Its official. After months of speculation and predictions, the Edmonton Oilers have secured the 1st overall selection in the 2011 NHL draft. It wasn't easy mind you as Ryan Whitney, Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner threatened to prevent the Oilers from getting into this position. However, a combination of stellar goaltending from the team MVP and Steve Tambellini's lucky tie saw them through. We all know there are some perks for finishing last in the league and one of them is losing the lottery and remaining in first place. The highlight of lottery night was TSN's mini-interview of Steve Tambellini when James Duthie remarked that the Oilers would be hoping to avoid this next time around. However knowing Steve Tambellini and his 5-year plan, I am not so sure. To counter that plan, the good thing is that Oilers have 3 picks in top 31 selections and Stu MacGregor's track record instills confidence in every fan.
After the jump I'll take a detailed look at the top prospects in 2011 and some interesting prospects from 2010.
In the table below, I've broken out a number of stats including percentage contribution to offense, even strength points per game and goals per game. The players are grouped by league and sorted w.r.t. to ESP/G. The situational scoring breakdown will be posted as a FanPost in the coming days.
Legend: %cont = individual points divided team goals; G/G = goals per game; A/G = assists per game; ESP/G = even strength points per game; PPP/G = power play points per game; P/G = points per game
|Jonathan Huberdeau||QMJHL||Saint John||C||67||105||316||0.33||0.60||0.93||1.03||0.45||1.57|
|Zach Phillips||QMJHL||Saint John||RW||67||95||314||0.30||0.55||0.85||0.94||0.46||1.42|
|Thomas Jurco||QMJHL||Saint John||F||60||56||285||0.20||0.52||0.42||0.63||0.30||0.93|
|Nathan Beaulieu||QMJHL||Saint John||D||65||45||309||0.15||0.18||0.51||0.28||0.38||0.69|
|Mark McNeill||WHL||Prince Albert||C||70||81||237||0.34||0.43||0.70||0.74||0.36||1.16|
|Brett Connolly||WHL||Prince George||RW||59||73||214||0.34||0.75||0.46||0.73||0.47||1.24|
|Tyler Pitlick||WHL||Medicine Hat||C||56||62||210||0.30||0.48||0.63||0.71||0.38||1.11|
|Ryan Hopkins||WHL||Red Deer||C||69||106||257||0.41||0.45||1.09||0.67||0.86||1.54|
|Emerson Etem||WHL||Medicine Hat||C||65||80||233||0.34||0.57||0.55||0.65||0.42||1.23|
|Martin Marincin||WHL||Prince George||D||67||56||238||0.24||0.21||0.63||0.36||0.48||0.84|
|Dylan McIlrath||WHL||Moose Jaw||D||62||23||205||0.11||0.08||0.29||0.24||0.13||0.37|
- Jonathan Huberdeau looks really good by the numbers and his inclusion in the Sean Couturier in every category other than percentage contribution to offense. I think the simple explanation is the strength of their respective teams. Unfortunately we dont have zone starts or time on ice to give us a clearer picture.
- Yesterday Bruce pointed out the disparity in opinions of the scouts and some of the writers in the sphere regarding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. There is a good reason for that. He ranks 11th among the draft eligible forwards in even strength points per game. One explanation for this is that he plays against the top defensemen and checking forwards, but there is nothing to say that others arent. I will be very surprised if Ryan Strome, Huberdeau, Couturier weren't playing under similar circumstances.
- Adam Larsson and Doug Hamilton have separated themselves from the pack. But how do the others stack up is not too clear. Dean Millard and Guy Flaming had a fabulous piece a while back. I would encourage the readers to check it out. It can be found here. However, the question of Beaulieu still remains. Personally I am not too high on Siemens. His play, scouting report all suggest that he is somewhat in the mold of Colten Teubert. Raw, physical, good skater and all that. His offense is not that impressive if you look at percentage contribution, especially when compared to the other draft eligible defensemen. If it were upto me, I would slot the defensemen as follows: Ryan Murphy, Nathan Beaulieu, Joe Morrow, Duncan Siemens and David Musil. I cannot understand what went wring with David Musil this season. Last season he showed so much promise that some expected him to challenge for a position in the top 5.
- The second tier of prospects is headlined by Mark McNeill. He is a big, gritty center with 2 way skills and I think he will be our second pick if he is available. Then there is slick winger in Ty Rattie who looks to be Eberle like, except for the shooting accuracy. Following them are Matt Puempel, Mark Scheffiele, Zach Phillips and Alexander Khokhlachev. In fact there is a very good group of players who will be in the range for out second pick. This should be a successful draft for the Oilers.
- This year was supposed to be a year of the power forwards - Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad, Seth Ambroz et.al. We know how rare power forwards are in the NHL, so it was no surprise that scouts and draft nuts like me were excited to see how the season would unfold. However, besides Landeskog, the others have not been able to live up to the pre-season hype and have seen their draft stock fall steadily. That is not to say that they do not have the potential, but production is not there and this is hurting them. Due to such a slide, they have distanced themselves from the top half of the 1st round and some one like Saad may just be available at 31. On the other hand, some small skilled men have made a good name for themselves. Sven Bartchi was recently named a top 10 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Alexander Khokhlachev did the same with the red line report. Vincent Trochek is a very good penalty killer and defensively-reliable forward and may have passed Brandon Saad in some eyes.
- Curtis Hamilton and Brayden Schenn and the loaded Saskatoon Blades were booted from the playoffs by the Kootenay Ice. While Drew Czerwonka's Ice were considered a very strong team, most people expected Saskatoon to be the best. Unfortunately, other than Hamilton, no other Oiler non-goalie prospect is involved in the CHL playoffs. But one of the Oilers goalie prospects is shutting down Red Deer Rebels and Ryan Hopkins. I remember having a debate with Bruce regarding Red Deer and them possibly being the best team in the WHL, while I was advocating the same about Saskatoon. Unfortunately we both are seeing our respective teams in a 0-3 hole.
- Should I talk about Dylan MacIIrath getting selected at 10th overall? No..I think I will just sign off.