The Oilers and Right Shot Defensemen: "They Are Who We Thought They Were!"

The Oilers and Right Shot Defensemen: "They Are Who We Thought They Were!"

Oilers

The Oilers and Right Shot Defensemen: "They Are Who We Thought They Were!"

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This Dennis Green rant as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals always makes me laugh.

Green is right! They are who we thought they were!

In terms of the Oilers and drafting, that thought is what sits with me when we start to discuss why they don’t have enough right shot defensemen on the team. Why do I said that? Where am I am coming from? Let me try to build a shared reference point.

As training camp nears, the Edmonton Oilers have two right shot NHL defensemen on their roster! Two! Seriously, two!

I think many reading this site are probably well aware of this, so this post serves more as a rant for me. I am a big fan of the NHL Draft, of prospects and development–in a sense, planning for what is to come. This is where “They are who we thought they were!” comes from.

Many have knocked the Oilers for bad drafting. Many, including me, think the they have a really messed-up sense of developing their prospects. But how about drafting for success? Many bloggers and writers–and even the GM himself–have talked about the lefty-righty balance and how the Oilers lack it. I strongly believe in the draft, the develop and plan for success model. The main reason why the Oilers have such a lack of right shot talent on the back end today is because they failed to draft and develop it 3 to 6 years ago. With this thought in mind, I decided to take a 10 year snap shot of the Oilers’ draft history and how many right shot defenceman they drafted.

Let’s take a look:

2005 – 8 players drafted, zero right shot defensemen
2006 – 5 players drafted, one right shot defenseman (Jeff Petry, 45th overall)
2007 – 6 players drafted, one right shot defenseman (Alex Plante, 15th overall)
2008 – 5 players drafted, two right shot defensemen (Johan Motin, 103rd overall; Jordan Bendfield, 193rd overall)
2009 – 7 players drafted, one right shot defenseman (Kyle Bigos, 99th overall)
2010 – 11 players drafted, one right shot defenseman (Jeremie Blain, 91st overall)
2011 – 9 players drafted, zero right shot defensemen
2012 – 7 players drafted, zero right shot defensemen
2013 – 10 players drafted, zero right shot defensemen
2014 – 6 players drafted, (you guessed it!) zero right shot defensemen

In summary, that’s 10 drafts and 74 players drafted and only 6 right shot defensemen! A meager 8 percent of the players drafted were right shot defensemen! Is that setting the Oilers up for success? Nope.

We also know that the odds of draft success decline the later a player is drafted. Blue Bullet did some amazing work on drafting CHL defensemen and their draft success. Please click on the link, but I will summarize. After pick 30 of the draft, the likelihood of drafting a CHL defenceman who plays more than 100 NHL games and also averages 18:30 minutes is 17% at pick 31 and 3% at pick 90. If we look at what the Oilers did (I know not all of them were CHL defenceman), only 2 of those drafted were even picked before 45. The other 4 were all drafted at 91 or later.

I am not much of a gambler, but that is a stacked deck against you. The next time we talk about why the “Leftorium” is so over crowded and the right side is a barren wasteland, we need to remember WE ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!

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