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CHL Update - It's Time To Consider Two Top Ten Picks For The Oilers

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This is Tyler Pitlick. He was considered to be a 1st round talent, but fell to the Oilers at 31st overall. People who watched Oil change 1.0 will recall that the scouts were high on Pitlick but the consensus was that he may not be able to last till the second round. He was enjoying a fine season with the Medicine Hat Tigers before an ankle injury took him for the season. I was looking forward to seeing him play in the WHL playoffs, however, I don't think this will affect his development.  Management shouldn't be bothered by his injury. Steve Tambellini remarked that he views Pitlick as a 2nd or 3rd line center in the NHL.

That episode of Oil change was very interesting. It was clear to the scouts and the management that Curtis Hamilton and Martin Marincin will be the two prospects selected in the second round. However, availability of Pitlick forced Oilers to alter their plans. I am very confident the Riley Nash trade can be attributed to Marincin and Hamilton being available at #46 spot in the draft. Another interesting thing I noted was that the management was working very hard to get another 1st round pick, specially a top 10 pick, in order to draft another impact player. I think this is one of the reasons that Dustin Penner was traded. In my opinion, Steve Tambellini went in this trade deadline to arm himself with another 1st round draft pick and Penner gave him that chance. I dont think he is done yet either. I expect the Oilers to be very active at the draft and try and get into the top 10 selection. And if the Penner trade is any indication, we will not like the deals that Tambellini will make at the draft. However, I am now slowly getting convinced that he finally has a plan and he doesn't care about its popularity.

That said, I am an easily excitable person and I am excited about next draft and possibilities that exist. I think that we should now start to look at players ranked somewhere between 8th and 15th as that is going to be our second pick in the draft after the trade is completed. Some of the names that come to mind are Joel Armia, Mark McNiell, Dougie Hamilton, Brandon Saad. Steve Tambellini has stated that they will be picking by position, and I think it extends to both picks. For me, the best case scenario is Adam Larsson and then Ryan Strome / Jonathan Huberdeau, if Tambellini is able to move up in the draft. If a status quo is maintained, then look at Larsson and then McNeill or Saad.

After the jump we will look at the situational scoring for some players in the CHL. These are the year to date totals as of March 8th 2011. The situational scoring between the updates is posted as fan posts for reference purposes.

As usual, ZPG is Zero point games. Players in black are draft prospects for the upcoming draft. Players in copper are Oilers prospects. Players in red are first round draft picks from the previous draft and those in blue were drafted in 2009.



Some Thoughts:

  • The race to first overall keeps getting closer every fortnight. After an ultra-hot January, Ryan Hopkins has cooled off, while Sean Couturier has continued his dominance over the QMJHL. However, he keeps sliding down the rankings and recently was as low as 6th in Craig Button's rankings on TSN. Its no secret that I dont agree with his rankings especially the top 15. Gabriel Landeskog is also having some troubles maintaining the scoring pace from earlier in the season.Furthermore, since Tambellini stated that they will be drafting based on position, I am inclined to believe that he is out of the race for an Edmonton draft pick. However if past drafts are any indication, people remember and value a hot finish more than a hot start. I've written before that we should start talking about Ryan Strome as a candidate for the 1st overall position. He has come back from a minor injury and has slowed down even a bit.
  • The Oilers have always been interested in Ryan Johansen. They desperately tried to land another top 5 pick so as to be able to draft him. In fact one of the scouts felt that Johansen could have been a top 3 pick had there been a few extra weeks in the WHL season. Even at the trade deadline, he was rumored to be the asking price for Hemsky. The reason I bring him up is because he is having an amazing season the WHL. He started off slowly, as it is often the case with players sent back from NHL training camp, but he has been lighting it up after the World Junior Championships. He will be an ideal candidate for the top-line center that the Oilers have been missing. Everything about him screams Ryan Getzlaf to me and I will be surprised if he doesnt end up having a similar career.
  • I wanted to talk about Keegan Lowe. He is Kevin Lowe's son and is playing defense for Edmonton Oil Kings. At 6'1 and 174 lbs, he is not overly big and I see him more of prospect in the 50-100 range. As luck would have it, Bruce talked about him today in an earlier post and I can't give a better description. This is what he said:

    The Oil Kings have scored 235 goals and allowed 235; Mark Pysyk is +31 and Keegan Lowe +32. One of the guys connected with the organization told me the Pysyk/Lowe pairing have been logging the tough minutes – "watch them shut down Schenn tonight" were his exact words – and sure enough they did play a lot against Schenn & Hamilton that night. (Lots of tough minutes to go around when playing the Blades, of course.) They ended up -1 on the night, and Lowe took the critical penalty when he really decked Schenn with a heavy cross check in the late going, but suffice to say he’s not one to back down and that’s mostly a good thing.

  • I had mentioned last week that I will posting % contribution of each player towards goals scored by his team. I am almost done and look for it to be posted in the next couple of days. We will discuss the draft eligible prospects in more detail in that post.