REVIEWING THE 2015 DRAFT

by Lowetide

There are few moments in the life of a sports franchise that represent a true shift in fortunes. Although we all love the lore of the game, even moments that present themselves as a change in the weather don’t always work out that way. Although Edmonton won the 2015 lottery and with it that season’s draft, Peter Chiarelli traded away a lot of picks that day. In return, he acquired Cam Talbot, Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba, plus paid the ransom for hiring Todd McLellan.

As other teams plucked brilliant prospects from a generational draft, Edmonton had to wait. Now, two years later, we are seeing the results of those depth picks come into view. So far, things look bright. What should our expectations be? Scott Cullen has done the heavy lifting of looking back and figuring out expectations based on draft number and history. Let’s have a look.

  • No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid. The ultimate home run, he is delivering 1.165 points-per-game at the NHL level. Scott Cullen tells us this pick has a 100% chance of playing 100 NHL games and the ‘average’ No. 1 overall pick is a first-line forward. McDavid has already covered that bet and now it’s a matter of surrounding him with enough talent to win.
  • No. 117 overall: LHD Caleb Jones. Cullen’s article suggests the expectation for a player chosen here is under NHL 50 games, with much of his career spent in the AHL or Europe. Jones has a 14 percent chance of playing 100 games. The strength of the 2015 draft and Jones fine play since he was drafted suggest he is on track to outperform the past.
  • No. 124 overall: RHD Ethan Bear. Very similar to Jones in that his performance post draft has been exceptional. Ordinarily I would say these two men would go higher in a re-draft, but I haven’t looked at all of the draftees and it was a deep one. Suffice to say that historically the Oilers should be pleased with Bear (and Jones). Cullen expectation is under 50 NHL games (same as Jones) but a 16 percent chance of playing 100 NHL games. Small increase in chances over Jones is just randomness of life.
  • No. 154 overall: RHD John Marino. I think Peter Chiarelli has more input into his drafts than previous general managers. Why? Increased interested in the USHL and its feeder leagues. Both Jones and John Marino were plucked from previously underused areas and both men look to be quality draft picks. Marino is now at Harvard and posted a strong season in a two-way role. Cullen’s numbers suggest he remains in the range as Jones and Bear, with 50 NHL games the average and a 15 percent chance of playing 100 or more games. I’m tempted to suggest that the reasonable view would be that one of Jones, Bear and Marino make it as NHL regulars, but I like the trio now better than Petry, Chorney and Wild a decade ago.
  • No. 208 overall: G Miroslav Svoboda. Another player who has performed extremely well since draft day, the issue here isn’t the numbers, it’s quality of play in his league. We simply don’t know the level of play, but Svoboda is dominating Cze-2. Cullen says expect 10 or fewer NHL games and an eight percent chance of 100 NHL games. I don’t know that we’ll ever see him, but man he’s something else by the numbers.
  • No. 209 overall: LHD Ziyat Paigin. A forever trivia answer (he was the last name to land in the Cam Talbot trade), Paigin made his reputation previous to draft day by playing solid defense in international tournaments (and the shot didn’t hurt). He is the fourth player from this draft who has signed and we’ll see how he adjusts to North America. Cullen says a player chosen here has an expectation of 10 or fewer NHL games and an eight percent chance of playing 100 or more games.

The 2010 draft taught me to understate the promise of a draft, so I will do so here. The six names chosen by Edmonton on draft day 2015 have all flourished since that weekend. The one man in the NHL is the best player in the game already, the others are matriculating. It was a great draft for sure, McDavid ensured that much. How many of these men will join him for the heart of his Oilers career? We wait.

There is a second story in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft that may become a monster in the years to come. In trading for Talbot, Reinhart, Gryba and McLellan, the Oilers sent away picks that turned into Mathew Barzal, Mitchell Stephens, Mike Robinson, Jonas Siegenthaler, Sergey Zborovskiy, Adam Huska and Christian Wolanin. Their futures will be tracked, same as Jones and Bear and Paigin, too. We wait on those stories as well.

