Stu “Magnifient Bastard” MacGregor told us today that it’s down to 5: Nail, Murray, Grigorenko, Forsberg and Reinhart. What does that tell us?
Nail Yakupov left his home country at a young age seeking fame and fortune. He found fame in Sarnia and 18 days from this one he may well find his fortune in our town. I don’t think there’s much left to say about that, so let’s talk about the other kids on the list.
I was interested to see Grigorenko on the list, as a big center with slick skills is catnip to NHL teams. I wrote a few days ago he would go in the top 3, still think so. Didn’t think he’d be considered this strong for #1. Forsberg is less known and I wonder about his offense based on this season’s numbers, but the Oilers clearly like him enough to include him in the conversation. Ryan Murray–in my opinion–would have been an Oiler if Edmonton had lost out on the lottery, but winning changed it all and the Oilers will have to add blue in another way.
Reinhart is a player we’ve heard about all along and there should be no surprise that the Oilers are considering him as an option. At this point I think Reinhart is probably the guy if the club trades down.There’s also a chance Edmonton takes Yakupov #1 and then makes an effort to trade up and get Reinhart should he slide. One way might be trading with Carolina for the 8th overall pick. Jim Rutherford has apparently muttered something about dealing the pick for immediate help and the Oilers might decide to add Yakupov and subtract an NHL forward in an effort to acquire Reinhart.
A lot has to happen, and Reinhart might be off the board earlier (Bob McKenzie has suggested Reinhart is in the top 5 on some lists). However, it’s possible things could break that way.
This group of 5 is the cluster MBS has been talking about for some time. I would be surprised if they select Reinhart or Forsberg #1 overall, but not surprised if they choose Yakupov, Murray or Grigorenko #1 overall.
Edmonton holds the most important card. I expect they’ll take Yakupov, but this thing isn’t over yet.