by Lowetide

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.


  • 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.


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Wheeler now has an article up on The Athletic with his top 64 for the ’21 draft.

Using the Broberg, Lavoie and Holloway picks as a template, who would be a reasonable pick(s) for the Oilers?


Thanks for all this digging and info George. My general query yesterday about starting to play in his draft +2 was more of a, will his AHL GP be higher because of starting in his draft +2 instead of draft +3? The info presented provides much more than just an answer to that.
You used a playing 30 games threshold, or 36.5% of a season. If they play a 48 game season, Bouchard would need to play 18 to be lumped into the success category?
I like Bouchard’s chances of playing at least 18 this year. Bear started as #4 RD last year and look how many he played. Jones started #4 LD and look how many he played. This year is shaping up to be a telling year for him though.


For some context, how many of the ~200 Dmen currently in the NHL meet the success/clear success criteria? If you don’t mind.


Thanks. So successes line up well with “top 6”, which was your intention.

And clear successes are “top 3” defensemen, plus a little bit.

I was wondering where clear success fell relative to ‘first pair’ and ‘top 4’


Sorry for prompting more work from you.

I was following, but I guess I assumed that if the sample of current NHL Dmen has 103 guys who were clear successes for their careers, that it was fair to say that on average each team has about 3.3 of those players at a given time. Thus ‘clear successes’ are top 3-ish defensemen, over their careers.

Likewise, 195 ‘successes’ is about 6 per team, so ‘top 6’ defensemen, for their careers.

I had to think pretty hard about exactly how I got to that, then how to articulate it, so apologies for not being more clear.

Does that sound fair?


Great stuff. Thanks, Internet&Georgexs!


I wonder when Bowen Byram is going to ask for a trade – I mean, bringing in Devon Toews tells us all we need to know about how the generation GM, Joe Sakic, thinks of Byram.

Harpers Hair

What a nonsensical thing to say.

There is a clear path to the NHL for Byram

Ian Cole is a 31 year defenseman on an expiring contract and Toews is at best a second pairing D.

Byram, who was drafted one year AFTER Bouchard, projects as a first pair D paired with Makar for many years to come.

They’re both elite skaters and puck movers and BOTH can quarterback a PP while Bouchard plods around the ice.

Here….educate yourself.

Projection and Comparison
“Byram has the skills to be a number one defenseman in the NHL. However, he may not be ready next year as he still needs to add some muscle to his frame before he is ready for the pro game. It is also natural that defensemen take a little longer than forwards to be NHL ready. In terms of a stylistic comparison, Byram’s game is reminiscent of Drew Doughty, however this is not comparing skill level.”

Byram was the best defenceman in the 2019 draft by a country mile.

Bouchard was perhaps the fourth best defenseman in the 2018 draft although that may change as Dobson, Ty Smith, Bernard-Docker and Sandin ramp things up.

Byram will be cashing big pay cheques while Bouchard might be dawdling on the bottom pairing.


“What a nonsensical thing to say.
There is a clear path to the NHL for Byram 
Ian Cole is a 31 year defenseman on an expiring contract and Toews is at best a second pairing D.”

Jaw drop.


Its almost like Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie aren’t on expiring contracts.

Its almost like Evan Bouchard’s draft day scouting report doesn’t ring just as true today – projects to be.


Also, if he’s so great why do you figure he hasn’t scored anything like Bouchard did in Jr?


He’s behind Bouchard in jr scoring and in defensemen of the year awards. But, there’s a clear path for him. He’s only got to beat out Cole. Setting a pretty low bar to jump over for him.

Harpers Hair

That’s fantastic stuff…thanks so much.


I always look forward to your posts. Thanks.


QMJHL is pausing for the month of December – set to re-start on Jan 3.

Harpers Hair
Harpers Hair

Oops…pasted the wrong one.


LT wrote.

What do you want to talk about? Ask me anything draft, I’ll answer.

If you were in charge is there one thing about how the team collects its draft information that you would change?