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N64

wheatnoil: I’m not sure we can say that was their intention with any degree of certainty.

Agreed.

N64

wheatnoil: Sure, but the Oilers left a spot open for him to claim.

Now, again, in more favourable conditions (fewer LHD) things might turn out different.

I stand by my ‘what could have been’ comment given the potential option in discussion was a skilled forward and a RHD.

One thing that’s slowed Griff down has been a few days out for back issues when he’s had a crack at 7D early in the year or at camp. It’s been personified as failure to condition but it might be about the wrong conditiong or treatment. His dad was so good that his back cost games and seasons and early retirement, but for a lesser player bad timing with a nagging injury can close key windows.

wheatnoil

N64: After 41 games in the AHL most of the bonuses were impossible. By then his game was looking good enough to fill in for a few days most years. Either they did not want to interrupt the slow cooker foreven a week for the good of his development OR they did not want Vegas to evaluate his game in the NHL

I’m not sure we can say that was their intention with any degree of certainty.

wheatnoil

omega4: That is not the way I remember it. I think he got a small opportunity on his wrong side(RD), then got sent down.

Sure, but the Oilers left a spot open for him to claim.

Now, again, in more favourable conditions (fewer LHD) things might turn out different.

I stand by my ‘what could have been’ comment given the potential option in discussion was a skilled forward and a RHD.

N64

wheatnoil: I’m not sure expansion plays a difference in Reinhart’s call ups, though his bonus money might have.

After 41 games in the AHL most of the bonuses were impossible. By then his game was looking good enough to fill in for a few days most years. Either they did not want to interrupt the slow cooker for even a week for the good of his development OR they did not want Vegas to evaluate his game in the NHL

Omega93

wheatnoil: . I will say that it looked like the Oilers gave him every opportunity

That is not the way I remember it. I think he got a small opportunity on his wrong side(RD), then got sent down.

Justthestatsman

Glass:
pocession charge,

If you sign like 5 NCAA prospects every year you’re bound to find a player sooner or later.

That may be true, however with NCAA signings they need a higher success rate as they are using a valuable spot on the 50 man roster. With the draft, prospects don’t need to be signed right away. If, after a couple of years, it doesn’t look like they can make the jump to pro, they don’t need to be signed at all.

I would agree with what others have said…the GM needs to look at all potential areas of player procurement.

Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville

Re:The Re8nhart trade, people forget how we were so hard up for LHD.

Oh wait….

wheatnoil

N64: Not as clear as it sounds given one is a forward. Also in a non expansion draft year Griff might have got some of the call ups this year.

Yeah, the forward piece makes a difference.

I’m not sure expansion plays a difference in Reinhart’s call ups, though his bonus money might have. I will say that it looked like the Oilers gave him every opportunity in camp and then signed Russell when he wasn’t up to task.

I suspect he’ll get every opportunity next year as well as 7D.

Louis Levasseur

I have no idea if Reinhart will turn out. I do think it is too early completely pass judgment on the trade. I thought I read that part of the reason he has been in Bakersfield all season is due to implications with his bonus. Also, draft picks are nice, but we all know that it’s not a slam dunk that they will ever amount to useful NHL players. Barzal or Ek or whoever might be good, but it’s equally likely they never amount to a pinch of sh1t.

Woodguy v2.0

jonrmcleod:
Woodguy v2.0,

Godot is on Twitter?

Not often, but he’s there.

spoiler

106 and 106:
Griffin Reinhart called up.

That trade is really paying off.

106 and 106

Griffin Reinhart called up.

jm363561

pocession charge:
jm363561,

Two counter points:

1.Chia got lucky with Benning and Caggiula.The majority of college players that get signed crash and burn before they make it the NHL.My point is you can’t get these types of players on a regular basis.

2.Drafted players still makeup the majority of most teams’ core group.These ELC’s usually provide extreme value to their teams relative to college signings.My point is that the draft will always be the foundation for building a successful team.

Fair enough. I can’t speak for other teams as I really only follow the Oilers. Either way, I still think the draft is now less important than it was, which is my main point.

