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Sunday, June 10, 2012

OILERS DraftCenter (Article 1)

As the 2012 NHL Entry Draft nears closer , I found myself taking more time to look deeper into the draft other then a round and a half. Most Oiler faithful have a pretty good idea of available players in the top 30. After that it gets pretty sketchy. Yet each year we see players names we had no idea about. 

It's in the later rounds we start seeing some pretty good defenceman appear. Even a player like Martin Gernat was a surprise last year, as well as a forward like Tobias Rieder. As I started looking more into players available deeper in the draft,  some players started catching my eye. I was looking particularly for bigger players who have some game and possible potential for success at the elite level. We all know they will have some flaws but let's also remember, they are being drafted later for just that reason. 

After the 40th pick, all the players we have mostly heard of, will likely be gone, so let's look at possible players the Oilers may have some interest in.

G, 6'4, 162 lbs

Even though he was 17 years old, Murray started the season as the starting goalie for the OHL’s Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. He struggled at times, but really improved over the course of the season.  Murray was arguably Team Canada’s MVP  as the team’s starting goalie in the U18 IIHF World Championships helping lead the team to a Bronze medal. Murray was incredible in the semi-final against the eventual champs from the US.

The goaltending position is becoming more and more a big man’s game, and at 6’4, Matt possesses the ideal size that NHL teams look for today but needs to put on some serious muscle mass which could make him  a long term project before reaching the NHL.

Ben Kerr writes...

"Murray has a great glove hand.  He is able to make a number of great glove saves.  His legs are also extremely quick and he shuts down the bottom of the net well.  He has very good reflexes and he shuts down the five hole rapidly and effectively, avoiding a major problem area for most tall goaltenders.  His rebound control is good, and has gotten better as the year has gone on.  Murray is strong positionally and comes far out of his net to cut down angles and reduce the amount of net that the shooter has to look at.  He is almost always square to the shooter and recovers quickly to square up again on rebounds.  His side to side movements are good, but not great, this is one area where he can improve.

Like many young goalies today Murray loves to come out of his net and handle the puck.  However his skills in this aspect are average.  His skating, even for a goaltender isn’t great and this can get him caught at times.  He also needs a little bit of work on his puckhandling and passing which are adequate, but not great. Murray’s mental game is good.  He bounces back nicely from a bad goal or a bad game and doesn’t allow those things to linger.  He is extremely confident in his net and at his best when he plays with that confidence coming far out of his net to challenge shooters.  Murray’s ability to elevate his game in the critical moments during the IIHF U18 is also a very good sign for the young goalie."

Matt may sound like a gamble but are not all goalies in later rounds? I would pass on him the first 3 rounds but after that, I would consider this as a option depending what else is left on the table and if they have any more interest in another goalie. My inclination is the Oilers will not be selecting another goalie this year, unless a real good one falls in their laps.

C, 6'0, 203 lbs

With the last name Sutter, you are sure to receive a lot of attention as a prospect. No exception for Lukas Sutter, the son of former NHLer Rich. He is a hard working two way center that chips in with the occasional goal. He is reliable in the faceoff dot and on the penalty kill. On the year he had 59 points and a staggering 165 penalty minutes. While his size is very good for his age, his skating has a lot of room for improvement. Sutter will probably spend two more years in the WHL developing his offensive game and becoming a better skater.

Needs to work on skating before he will be able to produce at the next level. Sutter isn’t afraid to drop the gloves with the big boys: Lukas was Born in St. Louis while his father, Rich, was toiling for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, Lukas Sutter soon relocated to Lethbridge, Alberta and began to ply his trade in the family business.  Sutter has a few downsides. First and foremost with his physical game, it can backfire on his team. While he can create opportunities for his teammates, it can also lead to him taking a bunch of penalties. 

 Lukas has been clutch for his team – especially this season. He scored 28 goals over the past year, seven of them being game-winners and nine on the power-play. He finds ways to help his team and he seems to becoming a bit more versatile. But he’s got to stop taking penalties and find a way to play physical without destroying his body.

