I followed drafts as a kid. I remember the 1971 draft and I anticipated the 1973 Amateur Draft. I didn’t do a mock draft (that I recall) but would have if it had occurred to me. We are all limited by the power of our imaginations.
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, here’s an incredible Offer!
- New Lowetide: Joel Persson is ideally situated to win an opening night roster spot with the Oilers
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2019-20 Oilers might look like without trade missteps.
- Lowetide: Finding the best candidates for the final two spots on the Oilers skill lines in 2019-20.
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- Lowetide: Does the James Neal acquisition impact Oilers’ prospects in 2019-20?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ acquisition of James Neal could add badly needed scoring to the top two lines.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland puts his stamp on the Oilers with first big move in Lucic-Neal trade
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Holland ends an ugly situation for the Oilers by trading Milan Lucic for James Neal
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Potential free-agent options for the Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers defencemen can make an outlet pass?
- Kent Wilson and Lowetide: Why the Flames and Oilers would (and wouldn’t) trade Sam Bennett for Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Looking ahead to Oilers training camp: 35 players for 23 jobs
- New Jonathan Willis: What the Oilers’ 2020 cap situation suggests about Ken Holland’s master plan.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: With free agency all but over, Oilers’ Ken Holland has tough work ahead on the trade front
- Jonathan Willis: Josh Archibald won’t fix the Oilers’ biggest problems, but he’ll help with some key issues.
- Lowetide: Will the 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors be the Oilers’ best minor-league team ever?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The Oilers have a new amateur scouting director. What can we learn from Tyler Wright’s track record at the draft?
- Lowetide: Projecting Darnell Nurse’s next contract and possible trades
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A missing mom, aching feet and looking for Kevin Lowe: A week in the life of Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie
- Lowetide: What to do when Connor McDavid rests: The Oilers’ ideal No. 2 line for 2019-20
- Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
BEST DRAFTS, FIVE YEARS OUT
I rely heavily on games played, but if a team drafts three players who play a substantial role on a regular basis, that’s a strong draft. Edmonton has done it, just not enough since the turn of the century. Also, generational talents and impact forwards to the front of the line.
2015—Generational forward, 322 games. (Connor McDavid 287, Ethan Bear 18, Caleb Jones 17). McDavid’s draft is the only one in team history that can rival those magical drafts of 1979 and 1980, although 2015 probably doesn’t get 500 games in the first five years (one more year to go). It would be ridiculous to rank any draft year this century ahead of this one.
2010—Impact F, depth D, 425 games. (Taylor Hall 299, Martin Marincin 85, Tyler Pitlick 27, Brandon Davidson 12, Curtis Hamilton 1, Tyler Bunz 1). Taylor Hall was the first No. 1 overall pick in franchise history—incredible considering what has happened since. Brandon Davidson and Martin Marincin, along with Tyler Pitlick, teased and then emerged after the five year marker.
2011—Top 3F, Top 4D, Top 9F, 578 games. (Ryan Nugent Hopkins 313, Tobias Rieder 154, Oscar Klefbom 107, David Musil 4). A quality draft with a mighty head start, No. 1 overall and another player inside the first round. The Tobias Rieder pick was a strong moment for the scouts.
2014—Impact forward, 351 games. (Leon Draisaitl 351). MacT had two drafts and hit a home run when deciding on Draisaitl. The big man scored 50 goals in his draft+5 season, extremely rare in team history.
2001—Top 3F, backup goalie, 471 games (Ales Hemsky-275, Jussi Markkanen-128, Ales Pisa-53, Kari Haakana-13, Doug Lynch-2). Hemsky represented the best skill forward drafted by Edmonton and successfully brought to the NHL since Ryan Smyth in 1994.
2002—Top 6F, Top 6D, 440 games. (Jarret Stoll-286, Matt Greene-151, Mikko Luoma-3). A little misleading in that Stoll was a draft re-entry and technically belongs to the 2000 group. Greene and Stoll had long and productive careers. Unlike the 2010’s, both men were second rounders, top pick Jesse Niinimaki washed out.
2008—Top 6F, 250 games. (Jordan Eberle 195, Teemu Hartikainen 52, Phil Cornet-2, Johan Motin-1). Eberle took two years in junior and then played well from his rookie year. Hartikainen looked like a player, but could not survive all the management chaos in his time with Edmonton. They didn’t have their second or third-round picks.
2013—Top 4D, 300 games. (Darnell Nurse 197, Anton Slepyshev 102, Bogdan Yakimov 1). It took some time to get Nurse rolling, but his most recent seasons suggest the club drafted a top-4 defender. It would have been fab if Slepyshev had also made it.
2007—Top 6F, 447 games. (Sam Gagner 366, Linus Omark 65, Alex Plante-10, Riley Nash-5, Milan Kytnar-1). So much promise—three picks inside the top 21 overall—and so little to show for it. Gagner is now over 800 NHL games, but did not cover his draft bet. Nash took forever to arrive but is now at 477 NHL games.
2005—Top 9F, 339 games. (Andrew Cogliano-246, Danny Syvret-49, Taylor Chorney-44). Cogliano emerged as a solid player and has been a consistent performer over many years now. Chris VandeVelde, not listed here, arrived after the five-year window closed.
That’s 10, with the odd man out being 2003. Kyle Brodziak couldn’t save it from the seventh round. The 2016-19 draft also not listed, too soon to know.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a fantastic group of guests. Aaron Bronsteter from TSN will talk UFC 240 this weekend, and the growing excitement for the big event. Andy McNamara from TSN4Downs drops in at 11 to talk NFL, and at 11:25 it’s Gerry Moddejonge from Post Media to tee up the Eskimos game tonight.