2014 DRAFT: YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING

There’s going to be immense pressure on the Edmonton Oilers to draft Aaron Ekblad this summer (if he’s available), and similar pressure to add a center like Reinhart or Bennett. The guy the Oilers should take a long look at? Another bloody winger!

Jake Virtanen is a right-handed left winger. He’s 6.01, 210 and a very late (Aug) 1996 birthday. He’s from Abbotsford, which is spitting distance from Nuge’s hometown of Burnaby. Virtanen is a fast train and a first shot scorer, and the youngster has some edge to his game. You know I’m a fan of “complete” players, and Virtanen checks off almost everything on the list—he is not (from what I’ve seen and read) a highly creative player.  He can take and make a pass, and play with skill, the best part being his ability to score goals at even strength (Virtanen leads his team with 24, three ahead of Oilers prospect Greg Chase).

The problem for the Oilers is that Virtanen is yet another winger. How on earth can they add another impact winger? I’m not sure, maybe they continue the Hall at center experiment or maybe they cash a winger for a center. I think there’s a chance Virtanen is going to find a way into this year’s top 5—perhaps behind Ekblad, Reinhart and Bennett and ahead of Draisaitl and Dal Colle.

I mentioned Virtainen previously here.

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92 Responses to "2014 DRAFT: YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING"

  1. TeeVee says:

    Eakins seems intent on forcing these goofy-foot wingers to play on their “proper” side, ie. Perron and Yak.

    Would Virtanen perish in Edmonton? :)

  2. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The goal to assist ratio on Virtanen is something to watch for.

    You always wonder about whether that means he’s gotten lucky and lacks the skill to generate offence on his own or for others.

    Unless he gets somewhere near super elite scoring (he’s no where near that now at just under a PPG) in the next couple of months I can’t come near justifying picking him in the top 4 to 5 over higher scorers who are also in positions of need for the team.

  3. speeds says:

    I like the little bits I’ve read about Virtanen, but I don’t think there’s a case to be made at this point for selecting him ahead of either Reinhart or Bennett.

    However, if EDM moves up to 28th (or better) by the end of the season, they would still have (at least) a 42% chance of not picking in the top 3.

  4. PhrankLee says:

    Take the highest possible value pick. Keep culling. Make a trade package. Find 1G

  5. RBB says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I can’t come near justifying picking him in the top 4 to 5 over higher scorers who are also in positions of need for the team.

    I absolutely agree!
    I would be more inclined to draft Nick Ritchie, but I suppose I am being blinded by size.
    Regardless, we should only be talking about these players if the Oilers rush up the standings to end the season.

  6. frjohnk says:

    I watched the PA vs Calgary game the other night and Virtanen’s speed really was outstanding. He scored a beauty of a goal as well coming down the right wing and sniping a shot top shelf.

    But the last thing the oilers need is another top 6 winger where they have able depth while at the same time, are lacking in the center postion.

    But if the oilers end up picking 5th or 6th and they were to trade one of Perron ( two years left, then UFA) Eberle or Yakupov, then I think they would take a good look at picking Virtanen.

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The real issue here is big picture.

    If MacT and his scouts decide a player like Virtanen is who they want, they have to trade down. There’s no point using the pick so on him like this.

    The other thing is does MacT trade the pick and is another 1st coming back? If they are picking elsewhere in the draft all these other players become interesting… I like that Barbashev btw.

    But Virtanen, barring something crazy, is out of the question in the top 5 IMO.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide’s starting to troll his own blog followers with today’s drafting a winger blarney.

  9. hunter1909 says:

    What happened the last time MacT/Lowe traded down in the draft? Or up in the draft, for that matter?

    M.A.Pouliot, and Riley Nash leap out of the 20 year compost heap of similar rubbish.

  10. hunter1909 says:

    Nothing looks cleverer than dealing away seemingly sound assets for futures…at the time of the transaction.

    It’s kind of like getting married in haste…plenty of time to regret it later.

    And of course MacT likes to be known as an “impatient” GM.

  11. Ducey says:

    You know I’m a fan of “complete” players, and Virtanen checks off almost everything on the list—he is not (from what I’ve seen and read) a highly creative player.

    So its a good thing he is not a highly creative player or is that a typo?
    ——————————————————————————————–

    But really, there should be not even a second thought if you want a forward:

    Virtanen August ’96 56 games 35 19 54pts 85 PIM
    Bennett June ’96 47 games 29 50 79 pts 99 PIM

    Three months difference age. Bennett is at 1.68 pts/gm. Virtanen is at .96.

    Add in that Bennett is a Center and its a no brainer.

  12. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Here’s a thought experiment.

    Instead of Virtanen/Nurse… last year they pick Nichushkin and this year Ekblad.

  13. Woodguy says:

    TeeVee:
    Eakins seems intent on forcing these goofy-foot wingers to play on their “proper” side, ie. Perron and Yak.

    Would Virtanen perish in Edmonton?

    That’s strictly for board play in their own zone. “sticks on the boards” is important to many NHL coaches.

    Forwards are free switch sides once they leave the Dzone.

