Sunday, May 13, 2012

The "Great Draft Debate"

 The Oilers 'winning' the Lottery has made for a lot of conversation for Oilers fans everywhere. In fact, not only for Oiler fans but also for fans of any of the top 10 draft selections. 

This year most fans believed it was a easy decision. Pick 1 of 3 players at 2nd or 3rd overall. One of Murray, Grigorenko and/or Galchenyuk and we move on with yet another season. Something went terribly wrong though...the Oilers won a lottery that had not yet been won by a team who finished 29th overall.

Now this is where the problem lies with most GM's, and MSM, bloggers and fans alike. What should the Edmonton Oilers do with that pick at #1 overall? It can be a problem as much as it's a blessing. So now, when the Oilers step up to the podium in Pittsburgh in June at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, they are pressured from a few different angles.
Like Taylor Hall before him, Nail is not the positionally player the Oilers have the greatest need to draft, but he is the consensus #1 player, ready in most likelihood to play right away in the NHL. He has heart, intensity, hates to lose and wants to win more then anything. Sound familiar. Don't forget, while some still believe Tyler Sequin was the better option due to him playing center, Tyler has been playing RW in Boston. Had the Oilers played him at Center, there is no indication he could have handles the center position like he has RW.

1) The best skilled player who looks to have the best career ahead of his draft class at a top level is Nail Yakupov but he is a RW and is only 5'11. The Oilers have top 2 RW covered in Eberle and Hemsky, is there room for a 3rd RW?

2) The top defencemen right now to select is Ryan Murray. It's not known if he will be the best of the available d-men in the future but he is the most ready and the most likely to have a good career. Concern? Other then Drew Doughty who else as a top d-man has gone that high and been the best player drafted?

3) The Oilers need a 2nd center by most people's thought process so what about a bigger centermen in Grigorenko or Galchenyuk? This could work well, however with Grigorenko's play in the playoffs dropping (possibly due to mono we now hear) and Galchenyuk missing the entire season there is worries about the certainty around these 2 players as the #1 overall selection.

Regardless if Edmonton picks at #1 or someone else trades up to that spot, you have to take the consensus #1 overall, or you could set your franchise back years. Anyone other then Yakupov at #1 would be opening up that team to high scrutiny unless their selection turns out better or at least equal to Yakupov within 5 years time. Those first 2 years the comparisons could potentially harm the team who chose other then Yakupov at #1.

Because if you look at history, you will see that when 80% or more of the Scouts worldwide have a player rated that high, for that long, it's pretty much a slam dunk they will at least turn into a star player in a top 6 forward role or top 4 defence pairing. 

Yes we do. As can be seen last year, we have 3 incredible young stars but 1 line does not make a great top 6. You need to really develop and build your own top 6 and you can always fill in your bottom 6 forwards with trades, UFA's and such.  While we need a top 2 defencemen, there is less of a chance Murray can fill that role let alone maybe if he was that good, we are at least 2-3 years away from seeing that. The best we could possibly get from Murray this next year is Gilbert's level of play this past season before being traded.

There was lots of talk about NYI actually should be taking Hedman over Tavares as they had a desperate need for defence. Truth is, they did have a need and still have a need on defence. Sound familiar? Now how many would take Hedman over Tavares? How many would take Larsson over RNH? I rest my case. No matter how you look at this, drafting defencemen truly is a art that needs to look at long term development and not high draft picks. I personally believe Yakupov has a lot of the same qualities that Tavares has and like so many before him, after being in the limelight for so long, everyone starts looking for faults to their game or their character. It happens every year.

The Edmonton Oilers will pick Nail Yakupov at #1, they have little choice but to do the safest thing and go with what we do know. You can not go wrong by having a stable full of studs. You could always trade one down the road if you need to. The cost for a team to get the Oilers to trade down, is steep and risky for both The Oilers and any other team. It won't happen folks unless a team like Montreal steps up or New York and that is 90% unlike;y.

Let's not forget, unlike past year's it is possible to put someone like Nail as our 3rd line RW for his development. It allows time to play with more defensive minded players yet to still earn his place on the top 6. Nail unlike our other top guns, does like to check and still could get valuable time on the PP 1st or 2nd line unit.

It's very possible you could have a combination  next year of;

Depending on what happens with Ryan Smyth you could slot in Paajarvi or Hartikainen in one of those other spots. If Yakupov starts the season well , can adjust to LW (his coach occasionally played him there) and is not a defensive liability, you could possibly have the season ending with;

There are several options left for the Oilers including Hall at center. Bottom line? The possibilities are plentiful and so is the potential to have a genuine 'scary' scoring team?

In my next blog , I will be covering more on the Oilers possible selections and why they will be targeting specific players with their second pick.

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