If I had a million dollars, I’d bribe Stu MacGregor to give me his draft list. My wife would kill me, but in the moments before death I’d be a happy man.
You’ve heard it a million times–don’t draft for need, take the best player available. I believe that absolutely, but I also believe teams draft for need all the time. The first overall pick is different though; with the clear #1 being Nail Yakupov, Edmonton’s choice is a no-brainer. Right?
The Edmonton Oilers scouting staff under Stu MacGregor has accomplished the following:
- Selecting Jordan Eberle 22nd overall in 2008. Any re-draft from that year would include Eberle in the lottery.
- Choosing wisely with previous #1′s Taylor Hall and the Nuge. The 2010 pick was a can’t miss, but the Nuge selection was not a clear cut item. It was debated long and hard, but it has been months since we heard a word about it.
- Added solid prospects outside the first round in years 08-11. I’d include Bunz and Roy in goal, Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat, Musil and Simpson on the blue; forwards Hartikainen, Lander, Pitlick and Rieder.
The story that best reflects this scouting staff is Martin Gernat. Selected in the deep reaches of the 2011 draft (5th round, 122 overall), the scouting department had him in their top 35 overall. That meant they sat on Gernat while satisfying the goalie scout (Perhonen), the annual effort to add grit (Ewanyk) and two guys they must have had fairly high too (Simpson and Rieder).
I like that kind of confidence from the scouting staff. Long after the suits are gone to congrulate themselves on a job well done, the real business of scouting rocks on.
Scouting staffs have access to all kinds of information fans like you and me don’t have, they have evalution models that they trust. Yakupov is ranked #1 the world over, but even those who follow the draft closely feel there’s some question about how this shakes out. In this interview with Bob McKenzie of tsn, he perfectly frames the issue:
- McKenzie: “It’s a tough call for Edmonton. If they truly believe Yakupov is clearly the best prospect, they should take him. You don’t draft by position when you’re holding the top pick. That said, if you think Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart, both defensemen, are in the same class as Yakupov, then you step up and take one of them and not worry about others saying Yakupov is the clear or consensus choice at No. 1. It’s going to be very interesting to see which way Edmonton goes here.”
If I could give one piece of advice to the Oilers scouting department it would be this. Fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em all. Sooner or later, everyone gets the shiv, might as well go down with the courage of your convictions. You were looking for a job when you found this one.
And you’ve been right a lot doing what you’re doing. It’s important to remember that this week.