HOW GOOD IS LAWSON CROUSE?

If Lawson Crouse hadn’t shown up on the hockey horizon, we might not have had anything to talk about for the 2015 draft. That’s a stretch but the fact remains Crouse has—more than anyone in recent history—divided talent assessors in a big way. Is he a great prospect or a kid who developed into manhood far ahead of the other teenagers of his generation? Where will he play? Can he score consistently? Does he check well enough to be considered an impact checker? What the hell is an impact checker? Lawson Crouse is exhausting even just to talk about. Wait until you see him play!

Let’s begin with what we know for sure. Lawson Crouse will not win a Lady Byng Trophy, he will not beat any of Wayne Gretzky’s scoring records and I don’t think he’ll ever play goal.

See what I mean? This is the hockey equivalent of the evolution theory,
Mother-in-law’s coming to visit at Easter and wearing a condom: Nobody’s
happy and there is no room to give.

COREY PRONMAN

When I find myself in times of trouble, Corey Pronman comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let us see.

Here is the entire tweet from Mr. Pronman:

  • I reject the premise that the argument over the merits of this prospect
    is between the “objective” camp, the one that favor quantifiable
    evidence, and the “saw him good/physical fetish/size” camp. Instead the
    debate is over what kind of evidence we should value. On one hand, we
    have data that people have used for decades, points. On the other, we
    have data that is not available to us via public offerings, but scouts
    universally across the industry have noted in their evaluation. The
    elite two-way play, the very significant scoring chance differentials in
    the OHL, and in several International showings especially relative to
    his age and usage.Lawson Crouse is not the “big and dream on him prospect.” This is a
    fundamentally different type of debate than others some may have been
    familiar with over the years with other big yet low upside prospects.

So, what the scouts (and Corey) are telling us is this: Despite the shy boxcars, Crouse delivers elite two-way play and significant scoring-chance differentials. I can’t comment on the scoring chances, that’s something that needs to be tracked over an entire season. If Crouse’s linemates (and Crouse) aren’t cashing, then it could be a full season slump that is obscuring real offensive talent.

My experience in watching prospects makes me suspicious.

The other item is the more interesting for me. Having grown up watching hockey during an era with incredible two-way wingers (Bob Gainey, Craig Ramsay and Donny Marcotte played in the Eastern Division against each other, beginning in 1973-74 and they were all splendid) I do believe there are players who can make a difference in that manner. A current forward example? Patrice Bergeron. Pavel Datsyuk. A player who can consistently tilt the balance and make a difference without the puck has high value. How would we know it to be true? Scouting reports, anecdotal information.

SCOUTING REPORTS

  • Mike Morreale, NHL.com: “Crouse is still a curious player to me. Will he be a consistent top-six
    or bottom-six player in the NHL? The guess here is that the team
    selecting him at the 2015 NHL Draft will expect him to play a top six
    for sure. He’s succeeded on every level and played a significant
    fourth-line role for Canada at the WJC. Crouse is a physical presence
    who is extremely tough for opponents to handle in battles. He goes to
    the net hard and crashes around in front. He has an incredibly powerful
    wrist/snap shot.”
  • Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: “I’m a big believer in his offensive potential. Since returning from the
    U20’s, Crouse is creating his own scoring chances and is succeeding as the
    focal point of an offensive attack. As he gains confidence and gets more
    skilled linemates, his offensive contributions will only increase.
    Everything else about his game is a coaches dream.”
  • Dennis MacInnis, Scouting Director ISS Hockey: “Good offensive
    instincts and defensive capabilities. Very tough to play against. Strong
    puck possession. Shields the puck well. Quality total package player.”
  • Mark Seidel: “A combination of Brendan Shanahans game with Jeff Carters feet…Can
    play any way you want to play…Will continue to evolve offensively.”
  • Source
  • He is listed as a very hard worker (No. 1 in his conference) but not among the top three defensive forwards in his conference in the annual OHL coaches poll.

WHERE WILL HE GO?

I will tell you that Corey Pronman is a guy I rely on heavily for this kind of information. He’s very thorough and balanced in his assessment.

I also entered this profile looking for evidence, any evidence, of a connection to Donnie Marcotte (who was a rugged player with fantastic checking ability). I found it, from Pronman (‘elite two-way play’) and from Mr. MacInnis above. He may well be an outstanding two-way winger as an NHL player. That’s an exceptionally valuable player. 

