Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#19 Prospect: Colin McDonald

Winter 2009: #18
Summer 2010:  NR

Winter 2010: #19

There's not one chance in hell 10 people will agree with me, but I believe Colin McDonald is the 19th best prospect in the system at this time. He's behind all of the true quality prospects who've remained healthy, he's barely ahead of a couple of injury worries with high end potential, and he's certainly swayed from prospect to suspect and back again.

However, he's also scoring in a tough league and the things that held him back before (offense) seem to have been addressed. Make no mistake: this isn't about a prospect developing new found abilities late, this is about a guy hanging around long enough to figure out where the goals are scored and then finding a way to get there at optimal moments.

He may never get another shot at the NHL, but I think he's finally ready for it. Life's a bitch.

Colin McDonald is not technically Edmonton Oiler property at this time. He owns an AHL contract and the Oklahoma City Barons are paying him. However, NHL teams often "purchase" such contracts and I believe the Edmonton Oilers will do just that at some point in 2011. The things that need to happen (injury on RW, ineffective play by multiple players above him on the depth chart, the lack of a "player with a wide range of skills" in the system at the pro level) are all part of the current script at the big league level. All Colin McDonald needs is an inspired thought from management and perhaps something like a 4-goal game to get his name above the event horizon.

Colin McDonald's scouting reports are so old they used a typewriter. Here's what the Hockey News told us in 2003 spring:
  • Owns projectable size and a nice touch around the net. Needs to prove he can put up numbers against tougher competition or risked being labeled a checker. Interesting offensive upside but will need to develop.
Most of the struggle Colin McDonald has had to deal with since turning pro is in regard to offense. He's got size (6.03, 205) and can check so if he could add offense we're dealing with a nice range of skills. Getting the big part of the bat on the ball is pretty damn hard and the kid from Hartford has had a whale of a time getting it done in the pro's.

There are 7 AHL players who are tied for the league lead with 10 EV goals this season. Colin McDonald is one of them.

McDonald's Desjardins' NHLE's over the years suggest a complementary player:
  • 03-04 (18) 82gp, 9-6-15 (NCAA)
  • 04-05 (19) 82gp, 14-7-21 (NCAA)
  • 05-06 (20) 82gp, 8-18-26 (NCAA)
  • 06-07 (21) 82gp, 12-4-16 (NCAA)
  • 07-08 (22) 82gp, 6-6-12 (AHL)
  • 08-09 (23) 82gp, 5-6-11 (AHL)
  • 09-10 (24) 82gp, 6-6-12 (AHL)
  • 10-11 (25) 82gp, 17-5-22 (AHL)
There are no tricks in the math. McDonald has scored 10 goals at even strength and 3 on the powerplay, so he's full value for the goals scored. He's also playing with and against quality players, as show here by Scott Reynolds. The top 6 forwards on OKC should all be considered solid NHL prospects: O'Marra, Moran at center, Omark, Reddox, Giroux and McDonald on the wings. McDonald's partners in crime have most often been veterans Moran and Giroux. That's a nice spot to be in for him this season.

I know what you're going to ask: with all of the quality prospects still available (and there are: Kytnar, Belle, Rajala, O'Marra, Blain, Bigos, Motin, Bunz, others), why on earth would you choose Colin McDonald? Because we're at a point in the top 20 when everyone has a question about them; for McDonald, it was always a question of offense, and he appears to have learned enough at the AHL level to survive on a skill line.
I'm absolutely convinced this will be a "no sale" from most who read my blog, but request your indulgence for a few more paragraphs. Todd Nelson, McDonald's coach in OKC credits strong veteran linemates and #18's aggressiveness in scoring areas: "He’s getting down there and making things happen for us right now.” An example is included in this clip.

I think there's a window of opportunity for Colin McDonald with this edition of the Edmonton Oilers. The club has a large collection of piano movers, Coke machines, songwriters and hair stylists on the third and fourth line but lack one thing: hockey plays with size and some idea about coverage, success in tough areas and hauling ass.

McDonald's always had the size and gumption, and with skilled AHL linemates has shown an ability to score goals at the minor league level. He's young enough to have a career if he can catch a break during the 10-11 season. We know from observation that Tom Renney isn't in love with Zack Stortini as an NHL player and RW Gilbert Brule is often found wanting.

The RW depth chart for the Oilers boasts Hemsky and Eberle at the high end, but lacks a Pisani-type for the 3line and Stortini's job is in play for 11-12. He's been in three fights this season, he can score goals when placed on a line with some skill and McDonald did look good in a cup of coffee last season.

He's an oddity, like Milton Malone. But I think Colin McDonald has a chance under the big top.


