Problems

by Lowetide

Peter Chiarelli is under a great deal of pressure this offseason and much of the negative is self inflicted. It’s important to acknowledge the train wreck prospect pipeline he inherited and today we’re going to have a look at one reason it got that way: The 2013 entry draft.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great playoff special! Try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Jujhar Khaira took a big step forward in 2017-18
  • New Jonathan Willis: Drake Caggiula is still finding his way
  • Lowetide: The Oilers and Mikko Koskinen.
  • Scott Wheeler: Rasmus Dahlin: Breaking down the makings of a generational talent.
  • Lowetide: Nuge finds a sweet spot in the heart of the order.
  • Lowetide: Milan Lucic at a crossroads after disastrous season.
  • Jonathan Willis: The problem was never Ryan Strome, it was Oilers’ expectations.
  • Justin Bourne: What the other 30 GM’s can learn from Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Lowetide: Connor McDavid’s outstanding 2017-18 season.
  • Lowetide: Oilers summer to-do list short and sweet.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018Oilers and the WHL.
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
  • Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.

THE 2013 DRAFT

Craig MacTavish was the general manager in 2013, still basically a rookie. Dallas Eakins would guide the team, a young coach (hired 20 days before the draft) with lots of ideas and a great deal of determination. Stu MacGregor was the scouting director, he had been since the Jordan Eberle draft in 2008.

At the time of the draft, MacTavish appeared to be the one driving the good ship Oiler. His interview about Darnell Nurse after the draft involved a bathroom break, talk of his first-round selection “riding shotgun for the first overall picks” and what a pleasure it was to choose Nurse as his first draft pick. The Oilers looked closely at Valeri Nichushkin, but passed on the skilled Russian.

At No. 37 overall, MacT listened to his scouts (who felt there was a lot of value later on in the second and third rounds) and traded down for a massive package of picks. I’ve written about it many times, but the bottom line is that Edmonton dealt No. 37 (used to draft Valentin Zykov) for five selections (No. 83, 88, 94, 96, 118), with a pit stop to deal No. 57 (William Carrier). With Anton Slepyshev possibly heading back home, here’s how things look five years later (ranked by NHL games).

  1. Anton Slepyshev 102, 10-13-23
  2. William Carrier 78, 6-5-11
  3. Valentin Zykov 12, 4-4-8
  4. Bogdan Yakimov 1, 0-0-0
  5. Kyle Platzer
  6. Aidan Muir
  7. Jackson Houck

The big trade, added to second-round selection Marco Roy, must certainly have given the team the impression that a major group of forwards was heading for pro hockey in the fall of 2015. I think that’s the reason Edmonton decided to draft so unusually in 2014 (Leon Draisaitl, plus two forwards heading for college and two goalies in a 6-name draft).

In total, Edmonton would sign six picks from the 2013 draft (Nurse, Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev, Kyle Platzer, Ben Betker, Greg Chase), four of whom were forwards. Edmonton signed Marco Roy to an AHL deal, passed on Evan Campbell but signed his teammate Joe Gambardella, and didn’t get a lot from what looked like a promising draft at the time.

Edmonton needed more from the 2013 draft, and when they didn’t get it, the 2014 draft became more important. When the selections were poor (it was a strange list, folks) that made 2015 vitally important, bringing us to Peter Chiarelli. Here are the picks traded in 2014 and 2015.

2014 PICKS TRADED

  • 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

2015 PICKS TRADED

  • No. 16 (Mathew Barzal) to the NY Islanders in the Griffin Reinhart trade.
  • No. 33 (Mitchell Stephens) to the NY Islanders in the Griffin Reinhart trade.
  • No. 57 (Jonas Siegenthaler) to the NY Rangers in the Cam Talbot trade.
  • No. 64 (Dennis Yan) to the Anaheim Ducks in the Viktor Fasth trade.
  • No. 79 (Sergey Zborovskiy) to the NY Rangers in the Cam Talbot trade.
  • No. 86 (Mike Robinson) to the San Jose Sharks as compensation for Todd McLellan.
  • No. 94 (Adam Musil) to the St. Louis Blues in the Magnus Paajarvi trade.
  • No. 107 (Christian Wolanin) traded to the Ottawa Senators in the Eric Gryba trade.
  • No. 184 (Adam Huska) to the NY Rangers in the Cam Talbot trade.

The only time the Oilers spent a lot of picks on forwards in the last five drafts was 2013, and it was not successful. Failure to launch. We are here. This can’t stand. Man.

MARCO ROY

He was a reasonable bet. Marco Roy was a good hockey player (he had a strong ECHL season in 2017-18) and the numbers suggested the QMJHL center was good value late in the second round. Here’s how he ranked in points-per-game compared to several forwards from the era in their draft years.

  1. Nicolas Petan 2013 (WHL) 71, 46-74-120 (1.69)
  2. Shane Prince 2011 (OHL) 59, 25-63-88 (1.49)
  3. William Carrier 2013 (QMJHL) 34, 16-26-42 (1.24)
  4. Tyler Toffoli 2010 (OHL) 65, 37-42-79 (1.22)
  5. Ty Rattie 2011 (WHL) 67, 28-51-79 (1.18)
  6. Ryan Spooner 2010 (OHL) 47, 19-35-54 (1.15)
  7. Alexander Khoklachev 2011 (OHL) 67, 34-42-76 (1.13)
  8. Valentin Zykov 2012 (QMJHL) 67, 40-35-75 (1.12)
  9. Adam Erne 2013 (QMJHL) 68, 28-44-72 (1.06)
  10. Boone Jenner 2011 (OHL) 63, 25-41-66 (1.05)
  11. Marc Olivier Roy 2013 (QMJHL) 65, 29-38-67 (1.03)
  12. Christian Thomas 2010 (OHL) 64, 41-25-66 (1.03)
  13. Petr Straka 2010 (QMJHL) 62, 28-36-64 (1.03)
  14. Devante Smith-Pelly 2010 (OHL) 60, 29-33-62 (1.03)
  15. Nick Sorensen 2013 (QMJHL) 46, 20-27-47 (1.02)

Not everyone developed but a lot of these young men have enjoyed NHL careers. Roy was a late birthday (November 1994) and that may have been a contributing factor. I have followed his career, he is helping the Fort Wayne Komets in the playoffs (although he may be injured).

Sail on, Kalevan Pallo

Well dammit. Iiro Pakarinen was an inexpensive extra winger and a damn good penalty killer for the Edmonton Oilers. He was No. 2 among forwards in SA/60 (50 or more minutes) this past season via Natural Stat Trick and was also inexpensive. Pakarinen was easily the best of the ‘loose cannon’ free agents in recent years (Petrell, Belov) and he did a damned good job in a support role.

