GUEST COLUMNIST: Assessing previous drafts the Swedish way

This is a followup to SwedishPoster’s Magnum Opus on drafting, which you can find here.  In this post, SwedishPoster uses the rules he derived in his previous analysis to look at current and previous Oiler draft picks.  Read it and … well, you probably have your suspicions about the Oiler draft record already.  But a few surprises to be sure!


Hello again. As I mentioned at the tail end of my draft analysis, I’ll be looking at Oiler picks since 2009 through the lens of the draft rules I set up.

Now let’s remember this is about being a good bet on draft day based on their draft year numbers with some context. This is not to say they were actually good picks or really considers how well they’ve done since being drafted though I will comment on that, as well as give my own very amateurish scouting attempts on some of the players.

I will also make the claim that picking Liam Coughlin wasn’t as bad as you might think. So fire up the torches, here’s my look at the Oiler picks from 2009-2014.

2009

 Rd 1: MPS, 0,34 PPG, 0,14 GPG in the SHL in his draft year does suggest a very good bet. So does his junior numbers. I think his failure was mainly a development issue, should have stayed at least one more season in Sweden to be comfortable offensively at that level before coming over. But you could also argue the fact he was a big bodied kid with great skating benefitting from being early developed but lacking high end skill to be an offensive threat at the next level, on the other hand he’s shown in spurts he can provide offense (WHC, rookie season) while being solid defensively, how often does a player putting up 0.43 PPG in his rookie season while being solid defensively and not have an NHL career? As far as draft day goes he was a good bet and another proof there’s a lot left beyond that day.

Rd 2: Anton Lander, 0,22 in the SHL as a draftee is also good enough to not be scared away. Like Magnus he was slightly above PPG in the U20 team the year before which also points towards him scoring enough to be a worthy pick.

Rd 3: Troy Hesketh, 0,79 in USHS in one of the lesser USHS leagues doesn’t really suggest much of a player, a little uncertain if he was a rookie or not, he spent the second half of the season in a slightly better HS league and only put up 0.42 PPG in 22 games which strengthen the sense of him lacking upside. Skating? Naaah. Maybe(not really) you could argue his value as a last round longshot if someone saw him excellent, but as a 3rd rounder it’s plain stupid. Bad bet.

Rd 3: Cam Abney, 0,08!!! in the WHL. Wasted pick, rookie season or not. So bad it angers me.

Rd 4: Kyle Bigos, was drafted out of the BCHL in his draft +2 year after putting up 0,57 PPG which would have been ok if he was a rookie in his draft year, 0,29 in his draft +1 as a BCHL rookie which is almost but not really ok if it was in his draft year, none of this suggests any kind of upside. Skating? Crappy. Bad pick, especially considering they had two more years of evidence. He was big. Good times.

Rd 4: Toni Rajala, PPG in Fin U20 and 0,24 in the Fin-1 against men over 21 games is a good bet in the 4th round.

Rd 5: Olivier Roy, goalie aka voodoo but was picked in a later round. Had .905 his draft year and a midget season at .922 in his draft -2 year. I guess that’s fine so I’d say an ok bet. Lacked mental strength and size to make it at the next level imo.

So the -09 draft provided three pretty good euro fwd bets where one seems to be turning out, one has lost his way after a good rookie season and one is top player in europe. One decent goalie bet who now plays the ECHL. And three pretty much awful picks which seems to hold true. Certainly for where they were picked.

The three guys who looked the best on paper are also the ones who looks to have the better careers though only Lander seems to cover the NHL bet atm.

 2010

Rd 1: Hall, 1,86 PPG. Obviously filling the basic requirement, excellent bet ofc, which should always be the case with the #1 pick.

Rd 2: Pitlick, 0,50 PPG in the NCAA is pretty solid though hardly eye popping and suggested a player. Smashed the USHS league the year before as well. Pretty good bet on numbers alone but as the NCAA seems tricky to fully grasp and his numbers are ok but not stellar you could argue he was picked a bit early.

Rd 2: Marincin, 0,17 in the Slovak league against men is good though unspectacular. Still a real good bet. Skating? Great.

Rd 2: C.Hamilton, 0,61 in the WHL in 26 games is not very good. He was injured for a large part of the season but not a great bet as a 2nd rounder considering his draft -1 season was pretty meh. 5th-7th round would be an ok gamble due to his injury giving some leeway. Had he put up those numbers in a healthy season it’s massive no no. Bad bet for where he was picked.

Rd 3: R.Martindale, almost PPG in the WHL, a pretty good bet in the third round. Didn’t seem to have the drive to make it. Ok bet based on numbers.

