The song begins with a forlorn electric guitar (Stephen Stills volume pedal and tremolo) making the most lonesome sound—words and music combine for perfect melancholy. It is Neil Young’s coming of age song “Helpless”, about Omemee, Ontario and his childhood. It could be any town or neighbourhood in Canada, and the story is universal. I love all Neil Young songs, my wife only one: Helpless.
A lot of Canada flows from Ontario province. Pisses people off to say it, but it’s true all the same. Welcome to my look at the OHL for the 2020 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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a series of oddball jobs prepared Ken Holland for his front-office career
- New Jonathan Willis: 2020 NHL offseason goalie market: Team needs, free agents and trade possibilities
- New Lowetide: Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins far more than ‘also in photo’ contributor
- New Jonathan Willis: Building the best all-time Oilers roster, with a twist
- Lowetide: What are Tyler Benson’s chances of making the Oilers in 2020-21?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘They were looking outside the box’: Oilers’ distinctive third jerseys still stand out
- Lowetide: If Oilers draft for skill, Seth Jarvis likely to be best available
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Should the Oilers pursue Taylor Hall this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: The results are in: How you voted in our inaugural Oilers fan survey
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers are preparing for an NHL draft in June
- Jonathan Willis: How Gaetan Haas, Joakim Nygard and Riley Sheahan draw calls that lead to goals
- James Mirtle: Ranking every NHL team’s salary cap situation, from best to worst
- Lowetide: Can the Oilers find Connor McDavid’s ideal winger this summer?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The two coaches who had the biggest influence on Dave Tippett
- Jonathan Willis: The 5 reasons why the Oilers re-signed Gaetan Haas
- Jonathan Willis: Can (and should) the Oilers trade Kris Russell?
- Jonathan Willis: How Edmonton could have left 2010 draft with both Taylor Hall and Ryan Johansen
- 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
- 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: Why Jan Mysak could be a value pick for the Oilers at the 2020 Draft
THE OHL’S GREATEST HITS
- LC Quinton Byfield. August 2002, he is 6.04, 215.
- LC Marco Rossi. Posting jaw-dropping numbers, he’s a September 2001.
- RHD Jamie Drysdale. Great speed, passing and instincts, instant offense.
- LC Cole Perfetti. January 2002. His wrist shot is already a great weapon.
- RW Jack Quinn. He is a September 2001, kept scoring goals all year.
- RC Jacob Perreault. Skates well, great shot, great numbers. April 2002
- LC Jan Mysak. June 2002, very skilled and is effective in all three disciplines.
- RC Tyson Foerster Great offensive weapon, quick release and accurate.
- RC Jean-Luc Foudy Speedy center with plus skill, he’s a May 2002.
- RW Luke Evangelista. Spiked in a big way this year. Feb 2002
- LW Martin Chromiak. Not certain if he’s getting zoomed by Shane Wright. He looks substantial.
- LD Ryan O’Rourke. Good size (6.02, 181) and growing offensive ability.
- RC Jaromir Pytlik. He’s a fine skater and has two-way skills, Sept 2001
- LW Will Cuylle Has a great shot.
- LC Antonio Stranges Terrific speed and skill, math doesn’t match the verbal. Feb 2002
- G Nico Daws. His numbers in a good league have him here.
- RW Brandon Coe. Power forward scored 25 goals in the OHL.
- RC Tyler Tullio. Small playmaking pivot. Good passer, great shot.
- RC Zayde Wisdom. May 2002 just shy of a point per game in the OHL.
- LW Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm. Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot.
- LC Evan Vierling. Playmaking center spiked after trade. Excellent passer.
- LW James Hardie. Volume shooter, 34 goals, one dimensional.
- LD Donovan Sebrango. Two-way defender, excellent skater.
- LW Rory Kerins. 30 goals for an April 2002 is worth drafting.
- RW Reid Valade. Plus speed and the complete range of skills.
- LW Yevgeni Oksentyuk. Overage is small and very skilled.
- RW Oliver Suni. Strong winger with range of skills.
