Pipeline Progress

by Lowetide

I believe you should wait five years before making the call on a prospect, because they rarely develop in a straight line. There are not very many Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl arrivals annually, the rest have to struggle and fight and grind their skills into useful pieces of the roster puzzle.

There is another side of that question you know. It’s kind of obvious but we never bother to ask it. Goes like this: How many players chosen outside the first round spend five or more years playing a feature role on a skill line? How many spend five years on a skill line full stop? Damned scouts know what they’re doing after all.


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.


RW Jesse Puljujarvi Liiga (8, 5-2-7) NHLE: 32.4. The big man is signed and waiting for the NHL preseason, while the general manager went out and added a No. 3 center who is a veteran NHLer who can create. A huge season on the way for a player who should be able to help significantly.

LC Ryan McLeod, NLA (7, 2-3-5) NHLE: 27.6. He has most of the tool kit required to be a two-way center in the NHL, we await the returns from the counting room. I like McLeod’s pro career so far, including the seven games in a good European league.

RC-RW Raphael Lavoie, Allsvenskan (10, 6-3-9) NHL: 26.6. He might be an example of what I mentioned above, a second-round selection who spends five years on a skill line in the NHL. There’s a GIF online currently where he scores backdoor left side on the power play and he’s a tall player like Puljujarvi. Last players to spend several years on a skill line while being drafted outside the first round? Jarret Stoll or Mike Comrie.

LD William Lagesson, Allsvenskan (10, 3-5-8) NHLE: 23.6. He is enjoying a strong run in the Allsvenskan and appears to be the top candidate for No. 7 defender when the Oilers get back to work. This is a player Edmonton needs to know the value on at the NHL level before moving on from him.

LD Dmitri Samorukov KHL (21, 2-5-7) NHLE: 22.0. Most of the boxcars were posted early but this young man remains an effective even strength outscorer for his team. He is decidedly No. 3 among the young gun blue (Bouchard, Broberg) but might be the best shutdown option and has a great winspan. He hits like a Ural-4320, too.

LD Philip Broberg, SHL (13, 1-4-5) NHLE: 18.8. This pick is trending very well for Edmonton, the trajectory Broberg is writing from himself is exciting and might land him in the NHL over the next 12 months. He plays a ton, gets even strength and power-play minutes and, perhaps as important as anything, he is playing games in an excellent pro league.

RD Filip Berglund, SHL (8, 1-2-3) NHLE: 18.3. Two-way defenseman is playing a major role for his team this year. When he arrives in Bakersfield, Berglund will offer NHL depth behind Adam Larsson, Ethan Bear, Tyson Barrie and Evan Bouchard.

LW Matej Blumel, Czech (4, 0-2-2) NHLE: 17.8. Speedster is enjoying some early success in the Czech league this season (he was 31, 4-1-5 in the same circuit a year ago). We won’t know what he is until Blumel hits the AHL but good offensive numbers are a good indicator.

RD Evan Bouchard, Allsvenskan (13, 3-3-6) NHLE: 13.6. He is playing regularly and having an impact in a good league. Too many pims, don’t know what’s gotten into him (I kid). Some are down on this player, I expect he’ll be very ready when his NHL opportunity arrives.

LC Maxim Denezhkin, VHL (12, 2-3-5) NHLE: 12.98. This is an interesting player. He’s 19, undersized and has two-way acumen. I’ve said before and do believe he might have NHL potential but it’s also possible we never see him here.

LD Markus Niemelainen, Liiga (11, 0-3-3) NHLE: 10.1. His overall game appears to be improved this year, might be a blessing the big man got another year in Europe before tackling the AHL.

LW Maxim Berezkin, KHL (14, 0-2-2) NHLE: 9.4. He’s in the KHL and playing, just turned 19 in October. Berezkin shoots right and is an excellent passer, I think they might have something here. That doesn’t mean he’ll be lining up on the McDavid line in two years, but I can see him emerging as the best Russian winger drafted by Edmonton since Anton Slepyshev.

