a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Monday, 25 June 2012

06/25/12 Odds & Ends: Draft Edition

Now that the dust has had a chance to settle on the 2012 NHL Draft, we can take a look back at what it could mean for the future of the Oilers. Here's that, and some other thoughts.

Despite the buildup of tension surrounding the first overall pick, the Oilers did the right thing and took Yakupov. He scored 80 goals in 107 OHL games, which is about 0.75 goals per game. That's a faster rate than Taylor Hall scored at in junior hockey (0.67 goals per game) or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (0.40). Jordan Eberle scored 155 goals for Regina in 254 games (0.61 goals per game). The Oilers have added a very impressive array of goal scorers over the last several years, but none as lethal as Yakupov. Considering how well the other have turned out thus far, that's an intimidating fact. Western Conference beware.

- The Oilers reached and took Mitch Moroz 32nd overall, which is a pick maligned by many. 2011-12 was only his first full WHL season, so we won't be able to track his development properly for another year or two. Some highly rated first round talent was still available when the Oilers made this pick, so there will be pressure on Moroz to have a breakout 2012-13.

- If you didn't like the Moroz pick, take heart in the selection of Daniil Zharkov. The Hockey News had Zharkov ranked as the 49th-best player available but the Oilers got him 91st overall. In fact, THN had him ranked one spot higher than Henrik Samuelsson, who Phoenix took 27th overall. The Oilers would surely have taken Samuelsson 32nd if he was there, but Zharkov brings some of the same physical element with more goal scoring.

- The theme of physicality with scoring ability began with the selection of Jujhar Khaira, whom the Oilers picked even before Zharkov. Jonathan Willis wrote a good piece on Khaira at The Cult of Hockey, in which he quotes the Red Line Report as saying they believe he could be the best sleeper pick of the draft. He collected 29-50-79 in 54 BCHL games this past season, which are respectable totals from a player who is also known for being big, mean and nasty. The BCHL is the same league in which former third overall pick Kyle Turris scored 121 points in just 53 games, but so far Turris hasn't really translated that offense to the NHL level. That doesn't mean Khaira can't make it - a fair number of players have come from that league - but some seasoning at Michigan Tech will be in order. Read more about Khaira here.

- The Oilers didn't manage to make any trades to improve the defense, despite the rumblings around Yandle and Subban. The Oilers don't know what they have yet in Yakupov, so flipping him for a defenseman seems risky. There are other dominoes that need to fall (Justin Schultz and free agency, new coaching staff, etc.) before management will know exactly what they need to do to improve the back end. Schultz's situation in particular is prohibitive to a trade, because if the Oilers can improve the defense significantly without sacrificing assets that is always the best way to go. Once the picture comes into focus we should expect some movement, especially if Schultz and some other free agent defenders land elsewhere.

- This review is alarmingly late because the draft weekend was occupied by much more important events. Hard to believe, I know. Congratulations to Matt and Lynn! I wish you many years of happiness.

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