April 18, 2015

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 10 comments

Edmonton Oilers win first pick in NHL draft

posted by tommybiden at 09:05 PM on April 18, 2015

Oh, great.

Another wonderful hockey prospect thrown onto the endless tire fire that is the Edmonton Oilers, to be forgotten by the rest of the NHL.

Maybe Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, and Nugent-Hopkins can give him some pointers.

At least in Toronto McDavid would have gotten some publicity...

posted by grum@work at 09:38 PM on April 18, 2015

This whole meme that the Oilers ruin their prospects is just complete Bullshit. Taylor Hall is an excellent player, elite at his position. RNH just finshed his 2 1/2 year pro and is an excellent two way player on a shitty team. He's maybe one of the most under-rated players in the league. Yakupov has had a slow start on a crappy team but really looked good the last third of the season. Eberle was drafted 22nd overall which makes the Leafs drafting record look pathetic. The Oilers only first round miss recently has been Paajarvi, who did nothing after being traded away. All these players have had multiple coaches with radically different systems as well.

Yakupov and RNH are both second in their draft class for points. RNH has the highest points per game in his draft class. You could make the case that RNH was rushed into the NHL before he was physically ready and thereby hurt his shoulder. Possible. You could say Yakupov has been misused by his coaches and really only has flourished with the new coach and a centre with which he has chemistry. Neither of these are overly damning or even unusual.

It's too early to say, but Draisatl looks very promising and Nurse is almost guaranteed to be top 4 quality defenceman or top 2 more likely.

It's true their lower round draft choices have been pathetic and maybe some of that is bad development, maybe some is bad scouting. Whatever. Lots of teams in the league have lousy lower round records - it's a crapshoot. Those with great pickups often get lucky for a while then regress.

At least the Oilers didn't explicitly tank at the end of the season, they picked up their game a lot and showed real progress and actual pride, which a lot of their bottom-feeding cohort could learn from. They need some defence, and have some good ones ready for next year, and then their goaltending, which is decent but not great, will look a lot better than it does.

Not that I like the Oil, but I look forward to hating them again, and also seeing them stomp on Calgary for the next 10 years.

posted by rumple at 04:07 PM on April 19, 2015

This whole meme that the Oilers ruin their prospects is just complete Bullshit.

I didn't say they ruined the prospects.

I'm just saying that the Oilers, as a franchise, is a sinkhole for talent. This will be the 4th #1 overall pick in 6 drafts, with a #3 and #7 included as well.

The players might be great, but the results seem to be the same every year. They can't win. Every year, people who follow hockey like to say "This is the year that the Oilers' talent finally starts to show.", and every year it seems to be a smoldering wreck.

The Senators had three #1 picks in four years (none of them the quality that Edmonton has had), and made the playoffs in year five. Other than being Toronto/Buffalo's bitch in the playoffs for the first 7 years, Ottawa put together a good run.

The Oilers have had more and better picks, and they've shown zero improvement.

That's what I meant by "tire fire". You keep feeding stuff into it, and it keeps burning.

posted by grum@work at 09:23 PM on April 19, 2015

Oilers have talent, its just they only have one kind of talent. Their bold plan to completely ignore d-men and goalies when acquiring players makes what they have look much worse than what it is.

At some point they'll luck into a somewhat functional back-end (blind squirrels, etc.) and then the playoffs will be there.

posted by deflated at 11:31 PM on April 19, 2015

Oilers have a wealth of skilled young offensive players and McDavid only adds to that. They are in great position now to deal a highly valued player and obtain a few NHL level defensemen and defensive minded forwards to round out their squad. RNH and Hall would fetch top value but the Oilers would be stupid to deal RNH.

McDavid in Toronto? Good god, couldn't be a worse place for a young player to begin a career. Especially with the current Leafs roster filled with older overpaid players who only show up on pay day. Leafs haven't even begun rebuilding. They have a less than stellar record identifying young talent in the draft and trade away any decent young players that fall into their lap. They are at least 4 years behind where the Oilers currently are in building a competitive team.