Last edited 10 months ago by defmn

I’m not familiar with how baseball does it but if it involves closer looks at home life, work habits etc. I am all for it.

Pro teams tend to guard their information closer than New York diamond merchants but do we know if the Oilers are already doing these things?

Darth Tu

The Holloway pick raised the red flag of math for me, but then over the last few months I’ve largely persuaded myself that it was raised in error. As you, and many posters here have pointed out Holloway was a young man playing in College. It’s quite the leap for a 17 year old and that was reflected in his early season scoring/minutes. Then didn’t he go 9 points in 10 games to end the season (before the Covid shutdown)? I think we have nothing to worry about with Dylan.

A few hockey related people I know here were all majorly happy about his selection, and also the Savoie pick later on (this would be examples of people having seen these players play multiple times in real life). No guarantee on Savoie making it to the NHL, but he seems to have a high upside for where he was selected.

I’m happy with the draft for sure.


From reading/watching Wheelers’ piece and then the two games he played earlier in the month, I couldn’t be more enthused with the pick – exactly the type of skill-set (including work ethic, athleticism, smarts, etc. in addition to the “hockey skills”) that this team needs and that fits perfectly with where the game has gone and is going.

I need to stop short of putting him ahead of Bouchard in my personal prospect rankings which, of course, have zero meaning or value…..


Button was speaking to a similar point when on with Gregor late last week – premise being better to “know alot about a little” than “little about alot”.

He was express that he had drafted player that he personally had not seen.


I have expressed some concern regarding Tyler Wright taking over amateur scouting and the draft from Keith Gretzky as i think Gretzky had done a very good job overall in his time as an Oilers.

Still way too early to really evaluate Wright’s draft but I love the Holloway pick (and had to educate myself on the player post-draft to get there) and, while it will take years to truly asses the rest of the draft, picks like Tulio and Savoie, where they were drafted are great bets on draft day.

The organization gained a ton of skill among forward prospects on one day.

Brantford Boy

Completely agree… as I’ve said previously the only problem I had with the picks the last two years is they seemed to be telegraphed or leaked weeks before the draft. With that said, I’m really warming quickly and quite excited on the Holloway selection. Broberg too, may be an excellent pick, especially now given the Klefbom news. I do fear we may never see him in Oilers silks again, just a hunch.


I fear this also…


Said the same thing when the news first broke. Klef always struck me as a guy well centred about what is important in life and he has made more than enough money to live well.


I have expressed some concern regarding Tyler Wright taking over amateur scouting and the draft from Keith Gretzky as i think Gretzky had done a very good job overall in his time as an Oiler

I, too, expressed some consternation at the change as it appeared that Holland was simply bringing in one of his guys as opposed to having the best person fill the role. Another draft class or two and we’ll have a better idea, but I think — so far — he’s on the… Wright track.

Do we know much about Keith Gretzky’s current role with the team? I know he’s assistant GM, and GM of BAK, but what kind of input would he have in the draft (if any)?


Keith is being groomed after Holland finishes his 5 year deal Keith will get promoted to be the head honcho.


That was my assumption as well. Maybe even earlier in a gradual process.


Different situations, but it’s interesting how different your take is on Gretzky being groomed vs Bouchard being expendable since he hasn’t been given a top 6 spot and PP time in his draft +3.


Fantastic work to get Kemp loans to Vasby of Allsvenskan.

Given the pedigree of Kemp (or lack thereof), the fact that he’s a short-term player in Europe and how far we are in to the season, I think this shows the depth of relationships Kenny Holland has over-seas.

I believe Kemp is committed for the year which is a bit too bad as I’d like to see him in the AHL, assuming that does start up, but I do get it.

With the Condors not being relocated to Canada forcing an expanded taxi squad roster in Edmonton, the likes of Bouchard won’t be available for the Condors – they are going to be VERY thin, in particular on the back-end

Leroy Draisdale

Also good for the team and Lavoie! I believe they are close to(if not) last place. He can bring some stability to the back end.


