Light a candle. Send a message heavenward to the God who’ll listen, find some instant karma and think good thoughts. People will tell you the Edmonton Oilers don’t deserve
McDavid Lafreniere, I say diddly squat. Edmonton Oilers fans have earned the right to have two three lottery wins, and perhaps the hockey Gods have been beating fans senseless these years in order for Oilers fans to earn this reward.
*Those words, with slight alterations, adorned this blog on McDavid’s lottery day in 2015.
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: Edmonton again? How Oilers would benefit from No. 1 pick and Alexis Lafrenière
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ guilty pleasure, the draft lottery, could offer a quick fix
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s urgent summer as Oilers general manager begins
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The Oilers have some disappointing lessons to learn — even in season of progress
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Replacing Tyler Ennis: Ranking the best left wing and backfill Oilers options
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Andreas Athanasiou gets a push against ‘Hawks. Is it enough?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bang for your buck: Ranking the Oilers based on contract expectations
- Jonathan Willis: Is Philip Broberg on track to be a top-pairing defenceman?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options over the next five months
On the day of the McDavid lottery, I had a mock draft ready, but it didn’t involve Edmonton winning. Here, for the first time, is the mock I wrote and planned to publish once Edmonton was in position to draft (I chose No. 4 overall, it was the one edit I thought possible).
No. 4 overall: D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA). 6.03, 203. Hanifin checks off all of the boxes MacT has stressed since returning: He’s big, an up the middle addition and he’s a very talented player who can help offensively. The key for this draft is acquiring an impact player and Hanifin is certainly qualified to be taken in this range. His NHLE (82GP, 4-13-17) does not imply he’ll be a major offensive contributor, but we must factor in the age difference between Hanifin and his opposition. Shane Luke of Providence College was born June 5, 1990. Hanifin? January 25, 1997. That’s a lot of man strength. My hope is that the Oilers don’t rush Hanifin but rather find the best route to the NHL possible, be it back to college or the AHL.
No. 16 overall: R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). 6.01, 209. I am convinced the Oilers are flush enough at center and defense to invest in badly needed cover at the scoring-winger slot. Meier is a very nice option, not only because of his boxcars (NHLE: 82GP, 18-18-36) but because all of the indicators (year over year progression, etc) are positive. He’s a 1996, so you’re giving up some development track, but I like him plenty.
No. 33 overall: D Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). 6.00, 200. A smart, mobile defender who has the defensive game down with coverage skills and anticipation. He also owns a great shot from the point, which may or may not be a factor moving forward. He may be a little high on my list but this is a nice player and a good bet. NHLE is 82GP, 5-9-14
No. 60 overall: L Vladimir Tkachev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL). 5.10, 144. There’s a chance he goes before this number (I have him at No. 47) but he’s so small I can see other teams passing on him. As you know this young man has terrific skills and showed management what he could do to the point they offered him a contract. His NHLE (9-17-26) doesn’t wow, they should be able to grab him here.
No. 79 overall: C Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Omaha (USHL). 6.01, 190. Another reason I believe Edmonton can use their high picks outside center is the sheer number of excellent options in the draft at this position. JFK is a fine young center who plays an aggressive game and has good speed. His USHL numbers (50GP, 15-38-53). He is a smart, creative center.
No. 89 overall: G Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). 6.03, 185. Led the WHL in save percentage (.921) in a season where his backups were miles behind. I’m no goalie expert but the WHL is a fine league and this fellow has decent size and a growing resume. I don’t like the idea of using a top 60 pick on a goalie and this seems like a reasonable spot for the bet.
No. 124 overall: C Alexander Dergachyov, St. Petersburg (Rus Jr). 6.04, 200. Huge center enjoyed a strong season in Russia’s junior league (45GP, 10-29-39) and the scouting report from Elite Prospects suggests legit skill. Alessandro Seren Russo has a nice writeup on him at the Hockey Writers.
No. 131 overall: R Sebastian Aho, Kärpät—Assat (SM-Liiga). 5.11, 172. I must be missing something with this player (there’s also a Swedish defender of the same name). According to the records, he played in Finland’s top league and scored well (30GP, 4-9-13) for his age but it’s damn near impossible to find a reasonable scouting report on him. I’d take a flyer, or at least investigate further.