- LD Isaak Phillips. Big, mobile blue.
- RW Declan McDonell. Fine skater, skilled. Room to grow.
- RD Jack Thompson. Mobile offensive defender with plus shot.
I have 21 OHL names on the top 100 published April 22. The other nine names here are all worthy of consideration for the final top 120. The OHL has a tremendous crop in 2020. The Oilers would do well to grab at least one of these names.
2019 OHL LIST
- L Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton. He scored 51-51-102 in 67 OHL games, age 17.
- LC Connor McMichael, London. He has good speed and lots of skill, effective shot.
- LD Thomas Harley, Mississauga. Good size, elite skater, he’s an August 2001.
- LC Ryan Suzuki, Barrie. Great vision, skill, tremendous passer. If he were faster, he’d be top five.
- RC Philip Tomasino, Niagra. Underrated player with impressive skill, 30 5-on-5 goals.
- L Nick Robertson, Peterborough. Undersized skill winger with a sixth sense as a goal scorer.
- LC Blake Murray, Sudbury. Big center with plus speed and a scoring touch.
- LC Jamieson Rees, Sarnia. Undersized skill forward, terrific speed and a great motor.
- L Ethan Keppen, Flint. Good speed, size (6.02, 214) and skill (30-29-59 in 68).
- RD Billy Constantinou, Kingston. Fast as lightning, high risk and reward defender.
- R Graeme Clarke, Ottawa ’67s (OHL). Pure scorer. Good skater, great shot.
- L Nando Eggenberger, Oshawa Generals. I’m not sure anyone will take him, but Red Line loves him.
- G Hunter Jones, Peterborough. He’s a big goalie who has a solid reputation, .902SP.
- 14 LD Vladislav Kolyachonok, Flint Firebirds. Good passer, massive wingspan.
- LC Matvei Guskov, London Knights. Another solid two-way center, I like his complete skill set.
- LD Mike Vukojevic, Kitchener. Big man, good speed, powerful shutdown type.
- LD Nikita Okhotyuk, Ottawa 67’s. Big defender plays a two-way game.
- R Cole Schwindt, Mississauga. Two-wing forward with some offense (68, 19-30-49).
Two names on this list didn’t get chosen a year ago (Billy Constantino and Nando Eggenberger), Constantino is a candidate to be chosen again this year.
It’s unwise to compare players across seasons but one way of showing how many substantial offensive talents are available this year is their NHL equivalency. Here are the forwards drafted by the Oilers from the OHL since 2010, with the best of 2020 added to the mix.
- Connor McDavid 67.6
- Marco Rossi 56.8
- Taylor Hall 49.3
- Quinton Byfield 48.3
- Cole Perfetti 48.2
- Nail Yakupov 43.5
VALUE DEALS UNDER $2 MILLION IN 2020-21
Edmonton needs a pile of value deals moving forward, and it looks like there will be as many as nine on the roster next season that come in under $2 million.
I count Ethan Bear (unsigned), Josh Archibald ($1,500,000), Theodor Lennstrom ($925,000), Gaetan Haas ($915,000), Evan Bouchard ($894,167), Kailer Yamamoto ($894,166), Joakim Nygard ($875,000), Caleb Jones ($850,000) and Tyler Benson ($808,333) as possible value deals.
Andreas Athanasiou—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
Nuge—Leon Draisaitl—Kailer Yamamoto
Joakim Nygard—Riley Sheahan*—Josh Archibald *unsigned
Tyler Benson—Gaetan Haas—Alex Chiasson
James Neal**, Jujhar Khaira **possible buyout
Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear
Caleb Jones—Evan Bouchard
Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith* *unsigned
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we’ll talk the wide wide world of sports on TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will join us to talk about the NHL draft plus the Oilers current roster and what is needed for next year. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk about KBO and other sports underway and how quickly we’ll see experts emerge in obscure sports leagues. Brian Cheeseman, Athletic Therapist for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, will tell us about keeping a hockey team going while overtimes pile up on the way to the Memorial Cup. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. 90 minutes to liftoff!