2011 NHL Draft Primer

When the Oilers last made the playoffs, cantankerous old man Ben Massey was still in college.  Since then, the writers here have spent five playoff seasons immersed in the NHL draft, building resumes as amateur experts on 4th round picks from the WHL and 6th round picks from the SM-Liiga.  We've churned out an enormous amount of draft information over the last three months and to make it easier on our readers and give everyone easy to access reference material, we've put it all together in one place.

Scott Reynolds has done new and innovative work on the NHL draft, including looking at draft tendencies by league.  He's studied the long-term success of forwards drafted early and compared that to defenseman taken early.  He's looked at whether year-over-year amateur improvement is important to long-term NHL success, and whether CHL +/- is an indicator of success in the NHL.  He's allayed concerns over Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' even strength scoring problems by looking at whether even strength scoring is more important than power play scoring in the CHL.  He's also updated the venerable and terrifying Gabriel Desjardins' NHLe for players post 2005.

With reports of Steve Tambellini talking to Florida about trading down, it's important to remember just how much value top three picks bring to an NHL team.  Historically, the Oilers have gone forward heavy in the first round, but they did so at a time when their scouting department wasn't very strong.

Finally, one of the best members of The Copper & Blue community, SumOil, compiled the combined stats of the top CHL prospects in this years' draft and published the bible of comparative stats on those top picks.

Draft Rankings

Each year, YKOil brings together the rankings from the five major independent scouting services and ccompares them to Bob McKenzie's list.  The combined wisdom of the scouting services is accurate year in and year out.  Our good friends at The Scouting Report released their top 100 rankings and we combed through it to find some intriguing possibilities for the Oilers in the middle rounds.  Finally, we asked for our readers' rankings and compared them to our own.

Mock Drafts

We participated in SB Nation's Mock Draft and came away with Adam Larsson at #1.

Our reasons for taking him were laid out in a number of posts, including Scott's look at his QUALCOMP numbers, his playoff time on ice for Skellefteå AIK and an overall look at his game and what a high-end defensive prospect would mean to the Oilers.

We added goal-scoring winger Matthew Puempel with the 19th pick of the first round in the SB Nation Mock Draft.

And we took multi-faceted offensive winger Nicklas Jensen with the first pick in the second round, #31 overall, of the SB Nation Mock Draft.

Couturier and Nugent-Hopkins

Sean Couturier has fallen and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has risen in his place.  We've looked at when switch in rankings first started, and the reasons for it.  Nugent-Hopkins' offense is going to translate and no one disagrees,

The knocks on Couturier have included his physical play, which isn't typically a hallmark of #1 centers, his skating, which at least one Western Conference QMJHL Scout thinks is easily corrected.  Kirk Luedeke also thinks that big men like Couturier often struggle with skating, but it's not difficult to overcome.  The case for Sean Couturier at #1 is compelling - he brings loads of offense and, but he can also dominate in the faceoff circle.  Though Couturier (and his team) fell apart in the second round of the playoffs, his performance was nowhere near as poor at Nugent-Hopkins' play in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

Oilers Draft Watch

Our look at second-day prospects was so popular last year that we brought it back this season as Oilers Draft Watch 2011.

Brett Ritchie, RW, Sarnia - Bob McKenzie surprised many observers by listing Ritchie 36th overall, he could go to Edmonton at 31 or Florida at 33 if they are looking for a power forward.

Marek Tvrdon, LW, Vancouver - the enormous Slovakian winger hit the ground running in the WHL last season before getting hurt very early in the season.  He's a goal scorer.

Zakhar Arzamastsev, D, Novokuznetsk - a highly underrated Russian defenseman who produced as well as Dmitri Orlov, and could be steal for someone in the 3rd round.

Konstantin Komarek, F, Luleå - an Austrian playing in Sweden's Junior system has posted numbers similar to forwards rated much higher than him.  Toronto is quietly scouting him and may snap him up in the 4th round.

Barclay Goodrow, C, Brampton - a big, strong kid with athletic ability and hockey smarts, but he's held back by his skating, described as "technically terrible", but that goal scoring and athleticism is still worth a 5th or 6th round pick.

Matej Stransky, RW, Saskatoon - a possible 6th or 7th round pick, he's a long-term project with skill and size, but disappears for days.

Peter Ceresnak, D, HK Orange 20 - the big, rugged Slovak defenseman is meaner and more defensive than Martin Marincin, but doesn't skate as well.  The projected shut-down defenseman could be Edmonton's 6th or 7th rounder pick.

And if that's not enough, the writers at In Lou We Trust have done some outstanding work along the same lines.  They've compiled similar profiles on 23 mid and lower-round picks throughout the spring.  You can find those profiles here

Bruce Peter at Puck Worlds has a review of top prospects from Sweden, Russia, Switzerland and the rest of Europe.

The writers at Matchsticks & Gasoline compiled 15 prospect profiles for the draft, from Joel Armia to Miikka Salomaki.

The fellas from Jackets Cannon compiled 44 prospect profiles.  Little did they know that Scott Howson would trade for Jeff Carter and eliminate the need for all of that work.

Hockey Wilderness has 29 prospect profiles up, plus a fan voted mock draft.

Interviews

Johan was out in front of all of the draftniks with his Mika Zibanejad Interview, and after a closer look at The Iron Sheik, I think it's a good idea to trade up from 19 and 31 to acquire Zibanejad.

Johan also interviewed Joachim Nermark, ranked 8th amongst European skaters by CSB.

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