Rd 4: J.Blain, 0.59 in the QMJHL his draft year is pretty good. Skating? Haven’t seen for myself but draft reports claim there were some issues but opinions seems to vary. And the Q doesn’t seem to provide a ton of top 4 D of late so that was a bit of a warning sign. Good pick on numbers alone though somewhat iffy due to question marks on skating, the racist slurs obviously puts a massive dent in his character as well. Still, on numbers an ok bet.

Rd 5: T.Bunz, goalie, drafted in the 5th round, .898 Sv% which was his best junior number. Based on my made up goalie rules a bad bet.

Rd 6: B.Davidson, drafted in his +1 year, put up 0,57 as a rookie in the AMHL his draft year which is ok, followed that up with 0,58 as a rookie in the WHL which got him drafted. Skating? Good but not great. Rookie status makes him a good bet. Especially considering the round and his very humble background before getting to the WHL.

Rd 6: Czerwonka, 0,24 PPG as a non-rookie fwd in the WHL isn’t close to be good enough to be drafted at all. Bad bet.

Rd 7: Pelss, 0,20 PPG in the Belarus league against men, late birth day, 7th rounder. Clever drafting and a good bet. RIP.

Rd 7: K.Jones, drafted in his +2 draft year out of the BCHL after three seasons over PPG in that league which is just ok but far from stellar. He did put up over PPG in his draft year as a BCHL rookie which is good enough, on the other hand he didn’t show a ton of improvement on the score board the following seasons and they did have two extra years of evidence, also undersized. Due to it being a 7th rounder I’d say an ok bet, but just barely.

So one Hall. Pitlick, Marincin, Martindale, Davidson and Pelss all good bets. Blain pretty good but with the QMJHL factor a little less promising. Jones barely ok. Hamilton bad considering round. Bunz and Czerwonka flat out bad bets.

2011

Rd 1: RNH, obviously filling the basics and an excellent bet.

Rd 1: Klefbom, a meager 0,08 in the SHL but numbers for D in the better euro leagues doesn’t say much, he played a regular shift against men at 17 which makes him a good bet.

Rd 2: Musil, 0,40 PPG in the WHL barely makes the grade, if you consider him being an early 2nd rounder and lacking skating it’s a rough bet.

Rd 3: S.Perhonen, .922 in Fin-U20 is pretty good, but a 3rd rounder on a goalie who lacks big hype, I don’t know. Word out of Finland is that he didn’t take hockey seriously but is starting to turn things around. That’s another risk with picking goalies, they start turning it around when they’re no longer part of your org.

Rd 3: Ewanyk, 0,38 PPG in the WHL in his draft year just isn’t good enough, no matter the grit or good guyness. Bad bet.

Rd 4: D.Simpson, 0,33 in the NCAA as a D is solid though the evidence is dodgy. I’d say it’s a fine bet in the fourth round on numbers but skating issues makes it just ok.

Rd 4: T.Rieder, 0,75 PPG in the WHL is nothing to write home about, BUT, rookie factor and with that in mind, especially with german juniors being a very big step down from the CHL, it’s very clever drafting and a great bet. (And a stupid trade, Kessy was 0,39 as a non-rookie his draft year which consitutes an awful bet)

Rd 5: Gernat, 0,64 in the Slovak U20 his draft year, he was a rookie at that level as well, seems to have joined the U20 ranks mid-season from lower level play, the numbers suggest a good bet. Good skater. Looked great in the CHL early but has lost his way, long term project though so I’m prepared to give him more time. Good bet.

Rd 7: Touhimaa, drafted in his +2 year after .931 in finnish juniors. His draft year had him put .885 in the same league. Late pick but if you grab a euro goalie in his draft +2 year I’d like to see at least some games in the mens league. Could probably have waited and grabbed him off free agency the following season as well. Not a very good bet all things considered.

So RNH, Klefbom, Simpson, Rieder, Gernat good bets with Gernat being a long term project which is fine in that round. Musil an iffy bet where he was picked due to skating though he does fulfill the basic requirement pointwise. Ewanyk and the goalies bad bets, I’d be ok with the goalies if Perhonen was picked in the 7th and Touhimaa was grabbed in free agency.

2012

Rd 1: Yak, his numbers are legit for first overall, especially the OHL rookie numbers in his draft -1 season, before injury in his draft year he was sporting around 2 PPG as well, slowed down when he came back but still good numbers.

Rd 2: Moroz, 0,38 in the WHL as a fwd is not that good, he was a rookie so some leeway should be handed out but 0,38 is a little low in the early second round, you’re pretty much betting on him being an outlier which makes it a dodgy pick especially considering his midget numbers were mediocre. Would’ve been a good 5th-6th round gamble, as a 2nd Rd pick it’s bad.

