The 2014 draft was the first one I made a “Here Comes the Sun” style list with rankings. I was truly shocked by how many players I’d ranked that didn’t get chosen. There were 11 undrafted from my top 100 overall! That seemed like a lot, but I wasn’t trying to get all the picks, merely trying to find the prospects that math liked most. Looking back on those 11 undrafted from my top 100 overall, maybe math was on to something.
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 Lowetide: The Oilers must decide now what to do about the Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl dilemma
- DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 2
- Lowetide: What is Kailer Yamamoto’s future fit on the Oilers’ depth chart?
- DNB: Oilers mailbag, part 1
- DNB: What a perfect offseason could look like for the Edmonton Oilers
- 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
2014 DRAFT MEMORIES
The Oilers hit a majestic home run in the 2014 draft, and selected two other ranked names:
- (3) C Leon Draisaitl—This is a fine hockey player. No one should be surprised if he goes No. 3 overall.
- (77) D William Lagesson—Two-way defender, interesting bio.
- (91) G Zachary Nagelvoort—College goalie with good to very good numbers.
The Oilers didn’t go walkabout until selection No. 130 overall. That was progress back in 2014, and Oilers fans were on cloud nine with the selection of the big German center. Here’s what I wrote about my list and the 11 names that weren’t drafted from my top 100 (next words from 2014):
It WAS a weird draft, no doubt. I sat on my couch and waited for my favorites (no harm in saying them out loud now: Dexter Dancs, Chase De Leo, Andrew Mangiapane, Ilya Sorokin, Aaron Irving, Oscar Podanski). None arrived. Le sigh. I made a list of 137 players for this entry draft, and assumed there would be 10 or so left over. Final number? 17, including 11 in my top 100! That’s almost 10%!
- (43) L Dexter Dancs—Sleeper power forward. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (49) L Vladimir Tkachev—Small, skilled Russian. (Note: 0 NHL games, just signed with LAK)
- (52) C Andrew Mangiapane—EV/60 is 3.4 and that’s outstanding. (Note: 178 NHL games and counting).
- (62) L Kris Schmidli—Swiss winger an emerging star in Kelowna. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (73) C Luke Philp—Skill center can play a complementary role. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (78) D Gavin Bayreuther—A college man, he has nice boxcars. (Note: 28 NHL games)
- (80) D Riley Stadel—Crazy good puck handling defender. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (81) C Colby Cave—Undersized checker. (Note: 67 NHL games)
- (82) C Reid Gardner—Two-way center, improving. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (90) L Blake Clark—Big power forward with some skill. (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (98) D Sebastian Aho—Undersized puck moving defender. (Note: 25 NHL games)
Recently, several people have given me credit for identifying Andrew Mangiapane the year before Calgary drafted him. I love when people do, but the real credit goes to math, and specifically Extra Skater. The site no longer exists (at least publicly), as the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Darryl Metcalf in August of 2014. He was the brains behind Extra Skater, and provided brilliant math to all who cared (I cared) in 2014 spring. As much as I’d love to take credit, it belongs to Mr. Metcalf.
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY
Now we’re back to 2014:
If you follow the draft, there’s a favorite or two in there somewhere. If you like scorers or big defensemen or possession players, then your list probably elevates those kids and pushes others down. For years now I’ve punished stay at home defensemen and goaltenders, and elevated wide range of skill fellows. There were several players I thought would go quite high who were available at No. 91 and No. 111. There were MANY available at No. 130!
- (37) L Spencer Watson—(No. 209 to LAK) (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (42) D Dysin Mayo—(No. 133 to ARI) (Note: 0 NHL games)
- (46) C Chase De Leo—(No. 99 to WPG) (Note: 5 NHL games)
- (59) D Jacob Middleton— (No. 210 to LAK) (Note: 14 NHL games)
- (60) R Ondrej Kase—(No. 205 to ANA) (Note: 207 NHL games)
My 2014 list was fun to do, but even identifying names like Mangiapane and Kase doesn’t mean identifying them is easy. If I’d run Edmonton’s draft, I would have chosen Bennett over Draisaitl, and these names would have followed: Spencer Watson, Dysin Mayo, Dexter Dancs, Vladimir Tkachev and Andrew Mangiapane.
The Oilers were better off with MacT and Stu MacGregor.
What the Leafs now have (the club has been roaring at the draft since about 2018) appears to have taken a few years (perhaps it took until Kyle Dubas became the de facto general manager) in order for Metcalf and others in the analytics department to believe enough in the process.
Now, all of that said, I’ve been impressed with Edmonton’s drafting since 2011, and it took another uptick in 2015. I don’t know if Dellow helped at the draft (he would have been in a position to do it for the 2015 and 2016 drafts), but the time line matches.
Either way, lots of putdowns online about the current analytics department (I’ve never understood why it’s okay for “smart people” to crap on others, but there are miles of people who claim to be analytics adopters who can’t wait to spit out vile things about Justin Mahé and his brother) and there’s zero doubt the Oilers need to add in this area.
Here’s the thing: You can state that without being cruel. An example is here. Anyway, just my opinion and no one will listen, but hammering on the two guys in the analytics department is kind of like laughing at the Swiss Guard because they don’t have killer helicopters.
Perhaps aim a little higher, as opposed to mocking someone in what appears to be an impossible position.
POSSIBLE OILERS ROSTER
Based on Daniel Nugent-Bowman’s fine reporting (I’ll never tell you to do anything, but highly recommend reading his latest at The Athletic), safe to assume a very conservative summer and we are free to speculate about a Caleb Jones trade before the expansion draft. Prepare to be underwhelmed:
Before I forget: Free agents are Nemeth (two years), Larsson (four years), Smith (one year), Coleman (three years), Nuge (six years).
One trade: Caleb Jones and Cooper Marody to the Tampa Bay Lightning for wingers Ondrej Palat and Mathieu Joseph, plus a 2022 fourth-round selection. Before you go crazy, Edmonton takes on $4.26 million and gives up a fine young defenseman in the deal (but gains a pick).
Klefbom on LTIR, team begins the season with $1,040,000 in cap room.
I do not like this roster, it’s not the way forward in my opinion. However, if the organization isn’t protecting Caleb Jones, then trading him is the only logical solution. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll hit the ground running with two hours of fun and informative radio. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal with talk about Adam Larsson’s value, and why the Habs got past the Jets while Edmonton wasn’t equal to the task. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk NBA and NHL playoffs at 11. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk to you in 90 minutes!