There is news seeping through about the draft, but one wonders what to believe. Even when the main characters speak, it’s probably fiction. An example? The Florida Panthers say they’ll take Aaron Ekblad if they don’t trade the pick. Scott Luce, the Florida Panthers’ scouting director talking about Aaron Ekblad:
- Luce: “Ekblad is this year’s player most likely ready to step in and play in the NHL. He’s physically mature and has got lots of mileage underneath him at the OHL level.”
The Panthers could be telling the truth, or drumming up business (source NHL.com). That makes strategic sense—a team wanting the defenseman, like Edmonton or Calgary, would have to trade up—but there’s a group of talent at the top that appears to be equal in quality. Unlike 2010, when the world gave hockey two exceptional talents, the 2014 draft offers three or four very good ones. It doesn’t make sense to trade up, unless the player you want is the big defenseman.
The same article mentions Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton as being interested in trading up. What would Florida want? As with our conversation yesterday (the Bruins), there’s probably a match but the Oilers are unlikely to want to pay that price. Why would they? The only thing I can think of is Aaron Ekblad. I like the defenseman, he appears to be the real deal, but then again so did Adam Larsson not terribly long ago. Defensemen are harder to track, they really are. What should the Oilers do? Trust your scouts. Otherwise, why bother employing them?
I love this comment, because it shows that Eakins—thought of as being arrogant, and rightly so based on some events last season—is self aware and capable of admitting he’s wrong. There are people in the world who aren’t able to do that, although an overwhelming percentage seem to be related to me by blood or marriage. I like that Dallas Eakins has the courage of his convictions, and suspect he’ll have more success this season because there’s someone beside him saying “are you sure you want to do that?”
I think the hiring of Ramsay is great news for every player on the team. I imagine Ramsay having a positive impact on two-way forwards, two-way defensemen and the transition game. I have no idea how the power play tied itself in knots, but expect he’ll help there, too. The two main things Ramsay brings: experience and approach. A guy like Ramsay must have seen damn near everything during his time in the NHL (which began over 40 years ago), and his own experience as a young player should serve as an example to all coaches. Ramsay’s rookie season in Buffalo consisted of very little coaching, he was ready out of the box from Peterborough, but that lack of instruction at the NHL level was frustrating for him because there was no plan, no organization. I expect it’s one of the reasons he became a coach.
- Ramsay: “So I said to one of the players, ‘What do we do with the puck in our own end? What do we do with the breakouts?’ He said ‘Just get it out anyway you can, kid.’ That was coaching.”
Every once in awhile someone will mention Kevin Lowe as the man in charge, but I think MacT’s the de facto GM. A man doesn’t walk away from a job, go through life altering health experiences, get a degree and work for Vancouver for the job experience so he can ask permission to piss a drop. Kevin Lowe would certainly be part of the group that helps make things happen, but the conversation described here by Heather seems plausible and rational.
TSN 1260, 10am. I’m looking forward to the show today, terrific guests scheduled. We’ll talk to George Richards from the Miami Herald (about Craig Ramsay and the No. 1 overall pick), Billy Moores (!!!!!!) of the Oilers about coaching at all levels, Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey about Ramsay, the draft and how old Craig MacTavish altered his postseason speech from “inspire” to “confuse” and Brock Otten from OHL Prospects will talk about Ekblad, Bennett and the other top quality kids from the Ontario League this season.
@Lowetide_ or 10-1260 via text, I’m excited about the show today. See you on the radio!