  14. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Here’s a thought experiment.

    Instead of Virtanen/Nurse… last year they pick Nichushkin and this year Ekblad.

    Or even better…

    Galchenyuk-Nichushkin-Ekblad

  15. WeirsBeard says:

    I still think the play is to move the pick. More value in trading it as part of a package for the Oil than picking another small skill player or waiting 2years on ekblad(given all the other d prospects in the system).

  16. WeirsBeard says:

    hunter1909:
    Lowetide’s starting to troll his own blog followers with today’s drafting a winger blarney.

    Maybe that guy he interviews in the RE series took over and is posting now?

  17. Clay says:

    The Great One: Or even better…

    Galchenyuk-Nichushkin-Ekblad

    May as well go all the way…

    Seguin, Landeskog, Murray, Nichushkin, Ekblad.

    … the only clear mistake here (imho) would be taking Seguin over Hall. The rest, well, time will tell.

  18. frjohnk says:

    Ducey,

    Totally agree with you if the oilers are up at the podium and Virtanen and Bennett are still available, Bennett will be picked 10 times out of 10. But the possibilities exist that the oilers trade down, or trade one of their top six wingers for a center, or they finish 5th or 6th. And with those scenarios, looking at a guy like Virtanen is not a bad thing. I hope they would also be looking at Dal Colle and Ritchie as well.

  19. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    WeirsBeard: Maybe that guy he interviews in the RE series took over and is posting now?

    We’re through the looking glass people!!! hold on to your hot tub, the time machine is about to take off!!!

  20. sliderule says:

    If Ekblad is still there the oilers should run up screaming his name.

    Then they could trade Nurse who continues to make bonehead plays that were warned about before the draft for another top 10 pick and draft Ritchie or Virtanen .

    Ekblad has everything you want in a defenceman .He is mean ,tough,and has a big shot that gets goals.Dare I say Weber like.

  21. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One: Or even better…

    Galchenyuk-Nichushkin-Ekblad

    that obscures the question.

    the question is… if you want a scoring power winger so bad that you use a top 3 pick on one who would you rather have: Nichushkin or Virtanen?

  22. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: that obscures the question.

    the question is… if you want a scoring power winger so bad that you use a top 3 pick on one who would you rather have: Nichushkin or Virtanen?

    It’s quite likely the power winger who is 6’04″ 205 will have more “power” than the winger who is 5’11″ 180.

  23. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One: It’s quite likely the power winger who is 6’04″ 205 will have more “power” than the winger who is 5’11″ 180.

    Since those vitals don’t match either player, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

  24. oilersfan says:

    I have read a lot of various scouting reports on Ekblad. He has been compared to Shea Weber, Rob Blake and Drew Doughty. He himself tries to model his game after Nik Lidstrom, although he is much bigger and not as good of a skater.

    His offensive numbers so far are better than Weber’s at draft plus 2 let alone draft minus 1.

    He is only 17 I wonder if his current 6’4 217 lb frame matures around 6’5 230 like Weber .

    No brainer for me to pick him but if he is gone I am all about Bennett.

    I asked this question in another thread and didn’t get much response but will ask again…if Ekblad is Shea Weber and Bennett is Doug Gilmour and Draisaitl is Ryan Getzlaf, which of those three players would help the current roster of the Oilers the most?

    Clearly they could use them all but I would start with Weber/Ekblad then add Gilmour/Bennett second and Getzlaf/Draisaitl third.

    fwiw the player that Sam Reinhart is most often compared to is John Tavares although some say Zetterberg or Mike Richards.

  25. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule:
    If Ekblad is still there the oilers should run up screaming his name.

    Then they could trade Nurse who continues to make bonehead plays that were warned about before the draft for another top 10 pick and draft Ritchie or Virtanen .

    Ekbladhas everything you want in a defenceman .He is mean ,tough,and has a big shot that gets goals.Dare I say Weber like.

    The thing that worries me about Ekblad is the all the stuff LT’s mentioned recently: does a giant simply walk over easier competition? has he peaked early?

    The other think is the EV scoring (for the life of me I can’t search this damn site worth a damn… 10 minutes can’t find an article LT posted in the last 2 months).

    LT posted the scoring by discipline for Jones, Ekblad and Nurse (and a few others). IIRC Ekblad had a great PP # and a good EV #, but was well short of Jones at EVs…

    All that tells me stick to the plan. Take the best C.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Ducey:
    You know I’m a fan of “complete” players, and Virtanen checks off almost everything on the list—he is not (from what I’ve seen and read) a highly creative player.

    So its a good thing he is not a highly creative player or is that a typo?
    ——————————————————————————————–

    But really, there should be not even a second thought if you want a forward:

    Virtanen August ’9656 games 35 19 54pts 85 PIM
    Bennett June ’9647 games 29 50 79 pts 99 PIM

    Three months difference age.Bennett is at 1.68 pts/gm.Virtanen is at .96.

    Add in that Bennett is a Center and its a no brainer.

    Not a typo. I have read he’s not an overly creative forward.

