Strange Deadfellows double-team the Edmonton Oilers draft


My brain is made of mush now, so let’s keep this simple: big thanks to “thickoil” and “raventalon40” for their contributions. They collectively run one of the remaining great blogs in the “oilogosphere” in Strange Deadfellows so make sure to check them out.

First, “thickoil”:

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

After the main 7 go in the draft, the draft opens up more and the Oilers have a bunch of options. The Oilers could draft the best player possible (BPA), which could be someone like Ryan Ellis. Ellis, the 5’10” 170 pound offensive defensemen may not be the most ideal choice for the Oilers. The Oilers currently have an abundance of offensive D-Men in the system (Petry, Chorney, Wild, etc.). Also going against Ellis is his small frame. With Tambellini and Quinn preaching a more physical style of game, Ellis isn’t likely to play that style.

Personally from an Oilers perspective I would like either Scott Glennie or Zach Kassian. Though Kassian is predicted to go in the mid/late teens in most Fantasy Drafts, he is forged from the Milan Lucic mold of player and is easily one of the toughest players in the draft. (Ironically the Oilers gave Boston the draft pick that got them Lucic in the Samsonov-Reasoner deal in 2006). Glennie also is a player in the power forward mold, but isn’t as tough as Kassian but had a larger statistical output. However the concern with Glennie is that he was on a line with Brayden Schenn, and the Oilers are all too familiar picking players with inflated stats due to being linemates of highly dominant players (cough, Pouliot playing with Crosby, cough).

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I think the Oilers will make a move though I don’t think it will involve Heatley. I believe Heatley won’t be moved till July 1st because of his 4 million dollar bonus that the receiving team would have to pay. However I would like the Oilers to possibly make a stab at maybe Jbo’s rights and Florida’s 14th Overall. This would allow us to grab Kassian. Supposedly Florida is asking only for a 1st round pick. If I was Tambo I offer our 10th and a mid-range prospect for Jbo’s rights and the 14th.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Are there any other steals/bargains/etc that stand out?

The Oilers drafting was abysmal in the mid/late 90’s and early 00’s. The Oilers haven’t really had much steals or bargains in the draft. Horcoff was picked 99th overall, which I guess would be probably one of the better bargains in the draft.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

What if we picked Getzlaf, Parise, Richards instead of Pouliot…The 2003 draft was easily one of our worst moments drafting. Of the 30 guys picked in the 1st round, roughly 25 are highly successful.

Also would be the 1995 draft, which was held in Edmonton, we had the 6th overall pick and at the time everyone thought we would grab Shane Doan. Right before the pick was made, the crowd was chanting “Doan, Doan, Doan”. Instead the Oilers picked Steve Kelly who played an amazing 149 games for 21 points.

Some people like to point to the 2002 Draft where the Oilers got Jesse Niinimaki, but in my opinion that was a pretty terrible draft overall.

Soapbox Time:

Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

The future of the Oilers looks good with Tambellini running the show and Quinn and Renney behind the bench. Quinn specifically likes hard-nosed hockey and that should allow the Oilers to get back to that blue-collared style of hockey that I love.

***

Finally, “raventalon40”

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

I’ve been keeping my eyes on about 3 players who are most likely to be available at the 10th position, assuming Tambellini doesn’t move up in the draft. Those 3 players are Scott Glennie, Dmitry Kulikov, and John Moore. I’m a firm believer that you always take the best player available before you address organization need by position.

Though the Oilers have an abundance of offensive defenseman in the minors, my vote would go to Dmitry Kulikov and here’s why: the Russian defenseman has played the North American game, he has the widest range of skills, and is described by many scouts to be the most complete defenseman in the draft. Some even rank him above OHL phenom Ryan Ellis. The best part is, most GMs believe that Kulikov is NHL ready – but whether he’s ready in the way that Drew Doughty was or Oscar Möller is yet to be seen. It wouldn’t matter if Kulikov had to spend a couple years in the AHL to hone his skill.

As for Scott Glennie, he comes out of the WHL which is a familiar league for the Oilers scouts. Some raise concerns on whether his “sidekick” role with regards to Brayden Schenn will have hurt his personal development and I say bollocks to that.

