It’s surprising to me, but there are a lot of misconceptions already out there about the Oilers most recent draft. First among them: that it was poor. Edmonton did well, especially if you consider value received for their second and third round selections (David Perron and Ben Scrivens). Allow me to answer a few questions that have popped up in the last week via twitter, email, dm and carrier pigeon:
The Oilers got one good player in the draft!
They actually selected three recognizable names in the draft. I had all three in my top 100 overall:
- (3) C Leon Draisaitl—This is a fine hockey player. No one should be surprised if he goes No. 3 overall.
- (77) D William Lagesson—Two-way defender, interesting bio.
- (91) G Zachary Nagelvoort—College goalie with good to very good numbers.
The Oilers didn’t go walkabout until selection No. 130 overall. I honestly can’t get upset at a scouting director who picks a distant bell at that point in the draft, ESPECIALLY if it’s the same guy who once chose a massive flier at No. 71 (Troy Hesketh) in the past. This organization is doing a lot of good things at the draft, and I expect to see more analytics picks as we roll along here.
The Oilers passed on GREAT players!
It WAS a weird draft, no doubt. I sat on my couch (if that were a skill I’d be Gretzky) and waited for my favorites (no harm in saying them out loud now: Dexter Dancs, Chase De Leo, Andrew Mangiapane, Ilya Sorokin, Aaron Irving, Oscar Podanski). None arrived. Le sigh. I made a list of 137 players for this entry draft, and assumed there would be 10 or so left over. Final number? 17, including 11 in my top 100! That’s almost 10%!
- (43) L Dexter Dancs—Sleeper power forward.
- (49) L Vladimir Tkachev—Small, skilled Russian with a ridiculous Q run.
- (52) C Andrew Mangiapane—Extra Skater superstar, his EV/60 is 3.4 and that’s outstanding.
- (62) L Kris Schmidli—Extra Skater star, 3.2/60 at evens. Swiss kid in Kelowna.
- (73) C Luke Philp—Skill center can play a complementary role.
- (78) D Gavin Bayreuther—A college man, he’s 20 and has some nice boxcars.
- (80) D Riley Stadel—Crazy good puck handling defender. A draft sleeper.
- (81) C Colby Cave—Undersized checker. Lots of those! He has some nice things.
- (82) C Reid Gardner—Two-way center, improving.
- (90)L Blake Clark—Big power forward with some skill.
- (98) D Sebastian Aho—Undersized puck moving defender with some promise.
- (112) L Darby Llewellyn—Two-way winger with skill and smarts.
- (114) L Ryan Foss—Power forward frame, scored just okay.
- (116) R Mitchel Slattery—Speedy winger with skill. Interesting prospect.
- (127) R Karson Kuhlman—Two-way agitating winger with skill.
- (133) G Edwin Minney—Big American goalie headed to Michigan State.
- (137) G Blake Weyrick—American goalie on his way to college. I don’t see it.
I believe that’s right, please let me know of any errors. I like lots of these players, the Oilers liked their list better. I get paid to talk, and they get paid to scout. The same group that selected Greg Chase late late late in 2013 liked their group this year better than these young men. It was one weird draft. We wait.
CRAIG BUTTON HAD IT RIGHT!
- No. 4—Leon Draisaitl
- No. 78—William Lagesson
Again, Lagesson appears well inside another top 100. That was a solid pick (Pronman had him higher than you think), the goalie in the third round was on the radar (Pronman: He’s technically sound, with some but not a lot of athleticism) and trending. Crazy 210, Button had two guys inside his top 60 who didn’t go in the draft.
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY
If you follow the draft, there’s a favorite or two in there somewhere. If you like scorers or big defensemen or possession players, then your list probably elevates those kids and pushes others down. For years now I’ve punished stay at home defensemen and goaltenders, and elevated wide range of skill fellows. There were several players I thought would go quite high who were available at No. 91 and No. 111. There were MANY available at No. 130!
- (37) L Spencer Watson—Pure goal scorer, he’s an impressive skill player. (No. 209 to LAK)
- (42) D Dysin Mayo—A mobile, creative defenseman who can make plays. (No. 133 to ARI)
- (46) C Chase De Leo—Small, fast, makes things happen. (No. 99 to WPG)
- (59) D Jacob Middleton—A nice range of skills, tough season but lots of potential. (No. 210 to LAK)
- (60) R Ondrej Kase—Speedy winger with all kinds of skill. (No. 205 to ANA)
ABOUT LIAM AND TYLER AND KEVEN
I’ve been staring at this draft for a week, and I’ve come to a few conclusions. It’s ridiculous to get mad at a team for their selections at No. 130, No. 153 and No. 183, and that’s a fact. This was a weird draft, and I’m not certain why teams passed on Watson (although I have an idea) but they all did until the very end.
