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Oilers version of BPA

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Old
04-09-2004, 01:59 PM
  #1
Lowetide
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Oilers version of BPA

Whenever we discuss the Oilers at the draft table, there are certain tendencies that they have displayed in the last several seasons. Since 2001:

30 of 32, or 94% of the picks were over 6 feet
19/32 or 59% are 6'2 or taller
Only one Prendergast draft (Helminen) was 5'9 or below
16/32 or 50% were 190 pounds or heavier on draft day
6/32, or 19% were 210 pounds or more

I've read countless times about "projectable bodies" and in reference to Niinimaki that he needed to add a few pounds to his frame, etc.

So, how does that apply to this season? Well, there are few top rated players who are small (Lauri Korpikoski and David Bolland are 5'11, 170, and TJ Hensick is small) but most are of a good size.

Here's the draft day numbers of all Oilers taken in the first three rounds, 2000-2003:

Alexei Mikhnov, 6'5-194
Brad Winchester, 6'4.5-208
Alexander Ljubimov, 6'3-196
Ales Hemsky, 6'0-170
Doug Lynch, 6'3-205
Edward Caron, 6'2-214
Kenny Smith, 6'2-209
Jesse Niinimaki, 6'2-183
Jeff Deslauriers, 6'3.5-176
Jarret Stoll, 6'0.5-199
Matt Greene, 6'2.5-210
Brock Radunske, 6'4-187
MA Pouliot, 6'1-188
Colin McDonald, 6'2-190
JF Jacques 6'3.5-217
Mishail Joukov 6'3-187
Zach Stortini 6'3-217

Interesting numbers there. Here are the averages, by position:
G-6'3.5-176 (sample size: 1)
D-6'3-205 (sample size: 4)
F-6'2.5-196 (sample size: 12)

So they like tall kids whose weight implies a growth spurt is still to come. Right? They also tend to draft players who impress late in a draft season, and have been known to draft some of the youngest players available in a particular draft. Pouliot would be an example of this imo. They love grit. They are not as anal as Barry Fraser was about speed, but don't want many slowpokes.

Okay. So, who is available this season and fits that description?

Blake Wheeler. Probably not in the first round, but if he's there in the second, what do you think? mckeen's has him at 6'5/195, and he fits the Oiler version of bpa very well.



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Last edited by Lowetide: 04-09-2004 at 02:08 PM.
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04-09-2004, 02:16 PM
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One minor thing: it seems like the Oil are drafting big kids, but they're picking from a pool of pretty big kids to begin with, so this data is skewed, initially. I wonder where Oiler draft picks are in percentile terms relative to the draft population.

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04-09-2004, 02:22 PM
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Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohologo
One minor thing: it seems like the Oil are drafting big kids, but they're picking from a pool of pretty big kids to begin with, so this data is skewed, initially. I wonder where Oiler draft picks are in percentile terms relative to the draft population.
Damn! Oh well. :lol

Anyway, they certainly have gotten bigger over the years, but in the last 4 seasons several smaller players have been passed on by Edmonton (Hudler is the one that gathered the most attention), and I doubt they'll change that this season.

btw, I don't think I've ever seen this many massive bodies at the top of the draft. Seems like they're getting bigger every year.

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04-09-2004, 03:22 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Damn! Oh well. :lol

Anyway, they certainly have gotten bigger over the years, but in the last 4 seasons several smaller players have been passed on by Edmonton (Hudler is the one that gathered the most attention), and I doubt they'll change that this season.

btw, I don't think I've ever seen this many massive bodies at the top of the draft. Seems like they're getting bigger every year.
The overall size of players does seem to be increasing in the draft.. however, you are definitely right LT: the Oilers are selecting big guys and passing on small ones that are available. This might be pure coincidence and the staff might actually have all these big guys ranked higher than the lil ones but they've passed on some fairly prominent little guys (Parise, Hudler, O'Sullivan) in the past couple draft years. I'm looking for them to probably do the same thing this year - I pray they don't draft Chipchura though.

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04-09-2004, 04:39 PM
  #5
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Very thorough Lowtide. As noted, draft eligible kids today are just plain bigger than ten to twenty years ago.

It is interesting to see the Oiler tendencies plotted on a percentage basis. The real key measurement for me will be the number who actually make the NHL and contribute. As noted by many, this team seems well stocked with depth players but lacking in elite level skills. Great to draft all of these big bodies but I'm waiting for the top end talent this team requires to make the leap.