No. 154 overall: C Matteo Gennaro, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL). 6.02, 187. A big center with good speed, Gennaro didn’t make the mid-term CS list but ranks No. 127 on the final list. Cody Nickolet marked him back in October and he is a good prospect from the Oilers back yard (he’s from St. Albert and Fernando Pisani is his cousin). His boxcars (72GP, 16-15-31) aren’t impact level but the scouting report suggests a range of skills.
No. 184 overall: G Jordan Papirny, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). I thought they might take him last season, and Papirny’s improved play this year may get him selected (but not until late).
There’s a lack of Euro’s on this list but the nature of the draft is that we don’t get a strong impression of the kids across the pond until after the U18’s (on currently). The next four weeks will be very important in that area. Beginning soon (in the next week or so) I’ll start passing along the prospects from leagues posts and we’ll have a long look at Bob Green at that point as well.
The thing to remember is this: Edmonton is in a very good position to deliver a strong draft this year but it’s just the beginning. Draft is followed by develop and it takes time. We’ll get a very good indication this season, because there is potential to swing for the fences on almost every pick. The draft is that deep.
BUTTON LOVED THE OILERS 2015 DRAFT
I posted an ISS look at the Oilers draft the other day and continue the series here with Craig Button’s view. Button is a divisive figure for many, this blog’s comments have been very punishing in the past while the blog’s author respects his view. Button’s list is not meant to predict the draft (as Bob McKenzie’s does) or rely on consensus, it’s Button’s view alone. Like Red Line report, it’s a (free) independent look from a man who had real and quantifiable success in the position of scouting director once upon a time. Here’s how he ranked the Oilers picks:
No. 1 overall: Connor McDavid. Button had him No. 1. “Two words; unprecedented speed. Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps even in Crosby’s draft year.”
No. 117 overall: Caleb Jones. Button had him No. 81.
No. 124 overall: Ethan Bear. Button had him No. 77. “There is a lot of ability in his game to impact the game in a positive way. He gets where he needs to be, he never gets himself in trouble. He’s a body-on-body one-on-one competitor. If you want to play against him in the defensive zone, you’ll have to earn everything you get. He can get the puck out of the zone well, he knows what his options are, doesn’t get himself into trouble. Smart player.”
No. 209 overall: Ziyat Paigin. Button had him No. 86
THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN THE 2020 DRAFT
- L Alexis Lafreniere, QMJHL. NHL ready, fleet scorer who plays with an edge.
- LC Quinton Byfield, OHL. August 2002, 6.04, 215. Big, powerful winger, excellent speed.
- LC Tim Stutzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense. Tremendous skater.
- LC Marco Rossi, OHL. Good speed, exciting, range of skills. Exceptional talent.
- RHD Jamie Drysdale, OHL. Great speed, passing and instincts, instant offense from the blue.
- LC Cole Perfetti, OHL. Outstanding talent, not as fast as top forwards, has tremendous skill.
- RW Alexander Holtz, SHL. First-shot scorer with a range of skills, he’s an electric player.
- LW Lucas Raymond, SHL. Smart player who has ridiculous skill. March 2002. Fine skater.
- RW Jack Quinn OHL. Impressive offensive winger was a late breaker. Pure goal scorer.
- RW Dawson Mercer, QMJHL. Impressive player who is both scorer and playmaker.
- RC Mavrik Bourque, QMJHL. Creative center, great passer, great shot. Plays in tough areas.
- LC Connor Zary, WHL. Quick, smart two-way center effective across 200 feet.
- LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. Smart, fast two-way defenseman has complete skill set.
- LC Anton Lundell, Liiga. Complete skill set, average speed but improving.
- RC Seth Jarvis, WHL. Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. Big second half.
- RW Noel Gunler, SHL. Has a great release and an impressive resume. Attractive option.
- G Yaroslav Askarov, VHL. He plays an unusual style. June 2002, has a .923 VHL save percentage.
- RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
- LC Jan Mysak, OHL. Skilled and is effective in all areas. Major move in second half.
- LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and full skill set.
- LD Jérémie Poirier, QMJHL. Smart offensive defender, puck transporter.
- RD Braden Schneider, WHL. Fine skater, physical, smart two-way defenseman.
- LW Lukas Reichel, DEL. Mid-season riser. He has skill, speed and plays with abandon.