In his playing style, Sutter resembles many of his family members. Not quite as poised or smooth with the puck as Brandon, Lukas’ play more resembles that of Brett – a rough-and-tumble two-way player. However, Lukas has flashes of offensive brilliance, often due to opportunities he creates for himself (and his teammates) due to his physicality. Should that style translate to the professional level, Sutter could be a tremendously valuable second or third line player, devoted to creating time and space for his linemates and making life difficult for opposition defenders.
“His tenacious forechecking causes numerous mistakes and turnovers by defensemen, and he has the vision to capitalize on those mistakes. If Sutter can pick up a half-stride on his skating and continue to improve his offensive skill set, we’ll be hearing a familiar name called in Pittsburgh next June.”
-Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report

I would probably pass on him if I was the Oilers but should one of the scouts push hard for him, he could be given some consideration in later rounds. Not in first 2 rounds however. I would be worried about his discipline on the ice with in-game management.

D, 6'1, 203 lbs

Vasiliev spent last season skating in the Russian MHL with MHC Spartak. The 18-year-old defenseman already has a man’s body and is regarded as a physical force by scouts. Quality skater with average offensive instincts but makes very good decisions and plays a basic game. Vasiliev should be worth a Top 100 pick, but the whole KHL concerns could see him fall further in the draft

"Physical specimen makes good decisions and rushes the puck"....THN

Valeri is a player who could well be worth the gamble for the Oilers should they have any interest. Should Yakupov be selected as is being thought, he could be more inclined to consider the move? 

D , 6'3, 207 lbs

Mikko had a below-average even-strength risk/reward rating of 0.79, and a ratio of 1.68 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. His best work was actually produced in the offensive-zone.

With excellent instincts, a hulking frame and a mean streak – Finland’s Mikko Vainonen has what it takes to be a solid mid to bottom pairing NHL defenseman down the road; however, his skating game and absent offensive upside will likely give many franchises pause.
"A reliable , poised D-man who brings leadership and some offence"....THN

A very big player that could possibly be taught more of a solid all around game but would be a project for the next couple years. I would think the Oilers pass by him but they will like his size and ability to make some offence happen from the back end.

LW, 6'3, 191 lbs

 One of the oldest first-year-eligibles in 2012 (almost a year older than Teräväinen), Nikolai Prokhorkin saw some action with CSKA Moscow and lit up the Russian Junior ranks – the skill, size and toughness are there – but will a NHL team take a flyer early on a youngster already in the KHL?
"Nikolai is a talented winger who has dominated in junior and played well in his KHL call-up"..THN

For me, this is a player who is worth the risk. With his size and skill combined with his toughness, he could have that potential to be a 2nd or 3rd line LW the Oilers are pressing for. With Prokhorkin on the left and Yakupov on the right, a player like Sam Gagner could be sitting pretty sweet. Highly doubt the Oilers will take the gamble. I would grab him in the 2nd round if Wilson or Samuelson are gone. Even a trade up for a additional 2nd rounder would be a option in my eyes.

D, 6'3, 194lbs

Esa earned an ES risk/reward rating of 1.14, and a ratio of 2.29 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. His best work was produced in the defensive and neutral-zones.

Lindell absolutely tore through the Finnish junior leagues, posting 21 goals and 51 points in 48 games from the blue line – but he’s still very much a work-in-progress. 
"A very big blueliner who has a knack for putting the puck in the net.".THN

Another great European player who the Oilers have to give some consideration to. Reminds me of a slightly shorter but heavier Gernat. With a additional year in Finland and then a year or two in the AHL, Esa could be just what the Oilers are looking for in a few years time.

D, 6'2, 208 lbs

Fleet of foot and with sound offensive instincts, Calle Andersson has earned some top-round interest – but will his defensive deficiencies keep him to the middle or late rounds? 
 THN... "mobile D-man who can play big minutes and makes a great first pass."

Calle is a very tough D-man but takes a few too many chances with his game. Had he had a little bit more defensive awareness, he would not be available in the the later rounds. Worth a chance however. Have a feeling that a team like Buffalo, Minnesota or Washington will scoop him up.

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  1. My best guess is if the Oilers are trading down in the 2012 draft,

    The player they want is Morgan Rielly.

  2. Don't be surprised if the trade down is actually for Grigorenko. I know there is a lot of criticism against him but truth is, in 6 years, I think he will be the best player of this draft , at worst 2nd best player.


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