In reverse, I wonder how much of Schenn’s performance is inflated by Glennie’s own contributions? Whatever the case, the Wheat Kings have a tradition of producing players with skill and desire, with the likes of Ryan Stone (a current Oiler), Eric Fehr, and Matt Calvert. Glennie is a true western boy with good hockey sense and an ability to find himself or his linemates in the right position. Schenn or not, Glennie has the smarts and that’s half the battle when it comes to making the NHL.

John Moore hails from the USHL, a league that has produced mixed results for the Oilers in recent drafts, with the likes of Petry and Vandevelde emerging from the league. Vandevelde is beginning to emerge from a development snag in the Oilers system that saw the team split farm teams with the Pittsburgh Penguins; Petry is one of the top prospects in the system. There is not much evidence left to fairly proclaim that the USHL is an inferior league and all indications are that John Moore may or may not outperform current Oilers big D prospect Alex Plante, though Plante’s own development has been delayed by injury. Moore is praised for his skating, composure, and slick passing ability. He could be a future powerplay quarterback.

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I wouldn’t move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley. Ottawa GM Murray has had his hand forced and all indications are that he will have no choice but to accept less than market value for his elite sniper. Landing Heatley will still take more than your average Joe top 6 forward, but I wouldn’t expect the deal to be of the blockbuster proportion that graced the pages of the Tkachuk to Atlanta or Joe Thornton to San Jose deals.

In order to move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley, I would imagine the Oilers would also be getting a significant roster ready player in return, to even out the roster vaccum created by acquiring Heatley.

Overall, it’s simpler to just look elsewhere if Ottawa wants a 1st round pick for Heatley.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Is there any other steals/bargains/etc that stands out?

I would have to say that my favourite Oiler draft memory was when they took Andrew Cogliano as I was hoping all along that the Oilers would take him and it actually happened. I still hold out hope that Cogliano becomes a franchise Oiler.

A close second would be the Sam Gagner draft year. I had him pegged along with Jakub Voracek and felt they were relatively equal and it turned out great that Columbus GM Howson took him first because the former WJC and Russian Super Series star Gagner turned out to be the more NHL ready pick.

A memorable steal that comes to mind is Linus Omark in the 4th round but as it stands right now, he may never suit up in an Oiler uniform, so we’ll wait and see about that.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

I wouldn’t call picking Jani Rita or Alexei Mikhnov blunders as much as I would consider them failures in development, but history has judged them to be almost as bad as Jason Bonsignore or Jesse Niinimaaki. Rita never stood a fair chance against other prospects in the system but he did score a goal in his first NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings.

The biggest question mark that comes to mind is former Oiler defenseman Chris Hajt. The Oilers spent many good seasons developing this player to absolutely no avail. I remember reading countless reports on how good Hajt was and finding out eventually that Hajt was really nothing to write home about.

5. Soapbox Time: Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

Living in Edmonton is great. The winter season is all excitement and hockey. The summer season is beautiful and the river valley is second to none in terms of civic parks. It is more than 10 times larger and more extensive than New York’s Central Park and that’s no small feat.

The franchise has always had a kind of undying loyalty aspect to it. There have been criticisms of the “Boys on the Bus” mentality of the Oilers, but it’s true what they say: an Oiler for life. Doug Weight, Boris Mironov, Jim Dowd, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Gretzky, Igor Ulanov: these and many more former Oilers have been quoted as remembering their Oiler years as their best in the NHL.

And that’s not insignificant, considering a few of these players have done pretty well for themselves elsewhere in the league.

The Oilers have had a rough few seasons with the departure of Pronger, Smyth, and Smith. When Oilers GM Tambellini talks about going back to what defined an Oiler as an Oiler, he talks about that undying loyalty. Oiler hockey is not necessarily what makes the rest of the NHL go around. We’re not about the Pat Lafontaines, or Brett Hulls, or the Pierre Turgeons. Certainly, the Oilers have had their own list of accomplished snipers in Craig Simpson, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson. But the Oilers have always mixed skill with desire, grit, and sacrifice.

Ask Mark Messier. Ask Ken Linseman. Ask Ryan Smyth. Ask Jason Smith.

Desire, grit, and sacrifice. It’s an exciting time to be an Oiler fan.

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