Lawson Crouse does not deliver top end offense in the OHL, history has taught me that’s a major tell in terms of projecting into the NHL. The team acquiring Crouse may believe he’ll score 30 goals in a year—and he may!—but it is very likely his offensive peak occurs as a complementary player. I would point you to some outstanding work on the subject by Paul Berthelot.

Where will Crouse go in the draft? I bet it’s inside the top 10. I think he may well be the kind of player who is viewed as being a disappointment for much of his career while also delivering many things that help a team win hockey games.

If the hockey Gods smile on him, Crouse will go to a mature team in no hurry to have him start cashing in goals at the NHL level. His 29 goals in 56 OHL games suggests we’re dealing with a player who will likely spend much of his career outside the scoring lines.

PREVIOUSLY IN THE SERIES…

  • toprightcorner

    Not nearly good enough for the Oilers to even waste time thinking about him with their first pick. Using a lottery pick on a forward with less than a point per game would be the stupidest of stupid!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    ^there’s actually no chance we draft him considering the fact we will likely pick at #3 or #4….unless we trade for another high pick. even then, there would still be several other players i’d want the Oilers to take instead of Crouse.

  • doubledown

    “I think he may well be the kind of player who is viewed as being a disappointment for much of his career while also delivering many things that help a team win hockey games.”

    Which would make him the next Benoit Pouliot (4th overall, 2005). This actually makes a lot of sense, and not just because they both scored 29 goals in their draft year in the OHL.

    Which is ok, we all know Pou is a fine hockey player. But if you were doing the 2005 draft over again, there are a lot of players you’d take ahead of him. Carey Price and Anze Kopitar to name two. If I were a GM I’d be terrified of taking Crouse and being the guy who people perpetually ask “how could you take him over Werenski/Provorov/Barzal/Marner/etc.?”

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Who is the happiest un drafted player out there?

    Jack Eichel.

    He has the lowest % chance of becoming an Oiler :

    If the Oilers win the lottery they pick McDavid.

    If the Oilers don’t win the lottery Eichel will be gone by the time they pick.

    Unless MacTavish can swing one of his magical trades…

    WW

  • RedMan

    why are we talking about drafting, draft picks, and prospects so early in the season? the hockey season is in full swing with an incredible playoff race…

    way to exciting to be distracted with the draft!

  • Evolution is a ‘theory’ like gravity is a ‘theory’ – so let’s get that out of the way.

    Crouse sounds like spouse, so I think I hate him already. There are way too many other good players – hopefully Toronto takes him

      • Burnward

        You’re right. Evolution is easily demonstrated. So is de-evolution. Paul Coffey > Steve Smith > Norm Maciver > Jeff Norton > Christian Laflamme > Cory Cross > Jason Strudwick > Justin Shultz

      • Chainsawz

        Please enlighten me as to when anyone has been able to recreate the force of gravity where there was no force of gravity before if the theory of gravity is easily repeatable. The gravitron, the particle that theoretically causes the force of gravity hasn’t even been observed and may never be… to “repeat” gravity, we would need to first be able to observe gravitrons then observe their creation in a particle collider.

        Unless you were alluding to something along the lines of dropping a pen multiple times and to see if it falls every time. If that’s the case, evolution is repeated everytime an offspring is born and its not an identical clone of one of its parents.

        I know this is a hockey site, but I can’t let something like this go unchallenged.

        In reality (and everyone is welcome to join it), evolution is a more understood theory than gravity.

        PS – Flames suck, hope they get no shot at McDavid and swept in the first round of the playoffs by an aggregate score of 30-0.

        • Joe Mamma

          A graviton is a theoretical particle that has yet to be observed.

          A gravitron is a carnival ride.

          Good Lord, if you’re going to try to use theoretical physics to justify your assertion, at least get the spelling right. And for the record, he’s not wrong. Gravitational effects can be replicated and duplicated in a lab, where evolution cannot. Hence why it is still termed a theory.

          • Evolution has already been tested and observed. Evolution is why the flu shot has to change, that’s why antibiotics constantly change. Yes, this is repeatable in a lab.

            The hundreds of species of dogs evolved from wolves through a process of artificial selection which is the same process as natural selection just different criteria for being “fit to reproduce”. This is observable and repeatable.

            Darwin observed Evolution with Finches on the Galapagos Islands in the 1830s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin%27s_finches

            Rapid evolution in Lizards have been observed since being planted in 1971. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html

            Evolution is a fact my friend.

            Go Oilers!

