Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 Draft through the rear-view



It’s been a while since the 2010 Entry Draft took place, and I’ve had the time to properly calm down after a couple of “interesting” picks by our scouting staff. Here’s a quick look at how this blogger thought our draft days went.

Round 1: Taylor Hall

An absolute no-brainer pick here. Taylor Hall is the most NHL-ready prospect this year and his tendencies for winning make him perfect for the Oilers in three years. He’ll play in the NHL next year and has the chance at being a Calder trophy candidate if he’s placed in an ideal situation. Personally, I’d like to see him start the year in the bottom-6 and make him earn the cherry minutes lining up alongside Hemsky or Gagner, but I know it’s not going to happen. He’ll be a mainstay on the Oilers top line for the next half-decade at the very least. A franchise changing player.

Round 2: Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, Curtis Hamilton

The Oilers did well here to pick up Pitlick with the 31st pick. They were able to get a player with first-round pedigree in the early 2nd round. A big-bodied centerman with some underlying offensive upside who is going to the WHL next year should see his point totals take a massive leap forward, hopefully without any sacrifice to his already well-developed defensive game. I’m a little concerned that he’s spurning the NCAA program so soon to play Major Junior. Other examples of this from Gare Joyce’s “Future Greats and Heartbreaks” like Phil Kessel and Peter Mueller indicate that we should be concerned about his intellect and academic drive. In my opinion, it’s cause for concern. If he can’t commit to an education, should we also question his passion for hockey when the going gets tough? Regardless, he’s got second-line potential if he lives up to expectations.

Marincin is often overhyped as the next coming of Zdeno Chara because of his passport and gargantuan size. He’s going to be continuing those comparisons with the Prince George Cougars (WHL team of Zdeno Chara) next season, as the Oilers draft pick was recently taken first overall in the CHL’s import draft. The Oilers traded a very talented and very disgruntled prospect in Riley Nash to get him, so this pick is likely to be scrutinized more so than any other pick in the 2010 draft. He’s still a work-in progress, but he’s a very high-end prospect that the Oilers should be very happy to have obtained. At first glance, he’s got Top-4 talent written all over him, and that’s just the low-point of his potential. The Oilers may have finally found a stud two-way defenseman prospect.

Curtis Hamilton is a gamble that could either be a home-run or called third strike. He’s a walking injury at this point but has shown glimpses of high-end skill when healthy. He’s a big body and strong skater, but I can’t count on him as a blue-chipper until I see a full healthy season out of him. Potential to be a top line talent with a physical presence, or he could flame out early in his career due to injuries.

The second round of the draft turned out very well for the Oilers, but could have gone even better if they had waited two spots to select Martin Marincin. Were I GM for a day 46th would have gone to Ottawa 67s Tyler Toffoli, followed by Marincin with the 48th. There was a chance they had planned to take Toffoli with the 48th, but got scooped by LA when they traded up. Hopefully Hamilton is able to prove me wrong and pans out at least to the point where he’s an effective 3rd liner.

Round 3: Ryan Martindale

Here’s where I started to get a migrane. I don’t like the pick. At all. Didn’t like it at the time, and it’s not changing any time soon. I’m sure Ryan Martindale’s a decent enough guy and might be a half-decent hockey player, but what makes the pick worse to me is the talent that was still on the table. Jordan Weal, Kirill Kabanov, Stan Galiev, Teemu Pulkkinen were ALL still there and had elite level skill. Instead of picking the talent, we picked the passport. It’s almost as if the Oilers were scared to pick players that weren’t committed to the CHL for the next year. It’s a good developmental league yes, but to go into the draft with the mantra that you only want CHLers is a bit shortsighted.

Then I start to get into the stats about the player, and start to like Martindale a little bit. I see that he’s 6’3” and a centerman, and I start to work myself out of my doldrums. Then, I see his scouting report and cringe. Lazy? Lacksadasical? Consistency issues? Fuck. That’s not the kind of scouting report I want to see in a prospect, especially one taken in with the first 100 picks. It’s the biggest pet peeve I’ve got when it comes to addressing prospects. If you can’t be bothered to show up every night, why should I bother to write about you?

