LAND MINES AND LOST TREASURE

A year ago at this time we were talking about 8 draft eligible kids who had cleared the rest. This season, it’s 9–and there’s a nice variety of skill sets.

Last season’s 8 are here. Here are this season’s 9:

  1. Nail Yakupov: Top ranked player everywhere on earth where the printed word appears. NHLE suggests 40 points and he’s clearly the class of the group offensively.
  2. Ryan Murray: Smooth player with a wide range of skills, his offense has been somewhat underrated due to the quality of his team. Solid defensively, the comparisons to Scott Niedermayer are not really based on math although his skating is a real positive.
  3. Alex Galchenyuk: Oilers have a choice of two sure things, but this wild card could end up being the star of the show. Exceptional puck handler and his size makes him a lock for the lottery.
  4. Mikhail Grigorenko: Falling like a rock on some lists, I think there’s just too much here. If there is a fatal flaw, I trust the Islanders to be the last to know. It is their tradition.
  5. Griffin Reinhart: He has convinced NHL scouts that he’s going to be a shutdown defender of some quality, or he wouldn’t be this high in the rankings. Solid defender who can move the puck, but I don’t think he’ll be a PP monster. Least upside in the lottery.
  6. Teuvo Teravainen: Caught everyone’s eye at the world juniors and delivered an impressive season in Finland’s top league (SM-Liiga). Highly skilled winger with creativity and some finish and good foot speed. A player to read up on in the next three weeks.
  7. Morgan Rielly: Best offensive potential among the high end defenders, I keep coming back to those flashes of brilliance he showed against the Oil Kings in the playoffs. Dammit, this draft has landmines and lost treasure right at the top. Crazy.
  8. Filip Forsberg: PF with skill, he’d rank higher on my list if Forsberg had posted better offense in Sweden’s 2nd league or at the WJ’s. There’s not an overwhelming amount of evidence that he will score enough to be a top offensive player.
  9. Matt Dumba: He’s undersized for his style. If he had Reinhart’s size Dumba would be ranked much higher, probably 2nd among defenders on the list. The size added to his rambunctious style make Dumba a risk, but if he can stay healthy and deliver across the board as he did in junior he might end up being one of the very best players in the 2012 draft.

NATION RADIO

Lots to discuss on the show today, noon on Team 1260. Emails welcome at nationradio@theteam1260.com or you can post comments or questions in the comments section. @ItsNationRadio or lowetide_ are the twitter accounts.

Scheduled to appear:

  • Jason Gregor from the Jason Gregor Show and Oilers Nation. We’ll discuss the Oilers at the draft, the coaching search, Ryan Smyth’s contract and the Oilers shopping list this summer.
  • Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. Terry was all over the Oil Kings run and wrote some excellent items on the OKC Barons this season, we’ll touch base on those items and talk about the Oilers summer.
  • Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord. I’ll ask Kent about the hiring of Bob Hartley in Calgary and what that could mean to some of the Flames high profile roster players.
  • Jonathan Willis from Cult of Hockey, the Nations and various other prominent hockey sites. We’ll talk about Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe, specifically delving into the coaching hire, the #1 overall pick, the holes on the team and how to fix that blue.

Noon today, these are all terrific guests and we welcome your comments and questions for each of them.

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73 Responses to "LAND MINES AND LOST TREASURE"

  1. sliderule says:

    Great analysis LT.

    I don’t think this is a great year to be smartest guy in the room.

  2. Matt.N says:

    I predict that Columbus ( or whoever picks second) will come to really regret their pick. 2 thru 9 is pretty interchangeable.

  3. Lowetide says:

    It’s a terrible spot, but I think the entire top 5 is rife with possible bombs. The safest picks are Yakupov, Murray and the Finn imo

  4. VOR says:

    LT,

    I think there might be a little western bias creeping into your cut off point.

    Cody Ceci and Olli Maatta both belong in any discussion of top ten picks.

