It seems like only yesterday that Kevin Lowe and Kevin Prendergast welcomed Sam Gagner to the Oilers. So much has happened since then, and the rebuild is considered a success by the only constituent that really matters: Daryl Katz.
Terry Jones has an article up today with some words from Kevin Lowe. Jones quotes Lowe specifically in regard to the owner’s opinion of Steve Tambellini:
- “He approves of the job he’s done.”
Tambellini’s positives might include the amateur procurement department’s success, the Barons in the AHL and the lack of long term contracts since the Souray-Khabibulin era. Much of the negative has to do with constantly offloading useful players for picks and prospects, but the quote from Lowe suggests the frustration felt by the fanbased stops well short of the owner’s front door.
Jones also posted an interesting quote in regard to the #1 overall pick:
- “If you are picking lower than No. 1 in the draft I think you can look at organizational needs but if you’re No. 1 you have to pick the guy who you think is going to be the best player 10 years down the road. We’ve told our scouts to come out of their meetings and come out and tell us who they think will be the best player in the next 10 years.”
Here’s my take. The Oilers are going to select Nail Yakupov. Based on all we know–the value of scoring, the length of time it takes for a defenseman to develop, the difficulty in procuring elite offense players outside of drafting them #1 overall, everything points to Yakupov.
I think the Oilers will draft the Russian based on this quote. Based on ALL of the scouting reports we’ve read, based on math and NHLE and all of the information available, Nail Yakupov is the #1 overall prospect.
Knowing this, and reading the quote, how can we reach another conclusion?