Yup, if I’m not mistaken, this is their first year in Allsvenskan after being promoted – they are a bottom feeding team.

I’m very curious how Kemp will fit in and adjust and how he’ll be used. He hasn’t played since March and I’m guessing that the game in Hockey Allsvenskan doesn’t really resemble the NCAA and the Ivy League all that much……

Darth Tu

Yup. Potentially Kemp will rapidly gain big minutes. Could be a great step for him in his development.

Brantford Boy

Thanks for this LT! It was due…


I’m not sure why there were non-hockey related Covid discussions happening here in the first place…… seems like an odd platform to have a real discussion thereon.

Sorry you had to babysit and make these types of statements on your week off!


Sorry to bring up yesterday’s thread, but I don’t think I saw this mentioned. If I recall correctly, keeping Bouchard in the AHL kept him from being eligible for selection in the upcoming expansion Draft. If it’s true, I feel it was only prudent to leave him there all year regardless of NHL readiness.

Harpers Hair

At some point…likely the season after next, Bouchard will become frustrated at being paid well below his draft cohort who are signing their second contracts.

IIRC, Bouchard gets a signing bonus of $92,500 and a salary of $70,000 but the last of those bonuses has already been paid.

His NHL salary is $832,500 but because his ELC contract has been sliding, it keeps getting extended while his peers are getting their first big payday.

That works very well for the team but not so much for the player.


Bouchard should be playing soft 3rd pairing minutes and PP2 time. This is how you break in a offensively talented top 10 pick. If Holland slo-fuks him for another year it wouldn’t surprise me if his agent asks for a trade and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.

Harpers Hair

I would imagine Bouchard and his agent were not very pleased with the Barrie signing.


If the Oilers resign Barrie for 5-6 years it’s tits up for Bouchard there’s only so many seats at the big boy powerplay table. Holland will get Tippett to play Bouchard in a butter soft roll 10-15 games just enough to showcase him. The Oilers should get a decent shoot first ask questions later winger for Bouchard and JP.


I only wanted to mention it since I think it brings important context to the nice comparable presented by Georgex and others yesterday. I think he was mostly there last year for reasons other than skill.


Stop trying to encourage a “wait and see approach” and deescalating the dialogue goddamnit! I want to see if the speculation based on inklings and hunches can take us to a second page (if that is still possible with the new format)

Elgin R

What cohort? There are only 2 defencemen drafted after #8 that have played a year of their ELC – Dobson (#11) and Sandin (#29). They played 34 and 28 games respectively and were utilized at under 13 1/2 minutes a game. Bouchard will be a top-4 dman with the Oilers for a long time and will make his money.

Harpers Hair

Why would you only include players drafted after him?

Yes, he will get paid eventually but he cannot make up the cash left on the table while he works on an ELC.

Bouchard also has significant performance bonuses in his contract which also go by the wayside if he can’t earn them in the NHL.

If we’re looking at a compressed season of 48 games, it will likely take a significant injury for him to get into enough games to burn a year off his ELC.


Bouchard is not noticeably ahead or behind anyone in his draft class except for five guys. The top 4, and Hughes. He would likely still go right around #10 in a redraft. He’s holding serve, and 4 years from now, I think he will still be in the top ten in his draft class.


Its simply biased catastrophizing – same as every other day.

Taking away the fact this poster has been wrong consistently when positing what is in the mind of Oiler d-prospects, Bouchard is highly likely to play many NHL games this season.

Lets recap some of these recent prior positions:

1) Berglund won’t sign with the Oilers – he sees the “middling depth” ahead of him – Berglund signs with the Oilers within a week

2) Lagesson will likely stay in Europe indefinitely and look to be moved by the Oilers soon – Lagesson signs with the Oilers for 2 years and expresses his intent to come back for camp within a few weeks

3) Kemp will likely explore UFA status – Kemp signs 3 year ELC with the Oilers within hours of the Ivy League cancelling his senior year.

