The ideal time to evaluate young talent is draft year (17), and age 20 in pro hockey. Edmonton has been drafting high in the first round forever (picks arriving in the NHL at 18, skipping the minors). The Oilers haven’t been drafting in the second round much either, making the “forwards in the AHL at 20” discussion a moot point. This year, there’s a good chance we’ll have a few candidates. What should the expectation be for Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson?
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- New Lowetide: Laurent Brossoit: 4-year audition results in a career crossroads
- New Jonathan Willis: Cam Talbot’s performance in 2017-18: Does it inject a note of uncertainty in his future with the Oilers?
- New Sunaya Sapurji: Oliver Wahlstrom has been in the spotlight for a long time, but his desire to be ‘special’ burns deep
- Corey Pronman: 2018 NHL draft board.
- Lowetide: Summer 2018 on a budget. Calling Warren Foegele!
- Lowetide: Is Stuart Skinner the real thing?
- Corey Pronman: Draft picks not on my board for 2018.
- 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.
AHL NUMBERS AT 20, FORWARDS
This is most of the century and I tried to list everyone .500 and over (added a couple at the end that were close, Edmonton’s AHL team hasn’t had many 20 year olds who played a lot at that age in recent seasons). Yamamoto’s AHL equivalency is 56 points (.683), Benson’s 42 points (.513). So, we should expect Yamamoto to deliver 46 points in a full season as an AHL rookie and for Benson to deliver over 34 points in 68 games with the Condors. Daniel Sprong was the best 20-year old rookie in the AHL this past season, 65 points in 65 games.
Jordan Eberle scored 106 points in 57 games at 19 in the WHL (1.86) and went straight to the NHL. Yamamoto scored 64 points in 40 games at 19 in the WHL (1.60) and we’ll see in the fall. It would be fabulous to have someone of Yamamoto’s ability matriculating in the minors and working for a recall. Based on the list above, the last guy to do it and then emerge as an NHL player was Kyle Brodziak. I don’t think Yamamoto spends a lot of time in California.
In the week after the 2013 draft, I interviewed Michael Parkatti from the Boys on the Bus blog. Parkatti won the Oilers hackathon and did some numbers work for the Oilers before the draft, basically confirming what their scouts were viewing (or possibly raising red flags).
- Michael Parkatti: “The model really liked Marco Roy. There’s a lot of things to like about the player outwardly, and if you look at the statistics diagnostically it’s not just the point production but also the situation he found himself in. The team he played for this year was very good, but it was one of those situations where he wasn’t being dragged along by anybody. The way I like to look at it was he was the good player on the team, he played an integral part on that team. And you really saw that in the playoffs.”
Marco Roy played mostly fourth line minutes as an AHL rookie, scored 42, 8-10-18 5×5 and he didn’t get a contract. Braden Christoffer got a contract. I think that was a mistake. Teemu Hartikainen was another interesting player, MacT didn’t think he had enough offense (“in today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score”) and sent him away.
HARVEST MOON, 2013
The 2013 draft was Craig MacTavish’s double album. He was very involved in the selections, I imagine a decade of pent up frustration with the scouts passing on players he would have liked to coach in the NHL was too much to resist. He made some solid bets.
- #7 overall D Darnell Nurse (SS Marie, OHL) 68, 12-29-41. NHLE 4-11-15. I had him ranked 2nd among OHL players this season and 9th overall. I count this as a risk averse selection, and McKenzie (#9) and Pronman (#11) agree. I think he’s going to be a good NHL player, making his living with EV and PK minutes.
- #56 overall C Marc Olivier-Roy (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) 65, 29-38-67. NHLE 10-15-25. Offensive talent, fast skater, creative and an expert passer. Outstanding on the backcheck and has a strong 2-way reputation at this early age. Undersized (6.0, 180) but he’s an attractive center and a quality prospect. Enjoyed a terrific playoff (9, 5-11-16) and was 74, 34-49-83 overall this season. I mentioned him here and McKenzie (#59) plus Pronman (#70) had him in the range.