    Ceci was great in the regular season (60 points) – the big knock on him is he doesn’t play physical enough for his size and thus will probably not be better than an NHL #2. Here is a guy who can go end to end and still get back to cut off the breakaway and already has NHL size. Despite the great skating most scouts don’t think it is the best part of his game. That is because he is simply superb positionally in his own end. Doesn’t hit but has one of the best sticks of any player in a long time. Gets in the lanes, reads the play at an elite level. Really, the only reason he isn’t in a discussion about #1 OV is that he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. So he is penalized for what he isn’t rather than being acknowledged for what he is.

    Maatta was looking good in his rookie season in the OHL when he suffered a concussion in the WJC. It took him a while to get healthy and then he was unreal in the OHL playoffs (23 points tied him with Hamilton but he did it in one fewer games)- leading in D scoring. Great skater and puckmover with simple game. He really likes to hit everything that moves and is a skilled shot blocker. His weakness is he doesn’t pivot well enough according to scouts – though that is a teachable skill and this is a really coachable kid. Knock on him out of Finland was he couldn’t shoot the puck. He spent months and months working on it and now it is one of the best in the OHL.

  5. Lowetide says:

    I have both right around the corner, to be honest Maata looks terrific. As I mentioned, this list will change. One thing that I’d like to point out though is that Griffin Reinhart has been trending up for a long time now, it’s been out there.

    Bob McKenzie himself touched on it diuring the combine show this week. Reinhart may not go top 5, but he’s going to be in that range on BM’s list based on what he said last night.

  6. lazerguidedmelody says:

    Don’t get to see too many WHL games this side of the pond. If not Niedermayer, who’s a good comp for Murray.?

  7. Lowetide says:

    I think you could say he’s similar to Niedermayer in that he’s an excellent skater and doesn’t play overly physical. He is NOT like Niedermayer in that Murray’s skill with the puck is as a passer and not as a gamebreaker. He’s described as being effective defensively without being a masher.

    If I had to pick a player everyone knows as a comp, with would be Alex Pietrangelo. I hesitate to use that comp though because the offense isn’t at that level.

  8. Ribs says:

    2. Ryan Murray: Smooth player with a wide range of skills, his offense has been somewhat underrated due to the quality of his team. Solid defensively, the comparisons to Scott Niedermayer are not really based on math although his skating is a real positive.

    Don’t forget the poise, LT. Can’t forget that.

    From what I’ve read lately, I’m thinking Stu is a big fan of Forsberg.

  9. Lowetide says:

    I can’t see the offense with Forsberg. Maybe it’s that we don’t have a good read on the quality of the Swe-2 league, but he didn’t kill it at WJ’s either.

  10. Ribs says:

    I think this quote in particular caught my eye….

    When asked to comment on the European standouts eligible for this year’s draft, MacGregor seemed optimistic.

    “I think it’s a decent crop,” he said. “Certainly there are three or four outstanding goaltenders and [Leksand's Filip] Forsberg is one of those players you have to consider for the top spot. He’s going to be a long-time player.”

    Again, it could be a context thing. Maybe Someone was just talking about Forsberg before the interview, who knows, but I do seem to recall him speaking favourably of him when he gave a run down of the top guys a while ago. I can’t seem to find it now.

  11. Ribs says:

    An interesting article about the WJC has an interview with the Red Wings Director of Scouting who says….

    As the lone member of the Oilers’ amateur scouting staff at the tournament (the team does have pro scouts there, too), MacGregor said his job is to focus on the players who are draft eligible.

    This year’s headliners are Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko from Russia, Ryan Murray from Canada, Filip Forsberg and Sebastien Collberg from Sweden, and Jacob Trouba from the United States.

    But since the world juniors is a tournament designed to showcase the best 19-year-old hockey players in the world, it’s often difficult for draft eligible players to make much of an impact at this level.

    “It’s tough for them to show up and be a high end player in this tournament,” said Detroit Red Wings director of scouting Joe McDonnell. “We don’t really base an awful lot on the young kids here.”