I have always liked him. I had Veini Vehvilainen No. 37 on my 2016 draft list, and had him No. 149 as late as May 2017. He has been a consistently good goaltender and would seem to be a reasonable late-round option for any NHL team.

 

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VOR

Wilde:
VOR,

Couturier is a supremely gifted offensive player. He has always been. That’s the point, he’s proven he can provide value even in a wholly defensive deployment… but he’s also a scorer, and I think that’s most often the case with ‘defensively talented’ players.

I don’t think this is true, though.

Perhaps defensive talent is underappreciated by itself, but any lack thereof is an enormously expedient and popular method for the derision of any offensively productive player on a losing team.

I think the actual population of players that have a significant gap between their offensive talent and their defensive talent, the latter being the greater, is entirely overreported.

If you’re good defensively, you score. Almost the only outnumbered situations that occur during NHL play are manufactured by a takeaway at either blueline. The reason Couturier didn’t is because of the unit and opportunity, and not his own lack of offensive talent, demonstrated by his boxcar explosion.

In his first 416 games in the NHL Sean Couturier scared 191 points. That is hardly a player who has always displayed supreme offensive skills. But with a one year exception he has always been an outstanding defensive player. Apparently being good defensively doesn’t mean you score. I don’t mean that offensively. I get what you and Leadfarmer are trying to say. I appreciate you taking the time to engage.

I think you are missing my point which is probably my fault. I am not saying ignore offence. I am saying draft players who have upsides that includes being able to thrive in reduced minute and specialist roles. Stop making it all about the boxcars and look at what happens if that center you drafted is getting the fourth most ice time of any center on your team.

The Oilers need good role players, cheap ones. Great role playing is about outplaying. Because of limited minutes role players need to leave very little because they don’t have time to create very much. All I am saying is make sure you don’t miss a great role player chasing just one kind of talent.

Jethro Tull

Wilde: Couturier is a supremely gifted offensive player. He has always been.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=115908

Cooter (to his friends) is a fine player, but perhaps you should revisit this statement. He has never broken 40pts before this season. His PPG was never great, but he did provide value. Good for him he had a great season, his best, your statement doesn’t jive.

meanashell11

PrairieOil,

hahahaha!!!!

PrairieOil

meanashell11,

Yeah, you’d think that with the runaway success of his blog, he’d have no time to pop in here and edify the little people

meanashell11

leadfarmer: Typical DSF Fashion.You fell right into it.
So Horvat has a few less points in almost a full season less yet you disregard Domi who has a few less points in almost a season less.

I cannot believe this guy is back.

meanashell11

Wilde:
VOR,

Couturier is a supremely gifted offensive player. He has always been. That’s the point, he’s proven he can provide value even in a wholly defensive deployment… but he’s also a scorer, and I think that’s most often the case with ‘defensively talented’ players.

I don’t think this is true, though.

Perhaps defensive talent is underappreciated by itself, but any lack thereof is an enormously expedient and popular method for the derision of any offensively productive player on a losing team.

I think the actual population of players that have a significant gap between their offensive talent and their defensive talent, the latter being the greater, is entirely overreported.

If you’re good defensively, you score. Almost the only outnumbered situations that occur during NHL play are manufactured by a takeaway at either blueline. The reason Couturier didn’t is because of the unit and opportunity, and not his own lack of offensive talent, demonstrated by his boxcar explosion.

I see a lot of Couturier in RNH. In an offensive role, he can score. In a defensive role he can shut down.

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair: Seriously?

Horvat has scored 71G in 295GP.
Lindholm has scored 64G in 374GP.

Horvat is 27 points behind Lindholm but has played 79 fewer games….almost a full season.

I expect Horvat could more than make up the difference in a heartbeat.

I agree it was a weak draft but Horvat has certainly held up his end of the bargain.

FTR…Domi has posted back to back 9 goal seasons.

I wouldn’t be dying on that hill if I were you.

Typical DSF Fashion. You fell right into it.
So Horvat has a few less points in almost a full season less yet you disregard Domi who has a few less points in almost a season less.

Wilde

VOR,

Couturier is a supremely gifted offensive player. He has always been. That’s the point, he’s proven he can provide value even in a wholly defensive deployment… but he’s also a scorer, and I think that’s most often the case with ‘defensively talented’ players.

My original point stands. By and large defensive talent is under appreciated in our love affair with offensive fire power.

I don’t think this is true, though.

Perhaps defensive talent is underappreciated by itself, but any lack thereof is an enormously expedient and popular method for the derision of any offensively productive player on a losing team.

I think the actual population of players that have a significant gap between their offensive talent and their defensive talent, the latter being the greater, is entirely overreported.

If you’re good defensively, you score. Almost the only outnumbered situations that occur during NHL play are manufactured by a takeaway at either blueline. The reason Couturier didn’t is because of the unit and opportunity, and not his own lack of offensive talent, demonstrated by his boxcar explosion.

VOR

Wilde,

You do know that this is Sean Couturier just finished his sixth season in the NHL?

The first year (part of a year) he was not very good in any way but showed glimmers on the defensive side of the puck. The next four years he outplayed some of the toughest competition in the NHL with bad zone starts and only moderately gifted teammates. So for four years he produced mediocre offence but got the job done. Each year he got better at outplaying and he did it by reducing GA/60. Apparently you don’t need to be an offensive Dynamo to outplay the league’s best.

In passing I just want to mention that a lot of scouts a) pointed out Couturier’s defensive talents at the time of draft and b) mentioned he wasn’t fast. Apparently being fast in today’s NHL isn’t essential to being a fabulous two way player worthy of a Selke nomination.

This year Couturier had a stunning season but that wasn’t a function of just improved line mates. His minutes increased more than a little. He led all Flyers forwards in minutes played and by a pretty large margin. He played monster minutes in all three disciplines.

He is the poster child for a change in deployment changing boxcars. Which is why I keep saying look for the positive contributors regardless of boxcars. He is also an example of a player with elite defensive skills being able to carve out a career when their offence falls short. He is pretty unique within that group in suddenly adding real fire power so far into his NHL career but few have ever gone from checker to first line minutes. Jacques Lemaire maybe.

Now consider Alex DeBrincat and Sean Couturier. Are they applying for the same job. Nope. Which job is more valuable. Who contributes more?

Here the boxcars in their draft year are very similar. But the players are not. Couturier had (and has) a talent DeBrincat didn’t. That talent made him a valuable contributor through years of lean offence.

My original point stands. By and large defensive talent is under appreciated in our love affair with offensive fire power.

