Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oilers Draft Review

Definitely a different draft for the Oilers than we’ve seen the past couple of years; one suspects there was some sort of shift in organizational philosophy with regards to the draft, but we’ll need to see future results to be sure. It could be a coincidence that EDM drafted mostly college bound players, at the same time that the new CBA allows the rights to collegiate players to be held for far longer than either CHL or European players. One can only hope that the Oilers weren’t passing up a chance to draft "better" players just so they could draft NCAA players. It’s worth noting however that "better" means better in the minds of the EDM scouting staff, and not better in any objective sense. Edmonton went with college bound players for their 1st 2 picks, but these were the picks with which Edmonton should be drafting purely based on BPA with less factoring of issues such as duration of player rights. Of course, if you have 2 guys roughly equal it still probably makes sense to take the college player, but in the earlier picks of the draft you are less likely to have players equal to each other than you are later in the draft.

In creating my top 50 list it’s clear that I had undersold players about to enter college, and I must confess to ignorance as the reason. I had thought, for some reason, that Europeans rights were to be held for 4 years post-draft, not the 2 years that I am now hearing. Obviously that can’t help but hurt the value of Europeans, relative to the old CBA when their rights could be held indefinitely, and even to the 4 years I had thought they could be held when creating my top 50 list.

I’m not going to comment too much on the style and player comparisions for the Oilers draftess, but here are a couple thoughts anyways:

#25 – Andrew Colgiano – this is a player I do like, and can’t complain about Edmonton selecting. I had wondered if teams might be willing to draft smaller players in anticipation of the rule changes, this could answer that the Oilers certainly are willing to especially when one looks at the last 2 years of Oilers draft picks in comparison to the size of the guys drafted this year. It appears as though the Oilers went for skill this year, a bunch of boom/bust players that will get time to develop in college, Cogliano being the first.

My pick: Having said that, were I in charge I wouldn’t have taken Cogliano, though he was close to the top of my list. I’d have taken Guillaume Latendresse, but thought seriously about Bertram. I think I would have gone with Latendresse in believing there to be a better chance Bertram would still be around at 36. Again though, no real complaint in Cogliano.

#36 – Taylor Chorney – at first I didn’t much like this pick, I thought there were better guys on board. And maybe there were. But I do like him much more now that I’ve read more about him.

My pick: I guess it wouldn’t have mattered which one I’d have taken at 25, since I’d have taken the other here at 36, in this case Dan Bertram (note – I know the entire path of the draft changes if EDM doesn’t take Cogliano at 25 etc, but this is just as a rough guide for comparison)

#81 – Danny Syvret – an overager who will likely step into the AHL, complicating matters for a player like Mathieu Roy who seemingly stepped up last year but may see his minutes taken by Syvret. If Syvret produces, and is big enough for the NHL game, then no complaints. Obviously he had an exceptional season with London, I’m unsure what his ultimate upside will be as a pro, but clearly Edmonton thinks he can adapt.

My pick: I would have selected Jakub Vojta. Istomin was the highest on my list, but I would have decided the odds of Istomin, Mikus, or Trunkho sliding until my next pick at 86 were good enough that I should take Vojta at 81.

#86 – Robby Dee – haven’t heard barely anything about this player, but I like his pick for a couple reasons. First, he’s a draft and follow type, who EDM will have the rights to for a little bit longer than an equivalent CHL or European prospect. Second, he has great stats. I know, I know, "you can’t judge a prospect by his scoring numbers", but I still say it’s better to have numbers in your corner than not, and I like the idea of going boom/bust once you get to this point in the draft.

My pick: Denis Istomin.

#97 – Chris Vande Velde – see comments on Dee.

My pick: I’d have selected Slava Trukhno. Mikus was one spot higher on the list I had posted earlier, but I had re-adjusted my rankings again since I posted my first set of "top 50" rankings, with Trukhno moving ahead, slightly, of Mikus. Though Mikus was still the next available player on my list, so it was pretty close in my mind.

#120 – Slava Trukhno – I think of this player as somewhat of an oddball in Edmonton’s day. He’s pretty much the only player one might say Edmont took after having a big slide, he’s 18 and from the CHL so his rights will only be held for 2 years, he’s Russian, I don’t think the Oilers like any of those things about him. I think they thought his skill and talent was simply too good to pass on, even though he doesn’t fit what they were trying to do.

My pick: Juraj Mikus

#157 – Fredrik Pettersson – I hadn’t heard much about him before the draft, but liked the little I had heard. I like the pick.

My pick: Risto Korhonen sure tumbled down the rankings, I like the sounds of him though and would have taken a shot.

#220 – Matthew Glasser – I know nothing about this guy, his numbers aren’t very impressive for a player his size coming from the AJHL, but it sounds like he’s a project, and he’ll have time to either develop or not at low cost. Another draft and follow, for a7th rounder that’s probalby just good sense.

My pick: I liked Mathieu Roy, he put up good numbers on a bad team in the Q, I’d have preferred him.

I actually like the idea behind the strategy of the Oilers, provided it doesn’t mean they are passing on clearly better players just to get college guys – if indeed a strategic shift has occurred, it could theoretically be a coincidence. It looks they they tried to stay away from Europe on the surface, but it’s hard to know for sure given that it was a weak year for Europeans. With the possibiity of losing Europeans after 2 years perhaps shying away from Europeans makes sense. On the other hand, one team who has a reputation of draft success, the Senators, selected 5 of their 8 players from Europe, obviously a sign that they aren’t too concerned about getting those players signed going forward.

Final comparison:

EDM’s picks:
Vande Velde

My picks:


I like my list better, no surprise of course as it’s my list. Though I must say when I look at the final shape I’m somewhat concerned to see so many Europeans that I could lose in 2 years.
Overall I think Edmonton had a pretty solid draft, though I’d have made a bunch of different picks I don’t much mind the direction Edmonton ended up going. It’s too early to judge, but at the moment I give the EDM draft a B.

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