Yet Another Oilers Draft Piece

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 22: A general view of the draft floor prior to the Edmonton Oilers pick during the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 22: A general view of the draft floor prior to the Edmonton Oilers pick during the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /

You’ve seen it all before. Every June there’s a draft and every June there’s thousands of unhappy fan bloggers moaning about how disappointed they are that their team didn’t pick who they wanted.

Alongside that you have a Twitter maelstrom either praising the high-heavens or cursing to the lowest levels of Dante’s Inferno and frankly, it’s all pretty exhausting. I won’t sit here and tell you that mine is particularly different. After all, I’m just one guy testing and applying my own draft methodology to try to out-produce actual NHL scouts while having less information, less time and not being paid for it.

While this is my first year writing here, I’ve been doing something similar on other sites for a few years now and I’ve done reasonably well since the overhaul of my evaluative priorities back in 2016. I’ll go into detail another time but, for now, know that my draft board would’ve had us take Mikhail Sergachev, Carter Hart and Victor Mete in 2016; Henri Jokiharju, Kirill Maksimov (the only one the Oilers and I have had in common) and Benjamin Jones in 2017; and Noah Dobson, Akil Thomas, Johnny Gruden and Declan Chisholm in 2018.

As many of these picks are just 1-3 years into their careers, this is intended as a means to hold me to account; not as anything impressive… not yet, at least. What better way to definitively document my relative success or failure than to post it online for all to see?

I’ll break down my brief thoughts on each pick and share who I would’ve picked at each position the Oilers picked a player at. Feel free to bookmark this so you can harass me about it two years from now! Onward to the evaluation!

OILERS 2019 ENTRY DRAFT (Reality Vs Preference)

Pick #8: LD, Philip Broberg – one of the more contentious Oilers picks of late, Broberg represents an interesting bet on a Dman in a position where “interesting” isn’t perhaps what fans want. I think his scouting report reads an awful lot like Hampus Lindholm’s from back in 2012 (seen here) and both hold the distinction of being drafted above where they were projected.

A truly gifted skater with some quality skills at both ends, Broberg’s ceiling is fairly placed as a hybrid between Klefbom (bull-headed but engaged) and Lindholm (excellent skater but lacking high-end offensive tools).

Who I would’ve picked: traded down around #20 and grabbed C/RW, Philip Tomasino (Nashville) – elite even strength offense out of a late birthday climber; among the tops in the CHL draft class in 5-on-5 pts/60, EV goals and one of the best skaters. Trocheck-esque.

Pick #38: RW, Raphael Lavoie – an impressive 6’4 power forward, Lavoie brings a lot of elements that are easy to appreciate. Puck protection, high-danger attacking, above-average skating and an impressive shooting arsenal all point to a player with a future worth keeping a close eye on. However, the weaknesses that led to him dropping are both evident and concerning.

As a September birthday, he’s a good deal older than a lot of his draft class and has almost a whole year in extra development under his belt than some. He’s noted as having some consistency issues and for suffering from decision-making issues at times. While neither is a back-breaker, it’s fair to have some concern. Considering how he fell, I don’t blame the Oilers for picking him at all. Seems to have a high ceiling and reminds me a bit of Thomas Vanek.

Who I would’ve picked: C/LW, Nicholas Robertson (Toronto) – quality even strength production, VERY late birthday (turns 18 in September) and an explosive skater. Chippy player with a habit of beating goalies both with shots, toe drags and jock-dropping dangles. Gallagher-esque.

Pick #85: G, Ilya Konovalov – not much to say about this goalie; KHL rookie of the year, a .930 save percentage and 10 shutouts is an impressive resume to have in your draft year and, as goalies are as much of a crapshoot as exists, I can’t contest the reasoning behind adding more proverbial ‘bullets to the clip’. Eventually one is bound to hit!

It’s an encouraging sign that an overage goalie like him came over from Russia in hopes of being drafted and points to him having interest in trying his hand at pursuing an NHL job. His size is a bit of a concern but the only other goalie to win KHL rookie of the year was Andrei Vasilevskiy sooo…

Who I would’ve picked: LW, Ethan Keppen (Vancouver) – top-end even strength production, great primary-point producer, big body and strong skater. Very engaged physically and effective at attacking the high danger areas while also maintaining responsible play. Tkachuk-lite.

Pick #100: RW, Matej Blumel – the first of a best-friend duo of Czech-born kids playing in the US-minor league systems picked by the Oilers, Blumel is a USHL over-ager that led the league in shots on goal and was tied for 7th in goal scoring. Apparently offers blazing speed and a motor that never quits (cannot confirm either) to compliment a wicked release. By scouting reports, I like the pick and think it fits my mold for an high risk/high reward pick in later rounds.

Who I would’ve picked: RW/LW Henry Rybinski (Florida) – much like my preference towards Maksimov 2 years ago, Rybinski struggled early with Medicine Hat, spent some time in the BCHL before being traded to Seattle where he finally took off as he took on a central role in their attack. Late birthday, skilled playmaker.

I don’t have much to say about the last two picks and don’t mind the methodology that led them to pick who they did but- for the sake of completing the exercise- I would’ve picked Petr Cajka (undrafted) with the 6th round pick and Dustin Wolf (Flames) with the 7th round pick. Other players who were of interest for me but weren’t available around the Oilers’ picks include Ville Heinola (Jets), Samuel Fagemo (Kings), Albin Grewe (Wings), Ronnie Attard (Flyers) and Maxim Cajkovic (Lightning).

As you can see, I rely almost exclusively on leagues for whom I have data available to me (CHL in this draft; Swedish leagues and US system for others) so there are definitely some major gaps in my methodology. My point isn’t to suggest in-person scouting is useless; there is absolutely some key elements that traditional scouting is still vital for. However, it is to try to prove myself capable of out-picking (or at least competing with) scouting staffs of more than 20 members that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars with just myself, an internet connection, access to some streams and a modest time-investment…

And the work of a small number of ‘internet scouts’ whose scouting reports I rely on to offer descriptions that- in conjunction with stats and little bit of gut feeling- I use to identify my targets. I wouldn’t have gotten far without them!