LD Theodor Lennstrom, SHL (9, 1-1-2) NHLE: 8.9. Speedy chaos blue is playing at previous levels, offense off a little and he’s playing less (15:15) than a year ago (17:50).

LW Jeremias Lindewall, Allsvenskan (5, 1-0-1) NHLE: 5.9. He’s 6.02, 187 and moves well, good hands and is already playing in the Allsvenskan (where he has scored). Earliest of the earlies but a nice start.

RW Kirill Maksimov, KHL (6, 0-0-0). He has scored well in the VHL (5, 4-2-6) but can’t get untracked in the big Russian league. Of all the AHL kids who need to get back to Woodcroft county, I believe Maksimov is top of the list.

LW Patrik Siikanen, Liiga (5, 0-0-0). His career is vague two years after the Oilers drafted him, I expect that’s a tell.

LW Tyler Benson, Swiss League (5, 1-4-5). Benson is playing in the second Swiss league and doing well, only point per game regular on the team. A big season ahead.

LC Tomas Mazura, Sarja U20 (3, 1-2-3). He is 20 and is playing junior hockey in Finland. I’m not sure about his career progression but it seems more leisurely than others on this list.

G Ilya Konovalov, KHL (8, 2.03, .933). He isn’t playing much but when Konovalov gets his chance the numbers shine. Ordinarily you see a trade in these situations, it would be a good idea to get him some starts down the stretch. He should get a contract from Edmonton in the offseason.

G Olivier Rodrigue, Austria (2, 2.00 .937). A fine goalie prospect who spiked late last season. I have him consistently behind Konovalov, doesn’t mean I’m right. He’s a real NHL prospect.


Back to the original question posed, and this time I’ll be strict about it. How many Oilers draft picks (forwards), chosen outside the first round, played five or more years on a skill line. Here’s the list: Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Miroslav Satan, Shawn Horcoff, Mike Comrie. You have to stretch a little for Comrie, all others are rock solid.

So, the question becomes why bother? Just pick your skill forwards in the first round and then fill in. Well, it doesn’t work that way. First of all, NHL checkers were all skill forwards in junior, they just couldn’t dominate at the highest levels because better players kept hogging the damned puck. Jerks.

I’d draft skill every pick, and the Oilers did that in 2020. After all the Coke Machines and checkers in the first round, it was a pleasing draft.


At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we hit the airwaves rocking and won’t stop until the noon bell hits in Maidstone. Guests include Darryl Belfry, author of the new book Belfry Hockey tells us about what NHL athletes are doing to get ready for a season with no start date. Hart Levine from PuckPedia pops in to chat about Edmonton’s cap situation and I want to hear his thoughts on the Ethan Bear contract and what the cap hit might look like. We’re also scanning the internet for an NBA guest, looking for a rundown on free agency. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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Did you account for the development time as I suggested? For example, later round picks are not likely to reach the NHL full time until draft +3/4/5?

Your methodology would certainly be good for capturing the Brad Marchants, Brayden Points, and Johnny Gaudraus.

For the 0.5 ppg cutoff it’s a little murky due to a variety of factors.

Some players have a career arc where they have several seasons above 0.6, but stay in the league after falling off a cliff due to contract like Lucic. If he keeps playing due to contract, he fall below the 0.5 ppg cutoff, but he’s still a great success as a second round pick.

Other the other side, Ryan Spooner managed a career 0.5 + ppg in the NHL only because he dropped out of the league entirely at quite a young age.

Really, I am nitpicking here.

Certainly, overall it looks like your analysis suggests that we overvalue picks outside of the first round.

Brings us back to Lowetide:

There is another side of that question you know. It’s kind of obvious but we never bother to ask it. Goes like this: How many players chosen outside the first round spend five or more years playing a feature role on a skill line? How many spend five years on a skill line full stop? Damned scouts know what they’re doing after all.


Also, in the piece Holland was taking about the Kahun signing allowing Tip to have a couple of options for Drai in Ennis and Kahun and referenced Nuge for Connor.

For me, it’s all but a certainty that Nuge starts with Connor and I’m starting to think that is something Connor expressly wants and has “asked for”.


