Entry Draft possibilities

Jason Gregor
June 04 2009 02:14PM

Oilers' Scout Stu MacGregor

The NHL entry draft is three weeks away and for the second time in two years the Oilers have a top ten pick. There have been whispers that the Oilers would like to move up at least a few spots, but since they’ve never moved up into the top 20 that remains a long shot.

In 2007 the Oilers moved up to 21 to take Riley Nash, but that’s as close as they’ve come to moving up in the top 20. Currently the Oilers own the 10th, 40th, 71st, 101st and 131st in the first five rounds. (The Rangers get the 47th pick as "compensation" for the untimely death of Cherapanov, which means there are 31 picks in the second round.)

If the Oilers do want to move up they will need to offer up players as well as their 10th pick.

Stu MacGregor, the Oilers’ head scout, is the man in charge of this draft.

“We work as a group, but in the end, I will have the final say after sorting through all the information from all the scouts. It comes down to what I finally decide after they’ve given all their input. I’m the guy who gets tarred and feathered if it doesn’t work out.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the GM has the final say on draft picks, and that isn’t the case. Sure the GM has input, but Tambellini will not trump MacGregor on draft day. MacGregor said he will have seen every player they take in the first three rounds anywhere from five to 15 times live, while also watching plenty of video. With the later round picks, specifically European players, he will rely more on the opinion of Kent Nilsson and other Euro-based scouts.

I had MacGregor on my show yesterday and I knew he wouldn’t tell me which player he was leaning towards, but he did offer some insight into five players that should be around when the Oilers stroll to the podium with the 10th pick.

Nasim Kadri

“Has to be a player that needs to get stronger and improve the power part of his game. He has a very high skill level and he will be a point producer. He has to improve his shot, because at this point in time he doesn’t have a powerful shot and in order to score in the NHL you have to really be able to shoot the puck.”

Zach Kassian

“He has to provide more consistency to his game. He has the physical attributes and probably will be a solid 3rd line player with opportunities to develop into a second line player. He is very strong, physical and tough, but he has to add that ‘Every Night I’m coming to play’ attitude to his game.”

Jordan Schroeder

“There is not a lot Jordan needs to improve on; unfortunately he is only 5’8”. You have to determine if he has enough high end skill to overcome his lack of size.”

Scott Glennie

“Scott just has to mature as a young man. He is a high-end talent with tremendous upside. He can score goals; he can do a lot of positive things that will be an impact in the NHL.”

Ryan Ellis

“He provides exceptional hockey sense, and he is a powerplay player. You have to determine in your own mind if Ryan can provide more than that. Will he be able to play five-on-five, will he be able to defend and as the game is getting bigger and the players getting stronger, will he be able to play in those situations? It is very difficult to play in the NHL and be a one-trick pony and just be a powerplay player. You have to be able to balance that out and determine if he can be more than a specialty player.”

MacGregor was also very high on Jared Cowan and suggested he’ll be a top-five pick for sure, and if he hadn’t been hurt he might have been considered along the same lines as the top three Tavares, Hedman and Duchene.

I’ve said all year that Ellis is too big a risk for the Oilers to take at this time. They need this pick to pan out and be a contributor. They can’t afford another Steve Kelly, Boyd Devereaux or Jason Bonsignore type of pick. They need a guy who becomes a top-six forward or a top-four D-man.

I don’t see them taking Kassian if they have him projected as a solid 3rd liner with potential to become a top six. I know they really like Kadri and Glennie, but MacGregor feels that after the top three, there is a group of five or six, which caps out at the #9 pick. If he believes that strongly in the top-nine, don’t be surprised to see the Oilers try to move up one to three spots.

Evander Kane is someone they would love to get, but they might have to move into the top five to get him. The Thrashers and Kings are both high on him and I doubt he’ll slip out of the top five.

Like MacGregor said he’ll be tarred and feathered if this pick doesn’t pan out, and looking at the past 20 years of players who went 10th overall the odds are about 50 per cent that the Oilers will land a solid NHLer. Getting a great pick at #10 seems a bit unlikely based on the history of the draft. The best #10 pick ever would be Teemu Selanne in 1988. No one comes even close to the Finnish Flash.

Here are the players chosen 10th overall in the past 20 years.

