The NHL entry draft is just shy of a month away from now and the excitement is ramping up.
The Memorial Cup is over now. The Colorado Avalanche have the very enviable task of choosing whether to take Drouin, Jones, or Mackinnon 1st Overall after virtuoso performances by the Draft eligible players.
This year there has been a bit of a format change to the NHL Draft. Normally the Draft is a 2 day process. Day 1: The 1st Round. Day 2: The Rest.
This year the NHL Draft will take place all on one single day. No doubt this will make the whole ordeal incredibly long for all those involved, but the lack of rest that organizations have in between the 1st and 2nd through 7th rounds could make for some rushed decisions. And when I say that I do not mean that in a bad way at all.
For the Oilers they have started very high in the 2nd round the last 4 years. 2009 they selected 10th, 2010 – 1st, 2011 – 1st, 2012 – 2nd. This year (2013) they are slated to pick 7th in round 2.
The Oilers chose with those picks:
2012 – Moroz
2011 – Musil
2010 – Pitlick
2009 – Lander
The most recent pick (Moroz) is still very new to the organization but the fact of the matter is his offensive numbers are not particularly good. In fact, they arent good at all. As a forward this guy might have been a wasted pick. That said, its too early to close the book on him. However, I dont think its too early to say that the Oilers were unreasonably impressed by the young man because he played in their backyard all year long. We will see which names emerge from this group of 2nd rounders but even on Draft day 2012 Mitch Moroz was not a good bet.
Musil at 31st Overall was within range of his expected draft position but things were kept hush hush before the draft and in many ways the pick was influenced by his father, an Oilers scout himself. Musil has always been touted as a defensive defenseman with a bit of a skating problem, but the Oilers kept the decision out of his Father’s knowledge until just before the pick was made. The whole act was almost a surprise gift to a scout. Some names of note that went after Musil? Ty Rattie, who scored 121 points in the WHL this year, and Calder candidate Brandon Saad.
The Oilers took Taylor 1st in 2010 then took Tyler (Pitlick) with their 1st in the 2nd round that year. They thought they had taken a Centerman but Pitlick proved to be a winger when he switched to the WHL the next year. He’s just now learning how to be a physical force consistently but has been unimpressive as a prospect to date. Taking a look at the 2nd round there are quite a few players who got a cup of coffee in the NHL, but only Smith-Pelly and Justin Faulk have had more success on their NHL clubs and really only Faulk stands out at the moment.
Lander was thought of at the time as a strong pick in the 2nd round. He was a mature player in an 18 year old body. A kid playing against, and leading, men in the Swedish elite league. It hasnt really translated well to his North American career, but he does stand as the next player from within the organization to play Center for the big club (not counting a possible 7th Overall pick playing next year). Not many big names chosen after him in the 2nd round other than goalie Robin Lehner.
Taking a look at the recent success (or lack there of) from the Oilers’ 1st picks in the 2nd round I would say that the change from a 2 day event to a 1 day event might be beneficial. It seems that taking the night to prepare did not seem to help them one iota. In the past 4 seasons it seems as though that despite regularly having the best option to take players early in the 2nd round the Oil wasted their pick on a lesser player. In some cases the pick represented an organizational need like Mitch Moroz (The Need to get bigger), in some cases the pick seemed to be a favour to a member of the staff (Musil vs Rattie), and in others it just seemed like maybe by the 2nd round there just werent any obviously good players remaining (Lander).
The loss of time between the 1st and 2nd rounds might be a blessing for the Oilers who will have to rely on the hard work the Scouts did in the months PRIOR to the draft instead of letting other factors possibly change their draft order.