Harvest Moon 2021

by Lowetide

Every draft has a feel, a first blush, that sometimes follows through over the years. My initial reaction to the 2008 draft was that Jordan Eberle was a lock for an NHL career and that Teemu Hartikainen was the only other man in the group with a chance, and his heavy boots were going to travel with him. That first impression has held true every day since.

The 2021 draft feels like two drafts in one to this observer. Three picks (Xavier Bourgault, Jake Chiasson and Matvey Petrov) are classic NHL picks, players who could turn pro in a couple of years and be NHL-ready any time after the end of their draft plus two season.

The three other selections, Luca Munzenberger, Shane Lachance and Maximus Wanner, appear to me as something close to ‘draft and follow’ picks. What do I mean by that? Well, I think the Oilers see something in each of these men, but what we see today doesn’t line up with things we associate with a typical selection. Munzenberger had a big WJ’s, Lachance spiked during the year and Wanner impressed in very few games. That’s how I see it.

I have no quarrel with either strategy. I’m encouraged that the Oilers shopped the world. I have no idea if anyone beyond the first-round selection will play in the NHL someday, but after the 2020 draft (itself with a couple of draft and follows) I’m willing to see how this plays out.

THE ATHLETIC!

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!

The 2021 draft

Edmonton chose two defensemen, two centers and two left wingers today, although there’s every chance both of the centers end up at right wing. There were reaches and value, there were obscure choices and distant bells, and we’re finding out more about the Ken Holland-Tyler Wright Oilers and their drafting style as we go along. I like their choice of forwards overall, as their have been 10 (six last year, four this time) and we’ll have to see a little more about the defesnemen but they seem to like rangy skaters.

LOWETIDE’S PROJECTED SELECTIONS

No. 19 overall: LC Zachary Bolduc

No. 116 overall: LW Eric Alarie

No. 180 overall: LC Sami Päivärinta

No. 186: LD Vladislav Lukashevich, Yaroslavl

No. 212 overall: LD Janis Moser, EHC Biel-Bienne

HARVEST MOON 2021

No. 22 overall RC-RW Xavier Bourgault, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL). Edmonton badly needs more scoring forwards, and Bourgault was among the best available when the Oilers were on the clock. This is a player who is able to score, Scott Wheeler referring to a “deceptive release” and creative play inside the offensive zone. His NHLE (82, 16-16-32) projects him as a top-six NHL forward down the line based on 15 years worth of staring at Oilers draft picks (Jordan Eberle was 82, 15-12-27 in his draft season). There’s a large downbeat from Oilers fans on this player, owing to the belief that goaltender Jesper Wallstedt is the better player. It’s an interesting conversation to revisit five years from now, the extra pick was certainly appealing for general manager Ken Holland and the scouting staff.

No. 90 overall LD Luca Munzenberger, Cologne (Germany Jrs). It’s difficult to place this player into a timeline for arrival in pro hockey, and he’ll be 19 in November. His next stop is Vermont, and we’ll get a better idea about him as a player (is he a shutdown type?). For now, we know he has size (6.02, 194), can cover well and did post offense at lower levels of German hockey. He’s a draft and follow in my opinion.

No. 116 RC Jake Chiasson, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Chiasson has some things on his resume you’ll like, including a large frame (6.02) and room to grow (165). I think it’s important to note Red Line’s comment about his skating (“Easy skating style is sometimes mistaken for a low-end motor”) and his 21.5 NHLE. Those scoring totals put him in the range with former picks like Tobias Rieder and Tyler Pitlick, so we’re probably safe in calling him a middle-six center-wing if things work out for him.

No. 180 LW Matvey Petrov, Krylia Moscow (MHL). This might be my favourite pick in the draft. A RH left winger with size (6.02, 181) he is high octane offense (22-20-42 in 58 games) and could be described as a first-shot scorer. He’s a March 2003, is ranked on several notable lists and despite being one dimensional is young enough to add to his arsenal. In an unusual draft, this felt to me like the second-round pick Edmonton didn’t own.

