This year’s draft follow has been a lot of fun. Mostly because there are so many brilliant people to read and talk to about the draft, but also due to the high quality of this year’s edition. We began looking at things last September as Bob McKenzie gave us the top 10 and it’s been a wild ride since. Here’s the final final.
TOP 30 FOR 2013
- L Jonathan Drouin: The most offensive potential in the draft. Outstanding prospect.
- C Nathan MacKinnon: Nice range of skills, not enough to make up for the gap in offense.
- D Seth Jones: Franchise defender. Offensive is not outstanding, rest of the package off the charts.
- C Sasha Barkov: Complete player, may step into an NHL lineup immediately.
- C Elias Lindholm: Impressive offense, nice range of skills. Getting lost a little, incredibly.
- L Valeri Nichushkin: A man among boys, scoring winger with an explosive quality.
- C Sean Monahan: Two-way C with the ‘perfect fit’ skill set for the Oilers.
- D Rasmus Ristolainen: Very little negative, across the board talent.
- D Darnell Nurse: He’s an excellent prospect, 2-way guy with plenty of room to grow.
- C Bo Horvat: Two-way C, he’s a bull in the middle (6.01, 203) and I bet MacT loves him.
- C Curtis Lazar: Scoring C who may end up being a winger. A load, skilled.
- D Ryan Pulock: Defender can do it all, plus shot. Wide range of skills.
- C Max Domi: Skilled C with pluck. Offense is very good.
- C Hunter Shinkaruk: Pure scorer, lacks in other areas.
- C Fredrik Gauthier: 6.05, 210 C with skill, intimidating size and he’ll likely play on a skill line.
- L Anthony Mantha: Goal scorers go high, Mantha hit 50 last season.
- L Kerby Rychel: A trending player, he’s skilled and mean.
- C Alex Wennberg: Lanky skill center with speed and quickness; playing in Swe2 league.
- L Artturi Lehkonen: Skill winger has some outstanding potential but lacks size.
- C Nicolas Petan: Small and extremely skilled.
- D Josh Morrissey: Fast, skilled, impressive.
- D Nikita Zadorov: Huge defender with speed, shutdown player.
- C JT Compher: Skill C, agitator with talent.
- D Mirco Mueller: Smart defender with plenty of skill.
- L Adam Erne: Skill W has some toughness.
- R Valentin Zykov: Solid offensive player with good size, plays a physical style.
- C Ryan Hartman: Good skater very good awareness a player who is no fun to play against!
- D Madison Bowey: Smooth. Fine skater, lots of potential.
- L Morgan Klimchuk: Scoring winger has some nice things.
- C Laurent Dauphin: A very nice skill player.
In a way, this draft reminds me of the 2007 Entry draft. That season, Edmonton chose a London Knights C (Sam Gagner) and passed on an Ottawa 67s pivot (Logan Couture) and history (so far) favors the Ottawa junior. This time, the Oilers appear ready to take the Ottawa 67s C (Monahan) while passing on the London Knight. I think they would happily draft either.
- Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s.
- Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him (suspect it’s 3line).
- Deal Hemsky for immediate help (even if its a checker).
- Deal Horcoff or slot him into the 3line job for which he is actually ideal.
- Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov with puck retrieval, blocking out the sun, etc
- Find a 3line C and L to play with Paajarvi
- Find a 4line C to play with Smyth/Brown
- Decide on Lander/Belanger or other for 13F (and 14F if they go with 7D).
- Top 4 defender (a genuinely effective one, no ‘almosts or sortas’)
- Better blue depth (MacT has done this with Belov, plus Klefbom/Fedun/Marincin)
- Backup goalie
- AHL #1/NHL #3 goalie
- Sign Paul Ranger
PREDICTING THE WEEKEND
This was a pretty easy item during the Tambellini era, not so much with the new guy. I asked Terry Jones yesterday if he thought 8 or 9 changes were too much, and Jones said ‘you’d think that but every time MacT speaks he talks about doing that much” so I suspect the summer will bring much turnover. However, the draft weekend should see only a few items taken care of by MacT.
- Sign Gagner to a long term deal close to or over $5M per season.
- Draft a center in the first round (in order MacKinnon; Barkov; Lindholm; Monahan; Horvat; Lazar; Domi)
- Find a home for Hemsky (with immediate return)
- Find a home for Horcoff
- Find a replacement for Horcoff
- Use the second round to either deal for immediate help or draft solid talents like Tristan Jarry and Dillon Heatherington.
I’d say that’s more than enough for one weekend.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning we kickstart the long weekend, hope you can tune in. Among those scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk about Steve’s memories of the 1984 Oilers, the draft and the impact of a new generation of media personalities like Elliotte Friedman.
- Scott Taylor from the huddle.co We’ll talk about the Jets trading up, the Blue Bombers debut in that terrific looking new stadium and the big weekend for the Blue Jays.
- Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey. Current agent, former NHL GM and NHL assistant GM brings a wealth of knowledge to draft weekend so we’ll ask about players and teams and the biggest weekend of the off-season.
- Andreas Morse from FC Edmonton. Another big Sunday game for the Eddies, we’ll preview and talk about FC’s season.
- Jungle Jim Hunter. We’ll talk about Calgary cleanup, the work athletes do to prepare for major events, and the focus required to stay on course after draft day.
- Adam Rosenke is a member of Canada 2 bobsled and getting ready for Sochi. We’ll talk about how much effort it takes to get there.