LUCKY STAR

by Lowetide

We can argue about the wisdom of individual moves, but there is no case I can see to counter the following statement: In the last two drafts, the Edmonton Oilers received luck beyond compare. The tumblers clicked for McDavid, and the Blue Jackets chose a center over the mannish boy Jesse Puljujarvi this summer. Music! Cymbal smash! Huzzah!

We were talking not long ago about right choices and wrong ones, and I promised myself a return trip to the conversation. Let’s go back to 2010, post the Oilers selections, along with the available rankings of the day. Fair? We are looking for evidence of a wonky selection in an important part of the draft. Since Bob McKenzie is the industry standard, I will use his list.

2010

  • No. 1 overall—Taylor Hall. Bob McKenzie: No. 1
  • No. 31 overall—Tyler Pitlick. Bob McKenzie: No. 25
  • No. 46 overall—Martin Marincin. Bob McKenzie: No. 71
  • No. 48 overall—Curtis Hamilton. Bob McKenzie: No. 57

The obvious reach is Marincin—who I regard as a successful draft pick (your mileage may vary, he is a defensive defenseman). The Hamilton pick quickly became unpopular, and he was a slight reach pick. The Pitlick addition was regarded as positive on draft day, his injuries have made it a difficult road.

2011

  • No. 1 overall—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Bob McKenzie: No. 1
  • No. 19 overall—Oscar Klefbom. Bob McKenzie: No. 21
  • No. 31 overall—David Musil. Bob McKenzie: No. 41

The first two selections have never received a lot of criticism. Nuge is sometimes referred to as a weak No. 1 overall and some would rather have seen Larsson selected—but the pick delivered a talented player who addressed a vital need. Klefbom has been outstanding when healthy, and is regarded universally as a big part of the future. The selection of David Musil remains a lightning rod for the fans—the Oilers chose a relative of the scouting staff during a period of simply miserable seasons—but he was ranked by BM as a mid-second selection. Despite the anger and the fury, the pick was not wildly out of sync with prevailing wisdom.

2012

  • No. 1 overall—Nail Yakupov. Bob McKenzie: No. 1
  • No. 32 overall—Mitch Moroz. Bob McKenzie: No. 56

This is a draft summer that routinely takes a bullet, but I will defend the team’s decision to take Nail Yakupov. Folks, he was the best player available, and he was a dynamite junior. Now, we didn’t have access to the interviews and the scouts apparently wanted Ryan Murray, but we have the numbers and they all screamed Nail. Mitch Moroz was chosen out of order, the organization no doubt thinking they would not be able to grab him at No. 63 (Jujhar Khaira) and it has been a rocky pro career to this moment. The Moroz and Musil selections get most of the fury from the fanbase, but only the Moroz pick (to my eye) was a major reach.

2013

  • No. 7 overall—Darnell Nurse. Bob McKenzie: No. 9
  • No. 56 overall—Marco Roy. Bob McKenzie: No. 59

I know several Oiler fans who remain very upset about Edmonton passing on Valeri Nichushkin, but the rankings suggest the Nurse selection was in the range. Many Oilers fans who post here—and many who blog—are now openly negative about the first round pick, but I encourage you to wait five years before making the final call. Either way, the pick was in the range. The Marco Roy pick was also in range, but has been a mystery since it happened. Young Roy was offensively shy through junior, did not get an NHL deal, but played better in the AHL than some of the kids Edmonton signed. I think he might be a decent pro player, but the die is cast.

2014

  • No. 3 overall—Leon Draisaitl. Bob McKenzie: No. 4

In the range, I winced just a little because Sam Bennett was still available. I think Leon was an excellent pick and believe he will have a strong future, as will Bennett.

2015

  • No. 1 overall—Connor McDavid. Bob McKenzie: No. 1

The impossible dream struck midnight! I still cannot believe the blind damned luck the Oilers got that day—it drives pure hatred among my friends who are fans of the Flames, Leafs and Canucks (don’t ask). In the long history of the game, Edmonton’s generational talents-per-capita is stupid good.

2016

  • No. 4 overall—Jesse Puljujarvi. Bob McKenzie: No. 3
  • No. 32 overall—Tyler Benson. Bob McKenzie: No. 39
  • No. 63 overall—Markus Niemelainen. Bob McKenzie: No. 38

Luck. I think we should spend a little time on that word and what it means to the Oilers at this time. Puljujarvi was the third best player in the draft—but the Blue Jackets wanted a center. I expect Matt Tkachuk would have been the pick for Edmonton, and we would be talking about a terrific young player who might be a little shy on speed—instead, this big Finn falls into the Oilers arms by sheer luck. Honestly, it is incredible. I think the Oilers would be wise to slow play Puljujarvi, but there has been no obvious—signing Radim Vrbata—sign of it happening.

