Adam Larsson: Really, A Defenseman?

Jonathan Willis
April 20 2011 10:38PM

These days, the name most often mentioned as an alternative to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at the top of this summer’s NHL Entry Draft is defenseman Adam Larsson. The big Swede has been in the conversation all season, but there is concern in some corners about the lengthy development curve of defensemen.

Is that a concern?

Before I get into the philosophy of drafting and developing a defenseman with a lottery selection, I’d like to talk a little more about Larsson. Unfortunately, I’m in no position to speak with any kind of authority on his skill-set, so I turned to someone who was: Corey Pronman, the prospects expert with Hockey Prospectus and someone who has seen Larsson a number of times.

“Above average” is the phrase Pronman used the most in describing Larsson – he applied it to his skating, vision, and a host of other qualities. In fact, Pronman sees Larsson as a complete defenseman in most areas, with the exception being his shot, which he doesn’t see as being a significant weapon at the NHL level. With the exception of that point, it was an awfully appealing scouting report.

Others are even more flattering. Prospects guru Kirk Luedeke raved about Larsson entering the season. Red Wings writer George Malik (with a little help from Jim Matheson) pointed to him as a potential Lidstrom-type player. Tommy Boustedt, the director of development with the Swedish hockey federation, says that Larsson will be “one of the best defenders [Sweden] has ever produced.”

It’s high praise.

The statistical side of things is a little more mixed. Defensemen are almost impossible to evaluate, although thanks to improvements to the Elitserien’s website over the last few years we have more data than we used to. We know Larsson’s time on ice has jumped since last season – up more than two minutes per game from last season’s playoffs, at 18:44. We know his plus/minus has improved (it’s one of the best marks on the club) and we know that his offense has dropped off – from 17 points last season down to nine this year.

Certainly Larsson was impressive at the World Juniors – with four points and a plus-4 rating despite only being draft eligible this year. It’s a performance that puts him on good footing with previous first overall picks, although it is vital to remember that it’s only six games.

Can the Oilers draft a defenseman? Is the development curve of those players simply too long? After all, it was five years before Chris Pronger really became a difference-maker, and that wasn’t with the team that drafted him. It was three years before Nicklas Lidstrom even made his NHL debut. What if Larsson’s three to five years away?

My take: So what if it is? I don’t know what people have in mind as their window for contending, but it is years away. The team probably won’t make the playoffs next season. Possibly not the season after that, either. If the Oilers were looking at an accelerated rebuilding plan, it might make less sense to draft Larsson. Right now, it doesn’t. As it stands, he’d be my first overall pick.

On Trading Down

If the Marc Pouliot/J-F Jacques/Zach Parise trade did anything, it soured Oilers fans on trading down in the NHL Entry Draft (although oddly enough, not on drafting size). It shouldn’t have. The problem wasn’t that the Oilers traded down – if they’d been able to move up a pick, they could have grabbed Robert Nilsson, the player they supposedly targeted. That’s not a slight against trading down, that’s a slight against the scouts for not realizing what Parise is.

Besides, it isn’t like teams always suffer as a result of trading down. Vancouver traded down from first overall (Patrik Stefan, above in the most famous moment of his career) to snag Daniel Sedin. Florida got a little extra for trading down and picking the player they wanted to pick anyway – Jay Bouwmeester – in 2002.

Decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis. For instance, hypothetically, let’s say that Stu MacGregor likes Ryan Strome just a tiny bit less than the players at the top end of the draft and figures the Oilers can snag him at sixth overall. Now, continuing our hypothetical scenario, let’s pretend the return for moving down from first to sixth is enough to move that first round pick from the Kings into the top-10 – and MacGregor has his eye on another player there. Would it make sense to trade down and get two almost certain high-end players, or to stay the course and get one and a late first-round pick?

Obviously, that’s a hypothetical situation. It may be that the Oilers scouts see one player as well ahead of the others in this draft, be it Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Adam Larsson or someone else entirely. In that case, it would be very hard to justify moving down in the draft.

What I don’t like is a dogmatic stance: It may make sense to move down, and it may not. But there’s no blanket, one size fits all policy that should govern the approach of any team. Generally, I’m opposed to moving down from the first overall pick, but this draft may be an exception. It’s just hard to tell without access to an NHL scouting staff to confirm or deny that.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 ubermiguel
April 21 2011, 11:12AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So, to recap:

We pick THREE times in the first 31 selections. And STILL it isnt enough.

