I’ve been putting this off in hopes of finding out how the Oilers amateur procurement hierarchy works now, but alas the mystery has not unraveled in these last months. Tyler Wright is in charge of the amateur draft now, and Bob Green is not, of that I’m fairly certain based on parsing the wind and whippoorwills since October. That means it is time to have a look at the draft record of Mr. Green, 2015-2019. Note: Keith Gretzky would have impacted the 2017-2019 drafts, but for our purposes today we’ll deal with the scouting team under the name Bob Green.
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: Exploring hidden-gem draft options for the Edmonton Oilers
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He set his place in history’: On Bill Ranford’s Conn Smythe run, 30 years later
- New Jonathan Willis: Why NHL teams should gamble on defencemen over forwards later in the draft
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ offseason decisions will be influenced by 2021 Seattle expansion draft
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Holland’s likely approach to the Oilers’ offseason goalie question
- Lowetide: Hard target search for Oilers acquisition options among NHL forwards
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland should shop for picks at the draft
- 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
Success in the first round. Green was in place in time for the 2015 draft but the heavy work during the season included Stu MacGregor and two other scouts who were fired the week before the draft. It doesn’t matter who gets credit for Connor McDavid because that selection took no expertise. However, as we move later into the piece, we’ll need to address that issue. Jesse Puljujarvi was the initial first-round pick post-MacGregor, it was not a success but I don’t think it’s rational to blame the procurement manager. The blame goes farther up the food chain. Kailer Yamamoto in 2017 showed some innovation, a small winger with no fear and a great deal of skill. Evan Bouchard in 2018 (over Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson) is too soon to call but trending well. Philip Broberg was a curious choice.
Bottom line on Green in the first round: Puljujarvi was the right selection, no doubt in my mind. Yamamoto was inspired, Bouchard at the very least is poised to deliver substantial value. Broberg felt wrong but we’ll see. Oilers drafted well in four of five seasons, Broberg the outlier until proven otherwise.
Success in the second round. Tyler Benson is the one skater Green fretted over, he said something like it was not a restful sleep overnight waiting for round two. Ryan McLeod is kind of the opposite prospect type, fast and a center but worries about his offense exist. Olivier Rodrigue is one of the organization’s two best goalie prospects and coming off a season where he posted a .918SP in the diabolical QMJHL. Raphael Lavoie is the most recent selection and may be remembered as the best of the bunch. His outer marker is the most promising among the forwards in this group.
Bottom line on Green in the second round: Benson over Alex DeBrincat isn’t getting an easier in the Guide and Record Book but the player continues to matriculate and I think he’s going to have a career unless Holland and Tippett find him wanting. McLeod looks like a nice pick from here, I love his speed and the offense was better than expected in year one pro. Rodrigue and Lavoie are good arrows now, but early days.
Success in the third round. I don’t know how the Oilers line up their list but in 2016 the team had three third-round picks and used all of them on defensemen who were going to take some time: Markus Niemelainen, Matthew Cairns and Filip Berglund. That’s a strange play. In 2017 Edmonton traded up for Stuart Skinner and then drafted Dmitri Samorukov later in the round. Ilya Konovalov was an astute, I’ll say inspired choice, in its own way as innovative as Yamamoto in the first round. He’s close to NHL-ready, has two solid to excellent KHL seasons on his resume and his only crime is being a little smaller than ideal.
Bottom line on Green in the third round. I remain flummoxed by the usage of the three 2016 third rounders, but Niemelainen and Berglund signed and one of them (Berglund) might just make it. Green seemed to be focused on Skinner in the same way he was Benson, suspect WHL bias might have been involved (I’m not being critical I’m the same way but it can lead to blind spots). Samorukov was an impressive pick, you could argue that was first-round value, or at least top-40 value. I’m impressed with Konovalov one year in.
Success in projecting. After the third round, teams are asking scouts to find players who can be projected into future roles despite having been found lacking in one way or another. The 2015 draft can’t be completely credited to Green (he was officially director of player personnel) but he was part of the scouting staff that shaped the list. The scouts found Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and John Marino after round three in 2015. Music! So, I’m giving some credit here, your mileage may vary. Kirill Maksimov and Phil Kemp, plus Michael Kesselring and Matej Blumel, may one day join the 2015 trio.
