THE FOURTH ROUND

By the fourth round, we’re looking at about a 16% chance of seeing an NHL player. You’d have to pile six picks one on top of another to ensure one player arrives on your doorstep, which makes the fourth round the first truly ‘looking under rocks’ spot in the draft. Not quite needle in a haystack, but we’re getting there.

motinJohan Motin

A PROPOSAL

Scott Cullen of TSN estimated the success rate (100 NHL games or more) to be 16% back in 2009. Let’s also use 150 games as the line in the sand, as we’ve done through each round.

OILERS FOURTH ROUND 2008-2014

That set, let’s move on to the Oilers during the MacGregor era (2008-2013). We’re looking at one in six being a success (average) and anything more than that above average. The Oilers have selected twelve players in Round 4 during the MacGregor era, including two last month:

  • 2008: Johan Motin
  • 2009: Kyle Bigos
  • 2009: Toni Rajala
  • 2010: Jeremie Blain
  • 2011: Dillon Simpson
  • 2011: Tobias Rieder
  • 2012: Erik Gustafsson
  • 2013: Jackson Houck
  • 2013: Kyle Platzer
  • 2013: Aidan Muir
  • 2014: William Lagesson
  • 2014: Zach Nagelvoort

Twelve players have been drafted by Edmonton during these years. 16% of twelve players is two NHL players of 150 games or more from this group, that’s the expectation for an “average” team in the fourth round.

NHL GAMES PLAYED

  1. Johan Motin 1

THIS is not an impressive number for one dozen players taken in any round. Fourth-round picks generally take longer for lots of reasons, including they aren’t as good as the first rounders. Also, NHL GMs and scouting directors have a lot of personal credibility tied up in the top 30 pick, not so much on the line for the No.  91 overall selection.

The paltry one game aside, there is lots of track for Dillon Simpson, Tobias Rieder and others to build to the NHL before the book is closed. A few in the group have been sent away, including Toni Rajala. HE is a guy who might have received a shot if the Oilers weren’t so fluid in upper management, that kid can score goals. A lot of crap has taken place from draft day to five years later in this organization. MacT cut him loose looking for room on the 50-man, but Rajala has more talent than several who currently dwell on that list.

There’s other weird stuff that happens in Round 4 plus. If the GM of the club didn’t have that job when you were drafted, you’re on borrowed time. The new GM is trying to get rid of the last guy’s JUNK so he can get his STUFF onto the roster (thanks, George Carlin). This has been happening forever, and allows us to make statements like “Ty Rimmer is in a better position with the Edmonton Oilers than Tyler Bunz” and be within spitting distance of the truth. Human nature is a fairly powerful thing.

This is also the point in the draft where players and teams get to piss each other off by arguing over contract size. Tobias Rieder is probably a recent example (I can’t confirm but it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck). If a player is drafted in the fourth round, and then plays like a second round pick, his player agent wakes up in the middle of the night with a large dollar sign stuck in his brain. Agent tells player he’s earned a big damn raise, they tell the team, and the team trades the player for Kale Kessy. Now the TEAM version of the story is different (“he was afraid to come in and compete, so wouldn’t sign and was going to re-enter the draft so we had to move him”) but I’ve been watching NHL teams lie about this silly stuff since I was a kid so always side against them.

Maybe Rieder didn’t want to sign in organization with Hall, Eberle, Yakupov and others, that’s at least a reasonable argument. However, when you read things like the Blues-Sobotka disconnect, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.

houck3

2014 SUMMER

  • No longer a prospect: Johan Motin
  • Very bad arrows: Kyle Bigos, Jeremie Blain
  • Bad arrows: Kyle Platzer, Aidan Muir
  • Lukewarm arrows: Toni Rajala, Erik Gustafsson, Jackson Houck
  • Good arrows: Dillon Simpson, Tobias Rieder
  • Very good arrows:
  • New arrows: Willian Lagesson, Zach Nagelvoort

When I say “no longer a prospect” that’s not a bad thing. Johan Motin is a productive hockey player in a good league, and he played in an NHL game. That’s a good pick! Honest. Don’t believe me? 17 players from Motin’s fourth round (2008) never played an NHL game. He’s above average.

I suspect people may get upset about Platzer in ‘bad arrows’ but buddy wasn’t a regular in his draft year and didn’t do anything spectacular in his +1. Muir the same. Even Houck has some issues (speed) and that’s to be expected at this point in the draft. I’m not trying to point fingers and suggest MBS and crew were off their nut in this round, but do want to impress upon you that very, very few players come from this round compared to (say) the first round.

