How many truly talented forwards are available in the 2020 draft? Is it possible the Oilers could deliver more than one future NHL player, something the scouts accomplished with defensemen in 2015?
While we’re on the subject of 2015, how many outstanding forwards were available that season? How many turned out? Does 2020 have more or less?
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: Mavrik Bourque a quality option for the Oilers in the draft
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Inside the franchise-altering decision to pick Leon Draisaitl over Sam Bennett
- Lowetide: Adam Larsson’s Oilers future uncertain as ‘sexy’ options emerge
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: One-on-one with Wayne Gretzky: On the time he visited Moscow during the Cold War
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Discount forward options the Oilers could pursue in free agency
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Oh my God, Edmonton’s picking first’: An oral history of the 2015 NHL draft lottery
- Lowetide: Comparison of Oilers, Flames drafts 2010-19 closer than it should be
- Lowetide: The most potent lines in Oilers history
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: On the time Dave Semenko fought Muhammad Ali
- Lowetide: Why Jan Mysak could be a value pick for the Oilers at the 2020 Draft
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers overcame malice in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to join the NHL
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Remembering Jacques Plante’s brief tenure with the Oilers at age 45
- Lowetide: Oilers need to find (or get) real value in William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: What does the Oilers best possible playoff lineup look like?
- Lowetide: Why Jack Quinn is a perfect 2020 draft fit for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers’ five-on-five with and without Connor McDavid is improving
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If play does not resume, 5 notable questions that will go unanswered in Edmonton
In 2014-15, 19 CHL players scored .68/game or more at even strength. Several would emerge as outstanding NHL players in the years that followed.
OHL 2014-15 FORWARDS
- Connor McDavid 47GP, 32-40-72 1.53 (351 NHL games)
- Dylan Strome 68GP, 31-48-79 1.16 (164)
- Mitch Marner 63GP, 25-37-62 .980 (300)
- Travis Konecny 60GP, 22-26-48 .800 (299)
- Dante Salituro 68GP, 23-27-50 .740
- Blake Speers 57GP, 14-25-39 .680 (3)
This is a tremendous group, with McDavid and Marner leading the way. Travis Konecny was a highly successful first-round selection, Dylan Strome has traction in Chicago. Speers was a third-round pick who didn’t develop and Salituro wasn’t drafted but did get an NHL contract in 2016 and has played pro. Everyone at .80 or better emerged as an NHL regular or better.
QMJHL 2014-15 FORWARDS
- Dmytro Timashev 66GP, 12-52-64 .970 (44 NHL games)
- Evgeny Svechnikov 55GP, 22-30-52 .950 (20)
- Timo Meier 61GP, 19-33-52 .850 (263)
- Yakov Trenin 58Gp, 12-33-45 .780 (21)
- Kay Schweri 53GP, 7-32-39 .740
- Filip Chlapik 64GP, 23-22-45 .700 (56)
- Dennis Yan 59GP, 23-18-41 .690
- Daniel Sprong 68GP, 22-24-46 .680 (97)
Timo Meier was a top-10 pick and emerged quickly as a solid NHL player. Yakov Trenin was a second-round selection and he arrived this season, looking good so far. Filip Chlapik was a second-round pick who has played in the NHL and is finding his way. Daniel Sprong was a second-round pick who has scored 19 goals in 97 NHL games but is on his third organization since turning pro.
Dmytro Timashov was a fifth round pick who played in the NHL for the first time this season. I think he has a chance. Evgeny Svechnikov was a top-20 pick who has stalled. Kay Schweri was not drafted and did not develop. Dennis Yan was an early third rounder (Lightning pick) who has been in the AHL for three seasons delivering pedestrian offense. Everyone over .80 has played in the NHL.
WHL 2014-15 FORWARDS
- Mathew Barzal 44GP, 9-25-34 .770 (234 NHL games)
- Paul Bittner 66GP, 23-26-49 .740
- Jansen Harkins 70GP, 16-36-52 .740 (29)
- Jake DeBrusk 72GP, 26-23-49 .680 (203)
Mathew Barzal was a mid-first and no one has heard from him since draft day. Jake DeBrusk went before Barzal and is building a solid NHL career. Jansen Harkins was chosen in the second round, took some time to find his way to the NHL, and looks like he has a shot. Paul Bittner was also a second and seems to have stalled in the AHL. None of the men in the WHL hit .80, but two of the four are legit NHL players or better.