I wonder what Tippett thinks.


Per Jim Matheson who spoke with Holland:

… Holland said he isn’t close to re-signing Ethan Bear or William Lagesson on defence. Either Lagesson or Evan Bouchard figures to be the No. 7, for now, with no thought of trading for an experienced defender.

I’m cool without signing another veteran dman as Lagesson and Bouch are the players I want filling in in their respective sides when injuries hit.

I have no concern about the two RFAs not signed yet – tons of time.

Harpers Hair

When you will become concerned?
Nuge is also 8 months away from being a UFA.


peterson and hughes 8 months away too. That is DOUBLE the work and at least 3X the money out on the CAP compared to RNH.

Harpers Hair

Pettersson and Hughes are RFA…Nuge is a UFA. Huge difference.


I would be concerned if camp was approaching – we are nowhere near that point.

Strome, Strome, PLD, Pulock, Sergachev, Weager, Bailey, Debrusk, Cernak, etc.

Nuge and Holland are working a long-term extension – all the news on that front has been positive.

Harpers Hair

What news? Exactly?
If I was Nuge’s agent I would be asking for an $8MX8 deal.
He has ALL the leverage.


The news that the player and the team have been discussing a long-term extension and the talks have been positive. Both the player and the team want the player to be an Oiler for a long time.

You stated that if you were Berglund there is no way you’d sign with the Oilers – signing came shortly

You stated that if you were Lagesson, you’d explore other options and stay in Europe – a day later a story came out of Sweden with quotes re: him competing for an NHL spot with the Oilers this season.

Harpers Hair

I have no control over the bad decisions made by Oiler prospects.


I almost want to + this, it’s quite funny.


Yet you claim to have all the answers…


Seems you don’t have control over your mouth running before the brain engages either.


You wouldn’t be an agent very long. What team would sign Nuge for $8 mil/year?



November 3, 2020 5:30 pm

…As for selecting an impact forward outside the first round, that’s a lightning strike. If we use career 0.6 Pts/GP as a higher and stricter career threshold for defining an impact forward (plays a number of years in a feature role on a skill line), I estimate (by clicking around on nhl.com and looking at past drafts on hockey reference) that there have been about 40 such picks in the last 20 drafts. If these lightning strike picks were spread evenly among teams, then, after 20 drafts, 20 teams should have 1 of these non first round impact players and 10 teams should have 2.

The Oilers have 0. Not great but not unusual.

If I lower the career threshold to 0.5 Pts/GP (my heuristic for a top 6 forward), then teams average closer to 3 of these players in the past 20 drafts (roughly 80 in total).

The Oilers again have 0. Not great and more of a case for suck.

First of all, who are you and what have you done to Georgexs?

Georgexs, in my experiences, would never resort to eyeballing something like this. Hard data would be scraped, placed in an excel file and there would be t-tests… 🙂

Question with your methodology, did you account for later round picks take time to reach the NHL?

Someone like Anthony Cirelli took 3 years to get a sniff of the NHL. In his 4rth year, he was just under 0.5 ppg. It wasn’t until his 5th year that he pushed over that mark.

Obviously, if you look at the first five of the last 5 years, that’s going to skew the data.



I think the Oilers should be looking hard at Anton Slepyshev, I think he’s a better option then Neal, Chassion or Archibald. 

He is tearing up the KHL right now. Unfortunatley, he signed a 2-year deal which takes him through the 2020/21 season NHL season, precludes him from signing in the NHL and he’ll be an NHL UFA when its up.

Not an option for next season – could still sign in Edmonton the following year but there will be no exclusive rights.

Also, even if a player that is a better option signs in Edmonton, that doesn’t get Neal or Chiasson and their cap hit off the roster. They can bury each and save $1.075M but I don’t think Holland would do that to either of those players to start the season.

Last edited 11 months ago by OriginalPouzar

Elgin R

Pipeline at forward is pretty thin given the criteria. Could see Lavoie making the grade, but Mcleod and Benson project to 3rd liners in my eyes.