That said, I really like Dillon Simpson and Tobias Rieder. They were inspired selections and may save this round some day.

rieder6

  • D Johan Motin—Has emerged as a regular at a high level in Europe. No complaints on value.
  • D Kyle Bigos—Big man trying to get to AHL regular status, you never know.
  • D Jeremie Blain—Like Bigos, but a better prospect.
  • C Kyle Platzer—Two-way center with offensive issues.
  • L Aidan Muir—Showed some nice things, a long way to go.
  • L Toni Rajala—Had a helluva year. Seriously.
  • D Erik Gustafsson—A legit prospect, he’s in tough. Edmonton has many defensive prospects.
  • R Jackson Houck—He can score, it’s now down to foot speed, injury and luck.
  • D Dillon Simpson—Curious about his first pro season.
  • R Tobias Rieder—Scouts made a very nice pick here. Fine AHL debut.
  • D William Lagesson—Nice scouting report.
  • G Zach Nagelvoort—Good save percentage, scouting reports suggest he turned a corner.

 

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34 Responses to "THE FOURTH ROUND"

  1. D says:

    LT,

    Are finding the gems in the 4th Round an integral part of building a Stanley Cup champion? Or is that sentiment overrated based on the statistics?

  2. Hammers says:

    Can we expect a player like Simpson to make it ? his college reports have been exceptional . He is a “L” but played a lot on the right . I also believe blood lines can be important and have seen generational players in more than just hockey .I always wonder if expectations are different for these players due to the parents attributes .

  3. Marc says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 8m

    #Oilers appoint Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach. Rocky was AC with the @OKCBarons the past four season.

  4. gd says:

    One thing I have been realizing reading LT’s Round by Round analysis and Willis’s great features on ON on Springfield in 2008-09 is how unbelievable barren the system was in the last years of the Lowe/EIC budget ownership. We can now see how that tainted the drafting and developing of countless prospects since. It looks to me like the Oilers finally have adequate org depth and mix of size and skill with this year’s additions. This should mean that on a go forward basis they should be able to approach the draft with a BPA only focus and accept the five year developmental cycle of their depth picks, which is what the better teams seem to do.

    ps: I think the Coyotes are starting to suffer from the similar budget impacted effect on their scouting and development over the last few years and other than having OEL, they could be about to have a future similar to our last five years.

  5. RexLibris says:

    Marc:
    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 8m

    #Oilers appoint Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach. Rocky was AC with the @OKCBarons the past four season.

    And not Nelson. Seems likely that Nelson is going to wait for a HC job.

    Addition of Thompson is going to have some people losing their hair over a former fighter having any influence on coaching decisions. Cue the “we’ll know who’s to blame if Gazdic gets any PP time this year” statements.

  6. RexLibris says:

    gd:
    One thing I have been realizing reading LT’s Round by Round analysis and Willis’s great features on ON on Springfield in 2008-09 is how unbelievable barren the system was in the last years of the Lowe/EIC budget ownership. We can now see how that tainted the drafting and developing of countless prospects since. It looks to me like the Oilers finally have adequate org depth and mix of size and skill with this year’s additions. This should mean that on a go forward basis they should be able to approach the draft with a BPA onlyfocus and accept the five year developmental cycle of their depth picks, which is what the better teams seem to do.

    ps: I think the Coyotes are starting to suffer from the similar budget impacted effect on their scouting and development over the last few years and other than having OEL, they could be about to have a future similar to our last five years.

    Exactly.

    People outside the media market level many criticisms about the length of the Oilers’ rebuild but fail to understand that there was very nearly nothing in the professional/prospect group save Petry, Gilbert, Cogliano, and Gagner when the rebuild began. Paajarvi and Eberle had been drafted, but there were no solid defensive prospects bubbling under and the only C prospects of any note were Gagner and Cogliano.

    Add to that the lack of any real NHL veteran trade assets to be used to help speed up the process and one begins to see how much of a wasteland it was.

    The top line was Horcoff, Hemsky and Penner. Horcoff was considered untradeable, Hemsky was injured in back-to-back seasons, and Penner was the only player who had any trade value.

    They piddled away the return for Smyth, and the majority of the Penner return is only now on the verge of making the NHL.

    Prendergast was not an especially effective scout and the development system was a disaster. Tambellini deserves credit at least for putting it back together.