Leafs will have a great shot at the 2016 draft lottery. Oilers won't.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:08 AM on April 20, 2015

This whole meme that the Oilers ruin their prospects is just complete Bullshit.

That's not the meme - the meme is that the Oilers are perpetually awful despite the amount of elite talent they are able to draft and the constant stream of good players on the horizon who are seemingly unable to move the dial on actually winning games - and thus these players are being totally wasted on a team that can't even sniff at the playoffs.

The Oilers will get another elite, top-3 forward, and yet they'll still be about four D and a goalie short of being an actual contender. Will they skirt into the post-season soon? Sure, but that's a bloody embarrassing goal to have 5 years after drafting Taylor Hall and three other #1 overalls.

posted by dfleming at 10:42 AM on April 20, 2015

Somebody call in the linesmen and break up this hockey fight. Too bad if they do, it's just getting good. The problem with Edmonton's young talent is that Edmonton just doesn't get much exposure in the US media. Whenever they do, the youngsters are fully appreciated for their skills, do not seem to be suffering from poor coaching, but are stuck in a city that does not draw a lot of attention for much of anything. I'm not trying to run Edmonton down, but the city just doesn't hit the headlines much, for sports or anything else. Sooner or later, one or more of these players will move to a stronger team in a more noticeable city, and then the recognition will come.

posted by Howard_T at 03:24 PM on April 20, 2015

Sooner or later, one or more of these players will move to a stronger team in a more noticeable city, and then the recognition will come

Many of the best NHL players play in smaller Canadian and US markets and don't get the media play others do. True hockey fans know who the best players are and could care less about what share of media attention they get. Stamkos plays in Tampa, Benn in Dallas, Tavares for the Islanders, Giardano in Calgary .. none of whom get a lot of ink until they visit a big market and scorch their opponents. They make great money and play for highly competitive teams.

As for "strong teams in more noticeable city" - teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, and the Rangers are already struggling with cap issues and can't possibly sign any of the Oilers young stars. Detroit may be the only location that fits your criteria.

posted by cixelsyd at 04:39 PM on April 20, 2015

The Oilers have also not gotten better on their 3rd and 4th lines, which are increasingly important. Part of it is veteran free agents have been keeping away, scared by the tire fire I guess. That's about to change. Their management is poor, their player development not necessarily poor, and definitely not as bad as people make out.

They completely rebuilt their scouting system in 2010 and there may be good results from their lower rounds on the way. Not many picks below about #20 step right in or even before 2 or 3 years seasoning.

Look how the Islanders took a defence comparable to Edmontons and rebuilt it in 10 minutes by getting Leddy and Boychuk. In the new NHL teams are having to shed their players to keep under the cap. Average players are increasingly available (good news for Edmonton) and good to very good players can also be had fairly routinely. For example, it seems very likely that Seabrook will be available this summer - Toews and Kane are getting 10 million each starting this summer. How long can the Preds afford to keep Josl, Weber and Jones? Etc.

Also, stacked teams can end up with an overflow of prospects and need to make trades to balance the present with the future. Example, Clendenning was arguably Chicago's top non-NHL defensive prospect. Vancouver picked him up for their 2014 5th round pick, Gustav Forsling. Chicago restocks for the future and doesn't have to deal with Clendenning who wouldn't be able to be sent up and down next year without clearing waivers. He's a guy who would right away be solid bottom six for Edmonton with very good potential to go top four and also run the powerplay.

Anyway, Edmonton doesn't even need to trade one of their top 6. New arena, hot talent, strong fan base - there'll be free agents choosing them for sure. They could trade Draisatl, but as likely they'll put him on the wing and turn him into a power forward. Good players on entry level contracts are almost as valuable as great players making 8 million/year.

posted by rumple at 05:32 PM on April 20, 2015

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