No. 186 LW Shane Lachane, Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC). He’s 6.04, 195 and moved up the depth chart during the season. Kirk Luedeke, who is a damned fine resource for any player and always has the goods on eastern seaboard kids, says he’s raw and projectable. He’s a draft and follow, a true one who was born August 30, 2003 and close to a year younger than Bourgault. We’ll see about Lachance as time goes by, we know he’ll want to improve his boots and mature as a player in the years ahead.

No. 212 RD Maximus Wanner, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Wanner is a rangy (6.03, 185) defender from Saskatchewan, and I’ve been enjoying those SK players since Terry Harper. I believe young Wanner may have some offense in him, he’s a good passer with some instincts, along with defensive acumen. As is the case with Lachance, anything more we place at his doorstep in terms of resume is a disservice. We simply don’t know what we don’t know.

THE RANKINGS

  • Corey Pronman: Xavier Bourgault (No. 29); Matvey Petrov (No. 113)
  • Scott Wheeler: Xavier Bourgault (No. 21)
  • Craig Button: Xavier Bourgault (No. 25); Matvey Petrov (No. 70)
  • Bob McKenzie: Xavier Bourgault (No. 20); Matvey Petrov (No. 92)
  • Lowetide: Xavier Bourgault (No. 14); Matvey Petrov (No. 70); Jake Chiasson (90)

We can track three of these men in the traditional manner, looking for contracts before age 20 and entry into pro hockey at that age. I think Bourgault and Petrov project as skill wingers, Chiasson might find his way as a two-way winger with skill.

The other three are draft and follows, and we’ll have to wait longer to find their story. The odds are longer on each young man, but better to take a player whose photo hasn’t quite developed but is intriguing, than one who is fully developed and wearing boots of clay. It’s been a day. Please visit The Athletic for more coverage and consider subscribing if you can, there’s a 50 percent off deal going on right now.

I love the Harvest Moon most of all.

73 comments
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73 comments

oilsnc79 July 25, 2021 - 7:56 pm

Thnx LT. You fill my thirst

Brantford Boy July 25, 2021 - 12:00 pm

Wow… I almost missed the Harvest Moon post… got lost in the other posts on draft day.

Thanks LT… great stuff as usual! Time to cue up some Neil… cheers!

Rebuildwhatrebuild July 25, 2021 - 7:41 am

Munzenberger is the best player the oilers drafted this weekend. The Russian is the biggest wild card of the draft. Could be a superstar or a nobody. Knows how to score, knows how set up goals, can he do that at the pro level? We will found out in O this year.

Ryan July 25, 2021 - 8:32 am

Seems like a curious decision to trade down to get an extra pick to take a player that would have been available later.

Rebuildwhatrebuild July 25, 2021 - 10:09 pm

That is not how these things work. You just assume that. You dont know if he would be there later. Just because he isnt ranked in that spot doesnt mean other teams wouldnt of taken him. How times do we see guys ranked in the 2nd round end up in the 5 and 6 rounds. These german kid a worst is going to be a second paring shut down dmen. Great pick.

Ribs July 25, 2021 - 2:56 am

Every year this post reminds me of the old video game my little brother was constantly playing back in the day (N64 maybe?).

It was brought up recently with my 5yr old recently finding an interest in the Farming Simulator video games. “You’ll have to learn how to read before you can play those old games!” I told him, haha. He’s at a point now where he can read quite a few words (with some nudging), but he doesn’t quite understand the power behind it. Soon!

I have not paid much attention to this draft. I am hoping to be happily surprised by it in a few years.

*crosses fingers*

London Jon July 25, 2021 - 6:36 am

You are a 364 day loser

Todd Macallan July 25, 2021 - 6:42 am

My favourite pick was Guenther at #9, what a steal.

Reja July 25, 2021 - 7:14 am

Canucks are going to regret this.

YKOil July 24, 2021 - 11:40 pm

Will add my voice to those praising LT’s coverage, methodology, and prose. Always a treat.

