During last night’s game, John Shannon mentioned a conversation with Craig MacTavish involving what the GM learned during his trip behind the bench.
- Shannon: “I talked to Craig MacTavish before the game, and about the five or six games behind the bench. I said you know size doesn’t matter anymore and he said oh no, one thing I learned is that size matters more than ever. Size and quickness.“
Interesting insight. If we apply that statement to the top 30 (we’ll use mine because I’m lazy) what would the Edmonton list look like?
- (1) C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) 6.075, 195.
- (2) C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) 6.02, 196.
(5) R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) 5.11, 155.
- (4) C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) 6.03, 187.
- (3) D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) 6.02, 205.
(10) D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL) 6.0, 180.
- (6) D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA). 6.02, 206.
- (9) R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML). 6.035, 211.
(11) D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) 6.0, 191
- (17) Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL). 6.02, 199
(7) C Nick Merkley, Kelowna (WHL). 5.1075, 191 (16) C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL) 6.075, 177. (13) C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) 5.1125, 175.
- (8) C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL) 6.03, 210.
(18) D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) 5.1175, 189.
- (25) C Filip Chlapik, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL).6.075, 194.
(23) C Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL). 5.1025, 173.
- (12) R Nikita Korostelev, Sarnia Sting (OHL). 6.125, 195.
- (15) R Daniel Sprong, Charlettown Islanders (QMJHL) 6.0, 189.
(26) L Jake Debrusk, Swift Current (WHL)5.1175, 171. (NR) D Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa (OHL) 5.10, 182.
- (14) L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). 6.04, 211.
(28) R Jens Looke, Brynas (SHL). 6.005, 180. (20) C Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL). 5.0975, 174. (24) D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Seadogs (QMJHL). 6.075, 184. (19) C Jeremy Bracco, USND (USHL). 5.0925, 173. (21) L Dennis Yan, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL). 6.125, 180. (29) C Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL). 6.01, 177.
- (27) L Ryan Gropp, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). 6.02, 184.
(30) R Brock Boeser, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). 6.005, 191.
Okay. There’s some randomness in there but we’ve taken out the small guys and weeded out a few ‘in the range’ men and now have tall trees. I’m not saying Edmonton will pass on the crossed out list, just that ‘size’ means you’re likely going to pass on Nick Merkley. It gives me no pleasure to say that, I like Nick Merkley and Travis Konecny and a bunch of others. Now, let’s take that list and add in ‘quickness’ which I take to be somewhat skilled and can move and see what’s left of the first round and how Edmonton may view it.
- C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) 6.075, 195.
- C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) 6.02, 196.
- D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) 6.02, 205.
- C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL) 6.03, 210.
- C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) 6.03, 187.
- L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). 6.04, 211.
- D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA). 6.02, 206.
- R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML). 6.035, 211.
- Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL). 6.02, 199
- R Nikita Korostelev, Sarnia Sting (OHL). 6.125, 195.
- C Filip Chlapik, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL).6.075, 194.
- R Daniel Sprong, Charlettown Islanders (QMJHL) 6.0, 189.
That’s my guess. Thoughts? Here are mine.
I absolutely buy that you need an assortment of players in your lineup but they have to be skilled. When we look at a player like Milan Lucic and try to project him onto our prospects or a player in this draft, we’re projecting miles past reasonable. Lucic, aside from being a physical force, can take a pass and make a pass, has decent to good hands and is playing in an ideal situation with tremendous linemates. Chances are he’ll be shy on his next team and chances are that team resides in the Canadian west.
Back to this draft. If they’re not going to take Mitch Marner (there’s no evidence of that, this is me making assumptions) is there a player at No. 3 who could cover the bet? Yes, I think so.
- D Noah Hanifin: The scouting report on Hanifin says “world-class wheels, elite offensive skills, can run a power play and use his size effectively to play physically when it’s required” and we’ve heard comparisons to Jay Bouwmeester. His size may make the difference for the Oilers and the club may see this as an opportunity to seal the future on defense. Hanifin added to Nurse, Klefbom and a few others would be a going concern in a few years.
- C Pavel Zacha: He’s at about a point-per-game now in the OHL and the man is absolutely the perfect fit for MacT’s description above. Size, speed and a willingness to enter the physical part of the game by rote, the only downside is there are better offensive players available.
- C Dylan Strome: Big, strong, skilled and with ‘projectable size’ that should mean he plays north of 205. I think we’re a little shy on him as a fanbase because of the Kane—Gagner zoom but this fellow appears to be a better specimen. Has a great shot, the reason I’ve placed Marner ahead on my list is Marner and Strome’s speed worries.
- L Lawson Crouse: I think he’s going to be Ethan Moreau. In his 17-year old season, Moreau went 65gp, 32-41-73 and Crouse is at 30gp, 16-7-23. I can see why any team likes him, he’s absolutely dominant physically and appears to be defensively aware at a young age. On the other hand, he’s projected to go in the same part of the draft as Moreau did and that’s bad news for value. I have him late first round and may be punishing him there. I’m confident he doesn’t belong in the top five overall.
So it may come down to choosing between:
- The new Hemsky=Marner type
- The new Hanifin=Bouwmeester type
- The new Handzus (with speed)=Zacha
- The new Strome=Strome
- The new Moreau=Crouse
Which would you choose? In a move that should surprise no one, I call Hemsky’s name again. Who will the Oilers choose? I think they do pass on Marner because the club is looking for a specific player type but I don’t think all is lost. MacT and Green have mentioned analytics and there may be something in Hanifin’s game or birthdate the model identifies as a riser. Or they may decide Strome’s talent is too much to pass on. I’m fairly confident the Oilers won’t draft Crouse, less so on Zacha.
I’m betting the conversation on draft morning, if the Oilers are at 3, revolves around Hanifin, Strome and Zacha. I’d be fine with any of them.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear (Friday!)
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Diving for No. 1: Unseemly or the right thing to do?
- Corey Pronman, ESPN. At 11, we’ll talk about the Top Prospects game, Crouse and where he might go and the draft in general.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Oilers, preview Saturday show.
- Dave Jamieson, TSN 1260. Preview All-Star and Pro Bowl weekend, likely the crappiest of the year.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Talk soon!