Racki: guest writer Ken Moorhouse writes this one.. the first of a series on the Oilers drafting since ’06.
#SAVEUSPRONGER (Recapping NHL Drafts from Pronger’s Departure – 2006 Edition)
Written By Ken Moorhouse (RHBDKEN)
Welcome to my new blog called #SAVEUSPRONGER which takes a look at the past 8 years since Chris Pronger famously asked for a trade right after losing game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first season after the NHL 2005 Lockout.
The Edmonton Oilers have just come off an impressive and unpredictable run to the cup which took them from an 8th Place position in the NHL’s Western Conference to the losing team in the Stanley Cup Finals which no hockey writer could have imagined happening. A few days after taking the run all of the fans of Edmonton were hit with a sudden dose of reality that Chris Pronger was no longer interested in resuming his contract in the Oilers organization and wanted a trade out of this city. This was very shocking to me as well as many fans and friends who could not foresee this coming, especially after such a successful run to the cup in which he was the most popular player on this franchise. Sadly I can’t answer for Pronger to why he did not want to stay in Edmonton but there were many stories brought in by the media regarding this. We never had closure on these issues and we can assume that its Chris’ right to keep this to himself.
Now for this playoff run the Oilers have already traded many draft picks away, for decent or not so great trade return. While I am writing this, it was sadly a very impressive draft year and the Oilers have had no ability to claim players that have shaped franchises now in this league. The players that were advertised for the 2006 NHL draft were Johnathan Toews, Jordan Staal, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, and Milan Lucic among others. Sure Erik Johnson, the first overall pick for this draft is now being questioned if he qualifies as one of the top 10 worst 1st overall picks in recent memory, it still does not discount the draft year that was the NHL 2006 Draft.
I will take an in-depth look at the first three rounds of the draft and just a quick look at the remainder of the draft
NHL 1st Round
The Edmonton Oilers were not on the clock during this round. They traded away the 1st round pick they had back on March 8th, 2006 for Goaltender Dwayne Roloson who did struggle during his first two weeks in the Edmonton Oilers organization but did play at an elite level when push came to shove. He did slide off in the 2007-08 season and eventually lost his job to Mathieu Garon. They both fought for this spot before they were eventually both offloaded to make way for goaltenders that were being developed in the system. Sadly these goaltenders were Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk, both of whom struggled when handed the starting job.
The Oilers draft pick was swapped with the Minnesota Wild for the Los Angeles Kings Patrick O’Sullivan, who eventually was traded to the Oilers with less than stellar results.
The Los Angeles Kings then selected at the 17th Overall spot centre Trevor Lewis. Trevor Lewis is 100% a role player now in the NHL, playing a defensive sound and disciplined game from the King’s 3rd and 4th lines. The next player selected was Chris Stewart who is actually a very good but somewhat inconsistent 2nd line player in the NHL who is now currently on his 3rd franchise with the New York Islanders.
Looking back at the first round there was some big talent available at this slot such as Claude Giroux but the Oilers never even were close to that later round pick. Getting Roloson for basically Trevor Lewis is considered a great move.
First Round Grade: A
NHL 2nd Round
The Oilers were award two draft picks for this 2nd round due to the failure to sign Jesse Niinimaki (who is considered a failed prospect as well, so that was a lose-lose situation, but it’s nice for Bettman to give us a pity pick)
With the first selection of this draft and the 45th overall pick, the Oilers selected defenseman Jeff Petry. I have always considered Petry to play like a 2nd round pick as his consistency and hockey sense have always come into question. Currently the Oilers try to treat him as a top-4 defenseman on the team, however his skills are well below that level. On any other team he would be a 6th defenseman or a scratch, as he doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table. The next player selected on this pick was goaltender Jhonas Enroth who has finally been handed the ball to become a starting goaltender in this league with the Buffalo Sabers, who sadly are currently a losing hockey team.
The second selection the Oilers had was once again traded (which will become a theme for this draft) to the Boston Bruins on March 9th, 2006 with Forward Marty Reasoner and Yan Stastny for Sergei Samsonov. Reasoner is a very decent and reliable 4th line player who can scratch in and out depending on the hockey situations, while Yan Stastny gave most of his talent and skills to his brother so he could live his dream of being a walking pylon. The return on this trade brought us the enigma known as Samsonov who for his brief stop in Edmonton produced at a 2nd line support level and would never hit this skill level again in his career. Sure it was only 44 games he played here, playoffs included, and he will never be remembered by the average Oilers fan, but he helped as much as he could for a little guy.
Now the problem I have with the trade and why I kick myself at night is the return draft pick the Boston Bruins received is now considered one of the best and most intense wingers in the game today. I am talking about Milan Lucic, who is a player the Oilers organization could most definitely use on the team today. Now I do realize if we didn’t make this trade we wouldn’t have Samsonov or a Western Conference Trophy but looking at it today, man I wish we had Milan Lucic as an Oiler.
Second Round Grade: B-
NHL 3rd Round
Another mess of a draft order for the Oilers as then have earned the 75th overall pick from the Atlanta Thrashers for not resigning Mike Peca, and traded there 80th overall pick away for not resigning Mike Peca (don’t ask).
With the 75th overall selection the Oilers choose Theo Peckham at this slot, who is a fantastic press room player but not a good 7th defenseman. He does have some ability to be interested in playing hockey but it only shows once in a blue moon. With the next pick, the Oilers could have selected centre Tony Lagerstrom, who is most known for playing in the Swedish Elite league for his career.
Third Round Grade: B
NHL 4th Round
The Oilers had no selections in this round.
NHL 5th Round
133th Overall Bryan Pitton
140th Overall Cody Wild
Fifth Round Grade: C-
NHL 6th Round
170th Overall Alexander Bymagin
Sixth Round Grade: D
NHL 7th Round
The Oilers had no selections in this round
Stay tuned for next week when I take a look back at the first rebuild draft for the Oilers. The 2007 NHL Draft which will of course make everyone mad.
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