Day 2 draft thoughts..

By , June 23, 2012 10:19 pm
Mitch Moroz, selected 32nd overall by the Oilers

Mitch Moroz, selected 32nd overall by the Oilers

The 2012 NHL Entry draft is complete. What have the Oilers got to show for it?

Here’s the rundown of the Edmonton Oilers’ picks on Day 2 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Round 2

In the 2nd round, the Oilers selected Mitch Moroz, a left winger for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. I had the pleasure of watching a good handful of Oil Kings games this year, and got to see a bit of Moroz. I will say that there wasn’t a lot that stood out to me, but the Oilers brass were pretty keen on him. One of the media mentioned on Twitter that the Oilers felt that he would not have been available for them to pick in the 3rd round. They really wanted to nab him, especially after seeing fellow Oil King Henrik Samuelsson go in the 1st round. TSN had him ranked at 56th overall (i.e. late 2nd round), so you’d have to think that the Oilers were right.. Moroz probably wouldn’t have been there for their 3rd round selection.

Moroz is a BIG kid (6’2″, 208 lbs). He actually looked like a man playing against boys. Not because his skill was that good, but because he’s a big, strong, developed player. He even underwent a random drug testing later in the year.. but I wonder just how random that was.

Anyways, Moroz is a power forward who can chip in the odd point, while playing a very physical role. As a matter of fact, in one of the WHL final games I recall him destroying Plymouth Whalers star play Ty Rattie. The hit took him out of the game, and I think may have even helped put the series in the Oil Kings’ favor. He’s an intimidating player. As Steve-O mentioned earlier, there are comparisons to Milan Lucic.. but I think that’s a pretty lofty one. However, at this stage of their careers, they put up pretty similar numbers, so you never know. But I think it’s too early to think that. But, on the plus, he does seem to skate fairly well for a guy his size and is good in close in front of the net. His ability to fight is the icing on the cake.

Here is the Redline Report write up on Moroz:

Big, edgy power forward plays an in-your-face style and looks to initiate hard contact all over the ice. A feared enforcer who picked up 20 fighting majors, yet skates and handles the puck well enough to take regular shifts. Coaches eventually rotated him into the top six to give scoring lines a boost – gives smaller, skilled linemates more room to work with his physicality. Has surprising offensive tools with a heavy snap shot. Puckhandling confidence is soaring and he’s willing to try things with the puck now he wouldn’t have dreamed of six months ago. Skating enables him to play in open ice and even has decent lateral agility. Spins off checks to find space and gets to open ice. Emerging force uses great size/strength to dominate below the circles and is impossible to move around crease. Development curve is heading straight up and has upside.

Here is what Craig Button had to say on Moroz:

Mitchell is a player who enjoys the physical game. He will hit and punish opponents but is also willing and able to stand up to the challenges that comes with playing that particular style. He’s a very good skater and can close on opponents very quickly and thus there is not a lot of wiggle room to avoid a check when he’s on the ice. Because his skating is so good, he can play versus better players and make them uncomfortable. He plays in straight lines and is very effective along the boards. He doesn’t run around without purpose and he is very effective in his approach. He has very good awareness playing and is capable of contributing in areas other than physical play. He battles for the puck, will go to the net and is a player who plays with energy and an undeniable spirit and determination. He gives players on the ice a certain comfort but only if you are on the same team. Playing versus him, is a challenge and not fun because he is focused on doing what he can to disrupt you and help his team win.

Round 3

In round 3, the Oilers selected Jujhar Khaira, a left winger with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL. Khaira also seems to be a pretty big kid at 6’3, 195 lbs. I don’t know much about him, unfortunately. Dawgtoy was kind enough to link a video to him in another post, and I can’t say I was too impressed. He looked like he was a very lumbering skater. But oftentimes, that’s something that can be fixed. He put up pretty good numbers in the BCHL (which I can’t say impresses me that much, but..). In 54 games he posted 29 goals and 50 assists. He finished tied for 10th in the BCHL in both assists and points last year, which should be impressive though, given he was just 17.

Here’s a quote on Khaira from Redline Report via Jonathan Willis:

At Red Line, we believe this kid could be the biggest/best sleeper of the entire draft. Prince George is so far off the beaten path teams don’t even travel there for WHL games, much less BCHL contests, so he gets zero exposure. But this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver. Very raw defensively.

Given that write up, perhaps this is another guy who could be a possible Lucic-type, but I’m not holding my breath.

Edit: Oilers Nation noted that he had his rights traded to the Everett Silvertips of the WHL, but had previously committed to playing with the Michigan Tech Huskies of the WCHA. He will talk with the Oilers to decide which path is best for his future as a hockey player, but the Oilers will be patient with him.

