I think we’ll hear something this week in terms of a season, so wanted to clean up a few loose ends just in case we have to shift gears in a hurry. Today, I want to talk about the draft and what the Oilers are getting out of it.
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 Jonathan Willis: Will the Oilers repeat their power play magic in 2021?
- New Lowetide: Why Dmitri Samorukov is an Oilers prospect with a big future
- Lowetide: Why hasn’t Ken Holland pursued college free agents for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Increase in skill wingers adds mystery to Oilers preseason
- Lowetide: How many ‘peak seasons’ can Oilers fans expect from Connor McDavid?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ increased focus on drafting skill is key to future success
- Lowetide: A short history of Oilers’ impact prospects at the world juniors
- Lowetide: Why Dave Tippett’s training camp with Oilers will be so compelling
- Lowetide: Oilers first-round pick Dylan Holloway’s fast start has fans buzzing
- Jonathan Willis: A brief history of Oilers teams with goalie problems, and how they overcame them
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers are better with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl apart at 5-on-5
- 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
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- What do you want to talk about? Ask me anything draft, I’ll answer.
- Thoughts on Tyler Wright? We’re way too early but I like his draft.
- You had Holloway mid 20s? Yes. I had Dawson Mercer, Mavrik Bourque and Connor Zary ahead of Holloway among others.
- Aren’t you outraged? No. I don’t think that makes any sense.
- Bastard! Call out inefficiency! Coward! I had Arthur Kaliyev in 2019, Oilers had Broberg. I had Ty Smith in 2018, Oilers took Evan Bouchard. In 2017 it was Eeli Tolvanen for me, Kailer Yamamoto for Edmonton.
- You’re saying it’s too soon? I’m saying there’s no obvious mistake. I enjoy telling you that I had Alex DeBrincat ahead of Tyler Benson, but will also tell you I had Sam Bennett ahead of Leon Draisaitl.
- Haha! Holy! That’s idiotic! It’s the draft. There are going to be hits and misses, but as long as a team is fishing in the right spots I don’t think there’s a reason to rip them.
- Still, inexcusable. I think that’s a credit to the Oilers scouts. If I’m Tyler Wright, one of the things I do is drill down on which of the scouts sent the team in the Draisaitl direction, the Bear direction, the Jones direction. Important to know your people and that process has probably barely begun due to the weird year of Covid.
- What would have been an obvious mistake in 2020? For me, I think Seth Jarvis would have been a player Edmonton could be criticized for passing on. He was chosen just ahead of Edmonton’s pick.
- What outrages you? Outrage is a strong word, but generally speaking I think any player chosen in the top 100 overall should have strong offense. If you’re drafting a shy forward, you’re basically wasting a pick.
- Recent example? For Edmonton it’s been some time now, but Travis Ewanyk in 2011 was a selection that is fair to criticize. He scored 16-11-27 in 72 WHL games in his draft season. The man chosen next, Blake Coleman, posted 34-58-92 in 59 USHL games. I think that’s an area the Oilers needed to improve, and have improved over these years.
- Who gets credit for the 2015 draft? Great question. Stu MacGregor was fired just ahead of the draft but one wonders if Chiarelli took over the list. McDavid was an obvious choice, I think Bear was a typical (if inspired) Edmonton selection, but John Marino was a deep pull and maybe Chiarelli chose from his own viewings at times. MacGregor should get credit, don’t know how much.
- Most inspired choice of the decade? Draisaitl.
- Who was responsible? Well, I believe you have to give some credit to Craig MacTavish, he was very aggressive in his two drafts (2013 and 2014). Not always right, in fact the back half of 2014 was like Spinal Tap at the Army base. WHL scouts at that time were (as far as I can tell) Stu MacGregor, Bob Green, Jim Crosson, Bob Brown. I also think Michael Parkatti was passing along input during the MacTavish years and the general manager mentioned analytics several times in those months.
- Anyone else? Tyler Dellow was also involved at some point, don’t know if he had anything to do with the draft. Personally, I do credit him with helping avoid Logan Stanley, who had Oiler written all over him. That’s a guess.
- Is there a curio in the last five years that has stayed with you? Yes. The 2016 third round. Three defensemen seemed like overkill at the time, especially at a time when Edmonton didn’t have myriad prospects at center or on the wings. I don’t think it’s wise to pluck that many players in a round at one position, especially when two of them are from lower leagues.
- Do you have a favourite draft pick from 2020? I think Carter Savoie could be a home run.
- Other years? I’m a big believe in Raphael Lavoie (2019), Evan Bouchard (2018), Kailer Yamamoto (2017) and both Jesse Puljujarvi and Tyler Benson (2016).
- Who has surprised you in a good way in 2020-21? Holloway. Just two games but he looked fantastic. I am also on the Ilya Konovalov train.
- What’s the weirdest current draft fact about the Oilers? Haven’t chosen a WHL player since Stuart Skinner in 2017.