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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.