At the end of the round, the Oilers took Daniil Zharkov with the Los Angeles Kings’ former pick (earned in the Dustin Penner trade). Zharkov seems like a real funny and amicable kid. He seemed to really speak well with reporters after his selection. He joked that he wants to be a better player than all the 4 centerpiece forwards here. He stressed over and over that he wants to be better than Yakupov. He mentioned being friends with Yakupov, which probably will help ease Yakupov’s transition from beautiful Ontario, to shit-town Alberta. Just kidding. In all seriousness, I’m pretty excited about this pick.

Zharkov is quite a big kid at 6’3″, and 200 lbs. Zharkov joked that he is a Canadian player, and actually is not new to North American hockey. Last year, he put up 23 goals and 13 assists in 50 games in his first year with the Belleville Bulls. In the year before, he played for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL earning 8 goals and 3 assists in 36 games as a 16 year old.

Craig Button on Zharkov:

Daniil is a scorer who needs but one chance to make good on it. He has an excellent release and he doesn’t tip his hand to the goaltender when he’s shooting and that creates problems for a goaltender. He is a very good skater with speed and agility and has the ability to shoot off a move or in stride. Given open ice, he is very dangerous and defenders have to be very cognizant of him on the ice because when he breaks open, it is often too late. His 1-1 skills have improved and the next step for him is to make his skating an advantage in beating defensemen 1-1 with the puck and putting them back on their heels and not relying solely on getting behind them. He is smart and recognizes the offensive opportunities that may be unfolding and is quick to act on them. His size is good and with more strength and confidence, he could be a very difficult player to deal with and combined with his skill, could make him a very prolific scorer.

Round 4

In the 4th round, the Oilers selected 20-year old defenseman Erik Gustafsson of Djurgården of the Swedish Elite League. Gustafsson is not to be confused with fellow namesake Erik Gustafsson, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. Our Gustafsson is 6’0″, 176 lbs, and a left shot. He seemed to put up really good numbers while playing in the Junior under 20 Swedish league, however I don’t know much about this player.. just simply going by what I can read. Soooo….

Elite Prospects had this write-up about him:

A skilled defenseman with some nice offensive skills. Can quarterback the powerplay and able to log big minutes. Has good vision and an edge to his game. Good release.

Round 5

Next target for the Oilers was 20 year old Joey Laleggia, a defenseman playing for the Denver Pioneers of the WCHA. Laleggia is a smaller defenseman at just 5’10” and 180 lbs. He’s a left shooter. With Denver, it seems as though he put up really good offensive numbers, tallying 11 goals and 27 assists in 43 games last year. Before playing with Denver, he spent the last couple of seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL where he put up huge offensive numbers. He even led his team in scoring in his final year with the Vees at age 18, with 20 goals and 62 assists in 58 games.

I think this kid will be a great pick up for the Oklahoma City Barons (although that will be a few years off, assuming he stays in College). Will he make it to the NHL? Well, you’d have to think that he’s been passed on in previous drafts due to his size. But, there have been others such as Stephane Robidas who have overcome the height issue and bulked up to play with the big kids. It seems here that the Oilers have continued trend by taking a chance on players with good potential, but inherent flaws that make other teams unwilling to take a chance on them.

Round 6

The Oilers last choice in the 2012 NHL Entry draft was American-born John McCarron, a right winger with Cornell of the ECAC (McCarron also played 3 years in the USHL previous to last year). McCarron is another big winger draftee on the year at 6’3″ and 215 lbs. Carron is also another 20 year old player drafted by the Oilers this year. I honestly really know nothing about this kid, sorry. Given that he’s played one year in College hockey though, I’d imagine it will be a while before we see him work his way into our system.

Wrap Up

This year seemed to be the year of taking chances.. placing bets on some older kids who slipped through previous drafts… taking bets on coke machines working out to be Lucic or even Carcillo types. I think Moroz could be a good pick for us, but he’ll need at least another year in Junior for sure, and it will be a bit of time in the AHL before we even see him, after that. I think Zharkov was a great choice, and this is a kid we could see before too long, given that he already has NHL size. Plus, we are pretty shallow at left wing, and could use another scoring left winger here. I don’t think this was Stu and co.’s most impressive draft, but really we won’t know for years.

2 Responses to “Day 2 draft thoughts..”

  1. Steve-O says:

    Twitter rumor (BDGallof? re-tweeted by lowetide) mentions the Oilers offered Gagner and Paajarvi for Yandle.

  2. Racki says:

    I will bring up the old adage.. sometimes the trades you don’t make are better than the trades you do make. I think Paajarvi will be a very good player, but we have to be quite patient with him and allow him to adjust to the North American game. The media out east would like to write him off now… maybe because of all the shots people here have taken at Kadri. But really, these guys deserve more time to try and find their game before the crushing fan pressure kills them. Otherwise we’ll sell these guys incredibly low, and see them bloom under some other team.

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