In the coming days, I’d like to spend some time talking about the draft. My final list, Here Comes the Sun, will be out in early June. I’m not a scout, my list is heavily math reliant, but it does tend to uncover gems in the days gone down.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. INSANE NEW OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: Trimming cap fat and adding speed and skill will shape Oilers’ offseason.
- New Jonathan Willis: Former Canucks architects Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman should be considered for any vacant NHL GM job
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers need to drastically revamp their forward group.
- Lowetide: Identifying the risk and the right price if the Oilers were to trade Adam Larsson (to Toronto?)
- Lowetide: Oilers’ prospect Tyler Benson’s rookie AHL season a revelation.
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers draft early, the WHL is loaded and there’s a lot of history.
- Jonathan Willis: Analyzing how much the Oilers should be willing to spend on pending free agent Alex Chiasson.
- Jonathan Willis: Keith Gretzky is a legitimate Oilers GM candidate, but would be a hard sell in Edmonton
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can build a contender during Connor McDavid’s prime.
- Lowetide: How the emergence of William Lagesson in Bakersfield complicates Edmonton’s 2019-20 depth chart.
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers aren’t good, but this group has more potential than teams from the decade of darkness
- Lowetide: Bob Nicholson’s search continues for the Oilers new tomorrow, but at a leisurely pace.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Leon Draisaitl has found ‘another level’ by matching offensive wizardry with sound positioning.
- Jonathan Willis: From Mikko Koskinen to Bakersfield, the next two months will reveal a lot about the Oilers
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
OILERS AFTER 74
- Oilers in 2015: 29-38-7, 65 points; goal differential -34
- Oilers in 2016: 40-25-9, 89 points; goal differential +25
- Oilers in 2017: 33-36-5, 71 points; goal differential -30
- Oilers in 2018: 32-34-7, 71 points; goal differential -29
There it is! A one-goal defeat tonight and this year’s team falls to even with the 2017-18 crew. It doesn’t mean a lot but you would like to see some progress year over year.
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 6-4-0, 12 points; goal differential -1
- Oilers in March 2017: 6-3-1, 13 points; goal differential +12
- Oilers in March 2018: 5-4-1, 11 points; goal differential +4
- Oilers in March 2019: 5-4-0, 10 points; goal differential -4
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MARCH
- On the road to: Columbus, Buffalo (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Toronto, NY Rangers, NJD (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 2-2-0)
- On the road to: Arizona, Vegas, St. Louis (Expected: 0-2-1) (Actual 1-2-0)
- At home to: Columbus, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Dallas, Anaheim (Expected: 3-1-1) (Actual)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-4, 14 points in 14 games
- Current results: 5-4-0, 10 points in ninge games
LOWETIDE HOUSE RULES
I use NHLE as a strong guiding light. I also use scouting reports from trusted sources and publications. I punish average to poor foot speed liberally. My list list rewards offense heavily, and the most gifted offensive players will be at the top. Players with a range of skills usually do well, but there is a fine line between a two-way player and a checking future. The list does not give high numbers to players who have a lot of their value tied up in the defensive side of the game. Goalies are graded (almost exclusively) by save percentage, although success over more than one season has terrific value.
I view Bob McKenzie’s list as the draft Bible. Corey Pronman has been an education for years now. Scott Wheeler is a unique voice. His rankings include some hidden gems we’ll be tracking in the future. Craig Button’s list has high value for me, I like the fact he has the courage of his convictions. I pay attention to Red Line Report. Their scouting reports are the industry standard.Simon Boisvert is a wonderful resource. He’s on the Lowdown often and he’s a very wise man. Steve Kournianos guides me through the draft season with his fantastic site and insight. I value McKeens, Grant McCagg, Tom Hunter, Brock Otten, Adam Sherren, ISS. I do have conversations with scouts in junior hockey and they are very helpful.
Mark Edwards Black Book is a brilliant reference. His release last year has been very useful for this year’s draft. Highly recommended. If there’s one publication I would suggest purchasing, it would be Edwards.
I do a list 120 deep and routinely see players that have been ranked inside the top 40 pass right through the draft. No matter. We remember them and then discuss in draft +1. Here are the ‘passover’ bunch from last season who spiked this year and could get drafted.
- 33. W Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SuperElite). I wrote last year “good boots and an excellent shot. He had a strong playoff and remains a favorite of mine. Not ranked on plenty of lists, could be a draft steal in later rounds. Speed and goal scoring is always a good bet.” Update: Bob McKenzie has him No. 74. Math rankings are often mocked, but there are lessons to be learned, and therefore value, in the numbers. I have Fagemo No. 32 this year.
- 42. LC Nathan Dunkley, London Knights (OHL). Impressive young player with offensive ability. Works hard, starting now we’re into complementary offensive types. Update: Had the same season this year (down arrow) and is No. 191 among NA skaters for 2019.
- 59. L Alex Steeves, Dubuque (USHL). Smaller winger, speedy, physical. Update: Now playing college (Notre Dame), he had seven goals as a freshman.
- 65. RC Kyle Topping, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Impressive even-strength offense. Update: He also ran in place this season, and ranks No. 195 among NA skaters for 2019.
- 86. R Arttu Nevasaari, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Top-end skill. Update: Blossomed in his junior league this season.
- 89. LD Justin Bergeron, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL). M-A Bergeron 2.0. Update: He spiked offensively but is still not ranked despite posting 57 points in 65 games. Intriguing.
- 92. LC Lukas Wernblom, MODO (SuperElite). Small, skilled, needs better results. Update: Enjoyed a solid year in the Allsvenskan and is ranked No. 53 Euro skater for 2019.
LOWETIDE CURRENT TOP 10 2019 DRAFT
- C Jack Hughes, U.S. National Development Team (USHL).
- R Kaapo Kakko, Turkku (Sm-Liiga).
- L Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton (OHL).
- R Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL).
- RC Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (WHL).
- LC Trevor Zegras, U.S. National Development Team (USHL).
- R Vasili Podkolzin, St. Petersburg (MHL).
- LC Alex Turcotte, U.S. National Development Team (USHL).
- LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL).
- LD Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL).
My top 10 will change a little in terms of ranking (Turcotte will move up as he stays healthy, Byram probably passes Krebs) but the 10 men listed here are likely the 10 men you’ll see on my final list. My current list is here, I’ll have an update early next week. I wrote about the incredible depth of the WHL draft and the Oilers preference for the league at The Athletic, with seven names who could be announced by Edmonton draft weekend.
WHAT DOES THE OILERS LIST LOOK LIKE?
I think the WHL kids are high on the list, would guess Hughes is No. 1 and the Finn second, and do wonder how they feel about the Russian. No change the team will take Kaliyev, he’ll go later in the first round (Corey Pronman wrote a terrific piece about him here).
As often happens, Oilers fans are finding warts on prospects and now wondering if it was all a big mistake. I want to remind you that a No. 10 overall selection isn’t the same as a No. 1 pick. I want to remind you that Evan Bouchard still has all kinds of talent and his passing ability is a perfect fit for a team that can’t pass straight. I’ve been reading some fairly sour takes on him, recently, would recommend you let him live and find his own way. I’m very much inclined to believe he’ll be a genuine part of the solution.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’s Thursday, we have a rocking show with fabulous guests, beginning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- John Matisz, The Score. Oilers GM search, Lightning-Caps classic.
- Julian Edlow, Draft Kings and Metro Boston. March Madness baby!
- Luke Philp, Calgary Flames. Newest signing by the Flames will chat about his contract.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!