Picking 1st is somehow conceived of as bad, picking 2-6 is magically better.

Drafting a defenseman with negligent offensive prowess is better than taking the dynamic centre ranked 1 by multiple ranking services.

And moving down in the draft is good because sometimes it's...polite to let others go first?

If the scouts see something in RNH they don't like (e.g.: suitcase full of toy trucks), picking #2-6, getting the guy you wanted more AND getting another asset is magically better.

And getting two picks in the top 6 increases your chances of getting a star NHL player (or two).

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#52 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 11:23AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So, to recap:

We pick THREE times in the first 31 selections. And STILL it isnt enough.

Picking 1st is somehow conceived of as bad, picking 2-6 is magically better.

Drafting a defenseman with negligent offensive prowess is better than taking the dynamic centre ranked 1 by multiple ranking services.

And moving down in the draft is good because sometimes it's...polite to let others go first?

Thier are clear benifits to trading down. You might not agree with them, and they might not be valid every year, but we don't need to pretend they don't exist.

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#53 Ender
April 21 2011, 11:31AM
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Despite the fact that Larsson looks like a pretty solid hockey player to this point, he should still be considered a mirage by anyone who understands that buying a 6-49 ticket does not constitute a sound financial investment.

Gregor has written two fine articles on drafting defensemen and the relative success rates history has shown. They are both required reading, but I’ll hit a couple of the highlight statements:

Jason Gregor wrote:

In the last 20 years, the only true elite D-man chosen in the top five who spent significant time with the team that drafted him was Scott Niedermayer. Mike Rathje, Chris Phillips and Rotislav Klesla have spent at least ten years with the team that drafted them, but none of them are elite.

Jason Gregor wrote:

By my count in the 47-year history of the draft, only seven [players picked top-5] have emerged as elite defenders. Brad Park, Denis Potvin, Dave Babych, Larry Murphy, Scott Neidermayer, Chris Pronger and Ed Jovanovski. Drew Doughty looks like he’ll join that group and the jury is still out on Bogosian, Hedman, Suter, Phaneuf, Johnson and Johnson.

Here are the numbers, people. In the 47 years Gregor refers to above, there were obviously 235 players drafted in the top 5. 63 of them were defencemen, or about 27%. That number already indicates that people who are doing the drafting normally shy away from defencemen in the top-five if they can. Of those 63, Gregor picked 7 as elite. Go ahead and critique one or two of his selections if you want, but it won’t significantly change the fact that the percentage of top-5 defenders that become star players is in the neighbourhood of 11%. Not good odds.

Want to know how many of those 63 players were picked at #1? There were 11 in draft history. Exactly two of them (Denis Potvin and Ed Jovanovski) made Gregor’s impact-player list. Let me be Jim Rome for a second and say that again in case you missed it: only twice in draft history has a team picked a D-man first overall and had him turn into the absolute stud they envisioned.

For all the people advocating picking up Larsson at #1, here’s the thing you really want to understand here: in 47 years of drafting, professional scouts who spent their lives looking at the best hockey players in the world decided 63 times that they had found a player worth spending a top-5 pick on. Roughly 56 of those 63 times, they were dead wrong. Those are lousy odds. Every one of those guys thought they were doing the best thing for their hockey club. We’re smarter than all of those guys though, right? We know for certainty that Larsson really is the bomb, right? Right?

Take a pass on the lottery ticket and draft a forward. Seriously.

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#54 ubermiguel
April 21 2011, 11:39AM
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@Ender

And it's a lottery ticket with a draw date 3-5 years away.

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#55 Crash
April 21 2011, 11:41AM
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@Ender

And further to that....top end d-men are easier to acquire and more readily available via trade than top end forwards.

The Oilers themselves over the last 5 yrs have acquired Pronger, Visnovsky and Whitney in trades.

I repeat, DO NOT touch Larsson with #1

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#56 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 11:41AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Thier are clear benifits to trading down. You might not agree with them, and they might not be valid every year, but we don't need to pretend they don't exist.