          • Chainsawz

            You’re right, may bad.

            But good lord, if you’re going to nail a guy for using a word wrong, don’t use one wrong yourself (theory – evolution is “termed a theory” in the same sense as the theory of gravity; the word theory has a different meaning when applied in science than you’re implying).

  • Strange Tamer

    I’ve seen him play a handful of times in Kingston. Small sample size, but he never jumped out as a guy who should be going top 10 in any draft, especially such a deep one. Just my uneducated wanna-be-amateur scout opinion.

  • Parallex

    With regards to Crouse my thinking is basically that he’s 1st round talent… but I wouldn’t say he’s top 10 talent. He’s not game changing, he’s complementary… which is good to have but not something you want to burn a top 10 pick on. If you’re the team that picks 12th-13th or so you take a good long hard look at him but if you’re drafting higher then you ought to shy away.

  • Craig1981

    He is also one of the youngest players in the draft. Super important note.

    Draistal scored less than a point a game and less than 1/3 goals a game in 2012-13….and that year he stated that season only 4 months younger than Crouse stated this season…..something to think about.

  • Darth Oiler

    I think the 2 thing’s that oilers fans don’t want to hear at this draft

    With the 3rd pick the oilers select Lawson Crouse

    With the 17th pick the Calgary Flames select Lawson Crouse.

  • Zarny

    The answer is simple – no one knows for sure.

    Crouse’s 51 pts in 56 games is certainly better than Lucic’s 19 pts in 62 games during his draft year. Offensively, that is probably Crouse’s upside – a 60 pt player if he plays with an elite C in the right situation on the right team. Other seasons he’ll be closer to 40 pts while contributing in other ways.

    Crouse is just another example of how the Oilers or any team is best served by drafting top 2. There is virtually no uncertainty with McDavid or Eichel. They will join the list of players like Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Stamkos, Doughty, Tavares, Hall and Seguin. The only question is how good.

    Hanifin, Strome, Marner, Crouse and every other prospect comes with uncertainty. They all have question marks and will join the list of players like Barker, Ladd, Wheeler, Ryan, Johnson, Pouliot, Van Riemsdyk, Turris, Bogosian, Pietrangelo, Hedman, Duchene, Kane, Gudbranson, Johansen or Niederreiter.

    There are some very good players in the second list. None are quite as good as the first list though.

    • Zarny

      I think you’re cherry picking your list just a bit. You said it yourself that a 6″3 OHL 17 year old scoring leader who plays centre would have challenged Ekblad for 1st overall last year. And Hafinin is the best D man considered in the draft. I think high pick D men come with a lot more risk and need of investment, but a big scoring centre is always going to be valuable.

      Third overalls since 2005: Jack Johnson, Toews, Turris, Bogosian (Petriangilo was 4th overall that year), Duchene, Gubdranson (Johanson was 4th that year), Heuberdeau, Galchenyuck, Drouin, and of course most recently, Draisaitl.

      I agree save Toews, these guys are not Malkins or Crosby’s or Ovechkins, or Stamkos’. However, other than Jack Johnson, and yet to be proven Draisaitl, these are all can’t miss players. Turris – top line centre, Bogosian – top 2 D man, Duchene – 2nd line centre (though has had injury troubles. Didn’t he win the Calder that year?). Gubdranson – Solid second pair defenceman (I’d say still developing). Heuberdeau – top line centre. Galchenyuck – nuff said. Drouin – Calder favorite, didn’t get a lot of play time on a deep team. Drai – I wish Nelson got here earlier.

      I think in a season where fans started out expecting to miss the playoffs but not by much. Getting a player in this caliber is still really good. and the fact the team is finding ways to win against teams who should be playing for their lives is even better.

      Having said all of that, I really do not want to drop below the Leafs, but I also don’t think there is a hope in hell of dropping below Buffalo, and that is the only spot that guarantees you either Mcdavid or Eichle. So why tank when losing won’t get you either of those guys?

      • Captain Ron

        I have no problem with most of your argument but Drouin a Calder favourite…are you on crack?

        It is a three way race between #JohnnyCalder, Forsberg and Ekblad and any of those three would be worthy.

        Drouin isn’t even in a serious conversation for the Calder this year.

        • Burnward

          He was a calder favorite, not saying he is currently a calder contender. Meaning at the beginning of the year, that’s who was pegged to win it.

          I agree, he is not in the running.

          Speaking of, with Gaudreau now in the points lead, do you see him winning it?

