The draft represents both closure and renewal. The ‘harvest moon’ posts come at the end of the draft, usually late afternoon and sometimes in the evening. The sun shines into my room when I’m writing the harvest moon post, it’s easily my favourite.
It’s a beautiful night on the day it ends, kind of like when harvest is done and the long work of spring to fall finally produces a good crop. That’s why I call it harvest moon.
The year is 2007. The Oilers have drafted three men in the first round and some interesting names later. Read on, friend.
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 Jonathan Willis: How Edmonton could have left 2010 draft with both Taylor Hall and Ryan Johansen
- New Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto’s NHL comparables offer Oilers fans hope for the future
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospect update: A lot of movement and some impressive graduations
- Lowetide: Mavrik Bourque a quality option for the Oilers in the draft
- 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
Harvest Moon 2007
I saw Kevin Lowe on television a few times today, he didn’t look like he was having fun. Too bad really, when you consider it’s extremely unlikely he’ll be back next season at the helm of the Oilers.
The day began with the usual spin about big deals ahead (“Oilers close on a couple of fronts”) but sputtered for obvious reasons (the Oilers CAN trade Staios, but they need to trade for someone better in return. No one wants to do that, since there are free agents straight ahead one week into the future).
The draft started well. With Voracek and Gagner on the board, Edmonton chose well with Sam Gagner: I like him because he can take and make a pass at high speed and makes good decisions with the puck. I could tell you how MUCH I like him if you would give me his ATOI totals. No matter, I like the pick.
At 15, the Oilers went back to two old chestnuts: SAW HIM GOOD and DRAFT FOR NEED. You just KNEW they’d take a defenseman with the second pick even if Christ Almighty was available up front.
I talked to Guy Flaming earlier today and he mentioned Alex Plante at 15 (he really did, I’m not making this up). Guy mentioned a nice size, decent speed package with skill and that he didn’t get beaten much one on one. I think Plante is a classic example of draft for need, an Edmonton Oilers tradition that dates back several years.
The draft up to that point was somewhat controversial but you could defend the decisions. However, by paying a supreme price (30+36) and trading up for a future role player in Riley Nash I believe the Oilers wasted assets that should cost someone their job.
All we’ve heard about this draft is that the picks from 15-50 are interchangeable and it seems to me that if you’re going to trade up it should be for a Mikael Backlund or David Perron. Losing two early picks in a draft that resembles 2002 made zero sense. Buffalo got Jochen Hecht for the 31 and 36 picks in 2002, Edmonton gave up 30 and 36 for the chance at a guy who should have been available at 36.
No. 6 overall RHC Sam Gagner. Nice range of skills: creative, terrific playmaker, good skater, can take and make a pass and make plays in traffic. I saw him take a terrific hit at the WJC’s and he got right back into the play. Scouts have said he can play well without the puck but we can also guess he’ll need work in that area. Played in the USHL and this was his rookie OHL season. Gagner’s points per game at age 17 (2.23) is exceptional, but we need to temper expectations for the same reasons Schremp’s numbers needed to have some air taken out of them (Schremp’s 17-year old ppg was 1.15 btw). Lots of ice time for London Knights. I don’t think the Oilers will move him along as quickly as they did Hemsky, but he’s the most talented forward they’ve drafted since Hemsky in 2001. ISS comparable: Marc Savard.
No. 15 overall RD Alex Plante. Alex Plante is a big kid (6-3.5, 225 according to ISS) who has a variety of skills. The Oilers should have taken Cherepanov. Even if he never played for them, the “asset” would have had more value (and quicker return) than young Plante. Redline: Alex Plante has come a long way since the beginning of the season. At 6-4/215-pounds, he showed surprising offensive skills, particularly on the PP, where he can act as either trigger man or quarterback. He’s not a big baggage smasher, but will use his body in front and to tie forwards up along the walls. ISS comparable: Kyle McLaren.
No. 21 overall RC Riley Nash. Most of the comments I’ve seen since the completion of the first round have had to do with passing on Cherepanov and Esposito. As much as I can agree it was an oversight, the real crime by the Oilers in the first round was giving up picks at #30 and #36 for the pick that brought them Nash. I like what Redline wrote about him: A really well schooled, all-around player who can play it any way you want. Big, raw, naturally athletic kid who can skate, shoot and pass. Also likes to get his nose dirty and really carried his club down the stretch. ISS comparable: Patrick Eaves.
No. 97 overall LW Linus Omark. Omark is small, 5-9. That’s Bobby Sheehan territory. Scouting report: A flashy player with first-class technical skills and hands. Very creative player with good hockey sense and natural scoring ability. Defense is okay, although it can be fine-tuned. The Oilers have had success drafting overage players both in Europe (Markkanen, Haakana, Pisa, Luoma) and in North America (Brodziak, Syvret, Roy).
No. 127 LC Milan Kytnar. Reliable two-way center plays hard every shift. Great hand-eye, anticipates well, coachable. Strong skater with a minus first step, good hands and size. Accurate passer, can shadow his man. Good playmaker who sees the ice well. (Source: ISS). According to today’s Journal, the Oilers selected one of the Euro’s on day 2 because Kent Nilsson was passionate about him. This is probably the most depressing thing I’ve heard in a year.
No. 157 L William Quist. Raw. A project.
Quick note: I hope you enjoyed the 2007 harvest moon post. Now, a spoiler: It was several posts that I threw together for you. Every word appeared on this blog, and the overall thrust is the same (I didn’t add in Perron’s name, as an example, it was there) but this is the first exposure for the 2007 harvest moon.
2020 ENTRY DRAFT
Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun has the latest on the 2020 entry draft, looks like a decision will come soon.
My April list is here and the final ranking will be published June 1 (as it is every year). Here’s a reasonable mock for Edmonton.
No. 20 overall: LC Connor Zary, WHL. He is an older prospect (September 2001) so his offensive (NHLE: 37) potential is more clearly defined than some of the younger available players. That said he’s a two-way center who has bona fide skill. Steve Kournianois: Zary is an above-average skater in terms of straight-line speed and agility, but he is among the best in his class when it comes to balance, as he stays on his skates and can absorb punishing hits. Playmaking is just one of his distinguishable assets, as he can deliver precision passes from either his forehand or backhand. Strong and well-balanced, Zary displays deceptive quickness and requires only two or three strides to accelerate to top speed and become an open-ice threat.
No. 82 overall: LD Yan Kuznetsov (NCAA). I missed him early but have marked him now. Kuznetsov is a teenager in the NCAA, a big man with shutdown ability and at least some offensive chops. He went 2-9-11 for UCONN in 34 games, that’s a 10.2 NHLE. He’s a kid, turning 18 in March, in a league that employs men in their 20’s on the front lines. Ken Holland doesn’t draft much from Russian lists, but I think Kuznetsov might be worth the risk.
No. 144 overall: LC Daniel Ljungman, Linkoping (SuperElite). Emerged at the Hlinka-Gretzky and scored well in the SuperElite league. He has a terrific shot.
No. 175 overall: LC Joe Carroll (OHL). Big center who was eligible a year ago went on a scoring spree late in the year and is worth a draft and follow.
No. 206 overall: LW Emil Heineman (SuperEite). He is not highly rated but is a first time eligible (November 2001) who scored 26 goals in 29 games in the SuperElite league. Plus skater, scores goals. Sign me up.