Category Archives: Draft

Edmonton Oilers: No Need To Be Concerned With Jesse Puljujarvi

The Edmonton Oilers continued their recent history of drafting highly touted offensive prospects in the first round. With the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Oilers drafted 18-year old Swedish right winger Jesse Puljujarvi. This marks the fourth time in five years the Oilers drafted an offensive player with a top five pick: 2012 #1 Nail Yakupov, 2014 #3 Leon Draisaitl, 2015 #1 Connor McDavid and now Puljujarvi.

Puljujarvi comes to the NHL with high expectations. The 6’3” right-winger recorded four goals and four assists in 16 games as a 17-year old in Finland’s top professional league. NHL’s Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb had high praise for Puljujarvi saying, “He’s a powerful skater with good speed and balance. He has outstanding hockey sense and reads the play well. He’s a good playmaker with strong puck-handling skills. He can take advantage of 1- on-1 situations with his long reach.”

Puljujarvi made a name for himself when he was named MVP of 2016 World Juniors Championship. In seven games, he recorded 17 points on five goals and 12 assists, placing him second all-time for points scored for a player under 18 in the tournament’s history. Puljujarvi is in elite company, as his 17 points is tied with Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros and is only behind Jaromir Jagr. Puljujarvi has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne.

With all of this high praise and expectations, you would assume that Puljujarvi would be impressive so far in training camp. Unfortunately, this is not the case. College free agent Drake Caggiula continues to impress coaches and turn heads in training camp, turning the pressure up on Puljujarvi. Caggiula is grading somewhat higher than the fourth overall pick, causing concern with the fan base. Puljujarvi is still a teenager with no experience playing outside of Europe, while Caggiula played four years at one of the best pro-producing hockey programs in North Dakota University.

It seems like the rookie is going through some growing pains, which should be expected with such a drastic culture and life change. Despite Puljujarvi playing on the top line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the Oilers’ 5-1 preseason loss to the Winnipeg Jets, there is still talk that he can start this season in AHL. Teammate Mark Letestu is trying to limit expectations saying, “My expectations for Jesse haven’t been sky high…maybe outside they have. It’s the best league in the world. What Connor did last year is very difficult. Not a lot of rookies can replicate that. There’s going to be growing pains…you can hear the coaches communicating with him and he’s adjusting.”

It is smart for the Oilers to not put added pressure on the teenager in his first season in the NHL. He may have dominated as a teenager, but that doesn’t mean his skillset will translate automatically at this level. There should be no cause for concern with these recent reports of Puljujarvi being out played by a free agent rookie. The Oilers believe Puljujarvi will be a major factor in their franchise’s plans, but fully understand the growing pains that come with such a young player.

The Oilers Win Connor McDavid!

About the only thing the Edmonton Oilers can win in recent history is the draft lottery and they’ve done it again. Unless something really crazy happens the Oilers will select Connor McDavid with the first overall pick who has been projected to be a generational talent similar to Sydney Crosby so I thought it would be a good idea to do some comparisons.

These are stats from the draft years for Connor McDavid, Sydney Crosby, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov
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Should He Stay or Should He Go?

The Oilers have a huge whole in their center depth and Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at making the team this upcoming season. Before the draft I posted the last 20 3rd overall picks in the draft to get an idea of what we could expect of the Oilers pick this year and I thought it would be interesting to see how long it took those players to be NHL’rs.

The table below shows the number of games played by the past 20 3rd overall picks in the first 3 years after they are drafted.

Player Drafted Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Radek Bonk 1994 42 76 53
Aki Berg 1995 51 41 72
JP Dumont 1996 0 0 25
Oli Jokinen 1997 8 66 82
Brad Stuart 1998 0 82 77
Henrick Sedin 1999 0 82 82
Marian Gaborik 2000 71 78 81
Alexander Svitov 2001 0 63 40
Jay Bouwmeester 2002 82 61 NA
Nathan Horton 2003 55 NA 71
Cam Barker 2004 NA 1 35
Jack Johnson 2005 0 5 74
Jonathan Toews 2006 0 64 82
Kyle Turris 2007 3 63 0
Zach Bogosian 2008 47 81 71
Matt Duchene 2009 81 80 58
Erik Gudbranson 2010 0 72 32
Jonathan Huberdeau 2011 0 0 48
Alex Galchenyuk 2012 48 65 NA
Jonathan Drouin 2013 0 NA NA

In 20 years only 3 players have played a full season in the year they were picked 3rd overall, and 5 played half a season. The other 12 either didn’t play at all or had a real small sip. Based on history I think we can expect Draisaitl to return to Jr this season but should be worried if he doesn’t make the team in the 2015/16 season.

What To Expect From The Draft

We know that if the Oilers don’t trade the 3rd overall pick they’ll take one of Ekblad, Draisaitl, Bennet or Reinhart, but what can we expect from these kids? Below is a list of the past 20 3rd overall picks:

Player GP G A P
Druin 0
Galchenyuk 113 22 36 58
Huberdeau 117 23 36 59
Gudbranson 169 5 16 21
Duchene 337 105 158 263
Bagosian 352 37 77 114
Turris 316 69 93 162
Toews 484 195 245 440
Jack Johnson 490 44 146 190
Cam Barker 310 21 75 96
Horton 627 203 218 421
Bouwmeester 846 76 268 344
Alexander Svitov 179 13 24 37
Gaborik 810 347 357 704
Henrik Sedin 1,010 193 649 842
Brad Stuart 985 77 245 322
Oli Jokinen 1,169 317 423 740
JP Dumont 822 214 309 523
Aki Berg 606 15 70 85
Bonk 969 194 303 497

While there are a couple of misses in there its pretty clear that we can expect a real solid NHL player and have a chance at landing a legit superstar. Just keep your fingers crossed that the Oilers end up with a Jonathan Toews and not a Cam Barker!

Oilers Draft Review

This is a review of what the Edmonton Oilers did (and didn’t) do at the 2013 NHL entry draft:

Round 1

7th overall selection – The Oilers take Defensman Darnell Nurse 7th overall and while I’ve seen his name come up for the Oilers in a few mock drafts I really expected them to take a forward. The team is clearly weak at forward and has a real need for skilled players with size to complement the young forwards already in the system, so when the Oilers went to the podium with Nishushkin still on the board I was quite surprised that they picked Darnell Nurse. With that said I think Nurse really adds alot to the defensive prospect pool of the Oilers and gives them a position of strength to deal from when making trades for the forwards the team needs. Nurse may be a couple of years away from the NHL but he will get there and he will make an impact so that really opens the door for MacT to trade good prospects like Marincin, Mussil, Fedun etc.. I still think they like Klefbom too much to deal him unless the return is just too perfect. Continue reading

Oilers draft Darnel Nurse 7th overall

Craig Mactavish and the Edmonton Oilers have selected Darnell Nurse 7th overall in the NHL entry draft. I honestly expected the Oilers would pick Nishushkin when they came to the podium with him still available and was actually a little disapointed when they didn’t. I was however very releved that they used the pick rather than use it as a package to obtain Cory Schneider from the Canucks. There were rumors that the Oilers were offering the 7th overall pick plus a top prospect to Vancouver for Schneider but for whatever reason the deal didn’t go through. There were looks of surprise from the Oilers table at the anouncment of the trade of Schneider to the Devils for just the 9th overall selection. Continue reading