  27. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Since those vitals don’t match either player, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=162486

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=149178

  28. Kosmo Kraemer says:

    There is only two positions that the Oilers should be looking at, and that depends on what MacT does with Samwise. If Ekblad is available you draft him as he is one who should be a top pairing D in the future. If Sammy is gone then you have to look at Bennett, a bigger frame to slot in there and help the smaller forwards on the second line. Those are the only two choices to consider

  29. oilersfan says:

    I am not sure Bennett is big or ever will be. right now he is 6 foot half an inch and 183 lbs. I hear he is dirty and mean like Gilmour, and an elite defensive player. Kills penalties, wins faceoffs is plus 35 or something like that. Oh, and on top of that is very close to Reinhart in ppg , but ahead in 5×5 ppg, and is almost a whole year younger.

    If I am Buffalo I would take Bennett over Reinhart. Rumours are that Buffalo is tanking on purpose to get McDavid and he played with Bennett in midget. That’s why I think Buffalo takes Bennett and that leaves the Oilers one of Ekblad or Reinhart.

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=149178

    Always check your sources, esp. on vitals. you should know this. This shit is notoriously wrong and mis-reported (whether by accident, failure to update, or some cynical wrangling)

    multiple sources (up to date ones) is the best way to insulate your mistake:

    http://www.whl.ca/roster/show/id/9453

    http://www.isshockey.com/iss-top-30/

    http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=9593

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One,

    Always check your sources, esp. on vitals. you should know this. This shit is notoriously wrong and mis-reported (whether by accident, failure to update, or some cynical wrangling)

    multiple sources (up to date ones) is the best way to insulate your mistake:

    http://www.whl.ca/roster/show/id/9453

    http://www.isshockey.com/iss-top-30/

    http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=9593

  32. Ducey says:

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/103891/iss-draft-rankings-ekblad-reinhart-still-1-2-in-the-2014-draft-rankings/

    ISS has their draft rankings up-dated today.

    1. Ekblad
    2. Reinhart
    3. Bennett

    7. Virtanen

    11. Draisaitl

    The sleeper I think is Fleury. 2nd rated Dman. Can really skate at 6’2″

  33. frjohnk says:

    Since Bob Mckenzies mid term draft rankings

    Aaron Ekblad 10GP 5G 6A 11Pts
    Sam Reinhart 9 GP 8G 15A 23Pts
    Sam Bennett 7 GP 3G 10A 13Pts
    Nick Ritchie 9 GP 11G 6A 17Pts
    Micheal Dal Colle 9 GP 5G 7A 12Pts
    Jake Virtanen 11GP 7G 2A 9Pts
    Leon Draisaitl 10GP 4G 9A 13Pts

  34. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ducey:
    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/103891/iss-draft-rankings-ekblad-reinhart-still-1-2-in-the-2014-draft-rankings/

    ISS has their draft rankings up-dated today.

    1. Ekblad
    2. Reinhart
    3. Bennett

    7. Virtanen

    The big surprise of that list is that they remain very high on Nylander. Most other lists have dropped his ranking recently.

    Interesting player.

  35. fifthcartel says:

    I think you just have to get an Ekblad, a defense somehow, or centre out of this draft.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The big surprise of that list is that they remain very high on Nylander. Most other lists have dropped his ranking recently.

    Interesting player.

    The Euro kids are usually all over the place until that spring tournament (can’t remember what it’s called).

  37. russ99 says:

    If we improve after the break or trade down, I’m still liking Dreisaitl as our best pick. Too many scouts take too much stock in point totals in the last half of the year.

    If we can get Ekblad, nab him, otherwise trade down and get needed picks/players.

    The real question is what do we need worse – 1D or 2C?

    And if we pick one of the players for those spots are we going to be patient with them?

  38. oilersfan says:

    Reinhart’s offence is unbelievable for a WHL draft prospect. I can’t remember any prospect in this sort of dead puck era we live in having that kind of point totals. He is on pace to beat RNH by 25%, although he is oldish for his draft era.

    I am hoping for Bennett because of his mean streak or Ekblad because he projects to be a #1 dman, but Reinhart would be a good consolation prize if it gives us a 1 and 1a.

    Interesting that some scouts compare him to Zetterberg. Gives us our Datsyuk and Zetterberg with RNH and Reinhart.

    Now where the hell are we going to find our Lidstrom?

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    oilersfan:
    Reinhart’s offence is unbelievable for a WHL draft prospect. I can’t remember any prospect in this sort of dead puck era we live in having that kind of point totals. He is on pace to beat RNH by 25%, although he is oldish for his draft era.

    I am hoping for Bennett because of his mean streak or Ekblad because he projects to be a #1 dman, but Reinhart would be a good consolation prize if it gives us a 1 and 1a.

    Interesting that some scouts compare him to Zetterberg. Gives us our Datsyuk and Zetterberg with RNH and Reinhart.

    Now where the hell are we going to find our Lidstrom?

    Staples did some PPG work on recent picks today:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/14/will-top-forward-prospects-sam-bennett-and-sam-reinhart-go-higher-in-the-draft-than-aaron-ekblad/

  40. The Great One says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yeah 17 and 18 year old kids have an annoying habit of growing.