- LW Rodion Amirov, KHL. Scouts love the tools. A fast train in a draft season with slow boats.
- LW Dylan Holloway, Big 10. Big power forward. Strong skater, nice range of skills.
- LW Ridly Greig, WHL. Smart offensive winger with good instincts, August 2002. Not a burner.
- RC Tyson Foerster, OHL. Great offensive weapon, quick release and accurate.
- LC Hendrix Lapierre, QMJHL. Skill center projects as a playmaker. Injury a worry.
- RHD Justin Barron, QMJHL. Mobile blue can defend. Lacks top-end offensive ability.
- LW John-Jason Peterka, DEL. A speedy winger with skill, survived in a men’s league.
- LW Martin Chromiak, OHL. One of the most skilled players in the draft.
- LW Brendan Brisson, USHL. Undersized speedster spiked late. Big riser.
- LD William Wallinder, Superelite. Big (6.04, 195) 2-way defenseman with good speed.
- LW Jake Neighbours WHL He’s skilled, gritty and plays a strong two-way game.
- RW Zion Nybeck, SuperElite. Undersized playmaker, great passer. Impressive speed.
- RC Jean-Luc Foudy, OHL. Speedy center plus skill, mediocre season.
- LD Emil Andrae, SuperElite. Fast defenseman with offensive potential. Plus passer.
- LC Ty Smilanic, USHL. Lean center, plus skater and pure scorer. Had mono.
- LC Vasili Ponomaryov, QMJHL. Great hands and good speed, he’s a little under the radar
- RW Ozzy Wiesblatt, WHL. Undersized winger is aggressive, fast and skilled.
- RW Sam Colangelo, USHL. Big power winger with skill, scored 28 goals in 44 games.
- RW Luke Evangelista, OHL. Skill winger, great passer, plays in all disciplines.
- RD Helge Grans, SHL. Solid two-way defenseman with good size and speed.
- RW Connor McClennon, WHL. Numbers are solid to excellent. Undersized, range of skills.
- RC Jack Finley, WHL. An August 2002 and a big pivot, he plays a fairly complete game.
- RW Kasper Simontaival, Liiga. Unusual skating style but he’s quick and has high-end skill.
- RC Justin Sourdif, WHL. Two-way winger gained notice at the Hlinka, solid season.
- LW Veeti Miettinen, Jr Liiga. Undersized winger, fills the net with pucks.
- RW Pavel Novak, WHL. Speedster with skill, he’s a scorer.
- LW Sean Farrell, USHL. A good skater with plus skills, spiked offensively.
If the Oilers can get two names inside my top-50 overall, as they did in 2015 (McDavid and Bear), then that should be considered a solid draft. For me, Mavrik Bourque and Seth Jarvis are terrific options. We’ll see.
OILERS BLUE VERSUS ELITES 2019-20
I’m seeing lots of “trade Klefbom, trade Larsson, trade Nurse” tweets and posts, just a friendly reminder that making decisions on small sample sizes is unwise. Adam Larsson was injured for much of the early portion of the year, then settled in and was relied upon and delivered better performances against elites than any other Oilers blue. Nurse was second in DFF%RC. Klefbom had a tough season in this area but some of that was Larsson’s injury/getting back to full health.
I hope one day to observe a team that trades bottom pairing defensemen and waits until young blue are ready and seasoned. I would keep Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse, Bear and Jones for 2020-21. Matt Benning and Kris Russell are expendable. Evan Bouchard can slide in on the third pairing, Lagesson the No. 7 man. Maybe during 2020-21 Jones passes Klefbom on the depth chart and the pairings become Nurse-Bear, Jones-Larsson and Klefbom-Bouchard. For the love of God, please don’t turn this defense back into the 2006-07 crew. I can’t take it anymore. A reminder, and say it with me, young defensemen will break your heart. All numbers via PuckIQ.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a big show planned for a big day in sports. At 10:20, Reid Fowler from Draft Kings joins us to talk about Collin Morikawa. He emerged from a massive pack to win the PGA Tournament in San Fransisco yesterday. Jason Gregor from TSN1260 pops in at 11 to talk Oilers disappointments, the draft lottery and the offseason to come in Edmonton. We’ll also have a guest from the champion Edmonton Stingers join us at 11:25 to talk about winning the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series title on Sunday. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!