I’ve come up with a simple thought experiment. Compare Sean Couturier’s first full NHL season to the season Alex DeBrincat just had. Which player do you think brought more value to their team? How much of the difference in value is explained by one player having elite defensive skills? Elite offensive skills?

Professor Q

Scungilli Slushy: I took my son to an a Canucks game and a buddy arranged that we could meet some players in the public area and Edler in the dressing room. Great buddy for sure.

Horvat was one, and he is a nice guy and really is built like a linebacker. Under 6 and a tank. Not a typical NHL build. Crosby is a tank, but a lot is lower body, Horvat looks like a bodybuilder. I think being heaviy doesn’t help as much as skill, skating and being taller.

Horvat is a good player for sure but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t develop production his draft position suggests. Although he can score goals it seems.

These days at least. IF the league reverts to allowing more obstruction again being a tank will become more important as it was. Right now pace is key, both skating and decision making, because skill has more room.

Horvat is not under 6. And even though he’s listed at 6’0″ officially, I swear he could actually be taller. I’m 6’1″ and he’s about my height. It might actually be a case of the opposite of the usual exaggerated values.

Plus, he’s built like a bull. Sure, he doesn’t have “Crosby Speed Skater Haunches”, but still.

As for production, he’s improved annually, in different areas (offensively, defensively, postionally, leadership, etc.). Considering he was only 9th Overall, I really think he’s done more than well enough to cover that draft position, and higher ones as well. I would absolutely welcome a player of his calibre on Edmonton’s squad, and that’s even without my bias.

Harpers Hair

N64: ~ DSF won’t be found dead on any hills. It will be moving those heavy goalposts that will doit. ~

Truly amazing how many otherwise sentient posters don’t want to deal with the facts.

N64

Harpers Hair: I wouldn’t be dying on that hill if I were you

~ DSF won’t be found dead on any hills. It will be moving those heavy goalposts that will do it. ~

Harpers Hair

leadfarmer: Typical DSF post.Bunch of words very little truth.The draft was very weak.But Domi is drafted behind him and is only 22 points behind with a entire season less played.Wennberg also has very similar numbers to Horvat.And before you move the goalposts he actually hasn’t outscored Lindholm

Seriously?

Horvat has scored 71G in 295GP.
Lindholm has scored 64G in 374GP.

Horvat is 27 points behind Lindholm but has played 79 fewer games….almost a full season.

I expect Horvat could more than make up the difference in a heartbeat.

I agree it was a weak draft but Horvat has certainly held up his end of the bargain.

FTR…Domi has posted back to back 9 goal seasons.

I wouldn’t be dying on that hill if I were you.

Doc Savage

Wilde: Couldn’t disagree more.

Here are the difference making talents from before Chiarelli:

McDavid
Hall
Draisaitl
Eberle
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse

Here they are now:

McDavid
Draisaitl
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse
Sekera
Larsson

That’s after blowing an insane amount of valuable draft picks to acquire players who should have competed, and a large amount(11.95MM) of cap space.

There’s plenty of Chiarelli induced competition on the roster, but it’s all at the edges. Players coming into our org still have a free ticket into cherry minutes. See Caggiula, Aberg, etc. Marody will likely break the NHL roster out of camp.

A non-lottery draft+1 guy broke out of camp as the top RW, because he could beat out another 19 year old and Zack Kassian.

McDavid was always going to get paid and that’s a $9 million dollar difference to reconcile from the pre and post-Chiarelli roster. The bet may not have been that Puljujarvi replaces Hall, but that the combination of Draisaitl and Puljujarvi replaces Hall and Eberle. Of course, this ignores the fact that Lucic makes $6 million and would have been a straight up swap for Hall with Draisaitl and Puljujarvi still on the roster.

Wilde

Bo Horvat is a valuable player.

If we get a player of his calibre at our draft spot this year, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

There’s no reason his line shouldn’t be getting caved every year, and I think some of the numbers on Chris Tanev’s resume are partially his doing.

Pescador

Wilde,

They like to seep out the news rather then announce,
Sunday afternoon or Monday morning of a planned holiday week.
Plus we are going down in the draft not up,
This year just keeps on giving
Optimism is hard

leadfarmer

Harpers Hair: Horvat is already outscoring a couple of forwards drafted ahead of him (Lindholm, Drouin) and no one selected after him is even close. Not sure what you were expecting.

Typical DSF post. Bunch of words very little truth. The draft was very weak. But Domi is drafted behind him and is only 22 points behind with a entire season less played. Wennberg also has very similar numbers to Horvat. And before you move the goalposts he actually hasn’t outscored Lindholm

Pescador

Wilde:
VOR, the individual to individual variance of talent and the rate of scoring is so high in junior hockey that if you have ‘defensive talent’ you will also score.

If your mind works at a speed that allows you to properly read situations enough to check properly, you will also be in the right place at the right time often enough to score.

Look at the European kids who play in adult leagues as minors: They don’t score(usually), but their clubs see benefit in having them on the ice anyways.

When they go back and play their U20 games, they score.

Your entire point about this is putting on ice goal share above individual scoring.

Makes sense.

The problem is, it’s harder to drive a margin when the GF side of the ledger isn’t going up.

The big checker can strangle the best competition down to, say, 2.0GF/60.

If he doesn’t drive the GF/60 above 3.0, then the superstar forward is still more valuable when he puts up four goals and hour giving up three.

Sean Courturier is one of the successful examples of a junior player’s checking ability being valued, and translating that into the NHL as a Selke candidate forward.

He also scored 96 in 58 in the Q.

His widest margin goal differential that he’s driven in his career has been this year, an incredible +31 5v5.

He didn’t do this by driving down the GA. They put him in between two potent offensive players, and they scored more.

You’re never going to stop star forwards from scoring at least two goals per hour. Not in the modern NHL.

So you need to also be able to threaten them offensively.

Couldn’t disagree more.

Here are the difference making talents from before Chiarelli:

McDavid
Hall
Draisaitl
Eberle
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse

Here they are now:

McDavid
Draisaitl
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse
Larsson

There’s plenty of Chiarelli induced competition on the roster, but it’s all at the edges. Players coming into our org still have a free ticket into cherry minutes. See Caggiula, Aberg, etc. Marody will likely break the NHL roster out of camp.

A non-lottery draft+1 guy broke out of camp as the top RW.

Damning truth,
I wonder which core piece will be sent away this summer to improve the outside edges
At least we have continuity

Wilde

Also, I’m getting the feeling the Oilers are ‘saving’ their newsbreaking until everything’s in place.

100% Jim Johnson’s gone already. Why not announce it? There has to be more.

Plan the plan unveiling!

Also, it’s only 4 days until we ascend to true supervillainy.