    In any event, the Russian is already much bigger and, at 18, I would imagine he’s not finished filling out.

  41. Pouzar says:

    Colin Wilson of any interest for Gagner?

    “In an attempt to replace Legwand, the Predators have been on the lookout for a young center. The Predators have reportedly shown interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, who is on the trade block.

    The Preds are believed to be dangling the likes of forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Ryan Ellis as trade bait. ”

    http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nas140214.html

  42. speeds says:

    russ99:
    The real question is what do we need worse – 1D or 2C?

    That is not the real question, IMO, and it’s a dangerous question that can lead you to selecting the wrong player, IMO.

    EDM “needs” both D help and C help, but you can’t only evaluate which one you need. You also need to evaluate which player is most likely to reach that potential (although I would change you question to 1D or 1C, it would not be awful if Bennett/Reinhart were to supplant RNH as the #1 C and have RNH as your 2C), along what sort of timeline, and if the player doesn’t reach that ultimate potential, what are his chances of being other types of players, etc.

  43. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Great One:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yeah 17 and 18 year old kids have an annoying habit of growing.

    In any event, the Russian is already much bigger and, at 18, I would imagine he’s not finished filling out.

    they’ll both keep growing through their early 20s.

    at any rate, they are close enough that other factors are going separate them more.

    At this point — as I alluded to — I’d prefer the Russian. but I’ve only just met Virtanen, so who knows.

  44. Lowetide says:

    speeds: That is not the real question, IMO, and it’s a dangerous question that can lead you to selecting the wrong player, IMO.

    EDM “needs” both D help and C help, but you can’t only evaluate which one you need.You also need to evaluate which player is most likely to reach that potential (although I would change you question to 1D or 1C, it would not be awful if Bennett/Reinhart were to supplant RNH as the #1 C and have RNH as your 2C), along what sort of timeline, and if the player doesn’t reach that ultimate potential, what are his chances of being other types of players, etc.

    I agree. The Oilers drafted a defenseman last season and have prospect blue out the window. Take BPA, and if it’s close grab a center.

  45. WeirsBeard says:

    How high do you have to be drafted to get the maxed out rookie contract?

    How many of these deals can a team afford? Does any rookie provide value at the 3.7 or whatever it is per year? At what point does it become prudent to use that sort of cap hit on established players without the deficiencies of a rookie?

  46. RBB says:

    frjohnk:
    Since Bob Mckenzies mid term draft rankings

    Aaron Ekblad10GP 5G6A11Pts
    Sam Reinhart9 GP8G15A23Pts
    Sam Bennett 7 GP3G10A13Pts
    Nick Ritchie 9 GP 11G 6A17Pts
    Micheal Dal Colle9 GP 5G7A12Pts
    Jake Virtanen11GP 7G2A 9Pts
    Leon Draisaitl10GP 4G9A13Pts

    Suitable Oilers picks: EKBLAD, Bennet, Reinhart, NICK RITCHIE

  47. oilersfan says:

    POuzar

    If Nashville is offering up Colin Wilson for Gagner that would seem to be a very good fit for both teams. While Wilson appears to be a downgrade on Gagner offensively, he is bigger and seems to have a better two way game. Maybe Wilson isn’t the second line center on a Stanley Cup team but he could be the third liner, with his size, and meanwhile he would appear to have the size and defensive play to be a good enough second line center on a playoff team anyway.

    I wonder if there is any truth to that rumour.

  48. Oilanderp says:

    Sorry everyone, but I have already decided on a whim that the Oilers will be picking 5th,and will select Haydn Fleury, even though I will be screaming “RITCHIE” at the TV. The wife will come in and tell me to settle down as I am scaring the neighbour’s kids again.

  49. gcw_rocks says:

    The Great One,

    Galchenyuk-Nichushkin-Ekblad

    Sigh. The team would also probably be better with Murray – Nichushkin – Bennett. Murray looks like he is one to two years from playing 1st pairing minutes.

    The Oilers need Bennett or Ekblad out of this draft. Between Reinhardt or Bennett, I take Bennett. He is almost a year younger than Reinhardt and plays with more sandpaper.

  50. Pouzar says:

    oilersfan:
    POuzar

    If Nashville is offering up Colin Wilson for Gagner that would seem to be a very good fit for both teams. While Wilson appears to be a downgrade on Gagner offensively, he is bigger and seems to have a better two way game. Maybe Wilson isn’t the second line center ona Stanley Cup team but he could be the third liner, with his size, and meanwhile he would appear to have the size and defensive play to be a good enough second line center on a playoff team anyway.

    I wonder if there is any truth to that rumour.

    Yeah his Career Corgis are pretty damn consistent at around 50% too. He has been playing mostly left wing but showed decent in his last couple games at Center. One more year at 2.5 million.

  51. Ducey says:

    Pouzar:
    Colin Wilson of any interest for Gagner?

    “In an attempt to replace Legwand, the Predators have been on the lookout for a young center. The Predators have reportedly shown interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, who is on the trade block.

