The esteemed Lowetide has an hilarious post up today that essentially lays the blame for the current Oiler woes on the 2007 draft.
The real culprit in the 2014-15 Oilers season is the 2007 draft. Bob Nicholson going on Toronto radio and throwing the current staff under the bus ignores what happened before Stu MacGregor became scouting director.
Now, let’s be clear here…the Oilers absolutely whiffed on virtually every pick in that draft but suggesting it is the major reason the team remains in the sewer is just ridiculous.
In my Sunday morning tour of the the internets, I came across a post from The Last Big Bear over at Oilers Nation which provides some perspective on why the Flames are better now and likely will be for the foreseeable future:
Every skater selected by the Flames in the 2011 draft has already played in the NHL. They have 87 points in 168 games between them so far.
I just want you to think about that for a second, as Oilers fans, really soak it in. The next time you talk about moving up or down by 2 slots in the draft, as if that has any bearing on your franchise’ success, just remember what you’re competing with.
The Flames also have FIVE additional recent 1st rounders that they still have yet to add to the lineup.
The current crop of young NHLers, like Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma, Jooris, Ortio, etc, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
The next 10 years of the Battle of Alberta will be no kinder to the Oilers than the last 10 have been.
In the wake of yet another Oiler loss to the Flames, I think it’s worthwhile to examine why the Flames are competitive despite having the lowest payroll in the league and the Oilers continue to stagger from pillar to post.
Starting with the 2007 draft which Lowetide identifies as a low point, let’s see how the two teams have drafted and developed since.
These are the Flames picks from 2007-2014 that have had more than a cup of coffee in the NHL…(round taken in brackets)
2007 – Mikael Backlund (1) Keith Aulie (4)
2008 – Lance Bouma (3) TJ Brodie (4)
2009 – Tim Erixon (1) Joni Ortio (6)
2010 – Max Reinhart (3)
2011- Sven Baerstchi (1) Markus Granlund (2) Johnny Gaudreau (4)
2012 – 1st round pick Mark Jankowski is playing in the NCAA so too early to call.
2013 – Sean Monahan (1). The Flames may have killed this draft if their other two 1st rounders, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk, develop as expected.
2014 – Sam Bennett – obviously his injury makes this pick an unknown.
Of that group, Brodie, Backlund, Gaudreau, Bouma, Monahan and Ortio were all in the Flames lineup last night. (so was Keith Aulie but for the Oilers)
By way of contrast, these were the Oiler draft picks since 2007 in last night’s game…Eberle, Nugent – Hopkins, Klefbom, Lander and Yakupov.
Of course, Taylor Hall should be added to that list since he is out with injury but I think you can also make the argument that Yakupov should be excluded based on his dreadful play.
Worth noting that only 1st round picks and 2nd round pick Lander played for the Oilers last night while Calgary had a 3rd rounder, two 4th rounders and a 6th rounder dressed.
Considering the Flames have never picked above 13th overall since 2007 and that the Oilers have never picked lower than 10th overall, it’s pretty obvious the Flames are doing a much better job in drafting and developing which is paying dividends in their payroll situation.
Which brings us to the future.
The Calgary Flames have undergone an incredible amount of organizational turnover the past couple of seasons, but a promising vision for the future appears to be finally taking shape. They currently have a young, talented NHL roster, headlined by prospects such as Johnny Gaudreau, Josh Jooris, Sven Baertschi, and Markus Granlund – not to mention Sam Bennett, who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. Their AHL system is well stocked, too, with Emile Poirier, Bill Arnold, Michael Ferland, and others pushing for NHL jobs. There are even more talented forwards at the NCAA and CHL levels, with Mark Jankowski, Morgan Klimchuk, and Hunter Smith all showing various degrees of promise. The Flames also have a few promising defensemen, such as Tyler Wotherspoon, who are close to NHL-ready. The goaltending pool is not particularly deep, but the prospects that are there – Mason McDonald, Jon Gillies, and Joni Ortio – have good potential.
Meanwhile, the same website list the Oilers prospect depth at 25th.
Strengths: Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, and Martin Marincin lead a deep group of defensive prospects for the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have solid depth at forward, led by Leon Draisaitl, who should develop into a very good two-way center in the NHL. The system also has several big players with power forward potential including Bogdan Yakimov and Mitchell Moroz.
Once again, when you consider the respective positions the Oilers and Flames have occupied in the draft, I think it’s pretty obvious that the Flames are much better positioned in the future and while the Oilers woes may have started in 2007, as Lowetide says, they certainly didn’t end there.