I agree that McLeod projects to be a 3rd liner center which is just fine – he size and speed and two-way abilities to go with some skill could make for a very very good 3C which this organization will need.

I haven’t closed the book on Benson’s top 6 abilities – he’s still in his ELC and, Holland signing a block for his this year doesn’t diminish his attributes. Yes, I know, skating, but time will tell – 3rd liner, middle sixer, top six are are still potentials.

Lavoie is basically top 6 or bust, in my opinion – he’s not a great defensive player and I don’t see him re-inventing himself. If he makes it, and I think it will take a few full years of pro before he’s an NHL option, it will be as a shoot first scorer in the top 6.

Lets not forget about Holloway – perfect skill set to me McDavid’s left winger for the championship years if he develops.


Origional pouzar:
desjardin created age translations between 05/06 to 07/08.
his were for draft (17) and draft + 1 (18)

I further looked at Draft -1 (16), draft +2 (19), draft +3 (20)
What become clear is .30 is universal standard for CHL production.
An variance is based on division and league goalie depth.
tier 2 is .633333 of CHL.

The age affect is dependent on the number of the date from sept 16 (1/365) to sept 15 (365/365) of draft yr.
as a result we see different levels of affect by age each yr.
draft -1: .75 + (x/365 x .25); .25/.75 = 33.33%; .751 to 1.00
draft : .50 + (x/365 x .25); .25/.50 = 50.00%, .501 to .750
draft +1: .40 + (x/365 x .10); .10/.40 = 25.00%; .400 to .500
draft +2: .35 + (x/365 x .05); .05/.35 = 14.29%; .350 to .400
draft + 3 .32 + (x/365 x .03); .03/.32 = 9.38%; .320 to .350

Age translation affect is present from 16 to 21.
The age affect is gone draft +5 (22).
This method said debrincitt was a 78pt age NHLE player.

The missed age affect (in brackets) by using just NHLE is staggering.
draft -1: .751/.3 = 250.33% (150.33%) 1.00/.3 = 333.33%: (233.33%)
draft: .501/.3 = 167.00% (67.00%); .750/.3 = 250.00% (150.00%)
draft+1; 400/.3 = 133.33% (33.33%); .500/.3 = 166.67% (66.67%)
draft +2; 35/.3 = 116.67% (16.67%); .400/3 = 133.33% (33.33%)
draft +3; .32/.3 = 106.67% (6.67%); (16.67%)

it is interesting that CHL NHLE without age is
(1.5 x.3) x 82gm 36.9 xPT
(1.0 x .30) x 82gm 24.6 xPT

the CHL age translations ranges are clear
1.00 age 16 .751
.750 age 17 .501
.500 Age 18 .400
.400 age 19 .350
.350 age 20 .320

age translation
(1.5 ppg x 1.00) x 82gm = 123 xPT;
(1.0 x 1.00) x 82 = 82 xPT
(1.5 x .750)x 82gm = 92.25 xPT;
(1.0 x .750) x 82 = 61.5 xPT
(1.5 x .500) x 82 = 61.5 xPT;
(1.0 x .500) x 82 = 41 xPT
(1.5 x .400) x 82 = 49.2 xPT;
(1.0 x .400) x 82 = 32.8 xPT
(1.5 x .350) x 82 = 43.05 xPT
(1.0 x .350) x 82 = 28.7 xPT
age variance has a huge affect on Translation.

I have allways prefered xEVPT translation.
Not all players get PP TOI.
holloways draft -1 yr said 67 xPT
Savoie draft yr said 56 xPT
Tullio draft yr said 56 xPT


Oh no…the ads are starting to look like Lowetidians. Is this the same for others?

Last edited 11 months ago by BONE207

Yes they are showing up between posts on my laptop as well..


Yup – tons and tons of ads – they come and go though it seems. Right now, many.

Bruce McCurdy

Sad state of affairs that all the impact forwards drafted outside the first round were selected last century, & that the majority of those (& the best ones) in the first 5 years of the franchise. 
Not sure there’s another way to parse this besides “epic fail”.


