2001 – None
2002 – Ivan Koltsov, 106th , Jonas Almtorp, 111th, & Robin Kovar, 123rd overall
5/30 players selected in this round have played NHL hockey, and the best of the lot has played it for the Oilers. Unfortunately, Tom Gilbert was selected by Colorado, not Edmonton. Devils tough guy Cam Janssen currently leads the list in GP (107 to Gilbert’s 94) and Matt Ellison, Aaron Rome and Nate Guenin round out the pack. Ellison was aprt of the trade that brought Patrick Sharp to Chicago.
Ivan Koltsov was a 6’2" stay at home defenseman who’s handling over in Russia has been absolutely disastrous. Russian prospects liked Koltsov, calling him a potential second-pairing defenseman. According to them, his RSL rights were owned by Severstal Cherpovets, who have a deep defensive corps and thus Koltsov was relegated to either the 2nd or 3rd tier league. For a guy who has yet to play a game in the RSL, the NHL seems a long way off.
Jonas Almtorp is a player who should be familiar to Oilers fans. A defensive specialist in the SEL, he came over to North America at the start of this season, with the expectation of challenging for an NHL job. It never happened, and in a disastrous campaign Almtorp found himself down in the ECHL, unable to score at the AHL level. He’s now returned to Europe, where it seems likely he’ll spend the rest of his professional career.
Robin Kovar is a Czech defenseman who was selected by the Oilers after 35 games with the Vancouver Giants. He had, however, failed to opt into the draft, and the pick was subsequently voided by the NHL. Edmonton complained, and received a 4th round pick in 2003 as compensation.
2003 – None
2004 – Liam Reddox, 112th overall
5/30 Players selected in this round have played in the NHL, including Liam Reddox. Torrey Mitchell of San Jose, Mike Lundin of Tampa Bay and Ryan Callahan of the Rangers have the early lead in GP, but it’s early. Also appearing in the NHL was Ottawa’s Alexander Nikulin.
Liam Reddox has had an up-and-down career to this point, with this last season being almost nothing but up. A small, pesky agitator with a nose for the net, Reddox played three seasons in the OHL, oddly totalling 68 games in each of them. In his draft year, he scored 31 goals and 64 points. The next season this increased to 36G, 82 PTS. However, in his 19-yr old season, he dropped to 19 goals and 64 points. He posted worse totals than in his draft year. In 2006-07, just when it looked like he was going nowhere, he underachieved, potting 8 goals in an entire ECHL season.
That is, until this season. Reddox played well for Springfield, earning rave reviews from Kelly Buchberger, among others, and scoring 65GP-16-28-44. He also played his first NHL game, and despite looking like a 14-yr old, seems to be in the future plans as an agitator.
2005 – Chris Vande Velde, 97th & Vyacheslav Trukhno, 120th overall
10/33 players selected have played in the NHL in what I believe must be considered one of the strongest drafts in recent memory. Jared Boll is probably the most famous (as well as the GP leader) of a group that includes Cody Bass, Keith Yandle, Vladimir Sobotka and Blair Jones. It’s a real indication of how deep this group is (or how much spare time for scouting there was during the lockout) that more than twice as many players have already played than in the ’04 group.
Chris Vande Velde is mentioned extensively below, so I won’t go into too much detail except to say that he has a real chance to emerge as a scorer and looks like a keeper.
Vyacheslav Trukhno is one of those guys who I like simply from hearing about him on Lowetide’s site. He showed steady improvement over the course of his QMJHL career, and had an up-and-down year with Springfield which ended in a beauty run. He’s probably contending for a roster spot season after next.
2006 – None.
2007- Linus Omark, 97th overall
0/30 out of this group, which should be no surprise to anyone. Justin Vaive is probably the most famous name here, as his dad had a nice career, but it looks like he’s had some trouble adapting to NCAA play.
Linus Omark should be doomed. He’s a smallish scorer with good speed and according to Hockey’s Future, "Additional strength and muscles would not hurt," which doesn’t sound so good. He’s also an ’87 born, so he’s a little older than the rest of his draft class (he’s now 21). Kent Nilsson talks about him here: http://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail-episode/128349/kent-nilsson-on-linus-omark
Despite Nilsson’s endorsement ("he’s going to be okay"), there’s light peeking through the black clouds. He scored 32 points in the SEL this season (up from 17 in his draft year), and seems like he might be a player. After all, how many guys are "playmaker-goal-scorers"?