I was prepared to dislike Tyler Wright’s 2020 draft, in fact the more I read about his past the more trepidation came over me. The Oilers have been drafting well since 2011 (2012 was a dead pool) and the only real crime is damnable GM’s trading picks 10 at a time.
Wright represented change just when I was digging the present. The Kailer Yamamoto selection, small smaller smallest but high skill, was a great moment in my opinion for the Oilers scouts. Wright wasn’t part of that, his reputation had him drafting big muscles and shy skill. Been there, done that.
Wright and his scouts ripped off an impressive 2020 draft, with four skilled men (Dylan Holloway, Carter Savoie, Tyler Tullio and Maxim Berezkin) right off the top. So, how do I feel about Wright now? Let’s go back and start from the beginning of his time as a scouting director and work our way through the years.
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’s the latest!
- New DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 2
- New Lowetide: What is Kailer Yamamoto’s future fit on the Oilers’ depth chart?
- New DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 1
- New DNB: What a perfect offseason could look like for the Edmonton Oilers
- New Lowetide: The Oilers need to add four wingers to their top nine this summer
- Lowetide: Oilers enter free agency as a major buyer. Is third time the charm?
- DNB: Oilers could look quite different next season after departure of several players
- Lowetide: It won’t be easy, but the Oilers need to re-sign Darnell Nurse soon
- DNB: Ideal Oilers free-agent targets
- New Lowetide: An early look at the Oilers’ options for the 2021 draft
- New DNB: The pressure is on Oilers GM Ken Holland
- New Lowetide: What now for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?
- New DNB: Connor McDavid shows his frustration as another year of his prime is lost: ‘We’re a group that expects more’
- New Jonathan Willis: The NHL gifted the Oilers Connor McDavid; six years later, they have yet to adequately support him
BLUE JACKETS 2012 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 2 overall: LD Ryan Murray (395 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 31 overall: G Oscar Dansk (6 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 62 overall: G Joonas Korpisalo (160 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 95 overall: RW Josh Anderson (319 NHL games)
- Round 6, No. 152 overall: RW Daniel Zaar
- Round 7, No. 182 overall: LD Gianluca Curcuruto
In the moments after Edmonton selected Nail Yakupov in the 2012 entry draft, Tyler Wright’s career as a scouting director took flight. It was his first year as director of amateur scouting for the Blue Jackets, and looking back the CBJ got more value than most.
The 30 teams drafted 211 players, and 108 made the NHL (about 3.6 per team). The 108 who made it have averaged 222 NHL games, making Murray and Anderson successes, and Korpisalo also gets a check mark for being one of the top five goalies in the draft (there were some good ones). Wright found his best player in the fourth round. Grade B
BLUE JACKETS 2013 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 14 overall LC Alex Wennberg (471)
- Round 1, No. 19 overall LW Kerby Rychel (43)
- Round 1, No. 27 overall LC Marko Dano (141)
- Round 2, No. 50 overall LD Dylan Heatherington (11)
- Round 3, No. 89 overall RW Oliver Bjorkstrand (302)
- Round 4, No. 105 overall RC Nick Moutrey
- Round 6, No. 165 overall RW Markus Soberg
- Round 7, No. 195 overall RW Peter Quenneville
This draft is less impressive, two NHL players and three guys in the top-50 overall who missed. There were 104 NHLers in this draft, that’s 3.5 per team and Columbus technically had five. Average career NHL games (180) means Wennberg and Bjorkstrand passed with flying colours and Dano gets the club close to three. Grade: C-
DETROIT 2014 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 15 overall LC Dylan Larkin (433)
- Round 3, No. 63 overall LC Dominic Turgeon (9)
- Round 4, No. 106 overall LC Christopher Ehn (114)
- Round 5, No. 136 overall G Chase Perry
- Round 6, No. 166 overall LW Julius Vahatalo
- Round 7, No. 196 overall LW Axel Holmstrom
- Round 7, No. 201 overall LW Alexander Kadeykin
Interesting draft, and a little similar to Edmonton’s (Leon Draisaitl at the top, then William Lagesson followed by crickets) but the one pick that cashed was a home run. There are 96 players from the 2014 draft who made it, that’s about three per team (Detroit is par for the course). Average games 146, so Larkin has lapped the field and Ehn plus Turgeon fall short. Grade: B
DETROIT 2015 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 19 overall RW Evgeny Svechnikov (41 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 73 overall RD Vili Saarijarvi
- Round 4, No. 110 overall G Joren Van Pottelberghe
- Round 5, No. 140 overall LC Chase Pearson
- Round 6, No. 170 overall RD Patrick Holway
- Round 7, No. 200 overall LW Adam Marsh
An absolute belly flop off the high bar here, no NHL players from the best draft of the century. Wow. There are 101 men from the 2015 draft (3.4 per team) who made the NHL and they average 135 career games so far. DRW lost a lot of ground on 2015 draft weekend. Here’s the thing: I liked Svechnikov big time, had him No. 10 overall. Grade: F.