Foege Foegele Torpe

I❤️Radio sucks balls.
I ❤️Liquor is where it’s at

JD_Wry

Oilanderp,

The look of despair on Coot’s face as the clock wound down in the third. Almost as satisfying.

N64

wheatnoil: ) Erikson Ek, the comparison point here, also has a lot of story left to be written. However, in Draft+2 he already has 17 NHL games (compared to 37 NHL games to Reinhart in Draft+5, assuming he does not draw in for the playoffs, which may yet happen

Not as clear as it sounds given one is a forward. Also in a non expansion draft year Griff might have got some of the call ups this year.

Glass

pocession charge,

If you sign like 5 NCAA prospects every year you’re bound to find a player sooner or later.

Oilander

Something something 2015 draft

*goes back to watching Kassian hits*

wheatnoil

pocession charge:
jm363561,

Two counter points:

1.Chia got lucky with Benning and Caggiula.The majority of college players that get signed crash and burn before they make it the NHL.My point is you can’t get these types of players on a regular basis.

2.Drafted players still makeup the majority of most teams’ core group.These ELC’s usually provide extreme value to their teams relative to college signings.My point is that the draft will always be the foundation for building a successful team.

I think you guys are both making valid points here and would say that successful teams essentially acquire players in a variety of ways. Their good drafts make up for their bad trades, their good trades make up for their bad UFA signings, their good UFA signings make up for their bad draft picks, etc.

It is precisely because, as you say, you can’t get college UFAs on a regular basis that you need good draft picks. However, it is precisely because the draft is a crapshoot and sometimes you’ll have a whole year or two flame out, that you need good college UFAs to fill in the prospect gaps.

Material Elvis

jm363561,

Two counter points:

1. Chia got lucky with Benning and Caggiula. The majority of college players that get signed crash and burn before they make it the NHL. My point is you can’t get these types of players on a regular basis.

2. Drafted players still makeup the majority of most teams’ core group. These ELC’s usually provide extreme value to their teams relative to college signings. My point is that the draft will always be the foundation for building a successful team.

JD_Wry

Brodie takes a crosschecking penalty on Kessler with just over two minutes left.

That’s what I call a win – win.

Material Elvis

Lloyd B.:

Clear organizational shift in procuring emerging talent.

Chia had no choice. Previous drafting and development didn’t get the job done. The team, by all rights, should have several prospects pushing for NHL spots by now. That is not the case, especially at forward.

wheatnoil

Lloyd B.: Are you writing Reinhart off completely?You are thinking there is no chance he turns out?

Conventional wisdom in these parts is 5 years, defencemen take more time, and development is not linear.

Lest we forget at the end of last season Reinhart was playing better than Nurse.Nurse took a huge step this year.Why can’t Reinhart next year?

What if all of McDavid, Talbot, and Reinhart turn out?

If they do it would rival the 81? draft.

I think Griffin Reinhart’s story is not yet complete. There are chapters left to be told and there’s a chance he makes it in the NHL. However,

1) Reinhart IS 5 years post-draft.

2) He has completed his Entry Level Contract (after 2 years in the WHL post draft) and has not yet established himself as even a depth NHL option.

3) He is being crowded out by defenceman around his age and younger. As examples: Oscar Klefbom is only 6 months older than Griffin Reinhart. He has established himself as a top pairing defender at this point. Matt Benning is 3 months younger than Reinhart and has played this year as an NHL regular bottom pairing defenceman. Darnell Nurse is 13 months younger than Reinhart and he also has been playing as a regular bottom pairing defenceman. Even Adam Larsson is only 14 months older than Reinhart (drafted just the year before him) and has 360 NHL games under his belt.

4) As such, his ceiling is becoming more limited. Anything can happen, but odds are that if he DOES make it in the NHL, it will likely be as a 3rd pairing defenceman.

5) Erikson Ek, the comparison point here, also has a lot of story left to be written. However, in Draft+2 he already has 17 NHL games (compared to 37 NHL games to Reinhart in Draft+5, assuming he does not draw in for the playoffs, which may yet happen). The arrows are much stronger. The ceiling much higher. The second comparison point, Brandon Carlo, has already played a full 82 game season… so MORE than Reinhart has to this point in his career. He still has a lot of story yet to tell, but again, the arrows so far are quite positive.