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04-09-2004, 08:33 PM
  #6
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Am I the only one that thinks they have kind of placed more of an emphasis on size then speed? I think they have, and I think that's unfortunate. I miss when you could rightly say that we were the fasteset team in the league. I thought we just needed a couple big guys added, not that the whole team had to be big. Heck, if you look at our defense, I can't think of any that are much slower then ours (especially when Bergeron isn't in)!

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04-09-2004, 11:29 PM
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They passed on Hudler and took Green.
They passed on Parise and took Poulliot
blah blah blah

Oilers draft based on:

Size and Needs > Skill and BPA

That's just how it works. Lowe is trying to recreate a contemporary version of the Broad Street Bullies. Comming to you in the fall of 2007.

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04-10-2004, 11:31 AM
  #8
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well if i'm not mistaken the Broad Street Bullies won a cup, so if it works for them why not

but i find that argument of yours hard to buy, Pouliot is skill, Hemsky is skill, Niinimaki is skill. ok fine they just happen to be big but you cant deny that the three of those named picks don't have skill.

I agree with what lowetide's analysis is, i would never have come to that conclusion he did but thats lowetide for you they want size so they don't get dominated, and in today's game size is a big issue, yes there are some extremely talented smaller forwards but if they were bigger then they would be untouchables.

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04-10-2004, 04:48 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabi_sultan
I agree with what lowetide's analysis is, i would never have come to that conclusion he did but thats lowetide for you they want size so they don't get dominated, and in today's game size is a big issue, yes there are some extremely talented smaller forwards but if they were bigger then they would be untouchables.
Like this year's likely MVP, Martin St. Louis.

Size is great in today's NHL but isn't the be and end all. 6'4" and 210 pound makes for a foreboding prospect but until these raw attributes translate into NHL games, it doesn't mean anything. We are remember Jason Bonsignore.

For as long as I've watched hockey, I have seen alot of surprises. Big name prospects like Bonsignore not make make it while lesser talents rise beyond their perceived skill level to have long, prospective careers. Many of the latter being smaller players (ie. Mike Keane, Rob Dimaio, Theo Fleury) who parlayed incredible strength of character, perseverence, and heart into long, prosperous careers.

It is easy become blinded by what a NHL player should look like. However the external trappings do not always reveal what is inside. Thank goodness many organizations look beyond physical size in their player projections, for they are often rewarded with very special players whose heart and soul is committed to succeeding. After all, their first, fundamental challenge is to fight the stigma that bigger is better.

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04-10-2004, 04:59 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Behind Enemy Lines
Like this year's likely MVP, Martin St. Louis.

Size is great in today's NHL but isn't the be and end all. 6'4" and 210 pound makes for a foreboding prospect but until these raw attributes translate into NHL games, it doesn't mean anything. We are remember Jason Bonsignore.

For as long as I've watched hockey, I have seen alot of surprises. Big name prospects like Bonsignore not make make it while lesser talents rise beyond their perceived skill level to have long, prospective careers. Many of the latter being smaller players (ie. Mike Keane, Rob Dimaio, Theo Fleury) who parlayed incredible strength of character, perseverence, and heart into long, prosperous careers.

It is easy become blinded by what a NHL player should look like. However the external trappings do not always reveal what is inside. Thank goodness many organizations look beyond physical size in their player projections, for they are often rewarded with very special players whose heart and soul is committed to succeeding. After all, their first, fundamental challenge is to fight the stigma that bigger is better.
Well, in making up the list of things the Oilers look for in a pick, there are lots of other areas like leadership, grit, etc. I agree with you, BEL, that any time you devote yourself completely to one area there is an extreme danger of overlooking someone. Guys like Hudler and Parise have their whole careers to prove the Oilers wrong. But this, imo, is their template. The guy they draft these days has alot more in common with a Philadelphia Flyer than a 80s Oiler imo.

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04-10-2004, 05:26 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Well, in making up the list of things the Oilers look for in a pick, there are lots of other areas like leadership, grit, etc. I agree with you, BEL, that any time you devote yourself completely to one area there is an extreme danger of overlooking someone. Guys like Hudler and Parise have their whole careers to prove the Oilers wrong. But this, imo, is their template. The guy they draft these days has alot more in common with a Philadelphia Flyer than a 80s Oiler imo.
Lowtide, I agree with your assessment of the Oiler template. Tbank you, as always, for your thoughful posts and analysis. I just don't agree entirely with the Oiler path itself. I'm all for having a bigger hockey team but not at the expense of a potential special player who doesn't fit a specific mold.