Now Bouchard will be seeking a trade soon…..

To the other commentor in this thread: Bouchard has not been “slo-fucked” – he was a rookie pro last season and required AHL development time and was given the privilege of not being rushed and put in to a position to fail. The Barrie signing accomplishes more of the same – it means Bouchard can play 3RD when an injury occurs and won’t be forced in to top 4 duties – development.

Darth Tu

Alternatively he might end up making more on contract 2 than what he would have if he was thrown the wolves. You could have a situation where we’d brought Bouchard in early, he flails around a lot and runs out his ELC early, then his argument for MOAR money is kind of toast. Plus we then have a potentially messed up prospect.

We’re all guessing here, but maybe, just maybe, Bouchard is a-ok with how his development is being handled.


When Holland and company were bragging up his pick Broberg during the training camp for the play-ins and not even a peep about a 10th overall offensive catalyst Bouchard the alarm bells rang loudly. It was the same ones that went off when the Finn passed on a can’t miss Finn. I just think Bouchard doesn’t fit the Holland mold.


That would be the media and the fan-base talking up the new shiny toy.

Ken Holland consistently mentions Bouchard whenever he is speaking about the defensive depth and the future – just as much as he mentions Broberg.


Why don’t you peddle your Negative Bullshit somewhere else. Maybe try to buy a friend or something!


There were all sorts of reasons why Bouchard didn’t play with the Oilers last season. Some related to him, some to the team, and some to the business side.

HH isn’t interested in nuance on this subject, though. He is interested in being recognized as being right.

That makes the whole thing a bit exhausting and tiresome imo. Once a point has been made 127 times is there really a reason to go at it a 128th time?

Just so that everybody is sure to know that you were right and they were wrong.



“HH isn’t interested in nuance on this subject, though. He is interested in being recognized as being right.”

I don’t think he’s interested in being right.


There was a new point raised now – the ultimate trade request from Bouchard within the new year – it didn’t materialize with Lagesson as was suggested a month ago – now its the 2nd year pro Bouchard that will be asking for a trade.


Sorry to bring up yesterday’s thread, but I don’t think I saw this mentioned. If I recall correctly, keeping Bouchard in the AHL kept him from being eligible for selection in the upcoming expansion Draft. If it’s true, I feel it was only prudent to leave him there all year

regardless of NHL readiness.

Nope. It doesn’t matter where Bouchard plays, AHL or NHL, with respect to the expansion draft. It is two years of pro. He could have played two years in the NHL, two years in the AHL, or somewhere in between and he still would be exempt from the expansion draft.


My misunderstanding, I thought it was linked to the sliding ELC. Thanks


It was to his first slide in his draft plus 1 year.

If Bouchard would have played 10 or more NHL games in his draft plus 1 year, he would be eligible for the expansion draft and require protection.


More replying to negative on this thread regarding Bouchard being upset about barrie signing.

If he truly is then he probably isn’t the type of player that will achieve the highest level he might be capable of.

He will be given the opportunity to watch one of the higher end offensive RHD not only training and playing NHL hockey but playing with the same teammates.

It could be a huge opportunity to learn on a fast track just taking note of the ways barrie’s game adapts around the likes of McDavid and drai to maximize his benefit.

If the kid aspires to having a long top 4 D like career he has a solid opportunity this year to learn how its done in intimate settings.

If he is looking at it that way instead of eeyore mindset he just may be made of the stuff that it takes to achieve that goal.

Last edited 10 months ago by maudite

There is only one reason to think that Bouchard is upset and the trade request is likely in the next year – that is biased hate for the organization and stretching to find a negative to propagate a narrative.

See presumptions on what Berglund, Laggeson and Kemp are thinking and predictions on their course of action – all completely wrong.

Harpers Hair

Of course, he’ll also be watching the player that is blocking him from NHL employment.

Hardly a “fast track”.


A soon to be 29 year old UFA and a soon to be 30 year old UFA – two of the three players “blocking” Bouchard’s NHL employment.