    The Preds are believed to be dangling the likes of forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Ryan Ellis as trade bait. ”

    http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nas140214.html

    I think I would be happier with Wilson than the flotsam LA was offering up. On the other hand, Wilson, although bigger and cheaper, doesn’t really play any more physically than Gagner. Not sure why the Oilers make that trade.

  52. oilersfan says:

    I thought Wilson is a center? seems to play the most with Hornquist and Stalberg

  53. bendelson says:

    Pouzar:
    Colin Wilson of any interest for Gagner?

    “In an attempt to replace Legwand, the Predators have been on the lookout for a young center. The Predators have reportedly shown interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, who is on the trade block.

    The Preds are believed to be dangling the likes of forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Ryan Ellis as trade bait. ”

    http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nas140214.html

    Nashville is a good fit for Gagner… For fairly obvious reasons.

    Is it a soft landing location?? Who knows.

    For what its worth: I believe any trade talk with Nashville re: Gagner needs to include Austin Watson.

  54. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The thing that worries me about Ekblad is the all the stuff LT’s mentioned recently: does a giant simply walk over easier competition? has he peaked early?

    The other think is the EV scoring (for the life of me I can’t search this damn site worth a damn… 10 minutes can’t find an article LT posted in the last 2 months).

    LT posted the scoring by discipline for Jones, Ekblad and Nurse (and a few others). IIRC Ekblad had a great PP # and a good EV #, but was well short of Jones at EVs…

    All that tells me stick to the plan. Take the best C.

    I can’t find it either but I remember Jones numbers at es were better.
    Jones played for a powerhouse team while Ekblad’s team is middle of the pack and that might account for some of difference.
    Ekblad should end up with more goals (21) than Doughty got in any of his junior seasons.That is impressive.
    The question about his skating needs to be looked at but he has such good gap control it’s hard for him to be exposed.
    I think the choice will come down to Ekblad or Reinhart as Sabres will most likely take Bennett..
    Reinhart can score and is smart defensively but do you think they can win with two centres that are so alike in aggression .

  55. Kitchener says:

    Pouzar:
    Colin Wilson of any interest for Gagner?

    “In an attempt to replace Legwand, the Predators have been on the lookout for a young center. The Predators have reportedly shown interest in Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, who is on the trade block.

    The Preds are believed to be dangling the likes of forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Ryan Ellis as trade bait. ”

    http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nas140214.html

    Ellis was a dominant junior defender with a mature Niedermayer style. Smooth skating, great outlets, boxcars, yet surprisingly little chaos. He isn’t big and I’m not sure how a fair package deal would look, but Ryan Ellis in our system is desirable.

  56. Pouzar says:

    oilersfan:
    I thought Wilson is a center? seems to play the most with Hornquist and Stalberg

    Mostly wing this year but was recently back at Center again for a couple games and showed well.

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140128/SPORTS02/301280112/Nashville-Predators-Colin-Wilson-does-well-center?nclick_check=1

  57. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule: Reinhart can score and is smart defensively but do you think they can win with two centres that are so alike in aggression .

    BOS doesn’t think much of this argument.

  58. Bad Seed says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Sure, but the rest of their lineup makes up for it. The Oilers don’t have Boston’s size anywhere.

  59. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bad Seed:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Sure, but the rest of their lineup makes up for it.The Oilers don’t have Boston’s size anywhere.

    It’s much, much easier to find a rugged power forward who can play with skill than it is to find bona fide top 2 Cs.

    Take the C.

  60. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    That’s true but do you think they would do well against big centres of Western conference which is unfortunately were the oilers are stuck.

  61. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1958598-active-nhl-players-who-are-a-lock-for-the-hall-of-fame

    I’m taking a little heat over choosing Hemsky. Surprising.

    would have been a classic “are you still reading?” joke… always look in the footnotes for these things.

  62. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    That’s true but do you think they would do well against big centres of Western conference which is unfortunately were the oilers are stuck.

    I just don’t care about this size argument at all.

    Good players first, second and last. That’s what wins. Not size. If Reinhart is the best player and you don’t take him because you don’t think he’s sizey enough you should be shot.

  63. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Hall at center experiment

    You lost me there.

    The team didn’t like the results. As a fan I didn’t like the results. Most importantly, the player didn’t like the role, though he mouthed all the appropriate noises.

    On another note, I am bummed out by Nichushkin making the Russian squad and Yakupov being left off. Really starting to worry that Murray was the right choice. Yakupov has the tools (the shot, the passes, most of the skating) but I am wondering about his ability to put it all together. He’s been better lately but it’s been such an up-and-down season, with a lot more downs than ups for him. I hope it’s just the Eakins Effect.

  64. hags9k says:

    You’ve got to be kidding is right!

    Virtanen or any other GD W, only if first, you are SURE he is BPA above whichever of Eckblad, Bennett, or Reinhart is still on the board.
    And second, only if you then have a deal in place sending a W for a C or D.

    To just draft him and add to the current lineup would be so Oilers though.

