Oilers 2005 draft evaluation

By Jason Flammia

With eight selections in seven rounds, including two in both the third and fourth rounds, the Oilers were hoping to replenish their prospect depth in 2005. In total, the Oilers drafted six forwards and two defensemen.

Their late first-round selection turned into a bona fide NHLer and was one of the better first-round picks of the draft. While their second, third and fifth picks are considered decent NHL prospects, the remaining four selections are considered busts or low-end prospects unlikely to play a game in the NHL.

Andrew Cogliano, C, St. Michael’s Buzzers (OPJHL)
1st round, 25th overall
Status: NHL player
NHL Games Played: 246

After being drafted, Cogliano spent two seasons in the NCAA with the University of Michigan before cracking the Oilers line-up in 2007-08. He quickly established himself as one of the NHL’s strongest and quickest skaters, winning the fastest skater contest in 2008-09 at the NHL All-Star Game. He has also proven to be a very durable player, suiting up for all 82 games in each of his three NHL seasons.

When comparing Cogliano to the other 2005 first-round selections, his 246 games played ranks him third for most NHL games, while his 111 points (46 goals, 65 assists) place him fifth in points scored.

Cogliano’s superior skating ability and conditioning will allow him to continue playing in the NHL for years to come, but there are question marks that still surround him. While he was able to net 18 goals in both of his first two seasons, his 10 goals in 2009-10 have raised concerns on his scoring abilities and potential as a top-six goal scorer. He has also performed very poorly in faceoffs, and will need to improve that aspect of his game or accept a position on the wing.

Taylor Chorney, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn)
2nd round, 36th overall
Status: NHL prospect
NHL Games Played: 44

Chorney was drafted as a highly-touted prospect, and performed very well in three seasons with the University of North Dakota. After turning pro in 2008-09, he netted 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 68 games for the Springfield Falcons and was called up for two games with the Oilers. Chorney played 42 games for the Oilers in 2009-10, scoring three assists before an injury ended his season.

Chorney has all the tools to play at the NHL level, with skating ability and hockey sense his strongest assets, but isn’t a very physical defenseman. When comparing him to other second-round picks in 2005, Chorney ranks 10th in NHL games played. While his potential has still remained high since being drafted, Chorney will need to establish himself as a legitimate NHLer during the forthcoming season in order to avoid being labelled as a second-round disappointment.

Danny Syvret, D, London Knights (OHL)
3rd round, 81st overall
Status: NHL prospect
NHL Games Played: 49

Syvret is a very similar player to Chorney — strong skater, reads the game very well, makes good passes, but is a little undersized and not very physical. The fact the Oilers drafted two similar defensemen with consecutive picks illustrates how few puck-moving defensemen they had in their system at the time. Syvret would play a total of 26 NHL games for the Oilers over two seasons, with time spent in the AHL, before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007-08. In 49 total NHL games, Syvret has scored two goals and three assists. While he has been quite dominant in major juniors and in the AHL, his success hasn’t translated into the NHL, making Syvret a depth defenseman at best.

Robby Dee, C, Breck School (Minn.)
3rd round, 86th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

When drafted out of high school, Dee was a scoring ace, posting back-to-back 87-point seasons and leading the state in scoring. Unfortunately, after a serious shoulder injury in 2005-06, Dee’s scoring abilities fell drastically. In three seasons playing for the University of Maine, Dee’s career NCAA totals in 90 games are 20 goals and 19 assists. A contract offer was never made to Dee, and he is unlikely to be in the Oilers future plans.

Chris Van Velde, C, Moorhead H.S. (Minn.)
4th round, 97th overall
Status: NHL prospect
NHL Games: 0

Van Velde has spent the last four years playing for the University of North Dakota, and will likely play the upcoming season for the Oilers’ AHL team in Oklahoma City. At 6’2, 204 lbs, Van Velde has the potential to fill a void the Oilers desperately need filled: a big, strong third or fourth-line center who is strong in the faceoff dot and defensively reliable. With a season or two in the AHL, Van Velde could develop into that kind of player for the Oilers.

Slava Trukhno, LW, Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL)
4th round, 120th overall
Status: NHL prospect
NHL Games: 0

After three very successful seasons in the QMJHL as a point-producing forward, Trukhno’s rookie AHL season in 2007-08 had the Oilers believing they may had found a scoring ace late in the 2005 draft. However, Trukhno has not been able to reproduce his scoring abilities in the last two seasons, and his future with the Oilers organization is yet to be determined.

At 6’1 and 197 lbs, the Russian prospect has the size and skating ability needed for the NHL game, but needs to prove in the upcoming season that his regression was a result of playing on a bad AHL team and not a true measure of his talent.

Fredrik Pettersson, LW, Frolunda Jrs (Sweden)
5th round, 147th overall
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Pettersson had two very good years in the WHL playing for the Calgary Hitmen. In 111 career WHL games, Pettersson netted 93 career points (43 goals, 50 assists). However, he has since played the last three seasons in the Swedish Elite League, and while he has posted decent numbers, he doesn’t seem to be a part of the Oilers future plans.

Matthew Glasser, LW, Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL)
7th round, 220th overall
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Glasser was drafted out of the AJHL after his second season with the Oil Barons. He would play one more AJHL season before playing four straight years with the University of Denver. Glasser displayed decent scoring abilities in the AJHL, but was unable to produce at the NCAA level. In 133 NCAA games, Glasser scored 13 goals and eight assists. He was not offered a contract by the Oilers, and will not likely play within their system, now that his collegiate career has come to an end.