How much of that is scouting? Development? The players themselves?
I agree, it’s a fail. Hopefully they’ve figured out the cause of failure to correct the issue. Hopefully Holland/Wright/Gretzky can all work together to remedy this failure. The after 1st round picks this year seem like a step in the right direction, hopefully, maybe, pleeeeaaaasssse


It’s been so long since we had a real hit we’ve forgotten what it feels like.


I feel we have been shopping as Winners vs. Henry Singers in 2020..

Ennis, Kahun, Turris, Barrie are flawed “third lines” with MAYBE a bit of a short term upside.

Griffith, Quine, Forsberg are flawed “fourth liners” with MAYBE a bit of short term upside AND they join last year’s model we called Russell, Nygard, Haas and Archibald.

Next Year – We can shop at Henry Singer’s

Yamamoto, Bear, Jones will all be north of 120 NHL games and more than 50 minor pro games.


We will have the largest pool of +50 minor (Euro leagues) the coach can select,

Benson, Bouchard, Broberg, McLeod, Lagesson, Samorukov and Konovalov will all have played between 100-160 pro games

Lavoie and Rodrigue will have +50 minor pro games

AND the General Manager has $28M to spend on HIS team


And missed Puljujarvi in the Yama, Bear, Jones club


Id prefer they shop at winners and stick with draft and develop.

No value in a $120 teeshirt with a no move clause 😁

kidding aside I fear we will go whale shopping in net next summer. Hopefully not!



An astute signing by Mr. Holland. I’ve heard that because Buffalo didn’t qualify him then at the end of his contract with Edmonton he becomes an RFA, not a full FA. Which is a huuuge plus to this organization and it’s balancing act come expansion time.

Through all of this hooopla about Kahun, I’m sort of curious to know why Buffalo stiffed him. He’s bounced between a few teams now in a relatively short period of time….makes you wonder, no?

Yes, given his signing age and years of service, Kahun will still be an RFA – his qualifying offer will also be super low but he will have arbitration rights.

From accounts, the issue Buffalo management had with qualifying Kahun was that he was arbitration eligible and they were concerned about a larger award if he filed.’

I’m not overly concerned about the fact he’s bounced around a bit – two teams traded him for value and the 3rd team let him go due to salary risk via arbitration award

Death By Misadventure

The way Kenny is signing players who needs a prospect pool.


Lagesson is 4th in Hockey Alsvenskan in TOI/G (Bouchard is 12th) – he is too good for that league, obviously, and should be fully confidant upon return to Canada, when the time comes.

Samorukov is plus 13 (not a perfect stat, I know) which is 2nd among defenders in the KHL and 3rd in the league – he has been playing top pairing minutes that last little while as well. He is having a HUGE year in, arguably, a tougher league than the AHL (especially for a on-veteran).

Lavoie has 9 points in 10 games – 9 points on the 18 goals Vasby has scored……

Some context – Bouchard got a misconduct (on an interference penalty) early in the season and the misconduct in Alskvenskan lists as 20 minutes on the stats…….

Great arrow that Berezkin is in the KHL at his age but he’s hardly playing – the extra forward more nights – did get an assist in apx 7 minutes of ice a few games ago though.

Lindewall playing pro at 19 is a great arrow – solid goal as well – got himself to the scoring area in front of the next for a tap in rebound goal.

I have Konovalov and Rodrigue as somewhat equal prospects but Konovalov closer to the NHL. Playing games would be nice – for both – Konavalov stuck behind a hot Pasquale and Rodrigue having many games postponed due to Covid (same with the guys in Liiga, the Czech league and the Swiss league – lots of postponements recently.


I think the Oilers should be looking hard at Anton Slepyshev, I think he’s a better option then Neal, Chassion or Archibald. 


They can look all they want. He chose to sign a two year contract in the KHL rather than accept the offer the Oilers made him.


Given how Todd McLellan used him and the type of GM the Oilers had,I think it behooves the Oilers to revisit this player given how well he’s playing in the KHL.
I’d argue the reason he went over there had nothing to do with wanting to play in the KHL.