    OMG PLEASE DONT LET ME DIE BEFORE SEEING LT’S BALANCE PICTURE!!!
    (It has to be an elephant on tightrope right? Or maybe Scarlet tripping straight towards the camera wearing a too loose sweater?)

    Can’t wait.

  65. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    You’re taking this “Virtanen over Draisaitl” message very well, I must say.

  66. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I just don’t care about this size argument at all.

    Good players first, second and last. That’s what wins. Not size. If Reinhart is the best player and you don’t take him because you don’t think he’s sizey enough you should be shot.

    I’ve made a few “clone RNH” quips but in the case of Reinhart, if he is a similar player in terms of two-way play and offensive ability then I wouldn’t hesitate to select him.

    I understand the attraction of Ekblad to many, but I think you and I are in agreement that a good center is just too important an asset to pass up.

    This team won’t fail because it has “too many RNHs” on the roster.

  67. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think Reinhart is plenty big enough but is he aggressive enough to handle the big tough western centres.

  68. hags9k says:

    RexLibris,

    Tough to argue with that. Another C of RNH’s quality be it Reinhart or Bennett would move us ahead quicker than waiting on Eckblad. But how to get a great defence if we don’t draftem…

    We may need to take Eckblad and then get ready to Bomb’er 4 Conner…

    In Stu we trust I guess. (Or Katz veto)

  69. Lowetide says:

    hags9k:
    You’ve got to be kidding is right!

    Virtanen or any other GD W, only if first, you are SURE he is BPA above whichever of Eckblad, Bennett, or Reinhart is still on the board.
    And second, only if you then have a deal in place sending a W for a C or D.

    To just draft him and add to the current lineup would be so Oilers though.

    OMG PLEASE DONT LET ME DIE BEFORE SEEING LT’S BALANCE PICTURE!!!
    (It has to be an elephant on tightrope right? Or maybe Scarlet tripping straight towards the camera wearing a too loose sweater?)

    Can’t wait.

    It’ll be worth the wait.

  70. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think Reinhart is plenty big enough but is he aggressive enough to handle the big tough western centres.

    One of the problems I have with bias-prone descriptors like “aggressive” or Staples’ new favorite from his MacT interview “driver” is that they are really hard to pin down what we mean; they can be over and under-emphasized; they can take on narratives; they can be displayed or not over short spans but leave lasting impressions; they can increase the value of lesser lights; etc.

    Now, I’m not saying these kinds of intangible qualities don’t matter. You need guys to go to the net. to fight for pucks etc.

    But, here’s something for you to mull over. Kopitar’s scouting report:

    http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/hockeynews/hockey/player.php?4984

    Is not a physical player, despite his massive frame. Must continue to work on his offensive consistency, something he’s counted on for. Could stand to become a little more assertive on offense.

    That perfectly describes what a scout would see in Koptiar, or Draisaitl for that matter.

    he’s not “aggressive.” He doesn’t look like a player trying to win or die trying.

    But… who the fuck cares what he looks like. He has the puck all the damn time. You win with him.

    That’s the guy I want. And, I really don’t care if he looks like he’s not trying to kill people.

  71. anonymous says:

    For the last few years I’ve been cherry picking the Ohl games I go to. Try to see the top prospects since the oilers have been so bad.

    Saw Bennett really good and he could be an excellent compliment to RNH. Ekblad looked fine and I would compare him to Dougie Hamilton but if it was between the two i would pick Hamilton. Although I saw Hamilton play about 15 more games than Ekblad.

    Not sure the oilers need another young defenseman over a centre.

  72. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think you have to judge aggression at least in part by penalty minutes.

    In Kopitars draft year he had 26 minutes in 30 games.As that would work out to about 65 minutes in a 70 game schedule I don’t know where the scout got the idea he wasn’t aggressive.

    Reinhart this year has 9 minutes and Draisatl has 20 minutes.I would say Draisaitl probably has shown that he mixes it up as I doubt if any of those minutes were from fighting.Reinhart not so much .

  73. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I think you have to judge aggression at least in part by penalty minutes.

    In Kopitars draft yearhe had 26 minutes in 30 games.As that would work out toabout 65 minutes in a 70 game schedule I don’t knowwhere the scout gottheidea he wasn’t aggressive.

    Reinhart this year has 9 minutes and Draisatl has 20 minutes.I would say Draisaitl probably has shown that he mixes it up as I doubt ifany of those minutes were from fighting.Reinhart not so much .

    Penalties can mean almost anything.

    Just as often they mean you are too slow to keep up with the play so you take a holding, hooking or interference call.

    Draisaitl’s frustrapoloza at the WJC probably shows he’s got some jam… but, for the most part he’s not described in those terms.