  1. Does Marc Pouliot know you're talking about another prospect with such adoration?

    With all kidding aside, everyone's got their suspect they're pulling for to make it. I no longer consider him a prospect, but you can cheer twice as hard for both of us.

  2. I've asked this before without an answer, but are the Oilers in any kind of privileged position with regard to McDonald? That is, if the Islanders decided they liked the look of them, couldn't *they* buy the contract from Oklahoma City, without there being a damned thing the Oilers could do about it? Or, because the Barons are owned by (as distinct from just affiliated with) the Oilers, would they refuse to sell the contract to another team? Could they refuse to sell the contract to another team?

    So many questions, all of them more interesting than studying for my conflict of laws final tomorrow morning.

  3. "Steve Smith": I don't have any evidence (how many lawyers comment on blogs? little damn wonder I lost most of the arguments. I'm out here with a piece of foolscap, an addiator and some wax paper!!!) but do know that the transaction from AHL team to parent NHL team is commonplace.

    Oilers did it with ling ling in the spring.

  4. Oilers did it with ling ling in the spring.

    Yeah, I remember that. I'm just thinking, considering the NHL and AHL clubs as separate entities with an affiliation agreement rather than as two branches of the same entity,* whether that affiliation agreement has anything to say about such purchases. The AHL collective agreement (assuming they have one - players on AHL contracts aren't covered by the NHL one, are they?) might also have some kind of requirement that if an NHL team wants to sign an AHL player, the AHL club can't stand in the way.

    Anyway, you're stretching the definition of Oilers prospect already by including him on here; if he's available to any NHL team that wants to sign him, which I have a hunch is the case, it becomes rather too large a stretch, in my view. And I'm sure my view is of paramount importance to you as you put these lists together.

    * In the Oilers' particular case, of course, they sort of are two branches of the same entity, since they have the same corporate ownership. But I can't imagine that AHL teams are allowed to give preferential treatment to an NHL team on the basis that the team owns them, rather than on the basis of affiliation agreement. At least, not overt preferential treatment.

  5. lol. Well, I think we can agree that if another NHL team wanted McDonald no one (Oilers, Barons) would stand in their way unless they had a similar interest.

  6. When do you think Cogliano and Brule are sent packing?

  7. Hall playing with a lot of passion and confidence and seemingly producing all the scoring chances against TO.

    Seguin a healthy scratch today.

    Still early, but dare I say that the Oil braintrust may have made the right choice in a difficult, belaboured decision? Not an easy choice either. The centreman would have filled out the lineup better than another winger.

  8. I simply can't believe you've put Colin McDonald above Rob Schremp. You Schremp haters are just crazy.

  9. Listening to the Fan960 in Calgary today, I heard an interesting quote from Versteeg about the Oilers game. When asked if the Hall quote about TO being a game that was winnable was motivation for the team, he said 'well, not really. It was more the Omarkian spin-o-rama that worked for us.'* On follow up about why he cared about that, he said that he just didn't want Omark to get that chance against them, or as I interpreted it, to shove it down his and the Oilers collective throat for spinning around at the red line.

    Which begs the question, how sensitive are these players to what some random guy does in the league out of the norm? I mean, it happened against a team that TO and Versteeg want to beat as much as the Oilers, so why does he care what Omark did to accomplish that?

    Oh, and on topic. I think "SS" has a point but I suspect the old man from the sea will not care overmuch about this technical disqualification of Colin Macdonald. As far as I am concerned, let the blighter have JFJ's minutes. He cannot be any less effective (or have Stortini's/Smac's/Strudwick's for that matter)

    *I'm using quotes in the most broad sense of the word since I heard him while driving 3 hours ago.

  10. Ashley:

    While it's nice to think we got the better of the two prospects, when your options at forward include Bergeron, Savard, Kreici, Horton et al, it surprises me that Seguin went this long without being HS'd. He's not going to come close to Hall's point totals this year because of the (argued) disparity in minutes and access to talented linemates.

    Hoping you're not a guy-Ashley. It's a sausage fest here.

  11. Hunter: I think Renney will hang onto Cogliano. There's nothing I can link to, but a couple of Renney comments about Cogliano have the coach feeling he can save him.

    Brule was moved over to C for last game in an effort to shake him out of the doldrums, and I suspect the coach will start taking TOI away.

    Stortini I can't help but think Renney made up his mind long ago. I suspect he could be had for a 4th rd pick at this point.

    The Oilers F's from about 8-14 shouldn't buy big houses, put it that way.

  12. How about this: I'll extend it to 21 prospects so McDonald can count for some and not for others.

    And of course Steve can study without worry. :-)

  13. Thanks, LT.

    Now does anyone here have a good grasp of the rules governing when extra-jurisdictional judgments will be recognized and/or enforced by Canadian courts?

