At some point, Carter Savoie will play hockey for the University of Denver, honing his skills at a school that once housed a teenage Glenn Anderson in his draft year. I call this ‘draft and follow’, as NHL teams select players from tier 2, Europe and US Prep Schools before they head to college and two to four years of development. Here’s a look at ‘draft and follow’ so far this century.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- Lowetide: Finding Connor McDavid’s optimal linemates among 2020-21 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: A cautious free agent period boosts an Oilers team still on the upswing
- Lowetide: Oilers prospects poised to benefit after offseason news.
- Lowetide: Oilers bring back Mike Smith for another year.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a team-friendly deal.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis in early hours of free agency.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland will need to be creative in free agency
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi signing overshadows a strong day for Oilers at draft
- Lowetide: Oilers draft Dylan Holloway on Day 1, with trades possible Wednesday
- Lisa Dillman: Dylan Holloway could be a ‘difference-maker’ for the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers could benefit both now and in the future by adding a right-shot defender
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s work week: Get good players, keep good players
- Lowetide: Oilers’ defence prospects are pushing, and changes are coming
- Lowetide: Potential trades and partners for the Oilers’ offseason
- Lowetide: Dealing a defenceman? Taking stock of Oilers’ blueline assets
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oilers GM Ken Holland on improving internally, the flat cap and goaltending
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2000-2004
2000—D Jason Platt in the 8th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended college at Providence and signed with the Oilers after full four years in NCAA. Turned pro at 23, peaked with 109 AHL games.
2001—C Eddie Caron in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Phillips-Exeter Academy (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended college at New Hampshire, transferred but it got derailed or he left Dodge and he turned pro with Greenville Grrrowl at age 22. Peaked with 54 ECHL games.
2001—C Jake Brenk in the 5th round. Drafted out of Breck School (USHS) after 18-year old season. Attended Minnesota State-Mankato all four years, turned pro at 23 by signing in Holland. Became an NHL referee.
2002—D Matt Greene in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Green Bay (USHL) after 18-year old season. Attended UND for three seasons, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers. Greene would play in the SCF’s that season and enjoyed a long NHL career (615 games).
2002—G Glenn Fisher in the 5th round. Drafted out of Ft. Saskatchewan (AJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended U Denver for four years, and turned pro with the Oilers age 24. Peaked with four AHL games.
2002—L Patrick Murphy in the 7th round. Drafted out of Newmarket (OPJHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Northern Michigan for four years, and turned pro at age 23 by signing with Laredo (CHL). Played five games at that level.
2003—R Colin McDonald in the 2nd round. Drafted out of New England (EJHL) after 17-year old season. Attended Providence College for four years, turned pro at 22 by signing with the Oilers. He played 148 NHL games and is still playing NA pro.
2003—R David Rohlfs in the 5th round. Drafted out of Compuware (NAHL) after 18-year old season. Attended Michigan for four years, turned pro at 23 by signing with the Oilers. Peaked with seven AHL games.
2004—C Geoff Paukovich in the 2nd round. Drafted out of USNDTP after 17-year old season. Attended U Denver for three years, and turned pro at 21 by signing with the Oilers. Peaked with 109 AHL games. Oilers traded Jason Chimera for the draft pick that was used for Paukovich.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2005-2009
2005—C Andrew Cogliano in the 1st round. Drafted out of Toronto St. Mike’s (OPJHL) after 17-year old season, he played at Michigan for two years and turned pro at age 20 with the Oilers. Currently at 1,012 games and counting, he is the class of the group in NHL games. He would be an interesting addition to the current team.
2005—D Taylor Chorney in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s (USHS) after 17-year old season, he played for UND for three years and turned pro at age 21 with the Oilers. He is at NHL 166 games, he is playing in Austria and is productive (6, 3-3-6) early in the year.
2005—C Robby Dee in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Breck (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Omaha (USHL) for two years and then college (Maine) for four years before turning pro at age 24 in the ECHL. Peaked with three AHL games.
2005—C Chris VandeVelde in the 4th round. Drafted out of Moorhead (USHS) after 17-year old season, he went to Lincoln (USHL) for one year and then college (UND) for four years before turning pro at age 23 by signing with the Oilers. He played 278 NHL games in his career, finishing up in Austria 2018-2019.
2005—L Matt Glasser in the 7th round. Drafted out of Fort McMurray (AJHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (U Denver) for four years before turning pro at age 23 in the CHL. Peaked with 116 CHL games.
2006—D Jeff Petry in the 2nd round. Drafted out of Des Moines (USHL) after 17-year old season, he stayed another year in the USHL and then hit college (Michigan State) for three more years before turning pro at age 22 by signing with the Oilers. Currently at 680 games, I think he’d go first overall in a re-draft of the names on this list.
2007—C Riley Nash in the 1st round. Drafted out of Salmon Arm (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Cornell (NCAA) for three years before turning pro at age 21 by signing with the Carolina Hurricanes (he wouldn’t sign with Edmonton, Tambellini traded his rights for the pick used on Martin Marincin). Currently at 541 NHL games.
2009—D Troy Hesketh in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Minnetonka (USHS) after 17-year old season, he did not progress.
2009—D Kyle Bigos in the 4th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Merrimack College (NCAA) for four years before turning pro at age 24 by signing with the San Jose Sharks. Peaked with eight AHL games.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2010-2014
2010—F Kellen Jones in the 7th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he attended Quinnipiac (NCAA) for four years before turning pro by signing with the Oklahoma City Barons for his 24-year old season. Peaked with 175 AHL games, currently playing in the Allsvenskan.