I’m working on my cackle.

leadfarmer

VOR,

Yes that’s true, but being a subpar skater is now a nail in the coffin. Doesn’t matter how good you are in every other aspect of the game. It is now a fatal flaw.
The guys you are listing as great defensive players other than Gelinas are actually amazing offensive players and have been so I don’t know why you are listing them as just elite defensive players. Elite defensive forwards make me thing of guys like Faksa or Backlund, guys that are great in their end but no where near the offensive leaderboards. The other guys were elite offensively and grew to become elite defensively.
I liked the Benson pick, I wanted Debrincat much more but I never expected Chia to consider him. Back to back season with significant injuries is a prospect killer.
He never got much out of that exceptional status because he had a knee injury, seems to be story of his career

Wilde

VOR, the individual to individual variance of talent and the rate of scoring is so high in junior hockey that if you have ‘defensive talent’ you will also score.

If your mind works at a speed that allows you to properly read situations enough to check properly, you will also be in the right place at the right time often enough to score.

Look at the European kids who play in adult leagues as minors: They don’t score(usually), but their clubs see benefit in having them on the ice anyways.

When they go back and play their U20 games, they score.

Your entire point about this is putting on ice goal share above individual scoring.

Makes sense.

The problem is, it’s harder to drive a margin when the GF side of the ledger isn’t going up.

The big checker can strangle the best competition down to, say, 2.0GF/60.

If he doesn’t drive the GF/60 above 3.0, then the superstar forward is still more valuable when he puts up four goals and hour giving up three.

Sean Courturier is one of the successful examples of a junior player’s checking ability being valued, and translating that into the NHL as a Selke candidate forward.

He also scored 96 in 58 in the Q.

His widest margin goal differential that he’s driven in his career has been this year, an incredible +31 5v5.

He didn’t do this by driving down the GA. They put him in between two potent offensive players, and they scored more.

You’re never going to stop star forwards from scoring at least two goals per hour. Not in the modern NHL.

So you need to also be able to threaten them offensively.

Bag of Pucks:

When Chiarelli arrived, there was very little talent, minimal competition and a culture of perpetual losing and death marches.

There’s now some legitimate talent on the roster.

Couldn’t disagree more.

Here are the difference making talents from before Chiarelli:

McDavid
Hall
Draisaitl
Eberle
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse

Here they are now:

McDavid
Draisaitl
Nuge
Klefbom
Nurse
Sekera
Larsson

That’s after blowing an insane amount of valuable draft picks to acquire players who should have competed, and a large amount(11.95MM) of cap space.

There’s plenty of Chiarelli induced competition on the roster, but it’s all at the edges. Players coming into our org still have a free ticket into cherry minutes. See Caggiula, Aberg, etc. Marody will likely break the NHL roster out of camp.

A non-lottery draft+1 guy broke out of camp as the top RW, because he could beat out another 19 year old and Zack Kassian.

Harpers Hair

Scungilli Slushy: I took my son to an a Canucks game and a buddy arranged that we could meet some players in the public area and Edler in the dressing room. Great buddy for sure.

Horvat was one, and he is a nice guy and really is built like a linebacker. Under 6 and a tank. Not a typical NHL build. Crosby is a tank, but a lot is lower body, Horvat looks like a bodybuilder. I think being heaviy doesn’t help as much as skill, skating and being taller.

Horvat is a good player for sure but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t develop production his draft position suggests. Although he can score goals it seems.

These days at least. IF the league reverts to allowing more obstruction again being a tank will become more important as it was. Right now pace is key, both skating and decision making, because skill has more room.

Horvat is already outscoring a couple of forwards drafted ahead of him (Lindholm, Drouin) and no one selected after him is even close. Not sure what you were expecting.

jtblack

J.J. Khaira in Lethbridge to watch his brother

ArmchairGM

Doug McLachlan: Thanks.So while Mascherin has to re-enter the draft, Elynuik (who the Oilers probably have some familiarity with watching Yamamoto) could be had with a contract offer on June 2nd?July 1st?

June 2, yes. Seems like a decent option.

Scungilli Slushy

Alpine:
There’s a handful of guys who’ve become great two way forwards with roughly 1.0 PPG seasons in their draft year. Jordan Staal, Patrice Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly come to mind. Bo Horvat looks to be on a similar trajectory. Two of the above are top 10 picks, two are second rounders. I think it’s fine to draft guys like that high up if you’re absolutely sure of their defensive upside or ability to score at evens.

All of those guys play Centre though. Staal is huge at 6’4’’ and Bergeron and O’Reilly both clear 6’ by an inch or two. Horvat and O’Reilly weigh well over 210 lbs. Bergeron is skinny but is the bestoffensively of the group. These guys are obviously the blue sky scenario for a player who scores like Benson (maybe throw Landeskog in there). I don’t believe Benson can match the skating or muscle mass of Horvat or O’Reilly nor the offensive prowess of Bergeron. He’ll never catch Staal in pure monstrous size either. As a 32nd pick he doesn’t have to match any of them.

But I have my doubts about guys who aren’t great scorers or skaters making it as everyday top 9 forwards. I like what a lot of what Benson brings. I do wonder how many guys of his ilk made it without even becoming reliable secondary scorers or good defensive players. Not many good defensive forwards do it these days without above average skating ability.

I think Benson might score better than the average projection of his junior scoring ability will seem to predict. I also think his skating might hold him back from truly realizing his two-way talent at the NHL level.

I took my son to an a Canucks game and a buddy arranged that we could meet some players in the public area and Edler in the dressing room. Great buddy for sure.

Horvat was one, and he is a nice guy and really is built like a linebacker. Under 6 and a tank. Not a typical NHL build. Crosby is a tank, but a lot is lower body, Horvat looks like a bodybuilder. I think being heaviy doesn’t help as much as skill, skating and being taller.

Horvat is a good player for sure but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t develop production his draft position suggests. Although he can score goals it seems.

These days at least. IF the league reverts to allowing more obstruction again being a tank will become more important as it was. Right now pace is key, both skating and decision making, because skill has more room.

VOR

meanashell11:
VOR, not sure if you saw my comment the other day when you were asking some modeling/charting questions (other than my Gaussian Copula comment) but I asked if you had looked at Litterman’s 1996 paper while he was at GS called “Hot spots and Hedges”. I was at GS at the time and what he did there sounds sort of what you were asking about.

I hope to have a moment tomorrow to track it down and thanks for the tip. Sorry for not repsonding earlier.

VOR

leadfarmer:
VOR,

More draft picks have been thrown away at the “200” foot player and “future captain material” than could be counted.Yes look at the guys that have a great 2 way game and a lot of them had it early.But across the board so few of those guys actually make it.Very few

To be able to shut down this new breed of NHL star you have to skate like those guys.Benson cannot skate like those guys.