- #83 overall C Bogdan Yakimov (Nizhnekamsk Russian Jr). 11, 6-7-13. Huge C (6.05. 200) described by one scouting service as “a thickly constructed specimen” which immediately makes me think of the Russian tank Andrei Kovalenko. Strong along the wall and effective at puck retrieval. Isn’t a finesse player. Pronman ranks him #73 (again in the range) and Kent Wilson suggests he’s ranked amidst a group of similar “power forward” prospects like John Hayden, Avery Peterson and Nick Moutrey among others.
- #88 overall L Anton Slepyshev (UFA, KHL) 11, 4-2-6. NHLE 18-6-24. The most talented player taken in the draft today by the Oilers, Slepyshev is a brilliant hockey player. Pronman has him #45, meaning he’s an exceptional value selection. Pronman: He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element.
- #94 overall R Jackson Houck (Vancouver, WHL). 69, 23-34-57. NHLE 8-12-20. Physical winger with good skills, footspeed is going to be his issue and he’s not a big prospect (6.0, 186). His father Paul was drafted by the Oilers in 1981. Houck sounds like a “tweener”.
- #96 overall C Kyle Platzer (London, OHL) 65, 5-17-22. NHLE 2-6-8. I had a hard time figuring this player out early on, his numbers are nothing much and he’s no Coke machine. Then I found this from Redline: Skating under the radar because of the embarrassment of riches in the two-time OHL champion London Knights. Although just 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Platzer plays with energy and grit, embraces physical contact and doesn’t shy away from the greasy spots in the offensive zone. Platzer lacks elite upside at the NHL level, but is one of those character players who never stops moving his feet and competing.
- #113th overall L Aidan Muir (Victoria Honda Midget) 37, 17-23-40. A project and a reach. Western College Hockey: He’s a decent skater for his size, though there is still some room for improvement. His biggest attribute is his grit and toughness in the dirty areas of the ice along the boards and in front of the net.
- #128 overall L Evan Campbell (Langley, BCJHL). 51, 20-46-66 NHLE 5-10-15. 20 years old, 6.01, 175 and headed to U. Mass Lowell this fall or next. The NHLE suggests there’s some offense there but then again he was 19 in the BCJHL this season. Definitely a reach pick.
- #158 overall D Ben Betker (Everett, WHL). 61, 1-5-6 NHLE 0-2-2. Cody Nickolet says he’s a big, rangy physical defenseman. Needs to work on footspeed. A definite reach selection.
- #188 overall C Greg Chase (Calgary, WHL). 69, 17-32-49. NHLE 6-11-17. Outstanding value pick, Pronman has him at #99. Pronman: Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent.
With 10 days to go, attached is the current list of previously drafted players who must be signed to an Entry Level contract by June 1 @ 5pm EST by their respective clubs.
If left unsigned, the drafting club will lose their signing rights to these players. pic.twitter.com/Q3pAvS0rN3
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) May 22, 2018
I usually make notes on every player but don’t have time this year. I will say a few things about specific players and the list overall.
- Markus Niemelainen is not on the list, because Edmonton retains his rights until 2020. The Oilers could rescind their rights on him and he is not tracking well as a possible signee, but I imagine he will not be eligible for this year’s draft (Cap Friendly correctly excludes him).
- If you are ever wondering about signing dates, CapFriendly has it covered here. It’s under “teams” and then “reserve list”.
- Hudson Elyniuk is a player of interest, my belief is the Oilers could sign him if Carolina is unable to before the deadline. He’s a big forward with skill and intelligence, the boots are the worry.
- Jordan Sambrook is a righty blue, two-way defenseman with decent size. I had him No. 105 in his draft year.
- Adam Mascherin is the best available, I had him at No. 22 on his draft day and will absolutely include him at a good number on my final list this year if it comes to it. Adding Mascherin to Yamamoto and Benson to the graduating class this fall would be an astute move by the organization. What would I trade for Mascherin? Oilers have an extra third-round pick in 2019, I’d trade Drake Caggiula, Aapeli Rasanen or Dylan Wells (or any mid-level prospect) but there are likely to be better offers.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a helluva show exclusively because of the quality of the guests. The host is prone to daydreaming and rants about snow. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Free agency outer marker for the Oilers, Stuart Skinner’s run, WHC, Vegas.
- Jason Rogers, Japers Rink. He’s on no sleep but the Capitals can punch their ticket to the finals tonight!
- Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune. The Wild has a new general manager who believes in analytics and has a few tweaks in mind.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!