  7. Ducey says:

    RexLibris: And not Nelson. Seems likely that Nelson is going to wait for a HC job. Addition of Thompson is going to have some people losing their hair over a former fighter having any influence on coaching decisions. Cue the “we’ll know who’s to blame if Gazdic gets any PP time this year” statements.

    Interesting choice. Unlike Bucky he has 7 years coaching experience to bring to the job.

    I take it he is the eye in the sky – up in the press box during games?

    For fun, take a look at the video on the Oilers website of Thompson.

  8. bry_oil says:

    Ducey,

    I can’t see him anywhere other than in the press box as an “eyes in the sky”. According to some of the OKC people on Twitter he would commonly spend the first two periods in the press box then come down to the bench for the third. Seems to be a decent hire.

  9. Yak2 says:

    I would try and re-acquire Rieder now that Draisaitl is on board.

  10. Hammers says:

    bry_oil: Ducey, I can’t see him anywhere other than in the press box as an “eyes in the sky”. According to some of the OKC people on Twitter he would commonly spend the first two periods in the press box then come down to the bench for the third. Seems to be a decent hire.

    Decent hire . I would think the right man for the job . His done a very good job in Okl and had good working relationship with Nelson & the players . Obviously he is the “EYE” as he has been doing that for Nelson .Good Luck Rocky and I think there may just be a few ex Okl players that love this move .Martin , Klef , Lander , Arco , Pitlick .

  11. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Marc:
    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 8m

    #Oilers appoint Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach. Rocky was AC with the @OKCBarons the past four season.

    sigh

  12. serum114 says:

    Lots of people will mindlessly and pithily deride the Thompson hiring because of who he was as a player, however since becoming a coach he has earned a tremendous reputation as a communicator, a motivator, and–perhaps most importantly for Eakins et al–as someone experienced and effective as the ‘eye in the sky’ in OKC.

    He is the exact coach they stated they wanted: someone in the press box who can give feedback on tactics and adjustments, someone who is young and can relate to the players more on their level, and someone who is an excellent communicator and motivator.

    Excellent hire in my opinion, and for those who disagree, I’d be curious as to why.

  13. Manitoba Oilers says:

    If a player doesn’t have the Offense IMO he should not be considerd 2 way

  14. Bruce McCurdy says:

    serum114:
    Lots of people will mindlessly and pithily deride the Thompson hiring because of who he was as a player, however since becoming a coach he has earned a tremendous reputation as a communicator, a motivator, and–perhaps most importantly for Eakins et al–as someone experienced and effective as the ‘eye in the sky’ in OKC.

    He is the exact coach they stated they wanted: someone in the press box who can give feedback on tactics and adjustments, someone who is young and can relate to the players more on their level, and someone who is an excellent communicator and motivator.

    Excellent hire in my opinion, and for those who disagree, I’d be curious as to why.

    You make excellent points. They’re looking for a 4th coach, not Toe Blake. Thompson should be a good fit from what I’ve seen & heard of him.

    Let’s put it another way: Is he an upgrade on Bucky?

  15. striatic says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Let’s put it another way: Is he an upgrade on Bucky?

    I can’t think of a way to determine this from outside the organization, given the information available.

    So we get to maybe find out next season!

  16. gvblackhawk says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You make excellent points. They’re looking for a 4th coach, not Toe Blake. Thompson should be a good fit from what I’ve seen & heard of him.

    Let’s put it another way: Is he an upgrade on Bucky?

    He doesn’t have Bucky’s sweet perma-tan so that’s a huge minus. However, he will likely be very popular with the players. His pregame singing is legendary.

  17. serum114 says:

    Bruce McCurdy:

    Let’s put it another way: Is he an upgrade on Bucky?

    I think that Thompson’s track record coming into the position is an upgrade on Bucky, and I would argue that the role he is filling is one that Bucky would have been less capable in. But Striatic is bang on, we can really know until the season starts and the sorties are flown, however I’m confident we knew enough to know that Bucky wasn’t the best option in this role or the role he had been filling.

  18. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I think Ramsay was the upgrade on Bucky.

    Rocky is the guy they want to fill Steve Smith’s intended role – the coach in the press box looking at things from a different angle.

    I shouldn’t be so pessimistic about this, I guess, given the good things said about Rocky.

  19. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Marcus Oilerius:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I think Ramsay was the upgrade on Bucky.

    Rocky is the guy they want to fill Steve Smith’s intended role – the coach in the press box looking at things from a different angle.