Also, this whole notion of top 6 bottom 6 roster player is dead.Long dead.We need to move on.
Thats why when our brain trust said that you cant play Nuge on the 3rd line center i knew that these guys just dont get it.You need to roll 3 lines in todays NHL.

You never ever draft Benson before Debrincat.Ever.You can find defensively responsible two way players, its really hard to find fast offensively skilled players.

Very few second rounders or beyond make it period. You pick the most talented player available for that very reason. Elite talents are hard to find period.

I will stick to my original point. If they are defnsively talented they are still talented. If they are elite defensive forwards that outplay by leaving nothing that is still elite talent. Collect enough elite talent, fit it all under the cap, and your odds of winning a Cup goes up.

I think we forget that offensive players need to outplay not just score a lot. Connor McDavid shows the value of offensive players who can outplay against anyone. As for that matter did Taylor Hall. However, that doesn’t mean you should play them power versus power. If you have somebody who can outplay the other team’s power your superstars can shred the next tier of opposition.

And if, as happens the offence doesn’t come with the player to the NHL but they have real talent away from the puck the player can be a two way or checking forward and still be a positive contributor. If DeBrincat can’t outscore his mistakes without all the sheltering he will struggle to be a positive contributor.

I haven’t ever seen a healthy Tyler Benson skate in game play. I have no idea how good a skater he is or isn’t.

Frankly, even with digital monitoring it is actually hard to make the call on a kid’s skating.

I just watched film of some kids who are eligible for next year’s draft. It is digital of course and my analysis had this one kid being a below average skater. Then I hit the moment he comes down one on two against two pretty good D men. He squared up on the right D, then went laterally about three feet in a fraction of a second, drove forward like a rocket, caught the other D flat footed, stepped in on him, went laterally again – other direction – and wristed it top corner far side. So slower than average over the length of the ice but an immensely gifted skater in tight spaces.

What I am saying is skating is multi-dimensional.

Years ago I was at an Oilers game and that was one stacked team. This is the post Gretzky Oilers, but also post the trade. Up until this game I would have told you Martin Gelinas was never going to amount to anything. Then he, Joe Murphy, and Adam Graves got trapped deep, over committing on the forecheck. They lost possession and it came to I think it was Dale Hawrechuk. The guy could fly and its a three on two.

Gelinas took off in pursuit. He knew he couldn’t catch Hawrechuk. But he killed himself to get back into the play and turn it into a 3 on 3. Then he lifted the trailer’s stick at just the right moment and stole the puck. He couldn’t get clear possession but he whacked it into the corner and went and fought to get full possesion. He finally succeeded in freezing the play.

I thought nothing of it until I heard Cam Cole interviewed and he went on and on about how fabulous a skater Gelinas was. Coming from a standing start headed the wrong way to catch the trailer. He talked about not just the skill it took but the incredible fitness it took to do it at the end of a punishing shift. And then how strong he was on the puck as he fought two players for possession and managed to freeze it in his skates while they tried to knock him off the puck. And how smart he was from start to finish.

The thing is Cam Cole nailed it. Smart thinking and superb secondary skating skills, especially being incredibly strong on his skates with phenomenal, effortless edge control helped Gelinas to carve out a career. It made him one of the most ferocious forecheckers in hockey history.

From this I learned there is much more to skating at the NHL level than being a fast skater. Once I started upgrading my own skating I came to realize that those other aspects of skating are damn hard to master. And being able to think fast and clearly is the key to deploying those other skating skills. Now I am, no offence to you, reluctant to take anyone’s word on a player’s skating until I have a chance to measure it in real time (in game conditions) with the best equipment.

Hockey history is littered with the bodies of guys who could fly but couldn’t play hockey worth crap. But it also holds hundreds of examples of guys who could fly in junior and couldn’t skate well enough to play NHL hockey. Conversely, there are lots of guys whose skating based on scouting reports was sub standard. Then they show up in the NHL and turn out to be phenomenal skaters. Nick Lidstrom for example was considered a below average skater coming into the draft. In the NHL the guy never broke a sweat because he was such a great skater he didn’t need to exert to get where he needed to be faster than everyone else.

So I reserve judgement on Tyler Benson’s skating.

Like I said it is up to him to find a role where he can contribute positively. A lot of you are assuming he can’t because he doesn’t have the offence to be an offensive star. I think you are probably wrong on two accounts, pre-injury he was an extremely gifted offensive player and two I will bet he has other talents that he can deploy at the NHL level based on scouting reports.

Scungilli Slushy

frjohnk: Yeah. We gained picks by trading guys like Nail, Schultz and Purcell along with others.

One could easily track those transactions. With the picks we did acquire or kept, I like what PC has done with them for the most part.

But my point was to travel down the road of how did we fare by trading picks for “NHL players” in the last few years. Oilers have not done well by trading picks for immediate help. Actually, the results are terrible for the prices paid.

In anything the most important thing to do is understand and make sure you are asking the right questions. Everything follows much more easily if you can do that. Start as you intend to go as LT says.

The Oilers have a long history of asking the wrong questions, and it is troubling that despite the changes in management they didn’t change seemingly at all on the pro side. Drafting has become better.

A lack of due diligence remains. For example Jokinen was a superb player, but after a knee injury and being at an age where most players drop off anyway, how did they not know he had lost too many steps?

It makes me think that they are being too old school and chummy about these things. And not demanding proof, not doing background work on vets or draftees.

One thing about Katz is he has high revenue from his team and seems willing to spend. Use it to not waste time on mistakes, Connor was an incredible windfall, but time moves quickly and he has only so much time in the league.

To respect him means making the best possible decisions and building the best team with what you can acquire reasonably. Losing trades and signing done players isn’t that.

Or giving protection that elite players might deserve to role players. And money. There are lots of guys that will gap far and block shots and struggle with physical play for less than 4M, and be good in the room and try to help young guys.

Pissing around and wasting time ‘learning’ isn’t acceptable for experienced people. Know what you are doing or move management on pronto. Coaches too.

Sorry I’m pissy but it’s true.

meanashell11

VOR, not sure if you saw my comment the other day when you were asking some modeling/charting questions (other than my Gaussian Copula comment) but I asked if you had looked at Litterman’s 1996 paper while he was at GS called “Hot spots and Hedges”. I was at GS at the time and what he did there sounds sort of what you were asking about.

Professor Q

Scungilli Slushy: I wonder if they asked Connor about him?

I definitely wondered about that! Maybe they asked him about DeBrincat and Raddysh.