The story at the time was that his wife did not want to live in N.A.

No way of knowing how true that is but that was the story. By the time his KHL contract is finished the Oilers will no longer own his rights.


Slepyshev has a signed contract that takes him to unrestricted free agency.


Does NHLE factor age into the conversion? Or are the equivalencies for a 23 year old and 19 year old the same?

so polar
  1. There are methods which account for a prospect’s age, but I believe LT just uses the standard conversion factor, which treats a 17 and 27 year old the same.

Thanks for clarifying that for me. Helps with my own “processing the information”.


You’re more experienced with it than I am – what did you do to come up with your Allsvenskan NHLe?


I generally take NHLe factors with a grain of salt given they don’t generally account for age. Dylan Holloway and his low NHLe is an example of this to me. Playing in college in his 18 year old first draft eligible season is a great arrow in itself – not to mention the progression he showed through the year as he got used to the difference between Alberta junior and college – 9 points in his last 10 games.

so polar

Question for everyone: can you see the comment section before logging in?
I ask because I’d been reading it for years before I made this account and would hate to see those without locked out.


I almost never log in. I can always see the comments. That was the case before the improvements too, unless there was something really buggy going on with the site because Interwebs.

Sometimes now I get a “Load more comments” bar which apparently comes up after some magic number of comments get posted, because so far it’s always been after the same comment in the thread. Seems to be around ~#100.


I never see unless i log in. And if i put the phone down for too long for spend day 5 minutes using another app it kicks me out, reloads the page and the comments are gone again until i log in again.

Most days, can’t see the current post without login. This mostly on Safari on iphone, but other browsers on iphone don’t seem to change anything.

106 and 106

It was 2014, and I was applying for a teachers post at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I had an hour long Powerpoint presentation, felt good about it, and got a phone call the next day saying I didn’t get the job.

One of her points of feedback was, “Who puts a black background and white font??? I wouldn’t recommend doing that ever again.”

I put my tongue in cheek but wanted to say “if it’s good enough for Lowetide, it’s good enough for me.”

Great updates on the site…. super glad you didn’t change the black & white combo.


They never heard of dark mode? Man everything on my phone is set to this kind of combo


Yeah, a program that I use just did a big update, and it was said that the number one feature request was dark mode.


Now we just need to get Logos 9!


Haha! That’s what I was talking about. Got the free trial last night!


In 2014? Probably not. It only became a trend in app and web design around 2017/2018.

Elgin R

Pipeline at forward is pretty thin given the criteria. Could see Lavoie making the grade, but Mcleod and Benson project to 3rd liners in my eyes.


i’m excited to see McLeod’s next training camp. A loonie says he eats Khaira’s lunch this year.


I agree from the hockey sense side McLeod is ahead. I always have room for a guy like Khaira for his physicality and willingness to stick up for his mates. Against some teams you need this


I like the elimination of the coloured backgrounds that used to be behind the paragraphs.


It’s a good thing.


The new site is great including this. So much easier to read. Thanks very much LT and Ryan. A great team! 🙂


What hath Ryan wrought?
The changes are the best thing since Marconi invented the Interwebs.
Great for old eyes on mobile.

Rocking the most voted sort which is really nice on days visiting later.
Yesterday the Rafferty parody was top there and you know who was at the bottom for those with time on their hands to read people with time on their hands arguing with him.


Agreed, it reads better.

The ads in the comment section are tough to distinguish from the discussion. Any way to change the colour of the ads.


Unfortunately for the Oil, they only had about the same number of first rounders who cracked the top 6!!

I kid. Kind of.


Quick comment about the site. Would be nice if you get your coloured crayons out and do you paragraphs in different colours as it will help separate comment from commercials.


How many, like myself, had to Google Ural-4320?


I guessed it was a train…

Elgin R

My uncle had an old-surplus GMC 6×6 that we used for everything from pulling out big tree stumps to getting tractors unstuck. That thing would go through or over just about anything. If the analogy is correct, then I for one cannot wait to see him wreck havoc in the NHL.