Hindsight-2011 Draft

Looking back at drafts is a painful game. Especially if you are an Oiler fan. Names like Jesse Ninnimaki and Marc-Antoine Pouliot haunt the former draft lists of Oil scouts. What a dark time……

In 2011, the Edmonton Oilers had their second straight first overall pick. Well deserved, the Oilers had rights to select the best available junior talent on the planet. Not many people would argue they missed selecting puck savant Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first. Looking like a bona-fide two way center at only nineteen, Hopkins was, is and, IMO, will remain the best choice for first overall that year. The top five picks that year are all tracking exceptionally well with Landeskog winning the Calder that year, and getting the ‘C’, Huberdeau tracking well for ROY in 2013, Larsson developing nicely in Jersey, and Strome getting ready to break through on the Island. Every lottery pick that year looks like a winner…..

Now, most teams with first overall picks get really high picks in every round. No shit Sherlock, you say? This would be a huge advantage, no? Well, most studies I’ve seen say no. After the second round, the chances of finding a player is really not dependent on the draft order. But picking between 31-45, there are always a few projected first rounders that slip through the cracks. The influx of unknown European commodities so close to the draft is usually good for two-three push-outs (see Hampus Lindholm being picked sixth by Anaheim last year for example). This is where a scouting staff makes its name. Detroit has been killing the second round for what seems like decades. The Oilers? Not so much…..

The Oilers had the 31 pick one year earlier as well, selecting Tyler Pitlick. The big center was tracking well, but since turning pro, has fallen off the face of the planet. The Oilers didn’t know Pitlick’s offence was going the way of the dinosaur in 2011, when they stepped up on Saturday morning with the first pick of the second round. I guess that may have been a reason for picking David Musil. A stay at home defenseman, who just happened to be pro scout Frank Musil’s son. Prospects Ty Rattie, Victor Rask, Marcus Granlund, and Brandon Saad were all still on the board. I understand not drafting Rattie. A small, skilled winger is pretty redundant in Edmonton. But Rask, Granlund and Saad fit the bill for a few needs. Needs the Oilers are still looking for today (centers, and gritty winger).

Last Sunday, while watching most of the Oiler-Blackhawk game (fucking time changes!), I tried to keep an eye on Brandon Saad. A 20 year old, 6’1″, 202lb left winger who PK’s is a nice thing to have. I guess. The Oilers have neede one of these for about 6-7 years. The Hawks dump them when they cost too much ( Ladd, Brouwer, Byfuglien, Eager, etc.) and then plug in “homegrown” draft picks to replace them ( Shaw, Bickell, Saad, with guys like Smith, Beach, and McNeil waiting). Amazing.

Musil is on track to crack the line up full time in 14/15, and that might be blue-skying it a bit. Brandon Saad looks to be a full time player right now(24GP 4G-6A-10pts +6 14:51 TOI/G). Looking back, it looks like the Oil missed the boat on the right pick at 31. Now, David Musil could come into camp next year, or the one after, and make the team. He could develop into a legit top four option, and play 500+ games in the Show. Could. Brandon Saad is doing it. Right now. Fail for the Oilers….

Evaluating drafts is a fool’s game anyway. For the record, I was calling Victor Rask’s name. Shows what I know, although like Musil, he could become a player yet. I would wager though, if allowed a do-over, Tambellinni says Saad’s name, and not Musil’s.



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