In 1979, NHL teams had a watershed draft pool to choose from, and some teams procured talent for a generation (Edmonton was one). In Toronto, Punch Imlach was trying to figure out things on the fly:
When our first choice came, one player available was Laurie Boschman. He’d played with Brandon, centering a line with Brian Propp and Ray Allison on the wings. Even though Boschman was the center, I said “Propp got all the goals. I think we should go with the goal scorers.” But the scouts said Boschman did all the work and was the smart one on the line. I’d been in that situation in Buffalo once, picking a kid named Claude Deziel who had scored a lot in junior on a line centered by Pierre Larouche. Later, Deziel never played in the NHL. Larouche did, and scored plenty. So when the Leafs scouts told me Boschman was the guy who made their line work, I had to think of Larouche.
- “Can he skate?” I asked.
- “Good skater,” they said.
So that’s how Boschman was taken and when you figure Propp got 34 goals for Philadelphia and Boschman got 16 for the the Leafs maybe we were wrong in the choice. (Punch Imlach and Scott Young, Heaven and Hell in the NHL).
Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $4 a month! I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s a pure pleasure to visit. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.
- New Corey Pronman: Edmonton: Complete prospect ranking.
- New Lowetide: Stuart Skinner’s net worth.
- Lowetide: Assessing the cost of the Oilers ill-advised AHL experiment.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—Joel Persson.
- Blackdog Pat: There won’t ever be another Stan Mikita.
- Lowetide: No. 13 prospect—Ostap Safin
- Jonathan Willis: No. 14 prospect—Olivier Rodrigue
- Lowetide: No. 15 prospect—William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: No. 16 prospect—Cameron Hebig
- Lowetide: No. 17 prospect—Graham McPhee
- Jonathan Willis: No. 18 prospect—Ryan Mantha
- Lowetide: No. 19 prospect—John Marino
- Jonathan Willis: No. 20 prospect—Tyler Vesel
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospects: Forwards outside the top 20
- Jonathan Willis: Are Hayden Hawkey and Phil Kemp underrated gems?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2013 draft: Two NHL players and one crazy trade.
- Lowetide: Some lingering questions about Oilers 2018 draft and evaluating goalies.
- Lowetide: Oilers training camp: 28 men for 23 jobs.
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
- Stu MacGregor during Ryan Martindale’s draft weekend: “He was their top line centerman, he played with Toffoli. He was a very solid, big guy. He has to improve his game in some areas, but he has size and skill. His overall commitment needs to be there every night. He’s a big kid that has a lot of talent.”
Los Angeles drafted Tyler Toffoli No. 47 overall, Martindale was plucked at No. 61 by the Edmonton Oilers. There were no expectations (that I recall) about Martindale being the superior player (to Toffoli), but Toronto’s drafting of Boschman in 1979 (over a clearly superior Brian Propp, who scored 28 more goals and 45 more points) was looking like a bad decision by Christmas of that year.
One of the things we can do in the modern era is measure 5-on-5 offense, and even more targeted, 5-on-5 primary points (goals and first assists). I thought about the Imlach quote, and the MacGregor quote, in the hours after the Oilers drafted Ryan McLeod. I reached out to Brock Otten, to ask him about McLeod’s linemates and his answer is worth quoting:
- Brock Otten: “Well let’s just say that the Steelheads throw their lines in a blender most days. Very little consistency from game to game. Heck, they change from period to period. He played with his brother a fair amount in November/December when Michael returned from injury. After the trade deadline, it was Carter, Foget, Tippett, Washkurak, Schwindt, you name it.”
So that gives us some idea about where he played in the lineup and indicates no one was zooming his numbers. Where did he finish among Mississauga forwards in primary points per game?
This is a very encouraging table, despite Ryan McLeod’s position here. First, based on Otten’s verbal we can discount Tippet and Michael McLeod as zooming his results, although they did spend time with the Oilers’ pick.
The primary points per game total (remember, this is 5-on-5 via Prospect-stats.com) posted by Michael McLeod at 17 (0.53) and Owen Tippett at 17 (0.75) isn’t far away from the number each man posted this past season. I know there has been much talk of Kailer Yamamoto not progressing year over year (0.77 to 0.75 in this discipline) and Tippett’s numbers illuminate the Yamamoto progress.
OHL FORWARDS, FIRST TWO ROUNDS 2018 NHL DRAFT
These eight men were chosen inside the first two rounds of the 2018 NHL draft. As you can see, teams went for positional need early and often, passing on promising talent to grab centers and speed early on. I think Edmonton made out very well based on these totals, Florida (Noel) and Los Angeles (Thomas) also getting terrific value.
PRIMARY POINTS PER GAME, OILERS FORWARDS 2013-18 DRAFT
- Connor McDavid. Oh my.
- Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto posted solid numbers, seems to be a line in the sand after that before Benson.
- Added to draft year 5-on-5 primary numbers from Jordan Eberle (0.56), Taylor Hall (0.72), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (0.46) and Nail Yakupov (0.71), there should be a clear top-six forward group on the roster at this time.
With less than a week to go, according to our data, this is the current list of drafted College players whom their respective teams must sign by August 15, or risk losing their signing rights and as a result would become a UFA. pic.twitter.com/ww7iOVsvui
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 9, 2018
I don’t see any obvious options for signing/trade here, Aidan Muir does offer size but injuries impacted his college career. The two high picks (McLeod and Glover) are surprising misses from organizations who usually cash in that area of the draft.
Glen Gulutzan made some comments yesterday (here) and it sounds like the Oilers will have some new wrinkles at 5-on-5. It’s a vague reference to changes, but I do like the idea of moving the puck up rapidly.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We are live on location today at Rogers Place for the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament! Starting at 10, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. We’ll chat about his vacation, the Prospects and the Hlinka-Gretzky.
- JP Shadrick, Jaguars Radio Network. We’ll preview Jacksonville’s season.
We’ll also talk CFL and have plenty from Rogers Place as we set the stage for the big weekend of hockey at the Hlinka-Gretzky. Talk soon!