A reader emailed me on the weekend, asking me about my draft posts and final rankings. I’ve done the rankings for each draft in one form or another for over a decade now, our reader wanted to know why.
My answer? Two reasons. First, I think math can help teams find talent, and I think math can be applied to hockey. So I jumped in and began searching for talent in 200 names.
Second, it’s a great way to educate myself about the new prospects and to find moneypuck inefficiencies in the market. They do exist!
I keep hoping the Oilers will draft closer to my list each summer. The truth is Edmonton’s drafting was closer to my list a decade ago than it is today but we’re both making progress.
Since 2010, I’ve incorporated more math, punished a lack of speed and discovered numbers that hold real value. I’m no expert, but do lay claim to being a devoted amateur.
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: Oilers GM Ken Holland should shop for picks at the draft
- New Lowetide: Exploring Oilers prospect Ryan McLeod’s possible NHL path
- Jonathan Willis: What does the path to an Oilers Stanley Cup championship in 2023 look like?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ales Hemsky on his health, alumni games, tough opponents and the Oilers’ stars
- Lowetide: Swedish export Noel Gunler offers Oilers a worthy draft target
- Scott Wheeler: Why Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie is the shot creation king.
- Lowetide: How can Andreas Athanasiou — Ken Holland’s big bet — help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: What are Evan Bouchard’s chances of making the Oilers in 2020-21?
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Who are the Oilers’ top 10 prospects and where do they project in the NHL?
- Jonathan Willis: How do Connor McDavid’s first five NHL seasons compare to the all-time greats?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2020 draft: Are fans ready for Oil Kings’ Jake Neighbours?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers need to keep feeding their currently rich pipeline of defensive prospects
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a series of oddball jobs prepared Ken Holland for his front-office career
- Jonathan Willis: 2020 NHL offseason goalie market: Team needs, free agents and trade possibilities
A decade ago
In 2010, I had Taylor Hall No. 1 and Tyler Pitlick No. 21. In 2011, I had Nuge No. 1, Oscar Klefbom No. 24 and David Musil No. 26. In 2012, I had Nail Yakupov No. 1. In 2013, I had Darnell Nurse No. 9. In those years, my list was only 30 deep and I shuffled everyone’s top 40 into my 30. Added to the fact Edmonton was picking No. 1 overall, the exercise wasn’t difficult. The most thought I ever put into a ranking was Nuge over Sean Couturier. That was a tough call.
In 2014 I began using math heavily and yes I do realize there is possible humor in this sentence. I had Leon Draisaitl No. 3 overall, William Lagesson No. 77 and Zach Nagelvoort No. 91.
In 2015 I had Connor McDavid No. 1, Ethan Bear No. 38, John Marino at No. 112. In 2016 I had Jesse Puljujarvi No. 3, Tyler Benson No. 34, Filip Berglund No. 61, Markus Niemelainen No. 108, Aapeli Rasanan No. 112, Matthew Cairns No. 145.
In 2017, I had Kailer Yamamoto No. 11 and was pleased Edmonton picked him. I don’t think they would have chosen him in 2010. Ostap Safin was on my list at No. 52, Dmitri Samorukov No. 133.
In 2018, I ranked Evan Bouchard No. 8, Ryan McLeod No. 25, Olivier Rodrigue No. 60. In 2019, I had Philip Broberg No. 16, Raphael Lavoie No. 26.
Long preamble to get here but I do think the Oilers are headed in a new direction and suspect it doesn’t rhyme with my arithmetic. Here are the NHLE’s of the last nine Holland first-round picks:
- LC Filip Zadina 2018 (33.5)
- LW Evgeny Svechnikov 2015 (33.0)
- LW Anthony Mantha 2013 (30.9)
- LC Joe Veleno 2018 (28.7)
- LW Michael Rasmussen 2017 (27.2)
- LC Dylan Larkin 2014 (22.1)
- LC Riley Sheahan 2010 (12.0)
- LD Dennis Cholowski 2016 (8.5)
- LD Philip Broberg 2019 (8.3)
Broberg was chosen No. 8, I had him No. 16. Michael Rasmussen was No. 9, I had him 10 slots below. Dennis Cholowski went No. 20, I had him No. 78! Dylan Larkin went No. 15, I had him No. 21. My list would have chosen Robby Fabbri.
On the other hand, Filip Zadina was chosen No. 6, I had him No. 3, Joe Veleno went No. 30 my ranking was No. 16. Evgeny Svechnikov went No. 19, I had him No. 10 overall.
The Broberg, Rasmussen and Cholowski picks strike me as being opposite to math considering where each man was taken.
What does that mean? Well, I’ve identified Mavrik Bourque (I have him No. 11) as a player who might fall to Edmonton in the draft. Based on what I know about the Oilers drafting history, my guess is that the club would value Bourque. I just don’t know if the Holland-Wright tandem values him more than Kaiden Guhle.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A huge sports weekend, as golf, soccer, car racing returned to action. Off the pitch-course-track, the NHL edged a little nearer to making actual news. We’ll chat with Ryan Rishaug of TSN about the weekend just past and the news to come this week. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!