Picture yourself buying a Mercedes-Benz CLS. You walk into the studio, full of confidence, point to that very car and say, “That one. I’ll take it in blue and orange.” You smile, knowing you’ve made the best choice. Sure, that Ferrari 488 GTB has a lot of flash, and that Porsche 918 Spyder has tons of speed and control, but you went with the Mercedes because it’s the total package.
The salesman then asks you what kind of custom features you would like for your beautiful new car. You respond by stating: “Leopard print interior on the cushion, tape deck player, fuzzy dice in the mirror and the Dukes of Hazzard honk.” The salesman looks at you, confused, asking if you’re sure. You nod. This is how you want to follow up your choice of selecting the most beautiful car you’ve seen.
That, in a nutshell, is the Edmonton Oilers scouting team. The ability to make the obvious choice, followed by surround that pick with absolute nothingness.
Yesterday morning, the Edmonton Oilers announced the firing of four of their scouting team, including Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor, Amateur Scouts Brad Davis and Kent Hawley, and Head Pro Scout Morey Gare.
EDM fired head amateur scout Stu MacGregor tonight as well as two other amateur scouts and one pro scout.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 21, 2015
What’s more concerning however is the sheer amount of time these scouts have been involved with the organization, in particular MacGregor and Gare.
EDM changes involve both head amateur scout Stu MacGregor and head pro scout Morey Gare. Both had been with organization for over a decade. — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 21, 2015
MacGregor joined the Oilers back in 2000-01 as an amateur scout and spent the next seven seasons doing that job. From 2007-08 until this year, he held the title of Director of Amateur Scouting. Similar to MacGregor, Morey Gare spent seven years as a pro scout for the Oilers before being promoted to Director of Professional Scouting, a position he held since 2008-09. Brad Davis and Kent Hawley cover the Northern U.S. and Ontario, while Hawley also does minor spot duty in Quebec.
So let’s take a look at MacGregor, the head poncho since the 2008 draft, and break down his track record.
Jordan Eberle (22nd), Johan Motin (103rd), Philippe Cornet (133rd), Teemu Hartikainen (163rd), Jordan Bendfeld (193rd)
Outside of Eberle, who turned out to be a real stud, Motin played one game in the NHL, Cornet played two, and Bendfeld never played a game in the NHL, with his last season being split between the AHL and ECHL in the 2010-11 season. Hartikainen did have a fair shake with 52 games spread over three seasons, but has spent the last two years in the KHL.
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (10th), Anton Lander (40th), Troy Hesketh (71st), Cameron Abney (82nd), Kyle Bigos (99th), Toni Rajala (101st), Olivier Roy (132nd)
Paajarvi-Svensson played 163 games with the Oilers before being traded to the St. Louis Blues. Lander has played 132 games, including 38 last season. Hesketh hasn’t played any hockey since the 2011-12 season. Abney played in Edmonton, but for the WHL Oil Kings, back in 2010-11. He has spent the last three seasons in the ECHL. Bigos has spent the last two seasons split between the AHL and ECHL. Rajala has spent the last two seasons in either the SweHL or KHL and goaltending prospect Olivier Roy has went from the AHL to the ECHL. Outside of the first two picks, nothing but duds.
Taylor Hall (1st), Tyler Pitlick (31st), Martin Marincin (46th), Curtis Hamilton (48th), Ryan Martindale (61st), Jeremie Blain (91st), Tyler Bunz (121st), Brandon Davidson (162nd), Drew Czerwonka (166th), Kristians Pelss (181st), Kellen Jones (202nd)
It’s kind of hard to screw up the first overall pick, and they didn’t with Hall. He’s had his fair share of injuries at an early age, but that can’t be attributed to scouting. He’s still a key player. Marincin has appeared in 85 games and Pitlick in 27, then there’s the expected drop-off. The remaining eight prospects have a combined total of 14 games played with the Oilers. Two of the prospects are no longer with the organization, and two have left the game of hockey. Davidson has 12 of the 14 games. Outside of the second round, not including Hamilton, there is a whole lot of nothing. Again.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st), Oscar Klefbom (19th), David Musil (31st), Samu Perhonen (62nd), Travis Ewanyk (73rd), Dillon Simpson (91st), Tobias Rieder (113th), Martin Gernat (121st), Frans Tuohimaa (181st)
Once more, the Oilers pick first overall and land another solid offensive talent in Nugent-Hopkins. They also have the 19th pick and use it on a defenseman, taking Klefbom which turned out to be great pick. After Musil’s four games from last season, the remainder of the group draw a big zero. That is, with the exception of Rieder. He played 72 games last season but with the Arizona Coyotes. Yet again, The Oilers make good on their first two rounds (we’ll consider Musil as a possible roster player next year), before completely blowing it for the remainder of the draft.
