In the days when the Edmonton Oilers were trying to decide on the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 draft (the final four were Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko and Griffin Reinhart), the Columbus Blue Jackets were also finalizing their list in anticipation of their options at the No. 2 overall position. It was Tyler Wright’s first year as director of amateur scouting for the Blue Jackets, a job he would hold for the 2012 and 2013 drafts before moving on to the Detroit Red Wings in time to impact the DRW 2014 draft. What is the track record of scouting director Tyler Wright?
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
BLUE JACKETS 2012 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 2 overall: LD Ryan Murray (347 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 31 overall: G Oscar Dansk (5 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 62 overall: G Joonas Korpisalo (127 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 95 overall: RW Josh Anderson (267 NHL games)
- Round 6, No. 152 overall: RW Daniel Zaar
- Round 7, No. 182 overall: LD Gianluca Curcuruto
Wright’s first draft was disappointing early, as Ryan Murray was expected to be a cornerstone piece of the CBJ blue line. He is now six years in to his NHL career, and has played more than 60 games once. Puck IQ has him facing 30 percent or more elites in three of his six seasons, so he’s faced quality often when healthy. Joonas Korpisalo has been in the NHL for five years now and posted a .911SP in 37 games during 2019-20. He’s an actual NHL goalie. Josh Anderson is the jewel of this draft for Columbus, averaging 20 goals per 82 games and playing some big minutes against elites according to Puck IQ. As with Murray injuries are an issue, but Anderson gives the first Wright draft a big push. Grade: C+
BLUE JACKETS 2013 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 14 overall LC Alex Wennberg (415)
- Round 1, No. 19 overall LW Kerby Rychel (43)
- Round 1, No. 27 overall LC Marko Dano (141)
- Round 2, No. 50 overall LD Dylan Heatherington (11)
- Round 3, No. 89 overall RW Oliver Bjorkstrand (246)
- Round 4, No. 105 overall RC Nick Moutrey
- Round 6, No. 165 overall RW Markus Soberg
- Round 7, No. 195 overall RW Peter Quenneville
This reminds me a little of Edmonton’s 2007 draft but the CBJ got some nice value later. Alex Wennberg averages 40 points per 82 games and has faced elites 30 percent or more in four of his six seasons. He doesn’t post enough offense to play a future role but it useful. Not what you’re hoping for at No. 14 overall. Kerby Rychel, Marko Dano and Dillon Heatherington peaked shy of NHL regular status. Oliver Bjorkstrand proved to be quality, the last three seasons he’s performing better relative to his teammates against elites. Per 82 games, he averages 22 goals and 44 points. Disappointing draft but Bjorkstrand was a helluva find. Grade: D.
DETROIT 2014 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 15 overall LC Dylan Larkin (389)
- Round 3, No. 63 overall LC Dominic Turgeon (9)
- Round 4, No. 106 overall LC Christopher Ehn (114)
- Round 5, No. 136 overall G Chase Perry
- Round 6, No. 166 overall LW Julius Vahatalo
- Round 7, No. 196 overall LW Axel Holmstrom
- Round 7, No. 201 overall LW Alexander Kadeykin
This draft went according to plan, save for the fact Dylan Larkin (23-33-56 per 82 games and impressive numbers against elites via Puck IQ) blossomed into a franchise cornerstone. Christopher Ehn doesn’t score much and he is getting caved in possession. I don’t think he’ll have a long NHL career unless he learns to score a little more and find better linemates. I give this draft a good grade because the only surprise is a very positive one. Grade: B.
DETROIT 2015 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 19 overall RW Evgeny Svechnikov (20 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 73 overall RD Vili Saarijarvi
- Round 4, No. 110 overall G Joren Van Pottelberghe
- Round 5, No. 140 overall LC Chase Pearson
- Round 6, No. 170 overall RD Patrick Holway
- Round 7, No. 200 overall LW Adam Marsh
This was a very poor draft, made doubly so because there were impressive names available into the sixth round. I liked Evgeny Svechnikov (had him top 10) but this draft hurt the franchise. Chase Pearson may develop but he can’t save the draft class. Grade: F.
DETROIT 2016 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 20 overall LD Dennis Cholowski (88 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 46 overall RW Givani Smith (21 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 53 overall RD Filip Hronek (111 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 107 overall LD Alfons Malmstrom
- Round 5, No. 137 overall RD Jordan Sambrook
- Round 6, No. 167 overall G Filip Larsson
- Round 7, No. 197 overall LW Mattias Elfstrom
I will connect Cholowski and Ryan Murray at the end of this piece but wanted to stick a pin in the idea for safe keeping. Dennis Cholowski came from the BCHL, fine skater, smart player. Two years in he’s playing elites less than 25 percent of the time. He’s building an Alex Wennberg resume but we’re still fairly early days. On the other hand, Filip Hronek appears to be a long home run. He averages 10-30-40 per 82 games and has faced elites 39-40 percent of his ice time through two season. He improved year over year in that area against elites in DFF Rel. Grade B-.
