Draft Update

This is Ales Hemsky before he was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers. The day it happened I sent a pm to “Hossa” who lived in Ottawa. He was a poster at HF Boards (Hossa joined before you did, back then it was redtwilight & me among Oiler fans, and Hossa, Kyle’s Mom and Yokel (Gilles) among Ottawa fans and that was it baby. This was 2000 or so when I joined) and lived in the Ottawa area.

Hossa gave me a terrific scouting report on Ales Hemsky, in fact it gave me hope (I was pulling for Colby Armstrong before the draft) that the Oilers had in fact made a good selection. He detailed Hemsky skill, but (unlike redline) also gave me an idea that the kid had some gumption.

“Hossa” is Sean Keogh and in my daily travels through the internet highway I came across a beauty item written by Sean. It is here. Among the things that I found interesting:

  • Zack Kassian: However, I have serious concerns with not only his skating but his ability to create offence with the puck and on the fly. At the U18s, when the pace was quicker, the opponent more talented than the OHL, he seemed to have very little utility offensively other than as a big body down low. In the NHL, this would limit the number of systems where he could really have an impact.
  • Nazem Kadri: While Kadri has fancy moves and the occasional electrifying rush, those are not likely to work at the NHL level, and I am not convinced either that his offensive skills, specifically his hockey sense, will make him a consistent scorer at the next level. I actually see a fair bit of grit and effort in his game, and believe he could be a good role player at the next level, even a tweener second/third line type of guy, much like Antoine Vermette.
  • Ryan Ellis: I am not convinced he will ever be more than a powerplay quarterback and offensive specialist; however, it is possible he goes in the top ten if a team is convinced he will be.

I love the annual NHL entry draft and specifically all of the lists and predictions that come from various sources on the Al Gore. I’ve come to believe Bob McKenzie is some kind of savant when it comes to predicting the top 30 and in fact when he posts his list, I print it and wait for the draft instead of buying all the publications (on line and in newstands) that have become money making productions.

The other guy we need to pay attention to this time of year is Robin Brownlee. Back when he wrote for the Sun (who stepped into an elevator shaft coverage wise when Brownlee left and have not yet recovered), Brownlee’s annual “prediction” article on the weekend of the draft was possibly the most anticipated single daily article in my home. I seriously raced out of the house to buy the Edmonton Sun on that one day each year.

Today’s post by Brownlee at ON isn’t the prediction article because we’ve got some weeks left before the draft, but it is a wonderful article that tells us which way the wind blows:

The Oilers would be happy to get Schenn, Paajarvi-Svensson, Glennie or Cowan. The question is, what would moving four or five spots cost? Depends on the team on the other end of the conversation with GM Steve Tambellini. If the Oilers can’t move up, don’t be surprised if they take Kassian at 10th or even move down and take a long look at Ryan Ellis.

Stu MacGregor remains a magnificent bastard, but he may lose the crown at this year’s entry draft. The editors of Lowetide have been very clear: Glennie good, Kassian bad. On that note, ON’s Jason Gregor chimes in with a nice article today too, and here’s one of the quotes:

I don’t see them taking Kassian if they have him projected as a solid 3rd liner with potential to become a top six. I know they really like Kadri and Glennie, but MacGregor feels that after the top three, there is a group of five or six, which caps out at the #9 pick. If he believes that strongly in the top-nine, don’t be surprised to see the Oilers try to move up one to three spots.

Fun time of year.

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