I’ve been thinking about the Oilers 2020 draft and the unique qualities of it. Every pick was a forward, and all of them brought skill. It got me thinking about past drafts. Did Edmonton go all in on burners one year? What about Coke Machines?
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: Oilers first-round pick Dylan Holloway’s fast start has fans buzzing
- New Jonathan Willis: A brief history of Oilers teams with goalie problems, and how they overcame them
- Lowetide: Some prospects who are remembered as busts deserve a second look
- Lowetide: Ideal style pairings for the 2020-21 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers are better with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl apart at 5-on-5
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Calder Trophy: 5 rookies, 1 strong contender
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The results
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: Goals against
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The Goals
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers defensive prospects are impressive overseas, but what comes next?
- Lowetide: Oilers pick up an intriguing addition in free agent Dominik Kahun
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ organizational depth chart: Where does Edmonton stand today?
- Lowetide: Oilers extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
- Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
THE 2005 DRAFT
There were several speed merchants in the 2005 draft chosen by Edmonton. Using the NHL draft media guide, Andrew Cogliano was described as an “excellent skater with a smooth, powerful stride, uses quick bursts to get to loose pucks.” Taylor Chorney was “an excellent skater with outstanding speed, balance and agility” while Danny Syvret “skates very well, his agility, mobility and speed make him one of the most effective defensemen in the OHL.”
Robby Dee? “A smooth, quick stride with excellent speed, natural skater.” Even Chris VandeVelde, who was not a burner in the NHL, had “a wide stance, long stride good speed that has improved.”
Slava Trukhno was “a very good skater, effortless stride, a little bow-legged.” He was a favourite of mine after seeing him make some fine skill plays during one preseason. “Saw him good” can fool you, kids! Fredrik Pettersson was “an excellent skater with good acceleration.”
Among the group of speedy players, Cogliano showed early that he had the offensive ability to play in the NHL. Added to durability and work ethic, and he built himself a long career. He also developed into a quality forward against elite competition, as shown in Puck IQ’s player card versus elites. That’s a helluva player.
If the Oilers get a bigger Andrew Cogliano out of Dylan Holloway, pray to the God who’ll answer you the general manager doesn’t trade him away for a second-round pick.
Jesse Puljujarvi took a kneeing penalty in the Liiga and there’s a lot of talk about his adding a ‘rugged’ gear. Jesse Puljujarvi is a big train and he’s going to run over a lot of people in his NHL career. However, he isn’t Matthew Tkachuk. Let’s review the original scouting report.
WHAT DID THE DRAFT DAY SCOUTING REPORTS SAY?
- Corey Pronman: He’s an unbelievable skater for a 6-foot-4 player, having a great top gear and a really fluid stride. He’s not that physically aggressive, but he closes on guys so well that he pressures and wins battles effectively. Puljujarvi shows a high-skill level, a plus shot and high-end hockey IQ. He is constantly around the puck and setting up his teammates.
- Red Line Report: Big horse looks and plays like a Mats Sundin clone. Has the four S’s: size, skills, skating, shot. Has all the tools to be a dominant power forward who combines top-notch skills with brute force. Terrific size/strength and is impossible to move off the puck — uses wide stance and is hard on his stick. Comes alive whenever the puck is nearby. Wants to make plays. Dynamic skater accelerates in a few strides and has excellent speed. Uses long reach and soft hands to beat “D” off the rush. Dangerous every shift.
Big men like Puljujarvi are going to flatten mortals because speed + mass equals Dustin Byfuglien. By all accounts Frank Mahovlich was a true gentleman but when he made contact, damaged goods. Puljujarvi will be a going concern because of what he is physically. I don’t think he is mean spirited in the least. That mean streak can be an asset, but it’s either in the DNA or not.
By the way, there’s a positive Covid-19 result on Puljujarvi’s team. That may mean his Liiga season is over, as the indications have the NHL starting in January and that means training camp for the Oilers in December. JP’s current Liiga stats (13 games, 6-4-10) carry an NHLE of 17-12-29 in 82 games. That would be splendid NHL production.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll preview the NBA draft and talk about the NHL’s return to play plans. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will pop by at 10:20 and talk about Puljujarvi’s time away and what might be expected from the big man this season. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will pop by at 11 to talk about the NFL weekend to come and why the Seahawks recent play may force a change in betting strategy. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Note: I’m also part of the “sports moustahce” draft at 9:05 which has been ridiculous and fun to prepare. Should be a blast!