    Prior to the tournament, the Wings already liked Czech forwards Tomas Hertl and Radek Faksa, and they’re strong play thus far hasn’t really changed that, McDonnell said. On the same token, if there was a younger player who struggled in the tournament, McDonnell said he wouldn’t read much into it.

    ….And yea, MacGregor being the only non-pro scout at the tournament seems odd to me too.

  12. stevezie says:

    Griffin Reinhart is an interesting case for me. If his comp is Karl Alzner, where would Alzner go in a re-draft? Or is that the right question to ask? Good as he is now there is no guarentee Reinhart will be anything in the NHL.

    I lean towards drafting things that can’t be taught. Skill, freak-athleticism, insane drive and vision. Size is on the list but a distant fourth. I think, and I might be wrong, but I think defensive positioning and proper utrition and exercize can be taught. So can penalty-killing and a certain degree of tenacity (not elite tenacity, be competitive). I think “hockey-sense” is a vague term that means different things in different situations and some of which can be taught.

    It seems to me that someone should be able to learn to skate better, though many can’t.

    I guess this means I’m not as big on Griff as some. To me it looks like his greatest assests could be learned by someone like Dumba, who has the unteachable skills but might need to learn to be more strategic. He does have a really cool name though, and I’m of the mind that Vincent Lecavalier would have made a lot less money if his name was “Gus Nimitz.”

    He looks like a higher percentage bet, but when we’re talking seventeen year-olds “high-percentage” is a relative term. I have nothing against the guy, but I hope in their frenzy to trade up the Oilers don’t overvalue what is still a lottery ticket, especially one with a lower jackpot.

  13. Lois Lowe says:

    As much as I want them to make the safe call and draft Yak, I am very intrigued by Galchenyuk and would be okay with the Oilers trading down a spot or two to grab him instead. I do not want them to take Murray even though I think we could use a Chris Phillips type player on the back end.

  14. LMHF#1 says:

    It will be interesting to see how long the Oilers can last following the proper course and picking BPA. I’m really hoping that Samuelsson will be available at #32, and the only positional pick I’d like to see in the draft at all is a Euro goalie at some point late, as there do appear to be several quality prospects.

    I can only imagine the whimpering from the less-knowledgeable if the Oilers were to come out of this draft with 0 D picked.

  15. Ducey says:

    LMHF#1: I can only imagine the whimpering from the less-knowledgeable if the Oilers were to come out of this draft with 0 D picked.

    I don’t think its very likely they walk away with no defencemen.

  16. mustang says:

    Lois Lowe:
    As much as I want them to make the safe call and draft Yak, I am very intrigued by Galchenyuk and would be okay with the Oilers trading down a spot or two to grab him instead. I do not want them to take Murray even though I think we could use a Chris Phillips type player on the back end.

    I feel the same way, Galchenyuk is a very intriguing prospect, although I’m not sure if I would be willing to give up the spot to select Yak, RB over at the nation was asking could the Oilers get both. Doing this would make this draft, the “draft” of all drafts for me. Murray is a good hockey player, and will be a good NHLer, but I don’t think he’s worthy of a top 5 pick

  17. rickithebear says:

    Ribs: Prior to the tournament, the Wings already liked Czech forwards Tomas Hertl

    Amen!

  18. gogliano says:

    To get both what would need to happen? The Oilers have very little in terms of trading assets outside of the untouchables (Hall, Eberle, RNH). I think you’d need to give up next year’s #1 to be in the conversation for one of the spots where Galchenyuk will still be on the board; picks are always overvalued at the draft. He might fall a bit because of the games played issue so it’s at least within the realm of possibility that someone at the borders of the lottery (#4-6, say) would give up the pick for Oilers’ #1 2013 and a prospect/player but then you’re betting the Oilers don’t tank again next year anyways. Not to mention GMs are averse to trading the present for the future–their jobs are usually on the line and the one exception to that rule is the team potentially trading the 2013 pick.

    I don’t think it happens and I think a boring draft is the best result here (draft Yak #1, go home). But I also like the idea of the center if they make the move of trading down. This team needs centers in their prospect pool more than d-men/wingers and Galch. might be a homerun.

