Have you ever seen a complete draft list from an NHL team? They sometimes shake loose and surprise the hell out of people, not just for the ranking but also for names not on the list.
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 Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A look at 5 questions facing the Oilers midway through their first week of camp
- New Lowetide: Zack Kassian’s role on Oilers top line must include responsible play
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Connor McDavid in the playoffs?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers observations: Connor McDavid shines, Caleb Jones MIA and more
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers get good cap news: Long-term outlook is tight but workable
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ approach to Russians at the draft? Trust but verify
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Mike Green’s opt-out isn’t ideal, but Oilers defence should manage without him
- Lowetide: Joakim Nygard’s Oilers season reveals speedster with range of skills
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s postseason strategy against the Blackhawks
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers notebook: Bear’s contract quandary, Broberg’s mini camp, bubble goalies
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s comparables suggest a possible future with Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect rated by how close they are to the NHL
- Lowetide: Setting the record straight on Oilers prospect Cooper Marody’s future
- Lowetide: Tough decisions face Oilers’ Ken Holland as cap forces painful choices
- Lowetide: How Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto can increase his value
- Lowetide: Everything you forgot (but need to know) about Oilers’ 2019-20 season
- Lowetide: Injury is biggest factor in the Oilers’ hopes for extended playoff run
- Lowetide: Tyler Benson’s struggle to score might affect future role with Oilers
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s second Oilers draft should deliver high-octane offence
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s all surreal’: Kevin Lowe’s Hall of Fame nod nets surprise and satisfaction
- Lowetide: 10 things to look for at Oilers training camp and the 2020 playoffs
The Montreal Canadiens had part of the team list leak (looks like Philip Broberg was No. 13 overall) last year at the draft, but the 2010 Vancouver Canucks list remains the gold standard on what teams are looking (and not looking) for at a draft. Here are the picks that raised an eyebrow back in the day for this blog’s author:
St. Louis drafted Jaden Schwartz No. 14 overall, Vancouver had him No. 38. Schwartz more than covered the bet and has played over 500 NHL games with the Blues, who won Stanley in 2019. Schwartz led the Blues in playoff goals with 12.
Buffalo drafted Mark Pysyk No. 23 overall, Canucks had him No. 50. Pysyk has enjoyed a successful NHL career, playing in 417 games and moving up to forward at times this past season.
San Jose drafted Charlie Coyle No. 28 overall, Vancouver listed him No. 78. Coyle has played 570 NHL games.
New York Islanders drafted Brock Nelson No. 30 overall, Cancucks ranked him No. 63. Nelson has played 548 NHL games and has scored 20 or more goals five times.
Who did Vancouver prefer? Defenseman Julian Melchiori was ranked No. 23 by Vancouver, he went No. 85 to Atlanta. He played 30 NHL games. Mathieu Corbiel-Theriault was ranked No. 24 and was drafted No. 102 by Columbus. He did not play in the NHL. Vancouver ranked U.S. High School defenseman Patrick McNally No. 26 overall and were no doubt thrilled to get him with their first pick in the draft (No. 115 overall). He did not play in the NHL.
It would be easy to rip Vancouver’s scouts, but it’s likely they placed a bunch of guys near the end of their first round that represented their target list. The other men were there because it’s possible for a player to fall in a draft, but in all honesty the Canucks list is a guess on the industry’s opinion as opposed to a list created with real hope in landing a player in that range. McNally is about No. 3 on their list of possibles.
THE 20 BEST PLAYERS NOT ON BOB MCKENZIE’S LIST
Every year players go under the radar and every year teams get exceptional value from players outside the accepted group of draft-eligible prospects. I love McKenzie’s list but it doesn’t project teenagers perfectly. Mitchell Moroz was ranked No. 56 overall, Ethan Bear was not ranked. Here are the 20 best players in the 2020 NHL draft not listed on McKenzie’s rankings.
1 RW Connor McClennon, Winnipeg Ice (WHL). I have him No. 44 overall, that’s mid-second round. He scored 21 goals in 42 WHL games and is a June 2002. He’s 5.09, 145 shots in those 42 games and 15 even-strength goals.
2 LW Veeti Miettinen, Espoo (Jr Liiga). Similar story to McClennon, small winger with great skill. He is a September 2001, so a little older but he’s a pure scorer.
3 LW Pavel Novak, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Speedster with skill, he’s a scorer. He’s a little bigger than the first two names, he scored 25 goals in 55 games. Red Line loves him, called Novak a speed demon.
4 LW Oskar Magnusson, Malmo (SuperElite). Smaller winger good speed and two-way acumen, he can also play center and has a plus shot. I like his year over year improvement (19 to 48 points in SuperElite) and he’s a January 2020. I’m way out in front, so maybe there’s something I’m missing but the scouting report looks complete. The four men listed here are all ranked in the second round on my list.
5 RW Owen Pederson, Winnipeg Ice (WHL). We finally get to a bigger player (6.03, 188) on my list. Pederson scored 28 goals in 61 games. He has some range (can play center, two-way type) but speed isn’t a strength.
