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06-30-2004, 10:41 PM
  #1
Lowetide
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The 2004 Draft

The Oilers under Lowe and KP 01-03 have shown some real draft tendencies:

1. Two skill guys early
2. Big men in the middle rounds
3. Fill out with skill
4. Lots of kids with "projectable bodies" (6'3, 185 that sort of thing)
5. Guys over 6 feet (94% of players picked 01-03, excluding overagers)
6. Speed is not as important a factor as it was under Barry Fraser
7. Character is an important factor
8. The Oilers have no problem taking a player off the board if the scouts like him enough (Niinimaki)
9. Small players are very unlikely to be drafted (Helminen 5'9, and that's about it)
10. They love big men with another identifiable skill.


So, let's apply those things to the draft on Saturday.

Dubnyk imo represents the "off the board" pick although not quite at level we saw with Niinimaki. Even though scouts felt Schwarz was the bga in the draft, the Oilers went with their scouts when it came time to draft. I think this shows exceptional gumption, because it must have been at least tempting to take the kid with the better reviews. On the other hand, I'm reminded of Alex Delvecchio's great quote when he was GM in Detroit. After a draft in the mid-70s, he said "we got the guys we wanted, I just hope we wanted the right guys."

I also think Dubnyk qualifies as a character pick, KP mentioned that if he weren't a goalie he'd have been a captain. From what we've been told, they know this kid backwards and really love his makeup.

Robbie Schremp is a wonderful pick, but not typical of an Oiler draft under KP. He's 5'11, 200 pounds and I don't think he has any more upside as a physical player than Ales Hemsky. Still, like Hemsky, he is a terrific talent with the puck. He's clearly the first of the "skill" players they usually take early on, and I think his being picked continued the recent Oiler trend of picking kids who aren't speed demons if they can bring something else to the show. Like Jarrett Stoll, Doug Lynch and MA Pouliot, Schremp isn't a slow poke but there are some issues with his skating. He is easily the best finisher taken by the Oilers since KP took over.

I think alot of people are going to say that this guy is not a "character" kid, but I don't see him being a lightning rod for trouble. His teammates apparently speak highly of him, and everything that happens to him is blown out of proportion. His benching in the playoffs isn't the first time a skill player with minus defense has found pine, but that got big play.

Roman Tesliuk was one of my draft day hopefuls, and although I was surprised that Kyrill Lyamin wasn't taken, imo the Russian transfer questions make his being passed understandable (Ottawa might be a Cdn city, but with new ownership the "small market" label doesn't fit). Tesliuk's offense didn't show up last yr in the WHL, but in the Russian junior league in 02-03 it did (10-20-30 in 55gp).

What he does have is good size (6'1, 195), foot speed and an ability to play the game with or without the puck. He finishes his checks, makes a good outlet pass and plays good positional hockey. He looked great at the prospects game. I think Tesliuk qualifies as the second skill guy in this Oiler draft, plus I've read two different accounts of his "making the safe play" which is gold for a young dman.

Geoff Paukovich qualifies as the "Colin McDonald/JF Jacques/Zach Stortini" pick in 2004, and I thought it signalled the usual run of big men. I'll admit to not knowing much about him on draft day, and also admit to being irritated that Jason Chimera had been dealt to get him.

Paukovich is a big center (6'4, 215) with the word "mean" attached to his name. He can keep up, and can hit, too. We have no idea if he'll turn out, and I have no idea what level of competition he played last season. I look at him as being similar to Colin McDonald last year: we'll have a much better idea about him as a player one year from now.

Liam Reddox is right off the screen for an Oiler draft. Great pains were made to suggest that he's 5'10.5 instead of 5'9, but I don't really see the difference based on his style of play. His foot speed has been described as "average" which considering his size means he's the equivalent of "dead in the water" as a prospect. The scouting reports I've read have him as getting "outmuscled" often.

Why did they draft him? Because he has soft hands, he's a pure scorer. 31 goals in his rookie season in the OHL. He could turn into Michael Henrich, or maybe he'll be something better. Stands out as possibly the most unusual pick in KP's drafts, and imo that means they must love the guy.