He obviously really liked Dylan Strome. Enough so that Chia would trade for him…

Alpine

There’s a handful of guys who’ve become great two way forwards with roughly 1.0 PPG seasons in their draft year. Jordan Staal, Patrice Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly come to mind. Bo Horvat looks to be on a similar trajectory. Two of the above are top 10 picks, two are second rounders. I think it’s fine to draft guys like that high up if you’re absolutely sure of their defensive upside or ability to score at evens.

All of those guys play Centre though. Staal is huge at 6’4’’ and Bergeron and O’Reilly both clear 6’ by an inch or two. Horvat and O’Reilly weigh well over 210 lbs. Bergeron is skinny but is the best offensively of the group. These guys are obviously the blue sky scenario for a player who scores like Benson (maybe throw Landeskog in there). I don’t believe Benson can match the skating or muscle mass of Horvat or O’Reilly nor the offensive prowess of Bergeron. He’ll never catch Staal in pure monstrous size either. As a 32nd pick he doesn’t have to match any of them.

But I have my doubts about guys who aren’t great scorers or skaters making it as everyday top 9 forwards. I like what a lot of what Benson brings. I do wonder how many guys of his ilk made it without even becoming reliable secondary scorers or good defensive players. Not many good defensive forwards do it these days without above average skating ability.

I think Benson might score better than the average projection of his junior scoring ability will seem to predict. I also think his skating might hold him back from truly realizing his two-way talent at the NHL level.

Scungilli Slushy

Professor Q: Especially as that best talent at that time happened to have played alongside (sometimes) and on the same team as said McDavid, for a few years.

I wonder if they asked Connor about him?

frjohnk

Kinger_Oil.redux:
frjohnk,

– Interesting stuff.I can’t keep track, but in the last 4 years, how many draft picks did we acquire through trades etc?17 draft picks went out and we have these net players to show, but what is net picks lost?

Yeah. We gained picks by trading guys like Nail, Schultz and Purcell along with others.

One could easily track those transactions. With the picks we did acquire or kept, I like what PC has done with them for the most part.

But my point was to travel down the road of how did we fare by trading picks for “NHL players” in the last few years. Oilers have not done well by trading picks for immediate help. Actually, the results are terrible for the prices paid.

Professor Q

Scungilli Slushy: PC has taken a lot of fliers on players with significant injuries, as in career ending injuries like Benson.

If Benson gets past his hip area issues I believe his skating will improve, he wouldn’t have been an exceptional status player with sluggish boots.

I’m ok with signings and late round picks for players like this, but firsts and seconds need to be the lowest risk possible. It is critical they pan out at a good rate.

I really wish they’d drop the from Edmonton Alberta prairies thing. They have McD and a splashy arena , it’s enough to go for the best talent.

Especially as that best talent at that time happened to have played alongside (sometimes) and on the same team as said McDavid, for a few years.

Scungilli Slushy

leadfarmer:
VOR,

More draft picks have been thrown away at the “200” foot player and “future captain material” than could be counted.Yes look at the guys that have a great 2 way game and a lot of them had it early.But across the board so few of those guys actually make it.Very few

To be able to shut down this new breed of NHL star you have to skate like those guys.Benson cannot skate like those guys.

Also, this whole notion of top 6 bottom 6 roster player is dead.Long dead.We need to move on.
Thats why when our brain trust said that you cant play Nuge on the 3rd line center i knew that these guys just dont get it.You need to roll 3 lines in todays NHL.

You never ever draft Benson before Debrincat.Ever.You can find defensively responsible two way players, its really hard to find fast offensively skilled players.

PC has taken a lot of fliers on players with significant injuries, as in career ending injuries like Benson.

If Benson gets past his hip area issues I believe his skating will improve, he wouldn’t have been an exceptional status player with sluggish boots.

I’m ok with signings and late round picks for players like this, but firsts and seconds need to be the lowest risk possible. It is critical they pan out at a good rate.

I really wish they’d drop the from Edmonton Alberta prairies thing. They have McD and a splashy arena , it’s enough to go for the best talent.

leadfarmer

VOR,

More draft picks have been thrown away at the “200” foot player and “future captain material” than could be counted. Yes look at the guys that have a great 2 way game and a lot of them had it early. But across the board so few of those guys actually make it. Very few

To be able to shut down this new breed of NHL star you have to skate like those guys. Benson cannot skate like those guys.

Also, this whole notion of top 6 bottom 6 roster player is dead. Long dead. We need to move on.
Thats why when our brain trust said that you cant play Nuge on the 3rd line center i knew that these guys just dont get it. You need to roll 3 lines in todays NHL.

You never ever draft Benson before Debrincat. Ever. You can find defensively responsible two way players, its really hard to find fast offensively skilled players.

Scungilli Slushy

VOR:
I want to be clear.

1. I think Rick Middleton should be in the Hall of Fame. That he isn’t is beyond unfair. Until he got hit in the head by a puck in practice he was one of the most exciting players in hockey. I don’t much care what his team accomplished not being a Bruins fan. He was just so much fun to watch. His nickname, Nifty, says it all.

He was also a real Gentleman as his Byng and mutliple close calls with the Byng attest. He was a well above average checker to boot. He got close to the Selke a couple of times.

2. I think Gainey was the better player.

Value comes from your impact on team goal share and not just your personal goal share. Gainey is fairly unique amongst defensive forwards in that people noticed the impact he was having on game outcomes. He sawed off the toughs. From media reports at the time we have to conclude he played the NHLs best players to at worst a standstill. But usually he and the guys he played with outscored their on ice opposition.

In doing so he exposed the other teams soft underbelly to the brutal attack of his more offensively gifted teammates (and they were gifted). And with him outscoring they started out ahead. All Montreal’s top three lines had to do was outscore the other teams bottom three lines and they’d win. Which they did, a lot.

Not to mention he and Jarvis were truly astoundingly good penalty killers.

Those of you having a hard time imagining what impact a great defesive player has should consider this: how bad would the Oiler’s record be if every night the other teams checking unit out scored McDavid and whoever is playing with him? Gainey and his checking unit teammates neutralized players like Middleton, over and over and over. Nobody else in the league could do that. It wasn’t just Middleton, Gainey disrupted and minimized the games of most of the greatest scorers hockey has ever seen.

I can’t understand why anybody has trouble understanding that this is what great defensive players do. They increase their team’s odds of winning by outscoring the other team’s best players. Yeah maybe the game ends 2-1. But if you are the 2 and they are the 1 then you’ve done your job.

Nor do I understand why people believe that elite defensive, game changing defensive talent can be taught. Can most offensive players learn to do it better than they did it in junior or early in their pro careers. Yes, sure. But that is as much because of how badly they played defence before they actually realized it was important as how easy it is to play defence at an elite level.

