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Oilers Sign Milan... errr... Travis Ewanyk

Oilers come to terms on 3 year entry level deal with 2011 pick.

The Oilers hunt for the mythological big bodied forward who can play up in the line up and provide size and toughness has taken them to some interesting places. In their search for the next Milan Lucic, the Oilers have almost wasted as many draft picks as Barry Fraser in the 90's.

Travis Ewanyk represents one of those draft picks. The local product put up 16 goals and 11 assists, along with 126 penalty minutes in 72 games during his draft year. His draft + 1 year saw him limited to just 11 regular season games, where he put up 1 goal and 3 assists. He suffered another injury this year, this time to his knee and his draft + 2 season has seen his on pace production increase a whole 1.55 points from his draft year. His 8 goals and 15 assists in 58 games works out to 28.55 points over 72 games. Needless to say, the offensive side of his game hasn't developed at all.

By all accounts, The Oil Kings utilize a true checking line which features Ewanyk along with Mitch Moroz (whom I'll most certainly be copying and pasting this article for next year). While there aren't any numbers to verify this, you expect this means a lot of defensive zone starts and a reduction in offense. Basically, Travis Ewanyk is a decent 3rd liner in the WHL.

This becomes more of an issue when you realize that these kinds of players rarely ever translate into NHL players. Bottom 6 forwards in the NHL often consist of guys who were 1st line players on their clubs prior to their drafts. Translating your output from the CHL to the NHL is a very hard and most players fail to do it. Expecting Ewanyk to be able to be an NHL 3rd liner and contribute in the 20-25 point range is a fools bet and the Oilers happily made it.

The other thing to look at is who the Oilers could have had with that 74th pick. Ewanyk's teammate, Michael St. Croix was picked 32 spots later at 106th overall. St. Croix has lead the Oil Kings in scoring the past 2 years and has been one of the better players in the WHL. Another teammate, Daniel Wruk, wasn't even drafted despite leading the club in scoring in 2011. Even if you insist that the Oilers don't need more of those kinds of players (what, you mean good ones??) and absolutely needed to draft size, Yannick Veilleux was chosen by the St. Louis Blues at #104 and has both size (6.05, 208) and had a lot more offensive production to his game. If you look around that draft and at Ewanyk's comparables, he was drafted at least 30 spots too high. It's hard to view that as anything other than a mistake by the scouting department.

The worst part about all of this is that everyone says the Oilers need toughness right now and Travis Ewanyk is 3 years away at best. You can add these kinds of players for 3rd and 4th round picks at almost any point in the year so it makes no sense to waste the resources needed to draft and develop these kinds of players. You are better off getting an instant return on your picks by trading them for an NHL-ready version of Ewanyk..