The NFL is the worst to pidgeon-hole what its positional draft players should be (ie. quarterbacks - 6' 4" 220 pounds). Inevitably players come along who break the mold and prove everyone wrong. That is the risk when you generalize and place people into narrowly defined boxes. I believe talent and intangibles such as character and will to win can't be defined so narrowly (by physical attributes).

Oiler management is at a key point in talent procurement. They have build some much needed depth in the organization and lots of potential depth players. Now comes the hard part, getting the elite game breaking skill players which are lacking.
Higher risk but higher reward.

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04-10-2004, 05:44 PM
  #12
Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Behind Enemy Lines
I just don't agree entirely with the Oiler path itself. I'm all for having a bigger hockey team but not at the expense of a potential special player who doesn't fit a specific mold.

The NFL is the worst to pidgeon-hole what its positional draft players should be (ie. quarterbacks - 6' 4" 220 pounds). Inevitably players come along who break the mold and prove everyone wrong. That is the risk when you generalize and place people into narrowly defined boxes. I believe talent and intangibles such as character and will to win can't be defined so narrowly (by physical attributes).

Oiler management is at a key point in talent procurement. They have build some much needed depth in the organization and lots of potential depth players. Now comes the hard part, getting the elite game breaking skill players which are lacking.
Higher risk but higher reward.
I don't like it either, to be honest. Your last sentence is exactly the task at hand.

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04-11-2004, 05:44 PM
  #13
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One of the holes I have noticed in the Oiler's drafting armour in the past is their definition of BPA.

Their definition of BPA in the first round over the past decade has been based more on future potential than likeliness of reaching that potential. Therefore, high-risk, high-reward. However, the past decade has not been full of picks that ended up rewarding the Oil.


2003 - Pouliot

Seemed to be injury-prone, but has high skill level. Enticing package of size and ability. Got ROCKED at Prospects game by Phaneuf. Less of a reach than previous years. If he can stay healthy, looks to be a solid player. Big if, though.

Safer choices: Stewart, Richards
If we had stayed at 17: Getzlaf (*please, let's not make this yet another Parise/Pouliot debate)


2002 - Niinimaki

Took Jesse out of the Finnish Elite League after a 6 point rookie season. Hard to gauge a kid playing pro against kids playing junior here, but they went off the board for this one. Seems to have high potential, but is also high risk. Hopefully, he can bounce back from season-ending shoulder injury. Not a safe bet to ever play here, but could end up being a good one.

Safer choices: Gordon, Grebeshkov, Paille


2001 - Hemsky

Hemmer fell in quite a few draft rankings and was labelled soft. Massive amounts of skill, but didn't look to translate into the pro game. Has adjusted as well as could have been expected after two years. He's still a kid and needs to get stronger, but looks like he will be a top two line skill player for years to come. As a 20 year old, who is quite small to begin with, people should realize that his time will come and just have patience. At the draft in 2001, if someone would have told me where Ales would be now and what he had accomplished, I would have been damn thrilled, so we all just need to relax and give this kid some time. Still a risky pick back then, though.

Safer choices: Colaiocovo, Morrisson, Krajicek, Gleason

2000 - Mikhnov

Another risky pick, that after almost having been written off by fans, has turned his chances around with a solid RSL regular season. Playing in this spring's World Championship would give us a better idea of this kid's potential. Another risky pick, with size and a skill package that is in high demand in this league.

Safer choices: Kolanos, Hale, Boyes, Ott, Sutherby


1999 - Rita

One of the seemingly safer picks from recent memory. Has struggled at times with consistency and effort, but looks to be a lock for at least 4th line NHL duty at some time in his career. His potential seems to have been down-graded to checking winger with some skill.

Safer choices: Jackman, Boynton, Oullette


1998 - Henrich

After a 40-goal season in the OHL, Henrich looked to have all the tools, but hasn't been able to put it together. In his defense, he came pretty close to making this team a few years ago before his terrible luck last season. Who knows if he will be able to rebound. Another pick from the riskier side of the spectrum.

Safer choices: Regehr, Biron, Gagne, Fischer, Van Ryn (a lot of good d-men went after Henrich in this draft)


1997 - Riesen

*Yawn* Another risky offensive talent by the Oil..... Another soft player who had all the skill in the world, but never managed to translate his game to the pros. Starting to see a pattern here????

Safer choices: Hannan, Morrow

*I only listed some safer choices that have at least partially panned out. I do realize that even some of the so-called "safer choices" at the time haven't turned out as well.

So, looking at the last 7 first round picks, I would argue that the Oilers don't follow the BPA theory, at least with their first round picks.

