Skyler Brind’Amour got his 2018-19 regular season underway last night, picking up an assist for the Chilliwack Chiefs in BCHL play. Brind’Amour is 19, and was just average a year ago in the BCHL (52, 10-14-24) so will need to score at a rapid clip to establish himself as a bona fide NHL prospect. As a comparable, Jujhar Khaira scored 54, 29-50-79 in the same league in his draft year (age 17).
Brind’Amour is headed for Quinnipiac (NCAA) in 2019-20 and is the latest example of the Oilers drafting a tier two player who will eventually head to college for two to four years. Are the Oilers successful in this area?
The Athletic made some big additions this week, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman joining the Edmonton staff. Daniel, Jonathan Willis, Minnia Feng, Pat McLean and me will deliver prose all winter long and there will be tons via the national desk from Tyler Dellow, Corey Pronman and Dom Luszczysyn. Special offer is here, less than $4 a month! Also, don’t forget to join us later this month (September 24, The Rec Room south side) for a get together and general merriment. I’m thrilled to be part of this group, hope you join us.
- New Lowetide: For Oilers young forwards, it’s what you create versus what you leave.
- Lowetide: Ryan Mantha’s injury and uncertain recovery.
- Lowetide: Oilers rookie camp roster offers options and balance.
- Corey Pronman: The most intriguing prospect to watch at camp for every NHL team.
- Jonathan Willis: Three different KHL stars, three different paths to NHL success.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bringing something different to the Oilers beat.
- Dom Luszczyszyn: 2018-19 season preview Edmonton Oilers.
- Lowetide: Who will win the McDavid-line lottery?
- Lowetide: The 2018-19 Oilers and what may come.
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- Lowetide: The 2015 draft and what was lost
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2018-19 Oilers opening night roster
- Lowetide: Where will Tobias Rieder land on the Oilers depth chart?
- Lowetide: No. 1 prospect—Evan Bouchard.
- Lowetide: No. 2 prospect—Kailer Yamamoto.
- Lowetide: No. 3 prospect—Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: No. 4 prospect—Ryan McLeod
- Lowetide: No. 5 prospect—Cooper Marody.
- Lowetide: No. 6 prospect—Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: No. 7 prospect—Tyler Benson.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 8 prospect—Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: No. 9 prospect—Filip Berglund.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 10 prospect—Dmitri Samorukov.
What did Connor McDavid learn about himself last year? “How much I hate losing,” he said. “I knew that before, but I know it on a whole new level now.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 7, 2018
McDavid: “We came in and just expected stuff to happen. We got a little too excited and eager. We didn’t want to work for it. We forgot that you have to work for those things. We get to go back to two years ago, when no one really [picked] us, and we can do our thing.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 7, 2018
Without significant roster changes, McDavid said he looks at the #nhljets for reason to give #Oilers hope. “Two years ago, they were probably worse than we were last year. Then you saw everyone get just a little bit better, and that raises your team game.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 7, 2018
There isn’t much news this morning on the Oilers front, but these quotes from the captain are music! Of course there are real reasons for Edmonton’s struggles a year ago, but fans need clarity and a goal. McDavid provides it here. It doesn’t solve the special teams issues, nor the injury worries, not even the lack of proven scoring on the wings. It’s one man showing there’s a light up above, and for a fan base wondering if the Hockey Gods could possibly be cruel enough to tack a lustrum onto the decade of darkness, it is manna from heaven.
The Oilers spent a lot of draft wealth on players from tier two leagues since 2000, and have struck gold more than once. Here’s an overview.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2000-04
- 2000—D Jason Platt in the 8th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended college at Providence and signed with the Oilers after full four years in NCAA. Turned pro at 23, peaked with 109 AHL games.
- 2001—C Eddie Caron in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Phillips-Exeter Academy (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended college at New Hampshire, transferred but it got derailed or he left Dodge and he turned pro with Greenville Grrrowl at age 22. Peaked with 54 ECHL games.
- 2001—C Jake Brenk in the 5th round. Drafted out of Breck School (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended Minnesota State-Mankato all four years, turned pro at 23 by signing in Holland.
- 2002—D Matt Greene in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Green Bay (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended UND for three seasons, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers. Greene would play in the SCF’s that season and enjoyed a long NHL career (615 games).
