103rd - Johan Motin, D, SWE
133rd - Philippe Cornet, C, QMJHL
163rd - Teemu Hartikainen (pictured), C, FNL
193rd - Jordan Bendfeld, D, WHL
One of my predictions thankfully did not come true- the Oilers didnt focus exclusively on size this time around with their later picks, but got a grab bag of players from Europe and the CHL.
Motin, at one point, was projected as a possible first round selection, but a season with fairly static development dropped him down the draft order. THN (as they often do) seems to have overrated him based on scouting reports from last season- they had him ranked 51st overall. Here are some choice quotes:
Even though Motin played with (Victor) Hedman, the consensus was that his play dropped off as the tournament (WJC) went on and most scouts have had him on a downward spiral ever since…
Motin moves the puck reasonably well and is good in his own end, but doesn’t excel in any one area.
"He’s got good skills and average size," another scout said. "He moves the puck and skates well."
Illegal Curve did up a scouting report on him in late 2007, one that is a little more complimentary:
Not an overly offensive player, Motin does have a good shot and offensive instincts, but plays more of a solid 2-way game and leans a little to the defensive. He has all the tools that you hear scouts repeat when talking about defenseman that they like: size, strength, mobility, lateral quickness, instincts and hockey sense. What I like specifically is that, based on reports, he is mean...
In addition to being mean, Motin plays a simple low risk game and doesn't give up on any play. He connects on his passes and makes the correct decisions with and without the puck. Though he won't impress enough to stand out, he may turn into one of those guys whose play you don't notice, but will nevertheless be an effective player.
Sounds like the kind of player the Oilers traditionally have success with, although the lack of progression in a player‘s draft year is always a cause for deep concern.
Philippe Cornet was ranked 82nd overall by THN. He had OK stats this season with an offensively-challenged Rimouski team, and he is coming from Bill Dandy territory, a region where the Oilers have had good success. He is yet another centre, with decent size (6 ft., 180lbs) and, like Eberle seems like more of a goal scorer than playmaker.
Teemu Hartikainen is projected as a 3rd/4th line forward, with really good strength and decent size. He also has a reputation for character and gritty play. The big knock on Hartikainen is lack of foot speed. Reading the various scouting reports, this guy seems like a Finnish version of Kyle Brodziak, who also struggled with skating issues in his draft year. Hopefully Hartikainen can follow a similar path, improving his skating to the point where it is not a liability. Finally, he is a Finn, so asidefrom Eberle he is the guy I am cheering for out of this draft.
The final selection the Oilers made was ex-Phoenix prospect Jordan Bendfeld, who re-entered the draft this season. He is a 1988 birthday, and from Leduc, so the Oilers scouts are probably pretty familiar with him. He has played with Medicine Hat the past three seasons, as a stay-at-home physical defenseman. Hockeys Future had him as a 4C prospect, so he really seems like the career mino-leaguer type. Balanced against that is the success the Oilers have had with late-round overage players. I tend to think that this pick was made with an eye to Springfield next season, because Bendfeld brings an attribute that is sorely lacking among the Oilers defense prospects (size, brute strength) and the consensus seems to have been that the Falcons got pushed around last season.
All-in-all, a bit of a disappointing draft in that Lowe could not pull the trigger on a roster depth for picks trade, or a quantity for quality trade, but at this stage it is hard to be too upset about any of these later round picks.