Rd 3: Khaira, 1,46 PPG in the BCHL with a GPG over 0,50 is certainly good enough, especially for a late b-day. Good bet.

Rd 3: Zharkov, 0,72 as a rookie in the OHL. Considering rookie status a good bet. Fell off a cliff.

Rd 4: E.Gustafsson, drafted in his +2 year. 0,33 PPG in Swe U20 in his draft year, all helpers, was drafted after he made the SHL team in his draft +2 year putting up 7 points in 41 games. Ok bet, good skater as well, though very much a project who they gave up on when he started to show signs of life.

Rd 5: LaLeggia, drafted in his +2 year after a great first season in the NCAA with a 0,88 PPG. Was over PPG in the BCHL his draft year. I’ve heard different things on his skating from ok to great. If it’s the latter a real good bet in the later rounds. RNH should probably be the head of scouting…

Rd 6: McCarron, another +2 draft year pick. Slightly above half a point per game in the NCAA got him drafted. His draft year he put up 0,45 as a USHL rookie. The USHL is slightly underrated and he was a rookie but below 0.60 equals barely ok as a late round gamble, considering they had two extra years of info with mediocre results I’d say it’s a bad bet.

Yak, Khaira, Zharkov and Laleggia good bets. Gustafsson ok as a project but they seemed to lack conviction with him. Moroz bad for a second rounder. McCarron bad bet.

2013

Rd 1: Nurse, 0,60 in the OHL covers the bet for a top 4 D. 0,18 GPG doesn’t suggest a lot of offense translating but doesn’t really say complete lack of offense either. Skating? Excellent. Good bet.

Rd 2: Marco Roy, 1,03 in the QMJHL isn’t fantastic in any sense but covers the basics. Ok but unspectacular bet.

Rd 3: Yakimov, over PPG in the MHL, almost PPG in the VHL(lower russian league) against men. Good to great bet in the 3rd.

Rd 3: Slepyshev, drafted +1, put up a 0,18 PPG in the KHL in his draft year which is pretty damn good. Played Russia-3 the year before. Great bet in the 3rd round.

Rd 4: Houck, 0,82 in the WHL makes you a good junior player but if you’re not a rookie unlikely to be an impact NHLer. Not a very good bet. Was on a low scoring team but he was playing top line minutes and could be argued to be part of the reason they were a low scoring team, based on the numbers a bad bet.

Rd 4: Platzer, 0,34 as an OHL rookie is not that impressive but unlike Moroz who had similar numbers in his draft year as a rookie he’s picked in the longshot rounds and did have pretty good lower junior and Midget numbers. Based on that an ok bet.

Rd 5: Muir, 1,08 in the very well scouted T1EHL U18… Nothing crazy in a lower league. He was however a rookie at that level, played the U16 level the year before. He’s a late birthday and the lower league guys are trickier to decipher since they are usually very raw and uncoached, as a 5th rd longshot gamble it’s actually a pretty good bet, very humble beginnings, got size and skating. His second NCAA season will be a huge tell, he’s changed teams and league every season the last few years starting at a really low level, let’s see what he can do when he gets a chance to settle down.

Rd 6: E.Campbell, drafted in his +2 year after putting up 1,29 in the BCHL, spent his draft year playing the VIJHL with a 0,88 PPG as a rookie. Not a lot suggesting there’s a player here other than the fact that he came from very humble beginnings and thus might have untapped potential. As far as draft picks go he’s a massive leap of faith. Bad bet from a probability standpoint, you better saw him bloody excellent as a scout. Still not as awful as Czerwonka et al.

Rd 6: Betker, 0,09 in the WHL as a rookie. Skating? Good. Crappy numbers but rookie status, size with skating and late round makes it a good bet in my mind.

Rd 7: Chase, 0,71 in the WHL doesn’t make the cut and based on that he’s not a very good bet if you go strictly by my work, even for the 7th round, at least if the goal is to find guys with top 6, #3C upside. Chase is an interesting case however where some added context comes into play. He wasn’t a rookie in his draft year, it was his second WHL season. There were however reports that he had limited ice time and very little PP time, despite deserving more, and that his EV numbers were more impressive. Based on that information and him being a 7th rounder that’s an ok bet and some clever drafting tbh but since this is about my algoritm(me me ME) I have to call him a bad bet.

So Nurse, Roy, Yak2 and Slepy all good bets. Platzer, Muir and Betker, fine for the later rounds. Chase a case where the limitations of my work may show. Campbell an iffy leap of faith and Houck an uninspired pick with most likely a low ceiling. More creative drafting than the years before.

2014

Rd 1: Draisaitl, another obvious bet from a PPG pov.