  19. spoiler says:

    VOR:

    Maatta was looking good in his rookie season in the OHL when he suffered a concussion in the WJC. It took him a while to get healthy and then he was unreal in the OHL playoffs (23 points tied him with Hamilton but he did it in one fewer games)- leading in D scoring. Great skater and puckmover with simple game. He really likes to hit everything that moves and is a skilled shot blocker. His weakness is he doesn’t pivot well enough according to scouts – though that is a teachable skill and this is a really coachable kid. Knock on him out of Finland was he couldn’t shoot the puck. He spent months and months working on it and now it is one of the best in the OHL.

    Didn’t scouts feel the same way about Cam Barker–that pivots were a teachable skill? There’s something funny about skating. Some kids have the natural athleticism to improve it, some can’t make a dent. I have no idea how to identify which kid falls into which box.

    There’s no doubt though that Maatta’s draft stock has risen considerably over the past two months.

    I thought most scouts have Trouba ahead of both Ceci and Maatta?

  20. danny says:

    lazerguidedmelody:
    Don’t get to see too many WHL games this side of the pond. If not Niedermayer, who’s a good comp for Murray.?

    Chris Phillips IMO.

  21. Traktor says:

    Murray is a much better skater than Phillips. I’m not sure Murray is going to be 45+ point defensemen but Phillips career high is 26 points. I’m sure Murray will produce more than that.

    The best comp imo is OEL. Great skaters, not overly physical, will be able to play 25+ minutes, should be able to produce 30+ points

  22. Ribs says:

    Traktor,

    So he’s Tom Gilbert?

    rickithebear,

    I thought you might like that :)

  23. spoiler says:

    Would you go walking through a minefield to find lost treasure? Especially when the treasure looks just like a landmine?

    I can’t see the Oil trading down. Too much risk in the other picks.

    Galchenyuk and Rielly had the huge injuries, giving us little to no recent evidence of their abilities.

    Yak and Dumba to a lesser degree may have had their seasons affected by injury too.

    Grigorenko is mercurial and enigmatic, and the mono doesn’t help when slotting him.

    Murray played on an awful team.

    Reinhart played with a busted shoulder and has some minor skating and sense issues.

    Some have called Teravainen the most skilled player in the draft, but he’s small and played in a league from which it is difficult to project prospects.

    Forsberg looks good but gets out-played by linemates in big tourneys, disappointed a bit with his scoring.

    And every one of these kids has great upside too.

    Minefield indeed. I don’t think there’s a real bust factor in any of the top 10, but it’s diffficult to cipher who is better than who.

  24. Maverick says:

    Traktor:
    Murray is a much better skater than Phillips. I’m not sure Murray is going to be 45+ point defensemen but Phillips career high is 26 points. I’m sure Murray will produce more than that.

    The best comp imo is OEL. Great skaters, not overly physical, will be able to play 25+ minutes, should be able to produce 30+ points

    I think the best comp for Murray is Eric Brewer or more recently Brad Stuart. Good to great skaters with offensive potential that never materialized and they can chew up a tons of TOI. Is Murray a Top #1 defenseman? I don’t think so. Maybe a top #2 but I think a really good Top #3.

  25. Traktor says:

    Ribs:
    Traktor,

    So he’s Tom Gilbert?

    I think Murray will be better offensively and defensively than Gilbert.

    Gilbert didn’t really do good with his minutes either:

    2010 -11
    2011 -14
    2012 -8

    Last year was his best season in terms of playing tough minutes and somewhat surviving.. probably why Edmonton sold high before he got lit up

  26. Traktor says:

    Maverick: I think the best comp for Murray is Eric Brewer or more recently Brad Stuart.Good to great skaters with offensive potential that never materialized and they can chew up a tons of TOI.Is Murray a Top #1 defenseman?I don’t think so.Maybe a top #2 but I think a really good Top #3.

