This is Travis Ewanyk. The year he was drafted, Ewanyk scored 16 goals for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He was 6 feet and one-half inch, 178 pounds according to the Central Scouting Bureau. The Oilers were in search of a gritty checking forward who could score a little, maybe emerge as a Coke Machine who could help out on a skill line from time to time. At the outer marker? Milan Lucic. Five years ago, I wrote about Ewanyk and Lucic (and Kale Kessy) at a time when none of them were Oilers. At that time, Ewanyk was a pretty famous prospect who projected to be taken inside the top 90 overall.
Ewanyk was somewhat similar as a draft eligible to Milan Lucic, in that they were physical players who did not score a lot:
- Milan Lucic, draft year: 62gp, 9-10-19 .306
- Travis Ewanyk, draft year: 72gp, 16-11-27 .375
Milan Lucic blossomed offensively in the following season in Vancouver (70gp, 30-38-68) and is an exception to the rule of offense. Rule of offense? If a young forward is scoring .306 points-per-game at 17 in the CHL, he is extremely unlikely to blossom. In a way, Lucic—a grand exception to the rule—caused some (many) NHL teams to chase a dream that did not exist. Even NHL checkers scored well in junior, that is a (mostly) universal fact. Here are some players from Craig Button’s list who are ranked inside his top 100 and shy in offense:
- No. 74 Cliff Pu 63gp, 12-19-31 .492 (he finished extremely well)
- No. 98 Tanner Kaspick 53gp, 13-18-31 .585
Button’s list is (imo) always a strong one, so I am not surprised to find no players with Ewanyk’s junior offense among his top 100 names. What about Central scouting’s top 60?
- No. 69 NA Nicholas Caamano 64gp, 20-17-37 .578
Again, none at Ewaynk’s level of offense. We will revisit when the final Bob McKenzie list comes out. The last time Edmonton used a top 90 selection on a low scoring forward was Mitch Moroz (.378) in 2012. Perhaps the scouting department is listening to the math people.
IT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU
If the Oilers acquire Milan Lucic, then one assumes they are also going to move a $6 million player. Sending Nuge to Colorado for Tyson Barrie does the trick, but the club would need to acquire Andrew Shaw for, well, I am not sure what that would take. Also not quite sure why Colorado is dealing for the Nuge, but Lucic road is long on desire and short on logic—Edmonton does not need Lucic.
IT’S WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT
Peter Chiarelli arrived in Edmonton without a Milan Lucic or even a close facsimile. Through hard work and several sets of glasses, he picked up Patrick Maroon and Zack Kassian—but the opportunity for the real McCoy may be too much to resist. It might have helped if Edmonton had something resembling a Lucic, but there are very few in the NHL and the Oilers do not have any possibles bubbling under.
FALL 2016 TRAINING CAMP IS IMPORTANT. RIGHT?
- World Cup of Hockey time line: September 17 to October 1 (source)
- Oilers pre-season schedule 2015: September 21 to October 3 (source)
- Todd McLellan head coach of Team North America (source)
I haven’t read anything on this, but should this be a concern? I mean, we can all agree there is going to be a lot of change, no? How important is it to have a strong training camp? The Oilers will have a mostly intact roster at TC while the World Cup of Hockey is going on, how do evaluations take place? Just wondering.
TOP 15 POWER WINGERS IN THE DRAFT
- W Patrik Laine, Tappara (Sm-Liiga): Giant sniper, size, power.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga): Big, fast, rambunctious.
- C-L Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cape Breton (QMJHL): Impressive range.
- L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): Power and finesse.
- R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). Power W who can score.
- L Max Jones, London Knights (OHL). Otten calls him a throwback PF.
- C-R Nathan Bastian, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Big skill F with smarts.
- L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (WHL). Physical two-way forward. Injured a lot. Small for PF.
- L Riley Tufte, Fargo Force (USHL). Big W, buzz on this guy is pretty massive.
- L Mitchell Mattson, Grand Rapids (USHS). Tall forward with speed and skill. PF?
- L Givani Smith, Guelph Storm (OHL). Big, strong PF. Fine player on struggling team.
- L Matt Filipe, Cedar Rapids (USHL). 6.02, 200 and skilled.
- W Tim Gettinger, SSM (OHL). He is a 6.06 winger. Itch will be scratched.
- R Cameron Askew, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). Big, bruising F with skill (Sherren)
- R William Knierim, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL). Huge winger with some skill.
It is somewhat difficult cobbling together a list of power wingers from scouting reports, so there may be a name that does not belong (or one omitted that should be here). That said, there are a pile of PFs in the draft and I imagine we will see Edmonton grab one. Benson does not have PF size but he plays with abandon—that is a Chiarelli-type player. Do not be surprised if Edmonton trades back into Round 1 and grabs him if available—even if Matt Tkachuk is the pick at No. 4 overall.
Dominic Tiano has his final OHL ranking for the 2016 draft out, make sure to read it when you can. The OHL is lush with good prospects this season, the Oilers should shop like hungry men at the grocery store in Ontario province.
NHLE NUMBERS FOR ADDED TALENT
A couple of dms about Patrick Russell and his skill level, we have discussed him a few places, notably here. A quick look via NHLE at the added talent shows he does have ability:
- L Drake Caggiula 44
- R Joey Benik 39 (AHL contract)
- R Patrick Russell 34
- L Jere Sallinen 25
- LD Colton Waltz 10 (AHL contract)
- G Nick Ellis (.936SP with Providence College)
I am using the Christian Roatis conversion calculator here. I think there is a chance we see all three signed forwards at some point or another, and Benik is an interesting item, too. Interesting to look at that list and then filter the positions through the draft, free agency and trade targets this summer. Some forwards are heading out of town, via declining to sign RFA/UFA, trade, by hook or by crook.