Okay, I give. There’s not much to talk about at the NHL level and the WJ’s are in the rear view. We’ve exhausted the trade deadline talk and that’s six weeks ago. So, without further delay, here are the 10 best names in the 2012 NHL entry draft. God help us all.
- R Nail Yakupov: Exceptional talent, he is tracking a little ahead of Taylor Hall’s NHLE at this time and is described as being just as dynamic as #4 for the Oilers. Should Edmonton win the lottery, he would be impossible to pass up no matter team need.
- C Mikhail Grigorenko: Big center who displays a nice range of skills and is a strong offensive talent. I’m not certain that he’ll go number two overall in the summer and there does seem to be a gap between the two Russians based on their numbers so far this season.
- D Ryan Murray: The odds-on pick for Edmonton should they have an opportunity to select him. Murray displays a nice range of skills offensively and does a lot of good things at the defensive end. Almost as important for the Oilers: he’s possibly the most NHL ready player in this season’s entry draft. Knowing the Oilers tradition of avoiding Russian kids, I think it’s reasonable to suggest the possibility exists Edmonton would take Murray as high as #2 overall.
- L Filip Forsberg: There’s every chance this guy will end up being the second best player in the draft. Already has good size, exceptional for his age. Plus speed, creative. His NHLE isn’t impressive but he’s playing in the Swedish Elite League and is a late ’94 birthday.
- D Morgan Reilly: Nice speed/size combination and he can move the puck efficiently. Like most of the kids on this year’s list, he’s encountered an injury this season. I wish I knew the gap between Murray and Reilly, he appears to be maybe a little better offensively than suggested at first blush.
- D Matt Dumba: There’s a lot of talent and some chaos too with Mr. Dumba. Risk/reward, high octane offense and hi-lite reel hits. The concern will be injuries–he’s not a big man and those hits will add up. My guess is the Oilers will want a more complete player type.
- C Zemgus Girgensons: Latvian center has good size and as we saw at the WJ’s is very skilled. Creative playmaker and the scouting reports I’ve read suggest a plus skater.
- C Alex Galchenyuk: Yet another impact Russian forward (although born in Milwaukee), knee surgery has kept him from playing this season and certainly impacts his draft status. Fine stickhandler and good shooter, his scouting report suggests footspeed is an issue so that will impact his final number.
- D Griffin Reinhart: Big, mobile defender who can make a solid outlet pass. He’s not flashy like Dumba, and because of it he will probably slip down the draft as the season wears on.
- R Pontus Aberg: Speedy winger has been playing (and posting crooked numbers) in the Swedish Elite League. Could be the fastest player in the draft and there were some worries about his offense but 7 goals in 29 SEL games projects nicely.
One thing we learned a year ago is that scouting reports can say all the right things and yet don’t reveal important points. When they talked about RNH’s skating (as an example) there were several reports about his footspeed and very little about his edges and just how elusive he is on the ice. I got some kind of indication from Oiler skating instructor Steve Serdachny after the draft but really don’t think this blog (or any other I could name) reflected his skating ability accurately before the draft.
So we live with what we have, and this list is my first real look at 2012. Dammit.
Nation Radio hits the air today at noon Edmonton time on Team 1260. I’d love to hear from you, seems to me Oiler fans would like to say something today and this is a chance for public exposure for your views. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave comments in this post; there are two twitter accounts available: @ItsNationRadio and @lowetide_
- Scott Taylor from Jets Nation. I believe that Pavelec had been playing goal for the ’90 Jets Edmonton doesn’t win the Stanley. I’ll ask Scott if he agrees and we’ll review the homestand and look forward to the road trip.
- Kent Simpson, commentator for the Edmonton Oil Kings on Team 1260. The Hanson’s are in town tonight and we’ll talk SLAP SHOT!, the Oil Kings and their chances and I’ll ask Kent about what coach Tom Renney will be saying to his Oilers these days.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation. We’ll talk about Jay Feaster’s attempt to both compete despite flaws and to hold on to the future. The Bourque-Cammalleri trade may also come up in discussion.
- David Staples from the Cult of Hockey. David has a unique view on the Oilers and doesn’t back down from a conversation day or night. We’ll talk about this year’s model of the Oilers and discuss the trade deadline, the future of management and owner Daryl Katz and his role in helping the fanbase figure out just what is going on.
- Thomas Drance from Canucks Army. I’ll attempt to interview Thomas without getting looted. Among the topics of discussion: are the Bruins running the Canucks show?
Hope you tune in.