Can you teach a failed scorer to be as good at as Gainey or for that matter Datysuk or Marchant or Greer, or yes, Buchberger? I would argue that more commonly what you get is players that become two way options, usually relatively ineffective two way options. Occasionally one redefines that role like Gainey did the checking forward role. Daniel Cleary comes to mind as an example. Again if you outscore the opposition you’ve done your job. Marty Gelinas would be another example.

I am just saying there is such a thing as defensive talent. And that some portion of that talent is innate.

Name a great defensive forward in the NHL. Now go and look up their scouting reports pre draft. Notice how often the term two hundred foot player comes up or even superb checker, great away from the puck, strong back checker, etc occur. Defensive skill announces itself early and often we just chose not to listen or even to entertain the idea that it might be more important than offensive performance. Cleary, Datysuk, and Gelinas are all examples by the way of players who showed defensive talents early and scouts noticed.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Pavel Datysuk game then what Alex DeBrincat does is pretty well irrelevant including his boxcars.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Daniel Cleary/Marty Gelinas game then Alex DeBrincat has to equally outscore similar competition to be as valuable. The boxcars are irrelevant.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Bob Gainey game then Alex DeBrincat has to equally outscore similar competition to be as valuable. The boxcars are still irrelevant.

In other words it is really down to Tyler Benson to find a role and contribute positively.

Given that in the long run the boxcars are irrelevant why is that such a focus for so many of you?

Surely you want to draft kids who can contribute positively?

Alex DeBrincat had a great season this year. I am hoping that has sustain. I am rooting like mad for the kid. I am a fan of small players. But he did it with a major zone start push, some help with the lifting, and quite soft competition. His shooting percentage might also not be sustainable.

In the long haul these two kids aren’t applying for the same job. DeBrincat will stick in the NHL as a soft minutes outplayer (Dennis Maruk is probably his true upside – no knock on Maruk who had moments he was a true superstar) and deserved on merit to be drafted higher. I said so at the time by the way.

Tyler Benson is expected to outplay a much tougher level of competition and by doing so set the table for a player like DeBrincat. He won’t get an ozone push, or as much help, or soft competition. He will make his way, if he does at all, with hard work with the ice tilted against him. If he turns out to be as good at it as any of the guys I have mentioned here every Oiler fan should be forever thankful.

Great teams need both kinds of players but to get there you have to draft both kinds of forwards. Those that outplay by outscoring and those that outplay by creating more than they leave and leaving precious little.

I think we have lost track of the importance of the second half of that statement. It seems anchored in a believe that defence is a skill and offense is a talent. They are both partly innate talents that can be improved by workling on relatted skills. Anybody who ever watched Esa Tikkanen poach (have you ever seen anybody do it as well?) should understand defence is a talent and a portion of it is innate, the rest you earn. Tikk is probably a pretty good upside comp for Benson which is why I mention him.

But there is just the off chance Benson is the guy I started this post talking about. Which is why you draft him before the soft minutes outscorer. Every time. Just like you take Bob Gainey before Rick Middleton every time. Because the goal is winning.

Nice post.

Patrice Bergeron is the current example of a player that usually dominates the best without high offense.

I’m wishing this for JP, a dominant outscorer that has the size and speed that says there is nothing you can do about it.

Scungilli Slushy

Cassandra:
Man, Rick Middleton had an incredible career.I had no idea how great.

Anyone who thinks Gainey was the better player, or provided more value to his team, isn’t being reasonable.

Middleton was a fav of mine, tremendous player and probably never got as much recognition as he deserved.

There is some validity to Vor’a point. The issue is again outliers. Gainey was a really good player. But he was unusual and exceptional.

There is such a variable in drafting because of the human component. Perhaps somebody like Vor will find the algorithm that can reliably find the intangibles (actual intangibles not gritensity) and great multi dimensional can be drafted.

Until then it is very risky to try to draft role players. It is risky to draft physical outliers IMO because the odds are stacked against them even more than the already low odds of even making the league as a useful player and even lower odds of being an impact player.

Drafting the best skill with the least obstacles is reliable, less complicated. It is critical to get productive players every draft of you want your team to remain a contender.

A GM who knows what he is looking at in pro players can fill holes reliably outside of the draft. It is largely impossible to get impact players outside of the draft now, mainly because of the cap and that the league despite it’s warts is getting more sophisticated at management levels.

godot10

geowal:
Anybody confused by the Bill Peters thing? He resigned as coach (that’s a thing?) and proceeded to sign with the flames. Is this not collusion/tampering, etc? If ever there was a situation to keep the compensatory draft pick, surely this is it. I don’t get why is contract to Carolina is suddenly irrelevant.

The new owner in Carolina didn’t want him back and didn’t want to fire him (because he would then have to pay him) so he was happy Peters exercised the option in his contract to opt out of the final season.

godot10

The Montreal Canadiens had lots of players like Rick MIddleton, particularly, Guy Lafleur just entering his prime. They had nobody like Bob Gainey. They identified a player elite in every other way, particularly skating, except offense, and he wasn’t a bad offensive player. He produced 15-25 goals for over a decade without any power play time playing against the best players on the other team, and being an elite PK’ers.

And considering he probably didn’t get power play time in junior either, his offensive production there at even strength was pretty good.

stephen sheps

geowal,

Peters had an out-clause in his contract and with the lack of a new GM in place, he chose to exercise it.

geowal

Anybody confused by the Bill Peters thing? He resigned as coach (that’s a thing?) and proceeded to sign with the flames. Is this not collusion/tampering, etc? If ever there was a situation to keep the compensatory draft pick, surely this is it. I don’t get why is contract to Carolina is suddenly irrelevant.

Andy Dufresne

Anyone got the time nailed for Lottery?

What I got so far is Saturday on NBC

Last year I think it was done a half hour before the evening game on CBC

McSorley33

frjohnk,

Significant asset picks were spent and there is not much to show for it on the NHL player roster today. Not sure how this stacks up to other teams, but over the last 5 years, the Oilers process of robbing from the future to “get better right now” has not been an avenue of success.
*******************************************************************************************************************
Yes, but to be fair this org. has been picking from the very *bottom* of *each* round…..oh, wait.

stephen sheps

–hudson–,

that would be the one, yes. Thanks for tracking it down.

I feel like I may have had another ‘scouting report’ but I know it wasn’t on my blog. It might have been at Copper N Blue, since I was still active over there at the time (though no longer on the masthead), but who knows. No need to look into it at all, really.

Point is, I said he wasn’t what the Oilers were looking for at the time, and I stand by it now…

All that to say is this is all much ado about nothing. It was a throwaway comment to Cassandra earlier that I really didn’t think would lead to any further comments later in the day.