Nail Yakupov (1st), Mitchell Moroz (32nd), Jujhar Khaira (63rd), Daniil Zharkov (91st), Erik Gustafsson (93rd), Joey LaLeggia (123rd), John McCarron (153rd)
Another year, another first overall pick. Going with flashy Russian winger, Yakupov brings excitement and entertainment to the Oilers roster. After him, Moroz and Khaira have spent time in the AHL, Zharkov has spent the last two seasons in the KHL, Gustafsson is still in the SweHL, LaLeggia played a few games in the AHL last season after four years with the University of Denver, and McCarron just completed his fourth year at Cornell University. Too soon to tell right now, but so far only Yakupov has made it out in the NHL.
Darnell Nurse (7th), Marc-Olivier Roy (56th), Bogdan Yakimov (83rd), Anton Slepyshev (88th), Jackson Houck (94th), Kyle Platzer (96th), Aidan Muir (113th), Evan Campbell (128th), Ben Betker (158th), Gregory Chase (188th)
Nurse received a taste last season with the Oilers, and he’s expected to be a big part of their blue-line once he’s completely ready. With most of the prospects here either making it to the AHL level or finishing up with their junior teams, it’s too soon to tell what they’ll become in a year or two. Unfortunately the team cut ties with Marco Roy, but good news also came from this year’s draft class as Slepyshev signed with the team after four years in the KHL. Perhaps with the new philosophy change in Edmonton, he’ll be of service to the team now.
Leon Draisaitl (3rd), William Lagesson (91st), Zachary Nagelvoort (111th), Liam Coughlin (130th), Tyler Vesel (153rd), Keven Bouchard (183rd)
The Oilers had only six picks last year and the stand out pick is obviously their third overall selection of Draisaitl. He had a decent look last season and played well, but was sent down after 37 games. He tore it up in Kelowna, putting up 53 points in 32 games, and helped Kelowna capture the WHL Championship, adding 28 points in 19 playoff games. He is quite a gem and adds another dimension of talent to the Oilers already skilled forwards group. With the remaining five prospects, time will tell what comes of them all. The most interesting thing is that Draisaitl’s name has come up in some trade rumors, which would take away their only notable pick of the 2014 draft.
Over time, there have been seven years of average-to-poor drafting and developing. Six players have held down a roster spot and two more hang in the balance. Six players in 55 picks, which include three 1st-overall picks, a top-3 pick and a 2nd-round selection. Paajarvi-Svensson was top-10 pick but is a member of the Blues and Rieder, picked 113th overall in 2011, is now a member of the Coyotes.
The Oilers have been a one-round team for too long, getting lucky in the 2nd-round once, and having nothing to show afterwards. General Manager Peter Chiarelli is a man of business and wants to start adding some promising prospects in later rounds, players that can grow organically and contribute in other ways other than top-line players. By firing four members of the scouting team, he’s placed everyone else on notice that this will no longer be acceptable.
He wants to drive his Mercedez, and he wants the leather interior, heated seats and GPS system.
UPDATE: As per Mark Spector of Sportsnet, Pro Scout Dave Semenko and Coaching Advisor Billy Moores have both been released as well.
#Oilers have parted ways with pro scout Dave Semenko and coaching advisor Billy Moores.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) June 22, 2015