I remember drafts going back to the 1970’s. Back then, you followed the prospects via The Hockey News and developed favourites based on specific skill sets. Al Secord was a born Boston Bruins prospect, he was in training as a boxer during his teens and spent time fighting fires for the Ministry of Natural Resources. He was fierce and talented. A Bruin. Picking a player who fits a team’s style, or represents a specific local fan base, represented music in those days.
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s second Oilers draft should deliver high-octane offence
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s all surreal’: Kevin Lowe’s Hall of Fame nod nets surprise and satisfaction
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- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: I nominated Kevin Lowe for The Athletic’s mock Hockey Hall of Fame — and he fell way short
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- Lowetide: Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie’s possible impact in his first year pro
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The good, bad and ugly of the Oilers’ last 15 years of free agent signings
- Lowetide: Why you should be worried about William Lagesson’s future in Edmonton
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Remembering the goal that made Fernando Pisani a cult hero in Edmonton
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ 2016 draft remains an enigma, with a glimmer of hope
- Jonathan Willis: The parallels from the fall of Alexander the Great and the 2006 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Connor McDavid’s recovery is just one of 2020’s incredible Masterton stories
- Lowetide: Every prospect in the Oilers system and what’s next for each player
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Projecting the Oilers’ black aces and how much they’ll play
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ lineup for their play-in series versus the Blackhawks
The 1979 draft was fun, although there was so much going on at the time I don’t recall pouring over the names as I’d done in the past. I knew the Bruins had a good day. Raymond Bourque was famous in the pages of The Hockey News and Brad McCrimmon was an important piece of the powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings. If you knew me in 1979, I would have been able to tell you quite a bit of these men. Bruins drafted seven men, they all played in the NHL. That’s a draft.
2020 MOCK DRAFT (TAKE TWO)
For this mock, I’m going to attempt to post a first round that reflects the current state of each team’s style and approach. I have chosen some below because of a combination of local product/cultural fit and others to make the list realistic. Here we go.
1 Montreal: LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski QMJHL. Marc Bergevin falls into extreme good fortune and this could be the spark that brings Stanley back to Pollocksville. A grand talent on a massive stage. Honestly, it would be a fascinating nightmare.
2 Los Angeles: LC Quinton Byfield, Sudbury OHL. The Kings drafted my No. 4 (Alex Turcotte), No. 5 (Arthur Kaliyev), No. 33 (Samuel Fagemo) and No. 36 (Tobias Björnfot) ranked players a year ago, suspect they’ll go high skill again. General manager Rob Blake is adding skill by the ton, and Byfield offers a different look than Turcotte. He’s a big man who has terrific skill, speed and a very bright future.
3 Ottawa: LC Tim Stutzle, Mannheim DEL. GM Pierre Dorion was all about speed a year ago, drafting Lassi Thomson and Shane Pinto. The Senators take a speedy, brilliant offensive force in Stutzle. Although they lost the lottery, hard to frame Stutzle as a consolation prize.
4 Detroit: LC Marco Rossi, Ottawa OHL. During Steve Yzerman’s time in Tampa Bay, the Lightning had one stunning draft (2011) and a string of mid-round picks who turned into Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli. Rossi could be a DRW. His skill set includes outstanding passing and vision. He’s undersized but brilliant.
5 Ottawa: RHD Jamie Drysdale, Erie OHL. I’m not sure Drysdale will be the first defenseman off the board, but he’s a style match for the Senators. He’s a two-way defenseman who can scoot and the most likely blue to spend substantial time on an NHL power play. The Senators are going to improve a great deal on draft day.
6 Anaheim: LC Cole Perfetti, Saginaw OHL. The Ducks aren’t on top of their game at the draft table and there isn’t an ideal solution at this number. The club has a brilliant player (Trevor Zegras) on the way, but he’s undersized. Perfetti is a winger who can score and is the final high skill OHL forward. He’s a shooter, a nice match for Zegras but you’d like him to be a little bigger.
7 New Jersey: LW Lucas Raymond, Frolunda (SHL). I have stubbornly held that the other Swedish winger has more value, but McKenzie’s list rates Raymond so for the purposes of the mock I will join the crowd. Raymond is a fabulous prospect, he’ll find chem with one of those young centers (Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes). Chief skill is passing, outstanding creativity with the puck. Another small winger.
8 Buffalo: RW Jack Quinn, Ottawa OHL. He spiked at the right time. One of the best scorers in the draft, good speed. The new general manager is Kevyn Adams and this could go any number of ways. A scoring winger at this point is a solid option.
9 Chicago: LHD Jake Sanderson, US National Team (USHL). He is big, strong, fast, and has a great shot. Stan Bowman’s drafting record is fascinating (he’s delivered value in every draft but 2015) and he’s drafted defensemen three times in the first round since 2018.
10 New Jersey: RW Alexander Holtz, Djurgardens SHL. If New Jersey can grab both top end Swedish wingers, it would be a fine idea. Holtz is an impressive scorer, he could match up with Hischier or Hughes. Damn, Raymond and Holtz to NJD is a fine idea.
11 Minnesota: LD Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert WHL. Guhle is a mobile defender who can defend and play a complementary offensive role. He has speed and size (6.02, 186) and can cover well. This is Bill Guerin’s first draft, the other area they might want to look at is center (aging).