I wonder how often a team’s 3 opening night RD play every game of the season.

There is no block. There is acquiring depth and allowing for development time – both skill that championship caliber GMs have.


No Dub since 2017? For Oil that’s bizarro world. Maybe they really have turned a corner, matured, etc.


I think the Oil only have one propsect slated to play in the CHL next year (Tulio) and I think Lavoie and Rodrigue were the only two last season.

buck yoakam

Does anyone have an idea (ball park) what a typical nhl team combined salary for scouting would be?…One would think that as a team you evaluate these folks yearly and reassess accordingly .. I suppose draft success in the later rounds does not show immediately…just curious


I think it is the costs associated with travel as much as the salaries. Hotels, airfare or mileage, restaurants.

It isn’t cheap having employees on the road all the time.


Brian Burke on his radio hits often mentions the exponential growth in the amount of scouts teams employ in various jurisdictions over the last decade or so.

Todd Macallan

As per Gregor: Kemp loaned to Vasby in the Allsvensken.

Will be playing with Lavoie, music!


That was my first thought when I heard Holland was trying to find a spot for him. The team is starting to find their footing in the league as well so no longer the punching bag from earlier in the season. Still have some defensive issues so Kemp should come in handy.

They recently signed former Avs prospect, and Edmontonian, Colin Smith. He only got into one NHL game but has a career ppg of 0.60 in the AHL so should be a quality player in Allsvenskan. Got off to a nice start with three points in his first game so seems like Lavoie is getting some real skill to play with. Väsby have themselves a pretty strong first line now with Lavoie-Smith and Tobias Lindberg who somehow got into six games with the Leafs a few years ago, he was never an NHL level prospect imo but a quality player at this level ofc.

Funny that two of the Oilers top forward prospects are flanked by Edmonton locals now, Lavoie with Smith and Puljujärvi with Sherwood Park native Cody Kunyk. Hopefully they speak nicely of their old stomping grounds and maybe add a deeper understanding of the city and the people they will play in front of.

I truly think it can make a difference if players feel some sort of connection to the place where they play, not just the playing for the fans as a large anonymous group thing but if they can relate to the people in the city.


Always amazing updates from over seas. Thank you


This is excellent news.

Will be interesting to track his ice time as the season goes along. I bet he plays a ton.


Given the current COVID-19 spread and indications that it will take until September for vaccinations to reach the point where we can reasonably expect to return to something close to reasonable should we even expect a partial season? Would not it be in the NHL’s best interest and societies to do a reset and have a normal Oct start for the 21/22 season.


The NFL, and NCAA are turning into a gong show with outbreaks popping up daily. It doesn’t look like there is any possibility the NHL could function properly for the next two months unless something changes sooner rather than later. Reality says scrap the season and look for a reset next October.

Brantford Boy

Selfishly, I do hope to see the World Juniors tournament just to get me through… still have lots of games on the old PVR but it’s not the same…


No matter how many games are played, the owners will be operating at a loss this year – even if the players accept the renegotiated offer as is.

Given salaries won’t be “pro-rated” based on games (unless something changes), the less games played the better for the owners.

With that said, playing and losing money this year may still be the more beneficial path forward for the owners as a group as there are varying other direct and indirect considerations such as: vesting the last year of the NBC TV deal to get the influx of capital from a new deal in 2021, arena naming rights and the requirements under those contracts, loss of fan equity with another labor stoppage due to money, etc.

Playing at a direct financial loss may still be the “right move” for the league and owners as a group. It may not be but its not quite a black and white scenario.


Different sport, obviously, but a great deep dive into how Liverpool’s scouting department works.

Interesting how City is typically trying to acquire currently-proven talent, while LFC is looking almost entirely at players under 24, planning for the future.

Analytics most definitely used, but live viewings are a must, with background into personal affairs (who is getting divorced, gambling problem, etc), and a much smaller scouting department than most clubs.