Brian Young qualifies under what I think we should call "Kevin Lowe dmen", in the tradition of Doug Lynch, Kenny Smith and Matt Greene. Good positional dmen, can hit like trucks, maybe a mean streak. 6'1, 190, a bit small for a typical Oiler draft.

Max Gordichuk Huge, lordy (6'4, 230) have the Oilers drafted a bigger 18 year old? Is Tesliuk's partner, and his bio sounds like Cory Cross (things like "good wing span", "hard to get around" and "impossible to knock off the puck"). Also read things like "project". I bet Tesliuk is in the NHL 3 years before Gordichuk (famous last words).

Stephane Goulet qualifies as the projectable body type (6'3, 185) and marks the return to skill that the Oilers usually manage at the end of the draft. He is a RW, an area the Oilers are quite thin in, and someone here posted that he played very well at the end of the season. Deep sleeper pick, way deeper than someone like Brodziak.

Tyler Spurgeon A center, nothing really stands out, and in that way he joins Patrick Murphy as KP Oiler drafts that don't have a calling card. He's played over 100 WHL games and has 15 goals. Maybe a pk specialist?

Bjorn Burling Remember the "touch list" Brownlee wrote about? I think the Goulet, Sprugeon and Burling picks were all touch picks. apparently had a great regular season and then blew the playoffs. But as an overager one might think he'd be heading over here, but with Conkanen at the NHL level and Morrison and JDD on the farm, where would he fit? I hope we get to see him at a camp soon.

Anyway, some things stayed the same, the skill-size-skill trend is there although the Reddox pick stands out as being unusual. I thought they'd take a few dmen, and they did, plus 2 goalies.


A few things about this draft in closing:

1. They stayed in the CHL almost exclusively
2. The Euro scouts must feel completely left out
3. Liam Reddox doesn't really resemble any other KP pick.
4. After the 2001-2004 drafts, I cannot find one position that is in poorer shape than it was when the Oilers took over in terms of developing talent.
5. Robbie Schremp's talent is the big story of this draft.

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06-30-2004, 11:13 PM
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
2. The Euro scouts must feel completely left out
LOL, I was thinking the exact same thing after looking at their picks the day after.

I guess if they keep going to NA they don't need to keep paying their Euro scouts during the lockout! Just their way of saving money, of course...

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06-30-2004, 11:58 PM
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Good analysis, lowetide (as usual).

I could see the Oilers not wanting to gamble on Russian players until the transfer fee thing is settled, and I had thought that they had drafted a number of European players in the past (although I can't think of too many off-hand...hmmm...). But perhaps we'll see the pendulum swing back a little to Europe after the new CBA deal & such.

I kinda look at the Chimera trade as a *little* like trading away Markkanen (who we almost certainly would have lost on waivers). LW is stacked, JC didn't do all that much to grab a spot, and it gives Rita a shot, perhaps. Guess we'll see how JC develops (or not) with Phoenix.

I also would agree that the drafting overall seems to be better under KP - it's more of a good feeling somehow that holes are being filled and they're doing a lot of their own scouting to hopefully increase the odds of more players turning into pros.

Bart

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07-01-2004, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
3. Liam Reddox doesn't really resemble any other KP pick.
Well... he fits part 3 you mentioned... fill out with skill.

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07-01-2004, 08:38 AM
  #5
Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barto
I could see the Oilers not wanting to gamble on Russian players until the transfer fee thing is settled, and I had thought that they had drafted a number of European players in the past (although I can't think of too many off-hand...hmmm...).
Bart
Since 2001, this is the breakdown (by my count):

1. WHL-11
2. Sweden-8
3. QMJHL-7
4. Finland-4
5. OHL-3
US College-3
Czech Republic-3
8. US High School-2
9. USHL-1
OPJHL-1
AJHL-1
Russia-1
EJHL-1
NAHL-1
US NatU18-1

48 players, 4 seasons, 12 per season. Average would be 36.

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07-01-2004, 10:51 AM
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I don't know why I never thought of this before, but doesn't Schremp sound like the perfect center to play with Hemsky? They will easily be a minus, but it would be fun to watch hey?

It's very exciting to watch a team make a plan and stick to it. K Lowe always seems to have one or two extra picks per draft, and they are plugging away at holes. IF and this is a big if, both their first rounds picks work out, you will start to see people refer to Pend and K Lowe as draft masters in the same way they talk about Ottawa and Jersey.

