During an Oilers game in January 2015, John Shannon mentioned a conversation with Craig MacTavish involving what the GM learned during his trip behind the bench.
Shannon: “I talked to Craig MacTavish before the game, and about the five or six games he spent behind the bench. I said you know size doesn’t matter anymore and he said oh no, one thing I learned is that size matters more than ever. Size and quickness.”
The Oilers 2020 draft has just been completed, and gives us a chance to see if the Ken Holland-Tyler Wright combination believes in all size all the time or has room for small skill.
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: Jay Woodcroft oversees a spike in Oilers prospect development
- New Lowetide: The 2020-21 Oilers and value contracts: Career opportunities
- New Eric Duhatschek: For one season only, bring on the NHL’s Canada Division
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ organizational depth chart: Where does Edmonton stand today?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov’s KHL impact and what it means to the Oilers
- Lowetide: How many goals will Tyler Ennis score in 2020-21?
- Lowetide: Oilers extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
- Lowetide: Can Kyle Turris centre an outscoring No. 3 line in Edmonton?
- Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers unlock James Neal’s scoring potential at five on five?
- 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 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: Jesse Puljujarvi signing overshadows a strong day for Oilers at draft
- Lowetide: Oilers draft Dylan Holloway on Day 1, with trades possible Wednesday
OILERS 2020 DRAFT
Here are the heights and weights for Edmonton’s most recent draftees. I’m taking them from the Oilers site.
- C-LW Dylan Holloway 6.01, 203
- LW Carter Savoie 5.09, 192
- RW Tyler Tullio 5.10, 165
- LW Maxim Berezkin 6.02, 201
- C Filip Engaras 6.0, 187
- RW Jeremias Lindewall 6.02, 183
The average size for an NHL forward in 2019-20 was 6.01, 197 pounds according to this article from James Mirtle at The Athletic. Holloway will be above average if he makes it, Berezkin and Lindewall, too. The only undersized players are Savoie and Tullio and they are the most skilled in the group.
OILERS 2019 DRAFT
Holland was here in time for the draft, don’t know how much impact he had but I’ll bet a 2-4 of Crown Royal he did impact the Broberg selection. Here are the numbers for the 2019 draftees.
- LD Philip Broberg 6.03, 199
- RC Raphael Lovoie 6.04, 196
- G Ilya Konovalov 6.0, 194
- RW Matej Blumel 6.0, 198
- RC Tomas Mazura 6.02, 170
- LC Maxim Denezhkin 5.10, 165
Among forwards, Lavoie is the only player certain to be above average based on the Mirtle numbers. Blumel is very there but not above average, doubt Mazua or Denezhkin will be NHL average if they make the NHL.
The average defenseman is 6.02, 203 and Broberg will play far above the average based on his age and frame. Goalies are 6.02, 201 and Konovalov will never get there.
ROSTER FORWARDS ABOVE 6.01, 197
The current Oilers have some big forwards, here they are sorted by height.
- LC Jujhar Khaira 6.04, 212
- RW Alex Chiasson 6.04, 208
- RW Jesse Puljujarvi 6.04, 201
- LW James Neal 6.03, 212
- RW Zack Kassian 6.03, 211
- LC Leon Draisaitl 6.02, 208
- Patrick Russell 6.01, 203
- LC Connor McDavid 6.01, 193
- RC Kyle Turris 6.01, 190
The Oilers have a pile of forwards who are average or bigger than average NHL heading into next season. Some small forwards (Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Ennis, Josh Archibald, Nuge, Joakim Nygard, Gaetan Haas) but the size part of this roster is real.
He played in just one game this week, and is now clearly the backup to Edward Pasquale, who leads the KHL with a .961 save percentage. Although that performance obscures Konvalov, he sits No. 5 among KHL goalies with a .933 save percentage.
Dmitri Samorukov hasn’t moved much in the boxcars (20 games, 2-5-7) but remains No. 1 in the KHL in even strength on ice goal differential (18-4). He’s playing a confident defensive game complete with solid hitting and puck separation. Easy to overlook him with so many other good defensemen in the system, but his style is rather unique compared to the rest of the group.
Philip Broberg is tied for No. 15 among SHL blue in scoring (12 games, 1-4-5), he plays today so that could change. He is averaging 19:44 per game and has an on ice goal differential of 7-9, which ranks No. 3 among Skelleftea blue. Broberg is No. 5 in even strength ice time (14:53, two seconds behind the man in fourth) and has posted four power-play points in 31 minutes (7.55 per 60).
There is a connection between the Oilers and Mike Hoffman (covered here) which I find encouraging. Not because I think Hoffman is heading to Edmonton (I’d suggest it is a distant bell) but rather because it means Ken Holland is shopping for a skill or two-way forward. Adding Hoffman to this team is too much to dream, but a Duclair, Kahun or Athanasiou is realistic and I think an astute move.