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Euros and the Oilers

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Edmonton Oilers v Buffalo Sabres
7 more points and I’ve caught Jesse!
Photo by Sean Rudyk/Getty Images

Ken Holland decidedly went heavy on drafting Euro’s. I don’t mind the strategy and anytime we can get a potential elite Swedish Dman I’m all for it. Russian goalies are on the rise around the league as well and I’ve been suggesting we draft 1 BRA (Best Russian Available) every draft with a later pick. I find this more exciting and potentially more profitable then when all we did was draft face punchers and coke machines out of the WHL with our later round picks. Drafting 2 Czechs out of their weakest draft class in the last 5 years was odd to me but they are basically American Czechs coming out of the US system (which is producing elite NHL talent). I get the line of thinking but am skeptical it’ll work.

Drafting Euro’s in later rounds has been a goldmine for some GM’s. Especially our very own Ken Holland.

It got me thinking about who our most successful Euro’s are in the last decade. That answer is - Leon Draisaitl and Oskar Klefbom. Both first rounders and both key cogs to any playoff hopes we have next season.

Then I thought about our worst 1st rounders in the last decade and they are Magnus Paajarvi, Nail Yakupov and Jesse Pulijaarvi. I’m not labeling Jesse an NHL bust but he is now officially an Oiler’s bust. A 4th overall pick that never scored 20 goals total in 3 seasons. He is asking to be traded or threatening to go to Europe. The only way Jesse doesn’t get declared an ‘Oiler bust’ by me is if we get a very good return for him or he returns to the Oil and lights it up.

So our best first rounders in the last decade were all North American and one amazing German. Our worst 3 were all from Europe. That’s a 40% success rate for first round picks from Europe for the Oilers compared to a 100% success rate from North America. It’s too early to tell on American Kailer Yamamoto or Canadian Evan Bouchard.

At this point I should clarify this isn’t a Don Cherry type ‘good ole boys’ are better than Euro’s. The focus here is on how the Oil draft and develop European players because that is clearly a new direction we’re headed with Holland.

Let’s look back at our draft history outside of Round 1 with Euro’s. For this exercise I’m purposely skipping the last 2 drafts because it’s too early to tell on such young players. Here they are though:

Now we’re 3 years removed from draft when we should start seeing some guys contributing on the roster. Let’s see how many Euro’s in the last 12 years have made a contribution to the Edmonton Oilers:

In this group, maybe Filip Berglund makes the NHL as an Oiler... maybe?

In this group, Lagesson still has a chance. Slepyshev played a little over 100 games for us before returning to KHL.

Gustafsson has gone on to great success in the NHL and is an amazing 4th round draft success story... for the Chicago Blackhawks. We let him walk for free. Reider we traded away but he did come back to us. He’s officially been released by the Oil and will be playing somewhere else. 67 Games for the Oil, 11 assists and 0 goals.

Martin Marincin has gone on to play 200 games as a tweener between the AHL and NHL. For the Oil he played 85 games and got 11 assists and 1 goal (better than Toby!). He was traded for Brad Ross (who never played a game for the Oil).

Hartikianen got 52 games and 13 points for us. Linus Omark got in 30 points after 66 games. He was traded for a conditional 6th round pick to Buffalo.

Summary

Here are all the Euro’s, not drafted in round 1, in the last 12 years and what they did for the Oil ranked in order by points:

  1. Linus Omark - 30 points (.45 ppg)
  2. Anton Slepyshev - 23 points (.23 ppg)
  3. Teemu Hartikainen - 13 points (.25 ppg)
  4. Martin Marincin - 12 points (.14 ppg)
  5. Tobias Rieder - 11 points (.16 ppg)
  • Note: .ppg is being calculated using only games played for the Oiler’s.

A few notes:

Our North American picks in that 12 year span are not much more impressive (outside of round 1). In general, the Oil don’t draft well or develop well. This is not an Anti Euro article by the most Pro Euro staffer at CnB!

Holland has a great history with Euro’s and drafting and I don’t mind the change at all. I liked the draft this weekend and am very keen to see what it brings in a few years. I’m assuming we’re getting new Euro scouts if this is the trend? I’m assuming their names will be Kurri, Tikanen, Klima and Hemsky?

Are we changing our development plan for Euro’s because whatever we’ve done in the past is not working. How is Holland changing the scouting and development of European drafted players?

David Musil deserves a second chance!

32 year old Linus Omark has an NHLe of 52 points.

29 year old Teemu Hartikainen has an NHLe of 45 points.

Apparently our top 6 complimentary scoring has been in Europe the whole time!

If you ran that list by .ppg and included Jesse and Nail - they’d be 2nd and 3rd (.27 for Jesse and .44 for Nail).

Linus had 7 less points in his Oiler’s career than Jesse did (in 73 less games).

When Yakupov was traded he had played 252 games for the Oil and amassed 111 points for a .44 ppg average. We got NOTHING for him. The plan should’ve been to keep him as he was a good scoring winger. I’d say it was one of Chia’s stupidest moves but that is a long list to crack.

I hope Holland sticks to his guns with Jesse and gets an overpay or lets him play in Europe. He has a history of doing exactly this.

Parting shot

Here is the number 1 reason I really like the Broberg pickup... he was drafted 1 year after Bouchard but here is their age difference:

They are almost 2 years apart in age (1 year and 8 months).