  • 1989: Bobby Holik to Hartford and he played over 1000 games. Solid player.
  • 1990: Drake Berehowsky to Toronto and he played 549 games. Decent career.
  • 1991: Martin Lapointe to Detroit and he played 991 games. 4th most points in top ten.
  • 1992: Andrei Nazarov to San Jose and his 517 GP 7th most in first round, weak draft.
  • 1993: Jocelyn Thibault to Quebec became a serviceable goalie who played 596 games.
  • 1994: Nolan Baumgartner to Washington and was a bust with only 131 games.
  • 1995: Radek Dvorak to Florida. He has most GP and 5th most points of first rounders.
  • 1996: Lance Ward to New Jersey and became a journeyman for 209 games.
  • 1997: Brad Ference to Vancouver and played 250 games. Journeyman.
  • 1998: Nick Antropov to Toronto and is a top ten player in his draft year of 1st rounders.
  • 1999: Branislav Mezei to NYI. Played 240 games, in a weak draft and he’s out of NHL.
  • 2000: Mikhail Yakubov to Chicago. First of two straight dud picks with Vorobiev going 
 11th to the the Hawks.
  • 2001: Dan Blackburn to the Rangers. Rare nerve injury to his shoulder cut career short.
  • 2002: Eric Nystrom to Flames, it took six years to become regular. Suspect pick to date.
  • 2003: Andrei Kostitsyn to Habs and he is starting to play well but weakest in top ten.
  • 2004: Boris Valadik to Thrashers and cracked lineup this year. Jury is still out on him.
  • 2005: Luc Bourdon to Canucks, looked like a very good pick until motorbike accident.
  • 2006: Michael Frolik to Panthers, had 21 goals in first NHL season last year. Good pick.
  • 2007: Keaton Ellerby to Panthers and he might crack lineup this year. Too early to tell.
  • 2008: Cody Hogson to Canucks. Love this pick he looks like a great prospect.
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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 TonyT
June 04 2009, 02:36PM
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@ Gregor:

Great quotes as usual, I would have thought the Oilers (as did Brownlee is his post) would be high on Kassian based on their need to get bigger but if they only project him as a 3rd liner I doubt they'll pick him up. I could see them picking up Glennie (if available) to score goals.

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#2 Curious
June 04 2009, 02:37PM
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It sounded from the interview yesterday that Stu was leaning towards Glennie if they could not move up. Unless it was one of those smokescreens. I thought Kassian was the name everyone wanted but Stu sure didnt seem to impressed with the 3rd line comment.

Is Glennie one of those players that benefits from his linemates? He always seems to be on the same line as Schenn. I would hate for him to turn into a Pouliet type player that once the pieces are gone around him, he is half the player you thought he was.

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#3 TonyT
June 04 2009, 02:39PM
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@ Gregor: Also, what are the odds of the Oilers picking up a goalie in this draft? Specifically Olivier Roy with their 40th?

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#4 Cam
June 04 2009, 02:44PM
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You just never know. This looks like a good draft year. remember we got Hemsky 13th overall, and Cogs & Stollie later than that, so you never can tell what you can get.

And before anyone gets all greased up over the late round picks and mentions how awesome the Wings were to pick Zetterberg - that was like winning the lottery for them and I don't think it was some clarivoyant amazing insight on behalf of the Detroit Scouting staff but mad blind luck that such a late pick worked out.

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#5 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 02:56PM
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Realistically, if i were the Oilers, I would trade Hemsky and the 10th for 2nd overall and draft Kane, MPS, or Duchesne.

Hedman is the consensus #1 pick in my eyes and I was not impressed with Tavares this year in London. Completely overhyped.

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#6 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 02:57PM
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I'm crossing my fingers that the Oilers draft Hackett or Roy ion the 2nd round. Reasons:

1. Their names sound cool and they have pedigree cia name 2. It's time the Oilers drafted good players.

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#7 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 02:58PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Realistically, if i were the Oilers, I would trade Hemsky and the 10th for 2nd overall and draft Kane, MPS, or Duchesne. Hedman is the consensus #1 pick in my eyes and I was not impressed with Tavares this year in London. Completely overhyped.

So if you want one of those three, why wouldn't you trade far less + 10th for the 3rd/4th or 5th overall?

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#8 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 02:59PM
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I’ve said all year that Ellis is too big a risk for the Oilers to take at this time. They need this pick to pan out and be a contributor. They can’t afford another Steve Kelly, Boyd Devereaux or Jason Bonsignore type of pick. They need a guy who becomes a top-six forward or a top-four D-man.

When the Oilers drafted Jason Bonsignore, it was because he was considered one of the safest picks in the draft. Big, strong, the kind of guy who would play no matter what because of his size and and physical ability.

Taking the safe pick often doesn't turn out the way the team that takes him would hope; I wouldn't want to pass on a guy because he seems like a high-risk player.

I'm an unabashed fan of Ellis; while he is undoubtedly a tremendous powerplay point-producer, he also led the Spitfires in +/- (+52) so he's also a big point producer at even-strength.