As a side note, was there any reason for me to jump out of my chair and yell when they picked Schremp? I mean come on, what a clown I am...


Last edited by Goil: 07-01-2004 at 01:25 PM. Reason: typo
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07-01-2004, 10:55 AM
  #7
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The Euro scouts should be left out---look at their drafting record in the first three rounds in the last couple of years--Hasn't Lowe either fired them all or shot them by now! Reison, Heimrich, Rita, Niimiski!!?!?? all first rounders and all either a bust or well on their way of being busts

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07-01-2004, 11:04 AM
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Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumptheshark
The Euro scouts should be left out---look at their drafting record in the first three rounds in the last couple of years--Hasn't Lowe either fired them all or shot them by now! Reison, Heimrich, Rita, Niimiski!!?!?? all first rounders and all either a bust or well on their way of being busts

Niinimaki looked very good in the Finnish Elite League for the first 10 games this season (3-3-6) and had earned a job on one of the top lines when injured. He certainly isn't on the verge of making the NHL team, but he isn't a bust or even on his way there.

Some of those Swedes may turn out, Jonas Almtorp had a solid year in 03-04 and Joukov and Umicevic are still considered top drawer prospects.

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07-01-2004, 11:20 AM
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I was on a few of the European run sites and they did not have many nice things to say about him has me concerned--

One of the reasons I now like living in Europe(london), I can jump on a plane and see these guys in person

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07-01-2004, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goil
... As a side note, was there any reason for me to jump out of my chair and yell when they picked Schremp? I mean come on, what a clown I am...
:lol You're in good company, with the rest of us "clowns".

btw, Goil, the rest of your post "warms me cockles 'n' flows me blood".

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07-01-2004, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumptheshark
The Euro scouts should be left out---look at their drafting record in the first three rounds in the last couple of years--Hasn't Lowe either fired them all or shot them by now! Reison, Heimrich, Rita, Niimiski!!?!?? all first rounders and all either a bust or well on their way of being busts
Not sure who Heimrich is... but if you are talking about Henrich, I was unaware that Thornhill was in Europe

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07-01-2004, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumptheshark
I was on a few of the European run sites and they did not have many nice things to say about him has me concerned--
The Finnish posters on this board are not likely as negative in that respect. I think it was Laituri than mentioned Niinimaki's potential upside is a first line playmaking forward - not at all doom and gloom.

Regardless, Niinimaki earlier this season had to impress the coach to jump into the top 6. He did that by being the 3rd leading scorer on the team before getting injured. That shoulder injury surely set him back... but let's hope he picks up where he left off.

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07-01-2004, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowetide
2. The Euro scouts must feel completely left out
Perhaps the European scouts like Nilsson and Musil were told to look at *all* potential draftees in the next two years because of the lockout. Because of the uncerainty of the CBA... maybe Kevin Lowe wanted a head start on those prospects. Obviously, a decreased focus on this year's draftees in Europe would produce a less confident picture on their abilities. Hence, the emphasis on N.A. skaters. Plausible?

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07-01-2004, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumptheshark
The Euro scouts should be left out---look at their drafting record in the first three rounds in the last couple of years--Hasn't Lowe either fired them all or shot them by now! Reison, Heimrich, Rita, Niimiski!!?!?? all first rounders and all either a bust or well on their way of being busts
maybe they DID do their job and advised Lowe not to take certain Euro players in the first round...maybe they were the ones who weren't as impressed with Schwarz, which is why they took Dubnyk instead.

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07-01-2004, 09:07 PM
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It's an interesting way of going about the drafting process. We as outsiders can plot what strategy the Oilers are using certainly seems strange. Most clubs try and keep the cards close to there chests.

That said the system seems to be working. This team plugs holes and drafts for need not by BPA. Risky to say the least. The first round and the second to a degree is usually a player they feel is BPA. From then on the Oilers chose players who best suit there needs. As Lowetide said Skill/Size/Skill. In todays NHL those 2 things make up a big part of a player (Skill/Size or Both). I think this system increases the Oilers chances of finding a diamond in the rough.

The draft is a crapshoot, so fixing the odds as much as you can is a great way to reduce your risk.

