January 20 2011 05:34PM
In a draft season that is perhaps a little shy of the 2010 edition, it looks like the Edmonton Oilers might be entering a perfect storm. Their "ideal" player is out there but seems to be slipping down the charts. The Oilers may fall ass over tea kettle into Sean Couturier. It's a big deal.
The 2010 entry draft boasted both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin at the top, plus some very nice consolation prizes in Erik Gudbranson, Jeff Skinner, Ryan Johansson, Alexander Burmistrov and Cam Fowler. The 2011 draft has Adam Larsson (likely a New Jersey Devil come draft day) and then an interesting assortment of top drawer forwards.
Sean Couturier has been a player of interest for Oiler fans since early fall. Why? Size, skill, strength and some swagger at center. For an organization that used seven of their last 10 first round picks on the position, he would seem to be a perfect seelction. However, Couturier's status at the very top of the draft has come into question. Skating issues, few points at the World juniors and last night a subpar showing at the prospects game imply he might be falling down the draft list.
What can we say in defense of Sean Couturier? Plenty.
- Although Couturier's WJ boxcars are just average (2-1-3) the young man did not play a feature role on an offensive line nor did he get monster PP opportuinities. He did finish +6 (tied for 3rd) at the World juniors.
- Couturier is lighting it up in the QMJHL (19-43-62 in 37 games) and his points-per-game number (1.68) is a perfect match for Tyler Seguin's OHL season in 09-10 (1.68 ppg).
- His current NHL equivalency (courtesy Gabriel Desjardsin) is 82gp, 12-26-38 .463. That's about where Tarasenko ranked a year ago.
- 6.04, 195. Sam Gagner (5.10, 190), Shawn Horcoff (6.01, 202), Andrew Cogliano (5.10, 185) could use the help.
I believe the Oilers should draft Sean Couturier if he's available in June. I also believe Stu MacGregor is probably leaning this way, considering just how long it has been since this club had a stud in the middle. Proof? Tune in Bob Stauffer's show most days and listen how he talks about team needs, and especially listen when someone is interviewing Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor. The Oilers need a big center with skill like a flower needs the rain.
There are other candidates. If Larsson falls to the Oilers I expect they'll strongly consider him, although there does seem to be less pressure on the future blue with the development of Peckham and Petry this season. Also, I've made my views on Gabriel Landeskog known (the Oilers need a gritty winger with a touch of filth almost as much as they need a center), but at the end of the day (which will be the title of Chris Pronger's life story) Couturier should be an Oiler come draft day.