          I would say if Florida made the playoffs, Ekblad with a bullet. But with Forsburg falling off lately, not sure he will be put in the running. Tough call.

          • Parallex

            I don’t see him winning without it.

            There are really only two contenders… Ekblad and the leading rookie scorer (whomever that is). I think if Gaudreau leads in rookie scoring and the Flames make the Playoffs (and Florida does not) then it’ll be hard (but not impossible) for them to give it to someone else.

          • Parallex

            Yeah, but the thing to remember is that writers determine the winner and writers love (above all else) a good narrative. Johnny Gaudreau has a heck of a good narrative… tiny, soft-spoken American kid from New Jersey, drafted far from the first round with electrifying talent takes a team expected to dwell in the bottom of the standings back to the playoffs.

            Hockey writers eat that stuff up… more then they’d eat up #1 overall pick from Russia makes bottom-dwelling team slightly less bottom dwelling at any rate.

          • Parallex

            Soft spoken? He patented the name Johnny Hockey half way through his first NHL season. This kid is a rocket powered douche canoe with his own patented brand of feminine cleansing products.

            But I see where you are going with the nomination. I’m really hoping Forsburg can turn it back on for the last few games. Man Washington got hosed in that trade.

          • Parallex

            Meh, I have a pretty biased opinion. I don’t think he deserves half the praise he’s getting. Not really much to back it up, so probably not the best person to ask. Me and a buddy do a very BS laden podcast and this subject comes up all the time. I don’t like him, never will.

          • Ryan14

            Again, see point about being biased and not the most objective opinion about him. I will look for anything negative about this kid and trump it up like I’m Harper trying to get re-elected through scare tactics.

          • Burnward

            Are you a casting director? Fair enough if you’re a fan of him. I just don’t like him, never will, and will loudly and without provocation bemoan how tremendously mediocre he is and will become.

          • FYI, the name Johnny Hockey was patented by his Management Team to keep derogatory T-shirts and other items off the market. Gaudreau had nothing to do with that!

            IMHO, Gaudreau deserves the moniker Johnny Hockey more than the Johnny Football guy who is a self-absorbed party-time jock and will never reach the heights Gaudreau has already accomplished in the NHL!!!! or even half of Gaudrau’s character.

          • Zarny

            I don’t actually think Johnny will win it.

            Defence is the hardest position for a rookie to play and wing the easiest. Even if Johnny wins the scoring race, people will have to look past his numbers.

            He plays on the team that is surprising the hell out of everybody in the play off race, because they were supposed to be in the McEichel sweeps. He has a huge number of takeaways because he is so good with back pressure. He was even blocking shots the other night against Dallas. The kid just wants to win and works his ass off to achieve it.

            If he was playing East of the Mississippi, I think he would be a shoo in for the Calder but I don’t think he gets it unless the Flames make it two rounds into the playoffs and the chances of that are…remote.

      • Zarny

        I didn’t cherry pick and you used a lot of space to basically reiterate my point about certainty and quality of prospects and agree with me.

        In terms of “tanking”…I don’t advocate players and coaches intentionally trying to lose. That isn’t going to happen regardless of what you, I or any fans want.

        I simply said that the Oilers, and any team for that matter, are best served this year by drafting top 2 because of McDavid and Eichel. I don’t think that statement is contentious in any way whatsoever.

        I agree barring a miracle the Oilers aren’t going to “catch” Buffalo. They won’t be “guaranteed” McDavid or Eichel. That doesn’t mean the Oilers aren’t best served by finishing 29th. 30th and 29th still have the best odds of winning the lottery and if you finish 29th you still have a chance of getting Eichel. If you finish 28th or higher you have no chance. A chance is better than no chance…it’s that simple.

        And intuitively you know this is true. Otherwise you wouldn’t care if the Oilers moved ahead of the Leafs.

        That doesn’t mean Hanifin, Strome and Marner etc aren’t valuable prospects. As you referenced, scouts have stated in others years (2011, 2012, 2013) they would get consideration for first overall. But they aren’t considered to be exceptional.

        And the reality is we aren’t at the beginning of the season and they won’t miss the playoffs by a bit. We’re at the end and they are currently 31 points out of the playoffs. Whatever benefit you think there is to winning a handful of games at the end of a lost season has to be weighed against the quality of prospect you will get in the top 2 versus 3-5.