Let’s one a look (again) at the final selections for Edmonton.
- No. 130—Liam Coughlin. On the board at that time were SEVEN players I have in my top 60 (not that I’m a draft guru but my list is handy). They were: Watson, Mayo, Dancs, De Leo, Tkachev, Andrew Mangiapane, Middleton and Kase. Brock Otten explains some of the issues with Watson here, and there were rumblings about De Leo playing sheltered minutes here and there in the draft murmur period. The Oilers would know Mayo like the back of their hand, and I’m not sure we can get angry about Middleton because he did have such a rough year. Kase? Interesting player, fell for reasons unknown to me. Coughlin? Kirk Luedeke: “Big kid, can skate.” I’ve also been told he’ll drive to the net and play in tough areas. He is a ‘saw him good’ selection and we’ll have to follow his career at Boston University. He’s 19, 6.03 and 185. Remember when Stu MacGregor talked about MacT’s draft emphasis? MacGregor: “Well with Mac, skill is really important to him. That’s something that he’s looked for. Obviously the other intangibles of character, hard work, quality of people and players who are passionate to play the game are important, but he really has a high regard for skill.” I think Coughlin is a skill pick, chosen ahead of Watson for perceived weaknesses “away from the puck” by the OHL man, and yes maybe they can control his rights for longer without signing him.
- No. 153—Tyler Vesel. The quote from MBS above really hits home with this guy. I wonder if the analytics were involved in this selection (Michael Parkatti will be my guest on the Lowdown this week, I’m never sure if he is going to answer these questions. He did in regard to Roy, I’ll want to know what his numbers said about Draisaitl and this fellow) because you can see real value here. His USHL numbers (49GP, 33-38-71) are monsters, even if he was 19 at the time. On his way to University of Nebraska at Omaha, so we should be able to get a good read on him. Stu MacGregor: “He’s a scorer. He had a tremendous year and he’ll be going to Nebraska-Omaha where Dean Blais is a competitive coach who develops players.” Small guy, he must not disappear like Watson does (according to reports).
- No. 183—Keven Bouchard. I was fairly down on this pick at the time (two goalies in a six player draft is an interesting choice) but there are things to like as I read more about him. History tells us not to expect an NHL starter, but it also suggests this is as good a time as any to take a goaltender.
THE JASPER TRIP
- Lois Lowe: I just got home from watching the Oilers O Camp practice in Jasper. Since I am not an evaluator of talent and because the practice isn’t over yet, I will keep my observations to the pithy kind.
– the Teuton and Nurse are like kids in men’s bodies. They both have a lot more growing to do.
– Brossoit is the most polished goalie in practice.
– CJ Ludwig is hurt and not practicing with the team. He also has his father’s nose.
– Arenas are colder than I remember (I haven’t been in a small one in over a decade).
-I finally saw Khaira in person at the O camp and he’s a big body. If he manages to stick at C in the A or the big show, it bodes well for the Oilers. Yakimov is a ‘smaller’ 6’5″ and will probably play 15 or 20 pounds lighter than JarJar.
-I posted yesterday about my observations, it’s just that I have nothing of value to add. CJ Ludwig is injured and has his father’s nose. It’s warm tonight and not likely to rain for longer than a few minutes. The bugs are pretty bad though so I imagine it won’t be super comfortable for them, there is almost no chance they’re having a fire. MacT and Howson were out for dinner last night and Eakins is skinnier than he looks. Also, the kids bike by my parents’ house to and from the arena, they all look very much like children.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning as we get back to Mon-Fri 10-noon on TSN 1260. A really interesting group today. I’ll speak to Garrett Haggart about the Jasper Orientation camp (he attended the on-ice activities but not the camping trip), Guy Flaming (he’s afraid of bears) and Dean Millard (he lives in the woods amongst the bears).
In hour two, I’ll talk to Rob Soria from Oil Drop (he has bear pajama’s) and Dimitri Filipovic Canucks Army (who sounds like a Russian bear, so I’ll be very hard on him in questioning).
10-1260 on the text machine, @Lowetide_ on the twitter thingy. See you there!