Round 4: Jeremie Blain

I really didn’t know much about him, but I like what we got here. A shining light on a bad, bad team He’s going back the Titan this year, hopefully with a better goalie (fellow Oilers prospect Olivier Roy) to play with. If he can continue to develop his offensive talents to go along with his size he could be a viable option to round out the bottom pairing on an NHL team. There was still some good talent left on the draft board in my opinion (Pulkkinen was STILL there!) but the Oilers stuck to their draft mantra of size, size, size. They found a pretty good defenseman with their necessary size quotient.

Round 5: Tyler Bunz

Another screwy pick to me. I get that the Oilers have a Pierre Macguire-sized hardon for the WHL at this point, but we’re getting a little ridiculous. Why bother burning a pick on a goalie whose projections are that of an NHL back-up when we’ve already got two of those playing for the NHL club? I don’t subscribe to the “drafting goalies is witchcraft” phenomena sweeping many blogs, but you have to pick your spots carefully. I would have drafted Jack Campbell in the Top-10, possibly even Top-5 this year because he was just that good. But past Campbell and possibly Pickard, I didn’t see another goalie that had the makings of a potential NHL starter. Again, another big body with decent stats, but the technical scouts weren’t fans. He can’t make up for his shortcomings with size like JDD/DD are able to, nor does have the quickness or agility that Olivier Roy possesses. It’s a head-scratcher.

Round 6: Brandon Davidson, Drew Czerwonka

Davidson’s a nice feel-good story, but is coming from an absolutely dreadful team in Regina. That Jordan Eberle and Jordan Weal managed to score points playing with absolutely no help was no short of shocking. I’d like to see him traded to a real WHL team to see what he could do there, as I think his stat line is influenced by increased ice-time. He’s likely a bottom-pairing defenseman at best bet, but I could be proven wrong.

Drew (Willy) Czerwonka is a goon, plain and simple. We all knew the Oilers were going to pick one eventually, but at least this time they did us the courtesy of not wasting a high pick on him. He’s a pugilist trying to become a better all-around player, and will likely have an upside similar to the recently re-signed Steve MacIntyre.

Round 7: Kristians Pelss, Kellen Jones

Who?

Exactly. We drafted a Latvian for chrissakes. And even if he’s the Latvian Wayne Gretzky, what exactly could we expect from this pick? Now I’m not saying Latvia’s incapable of producing NHL talent, as Arters Irbe was one of my favourite goalies growing up (but really only for the name and goofy helmet), but this is a downright weird pick. I’m sure the only reason he was taken in the CHL draft is because the Oilers’ owned Oil Kings saw fit to take him. That’s the beauty of owning your own junior-aged hockey team, you can put any euro you want on it. I honestly can’t project what kind of player this Pelss is going to be, because the Latvian hockey pool hasn’t produced the talent to compare him to.

Kellen Jones may be the only 2010 draft pick to not play Major Junior hockey, and that just doesn’t sit well with me but I’ll try to not let it influence my writing on him. In actuality It’ll probably increase the amount of words spent on him in the long run because I really do like the NCAA pipeline for producing talent, but more on that at a later day. Jones is a small-fry and an overager, so it’s unlikely to expect anything more than a depth player here unfortunately.

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So there you have it. Not the greatest draft in my opinion, but does have the potential to be one of the Oilers’ best in recent years. I’d like to point out the draft expectations of the Detroit Red Wings here when they say that if you can get two prospects to pan out per draft you’re doing a good job. Well the Oilers have a lot of bullets from the 2010 draft to make it work. Hall’s a sure bet, all that’s needed for a successful draft is one of the other ten players to make it. The best bets are on the three second rounders, and I like what I see in Pitlick and Marincin to cover their respective bets. The Oilers brass is counting on a healthy season from Hamilton and are praying to the Hockey Gods that Martindale’s light turns on.

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