        Take another look at your list of “can’t miss” players drafted 3rd overall. Huberdeau and Galchenyuk only have 49 and 43 points respectively 3-4 years after being drafted. McDavid and Eichel will likely be better than that as rookies. Turris was drafted close to 8 years ago and only has 55 pts. Gudbranson is a “solid second pair D”.

        Those are totally plausible outcomes for anyone not named McDavid and Eichel this year. Are you really going to argue that winning a few games at the end of meaningless season and ending up with a 2nd line C or a top 2 D man is better than a chance at two players who will be used in the same sentences as Crosby, Tavares and Stamkos?

        If so we’ll will simply have to agree to disagree.

        • Zarny

          Hmmm, see again you left guys like Toews out of the people I mentioned. I also think there are some stunningly good players who were picked in the 4 slot during those years that you also do not mention. Is winning a few games worth missing out on Mcdavid? Of course not. It’s a leading question. Is winning a few games worth it if another team ends up with Crosby, and we end up with Toews or Petriangilo? Yes, yes it is.

          Moreover, at this particular juncture, all we can do is improve the possibility of getting second overall or winning the lottery. You say these games don’t mean anything, I say that mentality is what lead the team to finishing this low 8 years after the rebuild began.

          I look south and see a team that on paper should have been trying to tank all year. Instead they were not ever concerned with tanking. They were concerned with winning. IN the playoffs, out, winning should be the team’s number one priority. They will never ever make the playoffs until that is their top priority, and it won’t matter if they draft a hundred McDavids.

  • Burnward

    I see no reason why oiler fans arnt drooling over this guy. You can’t have a successful NHL team without complimentary players who bring diffrent elements. Will he score 30 goals in the NHL? Probably not, but the oilers will be counting on hall, eberle, RNH and yakupov for that. We already have the offensive guys. What we don’t have is a big, physical hard working checker who will battle and show heart. This is what Crouse can add! I would be thrilled walking away from the draft with Crouse in out jersey. He’s exactly what the oilers don’t have, I view him as being what they were hoping Moroz would be!

    • Captain Ron

      They have been trying to draft the coke machine forever, and have failed. If a guy is not scoring at the junior level, that is a mighty risky move to wast such a high pick on. Plus, Strom is 6″3 and 17 years old and won the OHL scoring race. He’s not as big as Crouse yet, by the time he’s ready to step into the NHL he will be a big guy. So you can choose the big guy with no points, or the big guy with all the points. Hmmmm.

      • Captain Ron

        Of course, I’m not suggesting taking him with the 3rd or 4th pick, but I wouldn’t be disappointed to see them trade up the Pitts pick to get him or even trade down to get him and a goalie or a dman

        • Zarny

          That’s not a terrible idea. Getting back an actual NHL player of need, and yet still getting a potentially good prospect.

          I’d have a hard time giving up Strome for that though. I still can’t believe this kid is not getting more ink. I’m pumped for the two ‘generational’ talents at the top of the draft, but a 17 year old 6″3 OHL scoring leader who plays centre any other year would be getting top honors. I get that his numbers are inflated because he played on the second line and therefore faced less than top competition. And he played on the power play with McDavid, but the kid put up a ton of points on his own when McDavid was down with injury and at the worlds.

          And even with inflated points, 129 in the OHL is a hell of a lot. Stamkos only manged 105.

          I mean, they call those top two generational, but at 6″3, when this kid fills out he could be dynamite. Plus that gives the Oilers Nuge, Drai, and Strome to eventually play 1, 2, and 3. It basically ends the whole depth at centre issue. Factor in Lander and Yakimov, and the Oilers could be set down the middle for the next decade.

          But, I agree the Oilers need defence now, so getting that guy could be worth it. My hope is that they could land a free agent like Franson over the summer. Or hope of hopes, maybe New York is in cap trouble and needs to look at letting either Mcdonoagh or Yandle go. They do need to resign Stepan, St. louis, and Haglin. Those are three pretty sizable contracts.

          • Parallex

            I’m 100% picking up what you’re laying down!! I’m drinking what your pouring, smoking what you’re rolling and even eating what you’re cooking. I’m just worried that the “brain trust” would pass on Strome to take that college dman that doesn’t play physical and doesn’t have a great shot.

          • Zarny

            I think it will come down to where they draft and who’s available. If they are third, then they will have to choose between those two. In my mind, the best defensive prospect at the draft or Strome is kind of a can’t miss pick. I don’t think Hafanin is in the range of Jones or Ekblad, but he does sound a lot like a Murray. I don’t like that he shoots left, as the Oilers have a glut of left shot D men. I also remember hearing Mac T say they don’t really need D Prospects right now as they are kind of loaded with them. So at 3rd, I just can’t see them doing it.