    I think Murray is going to be a #1. I think he is really underrated. If he goes back to junior I think he will have a monster season like Dougie Hamilton.

  27. DSF says:

    Dustin Brown grabs the series by the throat.

    Book it.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: Agreed. I think Murray is going to be outstanding. It’s the skating mostly but also that he can play the position. Big brain.

  29. spoiler says:

    Murray is an interesting case. I think LT is right about team effect, the question is, how much of an effect?

    I kept praying to the Hockey Gords all season long that Shaw would show an Everett game, but if they ever did, I never caught it. So my viewing is limited to the WJCs, never the best showcase for a draft eligible defenseman. Oh and the WHCs too.

    I like his skating and his reads and the lack of panic in his game. In that regard he reminds me of last year’s draftee, Brodin from Sweden (who I am very high on).

    But what I couldn’t tell from those tourneys (and his role on the those teams needs to be considered) is how offensively assertive he is. I didn’t see much there to lead me to believe he is all that assertive offensively, and I think a #1 defenseman should be. But he could still be a very good #2.

    Trak, I take it you have some WHL viewings of Murray… Do you have any thoughts on his offensive play? Does he look to score or to create scoring chances? How strong is his passing in the offensive zone? Does he show some creativity or is it usually just the simple plays? How often does he carry the puck through the neutral zone? Can he make opposing players miss?

    Any chance this kid could turn a Suter? A guy who maybe doesn’t shoot all that much but can do everything else with the puck (and of course is ultra-solid in his own zone).

  30. spoiler says:

    Murray looks a little taller than Rielly but they’re both smaller than Forsberg on this Cherry bit.

  31. spoiler says:

    Jesus that Rielly clip was Doughty-like.

  32. Smarmy says:

    Traktor:
    Murray is a much better skater than Phillips. I’m not sure Murray is going to be 45+ point defensemen but Phillips career high is 26 points. I’m sure Murray will produce more than that.

    The best comp imo is OEL. Great skaters, not overly physical, will be able to play 25+ minutes, should be able to produce 30+ points

    If I had to make a WHL defensemen comp for Ryan Murray mine would be Curtis Leschyshyn.

  33. spoiler says:

    Matheson headline from about 30 mins ago:

    Oilers Have to Consider Taking Murray No. 1

    Of course Matty has been beating the Dman drum for three years, so this is not exactly unexpected, but this time he has Prendergrast beating the bongos with him.

  34. Bad Seed says:

    For someone who’s supposed to be ‘in the know’, you’d think Matheson would be aware of the misstep of taking a defenceman that high. Even Gregor knows this, shouldn’t a hall of famer?

  35. Bad Seed says:

    If Prendergast says Murray, Yakupov it is! That’s evidence enough for me.

  36. spoiler says:

    Bad Seed:
    For someone who’s supposed to be ‘in the know’, you’d think Matheson would be aware of the misstep of taking a defenceman that high.Even Gregor knows this, shouldn’t a hall of famer?

    Apparently Ken Holland doesn’t know it either. Or Glen Sather. And the article does readily acknowledge the dangers of drafting a defenseman that high.

    I can tell you Kings’ fans aren’t all that upset tonight about taking Doughty so high.

  37. spoiler says:

    Thanks, Ribs, for posting that. Better than me posting a mobile link.

  38. Bad Seed says:

    Well, Doughty’s one. There aren’t enough to make a good argument for it.

  39. spoiler says:

    Hotstove wants Murray too.

    Up to 6 kids will get the Edmonton tour, and rumours confirmed that 2 other prospects have been here before Yakupov.

  40. Lowetide says:

    I think this reflects the Oilers thinking. I think the Oilers love Murray. And Reinhart. It is what it is.

  41. Ribs says:

    spoiler:
    Thanks, Ribs, for posting that. Better than me posting a mobile link.

    Ah, that’s what that was. You kids and your gadgets!

    Coffey my all time favourite. If they pick Murray and it’s the wrong pick, I’ll be that much more dissapointed.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Coffey. He was electric. And that is the truth.