Also surprised that the Oilers did'nt take more Euro's for the fact that they have there rights indefinetly. Someone on the boards already mentioned the Oilers will be up for some signing money in a couple of years.

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07-01-2004, 09:43 PM
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Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzieoiler
It's an interesting way of going about the drafting process. We as outsiders can plot what strategy the Oilers are using certainly seems strange. Most clubs try and keep the cards close to there chests.

That said the system seems to be working. This team plugs holes and drafts for need not by BPA. Risky to say the least. The first round and the second to a degree is usually a player they feel is BPA. From then on the Oilers chose players who best suit there needs. As Lowetide said Skill/Size/Skill. In todays NHL those 2 things make up a big part of a player (Skill/Size or Both). I think this system increases the Oilers chances of finding a diamond in the rough.

The draft is a crapshoot, so fixing the odds as much as you can is a great way to reduce your risk.

Also surprised that the Oilers did'nt take more Euro's for the fact that they have there rights indefinetly. Someone on the boards already mentioned the Oilers will be up for some signing money in a couple of years.

One thing I'd like to do when I have a chance is find out what types of players the Oilers reach for; despite the Niinimaki pick, most of the reaches under KP imo have been almost exactly like Paukovich: bigger guys with one other outstanding feature to their game. Stortini, McDonald, Jacques there have been alot of them.

Make no mistake, some very fine talent has been passed up in order to pick these possible power forwards ahead of where they should probably go. My guess is the Oilers believe that if even one of these turn into a real PF then it'll be worth passing on all of the O'Sullivan's and Lyamin's and Tunik's.

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07-01-2004, 11:45 PM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide

Tyler Spurgeon A center, nothing really stands out, and in that way he joins Patrick Murphy as KP Oiler drafts that don't have a calling card. He's played over 100 WHL games and has 15 goals. Maybe a pk specialist?
From the looks of things Tyler comes from a defensive juggernaut of a team, they scored almost 100 goals less than Medicine Hat did but finished tops in the WHL by 6 points. The top two centers there were two or more years older than Tyler and neither was much above .5ppg so I don't think anyone gets the green light offensively. If MacT got to make one pick in last years draft I think this was it, he'd probably have taken him ahead of Schremp

For anyone who knows a lot about Troy or the Rockets...

Was Tyler stuck on the third line all season and what kind of linemates did he have? Did he get pp time? Was he a high pick in the whl draft?

For what it's worth, he finished the season with 4 more points than Troy Bodie (one of our 2003 pix) even though Troy played in 22 more games.

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07-02-2004, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Geoff Paukovich qualifies as the "Colin McDonald/JF Jacques/Zach Stortini" pick in 2004, and I thought it signalled the usual run of big men. I'll admit to not knowing much about him on draft day, and also admit to being irritated that Jason Chimera had been dealt to get him.

Paukovich is a big center (6'4, 215) with the word "mean" attached to his name. He can keep up, and can hit, too. We have no idea if he'll turn out, and I have no idea what level of competition he played last season. I look at him as being similar to Colin McDonald last year: we'll have a much better idea about him as a player one year from now.

[.

I have seen Paukovich play and I will assure you, you guys are getting a good prospect who should one day at least fill a fourth line center role. He is one mean SOB, always skating around piledriving guys in attempt to get the puck. He works extremely hard in both zones, has average skating, excellent passing instincts, and decent puckhandling ability. As far as level of competition the U-18 team plays in the NAHL league which I would compare the equivalent of calibre you might see in an OHL game. The players are ussually much older than the U-18's, the team's I have seen were primarily made up of 83 birth dates which means the players are much more developed than you would find on the majority of OHL teams. Its a fast paced, hard hitting game. The players on other teams do not have loads of offensive talent, but they are bigger, stronger, just as fast when you compare them to the U-18 team. The one exception I noticed as far as the U-18 team was concerned to the bigger, stronger label was Paukovich who was physically dominant.

The NAHL has much less fan fare, when I have seen the U-18's in Ann Arbor there were roughly 300 people there each game which explains why the calibre is not as well known as an OHL game in general fan circles.

