The Edmonton Oilers employed the same scouting director from 1979 through 2000, but have been shuffling the deck often this century. Kevin Prendergast presided 2001 through 2007, Stu MacGregor 2008-2014 and Green’s first draft was 2015. For Green, first-round success is assumed if the team is drafting inside the top 10, so the measure of his success may rely on Kailer Yamamoto’s future and the picks in rounds two through seven.
- Barry Fraser’s first pick: Kevin Lowe
- Kevin Prendergast’s first pick: Ales Hemsky
- Stu MacGregor’s first pick: Jordan Eberle
- Bob Green’s first pick: Connor McDavid
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- Jonathan Willis: Analyzing the Oilers 2018-19 depth chart (including additions)
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors could be best Oilers AHL team in ages
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
BOB GREEN DRAFT LIST
- Round 1, No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid (209 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 117 overall: LD Caleb Jones.
- Round 5, No. 124 overall: RD Ethan Bear. (18 NHL games)
- Round 6, No. 154 overall: RD John Marino.
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: G Miroslav Svoboda.
- Round 7, No. 209 overall: LD Ziyat Paigin.
- Round 1, No. 4 overall: R Jesse Puljujarvi (93 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 32 overall: L Tyler Benson.
- Round 3, No. 63 overall: LD Markus Niemelainen.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Matthew Cairns.
- Round 4, No. 91 overall: RD Filip Berglund.
- Round 5, No. 123 overall: G Dylan Wells.
- Round 5, No. 149 overall: L Graham McPhee.
- Round 6, No. 153 overall: RC Aapeli Rasanen.
- Round 7, No. 183 overall: RD Vincent DeSharnais.
- Round 1, No. 22 overall: R Kailer Yamamoto (9 NHL games).
- Round 3, No. 78 overall: G Stuart Skinner.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Dmitri Samorukov.
- Round 4, No. 115 overall: L Ostap Safin.
- Round 5, No. 146 overall: R Kirill Maksimov.
- Round 6, No. 177 overall: LC Skyler Brind’Amour.
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: RD Phillip Kemp.
- Round 1, No. 10 overall: RD Evan Bouchard.
- Round 2, No. 40 overall: LC Ryan McLeod.
- Round 2, No. 62 overall: G Olivier Rodrigue.
- Round 6, No. 164 overall: RD Michael Kesselring.
- Round 7, No. 195 overall: L Patrick Siikanen.
BOB GREEN’S PICKS
- First round picks are McDavid, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto and Bouchard. Terrific talents, they should push this organization to championship levels.
- Picks outside the first round that are trending well include Stuart Skinner, Ethan Bear, Filip Berglund, Kirill Maksimov and Ryan McLeod.
- Where is Green spending the gold? Skill skill skill. His initial first-round picks were forwards, defender Evan Bouchard (this year’s model) counts skill as his main attribute. Oilers haven’t drafted a defenseman like Bouchard in most of your lifetimes. It’s going to be an adjustment tracking this player no matter where he lands. The boxcars will blow our collective minds.
- Anything unusual about the first rounders? The Yamamoto pick is unusual for the Oilers, he’s a small winger, very small.
- What about later picks? Heavy on defense and goaltending. Of the 20 picks in Rounds 3-7, 14 were either defenders or goaltenders.
- Building up the middle? It’s clear that’s the plan, lots of centermen too.
- How many will turn pro this fall? Several. Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Dylan Wells, maybe Stuart Skinner, maybe Ostap Safin. I think Evan Bouchard has an excellent chance to make the NHL team.
- Can we identify players more likely to succeed? Draft number means a lot, and the odds do inform. For instance, it is basically impossible for all of Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and John Marino to become productive NHL regulars. It is far more likely that only one of three will play in the NHL to 100 or more games—and all of them could fail. That is what draft history suggests.
- Who is the best prospect taken outside the first round? My vote goes to Ethan Bear, but the two goalies turning pro this fall plus Tyler Benson and Caleb Jones are worth discussing. Second rounders from 2018 (McLeod and Rodrigue) deserve a mention.
- How concerned are you about injuries? Benson had a significant injury history but most of the players drafted by Edmonton have enjoyed good health as junior players. McDavid missed a portion of his final junior season as a result of an injury suffered during a fight, Yamamoto missed some time in draft +1.