  43. spoiler says:


    Ah, that’s what that was. You kids and your gadgets!

    Lol, well I’m mid-40s, but I tell ya since I finally caved on a cellphone (which took quite some time) my home computer has been burning with jealousy. It’s like having a fricking library in your pocket–I love it.

  44. mikedhorv says:

    anyone catch the discussion on the hot stove about the coyotes franchise folding. this would mean a dispersal draft. likely in the same order as the entry draft before the lottery. this would mean oliver ekman larson or keith yandle wearing copper in blue. I’m going to go take a cold shower. the kid is looking at me funny.

  45. Ribs says:

    I think I’m holding on to my old flip phone until it dies. I’d love the latest gadget but the price jump is just silly to me. I pay $43 a month and I imagine it would at least double with a newer model phone.

    I also enjoy whipping out the flip phone when everyone at the table is texting away at the pub after a hockey game. Always gets a good laugh. I tell them I’ll text them, but it will be in morse code.

  46. Lowetide says:

    LAK win this and they win the Stanley.

  47. spoiler says:

    Coffey was my favorite too. I was pissed when he didn’t get the Conn Smythe.

    LT, I don’t know how much we can read into the Matheson article, he’s been begging the Oilers to take a defenseman for two years now. He desperately wanted Larsson last year, but despite promoting him as much as he has Murray this year, the Oil found a Nugget instead.

    However, if the Oilers did want the dman over yet another winger this year, they certainly have the support of the media right now (which will turn on them immediately after drafting Murray and create a controversy so there’s a narrative they can sell).

  48. sliderule says:

    Matheson is tied in with the oiler scouts and knows they want Murray.

    He is just trying to prepare us as unless Katz tells them to take Yak then Murray is the guy.

    The other option I think they are looking at is trading down and taking Reinhart.

    I would think by this time next year you won’t be calling Stu magnificent.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Sliderule: I agree. Unless upper management steps in I think the scouts draft Murray.

  50. spoiler says:

    Ah hah. Same guys, LT. Be freaky if Kopitar scores again. I will go with two first liners, #99 Wilf Paiement and #18 Davey Taylor.

  51. Gerta Rauss says:

    The Kings are unstoppable. Penner should get an assist on that.

  52. Maverick says:

    sliderule:
    Matheson is tied in with the oiler scouts and knows they want Murray.

    He is just trying to prepare us as unless Katz tells them to take Yak then Murray is the guy.

    The other option I think they are looking at istrading down and taking Reinhart.

    I would think by this timenext year you won’t be calling Stu magnificent.

    Stu McGregor has to do his job and draft for the future and now has do Tambellini’s job and fix the current NHL roster?? Pinning the hopes on a 18 year old defenseman to save the day. (sigh) Why again is Tambellini the GM??

    Sidenote: Brownlee has an interesting post on Oilersnation about getting the two best forwards in the draft, Yakupov and Galchenyuk. Hmm. Several interesting ideas, one in particular ;-)

    WOW, LA 2-0 in the series.

  53. Maverick says:

    Maybe the series will be over in 4 games. LA looks pretty darn good!

  54. AussieRules says:

    Sorry if this has been addressed previously, but i was wondering why you leave Jacob Trouba out of all your lists and analyses Lowetide? Trouba’s pretty high on most other lists, and someone I thought looked very impressive at the WJC. Trouba’s playing style reminds me of Zach Bogosian before he hit the NHL, all-round dman who can hit and has a heavy shot.

  55. DSF says:

    Gerta Rauss:
    The Kings are unstoppable. Penner should get an assist on that.

    He did.

  56. spoiler says:

    Matheson’s Hockey World is up… Nik Lidstrom, Tim Thomas, Oiler coaching vacancy, Brandon Davidson and the usual collection of UFA/trade thoughts.

  57. stevezie says:

    Maverick,

    Not all sweeps are ass-kickings. Sometimes one teams just knows how to beat another.

  58. Ribs says:

    spoiler,

    Thanks for the link! Hah!