Personally (and again, it's just my personal opinion) I don't view the first 17-year old to lead the OHL in assists in the history of the league as terribl risky pick, despite his small stature.

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#9 The Menace
June 04 2009, 03:01PM
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When I first saw that picture, I was hoping that wasn't three prospects that the Oil had their eyes on! No offense to Mr. MacGregor, or the other two. ;)

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#10 Curious
June 04 2009, 03:02PM
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Cant give up Hemsky for a second overall pick - regardless of how good you think the pick will turn out. He is a known commodity, signed to a cap friendly deal. Thats makes no sense at all.

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#11 Cam
June 04 2009, 03:07PM
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Curious wrote:

Cant give up Hemsky for a second overall pick - regardless of how good you think the pick will turn out. He is a known commodity, signed to a cap friendly deal. Thats makes no sense at all.

I agree. Though I would consider almost anyone else on the team for one of the top five.

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#12 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 03:11PM
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If Jordan Schroeder is LISTED at 5'8" his actual size is probably 5'6". Yikes.

Its time for a huge splash on trade day. Lets go Tambo! And by splash, i dont mean the usual belly flop that the Oilers make with so many of their 1st rounders.

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#13 scorcoff hemmercules
June 04 2009, 03:14PM
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@ Curious:

You obviously haven't read much of Austin's work. He seems to want nothing we have and everything we don't.

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#14 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 03:17PM
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Great interview, Jason. Thanks for posting it here.

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#15 Homie
June 04 2009, 03:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

When the Oilers drafted Jason Bonsignore, it was because he was considered one of the safest picks in the draft. Big, strong, the kind of guy who would play no matter what because of his size and and physical ability.

Really?? Read the book "Future Greats and Heartbreaks" and find out what other scouts, and Bonsignore's teammates, thought of him. I remember an interview where Jeff O'Neill called him "chicken" before the draft. AND his numbers were not that great for his size and ability. It was a terrible, terrible pick that shows the ineptitude of the Oilers scouting staff at the time.

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#16 Jason Gregor
June 04 2009, 03:24PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

When the Oilers drafted Jason Bonsignore, it was because he was considered one of the safest picks in the draft. Big, strong, the kind of guy who would play no matter what because of his size and and physical ability.

Bonsignore was not considered a safe pick just because of his size. His character and heart were always questioned and that is what happened when he didn't have the stones to man up in the NHL.

<Jonathan Willis wrote:

I’m an unabashed fan of Ellis; while he is undoubtedly a tremendous powerplay point-producer, he also led the Spitfires in +/- (+52) so he’s also a big point producer at even-strength. Personally (and again, it’s just my personal opinion) I don’t view the first 17-year old to lead the OHL in assists in the history of the league as terribl risky pick, despite his small stature.

The list of smaller skilled players that couldn't make it in the NHL is very long. The fact is the NHL is slowly going back to bigger players, the difference between this trend and the one in the early 90s is that now all the big players can skate.

Ellis is a risk, and while someone will take him in the first round, the Oilers can't afford another blown pick, especially in the first round. There is no guarantee that Glennie, Kassian, Brown or Kadri will pan out, but the odds are more favourable for them. Ellis probably has the best junior skill set out of the aforementioned players but that doesn't mean it will translate to the NHL.

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#17 Curious
June 04 2009, 03:24PM
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Sorry I am new to the site - I am sure I will learn as I go. Some like to stir the pot, thats what makes life exciting.@ scorcoff hemmercules:

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#18 sittingatmydesk
June 04 2009, 03:30PM
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@ Curious: dont pay attention to austin ayala, hes trying to stir $hit up with his non sense.... seriously austin, know your stuff before you start talking ,and be serious on this site, why dont you go to the HF boards instead...

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#19 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 03:33PM
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@ Homie:

Great book, isn't it? Scary stories about Bonsignore for sure. Bonsignore was one of those guys that scouts who saw him liked a lot, even though the numbers weren't that good, because of his size and puck-talent. Of course they were right; he had all the talent in the world but he wasn't producing in the OHL so it was a mistake of projection to think he would in the NHL. And of course moving away from the numbers the hatred his teammates had for him should have been a glaring red flag anyway.

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#20 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 03:38PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Bonsignore was not considered a safe pick just because of his size. His character and heart were always questioned and that is what happened when he didn’t have the stones to man up in the NHL.