OILERS SCOUTS 2014-15
- Bob Green: Director of Player Personnel
- [Stu MacGregor: Head Amateur Scout]-FIRED BEFORE 2015 DRAFT
- Bill Dandy: QMJHL
- [Brad Davis: OHL, tier 2 leagues]-FIRED BEFORE 2015 DRAFT
- [Kent Hawley: OHL, QMJHL]-FIRED BEFORE 2015 DRAFT
- Bob Brown: WHL (and BCJHL based on media comments)
- Jim Crosson: WHL
- Scott Harlow: NCAA and American junior leagues (east coast)
- Frank Musil: Europe
- Pelle Eklund: Europe
- Robert Nordmark: Europe
- Joseph Cucci: Year three, don’t know his area but it might be New England
- Dave Heitz: Year three, goalie scout
- Matti Virmanen: Oilers rely on him, gets mentioned a lot in media
- Sylvain Rodrigue: Year two, goalies.
OILERS 2015 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid (351 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 117 overall: LD Caleb Jones (60 NHL games)
- Round 5, No. 124 overall: RD Ethan Bear (89 NHL games)
- Round 6, No. 154 overall: RD John Marino (56 NHL games)
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: G Miroslav Svoboda.
- Round 7, No. 209 overall: LD Ziyat Paigin.
OILERS 2016 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 4 overall: R Jesse Puljujarvi (139 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 32 overall: L Tyler Benson (7 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 63 overall: LD Markus Niemelainen.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Matthew Cairns.
- Round 4, No. 91 overall: RD Filip Berglund.
- Round 5, No. 123 overall: G Dylan Wells.
- Round 5, No. 149 overall: L Graham McPhee.
- Round 6, No. 153 overall: RC Aapeli Rasanen.
- Round 7, No. 183 overall: RD Vincent DeSharnais.
OILERS 2017 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 22 overall: R Kailer Yamamoto (53 NHL games).
- Round 3, No. 78 overall: G Stuart Skinner.
- Round 3, No. 84 overall: LD Dmitri Samorukov.
- Round 4, No. 115 overall: L Ostap Safin.
- Round 5, No. 146 overall: R Kirill Maksimov.
- Round 6, No. 177 overall: LC Skyler Brind’Amour.
- Round 7, No. 208 overall: RD Phillip Kemp.
OILERS 2018 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 10 overall: RD Evan Bouchard (7 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 40 overall: LC Ryan McLeod.
- Round 2, No. 62 overall: G Olivier Rodrigue.
- Round 6, No. 164 overall: RD Michael Kesselring.
- Round 7, No. 195 overall: L Patrick Siikanen.
OILERS 2019 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 8 overall: LD Philip Broberg
- Round 2, No. 38 overall: RC Raphael Lavoie
- Round 3, No. 85 overall: G Ilya Konovalov
- Round 4, No. 100 overall: L Matej Blumel
- Round 6, No. 162 overall: RC Tomas Mazura
- Round 7, No. 193 overall: LC Maxim Denezhkin
BOB GREEN’S REPORT CARD
As is the case with any scouting director/head scout, the decision on first-round selections is often made at a higher pay grade. McDavid was a no-brainer, Broberg felt like a Holland pick (remember, he would know both DRW and Oilers lists).
In between, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto and Bouchard are talented players with skill. I think Green and his men handed quality talent to the organization in the first round. After that, most of the picks inside the top 100 were players who had/have a chance to make it to the NHL.
If the goal is two NHL players per year, and we give Green credit for being part of the 2015 draft process (he was), that means 10 NHL players gets him a pass. McDavid, Jones, Bear, Marino, Yamamoto are already there. Bouchard, Broberg and a nice group of second-round picks should get Green close to 10.
Green will be remembered for the Griffin Reinhart trade, and for not drafting Alex DeBrincat.
My Grade: We’ll know more in 2024, but for me Green’s record shows innovation (Yamamoto, Konovalov) and very little ‘death valley’ clusters of five or six names that are destined to deliver zero NHL games. I give Green a “B” and would suggest he had a more successful run than MacGregor and Kevin Prendergast. Comparing anyone to Barry Fraser is crazy, because he delivered an all-time best draft cluster 1979-83 before settling in for a long and mediocre coda. Green did a good job. That’s my opinion.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Friday morning with snow? Get outta town! We start at 10, TSN1260. Steve Lansky will talk about the 24-team playoff the NHL players are voting on and I’ll ask him about the pressures of as many as three games a day from the same building. Matthew Iwanyk will drop in at 11 to discuss the NHL plan and what the CFL is up to right now. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!