  • Reach picks: Curtis Hamilton, David Musil
  • Major reach picks: Martin Marincin, Mitch Moroz

I think the Oilers could have run the identical drafts without much fanfare—if the 2007 draft had delivered the players who could have fueled success 2010-14. Of course, if Sam Gagner, Alex Plante and Riley Nash had turned out, Edmonton doesn’t get Hall and the rest. We will revisit the McKenzie numbers again next season, and maybe—just maybe—the first-round pick will be outside the lottery.

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Woogie63

An interesting question might be….

Who was the veteran(s) that Oilers paired with all this talent to help them be a star player when they turned 22?

Centre of attention

The Oilers have also made some inspired picks in rounds past #3 in the last couple drafts. Very encouraging.

Rasanen is a home run pick, he was a second rounder on some lists. Bear is another second rounder we stole in the depth rounds.

Now its up to the organization to develop these kids properly. *tugs collar nervously, gulps*

Centre of attention

Lowetide: I was going to write a post about how encouraging this year’s draft looks, but the last time I did that the 2010 draft fell flat. So I am acting all aloof with this draft.

2010 had Marincin, Davidson, Hall and Pitlick no? I call that at least covering the bet. Your mileage may vary with that one™.

Woodguy

Let’s go back to 2010, post the Oilers selections, along with the available rankings of the day. Fair? We are looking for evidence of a wonky selection in an important part of the draft. Since Bob McKenzie is the industry standard, I will use his list.

You mean we can’t look back in time and find the consensus 10th overall pick who’s been killing it in the NHL and look down our nose at every body for not seeing his obvious superiority??????

The hell you say sir!

Woogie63

I wish we had seen more Derek Roy type pick-up to help these teenager as they figured out how to play in the NHL.

Centre of attention

Lowetide: Haha. Well, I am willing to commit to a decision on the 2016 draftin 2012 summer.

I lost you lol. Did you mean you didn’t know that Davidson/Marincin would re-emerge recently so they don’t factor into your judgement?

I know you’re just trying to joke around but I’m confused lol.

Jethro Tull

Lowetide: Another problem for Edmonton has been trading players who were emerging, going back to Jason Chimera and similar.

Another problem for Edmonton was that the rookies were, at times, out-performing said veterans.

Woodguy

Seriously, there is nothing worse than someone looking back at drafts and pointing out “obvious” mistakes that were not apparent at the time.

People have been doing it forever and its never good reading.

It’s pure Monday Morning Quarterbacking and is awful.

If you are on record at the time about the pick, then wail away and I’ll support you.

If you are not on record, then stfu.

That being said, I think only Edmonton Sun writers liked the Moroz pick and not many at Lowetide liked Musil either with a few nice forwards on the board who fell that year (like Pitlick did they year before)

Centre of attention

Lowetide,

Gotcha. I agree I’m more reserved than I once was regarding the entire 2010 draft, but I still think it was overall decent. Davidson still has more of a story to tell that is for sure.

I think you do a fine job remaining neutral, but this is also your blog so you’re allowed to have a bit of a bias 🙂

Woogie63

An interesting little story is developing here in Calgary in PDL (18-23 year old), soccer, a development league for the MLS. Calgary Foothill is playing for that league’s championship in only their second year in the league.

The manager of that club, built a privately funded indoor training facility.
Last year they got creamed in the league with the youngest roster in the league.

This year he keep his young stars in the club academy program who practiced all year, then he increased the age of his senior team by 2.1 years.

The net impact is they have a very competitive senior team, some of the best 18/19 year olds working on their skills. Last year 4 of 8 teams from Alberta that played for their age group (ladies and boys) youth national championship were from the Foothills club.

In this example development seems to be one of the important elements to the club success.

AsiaOil

Moroz was the only clear and obvious mistake from the high 2nd rounders. Musil would likely be the odds-on guy to be a 6-7 this coming season if in subsequent years the org had not drafted every LHD on the planet. I admit I wanted Nurse – but overlooking the RHD Finn when there was such a clear hole at that position was the other big mistake. Buy hey – we had all LHD in the 80s – so what’s the problem.

Edit – Roy was an analytics pick and an analytics failure – digging into why would be useful

Centre of attention

Lowetide: Ha! Thanks. I do like Brandon Davidson a tremendous amount, but worry the Oilers don’t value him. Such is the life of a fan living in the second division.

Stauffer said recently again that Davidson has a lot of guys cheering for him in the organization. Gord bless MacT, the bastard.

I think picking up where he left off last season will force the Oilers hand. I wouldn’t rule out other incumbent LHD being moved to make room for Davidson once he starts fully asserting himself and continues to perform at that high level.