But thanks again for finding the old comment. It’s fun to look through those old threads from years ago and see some names I haven’t seen around these parts in some time that I miss seeing regularly.

McSorley33

OriginalPouzar,

In my opinion, Chiarelli has done a fantastic job of calling names at the draft since hired.
*********************************************************************************************************

Our prospect pool has received a lot of 3rd party attention lately.

I am glad you like PC’s work.

VOR

I want to be clear.

1. I think Rick Middleton should be in the Hall of Fame. That he isn’t is beyond unfair. Until he got hit in the head by a puck in practice he was one of the most exciting players in hockey. I don’t much care what his team accomplished not being a Bruins fan. He was just so much fun to watch. His nickname, Nifty, says it all.

He was also a real Gentleman as his Byng and mutliple close calls with the Byng attest. He was a well above average checker to boot. He got close to the Selke a couple of times.

2. I think Gainey was the better player.

Value comes from your impact on team goal share and not just your personal goal share. Gainey is fairly unique amongst defensive forwards in that people noticed the impact he was having on game outcomes. He sawed off the toughs. From media reports at the time we have to conclude he played the NHLs best players to at worst a standstill. But usually he and the guys he played with outscored their on ice opposition.

In doing so he exposed the other teams soft underbelly to the brutal attack of his more offensively gifted teammates (and they were gifted). And with him outscoring they started out ahead. All Montreal’s top three lines had to do was outscore the other teams bottom three lines and they’d win. Which they did, a lot.

Not to mention he and Jarvis were truly astoundingly good penalty killers.

Those of you having a hard time imagining what impact a great defesive player has should consider this: how bad would the Oiler’s record be if every night the other teams checking unit out scored McDavid and whoever is playing with him? Gainey and his checking unit teammates neutralized players like Middleton, over and over and over. Nobody else in the league could do that. It wasn’t just Middleton, Gainey disrupted and minimized the games of most of the greatest scorers hockey has ever seen.

I can’t understand why anybody has trouble understanding that this is what great defensive players do. They increase their team’s odds of winning by outscoring the other team’s best players. Yeah maybe the game ends 2-1. But if you are the 2 and they are the 1 then you’ve done your job.

Nor do I understand why people believe that elite defensive, game changing defensive talent can be taught. Can most offensive players learn to do it better than they did it in junior or early in their pro careers. Yes, sure. But that is as much because of how badly they played defence before they actually realized it was important as how easy it is to play defence at an elite level.

Can you teach a failed scorer to be as good at as Gainey or for that matter Datysuk or Marchant or Greer, or yes, Buchberger? I would argue that more commonly what you get is players that become two way options, usually relatively ineffective two way options. Occasionally one redefines that role like Gainey did the checking forward role. Daniel Cleary comes to mind as an example. Again if you outscore the opposition you’ve done your job. Marty Gelinas would be another example.

I am just saying there is such a thing as defensive talent. And that some portion of that talent is innate.

Name a great defensive forward in the NHL. Now go and look up their scouting reports pre draft. Notice how often the term two hundred foot player comes up or even superb checker, great away from the puck, strong back checker, etc occur. Defensive skill announces itself early and often we just chose not to listen or even to entertain the idea that it might be more important than offensive performance. Cleary, Datysuk, and Gelinas are all examples by the way of players who showed defensive talents early and scouts noticed.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Pavel Datysuk game then what Alex DeBrincat does is pretty well irrelevant including his boxcars.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Daniel Cleary/Marty Gelinas game then Alex DeBrincat has to equally outscore similar competition to be as valuable. The boxcars are irrelevant.

If Tyler Benson comes out and plays the Bob Gainey game then Alex DeBrincat has to equally outscore similar competition to be as valuable. The boxcars are still irrelevant.

In other words it is really down to Tyler Benson to find a role and contribute positively.

Given that in the long run the boxcars are irrelevant why is that such a focus for so many of you?

Surely you want to draft kids who can contribute positively?

Alex DeBrincat had a great season this year. I am hoping that has sustain. I am rooting like mad for the kid. I am a fan of small players. But he did it with a major zone start push, some help with the lifting, and quite soft competition. His shooting percentage might also not be sustainable.

In the long haul these two kids aren’t applying for the same job. DeBrincat will stick in the NHL as a soft minutes outplayer (Dennis Maruk is probably his true upside – no knock on Maruk who had moments he was a true superstar) and deserved on merit to be drafted higher. I said so at the time by the way.

Tyler Benson is expected to outplay a much tougher level of competition and by doing so set the table for a player like DeBrincat. He won’t get an ozone push, or as much help, or soft competition. He will make his way, if he does at all, with hard work with the ice tilted against him. If he turns out to be as good at it as any of the guys I have mentioned here every Oiler fan should be forever thankful.

Great teams need both kinds of players but to get there you have to draft both kinds of forwards. Those that outplay by outscoring and those that outplay by creating more than they leave and leaving precious little.

I think we have lost track of the importance of the second half of that statement. It seems anchored in a believe that defence is a skill and offense is a talent. They are both partly innate talents that can be improved by workling on relatted skills. Anybody who ever watched Esa Tikkanen poach (have you ever seen anybody do it as well?) should understand defence is a talent and a portion of it is innate, the rest you earn. Tikk is probably a pretty good upside comp for Benson which is why I mention him.

But there is just the off chance Benson is the guy I started this post talking about. Which is why you draft him before the soft minutes outscorer. Every time. Just like you take Bob Gainey before Rick Middleton every time. Because the goal is winning.

Jethro Tull

Whilst I applaud each and every optimistic post, yay, verily, it has been much better than reading the usual post season vitriol, I would like to remind all that just because a player may be signed/traded for/drafted seemingly late, it does not follow that we MUST.

For a start, I would look at possible underlying reasons that 31 other GMs, (all smarter than Chia, according to some here) have not gone after them……

Should it be that the player just hasn’t gotten a fair chance in a deep organisation, then I’m down…..if the guy is another GR and should be further along than he is…..

--hudson--

stephen sheps: Honestly I wish I could find the thread I posted my amateur hack scouting report, but if memory serves, I saw a kid who floated, was rarely engaged in the play and just didn’t seem to see the game like an elite 1C.

Is this it?
https://lowetide.ca/2014/03/21/bloom-is-off-the-rose/comment-page-1/#comment-304013

Note I found it by searching google for: site:lowetide.ca bennett “stephen sheps”

Doug McLachlan

OriginalPouzar: This is determined by age – give he’s 19, he’ll re-enter the draft.If he was 20, he’d become a UFA.

Thanks. So while Mascherin has to re-enter the draft, Elynuik (who the Oilers probably have some familiarity with watching Yamamoto) could be had with a contract offer on June 2nd? July 1st?