Rd 4: Lagesson, 0,45 in the Swe U20, fine numbers especially for a euro league and him being a defense first guy. Skating? There are question marks according to some scouts. My personal amateurish opinion on his skating is that it’s better than it looks, he gets discredited due to lack of flair in his skating, it’s ugly looking but efficient enough imo. Still, due to skating just an ok bet really, though I personally like the player, a little Hjalmarssonesque.

Rd 4: Nagelvoort, drafted his +2 year, late 4th round, 0.929 in the NCAA is good, 0,921 in the NAHL his draft year are fine numbers and he seems to be putting up solid numbers year after year. Ok to good bet since he’s a late 4th and goalie rules are made up and the points don’t matter.

Rd 5: Liam Coughlin, drafted in his +1 year (barely missing the -12 draft), considered a laughable prospect, he put up 0,85 PPG in the BCHL as a rookie his draft +1 year which got him drafted. He came out of USHS hockey and also played some games in midget his draft year, his numbers were around 2 PPG, the majority goals, which is pretty good. Considering the low level he came from his BCHL rookie numbers aren’t terrible either though they miss my baseline of 1.0 PPG, as mentioned some leeway can be given for rookies in the later rounds. Massive long shot but not as awful bet as one might think at first glance. Another leap of faith a la Campbell but a better leap if you ask me and far from the terrible bets made in the 09-11 drafts. Almost ok gamble if the scouts saw him good, would have looked better in the 7th though. The lack of progress his second BCHL year is discouraging though, will need a good rookie year in the NCAA to get on track.

Rd 6: Vesel, drafted in his +2 year after 1.45 PPG as a USHL rookie, a great number. In his draft year, as a USHS rookie out of U16 midget, he was 1.3 PPG playing for Shattuck which is below my limit of 1.5 PPG but rookie scoring in the USHS is uncharted territory so I’d say it’s an ok number. Considering his humble beginnings 1.45 as a USHL rookie makes him a good late round bet, you might even say great, overager or not. Will be very interesting to see what he can do in his second NCAA season after a solid first campaign. This is good drafting imo.

Rd 7: Bouchard, goalie, 0.887 Sv% in the Q his draft year. Very little suggesting he’s got NHL upside. Bad bet.

So one good bet, one smart late round bet in Vesel. One ok to good bet in Lagesson. One ok goalie bet, one massive leap of faith with some forgiving factors and a really bad goalie bet. Once again more creative drafting than before.

Overall

Looking at these draft picks and how the first few players are projecting since drafted the set of rules I set up does a good job cleaning out the horror picks. Also recognizes some of the more mediocre forward picks though everyone that makes the grade obviously won’t cover their bet, which rhymes well with what we’ve seen earlier. You clear out the dead space, recognize some iffy ones but quite a few bad eggs still slips through, making the NHL is not an easy task and most draft picks will bust, there’s no way around it. What this does well is getting rid of the completely pointless picks.

The later drafts seem to buy in to the idea that it’s better to make a gamble on one of the lower league guys than going for 0.60-0.80(or worse) PPG CHLers. It’s a clear change in strategy after MacT took the reigns, is it MacT who’s behind it or is it the Parkatti effect? I think he got involved with Oilers drafting around the same time. Based on my numbers it should be a pretty good strategy, will be very interesting to see how it turns out. Even within that strategy the Campbell pick is fairly iffy. The Coughlin pick looks better but still a massive gamble. The Muir pick is better still, as is the Vesel pick which I see as real smart pick. Will be very interesting to see how they all develop in the NCAA going forward. I still don’t see enough CHL rookie picks in the late rounds for my liking, I think it’s a great way to get value.

So it does an ok job with forwards, the picture is less clear for D, which makes sense since the main purpose for D isn’t putting up points, it’s pretty clear that the so so skaters struggle to make hay, I may have been a little too kind on the iffy skaters in the mid-late rounds, guys like Lagesson, Simpson, Blaine could be argued as straight up bad bets due to scouting reports pointing at a lack of skating, at the same time none of them are truly terrible skaters from what I’ve gathered and I’d say Lagesson, who’s the only one I have seen a good chunk of, is a better skater than he gets credit for. Musil is another interesting case, I’ve marked him as a bad bet based on skating, had he been picked in the fourth round like the guys above I’d say he was an ok bet as well. He did look better than I thought he would in the NHL last season, but it’s hard to see him ever becoming a top 4 D which ultimately was the purpose of this exercise and in the second round you want better odds of that happening.

The goalies are as messy as predicted but only two guys seemed like reasonable bets to me, one has already burned out, which is to be expected, at least he was a late pick.

Next step will be looking at the 2015 draft.

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