I had a good feeling about the 1979 draft in the second week of October, same year. Kevin Lowe scored the first goal in franchise NHL history on October 10, and Mark Messier scored a late tying goal against Detroit on October 13. The draft in the modern era is a very different world, but I have a good feeling about the 2017 draft. No Messier, maybe not even a Lowe, but some excellent bets, and some of them outside the first round. Let’s discuss.
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: Ken Holland’s Oilers could go the high octane procurement route but will need a driver
- New Lowetide: How much can Connor Brown help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov is off to the Memorial Cup and is the Oilers’ fastest rising prospect
- Jonathan Willis: Craig MacTavish leaves the Oilers, signalling the first major front office change under Ken Holland
- Lowetide: What kind of coach should Ken Holland hire for the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Andrej Sekera gives the Oilers much-needed defensive options
- Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Protector, supporter, confidant: Connor McDavid’s mom, Kelly, is his off-ice rock through good times and bad
- Lowetide: An offseason plan for Ken Holland to remodel the Oilers roster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland steadfast that buck stops with him as new Oilers GM.
- 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 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.
2017 DRAFT REVISITED
No. 22 overall: R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). I had him No. 11 on my final list, and the offense delivered in his draft year warranted the number. He hasn’t delivered at the same levels, but remains the top forward prospect in the system to my eye. He needs a strong, healthy season in 2019-20, much like Tyler Benson did one year ago. One of his comparables age 20 is Jake DeBrusk. There’s still hope.
No. 78 overall: G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). He had a pedestrian first year pro, with some impressive playoff games to tease the next episode. Scott Wheeler draft day: Skinner is huge. In today’s NHL, with the right goalie coach, that mean’s anything is possible. He was great in last year’s (WHL) playoffs and has shown in spurts that he can be the kind of goalie Lethbridge hoped he be when they took him in the first round.
No. 84 overall: LD Dmitri Samorukov, Guelph Storm (OHL). A big mobile defender who blossomed in his draft +2 season and now looks to be a real find. You never know with defensemen but he is mobile, moves the puck well and is very physical. He may one day play in the NHL and his style would be a nice fit with Evan Bouchard. He was terrific in a shutdown role at the Memorial Cup game last night against Halifax.
No. 115 overall: R Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Czech). I had him in my second round (No. 52) for the 2017 draft. Corey Pronman: “At 6-foot-5, he has very good feet for a big man, with an easy first few steps.” Safin lost most of the season to injury, but he’s a bit of a truck (which has its uses). Safin doesn’t look fabulous from here, but give him a healthy season and let’s see what we’re dealing with then.
No. 146 overall: R Kirill Maksimov, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL). Size, speed, skill. Scored 34 and then 40 goals in his post-draft seasons, would have to be considered a strong candidate for heavy work on Condors skill lines next season. 40 OHL goals is equivalent to 19.4 goals in 68 AHL games. That’s a nice resume.
No. 177 overall: C Skyler Brind’Amour, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). His career trajectory since draft day has been USHL to a lesser league (BCHL) where he has yet to reach a point per game. I remain curious about this selection, it will be good to see his progress in college.
No. 208 overall: RHD Phil Kemp, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Good skater, defense first, blocks a lot of shots. Chiarelli drafted kids from the development team and it paid off in Caleb Jones, this fellow appears to be another solid choice.
FREE AGENT DOLLAR PREDICTIONS
Matt Cane projected free agent signings in 2018 spring and his numbers drew all kinds of responses. He’s good! Here are his predictions for players Edmonton signed.
1 Tobias Rieder (Cane est: $1,906,711) (Actual: $2 million)
2 Kyle Brodziak (Cane est: $1.537 million) (Actual: $1.150 million)
3 Alex Chiasson (Cane est: $1.104 million) (Actual: $650,000)
Cane’s now doing diabolical work with Dellow as the New Jersey Devils prepare to take over the world. I like the prices on Brett Connolly ($3.5 million), Jesse Puljujarvi ($1.393 million), Jujhar Khaira ($1.15 million) and would add Brian Elliot (estimate $2.4 million). Capfriendly tells me Edmonton has $10.7 million in available cap (here), so that’s $7.5 million spent and the rest would be used to fill out the roster. Money is tight, unless Holland can offload Lucic. This year’s numbers are here.
An item in the comments section surrounding a trade between Edmonton and Detroit was being discussed yesterday. The trade was Nuge for Anthony Mantha. It’s an interesting deal, Mantha is two years younger and $2.7 million less expensive (final year before RFA). Nuge is two years from free agency, basically same spot as Eberle the summer he was traded. Nuge may be traded this summer, so in that way it’s an interesting conversation. I wonder if Yzerman would be more willing to trade Athanasiou.
The 2019 draft
I’ll be spending quite a bit of time on the draft this week, posting final numbers from each league, etc. A reminder, my final list will be published June 1, here.