2012—C Jujhar Khaira in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Prince George (BCJHL) after 17-year old season, he attended Michigan Tech for one year and Everett (WHL) for one year and he turned pro with the Oilers at age 20. Has played in 218 NHL games.
2013—F Aidan Muir in the 4th round. Drafted out of Victory Honda Midget (MWEHL) after 17-year old season, he played with Indiana (USHL) for a year before heading to Western Michigan. Muir played four college seasons, Oilers did not sign him to a pro deal.
2013—L Evan Campbell in the 5th round. Drafted out of Langley (BCJHL) after 20-year old season, he played with UMass-Lowell (NCAA) 2013-17. Played in one AHL game.
2014—D William Lagesson in the 4th round. Drafted out of Frolunda (Swedish Juniors) after his 17-year old year, he played the following season in the USHL before heading to the NCAA UMass-Amherst for two years. Edmonton brought him along slowly, he has played in 8 NHL games since arriving in pro hockey (North American version) 2018 fall.
2014—L Liam Coughlin in the 5th round. Drafted out of Vernon (BCJHL) after 19-year old season, he stayed there for an extra year before playing college hockey for Vermont. Now property of the Chicago Blackhawks, he has played in 2 AHL games.
2014—F Tyler Vesel in the 6th round. Drafted out of Omaha (USHL) after 20-year old season, he signed with Edmonton in 2017 and peaked with 72 AHL games. Now playing in the Allsvenskan.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2015-2019
2015—Caleb Jones in the 4th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Program (USHL), he changed gears and played for Portland (WHL) for his two post-draft seasons. He developed well in Bakersfield and has now played in 60 NHL games. He doesn’t qualify as draft and college (no college), but I included him because he was in this pool on draft day.
2015—John Marino in the 6th round. Drafted out of the South Shore Kings (USHL Pr), he moved up to the USHL in draft +1 (won Clark Cup) and then Harvard where he progressed in a support role. He did not sign with Edmonton forcing a trade. Marino now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins and has 56 NHL games on his resume.
2016—Matt Cairns in the 3rd round. Drafted out of Georgetown (OJHL), he couldn’t get into the lineup in the USHL (not a good sign) so played in the BCHL to complete his year. Played sparingly in freshman season with Cornell 2017-18, more in year two and then not much in his junior year. He transferred to Minnesota-Duluth for his senior year.
2016—Graham McPhee in the 5th round. Drafted out of the US National Development Team, he attended Boston College and played a support role. Like Dillon Simpson, McPhee arrived in college very young (he was drafted while 17). He played four years in college, did not sign with the Oilers and is now playing in Vienna of the Austrian league.
2016—Aapeli Rasanen in the 7th round. Drafted out of the Finnish Jr leagues, he played for Sioux City of the USHL. He also had an uneven college career at Boston College, leaving after his junior year. He is 5, 1-2-3 in the Liiga so far in 2020-21.
2017—Skyler Brind’Amour in the 6th round. Drafted out of the U.S. National Development Team, Brind’Amour went to a lesser league (BCHL). He played two pedestrian seasons there, but held his own as as a freshman with Quinnipiac. We await the next chapter.
2017—Phillip Kemp in the 6th round. Another player drafted out of the U.S. National Development Program, Oilers spent several picks on that team during the Chiarelli years. Kemp has a defensive reputation, he has been effective at Yale in a shutdown role, adding some offense in his junior year. Has NHL potential according to Craig Button.
2018—Michael Kesselring in the 6th round. He’s a big man with raw skills, he played his draft season in a New Hampshire high school and draft +1 season in the UHSL. Played his freshman year at Northeastern and looks like he may have a chance at an NHL career. Absolutely a player to follow.
2019—Tomas Mazura in the 6th round. Confusing prospect, like Kesselring drafted out of a New Hampshire high school (which used to happen more frequently although maybe Ken Holland is bringing it back). He was 18 on draft day, turned 19 that September and is now 20 playing in Liiga-U20 league in 2020-21 (3 games, 1-2-3). Hard to assess him based on these satellite leagues he’s playing in.
DRAFT AND COLLEGE 2020-2024
2020—Carter Savoie in the 4th round. He’s off to Denver, that’s a fine program and Savoie should be playing with talent for two or four years. He’s the most offensively talented forward since Cogliano, possibly before. This will be an interesting career to follow.
Since the turn of the century, Edmonton has
- chosen 35 ‘draft and college’ players
- 11 men have played in the NHL
- 22 have been chosen after their 17-year old season
- 8 have been chosen after their 18-year old season
- 1 has been chosen after his 19-year old season
- 4 have been chosen after their 20-year old season
- The 19-year old (Coughlin) was chosen in the MacT era
- Two of the four 20-year olds (Campbell and Vesel) came in the MacT era
- All of the 20-year olds were chosen from 2009-2014 (Tambellini, MacT).
- Peter Chiarelli’s choices on this list were all chosen after 17-year old seasons.
- The best players from this group—Matt Greene (18), Andrew Cogliano (17), Jeff Petry (17), Riley Nash (17), Caleb Jones (17) and John Marino (17) were chosen after 17 or 18 year old seasons.
- Only two first-round picks were in the group: Andrew Cogliano and Riley Nash.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we talk baseball classics and NHL’s return to play, on TSN1260. Alex Chippin from The Score will break down the NFL’s wild weekend and preview Monday’s games. Jared Diamond from the Wall Street Journal will discuss a brilliant Game 7 between the Dodgers and the Braves last night, and the WS ahead. Jason Gregor from TSN1260 talks Oilers contracts (Bear, Lagesson) and possible additions before training camp, plus a target date for training camps. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.