    I shouldn’t be so pessimistic about this, I guess, given the good things said about Rocky.

    I would say Ramsay replaced Smith in that he’s running the defence. But there aren’t exact parallels, last year they went with four bench coaches & this year it’ll be three plus an eye in the sky.

    I agree with Striatic’s take, I was just establishing the height of the bar. We’re not looking to add Toe Blake as our 4th coach.

    I am very confident in saying that Ramsay + Thompson >>> Smith & Buchberger, though. Especially if Eakins was involved in the hiring of the newcomers. Last year’s coaching group with pre-hired assistants was right off the Island of Dr. Moreau.

    Anyone know Dr. Moreau’s first name, btw? Ethan? Chad? Scary to ponder.

  20. Jon K says:

    Marc:
    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 8m

    #Oilers appoint Rocky Thompson as an Assistant Coach. Rocky was AC with the @OKCBarons the past four season.

    As per Bruce and others above, no one should rush to judgment on Rocky Thompson. Various players coming out of OKC have given him glowing reviews as a communicator and teacher.

    I like the hire. He’s someone the coach is familiar with, has a record of being part of a successful coaching staff, and has some familiarity already with the core of the team from their short stint in OKC.

  21. druid99999 says:

    4th round (picks 91 to 120) from 1988 to 2009

               Total     F      D       G

    >=150      95    61     28       6

    Total      659   360    226     73

    Pct        14.4   16.9   12.4   8.2

    Source is HockeyDB

    Apparently pick 118 was not used in 2009

  22. Frank The Dog says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You make excellent points. They’re looking for a 4th coach, not Toe Blake. Thompson should be a good fit from what I’ve seen & heard of him.

    Let’s put it another way: Is he an upgrade on Bucky?

    Bucky turned talented players into robots. Rocky will make the locker room a fun place to be, Look for the moral of the team to improve dramatically.

  23. nycoil says:

    Only in Oilerland would the eye in the sky hire get negative feedback.
    Mountains out of mole hills and bigger fish to fry and all that stuff.

    I agree that this is the round where walkabout starts to be more palatable, but not before this. So the average 4th round produces 5 NHLers then. Fair.

    LT, I posed this question towards the end of the round 3 thread, but do you think it is feasible to also compare a team’s draft selections over time to the consensus/McKenzie list in the case of walkabout picks? Ie, contrast a pick made vs the next highest ranked available player and see which method works better: sticking to the list or going off scouts’ opinions. That way if say over Stu’s six years we have the Oilers picking according to the McKenzie list how do they fare vs how they’ve done. And did LA get lucky or do better than McKenzie for a reason? Know what I am getting at? Successful picks above/below the McKenzie line, which we can call “replacement level” because anyone can draft according to that list.

  24. Lowetide says:

    nycoil:
    Only in Oilerland would the eye in the sky hire get negative feedback.
    Mountains out of mole hills and bigger fish to fry and all that stuff.

    I agree that this is the round where walkabout starts to be more palatable, but not before this. So the average 4th round produces 5 NHLers then. Fair.

    LT, I posed this question towards the end of the round 3 thread, but do you think it is feasible to also compare a team’s draft selections over time to the consensus/McKenzie list in the case of walkabout picks? Ie, contrast a pick made vs the next highest ranked available player and see which method works better: sticking to the list or going off scouts’ opinions. That way if say over Stu’s six years we have the Oilers picking according to the McKenzie list how do they fare vs how they’ve done. And did LA get lucky or do better than McKenzie for a reason?Know what I am getting at? Successful picks above/below the McKenzie line, which we can call “replacement level” because anyone can draft according to that list.

    I’ve done that in the past, here
    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/07/what-happens-when-the-oilers-go-draft-walkabout.html

    and here

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/07/the-sweet-merciful-end-of-draft-walkabout.html

    Although the McKenzie portion isn’t included. Is there a spot on the internet that includes McKenzie’s top 60 since 2008? I seem to recall it’s jumbled.

  25. nycoil says:

    Lowetide,

    Yes, I recall those posts, thank you. I was trying to think of something a little more broad, like how much better or worse did the Oilers draft than just going off the next best number in Mckenzie’s list. I will see what digging I can do on this matter myself and let you know if I find anything interesting.

  26. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide: Is there a spot on the internet that includes McKenzie’s top 60 since 2008? I seem to recall it’s jumbled.

