Edmonton Oilers Assess 2015 Draft


Now that the Edmonton Oilers have formally introduced Bob Green as their newly-promoted director of player personnel–a decision made by the club internally a month ago–it’s time to assess what Craig MacTavish and the franchise’s game plan is heading into Florida on June 26.

Even though the Edmonton Oilers have seemingly picked up their play as of late under Todd Nelson (4-4-2 in their last 10), I still don’t believe a free-fall of epic proportion from the Toronto Maple Leafs, or a certified rebuild in Arizona will stop the Oilers from attaining one of the top three overall draft picks in Sunrise, Florida.

It’s great to see the team playing smarter, with more effort and heart than before, the unfortunate truth is that the first-half of the season proved to be extremely detrimental, leaving little chance for the team to gain strides in their conference, or within the league. There is, however, likelihood that the team can continue building from Nelson, hopefully contributing to a better beginning of the season next year, and the narrative that MacTavish, Green and the rest of the scouting staff can reassess their former missed methods of drafting in the past to having a better experience at this year’s draft.

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Currently, the Oilers have eight walks to the podium in the upcoming selection, with two picks in the first round (one courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins), as well as the third-rounder the Ottawa Senators gave up for

Ales Hemsky


Earlier in the week, Green alluded to some alterations he made to their scouting approach probably a month ago, stating that there was a decision made to make individual scouting members commit to staying in a designated area and watching lone players and leagues for the remainder of the season, rather than having a scout appointed a new assignment each week.

“It’s something that we’ve started a little bit this year, having the guys concentrate more on their areas and we’re going to keep them in their areas now for the rest of the year – hoping that will give us some more information on the later picks,” said Green.

While this may not seem like a big change, it is an interesting idea and something that could prove to be effective in late rounds of the draft, an area the Oilers scouting staff have previously failed to yield talent from.

“It’s something that we’ve started a little bit this year, having the guys concentrate more on their areas, and we’re going to keep them in their areas now for the rest of the year – hoping that will give us some more information on the later picks.” – Bob Green

Green is well-acquainted with drafting amateur talent from Western Canada, evidently in the Edmonton Oil Kings’ WHL and Memorial Cup Championships in the past four years. Green built both squads and continually selected productive players out of bantam. 

But with Green’s options widening, he will have to focus on players playing out of much more than just four provinces and 20 states.

Given his role with the club in 2013, as director of amateur free agent scouting, it’s easy to assume that Green can provide his expertise within the college paradigm; not a bad idea considering the talent coming from  that path in recent years.

Assuming the Oilers collect one of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel or Noah Hanifin, each one capable of becoming longtime NHLers–with the two former being categorized as “generational talents”–I wonder if Green will elect to focus more on players developing from NCAA programs.

Fittingly, it seems as though the amount of prospects coming from college or American amateur hockey will increase. The NHL Central Scouting’s 2015 midterm ranking was released on Tuesday, and featured a plethora of committed college players, as well as many that are still undecided on which school’s program they will attend.

According to Collegehockeyinc.com, a total of 95 prospects were included in Central Scouting’s 2015 midterm ranking.

Makes sense, given the fact that college puck sees players from the ages of 18-24 play against each other, as opposed to the CHL where players who are 20 can be playing against opposition as young as 16 years old. In essence, the players are physically mature, and can develop for a longer period of time in college.

It’s a route many teams have decided to delve into recently. Currently, four NHL teams possess 10 or more drafted players presently playing NCAA – A trend apparently on the rise.

Among those four teams, which one has the most?

The Chicago Blackhawks, with 13; with alumni including Ben Smith, Duncan Keith, and of course, Jonathan Toews.

A fine example of scouting done right, and a possible influence for the Edmonton Oilers and Bob Green.