These are not your Dad’s Edmonton Oilers. The organization that was built on the back of boys from Ontario and the west drafted not a one player from the OHL or WHL this weekend. Incredible.
LOWETIDE PROJECTED WEEKEND
First round, No. 8 overall — RC Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). NHLE: 29.4
Second round, No. 38 overall — R Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SHL). NHLE: 28.3
Third round, No. 85 overall — LC Blake Murray, Sudbury Wolves (OHL). NHLE: 19.0
Fourth round, No. 100 overall — LD Mattias Norlinder, MoDo (Allsvenskan). NHLE: 12.7
Sixth round, No. 162 overall — L Daniil Gutik, Yaroslavl (MHL). NHLE: 5.33
Seventh round, No. 193 overall — R Kirill Slepets, Lokomotiv (KHL). NHLE: 15.6
KEN HOLLAND’S WEEKEND
First round, No. 8 overall — LHD Philip Broberg, AIK (Allsvenskan). NHLE: 9.2
Second round, No. 38 overall — RHC Raphael Lavoie, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). NHLE: 23.7
Third round, No. 85 overall — G Ilya Konovalov, Lokotmotiv Yaroslavl (KHL). SP: .930.
Fourth round, No. 100 overall — LW Matej Blumel, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). NHLE: 22.9
Sixth round, No. 162 overall — LHC Tomas Mazura, Kimball Union (USHS). NHLE: 9.6
Seventh round No. 193 overall — LHC Maxim Denezhkin, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (MHL). NHLE: 19.3
HARVEST MOON 2019
Based on my observation of these Oilers over many years, I do think Ken Holland impacted this draft. I’m not suggesting the individual players were hand picked by him, but rather the draft landed in unusual places and didn’t land in traditional spots. Two KHL picks, a Swede in the first round and no OHL, no WHL? I don’t think this is in line with traditional Oilers dogma. That isn’t a bad thing.
No. 8 overall — LHD Philip Broberg, AIK (Allsvenskan). NHLE: 9.2. Holland’s Oilers doubled down on an area of strength and bet on Broberg being the best available. He is a fantastically mobile defenseman and the offense is more promising than the NHLE suggests. I won’t make much sense in saying this, but I believe he’s closer to Oscar Klefbom in offensive ability and closer to Darnell Nurse in style. We’re going to have to let this young man tell us who he is, beginning this winter.
No. 38 overall — RHC Raphael Lavoie, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). NHLE: 23.7. The strongest selection of day two, Lavoie is a legit scoring forward who will probably play the wing as a pro. He also began a theme on the day among forwards: He has a fine shot and uses it a lot. Lacks consistency because teenager. This has a chance to be the best second round pick in a nice string of them (Benson, McLeod) over recent summers. Bob Green said there were several players at this number they liked, but were happy to get Lavoie.
No. 85 overall — G Ilya Konovalov, Lokotmotiv Yaroslavl (KHL). SP: .930. I had to think about this pick for some time. It’s at a place where teams (rightly) choose prospects from secondary leagues, so I can’t object to the idea. As well, the numbers and scouting reports are eye popping. Look, the Oilers have spent picks in this area on men like Matt Cairns in recent years. I’ve decided this was an astute pick. He turns 21 in July.
No. 100 overall — LW Matej Blumel, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). NHLE: 22.9. He’s an interesting pick, but a little shy of being an inspired one. He’s a shooter, works hard and has some range of abilities. I’m unsure that his offense is special and that will be the thing we track with Blumel.
No. 162 overall — LHC Tomas Mazura, Kimball Union (USHS). NHLE: 9.6. There wasn’t much online, so I reached out to someone in the know. Here’s what I got: Very skilled- a top prep player for his all-around offensive package/upside. Comes from top program. Raw and will take time to develop/fill out but had a lot of pre-draft buzz.
No. 193 overall — LHC Maxim Denezhkin, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (MHL). NHLE: 19.3. The thing about drafting Russians is that you can get excellent value because not every team does it. Corey Pronman had him as a mid-fourth and that’s a damned good player at this spot. Two-way center with enough skill to be considered a bona fide NHL prospect.
I’ve always said trust your board, and it looks like the Oilers did just that on the weekend. Despite clear anger from the fan base, management proceeded as they meant to go. Will it work? Was it the right call? Time will tell. The issues for the coming season on the wing remain, but that wasn’t going to change by drafting Cole Caufield this weekend.
Among the concerns I have tonight, only one is worth mentioning. I think this Oilers draft would have benefited from the insight an analytics department might have provided. Even if that department helps only once per draft, I think that improves Edmonton’s chances of beating the odds.
The success of this draft will ride on the first two selections. Oilers fans aren’t going to work up a massive lather over the final four picks if they don’t cash, but the top two men are vital to success.
I like the courage of convictions shown by the Holland Oilers, I like that they paid no attention to the rage over the possibility of the Broberg pick. It shows maturity by the organization, and is a massive improvement from 2012 when entire floors of hotels were rented because higher ups worried about fan opinion.
This is better. Make the evaluation, come to a conclusion, make the pick, and own it. We wait.