- 2002—G Glenn Fisher in the 5th round. Drafted out of Ft. Saskatchewan (AJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended U Denver for four years, and turned pro with the Oilers age 24. Peaked with four AHL games.
- 2002—L Patrick Murphy in the 7th round. Drafted out of Newmarket (OPJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Northern Michigan for four years, and turned pro at age 23 by signing with Laredo (CHL). Played five games at that level.
- 2003—R Colin McDonald in the 2nd round. Drafted out of New England (EJHL) after 17-year old season. Attended Providence College for four years, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers. He played 148 NHL games and is still playing NA pro.
- 2003—R David Rohlfs in the 5th round. Drafted out of Compuware (NAHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Michigan for four years, turned pro at 23 by signing with the Oilers. Peaked with seven AHL games.
- 2004—C Geoff Paukovich in the 2nd round. Drafted out of USNDTP after 17-year old season. Attended U Denver for three years, and turned pro at 21 by signing with the Oilers. Peaked with 109 AHL games. Oilers traded Jason Chimera for the draft pick that was used for Paukovich.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2005 TO 2009
- 2005—C Andrew Cogliano in the 1st round. Drafted out of Toronto St. Mike’s (OPJHL) after 17-year old season, he played at Michigan for two years and turned pro at age 20 with the Oilers. Currently at 866 games and counting, he is the class of the group.
- 2005—D Taylor Chorney in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s (USHS) after 17-year old season, he played for UND for three years and turned pro at age 21 with the Oilers. He is at NHL 166 games.
- 2005—C Robby Dee in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Breck (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Omaha (USHL) for two years and then college (Maine) for four years before turning pro at age 24 in the ECHL. Peaked with three AHL games.
- 2005—C Chris VandeVelde in the 4th round. Drafted out of Moorhead (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Lincoln (USHL) for one year and then college (UND) for four years before turning pro at age 23 by signing with the Oilers. He has played 278 NHL games so far in his career.
- 2005—L Matt Glasser in the 7th round. Drafted out of Fort McMurray (AJHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (U Denver) for four years before turning pro at age 23 in the CHL. Peaked with 116 CHL games.
- 2006—D Jeff Petry in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Des Moines (USHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (Michigan State) for three more years before turning pro at age 22 by signing with the Oilers. Currently at 527 games, one of the best in this group.
- 2007—C Riley Nash in the 1st round. Drafted out of Salmon Arm (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Cornell (NCAA) for three years before turning pro at age 21 by signing with the Carolina Hurricanes. Currently at 399 NHL games.
- 2009—D Troy Hesketh in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Minnetonka (USHS) after 17-year old season, he did not progress.
- 2009—D Kyle Bigos in the 4th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Merrimack College (NCAA) for four years before turning pro at age 24 by signing with the San Jose Sharks. Peaked with eight AHL games.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2010 TO 2014
- 2010—F Kellen Jones in the 7th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Quinnipiac (NCAA) for four years before turning pro by signing with the Oklahoma City Barons for his 24-year old season. Peaked with 175 AHL games.
- 2012—C Jujhar Khaira in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Prince George (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Michigan Tech for one year and Everett (WHL) for one year and he turned pro with the Oilers at age 20. Has played in 94 NHL games.
- 2013—F Aidan Muir in the 4th round. Drafted out of Victory Honda Midget (MWEHL) after 17-year old season, he played with Indiana (USHL) for a year before heading to Western Michigan. Muir played four college seasons, Oilers did not sign him to a pro deal.
- 2013—L Evan Campbell in the 5th round. Drafted out of Langley (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he played with UMass-Lowell (NCAA) 2013-17. Played in one AHL game.
- 2014—D William Lagesson in the 4th round. Drafted out of Frolunda (Swedish Juniors) after his 17-year old year, he played the following season in the USHL before heading to the NCAA UMass-Amherst for two years. Edmonton signed Lagesson last spring and then loaned him for the 2017-18 season to Djugardens (SHL), where he flourished. He’s in rookie camp and his arrows are heading in a good direction.
- 2014—L Liam Coughlin in the 5th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 19-year old season, he stayed there for an extra year before playing college hockey for Vermont. Now property of the Chicago Blackhawks, he will apparently play his senior year with Vermont.