I’m paranoid too though. Don’t blame you.

Richard S.S.

It’s only fair to judge the last two Drafts, every pick since The McDavid. To go back before that is an exercise in futility. Everything that went before got us The McDavid. As incompetent as every GM and Manager has been, it only makes up for losing Gretzky. By all accounts we have our replacement. Do we get our Finn if Reinhart is NHL ready? That’s something for Lowetide to consider.

Centre of attention

AsiaOil:
Moroz was the only clear and obvious mistake from the high 2nd rounders. Musil would likely be the odds-on guy to be a 6-7 this coming season if in subsequent years the org had not drafted every LHD on the planet. I admit I wanted Nurse – but overlooking the RHD Finnwhen there was such a clear hole at that position was the other big mistake. Buy hey – we had all LHD in the 80s – so what’s the problem.

Edit – Roy was an analytics pick and an analytics failure – digging into why would be useful

At the time, the organization put a lot of faith in Justin Schultz. They knew he was in the bag and picked Nurse instead of Risto because they thought they had their RHD puck mover.

Just my opinion though.

OilClog

Wait, what does any of this have to do with Wade Boggs?!?

Material Elvis

Woodguy:
Seriously, there is nothing worse than someone looking back at drafts and pointing out “obvious” mistakes that were not apparent at the time.

People have been doing it forever and its never good reading.

It’s pure Monday Morning Quarterbacking and is awful.

If you are on record at the time about the pick, then wail away and I’ll support you.

If you are not on record, then stfu.

That being said, I think only Edmonton Sun writers liked the Moroz pick and not many at Lowetide liked Musil either with a few nice forwards on the board who fell that year (like Pitlick did they year before)

I’m on record picking all the best players but it’s up to you to go and find that information. Who am I?

Material Elvis

AsiaOil:
Moroz was the only clear and obvious mistake from the high 2nd rounders. Musil would likely be the odds-on guy to be a 6-7 this coming season if in subsequent years the org had not drafted every LHD on the planet. I admit I wanted Nurse – but overlooking the RHD Finnwhen there was such a clear hole at that position was the other big mistake. Buy hey – we had all LHD in the 80s – so what’s the problem.

Edit – Roy was an analytics pick and an analytics failure – digging into why would be useful

But MacT had a feeling about Nurse that morning!

Woodguy

pocession charge: I’m on record picking all the best players but it’s up to you to go and find that information.Who am I?

No.

If you claim you knew at the time its up to you to provide proof of this.

This is known.

Woodguy

pocession charge,

Also,

I get what you are saying, but I prefer to leave proper names out of this.

Kiltymcbagpipes

Centre of attention: At the time, the organization put a lot of faith in Justin Schultz. They knew he was in the bag and picked Nurse instead of Risto because they thought they had their RHD puck mover.

Just my opinion though.

That’s a good point I think you are bang on there. If nothing else it might have ultimately been the deciding factor.

I like Risto a lot but I still think Nurse is going to be a keeper. Just his recovery speed alone is going to help him excel in his league once the game slows down mentally for him watch out. I can’t think of a young dman in the league who skates better than him and I keep going back to Keith’s early years how you’d watch him skate so gracefully and think “man, when he figures it all out he’s gonna be good.” Add everything else that Nurse brings to the table and it’s easy to excited about his future.

I also think Nurse-Davidson 3rd pair is pretty much set in stone barring any trades. Dont see how we sign Wiz and send Nurse down even if it might seem like the better option. Wiz over Fayne would be the only option IMO but I’m not sure that’s a smart move.

Klefbom, Larsson and Davidson all have potential on the PP. Might be best to stick with what we got now and roll with it.

Kiltymcbagpipes

Lowetide:
Kilty: Agree on Nurse-Davidson third pair.

Just to piggyback off that, another nice thing about Davidson is not only will he be a good partner for Nurse but if anyone in the top 4 goes down he can pretty much move up and fill the void seamlessly. That type of versatility is a huge asset and should certainly add to his value. The fact this organization appears to get that is very encouraging.

JD_Wry

Pantsonfire: among my friends who are fans of the Flames, Leafs and Canucks (don’t ask).

My cousin is the worst Flames fan you’ve ever met. They can do no wrong, except when they do, and then he blames everything else but the team. He still refers to the 2015 draft as ‘the fucking McDavid’ draft, and was probably the first person to start hollering about a limit on winning the draft lotto.

I’ve avoided him since the Elliot trade though. That has me worried a bit, although I’m going to ask him where Jankowski is these days if he brings it up.

Gayfish

Woodguy: No.

If you claim you knew at the time its up to you to provide proof of this.

This is known.

Presumption of innocence. Burden is on you if you want to be a dick.

