The Edmonton Oilers 2014 draft is one of the strangest in memory. The club added a tremendous talent in Leon Draisaitl in the first round, then sat out rounds two and three. Beginning in round four and through their next four picks, it appeared as though Edmonton (by choice) avoided the CHL in an effort to grab prospects they would not be forced to sign two years after. In doing so, they appear to have selected players who they may never sign at all. At best a curious choice, at worst a wasted draft year for an organization that simply cannot afford to be so reckless in procurement.
- No. 3 overall: C Leon Draisaitl. Scott Cullen tells us this pick has a 100% chance of playing 100 NHL games (Leon passed 100 games this year) and the ‘average’ No. 3 overall pick is a top 6 forward or top 4 NHL defender. Draisaitl had such a terrific season, this looks like a strong selection in a good draft year. He ranks No. 2 among draft picks in points and games from the 2014 draft.
- 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 this pick (had him No. 77 on my list) and Lagesson has shown well since his draft day. A strong WJ this Christmas and impressive showing for UMass-Amherst when healthy this winter has some thinking he may turn pro this summer.
- 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. This is the point in the draft (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 had a good draft resume (I had him at No. 91 on my list) on the strength of a .929SP at Michigan during his freshman year. Since being drafted, his SP’s are .906 and .893 and he lost his starting job with the Wolverines. He has one more year of college eligibility and maybe he recovers. Steve Racine was a senior this season, so Nagelvoort should be the No. 1 option this fall—but his performance was not strong enough to guarantee it. Will the Oilers sign him? I think it is unlikely at this point, especially with the recent signing of college goalie Nick Ellis by the organization.
- 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 was in the BCJHL for an extra year due to entrance issues for college, but did find his way to Vermont in 2015-16. By that time, he was no longer Edmonton property, as Peter Chiarelli sent him away in the Anders Nilsson deal. Coughlin did not set the world on fire as a freshman, and at 21 will need to progress soon if he is to have a career in pro hockey.
- 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. He did not post a strong offensive season, but has solid two-way skills and is among the leaders in points for Nebraska-Omaha. I would think he (along with Nagelvoort and Coughlin) is a long shot for the pro game.
- No. 183: G Keven Bouchard. In the time since his draft day, Bouchard stayed away from the .900 line in SP with spectacular regularity. Until this year’s playoffs, where he is playing well and boasts a .919SP. Don’t ask me.
This draft was a disaster. Leon Draisaitl was an excellent choice but the Oilers traded away picks:
- No. 33 (Ivan Barbashev) to the St. Louis Blues in the David Perron trade.
- No. 63 (Dominec Turgeon) to the Los Angeles Kings in the Ben Scrivens trade.
- No. 93 (Nick Magyar) to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Mike Brown trade.
- No. 123 (Matthew Berkovitz) to the Anaheim Ducks in the Viktor Fasth trade.
- No. 137 (Tyler Bird) to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Nikita Nikitin trade.
This could easily be remembered as the Leon draft. It could have been so much more. 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.