  59. Dave Casselman says:

    Lowetide,

    Geez, interesting you’d say that. Columbus’ needs should be better defined by draft day, assuming the haul from a Nash trade better clarifies their needs. 2nd spot may just be a pretty good position from which to be if; i) There’s a targeted prospect, or; ii) Another team wants to move up. To me, 2nd isn’t the end of the world. . .

  60. stevezie says:

    Apologies for spelling mistakes. Whiskey is my co-pilot.

  61. spoiler says:

    Ribs,

    LMAO!

    One of the rumours in Matty’s missive is Franzen for Green.

    If Green is available, I hope Tambi is in there pitching. Green improved his defensive game this year according to reports and his offensive game is top end. He’s a huge bonus to any powerplay. If Detroit is after him, that says something too.

  62. Ribs says:

    Here’s the link….

    I’m constantly amazed at the transparency from the Detroit Red Wings org. I think there’s a reason that they are the gold standard in most areas right now.

    What’s the harm in giving Kreuger the reigns for a year, really? Sutter can wait.

  63. bookje says:

    You guys are hilarious, the Oilers are jerking the fans around via the media with regards to the draft. One day its Murry, next its Yak, next they are shopping the pick, then its BPA, then its drafting for position, blah blah blah.

    Don’t believe anything you read until about 24 hours before draft day – those are the only leaks that have any substance.

  64. VOR says:

    The big question surrounding Ryan Murray is his offence. Will he have any at the pro level?

    It certainly doesn’t looking promising. Paul Coffey was scoring over a point a game in junior at the same age. Most future NHL offensive D-Men do announce themselves early.

    But what about these guys:

    66 games played 6 goals 21 assists 27 points
    56 games played 3 goals 31 assists 34 points
    19 games played 0 goals 2 assists 2 points

    No scout could have predicted what would happen to these three young men absed on what they did at Murray’s age.

    The first guy, Larry Murphy, two years later scored 76 points in the NHL and 1216 points in his carrer. 4 years later the third, Nick Lidstrom, would score 60 points in the NHL and go on to total 1142 and of course add a bunch of Norris trophies.

    The middle guy is maybe the hardest to put in context. He wouldn’t see an NHL ice surface for five years and then he managed 67 games 2 goals 13 assists 15 points. At 18 Serge Savard was an amazing 11 years away from 20 40 60 in the NHL. he was never a offensive super star but 8 Stanley Cups is still really impressive.

    A scout who had taken a flier on any of them would have hit the home run. Murphy announced himself a year later and it was his draft year, but the Red Wings took a wild flier on Lidstrom. Savard wasn’t on anybody’s list.

    Savard might well have faded into obscurity except he caught the break of a life time when his team, which was no powerhouse, changed coaches. A clumsy kid who couldn’t skate met a coach who believed basic skills mattered and taught them well. That was the book on Scotty Bowman, great teacher at best a mediocre coach. By all accounts he spent hours on drills and patient teaching. The team went something like 20 28 8.

    So there we are. There is no way of knowing if Murray is an offensive dud who at best will be Nick Schultz,, two years from superstardom, four years from becoming a legend, or 11 years from becoming a “great two way d-man”, though of course only 6 away from a Conn Smythe Trophy. If Stu picks him it will be one of the brave calls in the the history of the NHL.

  65. Ribs says:

    VOR:
    If Stu picks him it will be one of the brave calls in the the history of the NHL.

    And that says about as much as anyone needs to say. You can have the grande prize behind door number one, or you can choose one of the other “mystery” doors. Your choice!

  66. Captain Obvious says:

    Drafting Murray #1 would be a disaster. Drafting him #2 would be a disaster.

    I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to hoping for a trade down to get Luke Schenn. Sure, Schenn isn’t any good and costs a lot of money but at least that way we’d have a chance of not getting Reilly instead of Murray.

    The only thing worse than drafting Murray would be drafting Reinhart.

    Please remember the golden rule: Always draft a forward in the top ten. Always. There are top flight D later in the draft every single year. Top flight forwards are much harder to find.