12 Winnipeg: RC Seth Jarvis, Portland WHL. Great speed and skill, he also owns an impressive shot. I like the Jets, they draft like they need every pick to cash (ala the Senators) but they’ll pick a Logan Stanley in the middle of the first round every now and then.
13 New York Rangers: LW Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin NCAA. It’s more likely he’ll have a career as a two-way winger, but he was 17 when he went to camp and scored 8 goals as a freshman. Intriguing player. GM Jeff Gorton’s first four drafts have been interesting but not earth shattering. Holloway is a bit of a risky pick (his offense isn’t guaranteed) but NYR have more than one pick in this round.
14 Florida: RC Dawson Mercer, Chicoutimi QMJHL. He has a nice range of skills, fine passer, smart player. I don’t have much of a handle on Dale Tallon, he might take a defenseman here but Mercer is a quality prospect.
15 Columbus: LC Anton Lundell, Helsinki Liiga. He’s a big pivot with skill and a complete skill set. The Jackets lost an entire draft year in 2019 (first pick came in the fourth round) and badly need to make every pick count in 2020. Lundell is a quality selection at this number.
16 Calgary: RD Braden Schneider, Brandon WHL. He’s a big, mobile defensemen who delivers enough offense to be considered a two-way player. You may believe this an unusual selection but Calgary hasn’t chosen a blue in the draft since 2017. Flames are now one of the ‘have’ teams at the draft, Sam Bennett in 2014 is the last down arrow and everyone had him top four overall.
17 New Jersey: G Yaroslav Askarov, St. Petersburg VHL. The Devils have chosen a goalie in the first round three times, and I believe Askarov will represent too much value to pass on at this point. I don’t believe in drafting goalies in the first round but the Devils have three picks here and if Askarov emerges as a quality starter he’ll cover this bet.
18 Nashville: RW Jacob Perreault, Sarnia OHL. The Predators lead the NHL in forwards making big money who scored much fewer than 20 goals last season. Perreault won’t provide immediate help but he’s a pure scorer. I wish I knew what the industry thought of him. I have no idea where he’ll go in the draft.
19 Carolina: LW Rodion Amirov, Ufa KHL. He’s a hidden gem this year, responsible winger who should score enough to play on a skill line and power play. Aggressive, great skater. This would be a fabulous selection for Edmonton, I have him going just before the Oilers pick.
20 Edmonton: RC Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan QMJHL. Righty center is creative, effective and intelligent. BM ranked him No. 26, I have him No. 11 and will stand by the selection. This is Tyler Wright’s first Oilers draft, he has chosen QMJHL players with two of his three most recent first-round picks (Zadina, Veleno).
21 Ottawa: LC Connor Zary, Kamloops WHL. He’s a fine two-way center who delivers significant offense and has a range of skills. Ottawa romps through the first round, acquiring Stutzle, Drysdale and Zary.
22 Dallas: LC Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi QMJHL. Brilliant playmaking center who would go much higher without injury issues. Dallas takes chances, I like them to take Lapierre here.
23 New York Rangers: LW Ridly Greig, Brandon WHL. He’s a fascinating player who could go higher but fits the Rangers style well. Give him jersey number 10 and the nickname “Tik” and watch him agitate.
24 Minnesota: RW Noel Gunler, Lulea (SHL). Another scoring winger and another good match if he falls to Minnesota. The Wild need to add a strong defender and a first-person shooter, Guhle and Gunler represent a nice return on their picks.
25 Philadelphia: LC Jan Mysak, Hamilton OHL. A personal favourite of mine, I’ll tell you that if Edmonton took him in the first round I’d be pleased. He can score and has speed, plus has figured out the defensive part of the game. Fine prospect.
26 San Jose: LHD Jeremie Poirer, Saint John QMJHL. A brilliant offensive defenseman with enough chaos for teams to stay away from him until this point. San Jose has no fear at the draft table. None.
27 Colorado: LW Lukas Reichel, Berlin DEL. Mid-season riser. He has skill, speed and plays with abandon.
28 Las Vegas: LW Brendan Brisson, Chicago USHL. Great skater, pure scorer, ideal match for Golden Knights style.
29 Washington: RD Justin Barron, Halifax QMJHL. Good size and mobility, solid two-way defensive prospect.
30 St. Louis: LW John-Jason Peterka, Munich DEL. A speedy winger with skill, Red Line compares him in style to Tomas Tatar.
31 Anaheim: LC Marat Khusnutdinov, St. Petersburg MHL. Undersized center with impressive skills, breathtaking passer and may be badly underrated here.
No. 20: RC Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan QMJHL. In normal seasons, I have a hard time getting a grip on the QMJHL (thanks to Adam Sherren for making sense of it all). However, this year has more clarity and Bourque’s scouting report is both pristine and a fine match for the Oilers.
No. 82: LW Carter Savoie AJHL. McKenzie has him late third round, giving the Oilers a chance to select him in a move that reminds me of the Mike Comrie pick 20+ years ago (le holy time passes).
No. 144: LD Dan Baker WHL. Huge defender who is also mobile, he spiked late but looks real. A shutdown defender.
No. 175 LC Elliot Ekmark SHL. Great skater, skilled and can score off the rush with a quality shot. He’s 5.09, that’s the drag.
No. 208 LW Cole Fonstad WHL. Habs didn’t sign him, he’s 20 and a fine playmaking forward.