Many moons ago, NHL teams would have a ‘touch’ list at the draft, which consisted of names of players they liked but were certain no one would draft (unless the team chose to do so). Back then the draft was nine rounds and there was more room to pick your neighbour’s son. Not so much anymore, but that doesn’t mean obscure players won’t get chosen, and some of those obscure prospects deserve a closer look.
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 OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Protector, supporter, confidant: Connor McDavid’s mom, Kelly, is his off-ice rock through good times and bad
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers goalie prospect Stuart Skinner stars as the Condors stay alive in the AHL playoffs.
- 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: 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?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ten prospects likely to be available when the Oilers make their first-round pick
2019 TOUCH LIST
I’m going to post five names per league every day this week, beginning with the QMJHL. The following players are outside the Central Scouting Top 150 NA list, the top 10 NA goalie list, the top 75 Euro list and the top 10 Euro goalie list. They may not be drafted but there’s something about them worth mentioning.
Bailey Peach is a fleet LW from the QMJHL (54, 11-25-36). I like him because he pushed his way from fringe a year ago to regular on a good Sherbrooke club year over year. 25 of his points came at 5-on-5.
Brett Budgell is an interesting winger from the QMJHL’S Charlottetown Islanders (67, 18-15-33 and 165 shots). He has a good shot and can retrieve pucks, reports have his skating heading in a good direction.
Xavier Simoneau is a small, skill center for Drummondville. His boxcars (55, 18-39-57) are outstanding for a player ranked so low, but his size (5.07) may scare some teams away. He is a May 2001 and has posted two quality seasons in the QMJHL. Someone should draft him.
Jeremy Michel is a bigger forward with a good shot he doesn’t use enough, but he posted solid offense (64, 16-26-42) in his draft year. Had 146 shots. Has good two-way ability according to HockeyProspect.com.
Jeremy Martin isn’t ranked by Central, but he scored 62, 15-24-39 for Shawinigan and he’s a speedy winger with skill who enjoys physical contact. Cataractes are horrible, but I have Valentin Nussbaumer at No. 94 and this young man is in the same range.
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
I do a winter Top 20 for The Athletic (here) and then one on Sunday night of the draft at this blog (just to re-set). It’s incredible just how much has changed and I imagine it will change again. When I publish my summer top 20, there will be three first-round picks on it (assuming Ken Holland keeps his pick June 21 in Vancouver).
Here’s the kicker: We have to begin a conversation. It goes like this: Dmitri Samorukov might be the best prospect in the system. It isn’t a certainty, but his season has been so impressive we have to begin the conversation.
A mammoth amount of Oilers information is here. Dave Tippett as coach, Jay Woodcroft to LAK (we knew it but the drumbeats are getting louder), buying out Lucic was contemplated before Ken Holland’s arrival, teams are lining up to sign Evan Polei to an NHL deal (why not Logan Day?)
JAY WOODCROFT’S 2018-19 ROOKIES
LW Tyler Benson (68, 15-51-66). A strong AHL season at 20 for an Oilers forward draft pick is about as rare as a playoff appearance for the parent team. Benson was quality in his first pro season, delivering deft passes and delivering results. A goal-scoring slump early in the year was corrected by 10 goals in his final 25 games. He has a clear shot at the NHL this fall.
RC Cooper Marody (58, 19-45-64). His value to the Condors has been driven home in every game since his injury. Marody has NHL hands, the only question surrounding his ability to flourish in the world’s best league is his boots. Not every player has to be a fast train, Marody could be one of the RH pieces on an Edmonton power play by this fall.
RD Logan Day (64, 7-27-34). Chaos blue can make plays and elevated the Condors power play (3-8-11, tied for second among Bakersfield blue). He doesn’t have an NHL contract, but his first AHL season suggests he has the skill required to push to the next level. The defensive part of the game needs to get tied down.
W Cameron Hebig (64, 11-18-29). A right shot deployed on the opposite wing at times during the season, Hebig started the campaign like a house on fire. In fact, in his first 10 games, Hebig scored 6-6-12. He was used in a complementary role afterward, but could emerge this fall as a feature player. He can score goals.
RW Kailer Yamamoto (27, 10-8-18). It was a disappointing season for the first-round draft pick (2017), but it’s important to point out he would have easily cleared 20 goals in a complete season (based on trajectory). He should have eclipsed Benson’s season total for points, but NHL time and a wrist injury caught him. One of the concerns about taking smaller players, especially those who win pucks, is injury. Hands are a bad injury for skill players. Yamamoto will need to have a strong year in 2019-20.
RC Tyler Vesel (61, 5-13-18). College player arrived in Bakersfield and landed a support role on a (mostly) checking line. His shooting percentage (five percent on 100 shots) should improve next season, and he had an impact on both special teams in college. Has a range of skills.
LD Jake Kulevich (29, 2-6-8). Another AHL contract, he filled the Ben Betker (No. 7D) role well when in Bakersfield. I don’t think he’ll get an NHL deal but he provided solid play when required and should be around next season.
LW Nolan Vesey (17, 0-3-3). Another of Peter Chiarelli’s curios, Edmonton gave up a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft for him. He couldn’t establish himself in the AHL at age 23, and also managed just 10 points in 32 ECHL games.
G Shane Starrett (42, 2.33 .918). Along with Benson and Marody, Starrett would have to receive strong consideration for Bakersfield’s top rookie. Al Montoya’s injury gave him the chance and Starrett ran away with the job. He is in a solid spot to become Bakersfield’s starter next year, meaning a recall is just an injury or a slump away.
G Dylan Wells (12, 2.84 .909). It’s easy for overlook Wells’ season, but he survived and posted respectable numbers. He had a .912 SP in Wichita (ECHL) in 22 games and stopped 35 of 38 in his only Condors playoff game (so far). A solid debut.
G Stuart Skinner (6, 2.99 .879). Too small a sample size to draw conclusions, Skinner played a lot with Wichita of the ECHL (41, 3.16 .903) this season. He was the No. 3 goalie among the rookies, but his recent performance with the Condors (3, 1.52 .948) is an exciting uptick on a pedestrian season.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Monday with massive stories everywhere. TSN1260, beginning at 10. We’ll welcome Daniel Nugent-Bowman from The Athletic at 10:20, his fantastic article on Connor McDavid’s Mom and her impact on him is a must read and we’ll chat about it. At 11, Jason Gregor pops in to chat about Dave Tippett, the Raptors and FC Edmonton’s home opener and early success). At 11:25, Sean Woodley from Locked on Raptors and Raptors HQ will talk about the biggest shot in franchise history. Text 10-1260, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!