Ken Holland’s first draft as Edmonton Oilers general manager is 41 days away. There’s a great prospect at No. 8 and the second-round pick could be a better player than Ryan McLeod. Question: How many forwards?
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: How the U18’s increased the draft pool and gifted the Edmonton Oilers with multiple options at the 2019 draft
- Lowetide: An offseason plan for Ken Holland to remodel the Oilers roster.
- Jonathan Willis: Which Condors made a good first impression on Oilers GM Ken Holland?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland steadfast that buck stops with him as new Oilers GM.
- Eric Duhatschek: Why any talk of Ken Holland being yesterday’s man should be put to rest.
- Lowetide: How will Ken Holland proceed in Year 1 as Oilers general manager?
- Jonathan Willis: What does the arrival of Ken Holland mean for the Oilers coaching search?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Prioritizing the roster issues that await Ken Holland in Edmonton.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Bakersfield production line: Elevating Jones and how long will success take?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s procurement list for his rumored move to Edmonton will include front-office personnel
- Jonathan Willis: A Milan Lucic trade is at the top of the to-do list for the Oilers’ next GM.
- Lowetide: Should Oilers practice more patience in adding Evan Bouchard to the roster?
- Jonathan Willis: Is Ken Holland yesterday’s man or the ideal GM candidate for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi and his uncertain future with the Oilers
- Lowetide: ‘I see something special’: Are Oilers prepared to make Caleb Jones a fixture on the roster next season?
- Jonathan Willis: Gritty comeback performance sends Edmonton’s farm team to the second round of the AHL playoffs.
- Lowetide: Dylan Cozens might be ideal fit for Oilers at No. 8 overall in the 2019 draft
- New Lowetide: Is this the season the Oilers take the plunge and draft a USHL player in the first round?
- Lowetide: Red Wings front office shuffle could impact Oilers’ future.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ten prospects likely to be available when the Oilers make their first-round pick
LOWETIDE TOP 100 FOR 2019
Edmonton’s first pick will likely come from this group. Dach, Cozens, Zegras, Caufield and Krebs are all excellent candidates. If Bowen Byram falls to (say) No. 5, I could see the Oilers trading up to get him. Otherwise, it’s a forward.
I do think Holland’s presence increases the chances Edmonton takes a USHL player. The Oilers are traditionally prefer a WHL player all things being equal, but the U18’s in April pushed the American kids up the pop charts.
My lists rely on numbers, offensive potential, foot speed and some kind insight from scouts. I’m using Christian Roatis via Rob Vollman this year (here). I nick the USHL a little, and give Swedish defensemen a push offensively (call it the Klefbom rule). If the Oilers had a second pick in the first round, I’d love to see Cam York chosen.
Several posters have mentioned my ranking of Philip Tomasino. Craig Button has him No. 38 (here) but others have him higher. Posters want to know why I don’t have him higher. Answer: My list isn’t meant to reflect or borrow from other lists. If you have found someone who has shown you Tomasino is the No. 14 player in the draft, then they’ve reached that conclusion for their reasons. Why would I steal their work? My list is based mostly on math. Tomasino’s math puts him at No. 23, I could put him ahead of Podkolzin but the Russian had such a weird season I’m not prepared to move him below No. 21.
Reminder: If my list is different than another list, check the math. I’m not mining the same information, and I’m certainly not going to be assessing it in the same way. For instance, I remain convinced the OHL is the best league, but the gap between the OHL, WHL and QMJHL in specific years probably changes markedly. I think adjustments can be made even when using traditional NHLE numbers.
This is the group of players Edmonton should have as a pool for the second round. Blake Murray scored 30 goals in the OHL, is a July 2001, and has size and speed. There’s a nice group in this 30-50 area, the Oilers should get another good player. By the time we get to Edmonton (No. 38), I imagine my list will have some lag, with as many as six or seven names remaining from my top 40. Why? My rank relies heavily on math. Moritz Seider isn’t in my top 40, while Craig Button’s latest mock (here) has him inside the top 30.
Last season was the first I recall where my rankings for the first three rounds anticipated the Oilers list (or at least their picks). I had Evan Bouchard No. 8 (Edmonton chose him No. 10), Ryan McLeod No. 25 (he went No. 40) and Olivier Rodrigue No. 60 (No. 62). My 2018 list is here.
The 2015 draft was interesting. So much talent, the Oilers could have sustained themselves for a long time if not for myriad trades. I had McDavid No. 1, Ethan Bear No. 38 and John Marino No. 112, but no Caleb Jones. The USHL was a tough league to measure then it’s a little easier now. My 2015 list is here.
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 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 future top-six forward and a tweener (what’s Albin Grewe gonna do?)
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.
Edmonton’s third selection is No. 85, but my list is now well into the ‘touch’ players who may not get drafted. If you look at Bob McKenzie’s list, you’ll notice a number of prospects who don’t appear on my list. McKenzie’s mid-season list ranked Kaedan Korczak No. 37, he doesn’t make my top 100.
The Oilers have been drafting closer to my list in recent times. A high water mark came in 2017 when the team chose my No. 11 ranked player (Kailer Yamamoto) at No. 22. That selection came five years after the team chose Mitch Moroz in the second round. Now, the entire industry has improved but it’s progress. Hopefully the team will have an analytics department by next spring.