DETROIT 2016 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 20 overall LD Dennis Cholowski (104 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 46 overall RW Givani Smith (37 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 53 overall RD Filip Hronek (167 NHL games)
- Round 4, No. 107 overall LD Alfons Malmstrom
- Round 5, No. 137 overall RD Jordan Sambrook
- Round 6, No. 167 overall G Filip Larsson
- Round 7, No. 197 overall LW Mattias Elfstrom
Filip Hronek is the saviour of this draft and the reason 2016 gets a passing grade. There are 85 NHL players from this draft, meaning Detroit is slightly above average with three men dressing for a big league game. Average is 85 games, DRW have two exceeding that total. Grade: C
DETROIT 2017 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 9 overall LW Michael Rasmussen (102 NHL games)
- Round 2, No. 38 overall RD Gustav Lindstrom (29 NHL games)
- Round 3, No. 71 overall LD Kasper Kotkansalo
- Round 3, No. 79 overall RW Lane Zablocki
- Round 3, No. 83 overall LC Zachary Gallant
- Round 3, No. 88 overall G Keith Petruzzelli
- Round 4, No. 100 overall LD Malte Setkov
- Round 5, No. 131 overall RD Cole Fraser
- Round 6, No. 162 overall RC Jack Adams
- Round 6, No. 164 overall RD Reilly Webb
- Round 7, No. 193 overall LC Brady Gilmour
Michael Rasmussen saw NHL games this year and is progressing in a Michael Dal Colle way. There are 31 teams for this draft, and 73 players (over two per team) who played in the league so far. Those players have averaged 55 games, making Rasmussen above average. Grade: D
DETROIT 2018 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 6 overall RW Filip Zadina (86 games)
- Round 1, No. 30 overall LC Joe Veleno (5 games)
- Round 2, No. 33 overall RW Jonatan Berggren
- Round 2, No. 36 overall LD Jared McIsaac
- Round 3, No. 67 overall RD Alec Regula (3 games)
- Round 3, No. 81 overall RD Seth Barton
- Round 3, No. 84 overall G Jesper Eliasson
- Round 4, No. 98 overall RW Ryan O’Reilly
- Round 6, No. 160 overall G Victor Brattstrom
- Round 7, No. 191 overall LC Otto Kivenmaki
Zadina had a decidedly pedestrian season in 2020-21, and Veleno made his debut. I’m not sure about this draft, Berggren might be the best of the group. There are 41 NHL players from this draft, DRW well ahead of the curve with three names who have played. Average is 48 games, making Zadina the success story. Grade: C.
DETROIT 2019 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 6 overall RD Moritz Seider
- Round 2, No. 35 overall RD Antti Tuomisto
- Round 2, No. 54 overall LW Robert Mastrosimone
- Round 2, No. 60 overall LD Albert Johansson
- Round 3, No. 66 overall LW Albin Grewe
- Round 4, No. 97 overall RC Ethan Phillips
- Round 5, No. 128 overall LD Cooper Moore
- Round 6, No. 159 overall LW Elmer Soderblom
- Round 6, No. 177 overall RD Gustav Berglund
- Round 7, No. 190 overall LW Kirill Tyutyayev
- Round 7, No. 191 overall G Carter Gylander
There have been 22 players from the 2019 draft to make the NHL, I think Moritz Seider might be No. 23. Lots of good progress but we’ll have to wait to hang a number on it. Grade: Too soon to know.
EDMONTON 2020 DRAFT
- Round 1, No. 14 overall: LW Dylan Holloway
- Round 4, No. 100 overall: LW Carter Savoie
- Round 5, No. 126 overall: RW Tyler Tullio
- Round 5, No. 138 overall: LW Maxim Berezkin
- Round 6, No. 169 overall: LW Filip Engaras
- Round 7, No. 200 overall: LW Jeremias Lindewall
I liked it before Holloway spiked and Savoie went on his hot streak. Tullio didn’t play, but Berezkin made it to the KHL. Engaras and Lindewall also did interesting things. It’s miles too soon to drop a grade on this bunch, but I will say the big man in the first round is trending well.
Wright’s draft picks, from Josh Anderson to Dylan Holloway, are fine athletes, strong players. He seems to do fairly well after the first round, there has been some wobble in first-round picks, owing partly to injury. Here are the NHLE’s for his first-round selections on each draft day, you’d love 30+ for forwards and 15+ for defensemen (anything over 20 points and they could be a PP quarterback).
- 2012 LD Ryan Murray 16.7
- 2013 LC Alex Wennberg 20.5
- 2013 L Kerby Rychel 33.9
- 2013 LC Marko Dano 12.5
- 2014 LC Dylan Larkin 22.1
- 2015 L Evgeny Svechnikov 33.0
- 2016 LD Dennis Cholowski 8.5
- 2017 LC Michael Rasmussen 27.2
- 2018 LR Filip Zadina 33.5
- 2018 LC Joe Veleno 28.7
- 2019 RD Moritz Seider 6.9
- 2020 LC Dylan Holloway 13.3
NHLE is a guide, but it has been a poor draft day predictor for Wright’s selections. The three 30+ picks have produced one successful NHL player (Zadina) and he didn’t have a terrific year. On the other hand, Dylan Larkin spiked after his draft and both Moritz and Holloway are trending well.
Overall, I would say Wright’s first-round selections are less impressive as a group than his later hits (Josh Anderson, Joonas Korpisalo, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Filip Hronek). I looked at his resume and was not impressed and I do think that Trevor Timmins and others have better track records.
His first draft in Edmonton is trending very well, I mean rock solid considering where he was drafting. Looks like he’ll have another challenging draft in 2021 with very few picks in the heart of the process.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260 we have a massive amount to talk ab out from the weekend. Chris Peters from Hockey Sense will join us at 10:20 to discuss WHC, the Erie prospect tournament and the draft to come. At 11, Jason Strudwick will pop in and talk about his international experience and what winning means for Team Canada at the WHC’s. We’ll also chat about the NHL playoffs. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!