The Edmonton Oilers went to the 2014 draft with a similar arsenal to the 2008 draft, with one early pick followed by miles of waiting. There were two things in their favor: Their first round pick came at No. 3 overall and the club’s fourth-round pick came before No. 100 overall.
- No. 3 overall: C Leon Draisaitl. Scott Cullen tells us this pick has a 100% chance of playing 100 NHL games and the ‘average’ No. 3 overall pick is a top 6 forward or top 4 NHL defender—this pick is expected to land. Leon Draisaitl played 37 NHL games and didn’t deliver offensively (2-7-9) but showed some positive signs—including solid possession numbers (as a rookie!) with Nail Yakupov. He’s a monster at the junior level, dominating everywhere and playing a complete, focused game. I know there’s talk of spending a lot of time in Bakersfield next season, I suspect Draisaitl is going to play his butt off in training camp and pre-season.
- No. 91 overall: D William Lagesson. Cullen says there’s a 24.5% chance he’ll play 100 NHL games and the average selection at No. 91 is a minor league player destined to player under 50 NHL games. I was pleased with the Lagesson selection based on Corey Pronman’s report (“Lagesson stands in at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, and thinks the game through very well in his own end, which allows him to excel on the penalty kill as well. His passing is solid, and while Lagesson doesn’t look like a player who will get much power play time at the pro level, he’s a calm, smooth puck mover who can aid in the transition game”) and the reviews from Dubuque have been positive. We won’t know for years, but this selection appears to cover the bet at No. 91. The picks around Lagesson had solid years so this draft may be deeper than first thought based on Draft+1 season.
- No. 111: G Zach Nagelvoort. Cullen say’s it’s 14% for Nagelvoort to play 100 NHL games and the average is a minor leaguer who plays between 10-50 NHL games. We’re at a point now (and this is true of pretty much all picks 100+) where the picks have basically equal value—it’s a lottery ticket and good luck, thanks for coming. Nagelvoort did not have a good season, as his SP drifted from .929 to .906 and he lost the starting job to Steve Racine. I’m always hesitant to react one way or another to a single season by a goaltender (except in the NHL, when I go crazy with every game), so am willing to wait and see. It doesn’t look like he’s going to beat that 14% bet after year one, but let’s see how this turns out.
- No. 130: F Liam Coughlin. Cullen has it at 16% for this slot and the average remains career minor leaguer, 10-50 NHL games. Coughlin joined the “Eddie Caron All-Stars” by jumping from one college commitment to another and may be heading to the NCAA this fall (nothing much has been said since fall). He led the Vernon Vipers in scoring and clearly has ability but will be 21 in the fall and is barely more than a point-per-game player in the BCJHL. A distant bell, Dysin Mayo went a couple of picks later.
- No. 153: F Tyler Vesel. Cullen has Vesel’s chances of playing 100 NHL games at 15%, and the average remains career minor leaguer, 10-50 NHL games. I mentioned on draft day that Vesel seemed to be the most promising of the picks past 100 and am more convinced today. He was used sparingly (always happens) early on but came on mid-season (that’s early for a freshman) and landed No. 4 among scorers for Omaha. If you’re betting on anyone past Lagesson, this is the guy.
- No. 183: G Keven Bouchard. The mystery pick (I honestly don’t think they saw him much) lands in a spot where the chances of playing 100 NHL games are 10.3% and he looks like it. An awful regular season was saved by some good keeping late and he had a couple of decent playoff outings before another bad one. Being last on the Oilers depth chart at goal means there’s a long way to go, but (as with Nagelvoort) making any kind of sweeping decision based on one season is not reasonable.
Cullen’s numbers are here. I think Leon covered his bet despite a strange development year and Lagesson is worth getting excited over. It’s important to remind ourselves anyone chosen after No. 100 is unlikely to become an NHL regular but I do think Edmonton could have done better with the Coughlin and Bouchard selections. The scouting and drafting is much better than the days of Hesketh—Abney but there’s room to improve and I believe those two selections would have been better invested in Dysin Mayo, Spencer Watson, Vladimir Tkachev and Andrew Mangiapane—all of whom I mentioned here in the days after the 2014 draft.
You may enjoy re-reading (or reading for the first time) my ‘Harvest Moon‘ analysis of the draft right after it was completed in June 2014.