            But, if they pick 4th and Strome is gone, then they either have to take another small skilled winger, Hanafin, Ponorov, or go off the board a bit and take Crouse. Or, as said above, maybe trade down. I could actually see NYR giving up a guy like McDounagh for the fourth overall pick, and maybe another prospect. If they use the pick on a guy like Hanafin, they essentially replace McDounagh with a rookie who needs to develop into that role. I think if they get Yandle resigned ot an extension, then one of Stall or McDounagh could go. And replacing those guys with a prospect like Hanafin could really help out that team. (because they could be in big cap trouble next year).

            Long story short, if they are picking fourth, hopefully MacT can call up his old coach and bang out a deal on a trade. If they pick third, I hope he does the right thing and takes Strome. But if they end up with Hanafin, well having Nurse and Hanafin developing is really not a terrible problem to have.

          • Parallex

            If MacTavish said they don’t really need D Prospects right now as they’re loaded with them then you guys ought to hope he gets fired sooner rather then later.

            I suppose the oilers have them in the sense that they have prospects that are defensemen… but really the Oilers have Darnell Nurse and then a lot of stuff that almost every team in the NHL has… and that’s not nearly “loaded”.

          • doubledown

            You have to look at when he said it, lots of those prospects have graduated, but because of that, there’s no room. On the left side they have Klefbom, Marincin, Ference, and Nurse. I doubt Klefbom goes anywhere, and Ference isn’t going to get bought out, at least not this year, so that leaves one spot on the left for both Nurse and Marincin to fight over. Moreover, the fan base is clamoring for Mac T to go and get real NHL defencemen, so that would basically push everyone on that chart down.

            Now he could get a guy on the right, but top pairing right side D are pretty few and far between. Many on this site have mentioned names like Franson, or maybe Seabrook if Chicago can’t clear cap space. I would throw Yandle into that ring as NY has some big signings to make.

            Outside of the NHL, again will be Nurse, but they also have a Holby Baker front runner in Leleggia, and then on the farm guys like Musil, Gernat, Hunt, and Davidson (who just scored his frist NHL goal last night in the 4-1 win over COL). And, they have a promising Swedish prospect who also plays on the left side drafted last year.

            Now of all those guys, I’d say Nurse is the only for sure. But given that they don’t even have room for him on the big club, I think Mac T is correct in saying they do not really need defensive prospects at the moment. The NHL club has weak defense, but their system has too many prospects right now. You can’t develop everyone in the NHL at once, even though the Oilers sure as hell look like they are trying.

            Also, at the time he said it, Klefbom and Marincin were only on NHL try outs, and they had just drafted Nurse the year before, and Schultz was really only beginning his second full year.

            So in summation, I agree with him. It’s not the stupidest thing I’ve heard him say. If they do take Hanafin, I will hardly be mad the Oilers got the top rated D prospect in an insanely deep draft. But again my hope is that they get Strome as he can go back to junior, lead the Otters, get bigger, and challenge for a spot in the NHL right around the time Gordon’s contract runs out, Lander and Drai have had a chance to establish themselves.

    • Parallex

      Sure but “A big, physical hard working checker” can be had without burning a top 10 pick. Honestly, since my rooting interests lay elsewhere if the Oilers spend their first pick on Lawson Crouse I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh (and laugh)… just be smart and pick Hanifin or Provorov.

      • Parallex

        Agreed, I’d almost like to see them get Gazdic to the point he can be a useful winger on either the fourth or third lines. Like if he’s on the fourth line with Gordan, he can be defensively sound. Or if he needs to play up with Lander, he can get in hard on the forecheck and create turn overs.

        I think he made good strides in that direction this year, and at the very least has the size and speed necessary to play those roles.

        • Parallex

          Didn’t say he was. I do think Hanifin/Provorov provide bigger overall upside in an area of greater need then Lawson Crouse and carry about the same level of risk.

  • Burnward

    Avoid this bum like the plague.
    The Oilers don’t need another Moroz.
    And further, avoid Strome at all costs. Another MAP the Oilers don’t need.
    Unless they get one of the top two picks then draft the pick. Obvious. Enough fan abuse. The future starts in October.
    Of course, MacTavish needs to be fired asap to give confidence that the pick could be traded for something of genuine value.