the top 6.

  17. steveb12344 says:

    Since we’re talking American prospects, and NYI Centers. What’s the story on Anders Lee.

    His NHL statline so far reads: 24gp 10g 6a 16p 14pims 70sog

    He’s currently 23yo 6’2″ 225lbs

    Those are some pretty nice numbers for a 2009 6th rd pick who’s just getting his NHL carreer underway.

    I don’t know about you guys but I would trade Gagner for him in a heartbeat. I wonder if The Isles would so they could put Gags on the wing with his buddy Tavares.

  18. Woodguy says:

    spoiler:
    The USHL seems the perfect league from which to draft defensemen.Not only has it been a bountiful source in recent history, seeding the NHL with some accomplished young blue liners, but the 3-5 yearUSHL-NCAA route could be the best-suited incubator for this position.

    Excellent point.

  19. steveb12344 says:

    It appears that both Nelson and Lee were drafted out of High School Hockey in the Minni area. Both then went the full USHL / NCAA / AHL route before reaching the NHL.

    Nelson’s NHL totals are 72gp 14g 12a 26p 12pims 132sog

    He’s 6’3″ 196lbs and a late first rounder.

    Nelson has the pedigree and is likely a little more highly valued by the organization than Lee, and thus a little harder to obtain.

    With all that in mind and comparing the numbers between the two. I would still go for lee.

  20. Woodguy says:

    steveb12344:
    Since we’re talking American prospects, and NYI Centers.What’s the story on Anders Lee.

    His NHL statline so far reads:24gp 10g 6a 16p14pims 70sog

    He’s currently 23yo 6’2″225lbs

    Those are some pretty nice numbers for a 2009 6th rd pick who’s just getting his NHL carreer underway.

    I don’t know about you guys but I would trade Gagner for him in a heartbeat.I wonder if The Isles would so they could put Gags on the wing with his buddy Tavares.

    Kid hit the NHL like a rocket in his first 276 5v5 min.

    Led the NYI in RelCor with +13.4

    Had the good fortune to play with Neilsen, who’s a killer.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1761&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

    Good find.

  21. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Kid hit the NHL like a rocket in his first 276 5v5 min.

    Led the NYI in RelCor with +13.4

    Had the good fortune to play with Neilsen, who’s a killer.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1761&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

    Good find.

    Meaning Islander fans are about as anxious to trade this guy as Oilers fans were to trade Gagner in 2008.

  22. steveb12344 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Meaning Islander fans are about as anxious to trade this guy as Oilers fans were to trade Gagner in 2008.

    They also have Neilson, Nelson, Strome, and Tavares at Center.

    Someone gots to go!

  23. steveb12344 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Also Gags was our prized 6th overall pick at the time, coming off an MVP performance in the CHL /Russia Superseries.

    As a sixth round pick 5 years ago, I’m pretty sure most Islander fans had never heard of the guy until about 4 months ago.

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Here’s the post folks

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/06/islanders-bailey-nelson/

    let me know what you think.

    both nice players… didn’t get a chance to look at Lee. I took at poke at Cizikas and decided not to bother writing anything about him.

    http://www.extraskater.com/player/586/casey-cizikas

  25. spoiler says:

    steveb12344: Since we’re talking American prospects, and NYI Centers. What’s the story on Anders Lee.

    VOR was pimping him on this blog a few days back. Very interesting player.

  26. Rondo says:

    Yet another new mock draft

    http://whl-from-above.blogspot.ca/2014/06/nhl-mock-draft-2014-edition.html

    Who is winning the Belmont?

  27. Woodguy says:

    steveb12344: They also have Neilson, Nelson, Strome, and Tavares at Center.

    Someone gots to go!

    He’s been playing wing.

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