- 2014—F Tyler Vesel in the 6th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 20-year old season, he just finished four seasons with U Nebraska-Omaha. Signed to an NHL-deal, he has two-way acumen.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2015 TO 2018
- 2015—Caleb Jones in the 4th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Program (USHL), he changed gears and played for Portland (WHL) for his two post-draft seasons. Quality prospect, he is at 61 AHL games.
- 2015—John Marino in the 6th round. Drafted out of the South Shore Kings (USHL Pr), he moved up to the USHL in draft +1 (won Clark Cup) and then Harvard where he has been solid in two NCAA seasons.
- 2016—Matt Cairns in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Georgetown (OJHL), he couldn’t get into the lineup in the USHL (not a good sign) so played in the BCHL to complete his year. Played sparingly in freshman season with Cornell 2017-18.
- 2016—Graham McPhee in the 5th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Team, he attended Boston College and played a support role. Like Dillon Simpson, McPhee arrived in college very young (he was drafted while 17) and that means he has more room to grow. Stepped up in a big way 2017-18 (36, 12-12-24).
- 2016—Aapeli Rasanen in the 7th round. Drafted out of the Finnish Jr leagues, he played for Sioux City of the USHL. He has run into injury problems since draft day, solid when healthy a year ago for Boston College.
- 2017—Skyler Brind’Amour in the 6th round. Drafted out of the U.S. National Development Team, Brind’Amour went to a lesser league (BCHL). His first season there produced disappointing offense, he needs to have a recovery campaign.
- 2017—Phillip Kemp in the 6th round. Another player drafted out of the U.S. National Development Program, now four in four Chiarelli drafts. Kemp has a defensive reputation, he was effective at Yale and might be a draft steal in the making.
- 2018—Michael Kesselring in the 6th round. He’s a big man with raw skills, and we’re just beginning to find out about him. A very interesting player.
Since the turn of the century, Edmonton has:
- chosen 33 ‘draft and college’ players
- 21 have been chosen after their 17-year old season
- 7 have been chosen after their 18-year old season
- 1 has been chosen after his 19-year old season
- 4 have been chosen after their 20-year old season
- The 19-year old (Coughlin) was chosen in the MacT era
- Two of the four 20-year olds (Campbell and Vesel) came in the MacT era
- All of the 20-year olds were chosen from 2009-2014 (Tambellini, MacT).
- Peter Chiarelli’s choices on this list were all chosen after 17-year old seasons.
- The best players from this group—Matt Greene (18), Andrew Cogliano (17), Jeff Petry (17), Riley Nash (17) were chosen after 17 or 18 year old seasons.
- Only two first-round picks were in the group: Andrew Cogliano and Riley Nash.
Since 2000, the Oilers have chosen a tier two junior player headed to college often in the first 75 selections. The club has enjoy considerable success when doing so:
- Eddie Caron No. 52 in 2001 (0 NHL games)
- Matt Greene No. 44 in 2002 (615 NHL games)
- Colin McDonald No. 51 in 2003 (148 NHL games)
- Geoff Paukovich No. 57 in 2004 (0 NHL games)
- Andrew Cogliano No. 25 in 2005 (866 NHL games)
- Taylor Chorney No. 36 in 2005 (166 NHL games)
- Jeff Petry No. 45 in 2006 (527 NHL games)
- Riley Nash No. 21 in 2007 (399 NHL games)
- Troy Hesketh No. 71 in 2009 (0 NHL games)
- Jujhar Khaira No. 63 in 2012 (94 NHL games)
It’s an impressive success rate, seven out of 10 draft picks of this type played over 100 games (Khaira will get there early this season so I’m counting him). Although the Oilers haven’t drafted a tier two player in the top 75 for six years, the club has been drafting talented players all down the line.
I think the key ‘follow’ point is getting these kids drafted at an early age. If you’re looking at 20-year old (Campbell, Vesel) as someone who can blossom, then it’s probably a good idea to go back and examine what the trajectory for kids age 17 looks like compared to those age 20. Chiarelli’s scouting department appears to be shopping in the right areas. There are no extremely early “reach” selections so far in his regime, also a positive. Caleb Jones is probably the strongest bet from the Chiarelli era at this time, although Graham McPhee and Phil Kemp have put themselves in the conversation.