    If you did a redo of last year’s draft the only D that would go higher is Doug Hamilton. The rest would all fall. Adam Larsson would have been a big miss (not a Schiefele like disaster but a big mess nonetheless).

    2011 Redo

    1. Nugent-Hopkins
    2. Landeskog
    3. Couturier
    4. Hamilton
    5. Huberdeau
    6. Baertschi
    7. Larson

    Learn the lessons of the past and draft Yakupov or Galchenyuk or Grigorenko or the Finn or anybody but Murray.

  67. Schitzo says:

    Things I’ve learned from a five year old: how to tell when someone knows what the right choice is, but doesn’t want to admit it and is searching for an excuse to choose something else.

    My kid: well, I haven’t had any fruit today, but apple skin is hard to chew and I’m tired and fruit snacks are easy to chew.

    Oilers: well, yak is talented but he’s a russian and we need defence and murray has so much poise…

  68. spoiler says:

    The six invitees to Katz Kountry is a real tell, I think.

    MacGregor told NHL.com yesterday that there’s 5 or 6 guys that deserve consideration for the #1. Even if that’s a smokescreen, it’s highly unlikely to be a smokescreen for a clearcut #1 scenario. Your adding other players into the mix to justify there being more than 1 favorite.

    If I had to guess at the 6 names, I’d say,

    Yakupov (which we know)
    Murray
    Rielly
    Reinhart
    Dumba
    Galchenyuk

    Now this could just be the ever-evaluating Oilers at work, I suppose, but it’s very curious.

  69. Marc says:

    spoiler:

    Now this could just be the ever-evaluating Oilers at work, I suppose, but it’s very curious.

    I don’t think it’s that odd. The Oilers have indicated that they don’t think they’ll trade the pick, but if they get the right offer they will. They have no way of knowing which team might make them the right offer on draft day, or which players will be available when that pick comes up. Given that, it makes sense to get to know 6-8 guys so that if they did get an offer that’s too good to turn down, they know they’ll still get a guy they know well and are comfortable with.

    Bringing 6 guys in for a visit means that all 6 are guys they might take with the top pick – it would be negligent just to look closely at the guys that are in contention for the top pick, so I imagine they’re doing it to be prepared in the event that they do get a good offer to move down.

  70. sliderule says:

    The analogy that schitzo gives is bang on.

    The oilers and in particular the scouts are leaking lame reasons for not picking Yak.

    Parental involvement;he lved with Galchenyuk’s parents and I thought his parents are still in Russia.

    Long shifts and not wanting to come off ice;Come on!!Every star junior hockey player does that.Hall’s long shifts in Windsor are legendary

    Teammates dislike him.His coach says he is most popular guy on team

    Vague rumors about character as reported by Gregor.Hard to rebut vague rumors.

    Maybe after this draft we will remove half of the magnificent bastards nickname.and just call him the bastard who blew our number one pick.

  71. Lowetide says:

    AussieRules:
    Sorry if this has been addressed previously, but i was wondering why you leave Jacob Trouba out of all your lists and analyses Lowetide? Trouba’s pretty high on most other lists, and someone I thought looked very impressive at the WJC. Trouba’s playing style reminds me of Zach Bogosian before he hit the NHL, all-round dman who can hit and has a heavy shot.

    Basically still finding out about all of these guys. It’s a lot of reading, that’s why the list changes so much, or at least mine does. I think Trouba’s scouting reports are very positive, especially considering the company he’s been keeping on the USNTDP team.

  72. AussieRules says:

    Lowetide: Basically still finding out about all of these guys. It’s a lot of reading, that’s why the list changes so much, or at least mine does. I think Trouba’s scouting reports are very positive, especially considering the company he’s been keeping on the USNTDP team.

    Thanks. I thought that might be the case, but thought I’d ask in case you knew something that was deliberately keeping him out of your draft musings because, Trouba to me, looks like he has the potential to be that elusive 5 tool defenseman whose only draw back is that he probably wont go straight to the NHL.

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