DETROIT 2017 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 9 overall LW Michael Rasmussen (62 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 38 overall RD Gustav Lindstrom (16 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 71 overall LD Kasper Kotkansalo
- Round 3, No. 79 overall RW Lane Zablocki
- Round 3, No. 83 overall LC Zachary Gallant
- Round 3, No. 88 overall G Keith Petruzzelli
- Round 4, No. 100 overall LD Malte Setkov
- Round 5, No. 131 overall RD Cole Fraser
- Round 6, No. 162 overall RC Jack Adams
- Round 6, No. 164 overall RD Reilly Webb
- Round 7, No. 193 overall LC Brady Gilmour
Michael Rasmussen was chosen too high but may have an NHL career. Gustav Lindstrom is interesting and just getting started, but has made his NHL debut. Keith Petruzzelli is tracking as a worthwhile signing and Kasper Kotkansalo and Jack Adams may get contracts, too. There’s too much chum in the third round, reminds me a little of Edmonton’s 2016 third round. Tough to make a strong call yet. Grade: C-
DETROIT 2018 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 6 overall RW Filip Zadina (37 games)
- Round 1, No. 30 overall LC Joe Veleno
- Round 2, No. 33 overall RW Jonatan Berggren
- Round 2, No. 36 overall LD Jared McIsaac
- Round 3, No. 67 overall RD Alec Regula
- Round 3, No. 81 overall RD Seth Barton
- Round 3, No. 84 overall G Jesper Eliasson
- Round 4, No. 98 overall RW Ryan O’Reilly
- Round 6, No. 160 overall G Victor Brattstrom
- Round 7, No. 191 overall LC Otto Kivenmaki
I think this draft could become one Detroit fans remember a long time. Filip Zadina is poised to emerge as a 20-goal winger as soon as next year, with Joe Veleno progressing well in the minors (he was 19 for much of the season). Jonatan Berggren is a terrific prospect, aggressive and skilled. Jared McIsaac and Alec Regula are not similar rearguards but both are progressing. That’s a ton of talent for one year, all in the first three rounds. Grade: A.
DETROIT 2019 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 6 overall RD Moritz Seider
- Round 2, No. 35 overall RD Antti Tuomisto
- Round 2, No. 54 overall LW Robert Mastrosimone
- Round 2, No. 60 overall LD Albert Johansson
- Round 3, No. 66 overall LW Albin Grewe
- Round 4, No. 97 overall RC Ethan Phillips
- Round 5, No. 128 overall LD Cooper Moore
- Round 6, No. 159 overall LW Elmer Soderblom
- Round 6, No. 177 overall RD Gustav Berglund
- Round 7, No. 190 overall LW Kirill Tyutyayev
- Round 7, No. 191 overall G Carter Gylander
Moritz Seider adjusted quickly and showed impressive potential as a teenager in the AHL. Antti Tuomisto had a big year in Jr. Sm-Liiga he’ll be a player to follow in 2020-21 (University of Denver). Robert Mastrosimone is a scoring winger who may have enough offense to make the NHL, Albert Johansson is a fairly complete defender developing well. Albin Grewe is a physical winger with skill. It’s an uneven list but the first-round pick could be outstanding. Grade: Too soon to know
So, Wright has a couple of ‘tells’, I mentioned the Murray-Cholowski picks as matching to my mind. Good players but drafted too high based on what they’ll bring and more defensive in nature. Spending first rounders on skill is wise.
On the other hand, another Wright tell is some outstanding value outside the first round. Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Filip Hronek are tremendous value picks. The early first round picks were disappointing, but Larkin, Zadina, Veleno and Seider should give Detroit many good seasons.
For me, the Oilers since 2015 have been trying to get value in every selection (I remain bewildered by 2014’s back half of the draft). In those five years, discounting the gift of McDavid, the scouts have found value and have a nice pipeline of talent (specifically on defense).
Wright’s positives in my opinion are Dylan Larkin, Filip Hronek and the last two draft classes. Is that better than the Edmonton group represented by Bob Green’s track record (posted yesterday)?
I think the fairest thing we can say is that bringing Wright in to replace Green (and Gretzky) is not a black and white win. It’s more shades of grey, and fans have a right to be concerned.
Wright has a lot to prove and the Oilers own their first, fifth, sixth and seventh, while also having a claim to their own third. I expect Ken Holland will be active in the trade market leading up to the draft.