  74. FastOil says:

    These are players listed as centres on the top 6 Western Conference teams and sizes from TSN. Not all are playing C likely but for a quick look I think this works:

    St Louis
    TJ Oshie 5 11 – 189
    Jaden Schwartz 5 10- 190
    Derek Roy 5 9 -184
    Vladimir Sobotka 5 9 -197
    Patrik Berglund 6 3 – 217

    Chicago
    Jonathan Toews 6 2 – 208
    Andrew Shaw 5 10 – 180
    Marcus Kruger 6 0 – 181
    Michal Handzus 6 5 -215
    Brandon Pirri 6 0 -183

    Colorado
    Matt Duchene 5 11 – 200
    Nathan MacKinnon 6 0 -182
    Paul Stastny 6 0 – 205
    Ryan O’Reilly 6 0 – 200
    John Mitchell 6 1 – 204

    Anaheim
    Ryan Getzlaf 6 4 -221
    Nick Bonino 6 1 – 194
    Mathieu Perreault 5 10 -185
    Saku Koivu 5 10 – 182

    San Jose
    Joe Thornton 6 4 -225
    Joe Pavelski 5 11 – 190
    Patrick Marleau 6 2 -220
    Logan Couture 6 1 -200

    LA
    Anze Kopitar 6 3 – 225
    Jeff Carter 6 4 – 210
    Mike Richards 5 11 – 200
    Tyler Toffoli 6 1 -187
    Jarret Stoll 6 1 -212

    NHL average for an offensive player is 6 1 – 204 or there abouts. A few of these guys are sizeable, some on the downhill slope. The heaviness thing isn’t true as I see it. I do think the Western Conference has very good teams that are hard to play against. St Louis probably has the most bigger forwards.

    Reinhart and Bennet will play at 6 feet or over and probably close to 200 at some point if they are 180 now. They aren’t small. The Oilers problem is having too many guys under sized that are also less aggressive. Bennet is the best fit at C IMO.

    The Oilers are so weak at centre they have to take one of them. D is a big concern right now but not down the road.

  75. Pouzar says:

    I want Ekblad but a Center sure would be nice. :)

    But what do I know…up to a few months ago I thought Ekblad was a Swede.

  76. Numenius says:

    Ducey: I think I would be happier with Wilson than the flotsam LA was offering up.On the other hand, Wilson, although bigger and cheaper, doesn’t really play any more physically than Gagner.Not sure why the Oilers make that trade.

    From the stats I can see, I think it would be a good trade, but not a Perron trade.

    Wilson ’11-’12′ ’12-’13 ’13-’14
    CorsiON 0.66 1.78 -1.21
    CorsiRel 14.3 10.9 4.1
    P/60 1.38 1.96 1.29
    CorsiQoC 0.557 2.336 1.142
    CRelQoc -0.175 0.607 1.079
    PDO 1002 988 997

    Gagner
    CorsiON -2.18 -14.4 -14.52
    CorsiRel 6.3 -4.3 -2.9
    P/60 1.96 1.84 1.52
    CorsiQoC 0.708 0.452 1.543
    CRelQoc 0.575 -0.036 0.438
    PDO 1025 1007 980

    Edit: Sorry the stats spacings didn’t show up as I intended

    A few observations:

    1) Wilson’s P/60 (1.96) in ’12-’13 was the highest on Nashville’s entire team, while playing the toughest CorsiQoC (CorsiQoC 2.336) with 50% OZStart. (On Vollman’s chart for that year, he had a nice blue bubble in the “two-way” area of Vollman’s.) His P/60 are lower for this year, but I’d also guess they’d increase in Edm like Gordon’s have. That is, his point total could under-represent his skill, given the defensive, less-skilled team he plays for.

    2) Gagner has better P/60 overall (though not in ’12-’13) and so is more skilled than Wilson, but Wilson’s Corsi is better by any measure in the last three years against as tough or tougher comp than Gagner. So he’s a better possession player than Gagner.

    3) One slight concern is how much Wilson actually can play C. He hasn’t taken overly many faceoffs in the last 3 years and did poorly at them last year (38.1%). In ’11-’12 and ’13-’14, though, he was better (50.6% and 49.3 respectively)

    Conclusion:

    Wilson seems to be a good two-way forward who could at least fill in at 2C if not fit there comfortably. With all of the skill on Edmonton’s wings, I’d think they’d be better off offensively with Wilson there (if he can play C) than Gagner, despite Wilson’s lower G/60. He fills that defensive need while not losing much offense. If the experiment doesn’t work, he’d still be a very good 3rd liner who could play up if needed.

    Adding to this that Wilson is bigger and cheaper I don’t see how this could be a bad deal unless there’s something else we don’t know. It wouldn’t be a Perron deal, but it seems to make Edm better, and it would likely suit Nashville’s needs as well.

  77. sliderule says:

    FastOil,

    Bennett already has 99 pm and 87 pm last year and is described as aggressive .

    I don’t think you have to worry about his compete level.

    I don’t know how many of those pm were from hooking and holding. Lol.

  78. Bank Shot says:

    FastOil:

    The Oilers are so weak at centre they have to take one of them. D is a big concern right now but not down the road.

    Says who? There is no guarantee that any of the current D prospects pan out like we would like. Ekblad potentially gives the Oilers the full package D-man who is physically ready to play at the very least.

    Centers will develop faster and apparently the top 4-5 projected prospects for next season are all centres so the Oilers can just as easily use their top 5 2015 pick on C.