Not a huge fan of this draft but I do believe that:

– Bourgault has a better than 50% chance to play meaningful minutes in a middle six role
– Munzenberger should, at the least, make the 3rd pair (high floor type but I have no idea on his ceiling)
– the most important numbers in this draft, for the Oilers, could very be 6’2″ and 165 lbs, a lot of room for growth for Chaisson; putting on 25-35 lbs will make or break his career imo

Good luck to all of these young men.

wheatnoil July 24, 2021 - 10:55 pm

Normally I’m against walkabout picks but this was a tough draft. Low games, low viewings. For the scouts, I’d imagine there’s lots of projection based on draft minus one years complemented by impressions on fewer recent viewings. The math also, in some cases, gets limited by sample size and so loses some predictive power. So, I feel like this year walkabouts and reaches are maybe slightly more forgivable than other years since the consensus is less tight. Should be a very curious draft to follow.

Oil2Oilers July 25, 2021 - 12:42 am

I some ways it makes the German a safe pick for the Oilers as they seem to know a lot about him.

Marc July 25, 2021 - 3:07 am

This is where I am as well. In a normal year staying reasonably close to the industry consensus on prospects provides both a ‘wisdom of crowds’ sense check on your own assessment of the players, and gives you a general idea of how your competitors value players to help you determine where in the draft you should target the players you like.

This year’s industry consensus is much more volatile, so the value of sticking to it should in theory be less than it would in a normal year.

PokeCheck July 24, 2021 - 10:27 pm

If Edmonton had exclusively used the LT list when selecting:

22. RW Nikita Chibrikov, St. Petersburg — LT #7 (#50 WPG)
90. RW Olivier Nadeau, Shawinigan Cataractes — LT #21 (#97 BUF)
116. LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors — LT #24 (Undrafted)
180. LC Lorenzo Canonica, Shawinigan Cataractes — LT #51 (Undrafted)
186. LC Sami Päivärinta, Lukko — LT #56 (Undrafted)
212. RC Daniil Tesanov, Yaroslavl. — LT #66 (Undrafted)

Looks like there’ll be plenty of second chances next year.

koskidaddy July 24, 2021 - 10:17 pm

When asked about if they just didn’t want to draft a goalie in the 1st round, Wright said no. Leads me to believe that they were hoping Cossa was there but had Bourgault on their list over Wallstedt

jp July 24, 2021 - 11:06 pm

That was my impression too. Very adamant ‘no’ to that question, but Wallsdadt wasn’t the answer.

I feel like I remember some pre-draft mention that the Oilers rated Cossa higher than Wallstadt, but I don’t recall where. And no one else has brought it up, so maybe it never happened…

northerndancer July 24, 2021 - 10:03 pm

Thanks LT. You have once again given me something tasty to chew on in a time of hunger!

Funny Bissonness July 24, 2021 - 9:41 pm

Brothers! Brothers who are now in the same organization:

Jones bros. – CHI
Fleury bros. – SEA
Dach bros. – CHI
Makar bros. – COL
Hughes bros. – NJ

I probably missed some too. But still, this seems like a lot of brother team ups for one off season. It’s like 90s pop music out there.

PokeCheck July 24, 2021 - 10:31 pm

Is it too late to draft the Nurse sisters?

jp July 24, 2021 - 11:02 pm

What an incredible sports family, and across a bunch of different sports too.

dessert1111 July 24, 2021 - 9:20 pm

One of the best posts of the year, every year. Happy you’re still posting it at the blog. I’m more ok with the selection at 90 than most, probably because I view this year’s draft as a crapshoot. Seems like the player has a good frame and athleticism, which aligns with previous Wright-Holland picks of the past two years. There are worse strategies.

McSorley33 July 24, 2021 - 9:15 pm

Outstanding work LT.

The work on the draft lists is phenomenal.

McSorley33 July 24, 2021 - 9:10 pm

Love taking a forward in the first…and 4 forwards this draft.

Not keen on the #90 pick….but this year, how can we really argue?

First draft in a long time, I just couldn’t get into.

