Craig MacTavish makes so much sense its scary. If hockey in Canada is a religion, then the man from London, Ontario is the finest preacher this congregation has ever seen. After seasons of 30th, 30th, 29th and 24th, MacT has the fanbase at a fever pitch.
- MacT: We can acquire role players by other means. If you draft somebody who’s inadequate in maybe speed or size but has some skill, maybe he can improve in those areas and offer … significant skill that can move the dial of your team.”
We’ve been down this road so many times on this blog, but the walkabout picks–usually in the third round–may be a thing of the past. This is extremely good news for fans of ‘value picks’ because being risk averse is just about the wisest thing you can do on draft day (the only thing wiser is to draft first overall).
There’s a great way to show the value of ‘risk averse’ and here’s how: take the actual draft number and compare it to the Bob McKenzie list. This season, if Edmonton followed the BM list, they would end up with Sean Monahan (#7), Eric Comrie (#37) and John Diaby (#56). They won’t draft those guys (suspect we’ll see two centermen) but you get the idea. Here’s what last year would have looked like: Nail Yakupov (#1), Martin Frk (#32).
After MacT’s conference yesterday I expect we’re going to see only one second round pick used (sounds like a player/prospect and a pick for a player–not quite a 3-for-1 but we’re getting there!) and one hopes they can add a third or fourth round selection.
As it stands, and after seeing BM’s list, I’m going to predict the following:
- #7 Sean Monahan or Darnell Nurse
- #37 Laurent Dauphin or Tristan Jarry
- #56 Dillon Heatherington or Connor Hurley
Fun weekend ahead!
THE NAMES WE’RE HEARING
There appears to be some fretting over the names we’re hearing–Cal Clutterbuck, Zack Smith–as incoming options. Remember, the Oilers are set at the skill slots (save for LW) and have Paajarvi as a skill winger on the 3line. It makes sense to me we’re going to see size and toughness brought in, and MacT said as much yesterday:
- MacT: “Our team is more modeled, at this point, fortunately for us, after the current Stanley Cup champions. We do have that level of skill but we also need to add the complement we need to compete in the tough areas of the game as well. It’s a combination of entertaining moving some draft choices and also moving some of the current players that we have an abundant supply of to get bigger, stronger players. I’ve been consistent in what I’ve said about the value of depth. It’s been on full display in the Stanley Cup playoffs. You need those big goals. Even the year we went to the Stanley Cup finals we had great depth. We had lots of guys who could contribute offensively. And last year we really didn’t. We had a lot of one- and two- and zero-goal scorers. The best you could hope for was that they were a non-negative factor.”
Let’s list last season’s 3 and 4 line Oilers with the current names being discussed:
- Zack Smith 48, 4-9-13
- Ryan Smyth 47, 1-10-11
- Cal Clutterbuck 42, 4-5-9
- Shawn Horcoff 31, 4-4-8
- Lennart Petrell 35, 2-5-7
- Ryan Jones 27, 2-5-7
- Eric Belanger 26, 0-3-3
- Ben Eager 14, 1-1-2
- Jarred Smithson 10, 1-0-1
- Mike Brown 27, 1-0-1
- Anton Lander 11, 0-0-0
- Chris VandeVelde 11, 0-0-0
- Teemu Hartikainen 23, 0-0-0
These are even strength numbers from nhl.com. The Oilers plan to return Ryan Smyth from this list, and maybe Ryan Jones and I do think Mike Brown will be back. The possible additions add size and toughness, and I do think you can argue they are upgrades over what the team had last year (I know, that’s not difficult).
Can Smith and Clutterbuck take and make a pass? Can they work with a more skilled player like Paajarvi? Don’t know. MacT would appear to think so. Are these men better bets than Eric Belanger and Ben Eager were in 2011? Don’t know. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
This morning at 10 on Team 1260, we’re going walkabout with several terrific guests. Scheduled to appear:
- Dustin Nielson from Team 1260. A fellow draft nerd, we’ll figure out the top of the draft and talk about the Oilers possibles.
- Michael Spiedel from hockey symposium. Michael (speeds) is very good at ‘value picks’ and I’ll ask him what looks good this year.
- Kent Simpson from Team 1260′s Oil Kings broadcasts. We’ll talk Oil Kings and WHL as they pertain to the draft.
- Jeff Chapman from Copper and Blue. Draft, MacT and I have a feeling Devo.
- Noah Love from the National Post. We’ll talk about his interesting article on fixing the Oilers.
Text 10-1260 or @Lowetide on twitter. Looking forward to it!