- Any sign of analytics in this draft? There are moneypuck bets in my opinion. The last player chosen inside the top 100 whose offense was a mystery came in 2016 (third round, Matthew Cairns) and those kinds of picks have been ironed out of the organization. I don’t know whether to credit Green or Keith Gretzky (whose first draft would have been 2017) but it’s gone and that’s a big damned deal.
- Biggest change recently? Edmonton had no second or third round pick in 2014, and matched that in 2015. That’s a lot of time spent losing ground to the competition. Since then, the club has managed three second-round selections in three seasons. It’s important for the Oilers to given themselves a good chance at success outside the first round. That’s the biggest strategic change in recent drafts.
- So, name a Money Puck bet. Kailer Yamamoto is a strong money puck bet, because the math would call him a top 10 selection and the Oilers grabbed him No. 22 because bias. He could be a massive return on investment.
- Oilers could have had that player in 2016, if they had drafted Alex DeBrincat in the second round. They seemed to have rectified the oversight, Yamamoto seems a pretty good comp for DeBrincat. You won’t hear people saying that, but for me that’s a pretty solid work around.
- Anything that should be worrisome? The third round in 2016. Markus Niemelainen stalled in his development but he was a solid option at the time so it’s difficult to be overly critical. The Matthew Cairns selection strikes me as a misstep, maybe they saw him good. There was consensus quality on the board at the time, so 2016 third round saw some wobble in my opinion.
- Name the up and down arrows. No downbeats from the 2015 draft, that looks like a dandy. The 2016 draft has Benson as an injury worry, Niemelainen/Cairns we’ve discussed, that’s about it. The 2017 draft has Yamamoto and then some terrific later arrows like Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Dmitri Samorukov.
- How many of the 27 draft picks are going to have actual NHL careers? We should take the lottery picks out because McDavid’s already gone and Puljujarvi is a fantastically good bet.
- Okay, of the 25 players not named McDulujarvi, how many play 400 games in the NHL? I will bet Yamamoto and Bouchard make it, no sure things after those two men but it’s early. If you make me bet on two players, I’ll say Kirill Maksimov and Ethan Bear.
- Your take year by year? The 2015 draft is trending well, McDavid and Bear have played in the NHL already. The 2016 draft looks a little out there now, but if Puljujarvi emerges as the player we all see then the weather changes in a heartbeat. Benson had better health this year, maybe he settles in as a checker. The 2017 draft looks like it might be better than 2016, the first five picks are all trending well. The 2018 draft is too soon to know.
- Is skill the theme of Green drafts? Yes. Far more skill. The group is also risk averse compared to any of the previous drafting teams. As well, the Oilers are drafting mainly big men and have grabbed a mittful of defensemen (12 D, 11F, 4G).
- Okay, it’s five years from now and you’re reading this. What is the thing you’re most relieved about? That I didn’t hang a nickname like ‘Magnificent Bastard’ on Bob Green.
- What was the best Stu MacGregor draft? The 2011 edition produced Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klebfom and Tobias Rieder. I’ll go with that one.
- Five years from now, you’re reading and what are you most pleased about in regard to the Green team? Reasonable expectations are probably six or seven men (two per draft or close) who will emerge with 100+ NHL games.
- Who are they? Connor McDavid, Ethan Bear, Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto, Kirill Maksimov, Stuart Skinner, Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod. That’s nine.
- How many will play 500+ games? McDavid, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bouchard should be locks. The rest of the group will make or break these drafts and we’ll see. Bear has an early edge on the rest of the group.
- Did Chiarelli try to make up for all those picks traded in 2015? Yes, and I should point out Craig MacTavish traded much of the 2014 draft as well. Chiarelli added Cooper Marody by trade and signed free agents Matt Benning, Drake Caggiula, Cameron Hebig and others.
- What is Keith Gretzky’s role? No idea, but the overall thrust of the last two drafts has been more structured and in line with industry standard. The “smartest men in the room” syndrome seems to have gone away.
- Are you satisfied with the Green scouting department? Yes. Fans have identified Mathew Barzal as a miss but the scouts didn’t get a chance to draft him. We may have had assurances Eriksson-Ek was the pick but the story was the trade and you can’t judge a scouting team on picks they didn’t have a chance to make. That’s a bad hill to die on when discussing the scouts in my opinion. Alex DeBrincat was available at the Tyler Benson slot, I think they found a workaround with Kailer Yamamoto. I believe the amateur scouting department is probably the top group in the organization that we can see.