One of the things NHLE attempts to correct is what you see here. Barzal’s number doesn’t look impressive beside the OHL and QMJHL kids but he did lead the WHL among kids age 17 in his draft year. Followed it up with a great deal of success in the NHL. Let’s have a look at this year’s group, I’m using Central Scouting’s final list as the pool, all players first time eligible. All numbers even strength and I’m looking for .68 points per game (same as last time).
OHL FORWARDS 2020
- Marco Rossi 56, 31-49-80 1.43
- Quinton Byfield 45, 24-32-56 1.24
- Cole Perfetti 69, 29-49-78 1.13
- Luke Evangelista 62, 22-35-57 0.92
- Jack Quinn 62, 34-19-53 0.86
- Martin Chromiak 28, 7-15-22 0.79
- Ty Tullio 62, 19-29-48 0.77
- Brandon Coe 60, 21-23-44 0.73
- Jacob Perreault 57, 24-17-41 0.72
- Evan Vierling 43, 13-18-31 0.72
- Tyson Foerster 62, 16-28-44 0.71
- Zayde Wisdom 62, 20-24-44 0.71
This is a monster list and a guy I really like (Jan Mysak) barely missed making it. One thing I would like to ask the group: When you see a dozen men posting above 0.68 per game at evens, how many would you rather have than Barzal, who posted just 0.77 per game? Very important to include context for scale. The dub is a more defensive league, and that doesn’t always mean less talented.
When you see a player like Evangelista so high, it tells us one good thing (he can flat out play at evens) and one poor thing (he doesn’t get power play time). I don’t have a good answer, quality scorers play with the man advantage. I am saying Evangelista, a February 2002, is worth a long look. London Knights are a deep team, that’s certainly part of the explanation.
QMJHL FORWARDS 2020
- Alexis Lafreniere 52, 30-40-70 1.35
- Mavrik Bourque 49, 25-20-45 0.92
- Ryan Francis 61, 21-34-55 0.90
- Dawson Mercer 42, 16-18-34 0.81
- William Dufour 59, 25-21-46 0.78
- Hendrix Lapierre 19, 2-12-14 0.74
There’s a big gap between Lafreniere and the rest of the group, I think that’s an indicator of “special” quality ala McDavid. I’m not saying he IS McDavid, only that at even strength he is elite in his own league. I like Bourque a lot, Mercer too, and Francis shows well here. I’m not sure what to make of Hendrix Lapierre. Injuries during draft seasons are a major pain in the ass.
WHL FORWARDS 2020
- Seth Jarvis 58, 32-36-68 1.17
- Justin Sourdif 57, 22-25-47 0.82
- Jake Neighbours 64, 19-31-50 0.78
- Connor Zary 57, 20-24-44 0.77
- Jack Finley 61, 15-32-47 0.77
- Tristen Robins 62, 23-25-48 0.77
- Connor McLennon 42, 15-15-30 0.71
- Pavel Novak 55, 16-22-38 0.69
Jarvis is a nice player, these are good numbers. I don’t know where he’ll go (I have Jarvis and Zary top 20) but it’s possible we see a slide and that could set up another Barzal moment in the draft. In the most defensive league in the CHL, he posted the fourth best number. Zary does well in rankings, don’t think he’ll slit. This fellow Finley keeps showing up in good places, I’m going to spend a little more time looking at his season in the days to come. Neighbours is a player I have pegged as a future Ethan Moreau but he shows very well here.
This is even strength scoring and I remain unconvinced it uncovers those two-way Dave Keon/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins types but I like to run it every year. I used to believe in this area a lot, but kids who get power-play time (or really extra minutes on special teams) in draft seasons tend to be more successful. Even the good two-way players are prone to this:
- Nuge at evens 2010-11: 69, 20-27-47 0.68
- Nuge on PP 2010-11: 69, 11-48-59 0.86
- Nuge overall 2010-11: 69, 31-75-106 1.54
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll kickstart a beautiful spring weekend with lots of sports talk. Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports will talk about the NFL draft and last night’s presentation and how hurdles can turn into blessings on television. Matt Iwanyk will join me at 11 for Point-Counter Point and we’ll talk about the first round of the NFL draft and the weekend to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!