GM Craig MacTavish gave his Christmas ‘state of the union’ address to Oiler fans today (it is on the team website). MacT talked about the focus moving to amateur over Christmas and into the new year and the importance of the draft.
MacTavish made it a point to endorse Stu MacGregor and his amateur scouts, and that comes as no surprise to me. However, I’m certain many Oiler fans are disappointed in this news, as MacGregor’s performance has been under fire over the last couple of years (specifically since the 2010 draft began turning pro).
Among the specifics:
- MacT: “Last year was an unbeleiveable year (for the draft) and I saw so many players that I liked, and fortunately last year was an extremely deep draft. This year is not as deep.”
- MacT: “I feel extremely comfortable with him (Stu MacGregor) at the helm for our amateur draft.”
- MacT: “It is definitely draft and develop, we’re going to augment that with some free agent signings as we did last year (Gordon, Ference) and try and make some trades that will enable us to find the right fit with another team.”
We all read these things differently, but here’s my take:
- Although there may be changes in specific scouts on the amateur side (they’ve been in add mode for some time) the overall thrust is pleasing to the new GM. I’m onside all the way, as was reflected in my recent top 40. Names like Nurse, Yakimov, Chase and Simpson have forced their way up the list that includes Klefbom, Marincin and Gernat.
- They’re going to trade a top player, one of the impact kids and get a defenseman. Follow Elliotte Friedman. Two names he mentioned in today’s 30—Max Pacioretty and Shea Weber—are extremely interesting. If not those players, then that type.