Sold work by the Oilers here.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:19 pm

I love the fact he’s coming to play college hockey – great place for him to take his time and develop.

jp July 24, 2021 - 9:53 pm

Someone mentioned below he’s not Samorukov, but I actually thought of Samo with the first bits of info I learned about Munzenberger.

Picked in almost the same spot, similar size, apparently pretty rugged, a bit of offense. But who the hell knows! Agree some time to develop in college is good though.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:57 pm

One note: Sammy was almost universally ranked ahead of where he was picked – mid-2nd round on some boards.

jp July 24, 2021 - 10:42 pm

Yes, for sure.

I’m not expecting him to be Samorukov, but I thought there were a lot of similarities, on the surface at least.

Bling July 24, 2021 - 8:58 pm

Thanks for putting this all together, LT. Enjoyable and informative, as always.

Doug McLachlan July 24, 2021 - 8:28 pm

I’m ok with the Bourgault selection but from the media avail by Tyler Wright yesterday it seemed to me that instead of deciding that they weren’t going to select a goalie at that point, they felt that they would get to pick 22 and Wallstadt would still be there. He uses the word “gamble” in response to a question from, I think, Daniel Nugent Bowman, and it feels that they lost.

Nashville was not going to take a goalie and Minnesota has 24 year old Kahkonen who did a great job spelling off Talbot this season. I’m not sure who they figured Minnesota was taking but I think they were genuinely surprised that the goalie went off the board.

jp July 24, 2021 - 9:46 pm

That wasn’t my take at all.

He said at one point they got the guy at 22 they likely would have taken at 20. Sounds like they weren’t 100% decided who that was, but Bourgault was clearly among 2 or more guys they rated about equally. The gamble was that one of those guys would still be there at 22, I though.

He also said a couple of guys they were targeting went just before 20. So Wallstadt clearly wasn’t one of those, and it doesn’t seem like they rated him any higher than Bourgault (though it’s certainly possible Wallstadt was the other who they might have taken at 20 if not for the trade.

That’s what I thought anyway.

Sierra July 25, 2021 - 9:50 am

Like Wright would admit that they were expecting to get Wallstadt at 22 and misplayed the situation.

Sierra July 25, 2021 - 9:48 am

Why wouldn’t they have asked who the Wild were going to take?

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 8:19 pm

The Twitters are all abuzz tonight about Dubas rejecting a 6th round pick to facilitate an 8 year deal from Hyman.

Apparently Dubas is holding out for 2nd round pick and saying easing the Oilers cap space for 8 years has significant value which the Oilers are refusing to pay.

Looks like it’ll be 7X$5.5 million.

Reja July 24, 2021 - 8:30 pm

Dumbass figured after Keith trade Holland was completely brain dead.

godot10 July 24, 2021 - 8:34 pm

The Oilers don’t have an unencumbered 2nd round draft pick next year.

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 8:53 pm

I guess they’re screwed.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:12 pm

Dubas knows he’s not going to get a 2nd round pick or equivalent value.

His statement about helping the Oilers and their cap over the next 8 years and the value attributed to that is silly – it would be silly if they were in the same division let along separate conferences. Dubas will cave as what’s stupid is getting nothing because of a fear of marginally helping a team that the Leafs will play twice a year.

McSorley33 July 24, 2021 - 9:13 pm

Dubas watched in awe of what Bowman did to Dutch.

Cant say I blame him for giving it a try.

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 9:36 pm

Yep…just have to wait him out.

Time is not on Holland’s side.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:42 pm

Time is not on Dubas’ side – he’s the one that is going to lose the asset at a date certain – the player is going to be signing a contract negotiated with the Oilers either way.

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 9:56 pm

As you say, Dubas knows he’s losing the asset, so he’s saying if you want us to sign him first…pony up.

He has already rejected what the Oilers offered and a late round pick right after the draft doesn’t tickle his, or anyone else’s, fancy.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:59 pm

Dubas can then get nothing instead of something. The Oilers are getting their player either way.

dessert1111 July 24, 2021 - 9:16 pm

6 round pick seems fair. If it were the other way around I’d happily take it. The other option is nothing. Not really sure what negotiating power Dubas thinks he has here.