Centre of attention

Kiltymcbagpipes: Just to piggyback off that, another nice thing about Davidson is not only will he be a good partner for Nurse but if anyone in the top 4 goes down he can pretty much move up and fill the void seamlessly.That type of versatility is a huge asset and should certainly add to his value.The fact this organization appears to get that is very encouraging.

I think Davidsons bomb will be put to good use on the man advantage as well. Pre season will be mighty interesting.

JD_Wry

Lowetide: Avoid him!

Doh!

JD_Wry

Haven’t watched much of it yet, but looks promising – a BBC doc on the origins of metal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmceqLZqvPY&feature=youtu.be

JD_Wry

Lowetide: Yardbirds

They’re in there – simmer down now. Kinks too.

Edit: Cream too – Ginger Baker was probably the main inspiration for Animal on The Muppets.

Jaxon

If Wisniewski were signed I believe we would be looking at Nurse-Davidson splitting 3rd pair LHD / 7th D duty.

Klefbom-Larsson
Sekera-Fayne
Nurse/Davidson-Wisniewski
Davidson/Nurse

Or maybe even Nurse in the AHL getting 27 minutes a night. That would be incredible until he shows he can dominate, then bring him up and Davidson becomes your 7th D.

DBO

Barrie signed 4 year, 5.5 mill per season. So does this make it more likely he is dealt or less?

teddyturnbuckle

Thought Klefbom’s comments about Hall over at The Hockey writers were spot on. I would put Nuge and Eberle in that category also. All three were great when they played the worst teams in the league but they were invisible against the good teams. Remember the days when we thought those three were going to win us a cup?

Gayfish

teddyturnbuckle:
Thought Klefbom’s comments about Hall over at The Hockey writers were spot on.I would put Nuge and Eberle in that category also.All three were great when they played the worst teams in the league butthey were invisible against the good teams.Remember the days when we thought those three were going to win us a cup?

The top two lines usually cancel each other out. Depth is key to winning. Anyone who expects our top line to win us games while playing guys like Korpikoski is out of their mind.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

teddyturnbuckle,

Sarcasm?

On a related note this blog should consider adopting a sarcasm font.

AsiaOil

Yes the trade is redundant now – but at the time – we had Klef who was still damn near a rookie, no Sekera, Davidson was an obscure AHL player, Nurse was barely out of junior, Ference and Nikitin were done. I doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see a gaping hole on LHD as well. Things broke well at LHD and cratered on the other side.

GR was better than Nurse the last 20 games by eye and numbers. If he’s better than Nurse in TC he should stay and Nurse go down. GR would do just as well or better with Davey and Nurse is waiver exempt (both league and expansion). We have time with Nurse. But we need to clearly see what we have with Davey and GR – expansion draft is coming up and decisions needs to be made. Boosting the trade value of both guys is not a bad idea. Let play on the ice decide who stays and how high they slot in – we’ve had enough TCs with zero real competition over the past decade.

Lowetide: That’s why the Reinhart trade made so little sense. As for Roy, great point and idea.

rickithebear

I look at
Larsson
#1 EVGA D
#12 PKGA D

Davidson
top 30 HSCA D;
TOP 30 EVGA D;
#5 PK GA D

Klefbom
Top 60 HSC AD
top 50 SA/60 D
Top 10 PKGA D

I watch Nurses
front net strength
Skating
passing
think we are lucky Tmac has a young man to turn into another elite HSCA D.

Ryan

rickithebear:
I look at
Larsson
#1 EVGA D
#12 PKGA D

Davidson
top 30 HSCA D;
TOP 30 EVGA D;
#5 PK GA D

Klefbom
Top 60 HSC AD
top 50 SA/60 D
Top 10 PKGA D

I watch Nurses
front net strength
Skating
passing
think we are lucky Tmac has a young man to turn into another elite HSCA D.

My worry with Nurse is his inability to transition the puck effectively.

Jaxon
Bruce McCurdy

AsiaOil: I admit I wanted Nurse – but overlooking the RHD Finn when there was such a clear hole at that position was the other big mistake.

Thing was, at the time Oilers had J.Schultz and Petry as young RHD with 500 miles of blacktop stretching in front of both of them. There was nothing like the obvious hole that developed only in retrospect of the situation at the time of the draft. The top four was Smid-Petry and N.Schultz-J.Schultz, and some folks thought Oilers specifically needed LHD.

EDIT: As you pretty much said yourself in a subsequent comment. We’re on the same page this time (for a change! 🙂

Bruce McCurdy

Centre of attention: Stauffer said recently again that Davidson has a lot of guys cheering for him in the organization. Gord bless MacT, the bastard.

Everybody who knows Brandon Davidson, roots for him.