If it came down to one off-ice element of the game that I hold most dear, it would be the draft. It has always fascinated me, beginning in 1971. I had so many questions on draft day ’73, one of which took 20 years to answer: WHY did the Habs take Bob Gainey (22 goals in the OHA) while Rick Middleton (67 goals in the same league) was still on the board? Why?
And why, in the same draft, did the California Seals, the worst team on the planet, draft No. 34, while the Habs drafted four times before that spot in the draft? The draft has held my interest for a hockey lifetime and one of the joys of this spring, for me, is the progression toward another draft.
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 Athletic, check it out here.
- New Lowetide: Why Jack Quinn is a perfect 2020 draft fit for the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: For one glorious fall, Alexander Selivanov was the NHL’s most dangerous scorer
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Hockey’s not that important right now’: Oilers minor-leaguer Colby Cave in coma
- Lowetide: Oilers’ five-on-five with and without Connor McDavid is improving
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors forward prospects might need a history lesson
- Lowetide: Craig MacTavish’s most important Oilers moment? Picking Leon Draisaitl
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If play does not resume, 5 notable questions that will go unanswered in Edmonton
- Lowetide: Making the call on RFA and UFA players on the Oilers’ 50-man roster
- Jonathan Willis: The 2020 NHL broadcast rankings: The best and worst markets to watch the games
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Scott Howson on new AHL job, Oilers’ unsung prospect and development updates
- Lowetide: A look back at reasonable expectations and the Oilers fantastic special teams in 2019-20.
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers rocket to Russia during free agency this summer
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid on a ‘fair season’, working out and picking quarantine teammates
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett deploys unproven talent expertly in first Oilers season
- Lowetide, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers ABC: Picking the best players in franchise history, from Anderson to Zuke
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers need to clear money with a buyout, they have one real option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The 5 games that define Leon Draisaitl’s Hart Trophy-worthy season
- Lowetide: Final Oilers report cards: Second-half impact defines a successful season
In the summer of 1975, the National Hockey League hired Jack Button as director of the Central Scouting Service. It has been called “bureau” from time to time and you often see CSS or CSB in print, but it’s all the same organization.
The July 1975 Hockey News: “NHL president Clarence Campbell said Button will be located in Montreal. Button, who is 36, will be preoccupied with developing and administering the NHL’s central scouting computer operation for all 18 teams. He will hire 8 scouts to work with him.”
Central’s list 2020
I always like to pick out a few players to discuss, my item at The Athletic this morning focuses on Jack Quinn. There are other interesting names.
Evan Vierling wasn’t ranked on the midterm, he was No. 66 on the final edition. He was traded (after requesting it) from Flint to Barrie and his NHLE with the Colts was 32.2. Playmaking center. I think the OHL has a strong crop this year.
Jack Finley is a 6.06 center who moved up to No. 38, he’s a player I’ve identified as being worth a second (have him at 50 on my list) and now I wonder if he could slide into the late second of the first round. Big centers are valuable, especially if there’s some skill.
Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings landed at No. 26, that suggests he’ll land 33-40 on draft day. Oilers don’t have a second round selection but his range and NHLE (27.1) puts him just a little ahead of Tyler Benson (23.1) on his draft day.
Anton Johannesson is a 5.09, 144 defenseman who plays in the Swedish juniors. He moved up from 49 to 31. He must be an exceptional talent.
I think Holland will add a pick or two and expect two of the first three prospects will be forwards. In the coming days, I’ll be drilling down on these names and will have a top 100 for the draft by the end of April.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Long weekend straight ahead, nice day too, we get started at 10, TSN1260. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports joins us to talk about the Oilers season and assessing it as a completion of the year (no playoffs, no Stanley). Scott Wheeler from The Athletic will pop in at 10:40 to talk Central list and the 2020 draft. Matt Iwanyk pops in to discuss NFL draft, CFL draft and how Alberta is doing in the battle against COVID-19. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.