So, my comment was not meant to write off Reinhart entirely. However, after 5 years post-draft, it is becoming less likely Reinhart turns out as an NHL option and if he does, his ceiling is likely much lower. Erikson Ek and Brandon Carlo, meanwhile, are trending well.

At this point, odds are that Ek and Carlo (should those have been the selections) are far more likely bets than Reinhart.

Hence my comment that the 2015 draft had the potential to be even more legendary than it already has been, given the Oilers’ suspected draft list.

Material Elvis

Bruce McCurdy: Either you’re new here or you utterly missed my attempt at old-meme humour.

His specialty is shadow reading, not nuance.

JD_Wry

Bruce McCurdy,

If a picture says a thousand words, then a 4 second video clip must say about 96,000 words. Or maybe just 8:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNZFZ6jDCR4

jm363561

In a cap world it seems to me that the draft is less important than it used to be as a source of the all important value contracts. Outside of the first round the time, effort and cost to develop the Khairas, Pitlicks, Landers, Davidsons, Sleps, seems to be disproportionate to () the value of the end products, (ii) the time for them to become productive, and (iii) the chance of success.

Chia has produced, at a stroke, Benning and Caggiula from college hockey. He has used picks and free agency to, at a stroke, bring in Maroon, Letestu, Talbot (first season), Gryba, Zach. All are value contracts. All immediately productive.

In a cap world teams pay big money to their core leaving little money to pay middle tier players who become available relatively cheaply. The draft in the lower rounds is still important, just not as important as it was.

Just my humble observation.

OEL – sigh.

Bruce McCurdy

leadfarmer: Yup it was either OEL or Reinhart.There was no other option.Absolutely none.Nothing else Chia could have done.

Either you’re new here or you utterly missed my attempt at old-meme humour.

Lloyd B.

wheatnoil: Oh what could have been. Adding those two names to the above list and throwing in the fact that they acquired Talbot? That could have been a potentially legendary draft.

Well, we got McDavid, so I guess it already is, but even MORE legendary.

Are you writing Reinhart off completely? You are thinking there is no chance he turns out?

Conventional wisdom in these parts is 5 years, defencemen take more time, and development is not linear.

Lest we forget at the end of last season Reinhart was playing better than Nurse. Nurse took a huge step this year. Why can’t Reinhart next year?

What if all of McDavid, Talbot, and Reinhart turn out?

If they do it would rival the 81? draft.

Lloyd B.

Bruce McCurdy: Yes it is.Also Nick Ellis & Patrick Russell.

One retrospective conclusion about the Reinhart trade is that it was an early indicator of Chiarelli’s preference for 21-22 year old prospects over 18-year-old prospects.

While it is de rigueur in some corners to piss and moan over that one trade until the end of time, perhaps it’s better to look at this acquisition pool as a basket of prospects and a body of work. Some wins, some losses, as Chiarelli suggested on Day One (& which is unavoidable for any GM who does anything more than sit on his hands).

I like this new philosophy of signing older ‘prospects’ over 18 year old “suspects’.

I reckon Chiarelli knew McDavid changed everything and draft picks aren’t going to be as good going forward. Ya think?

Clear organizational shift in procuring emerging talent.

Perhaps as early as next year, these types of prospects are going to be saying no to the Oliers.

The pipeline will be plugged or at least plugging up. No clear path to the NHL for them.

Great to see them take advantage of the window.

They have signed a complete forward line, a set of right and left defensemen ( with an extra RHD) and a goalie.

Under a cap system they are going to need these types of guys to fill in the holes much like Chicago has done the past number of years.

It will be tough to watch some favorite role players go, but the 5 or 6 core guys get the money. Can’t sign any of the guys that are not core to long term, big money deals.

I’m sure Chia has learned that lesson but here is a bubbling up example. Let’s say Kassian goes all world during the playoffs.