Or perhaps, their need of offensive talent is clouding their definition of BPA. Looking at some of the picks we wasted in the 90's, I wonder how much some of these risky picks have hurt the Oil. Bonsignore??? Riesen??? Henrich???

I hope that the Oilers take a closer look at their drafting past and develop a BPA theory that is more likely to produce NHL talent.

All this being said, I still hope the Oilers come away from the upcoming draft with a skill center or a scoring winger, but not at the cost of a d-man or goalie who Prender and co. find more promising.

Also, glancing back at recent drafts, there are definitely more defensemen coming out of the draft from picks 14-30 that end up playing as opposed to forwards.

So, in conclusion, I think that the Oilers have not been drafting the BPA in the first round in recent years or their definition of BPA is heavily weighted on high-end potential and less on a players' likelihood of reaching that potential.

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04-11-2004, 06:08 PM
  #14
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Rita I believe was the last pick from the Slather Fraser drafting era and straight away in the next draft we start seeing the Pendergrast formula (size > speed) take effect throughout the draft, I wonder if Pendergrast and Lowe had drafted in 1999 if they would have taken both Rita and Comrie with their picks?

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04-11-2004, 06:09 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondock Saint
Safer choices: Stewart, Richards
If we had stayed at 17: Getzlaf (*please, let's not make this yet another Parise/Pouliot debate)
Nice post and analysis, Boondock. It also provides an opportunity to use the deadhorse smily.

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04-11-2004, 06:21 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabi_sultan
Rita I believe was the last pick from the Slather Fraser drafting era and straight away in the next draft we start seeing the Pendergrast formula (size > speed) take effect throughout the draft, I wonder if Pendergrast and Lowe had drafted in 1999 if they would have taken both Rita and Comrie with their picks?
The Barry Fraser era ended in 2000 with the Mikhnov pick.

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04-11-2004, 06:35 PM
  #17
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i don't think so, I'm pretty sure Mikhnov was all of Kent Nilsson's doing.

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04-11-2004, 06:41 PM
  #18
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Originally Posted by rabi_sultan
i don't think so, I'm pretty sure Mikhnov was all of Kent Nilsson's doing.
I'll meet you in the middle. Barry Fraser made the Mikhnov pick from the stage at the 2000 draft in Calgary. Incidentally I was there. Pedergast and company ran the draft.

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04-11-2004, 06:45 PM
  #19
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:lol

i went off to look for proof all i found was this

Quote:
Originally Posted by guy flaming, past & present of oiler scouting
As the millennium ended, the team underwent a significant overhaul in its internal structure. Long time GM Glen Sather departed for the seemingly greener pastures of New York City and Kevin Lowe replaced him in Edmonton after a year spent behind the bench as head coach.

When Sather left, so did a lot of the old established elements of the organization including scouts Harry Howell and Giles Leger who decided to join Slats in the Big Apple. Chief scout Barry Fraser left the club a season later and thus the reins of the Oiler scouting staff fell to Kevin Prendergast.
so you were right BEL, Fraser did make the Mikhnov pick, don't know why I have this thing where they were unsure who to pick so Nilsson sold everyone in the room on Mikhnov, guess I must have had a little too much to drink tonight

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04-11-2004, 07:00 PM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabi_sultan
So you were right BEL, Fraser did make the Mikhnov pick, don't know why I have this thing where they were unsure who to pick so Nilsson sold everyone in the room on Mikhnov, guess I must have had a little too much to drink tonight
I think that's one of the reasons that all the scouts look at the team's top 50, as per Guy's tremendous interview with KP last year. In the same interview, he also states 2001 was his first draft as head honcho.

However, the Nilsson point you make is a strong one, and although I don't remember where I read it, I believe its true.

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04-12-2004, 02:17 AM
  #21
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Well...

... the Mikhnov pick came about for, basically, four reasons:

1. Fraser's swan song - announcing the picks but not really making them (at least not like he had in the past)

2. Nilsson pushed it because he had been frozen out one of the years before on some player who he had been REALLY pumped about**

3. Antropov had really worked out for Toronto and like Mikhnov was one of those players who no-one seemed to see except the TO scouts

4. He did look like a damn fine player - this probably wouldn't have mattered though if factors 1 through 3 weren't in place as well (Fraser was notorious for ignoring his scouts for what he 'saw' as an Oiler-type player)


** I forget who the player was but I did read it in one of the local rags I believe - regardless, the player mentioned did well enough that when Nilsson pushed for Mikhnov no one wanted to second guess him again


That is how I understand it anyways,


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