Future Greats and Heartbreaks, pg.94:

Glen Sather, Edmonton's general manager, put the pressure on his scouting staff to come up with a player - not a star, but a safe bet. The Oilers had two high picks, No. 4 and No. 6, in the 1994 draft. "I told our scouts Sunday night that the two picks we get have to be able to play, Sather said. "Maybe not this year, but some time. You can't make any mistakes."
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#21 Jon
June 04 2009, 03:44PM
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Jason - If they strongly believe in the top 9, couldn't that also be an indication that they won't move up? One team's top 9 usually differs from another team's by one or two players. I would think the chances of everybody in the Oilers top 9 being picked in the actual top 9 would actually be fairly low. It's probably a good chance that someone in their top 9 is available at 10, so why trade up?

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#22 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 03:44PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The list of smaller skilled players that couldn’t make it in the NHL is very long. The fact is the NHL is slowly going back to bigger players, the difference between this trend and the one in the early 90s is that now all the big players can skate.

I agree, but then there were plenty of big skilled players who couldn't make the NHL too. I think the NHL still tends to overemphasize size - every draft has at least one mammoth first round pick whop never turned out. The Jessiman's, Bonsignore's, Valabik's and Svitov's of the world seem just as likely to fail as the Parise's and Ellis's.

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#23 Cam
June 04 2009, 03:57PM
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Homie wrote:

Really?? Read the book “Future Greats and Heartbreaks” and find out what other scouts, and Bonsignore’s teammates, thought of him. I remember an interview where Jeff O’Neill called him “chicken” before the draft. AND his numbers were not that great for his size and ability. It was a terrible, terrible pick that shows the ineptitude of the Oilers scouting staff at the time.

The Oilers wanted SIZE in a huge way at the time, much ilke they do now. Bonsignore is the poster child of why you go BPA instead of trying to fill in needs.

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#24 The Menace
June 04 2009, 03:57PM
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@ Curious: He likes to troll; toss out ridiculous ideas, and sit back waiting to see who bites. people around here are getting wise and not giving him reactions anymore.

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#25 TDSM31
June 04 2009, 03:58PM
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http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/teams/dr000041.html. Tarred and feathered AND run out of town...

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#26 Librarian Mike
June 04 2009, 04:07PM
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Homie wrote:

Read the book “Future Greats and Heartbreaks” and find out what other scouts, and Bonsignore’s teammates, thought of him.

2 copies are available at your local library. :)

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#27 Wanye Gretz
June 04 2009, 04:20PM
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@ Curious:

Don't say sorry. Say whatever you want on here - it's no big deal.

Here watch:

Once on a ski trip as a 9 year old Wanye, I accidentally peed the bed at the hotel.

See? Who cares what you say.

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#28 Cam
June 04 2009, 04:30PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

@ Curious: Don’t say sorry. Say whatever you want on here - it’s no big deal. Here watch: Once on a ski trip as a 9 year old Wanye, I accidentally peed the bed at the hotel. See? Who cares what you say.

Hey I have one. I was singing in a choir and in the middle of a song I barfed all over the people in front of me and then passed out. The choir kept singing...

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#29 Jason Gregor
June 04 2009, 04:33PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Once on a ski trip as a 9 year old Wanye, I accidentally peed the bed at the hotel. See? Who cares what you say.

I think you had a misprint...ski trip as a 19 year old...

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#30 DK0
June 04 2009, 04:38PM
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@ Jason Gregor: Theres a valid excuse for both. At age 9 its just kids being kids, at age 19 its alcohol induced.

If peeing your pants is cool with Billy Madison, it's cool with me.

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#31 The Menace
June 04 2009, 04:38PM
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@ Jason Gregor: ZING!

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#32 onehitwonder
June 04 2009, 05:27PM
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@ Jonathon Willis

I am climbing on your Ellis bandwagon. His stats first of all, but also because when i picture a 17 year old Lubo, he would actually have been smaller. And Lubo ranks pretty freekin good in his draft class, and he was just an afterthought. It would sure make it easier to accept if both Chorny AND Petry flopped.

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#33 Librarian Mike
June 04 2009, 06:11PM
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The draft reminds me of William Goldman's quote about picking Oscar nominees: "Nobody knows anything". Sure, you have your sure things, but for the most part you're just gambling on maybes I imagine. I guess that's what makes it fun, particularly a few years on when a third rounder becomes a star and everyone facepalms because their GM missed out.

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#34 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 08:51PM
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I like our team despite what others may think. I just don't think Hemsky is a franchise player. I think he's a good offensive player who would be a powerplay specialist and 2nd line winger on one of the top 4 teams in the Stanley Cup Finals.

- He'll never win an Art Ross - he doesn't score goals to gather that many points. - He'll never win a Lady Byng - Hemmer is the team's largest 'hooker' - He'll never win the Frank Selke - He's not elite defensively.

