I chuckled yesterday at an online conversation re: Oilers drafting. Idea being the club cannot draft outside the first round. The facts are sadder than that: In the last decade, two of the best picks outside the first round (Tobias Rieder, Erik Gustafsson) didn’t sign with Edmonton and were developed elsewhere. Drafting is important development is key.
However, there are good signs for fans of the Edmonton Oilers. For the first time since the turn of the century, the pipeline appears to be pumping effectively.
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: Ken Holland’s measured summer leaves Oilers outside playoffs.
- New Jonathan Willis: Can Mikko Koskinen be a quality starter for Oilers in 2019-20?
- New Lowetide: The 2019-20 Oilers and value contracts: A period of transition
- New Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- New Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi signs one-year deal in Finland, dashing hopes he would return to the Oilers
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft joins Claude Julien and Todd Nelson as key coaches in Oilers prospect development
- Lowetide: Is Riley Sheahan an ideal fit for the Oilers as their No. 3 centre?
- Lowetide: Oilers coach Dave Tippett might have to take drastic action in order to find a second outscoring line in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers end summer still shy on first-shot scoring wingers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid and optimal line chemistry: The Oilers need to abandon enforcer fixation and add a skill winger
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s biggest hurdles: Bad timing and the indifference of the Oilers.
- Lowetide: Projecting the Oilers 2019-20 Opening Night Lineup
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Dave Tippett on rounding out his coaching staff, fixing Oilers’ special teams and using Connor McDavid
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2021-22 Oilers might look like after their steady build toward contender status
- Lowetide: Joel Persson is ideally situated to win an opening night roster spot with the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- 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
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
There are good signs in drafting and development for the Edmonton Oilers. A small one? Edmonton signed William Lagesson in the spring of 2017. He had been drafted during the time Craig MacTavish was general manager, but by 2017 the team was being run by Peter Chiarelli with Keith Gretzky and Bob Green as lieutenants. MacT passed on signing Gustafsson, who was chosen during the Tambellini era.
Another positive, and we rarely make this distinction (perhaps I should mention it more often) is that the prospects are in all sectors of development—surely a good sign for continued success.
Edmonton has Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ethan Bear, Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson pushing up from the AHL. The team also boasts new arrivals to pro Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Kailer Yamamoto, Kirill Maksimov and Ryan McLeod.
At the amateur level, Philip Broberg, Raphael Lavoie, Olivier Rodrigue, Michael Kesselring and Maxim Denezhkin are percolating. The Oilers have stayed the course through the last four drafts. If you add up the totals from the 2016-2019 drafts, the team has chosen 14 players inside the top 100 overall.
The Oilers are drafting, signing and developing (Woodcroft in Bakersfield delivered a stunning set of results in 2018-19) players who are on an NHL trajectory. Ken Holland has the depth to trade a defenseman right now, that’s how much improvement we’ve seen in the back half of this decade.
So. It is a fact the Edmonton Oilers haven’t developed players chosen outside the first round. The last five players to be drafted outside the first round, signed, developed in the system, and then found NHL success are Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson and Jujhar Khaira. The last home run? Jeff Petry in 2006.
So. Since 2014, Edmonton has drafted, signed and is developing William Lagesson, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, Tyler Benson, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov, Ryan McLeod and Olivier Rodrigue. Never count your chickens, but the team signed Woodcroft and he has some high end talent coming in this fall. Critics can say the Oilers haven’t developed any top flight players outside the first round since 2006, but that statement should be rendered untrue in the days to come.
Edmonton has a new director of amateur scouting in Tyler Wright. His resume isn’t fabulous, although drafting Dylan Larkin was a helluva get in 2014. We’ll see how things progress, but my own opinion is that the scouting department was solid under Chiarelli. I hope Wright retains the current scouts and adds an analytics element. I’m not the guy who can do it, but I know someone.
They were fine. He could have said ‘let’s move on’ but in the moment they were fine. Guys, the die is cast. This movie is over, we’re just waiting for the trade.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE.
At 10 this morning, we have a helluva show for you. TSN1260, at 10:20 Corey Pronman from The Athletic pops in and will answer all of your questions (you can post them in the comments section if you wish). Danny Austin from the Calgary Sun/Herald will help us tee up the Labor Day Classic. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!