Does he get a multi year multi million dollar contract for that performance? Or does he get an additional million over his existing contract for 2 years?

If he won’t sign the reasonable contract, do you let him go and replace him with the “older prospect” that is in the system.

I’m saying you let him go BUT… you need to have prospects and not suspects to take his place if he won’t sign for reasonable money.

And yes I get the irony that reasonable money is ‘only’ $ 2.5 MILLION per year for a role player. And that, is what Kassian is.

Spengler

wheatnoil: Oh what could have been. Adding those two names to the above list and throwing in the fact that they acquired Talbot? That could have been a potentially legendary draft.

Well, we got McDavid, so I guess it already is, but even MORE legendary.

True. Though only the first pick was assured to have been available. It’s entirely likely that the picks between 16 and 33 would have fallen differently without the trade.

wheatnoil

Woodguy v2.0:
For the record:

Bob Stauffer stated on his show that the Oilers had Eriksson-Ek at 16 and Brandon Carlo at 33.

Both played more NHL games this year than Reinhart.

Oh what could have been. Adding those two names to the above list and throwing in the fact that they acquired Talbot? That could have been a potentially legendary draft.

Well, we got McDavid, so I guess it already is, but even MORE legendary.

JD_Wry
MrEd

Nutshell. Doesn’t take me….

ashley

Kadri; What a loser.

Diablo

Anaheim up 2-0 on the godless Falmes

Lloyd B.

Did Babcock just have Marincin out for the first 1:30 of the penalty kill for Toronto in overtime? Changed everyone else but left him on?

I must have missed something.

spoiler

russ99:
I don’t remember the Hawks looking this bad in a long time,

So glad we didn’t get Nashville in the first round.

I don’t know if there’s a worse team for a skill team to play against. Maybe Ottawa?

MrEd

Only 9 players from last years draft played games this year.
(I do realize this has probably been said before:)

Foege Foegele Torpe

Chachi: Someone kidnapped Bruce mid-post! I am guessing it was Martians! Nevermind, he’s back, they were benevolent Martians.

Martin Martians, he plays D fence for the Leafs

Gordies Elbow

Bruce McCurdy,

With the older players, Chiarelli’s been hitting singles, doubles, and triples.

The Drake is a player, Matt Benning is as well.

Ellis looks like he could be, dunno about Russell, Mantha, Gambardella, or Starrett. Good bets, though.

Foege Foegele Torpe

godot10: Yes I am on twitter.. I use twitter as more of a newsfeed.

Just like Trump

Foege Foegele Torpe

Chachi: They store those clips on a different part of the internet.

I call them “home movies”

leadfarmer

Bruce McCurdy: So, in other words rather than being received wit caution, last night’s results add to your preconceived notion of how bad the player is.

Thanks for making my point.

As opposed to your ability to squint so hard you form him into a good player. Got it. Our veteran coach wouldn’t trust him with even 7 minutes. 7 Minutes!!! For a veteran. And guess what. That’s actually more ice time then he got in game 1. So don’t give me that crap. Any data set can be fudged to the point that you can make a small data set look significant when it’s not. Medical journals are filled with it

Gordies Elbow

Glass,

The word I’ve heard that best describes Foo is “greasy.”

Sounds like a good fit.

leadfarmer

Bruce McCurdy: There you go. I personally feel that Chiarelli should have been fired the moment he didn’t trade for OEL.

Yup it was either OEL or Reinhart. There was no other option. Absolutely none. Nothing else Chia could have done.

godot10

jonrmcleod:
Woodguy v2.0,

Godot is on Twitter?

Yes I am on twitter. But I tweet hardly at all. I use twitter as more of a newsfeed.

Bruce McCurdy

leadfarmer: He’s been crap ever since his injury.That’s not mixed messages.It’s just how he’s been except for the first handful of games

So, in other words rather than being received with caution, last night’s results add to your preconceived notion of how bad the player is.

Thanks for making my point.

Bruce McCurdy

leadfarmer: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
Stupid Chia

There you go. I personally feel that Chiarelli should have been fired the moment he didn’t trade for OEL.