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 9:34 pm

Dubas has all the leverage.

If the Oilers have to bump the cap hit it makes a significant difference and Dubas knows it.

A 6th round pick is very close to worthless.

OriginalPouzar July 24, 2021 - 9:39 pm

Dubas has zero leverage – either he gets an asset or he doesn’t.

Mark Stone, Jared Spurgeon, Josh Manson, Connor Brown, Andrew Mangiapane, Nick Bonino, Cam Atkinson, Matthew Perrault, etc.

Harpers Hair July 24, 2021 - 10:49 pm

Holland gets an 8 year deal or he doesn’t.

If he doesn’t he loses half a million in cap space for 7 years.

Obviously Dubas knows the value of a 6th round pick….pocket lint.

jp July 24, 2021 - 11:26 pm

It’s the same money either way, just distributed slightly differently.

Everyone but Dubas knows the choice between 500k AAV vs one less year of dead cap at the end isn’t worth a 2nd or a 3rd.

Dubas is asking a 2nd (apparently?) for doing someone a favour that causes him literally zero inconvenience.

He’d normally get the pocket lint you speak of for the inconsequential act of letting other teams talk to a player he isn’t going to sign. The lint being an appropriate courtesy for that nothing act.

What Dubas is doing now is a dick move. Fitting you’d be defending it.

Sierra July 25, 2021 - 9:53 am

Dick move for trying to leverage another team for the betterment of his team? Sounds like the Holland school of GMing.

buck yoakam July 25, 2021 - 5:41 am

wow…chatty kathy!…

Reja July 24, 2021 - 9:42 pm

Dubas has zero leverage unless the player is thinking of resigning in TO which isn’t going to happen. It would be funny if a team in the Toronto division ends up with Hyman and he burns them over the next few years.

PokeCheck July 24, 2021 - 10:39 pm

What point was there for Dubas to ask us for something we clearly didn’t have? And obviously, since no trade for Hyman’s rights occurred, there weren’t any other suitors for the privilege. A 6th in exchange for some paperwork is a no-brainer.

Although, I’ve been thinking that it would be funny if we gave the pick, Toronto signs him to an 8-year contract, and then we just walk away. Holland would never troll someone like that, but it would be beautiful to watch the centre of the universe implode.

Diablo July 24, 2021 - 10:54 pm

I may be in the minority here, but I’m glad that Dubas’ ask was unrealistic. I’d prefer Hyman’s contract to be 1 year less and pay a slightly higher cap hit. The difference in AAV is not negligible, but it’s also not by itself enough to even pay a player the minimum. This may end up working in our favour a few years from now if his contract needs to be bought out.

Reja July 25, 2021 - 12:34 am

If I’m the GM I just don’t get the buying a player out, worst case scenario yes but to already say a buyout will happen before the ink is dry is this the best I can do.

Sierra July 25, 2021 - 9:57 am

I thought “Cap Space is Paramount” is the general consensus around here with this drum beat regularly…except when it doesn’t fit our personal narrative on a situation or player.

tsunami July 25, 2021 - 12:45 am

obviously you have no idea what leverage means lol… not that I am surprised

Sierra July 25, 2021 - 9:58 am

I think HH understands it quite well. He simply subscribes to a different importance of cap space than you, and others, apparently do.

Turning Tikkanese July 24, 2021 - 8:18 pm

Awesome writeups per usual, boss. Very thought provoking both before and after the draft.

In defence of the Oilers not taking Wallstedt… history has shown clearly that even elite goalies take more time to develop than forwards. When you only have one bullet before pick 90, you need a more certain outcome to ensure production from a draft class. Stevie Y did what most good GM’s would do, he went for the uber high ceiling goalie ONLY when he had multiple first round picks, so he didn’t risk sewering the most productive portion of the draft. If you look back to previous drafts where a highly touted goalie was chosen in the first round, the good managers took them if they had sufficient other capital in the top 100 or even top 50 of the draft to mitigate the risk.

It is the Way.