  14. Boucher was on an AHL contract with the Flyers affiliate when he was signed by the Sharks...If I remember correctly the Sharks didn't have to ask permission but the Flyers were allowed to request compensation (money?) but didn't bother...Holmgren said he was just happy to see him get a shot.

  15. Now does anyone here have a good grasp of the rules governing when extra-jurisdictional judgments will be recognized and/or enforced by Canadian courts?

    Nope. But if that was a question applied to ancient Greek polis, then I probably couldn't help you either.

    LT - don't do the Canadian waffle on our account. Stick to your principles and damn all comers.

  16. Colin .... Colin McDonald .... King of The Wild Frontier!!!!

    Here's a guy I can get behind.

    I think Stortini is on his way out, sadly, (Mattingly shave those sideburns!) and this guy may be his replacement.

    Doing well at the AHL level is better than a lot of other guys on this list have done yet. And better than the guys below him. I'm on board with this placement.

    As for 13 and 67, Hunter, summer at the latest. Then we'll see Lander, Omark or whatever vets they sign take their spots.

  17. Now does anyone here have a good grasp of the rules governing when extra-jurisdictional judgments will be recognized and/or enforced by Canadian courts?

    Yes, but I would suggest you get out before articling destroys you.

  18. Yes, but I would suggest you get out before articling destroys you.

    I'm doing my articles with a small (5 lawyers) criminal defense firm. I can't guarantee that it won't destroy me, but I think it'll be preferable to articling at Biglaw. We'll see. Assuming I pass Conflicts, that is.

    Now, about those recognition and enforcement principles...

    (Also, hockey: discuss.)

  19. Colin macdonald? You have to love LT's loyalty, i think Macdonald joins the MAP, Jaime Lundmark class of players where only there mothers have more hope for them then LT. For all the hard work you put in on these I will be one of the 10 who say why the hell not, #19 prospect sure LT. Cant wait to see where Nick Stajduhar comes in this year.

  20. Steve: What law school are you at right now?

    And as for enforcing a judgement:

    1. They’re in the jurisdiction. You win
    2. They submitted to the court. You win
    3. There’s a real and substantial connection. You win
    4. The statutory grounds save you. You win.
    5. …
    6. Lose.

  21. UNB.

    A classmate of mine summed up Conflict of Laws thusly:

    1. Real and most substantial connection.
    2. ???
    3. Profit.

    So far, that looks about right to me. Unfortunately, I understand that my prof wants me to mention cases and such-like; tyrant.

  22. (Also, LT, sorry to threadjack, but Colin McDonald? We're doing you a favour.)

  23. We were basically given Morguard Investments and ran with it.

    I have no idea what fishery-related caselaw you would be taught, though. Probably something involving lobsters.

  24. We do Morguard heavily (my prof's father wrote the judgment, though that doesn't seem to be a factor), which would help if I had the foggiest understanding of why it's such a seminal case: trial court finds for defendant. Court of Appeals upholds trial court. Then, in what was apparently an earth-shattering shift in the Canadian approach to conflict of laws, the Supreme Court...upholds the Court of Appeal. Smashing.

  25. I don't give a rip when the light comes on for some of these guys as long as it comes on.

    Again, I really don't think it's a coincidence that the performance of McDonald and a few others has trended up because they are being surrounded with vets and given a chance to learn how to develop properly. Same for Chorney, Petry etc...

    It's not as if anyone else below him has really shown anything. Only thing is I thought he was getting ice time w/O'Marra and Omark,not Giroux and Moran.

  26. which would help if I had the foggiest understanding of why it's such a seminal case

    I guess it's the leading case by default. The principle is useful, and the SCC has only talked about it like three times in the last 20 years. Gotta cite something.

  27. Good luck on your Conflicts exam SS, you can burn your notes about 3 minutes after the exam. You will never use it in practice.

    LT, you must hate Jeremie Blain. He's not Petry. He's healed up! Fourth rounder by MBS and you take a 25 year old AHL guy over him? MacDonald might get a few NHL games but he will soon be passed by MBS' posse.

    By the way, Devils win!

  28. Steve if you're going into criminal law it sounds like you are putting way too much effort into studying conflicts.

    As an aside, I wouldn't count on a small criminal law firm being easy street. Most criminal firms easily rival big corporate or general practice firms in terms of grinding their articling students.

  29. Steve if you're going into criminal law it sounds like you are putting way too much effort into studying conflicts.

    Well, it's a compulsory course, and my future employer's being kind of insistent on my having a law degree as a condition of employment. The good news is that on the criminal/Charter stuff I don't need to beg for tutoring on hockey blogs the night before the exam.

    As an aside, I wouldn't count on a small criminal law firm being easy street.