6 RD Michael Benning, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL). Impressive skills (fine skater, excellent passer). He’s undersized but plays an effective defensive game. The lead story here is the young man with the puck on his stick. I think he’s worth a late second, earl third round pick.
7 LW Kyle Crnkovic, Saskatoon Blades (WHL). Small (5.07) winger doubled his point total season over season. He isn’t ranked by most scouting services and 5.07 is very small for an NHL prospect. However, he scored a point per game and posted 21 goals in 63 games, turning 18 in February. He’s got some nice bullet points on his resume.
8 LC Elliot Ekmark, Linkoping (SuperElite). High skill, elusive, great speed, undersized. That’s the scouting report on most of these players, but the thing these kids have to punch up the resume is results. Ekmark posted 26 points in 31 games, The Draft Analyst says he’s similar to Oskar Magnusson above.
9 RW Wiljami Myllylä, Jr Sm-Liiga. Skates well, plus shot, scores goals in bunches. More shooter than passer or transporter. He’s a little bigger (6.0, 161) but also older (April 2001) by a year over some of these names.
10 LC Theo Rochette, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL). Undersized two-way center, intriguing offense. He might be a little shy offensively but would be worth a pick in the middle rounds.
11 RD Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen (WHL). A giant (6.04, 218) able to close gaps and suppress offense. He’s a raw talent, don’t know if the Oilers are going to draft a defenseman, but Prokop has some promise as a shutdown option. Can pass the puck.
12 G Sam Hlavaj, Sherbroke Phoenix (QMJHL). Boasts a .915 save percentage and stands 6.04, 218. Slovak goalie is an actual giant who (according to Red Line) is ‘scrambly like Spiderman’.
13 LC Daniel Ljungman, Linkoping (SuperElite). Emerged from nowhere at the Hlinka Gretzky. Great release. He’s 6.01, 161 and April 2002.
14 LC Cameron Berg, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL). Good speed and skill. He is a one dimensional player but he’ll score goals in pro hockey.
15 G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers (WHL). Eye popping SP (.921) for June 2002, but he’s only 6.0 and for that reason is unlikely to get drafted.
16 LW Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm (OHL). Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot. He scored 45 goals in 63 games in the world’s best junior league. He is 6.01, 181. Draft him and turn him pro. Why not?
17 LC Juuso Mäenpää, Jokerit (Jr Liiga). Very small but highly skilled playmaker. Very much under the radar.
18 RD Kasper Puutio, Everett Silvertips (WHL). Talented puck moving defenseman. He’s 5.11, 180 and a June 2002.
19 LW Yevgeni Oksentyuk, Flint Firebirds (OHL). Impressive season for Feb. 2001, under the radar skill winger. You must be tiring of reading about “small skill wingers” but the thing to remember is these men have offensive success in junior. He scored 33-45-78 in 58 games. He. can. play.
20 LD Anton Johannesson, SuperElite. Small puck mover is a wizard, could be a steal. He’s a March 2002, stands 5.09 and could be the most valuable name in the 20. That’s the catch with these 20 (mostly) smaller players: Not all will make it but those who do are going to make their scouting director look like a genius.
As it stands, Edmonton has just four picks in a seven-round draft. Even more distressing the picks are in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. That’s a problem.
However, all is not lost. There is a strategy that can deliver four legit talents in those picks.
Let’s start by listing the players above who will be drafted before the fifth round. In my opinion, Connor McClennon, Pavel Novak, Michael Benning, Dylan Garand and Yevgeni Oksentyuk will be gone by selection No. 175.
So, let’s give the Oilers Jacob Perreault in the first round, since many of you like him as a first-shot scorer for Edmonton. If Holland and Wright add Oskar Magnusson (fifth round), Pavel Gogolev (sixth round) and Anton Johannesson (seventh round) the club will have drafted four legit prospects. They aren’t perfect, there are holes in their game, but offensively they are dynamic and project as productive players in pro hockey. Here are their NHLE’s:
- Jacob Perreault (OHL) 32.5
- Oskar Magnusson (SuperElite) 25.9
- Pavel Gogolev (20) (OHL) 40.4
- Anton Johannesson (SuperElite) 24.6
That’s an impressive list of talent and my bet is that those names or similar will in fact be available to the Oilers. When the team drafted Ethan Bear in the fifth round in 2015, we all knew it was a better bet than Evan Campbell. I don’t know if the Oilers will do it, but the idea makes a lot of sense.
Sail on, Mr. Granlund, we hardly knew you. You did play for all three western Canadian teams and that’s a rare thing.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we kickstart the weekend and make a lot of noise, MAN! TSN1260, we’ll talk to Steve Lansky about the NHL broadcasts to come in Edmonton and Toronto, and what the industry will be talking about two weeks from now in regard to the broadcasts. Matt Iwanyk will join me at 11 to talk about the Eskimos name change and the leak at Ford Hall. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!