Halltheway July 24, 2021 - 11:07 pm

Elite goalies can sometimes make it to the NHL very quickly. A quick search on Google shows the following goalies have made it to the NHL within two years or less of being drafted. Roy, Fleury, Luongo, Vasilevskiy, Price, Brodeur. The question is can Wallstedt join that group? We don’t know.

Wolfpack July 25, 2021 - 2:25 pm

“Sometimes”? When you include names like Roy and Brodeur you are going back over 30 years. You listed six goalies over the course of 30 years. Clearly the odds are incredibly thin.

flyfish1168 July 24, 2021 - 8:10 pm

I wonder if the rangers still want Zack?

Reja July 24, 2021 - 8:32 pm

Maybe Texas

Oil2Oilers July 24, 2021 - 7:46 pm

Harvest Moon’s might be the finest of Lowetide’s set pieces of the season.

I was surprised by Cory Pronman ranking the Oilers draft class is 2nd worst in the NHL. Only ahead of Montreal who he was to repulsed by to grade.

Overall, I am at peace but not excited by the Oilers draft class. That amateur scouting department seems to have plans and processes in place.

This has me evaluating the other Holland era departments;

Player development (Woodcroft et al) B

Amateur Scouting (Wright) B-

Pro Scouting D {they seem to be able to identify capable players, years after they are capable}

Cap Management D- {they seem aware the cap exist, but not how to manage it}

Analytics N/A {evidence based decision making is not/has not been in the water}

maudite July 24, 2021 - 9:07 pm

Wheeler’s assessment for the 2nd day is pretty ugly as well

Hope for the best!

Oil2Oilers July 24, 2021 - 9:18 pm

Scott Wheeler also ranks the Oilers day 2 as second worst ahead of Ottawa, he is less negative about day one.

kelvjn July 24, 2021 - 7:38 pm

Thank you LT for another great draft coverage.

Looking forward to the post 5 years from now comparing the Oilers selection to the LT BPA.

GordieHoweHatTrick July 24, 2021 - 7:18 pm

Happy Harvest!!

Thanks LT! Much appreciate all the hard work you do and what I try to learn the hockey from it!

Wolfpack July 24, 2021 - 6:57 pm

Thank you for all the draft work you put in the last two days LT, and of course in the weeks and months previous, it is appreciated. I do not believe the Oil had any intension of choosing a goalie on day one, so the fact that they got the #90 pick and I assume still got the forward they wanted at 22 is a small victory to me. Not sure what I think of the player they got at 90 with that pick but like always, I will be cheering for him like I cheer for all the Oilers’ draft picks. I do cringe whenever I hear of a player that wasn’t on anyone’s radar who “had a great WJC” or “was great the Hlenka-Gretzky two years ago”… we should just call that going “Jani Rita”.

doritogrande July 24, 2021 - 6:55 pm

My favourite day of the NHL calendar. A harder year than most to parse because the scouts were basically forced to work with one eye closed.

I liked the Borgeault selection, but would have preferred the goalie. Like you said, time will tell .

I am concerned about our defensive prospect depth. The two we picked this year are more Kesselring than Samorukov and that has me thinking the depth will suffer 3-4 years from now.

Size was clearly the name of the game today, I haven’t heard speed being mentioned as a buzz-word about many of today’s prospects so hoping that means they come in at average, rather than slow.

Thanks LT for once again providing a haven for smart hockey minds to share ideas.

Halfwise July 24, 2021 - 6:49 pm

Thank you LT, both for sharing your insights and for your deep curiosity into what goes into the pipeline.

Tarkus July 24, 2021 - 6:52 pm

Seconded.

LoDog July 24, 2021 - 7:03 pm

I will second that. Great draft coverage as usual.
I think Oilers did quite well, just ignore the order if you get hung up on those things.

The fear for many teams on Walstadt is that he might not get a whole lot better than now. And he might be ready for the nhl in 2 or 3 years but they need a good one now.

Reja July 24, 2021 - 7:13 pm

How soon before Xavier and Luca play in the NHL.

Comments are closed.