    Oh, I expect the hours to be comparable, but I'm hopeful that the work will be a little more interesting. As I say, though, we'll see.

    Seriously, though, is everyone on this blog a lawyer?

  30. can burn your notes about 3 minutes after the exam.

    Notes! Shit, that would have been a great idea!

  31. Criminal law is certainly more interesting, at least in my unbiased opinion. ;)

    Don't sweat the notes. A decent CAN and a few meagre hours can get you a solid B+ in conflicts. Good luck!

  32. Yes, good luck with the exam Steve. In an odd coincidence I was thinking about law at UNB a few years ago but decided to go to grad school in Toronto instead. (My degree will be much less useful than yours, trust me.) Rather than procrastinating on studying I'm putting off submitting a draft of my thesis for defense, which was supposed to get in tonight. Go ahead, try to tell me Colin McDonald's career isn't more important...

  33. Don't sweat the notes. A decent CAN and a few meagre hours can get you a solid B+ in conflicts.

    Well, the other thing is that it's closed book. I think law school has destroyed whatever ability I may once have had to write closed book exams.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and well-wishes, everyone; I should probably be off to learn what a "tort" is and how it and how it affects something called "choice of law".


    P.S. Colin McDonald?

  34. Years ago I mc'd an event that was 90% lawyers. The early part of the event was brief, but there was no flow. None. I'm at the bar after the introductions, etc and most of the evening is still to come.

    Guy walks up and says "do you have any lawyer jokes?" and I say "yeah, but I'm not going to tell them in front of a bunch of lawyers!"

    He says "walk up to the mic and say the following: what do you call 10,000 lawyers chained to the bottom of the sea? Answer: a good start."

    Brought the house down. Seriously. Easiest gig I ever did after that old joke.

    And THAT'S what I know about lawyers.

  35. Lawyers like:

    - Booze
    - Lunch


    - Sunlight
    - Themselves

  36. Sunlight's okay on the weekends I guess. It's better with booze.

  37. SchitzO: that's awfully close to my friend's dad lol. (Lawyer)

    LT: Colin Mcdonald?

    God you must hate Blain and O'Marra.

    Well, I'm all for him, I'm just worried is Goal/PTS huge ratio is maybe due to inflated SH%. Well time will tell.

  38. This guy steals more of your quarters than Pac-Man ever did, LT.

    All kidding aside, it's nice to see that he's having a good year.

  39. Not gonna lie, I would take McDonald over Jacques right now.

    He reminds me of Pisani.

  40. Years ago I mc'd an event that was 90% lawyers.

    You MC'ed the scum of the earth convention? Awesome.

    It's usually a great convention, but the lawyers often dampen the upbeat mood set by the crack addicts, neo-nazis, and pedophiles. (The crack addicts tell great jokes. "One time I blurfets... what?... chicken feet. Hahahaha.")

    But as Andrew will attest, the PhD's are the scumiest.

  41. I know a chick who's a legal secretary, and one day she came home exhausted and said "All lawyers are, is glorified librarians".

    Next time I saw my lawyer I mentioned this. The little rat gave me a look that told me the jig was up.

    I can understand why they tend to hate themselves. Bloodsucking scumbags, for the most part.

  42. I was somewhat apprehensive that criminal defense lawyers are the most lowly regarded of a generally lowly regarded profession, but I can't count the number of people who have told me that at least I'm not doing family law. Apparently a lot more people have had unpleasant divorces than have been the victims of crimes.

  43. Seriously, though, is everyone on this blog a lawyer?

    Isn't that a given on any blog or message board on the Internet?

  44. @Steve Smith: Divorce is a crime - to the children.

  45. Hunter, it's worse if you grow up in a household where 2 people are miserable or hate each other. Believe me, it trickles down, better a happy 1 parent home than an unhappy 2 parent home.

  46. Also we should bring back Brock Radunske, he's gained lots of confidence tearing up the Asian Superleague and could slot in on a line with MacDonald in OKC.

    I kid, seriously though, I never thought Colin had it in him to score more than a dozen goals in the AHL, much less in a third of the games. I don't know though, small sample size and all with two dominant AHL offensive players. If he can do this for an entire season then maybe, hell I'd even wait till he does it again next season before I'm convinced. He doesn't exactly have a track record of offense.

    That said, he'd be vastly superior to JFJ or Fraser at this point. Don't want to strip the cupboards and leave OKC barren though. Since JFJ seems 'effective' in the AHL maybe they can send him down.

  47. Uni: Damn straight. Oh and (2x) the gifts at X-mas!

  48. J'ai appris des choses interessantes grace a vous, et vous m'avez aide a resoudre un probleme, merci.

    - Daniel

  49. McDonald tied for tops in goals in AHL. Is this a guy worth revisiting? Does he do anything else well?