    I would like to see the Oilers aggressively pursuing a trade that will improve the team for next season so if they manage to get a good C or D then I’m ok with them drafting whatever.

    I’d be ok with the Wilson return for Gagner, even if he doesn’t work out at C. I don’t think the value is going to get much better than that.

  79. prairieschooner says:

    The Oilers have picked 1st 1st 1st and 8th
    If the BPA every year had been a small right winger should we pick the BPA if it meant our 5th small right winger?
    I know it is early days for MAcT but his job is to fill holes by trading those BPAs for high end players.

  80. FastOil says:

    Bank Shot: Says who? There is no guarantee that any of the current D prospects pan out like we would like. Ekblad potentially gives the Oilers the full package D-man who is physically ready to play at the very least.

    Centers will develop faster and apparently the top 4-5 projected prospects for next season are all centres so the Oilers can just as easily use their top 5 2015 pick on C.

    I would like to see the Oilers aggressively pursuing a trade that will improve the team for next season so if they manage to get a good C or D then I’m ok with them drafting whatever.

    I’d be ok with the Wilson return for Gagner, even if he doesn’t work out at C. I don’t think the value is going to get much better than that.

    I see the D as moving to at least average quality from below average, but once Gordon starts to taper off there is RNH and Lander at C. RNH needs a strong C to open the game for him. They need another offensive two way centre to compete with the multiple teams deep down the middle.

  81. Zangetsu says:

    prairieschooner,

    Yes you should. Trade the some of the five for need.

  82. fifthcartel says:

    The Mayor John Hoven ‏@mayorNHL
    For the first time in a long time… #Oilers scout in Manch tonight to take on Monarchs game.

  83. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    fifthcartel:
    The Mayor John Hoven ‏@mayorNHL
    For the first time in a long time… #Oilers scout in Manch tonight to take on Monarchs game.

    Re-thinking that Gagner deal, hmmm.

  84. prairieschooner says:

    Zangetsu,

    Given how hard it is to make a significant trade, that is easier said than done
    What if nobody wants what you are offering?
    Do you sit on your hands and wait with your team of right wingers or do you make a deal that gives you less than you hoped for because the market wasn’t optimum?

  85. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Re-thinking that Gagner deal, hmmm.

    Vey? Forbort?

    Or does MacTavish ask for that Colin Fraser kid?

  86. speeds says:

    RexLibris: Vey? Forbort?

    Or does MacTavish ask for that Colin Fraser kid?

    Here’s a possibility, if unlikely:

    They hadn’t been scouting Manchester for awhile because the player they were looking at was in the NHL – Toffoli – and he’s now in the AHL again with the Olympic break.

  87. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Romulus’ Apotheosis ‏@RomulusNotNuma 2h
    @coreypronman Will Barbashev play center as a pro, does he have the defensive acumen?

    Corey Pronman ‏@coreypronman 1h
    @RomulusNotNuma absolutely

  88. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    speeds: Here’s a possibility, if unlikely:

    They hadn’t been scouting Manchester for awhile because the player they were looking at was in the NHL – Toffoli – and he’s now in the AHL again with the Olympic break.

    How did he manage that? Arco can’t play… must have been sent down much earlier.

  89. hunter1909 says:

    Zangetsu: Trade the some of the five for need.

    Great idea. Trade players who potentially stand to have 15 year all star careers, for various castoffs from other teams, with MacT/Lowe doing the horse trading. What can possibly go wrong?

    On the other hand, Oilers stink so bad they might be drafting top 10 for the next decade, which allows Oilers the chance to toss good young players around like confetti.

    It’s called embarrassment of management.

  90. 719 says:

    Anyone else think this is shaping up to be alot like the 2006 draft?

    Johnson = Ekblad

    Staal = Bennett

    Toews = Reinhart

    Just like the 2006 entry draft the most talented player may go 3rd overall.

  91. Zangetsu says:

    hunter1909,

    I agree with you on the part about the oilers brain trust. The team has lost every deal but one (perron) since the pronged trade. However, it was a question of philosophy. I would treat the team like an economist. Number one picks often improve over time, and are worth more down the road. I don’t think the oilers need to make a trade to make room for another winger, judging from this year’s draft class, but if that were the case you move another winger, and keep moving. Once a player has surpassed his long term value in a deal, he is expendable. Buy low sell high.
    An example of how stupid the draft for need ideology is, imagine we took fowler instead of hall, because we drafted a dman. Do you think we could get a better dman back for Hall? How bout a dman on par with fowler along with other assets? Obviously you can. Sure deals are rarer than they used to be, but if you are building a team, you have all the time in the world. If you are making a run at the cup, it’s a different story.
    Good teams are made through many little moves. The oil have died from 1000 paper cuts. Penner for nothing, vis for thirty good games, gilbert for nothing, pronger for smid, then smid for nothing (soon). The oil are where they are from losing every single deal over the last seven years. Couple that with high draft picks on Coke Machines(before stu), and you have a recipe for failure. By all means draft for need, Whats and extra second ten years from now?

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