There’s a line in the song “Mr. Jones” where Mr. Duritz sings “I wanna be Bob Dylan” and one suspects that is a universal thought. Maybe your “Bob Dylan” is from the world of science or movies or even politics. I always wanted to write and then later become a broadcaster, my ultimate goal being 14 CFUN in Vancouver. Never made it. Met a girl. No regrets.
Life changes your mind many times, but the dreams of youth are the richest because they have no limit. I always loved that line, I wanna be Bob Dylan. I think the Bob Dylan of drafting might work for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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: What are the Oilers’ ideal defensive pairings after picking up Dmitry Kulikov at the trade deadline
- DNB: Ken Holland’s quiet NHL trade deadline sets up Oilers for big moves later
- DNB: Why the Oilers not maximizing the trade deadline is both predictable and disappointing
- Jonathan Willis: What the Oilers are getting in trade deadline pickup Dmitry Kulikov: A cheap solution to a nagging problem
- Lowetide: What would the Oilers sacrifice if they traded their 2021 first-round pick?
- DNB: A year without Colby Cave
- DNB: To play them together or not? 97 and 29
- Lowetide: Are the 2020-21 Oilers better than the 2016-17 team?
- Lowetide: Evan Bouchard’s season of inactivity — what is the risk for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Every major transaction Ken Holland has made as Oilers GM
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
THE 2016 DRAFT AND YOU
The Tampa Bay Lightning had six picks inside the top 120 in 2016, Edmonton just five. The Oilers had the No. 4, 32, 63, 84 and 91 picks, meaning one home run chance before the Lightning got started. Considering that major edge, you would think the years ahead would see an edge for the Oilers over Tampa.
Jesse Puljujarvi has proven a lot of things this season and I believe he will have a long and productive NHL career (still not sure what line he’ll play on, though). After that? It’s getting late early. Here are the picks from both teams using my original ranking and thoughts.
- No. 4 R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga): I had him No. 3 overall. I was convinced he was the best selection. He was unlucky to be drafted by Edmonton but is finding his way.
- No. 27 C Brett Howden, Moose Jaw (WHL). I had him No. 52, late second round. My ranking is looking more accurate, Howden was dealt to the NYR and has struggled in the NHL.
- No.32 L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (WHL). I had him No. 34. Injuries have slowed him but he is enjoying a solid season in Bakersfield and should have a career.
- No. 37 LD Libor Hajek, Saskatoon Blades (WHL). No. 127. I fade big blue. Hajek is also a NYR (Howden) and has emerged as an NHL regular, the first of Tampa’s 2016 draft.
- No. 44 L Boris Katchouk, SSM (OHL). I had him No. 58 overall. Katchouk enjoyed a strong junior career, turned pro and has been slowly matriculating since. He is currently at a point-per-game in the AHL and if he was an Oilers prospect we would be talking about him as a strong LW option.
- No. 58 R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). I had Raddysh No. 24, really liked him in his draft year. So far as a pro he has been hovering around 20 goals a year in the AHL. Yet to play in the NHL, has been on the taxi squad this season.
- No. 63 LD Markus Niemelainen, Saginaw Spirit (OHL). I had him No. 108 (I told you I fade big blue) and he didn’t do much for most of the five years. However, Niemelainen is bringing it for the Condors and I’m thinking he might have a career as a third-pairing defender.
- No. 84 LD Matthew Cairns, Georgetown Raiders (OJHL). I had him No. 145 overall, and didn’t expect him to be active these years later. Cairns surprised me, and recently posted a strong season for Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA). No idea if they sign him but he had a good season.
- No. 88 G Connor Ingram, Kamloops Blazers (WHL). I did not rank him, Ingram improved in his post-draft junior seasons and then delivered two quality AHL campaigns. Lightning traded him for a depth pick, and he looked on track until this year. Hard to say where he is as a prospect at this time.
- No. 91 RD Filip Berglund, Skelleftea AIK (SEL). I had him at No. 61 and did say he might take some time. Berglund has emerged as a top-4 defender of note in the SHL, finishing No. 3 in TOI on his Linkoping (SHL) squad. He’ll be here in the fall, RH blue always have value.
- No. 118 LC Ross Colton, Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL). I didn’t have him listed on my “Here Comes the Sun” final ranking but did have him on my USA list due to a big prospects game. He was an older prospect for the USHL who filled the net, kind of the Matej Blumel of 2016. He went to college, turned pro, looked good not great for the Syracuse Crunch for two seasons. Today he is 7-3-10 in the NHL with the Lightning, owns a 50 percent face-off percentage and may well be the best pick by Tampa Bay in that draft. Come on, man!
Edmonton had the first pick as well as four of the first eight. If we do the Palmolive test, it should all come back but one teaspoon. Here’s my re-draft, your mileage may vary and I’m using per 82 for the NHLers and using NHLE for the men still pushing.
- RW Jesse Puljujarvi: 12-12-24 per 82 NHL games
- LC Ross Colton: 82, 13-27-40 NHLE plus 16, 7-3-10 actual NHL
- LC Brett Howden: 8-15-23 per 82 NHL games
- LD Libor Hayek: 4-7-11 per 82 games, below average possession numbers
- LW Tyler Benson: 82, 15-33-48 NHLE
- LW Boris Katchouk: 82, 18-24-42 NHLE
- RW Taylor Raddysh: 82, 16-19-35 NHLE
- RD Filip Berglund: 82, 3-9-12 NHLE
- LD Markus Niemelain: 82, 4-7-11 NHLE
- G Connor Ingram: .923 AHL SP through 2019-20
- LD Matthew Cairns: 82, 0-8-8 NHLE
The Oilers got the best player on the list, and two of the top five, but was you can see the quality marbled through the draft by Tampa Bay makes the entire thing rich. Add in the fact that the two NHL players sent away (Hajek and Howden) brought in Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller, and it’s difficult to keep up. I don’t even know who I would bet on from the Lightning bunch to have a better career, although Colton leads today. Katchouk and Raddysh are fine prospects, in the range with Benson. The Lightning can draft, man.
The Lightning brought Murray in during the summer of 2010 to help them build a winner (it took a decade). Here are his five best picks, the fun part is noting where they were chosen:
- No. 58 overall 2011: Nikita Kucharov 515 NHL games. Per 82: 35-52-87
- No. 79 overall 2014: Brayden Point 337 NHL games. Per 82: 32-40-72
- No. 19 overall 2012: Andrei Vasilevskiy 292 NHL games. SP: .920
- No. 208 overall 2011: Ondrej Palat 538 NHL games. Per 82 games:19-36-55
- No. 72 overall 2015: Anthony Cirelli 204 NHL games. Per 82 games: 20-26-46
Beyond a dream drafting, five men chosen in a five year period who were and are top drawer NHL players. One first-round pick. Barry Fraser grabbed Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Moog, Steve Smith and Esa Tikkanen between 1979 and 1983, these are franchise defining draft runs.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260 we bring two great guests to talk about the deadline and the games to come. Thomas Drance from The Athletic will have the latest on the Vancouver Canucks and the possibility of postponing the Friday game. We’ll also talk about the deadline. Craig Button from TSN pops in to talk about the stretch run and Edmonton’s chances of winning a round, or more. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Great guests, great show!