What do you call an offensively gifted player who's not elite defensively, and not all that complete as a hockey player and has statistics similar to most second liners in the NHL? I myself am a realist so I call a spade a spade. Heck, since Gretzky likes him so much, why don't we trade:

Hemsky & 10th to Phoenix for Mueller, Montoya, Boedkker

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#35 Librarian Mike
June 04 2009, 09:01PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Hemsky & 10th to Phoenix for Mueller, Montoya, Boedkker

Who?

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#36 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 09:28PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

has statistics similar to most second liners in the NHL

How many second liners are almost point per game producers?

People dont think you dislike the Oilers, they think you're a goof who's not being serious. So either youre not being serious and we're all missing the humour, or you ARE being serious and you just dont realize how ridiculous you sound.

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#37 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 09:57PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Austin Ayala wrote: Hemsky & 10th to Phoenix for Mueller, Montoya, Boedkker Who?

Krejci. Actually his stats are better

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#38 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 10:02PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Krejci. Actually his stats are better

Actually, Krejci scored less goals and had a lower points per game average. He also played significantly softer minutes on a better team.

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#39 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 10:08PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Austin Ayala wrote: Krejci. Actually his stats are better Actually, Krejci scored less goals and had a lower points per game average. He also played significantly softer minutes on a better team.

Not to mention he only did it once and could VERY easily be next years Thomas Plekanec.

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#40 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 10:14PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Exactly.

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#41 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 10:41PM
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Todd White, Slava Kozlov, Ray Whitney, Mike Ribero, KREJCI, Langenbrunner, Mikko Koivu

but..but... Hemsky.. so elite... right....

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#42 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 10:45PM
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Exactly.

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#43 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 10:46PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Todd White, Slava Kozlov, Ray Whitney, Mike Ribero, KREJCI, Langenbrunner, Mikko Koivu but..but… Hemsky.. so elite… right….

Just because someone plays on the "2nd line" doesn't mean they are a "second liner" (some of those guys also play on the "first line"

One of Zetts/Dats is typically on the 2nd line, so is Malkin/Crosby are they 2nd liners?

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#44 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 11:09PM
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@ Austin Ayala: Hemsky was 11th in RW scoring for the ENTIRE league. He was 9th in points per game for RWs. Yes. He's good at his job. So good that on 19-20 teams he would have been better on the top line than whatever option they had. That goes for the Penguins, who had no RW option better than Hemsky all season.

Todd White played on the 1st line not 2nd line, he averaged the most ice time of any Centre on his team. He ALSO scored less than Hemsky and had a lower P/G number than Hemsky despite the fact that he was passing the puck to Kovalchuk all year.

Ray Whitney is a 1st liner who led his team in scoring this year.

Ribiero 1st liner who led his team in scoring.

Langenbrunner, 1st liner who had lower P/G than Hemsky

Mikko Koivu, 1st liner who scored less goals and had a lower P/G than Hemsky.

So far only 1 person you even mentioned plays the same position as Hemsky and all are 1st liners or play almost the same amount of minutes per game as Hemsky.

Your list of players has nothing to do with anything. You havent even explained what they have to do with Hemsky. From what i can tell, nothing. Try again.

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#45 roughneck
June 04 2009, 11:11PM
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Does Stu drink whisky?

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#46 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 11:13PM
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Regarding your RW comment on Pittsburg.. here's my rebuttal:

Hemsky & Horcoff to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal & Tyler Kennedy. Boom! We're instantly better.

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#47 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 11:17PM
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with that trade the Oilers can rebuild.

The pens finally have a bonafide 3rd line checking center and a powerplay specialist to compliment Crosby.

FIRST PP Unit Malkin - Crosby - Hemsky (Pretty solid. Hemsky makes the line butter soft on the right side)

FIRST PK Unit

Dupuis - Horcoff - Adam (Best in the league)

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#48 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 11:19PM
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Lastly:

Johan Franzn >>> Hemsky

Easy. If I was Detroit, it would take Hemsky + to get him.

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#49 Archaeologuy
June 04 2009, 11:24PM
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@ Austin Ayala: Because Jordan Staal's 49 points and 47% F/O in 19:50 avg ice time (on the 3rd line against much weaker opposition) are SO much better than Horc's 53 points and 54% F/O in 21:21 (on the 1st line against much tougher opposition)

And Kennedy's 15 goals and 35 points are WAY better than Hemsky's 23 goals and 66 points.

~Totally better. Oilers win that trade hands down.~

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#50 Austin Ayala
June 04 2009, 11:27PM
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In the long run... yes. And in the short run, the Oilers free up cap room to sign a guy like Bouwmeester.

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