    It’s definitely jumbled. You have to go to the “way back machine”, the internet archive to find the older ones, but some of the more recent ones are still at tsn.com. We sussed that out on your site some time last summer (the first thread you linked to – walkabout).

    Here’s 2008:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080915175735/http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=11437

  27. theres oil in virginia says:
  28. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia: It’s definitely jumbled.You have to go to the “way back machine”, the internet archive to find the older ones, but some of the more recent ones are still at tsn.com.We sussed that out on your site some time last summer (the first thread you linked to – walkabout).

    Here’s 2008:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080915175735/http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=11437

    Ah. Okay, I’ll add it to the list, probably won’t be any time soon though but I’ll try.

  29. RexLibris says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I should probably qualify my earlier statement by saying that Thompson has been a coach for a long time and I have a tremendous amount of respect for players who played professionally for a long time by using assets that didn’t always include high-end hockey skills.

    I think he knows the game of hockey fairly well, and I recall Nelson saying nice things about him as an assistant.

    I had hoped to see Perry Pearn as a possible assistant, but I think Thompson is an interesting hire and I have higher expectations of him than I had of the previous assistants group.

  30. Bruce McCurdy says:

    RexLibris: I had hoped to see Perry Pearn as a possible assistant, but I think Thompson is an interesting hire and I have higher expectations of him than I had of the previous assistants group.

    Perry Pearn was my first choice as well.

    As Jon K points out, Thompson has worked with a lot of the players in the past, including “MacT’s Core” of Hall, RNH, Eberle, Schultz but also Lander, Arcobello, Pitlick, Petry, Marincin, Klefbom … that’s a damn good starting point.

  31. serum114 says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Also to be considered is whether Pearn would be interested in the 4th coach/off the bench/eye in the sky role. Eakins has Acton and Ramsay as his two on bench assistants and has said he didn’t want another coach on the bench.

    Hard to believe the press box coach is as appealing to someone as established as Pearn.

  32. Bruce McCurdy says:

    serum114:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Also to be considered is whether Pearn would be interested in the 4th coach/off the bench/eye in the sky role. Eakins has Acton and Ramsay as his two on bench assistants and has said he didn’t want another coach on the bench.

    Hard to believe the press box coach is as appealing to someone as established as Pearn.

    Yes, I did say Pearn was “my” first choice, not necessarily “his” first choice.

  33. supernova says:

    gd:
    One thing I have been realizing reading LT’s Round by Round analysis and Willis’s great features on ON on Springfield in 2008-09 is how unbelievable barren the system was in the last years of the Lowe/EIC budget ownership. We can now see how that tainted the drafting and developing of countless prospects since. It looks to me like the Oilers finally have adequate org depth and mix of size and skill with this year’s additions. This should mean that on a go forward basis they should be able to approach the draft with a BPA onlyfocus and accept the five year developmental cycle of their depth picks, which is what the better teams seem to do.

    ps: I think the Coyotes are starting to suffer from the similar budget impacted effect on their scouting and development over the last few years and other than having OEL, they could be about to have a future similar to our last five years.

    RexLibris,

    I finally feel like I have some colleagues writing the same thing.

    The system was so barren the last few years of the EIG and the development team was all but shut down that it is no wonder there was a long rebuild.

    You have to maintain a building all the time or it could start to wear away. The longer you wait to make sure the foundation is strong the more damage there could be.

    Lowetide,

    Please tell me we are going to get into a development series on the Oilers, barons / falcons .

    I am really interested in that

  34. Soup Fascist says:

    In terms of Nelson 3rd asst. coach in NHL (eye in the sky / video work) would be a demotion from AHL head coach, IMO.

    Rocky brings some different things to the table. Rocky has had some tough life lessons, which he had to learn first hand and it can’t hurt to have someone who has lived the life in a young dressing room. He is an intense and sincere guy who will have some motivational abilities.

    Last I have heard Rocky has turned into a very devout family man who has a strong sense of faith. Not that we need anyone giving sermons in the dressing room, but I think he is pretty sincere in his desire to help young hockey players become better athletes and people.

    Pretty sure he will be a “players’ coach” – whatever the hell that means – and from what I have heard Rocky’s technical coaching abilities are more robust than many would think. He has put in some time.

    Then there is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3GlkBMDfKQ

    Yes I know fighting is not part of the game anymore. He was a one dimensional NHLer. Blah blah blah. Gotta love a guy who competes like this, being outmatched by 7″ and 50 lbs. Good Luck, Rock.

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