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07-02-2004, 12:01 PM
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Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VernonForrest
I have seen Paukovich play and I will assure you, you guys are getting a good prospect who should one day at least fill a fourth line center role. He is one mean SOB, always skating around piledriving guys in attempt to get the puck. He works extremely hard in both zones, has average skating, excellent passing instincts, and decent puckhandling ability. As far as level of competition the U-18 team plays in the NAHL league which I would compare the equivalent of calibre you might see in an OHL game. The players are ussually much older than the U-18's, the team's I have seen were primarily made up of 83 birth dates which means the players are much more developed than you would find on the majority of OHL teams. Its a fast paced, hard hitting game. The players on other teams do not have loads of offensive talent, but they are bigger, stronger, just as fast when you compare them to the U-18 team. The one exception I noticed as far as the U-18 team was concerned to the bigger, stronger label was Paukovich who was physically dominant.

The NAHL has much less fan fare, when I have seen the U-18's in Ann Arbor there were roughly 300 people there each game which explains why the calibre is not as well known as an OHL game in general fan circles.

Thankyou very much for this. Excellent!

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06-15-2008, 10:58 AM
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Interesting to look back on the 2004 draft. Stole this from Dallas board.

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06-15-2008, 11:04 AM
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Excellent analysis.

Lowetide have you noticed these same kind of tendencies (not perhaps the Europeans as I would agree that this is a noticed weakness) from other teams.

Where would you say the differences lie and the similarities?

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06-15-2008, 11:10 AM
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Lowetide
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HA,

I think the Oilers changed strategy beginning in 2005 when they selected Cogliano in the first round. Reddox (undersized skill F) was the first of a few and maybe we could string it back to Schremp although the Oilers would have been nuts to pass on the guy when he was available with their second pick.

As for Coke machines they seemed to have given up.

I really only follow the NW division in terms of draft and they have pretty much stayed the course. Vancouver drafts players who resemble their scouting director (Ron Delorme), Minnesota goes completely off the chart for the most part but draft capable, more complete players, Calgary likes thumpers and Colorado loves skill.

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06-15-2008, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Lowetide View Post
HA,

I think the Oilers changed strategy beginning in 2005 when they selected Cogliano in the first round. Reddox (undersized skill F) was the first of a few and maybe we could string it back to Schremp although the Oilers would have been nuts to pass on the guy when he was available with their second pick.

As for Coke machines they seemed to have given up.

I really only follow the NW division in terms of draft and they have pretty much stayed the course. Vancouver drafts players who resemble their scouting director (Ron Delorme), Minnesota goes completely off the chart for the most part but draft capable, more complete players, Calgary likes thumpers and Colorado loves skill.
Thanks.

I have liked the Oilers strategy for the most part over the last few years and wondered if they were following more of an NHL model.

Seemed like the Barry Fraser model after about 1984 was.

1. Pick big
2. Pick speed.

Talent and skill seemed to be overlooked philosophies.

Of course I am talking a little tounge and cheek but the Kelly over Doan picked seemed to emphazize how they considered speed more important than skill.

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06-16-2008, 12:13 AM
  #24
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Agreed on all fronts. And inasmuch as I hated 2003, I really have liked what the Oilers have done since. The seem to have an intelligent, well rounded strategy that has accrued some very nice players.

Some things in 2004 haven't shaken out as much as the Oil have liked so far, but in my opinion, if more than any draft in the history of this team, the selections were solid. The rest was up to the kids themselves to achieve as they were projected.

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06-16-2008, 01:07 AM
  #25
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Agreed on all fronts. And inasmuch as I hated 2003, I really have liked what the Oilers have done since. The seem to have an intelligent, well rounded strategy that has accrued some very nice players.
I agree. 2003 is widely regarded as our worst year under Lowe I think, but I've been pretty happy since. Getting Cogliano and Nash where we did were both steals in their respective drafts I think. Out of curiosity though, I would like to know how many teams in the NHL have had a bad draft in say, the last 5 years. I wonder if you could come up with some kind of ratio or some kind of statistic to evaluate a team's scouting and drafting abilities (although I realize that using 5 years is a pretty short term so a lot of it would be educated guesses, ie most people here think Riley Nash will cover the draft but it's far from a certainty). It's something I'd research myself if I had the time- if there's someone else who is into these kinds of projects I'd be interested in the data.

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