Bill Torrey passed away not long ago, a legendary figure in the game and someone NHL teams can learn from forevermore. It was 1973, the New York Islanders were one year into existence and held the No. 1 overall selection. Quoting Hockey Draft Central:
- The top pick was a no-brainer, because Ottawa 67s star Denis Potvin had dominated junior hockey like no defenseman since Bobby Orr. Montreal, the most active team on draft day, was determined to get Potvin. The Canadiens re-positioned themselves by trading for several extra high picks and then offered the Islanders all kinds of deals for the No. 1 choice. Islanders general manager Bill Torrey was not interested, however. He held on to the top pick and wisely selected Potvin, who became the building block for a future hockey dynasty.
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- New Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board
- New Lowetide: Summer 2018 on a budget.
- New Lowetide: Is Stuart Skinner the real thing?
- Lowetide: Keegan Lowe’s future probably involves mentoring prospects.
- Tyler Dellow: How Canada’s teams look on strong side v. weak side faceoffs
- Jonathan Willis: A look at which Oilers could stay and which could go this summer
- Lowetide: Everything you ever wanted to know about Joel Persson but were afraid to ask.
- Scott Wheeler: Final Draft Rankings 2018.
- 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 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers at the draft: Overagers.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers scouting directors: A history.
The Pronman item just dropped and is (as always) a brilliant read with original and refreshing views. It’s Christmas for draft geeks this morning! I’ll have Pronman on the Lowdown later this week.
SHOOT THE MOON 2011
This week, I’m running throwback ‘shoot the moon’ posts and we’ve arrived at my favorite Oilers draft of this century. Here’s what I had to say on the Sunday night.
- #1 overall- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Immediately the best prospect in the system, RNH is a vital pick in the development of this cluster. If he is in fact an elite level playmaker, the Oilers have at least four outstanding candidates for chemistry on the top line and powerplay.
- #19 overall- D Oscar Klefbom: I talk about a complete defender a lot because they’re really important to a team’s overall success. Klefbom’s numbers in the SEL don’t tell the whole offensive story, but when facing kids his own age the young man posted impressive crooked numbers. I’ll have a ranking of the top 20 prospects (summer edition) tomorrow morning; Klfebom is going to be an interesting player to slot.
- #31 overall- D David Musil: He was safely in my top 30. I’m all for players with a nice range of skills, but defensemen who can make the safe play have value. Red Line ranked him as the 5th best defenseman in the entire draft, one behind Klefbom.
- #62 overall- G Samu Perhonen: Matt Bugg dropped by Nation Radio today and riffed on the depth selections in this draft. In regard to Perhonen, he gave me the impression that this is the ultimate risk/reward pick. We could be looking at a quality starter or a dud, with dud rising.
- #74 overall- C Travis Ewanyk: Future role player has a nice range of skills and therefore a few slots he could fill. PF size and style, he can win faceoffs and projects as a future checking center. I don’t know that he’s going to bring enough offense to make the NHL.
- #92 overall- D Dillon Simpson: Bugg described a player who has a nice range of skills but some chaos too. I have no idea if he or a Brandon Davidson type will end up winning the day, but I think that’s the race he’s going to be involved in.
- #114 overall- C Tobias Rieder: Redline Report loves him, describing Rieder as an “undersized, but exceptionally smart playmaking winger with excellent offensive instincts and creativity.” Rieder impressed as a rookie in a very good league and according to Bugg is a guy who will work hard in tough areas to win battles. He was taken at the point in the draft where you shouldn’t expect anything, but it’s also true that Rieder is probably a better NHL prospect than a couple of the kids Edmonton picked before him.
- #122 overall- D Martin Gernat: Huge kid (6.05, 187) and considered somewhat similar to Marincin (lower ceiling) in style. Raw prospect, will take time but he’s certainly a player of interest.
- #182 overall- G Frans Tuohimaa: Oilers saw him good and Bugg suggested he’s a guy they might like to come over in fall 2012. Has a nice SP in junior.
Based on what we have seen in his first 2 GP (2-3-5) at the Memorial Cup IMO there is ZERO chance Noah Dobson falls to the Oilers at #10.
A 6'3" right shot D who can skate, and his hockey sense could go as high as #5 or #6
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) May 21, 2018
This is potentially good news for the Oilers, as the more defensemen who are chosen before No. 10 allows more variety among forwards for Edmonton. Here’s a quick mock for the Top 10 with Dobson going earlier.
- Buffalo Sabres: LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL). No suspense this year and signals a change in the weather for the beleaguered Sabres. They should be a powerhouse within a few years, perhaps challenging the Maple Leafs for best young group in the east.
- Carolina Hurricanes: R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL). He’s a terrific prospect with the complete range of skills, we could be looking at a Marian Hossa in real time.
- Montreal Canadiens: L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Sometimes when missing out on the top echelon of talent, the drop is so great that trading out is a wise decision. I don’t believe that to be the case with Zadina, who is a magic man with the puck. Although his being a winger is less than ideal for Montreal, it’s well worth the effort of a workaround to make this happen.
- Ottawa Senators: RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite). This might be a little obvious but the Senators have enjoyed great success in Sweden and there’s little doubt Boqvist is a dynamic player. I don’t think he’s the best player available here, perhaps the Sens trade back and get him, but it’s a natural fit.
- Arizona Coyotes: L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA). Coyotes can grab a power forward who is likely NHL-ready and has enough skill to play on the top two lines. Arizona has several centers who may end up being a match for Tkachuk’s skills.
- Detroit Red Wings: RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL). I think this is a natural fit. Detroit’s in a rebuild, with a stud defender on the list of needs. Bouchard plays in the best junior league on the planet and has delivered tremendous results.
- Vancouver Canucks: RD Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). His resume includes a strong draft season (even before the Memorial Cup) and his size/skill/speed combination is attractive. Vancouver’s rebuild has some nice pieces up front, adding a quality defender makes sense.
- Chicago Blackhawks: LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA). Chicago are in ‘re-load’ as opposed to rebuild and Hughes did himself an enormous favor by playing well at the WHC’s. He played with authority on the power play and for Chicago, Hughes is an ideal addition to an aging blue.
- New York Rangers: LC Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Sm-Liiga). I’ve been watching the Rangers draft for decades, and believe me when I tell you there’s an extreme change in the weather. First, the Rangers have their first-rounder and that’s an upset. Second, the team has been making astute picks going back to Sean Day in 2016’s third round. Kotkaniemi’s addition (Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil a year ago) would give the Rangers a fabulous trio of forwards to build around in the future.
- Edmonton Oilers: RC Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. N. D. P. (USHL). His big weapon is the shot, with a quick release and a heavy result. Although this would be the third right winger in a row for the Oilers, it would be impossible (imo) for the team to pass on him.
Back in the days of Bill Torrey, it was easier to get better in a hurry via the draft. Why? The kids were all 20 and ready to step right in. From 1972-74, Torrey’s Islanders drafted Billy Harris (a two-way right winger capable of 25 goals a year), Bob Nystrom (who blossomed into an effective winger), Gary Howatt (a rugged checking winger), Denis Potvin (who came as advertised), Dave Lewis (effective shutdown blue), Clark Gillies (power winger), Bryan Trottier (the perfect center), Stefan Persson (smart two-way blue) and Dave Langevin (exactly one mountain) as well as a host of others.
It’s more difficult today, there are 31 teams instead of 20 and the eligible players are all hovering around their 18th birthday. That’s why keeping these draft picks, and getting the selection right, is so very important. Peter Chiarelli’s staff have shown real promise since 2015’s edition, one hopes that scouting groups gets the chance to make the call at No. 10 overall.