The Cult of Hockey has been doing a tremendous job in their look back to the Oilers drafting this century. I’ve enjoyed it for three reasons:
- It’s well researched and presented.
- It is critical when warranted, but isn’t vicious or personal.
- I can tell McCurdy’s getting frustrated, especially about 2007. I don’t know why we humans enjoy the suffering of others, but this is us.
If you haven’t read the series, I suggest you do. Start at the beginning, and make sure you have a quiet moment to read 2007, there may be some weeping. In one of the later installments, 2010, Jonathan Willis writes the following:
- There is still a substantial element of uncertainty in the 2010 Draft, which we currently have rated as below NHL average. If Marincin continues developing as expected and one of Pitlick/Davidson emerges, we may look back at 2010 as an average draft or perhaps even a clean win for the Oilers. On the other hand, if Marincin regresses and those players fail to develop, it will be a total fiasco that even the Hall selection cannot redeem.
Jon (correctly) points out the amount of the uncertainty in the 2010 draft. We just don’t have all of the information. We’re 80% there, which is a big part of the 5-year period, but would you walk out on a movie at the 80% mark and do a review? Bruce has 2011 up today, and I just wanted to congratulate both on writing an exceptional, thoughtful and enjoyable group of articles about something I’m very much interested in. I was fully prepared to rip them a new one (although I consider both to be friends), but that series was a joy to read.
These two tweets (imo) represent the Oilers current state. I believe they are paying attention to advanced stats on some level, but the old ways keep pulling them back in. If the Edmonton Oilers are talking to Mark Fayne, that’s a good thing. If they’re talking to Derek Engelland as an option for the same job Fayne would fill, that’s a very strange thing.
It’s also very cool that we have this new wrinkle leading up to the draft, where we can see what a team is thinking. They might not get there, but will be shopping in the right aisles. I’m not certain the Oilers were in past years, although we would have no way to know which free agents turned them down.
Darren Dreger says the Oilers are looking for C and D, we know they’re also wing shopping. Dreger mentioned the No. 3 overall selection is in play, with Edmonton talking moving up or down. I’m not terribly worried about who they pick at No. 3, they’ll get a very good player. They could trade up for Ekblad, and that’s fine, but I’m thinking they’re going to get just as good a player at No. 3 overall as things are breaking down.
Dreger also says Sam Gagner is in play, I still think they’d take less than full value in order to get the money off the books. Based on the men they’re shopping for, Edmonton will need some extra walking around money next week. I’ve been hammering the Gagner for picks train for some time, and still think it’s possible. One player I could see Edmonton targeting with No. 3 and Gagner is Eric Staal.
RCN is a bright guy, and he’s certainly correct in his thinking. It can’t be a coincidence that Edmonton is talking to pretty much the entire list of people we like. I’d be over the moon if they caught two of those guys, even one would be an indication (like Boyd Gordon last season) the era of casting about blindly is over. I’m still fretting about the Engelland portion of the story, and of course Nikitin’s advanced stats are no screaming hell (not since 11-12, anyway).
So, I think the names I’ve presented here are indicators, tells, about just how conflicted Craig MacTavish may be during this most dangerous summer. He has his analytics and they have value—but how much does he value them? And Scott Howson clearly has his ear, he just spent $9 million of the team’s cap on a guy many Oiler fans didn’t have on the radar (we did, but I don’t think we’re all thinking one way on the Nikitin add).
I think MacT’s state of mind right now is perfectly reflected by a Dallas Eakins comment earlier this year:
“I can easily stand here and argue “Yes, we need that.” We’ve got a guy back there that’s more than willing to fill the role with Mark Fraser and, uh, one side of me says “absolutely, we need the toughness up front, we need it on our back end. But, Mark [Spector], I… and that’s the honest to God’s truth, there’s one side of me that says: “Yes, we need to old school it and we’ve got to have those guys.” And, then there’s another side of me looking at how teams are, some other teams are building and… I’m not sure.”
And so say all of us.