There are PERCEIVED benefits to trading down. They are neither clear nor actually existing.

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#57 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 11:57AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

There are PERCEIVED benefits to trading down. They are neither clear nor actually existing.

Interesting.

So I guess the players/picks you'd recieving from trading down don't actually exist.

I've never yet heard of a team that simply swapped 4 for 8 (or whatever) straight up.

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#58 Clyde Frog
April 21 2011, 12:01PM
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Trading down is a simple statement of I know something you don't.

Moving down 1 spot says "I know more than team A's scouting staff", 2 spots says "I know more than team A & B's scouting staff." For those advocating a move of 4-5 spots... As we move more spots I should hope the ludicrousness of this situation starts to become apparent...

We have a need for everything, at 6 feet RNH isn't small, or smurflike, 170 pounds is light but honestly our team owner owns freaking Rexall. If they can't put him with a decent dietician/trainer then this team has much, much bigger problems.

To pass on choosing first you are either placing percieved need above skill OR you are willing to bet your scouting staff versus everyone elses. If the Oilers truly believe SC is better, then they should draft him #1. Why? Because if that decision is real, based on measurable fact, I imagine every team behind us will make the same decision.

For those who love Stu's picks, well so far he hasn't gone off the board with anything really, why would he start now?

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#59 Mantastic
April 21 2011, 12:03PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

There are PERCEIVED benefits to trading down. They are neither clear nor actually existing.

there are risks with everything. there is chance, small or large, that the 1st overall might be a dud. there is also always a price for everything as well, if a GM was willing to trade 2nd overall + a highend prospect or something of that nature, would you really turn it down because you were techincally trading down? trading down if you truely get a lot of value from it, does not seem like a bad idea.

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#60 Oilfan00
April 21 2011, 12:03PM
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Ender you are a smart man. I don't think there is any chance the Oielrs take Larsson, people here him compared lidstrom and go crazy, he is no Lidstrom really I don't see it at all, I don't think Larsson would even be on the PP. Secondly RNH is the best player and there is no way (unless some miraculous thing happens with the players ranked top 5 still playing) that he doesn't get picked, trading down has its benefits if it also involves trading LAs pick up but I say take RNH and figure out some other way to get in the top 10 and hope Hamilton slips (he will be better then Larsson, even Murphy will be a better point guy).

Please Oilers don't take Larsson.

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#61 Oilfan00
April 21 2011, 12:08PM
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Also...In case people haven't watched the Oilers for the best 10 years our PP sucks I welcome RNH and his PP stats with open arms. Don't take the Dman with no shot.

And for all those people who say RNH isn't very good because of his PP vs EV numbers answer this question or argue it: Would you rather win 3-2 with 2 PP goals and 1 at evens or lose 2-1? Would you rather have someone on the Oilers get 100 points 60 on the PP and 40 evens or someone get 50 points all even strength.

A goal is a goal and a point is a point.

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#62 Clyde Frog
April 21 2011, 12:09PM
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Mantastic wrote:

there are risks with everything. there is chance, small or large, that the 1st overall might be a dud. there is also always a price for everything as well, if a GM was willing to trade 2nd overall + a highend prospect or something of that nature, would you really turn it down because you were techincally trading down? trading down if you truely get a lot of value from it, does not seem like a bad idea.

Its simple.

Why would a team give you a high-end prospect or pick to move 1 draft position?

Answer: The kid sitting in 1st place is a better player than the kid sitting in 2nd.

You just bet the farm that somehow the production gap will be slight enough that the prospect or pick you recieved will equalize the difference.

If there truly is a plethora of high-end talent 2-6, the teams sitting in those positions will not be coughing up a decent return to move.

Its not like the Oilers are the only team with a scouting staff.

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#63 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 12:09PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

I could trade my one $50 bill for two $20 bills and tell you that I have more bills then I did before, but you wouldnt say that I benefitted. Would you?

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#64 CJ
April 21 2011, 12:12PM
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Another likely reason lottery draft pick defencemen are traded away is that managment and fans become impatient with the longer development time required killing the kids confidence. The change of scenary is required for the player to get to the next level. That is why we should go after Bogo this summer.

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#65 CJ
April 21 2011, 12:16PM
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Larson may end up being an elite defenseman if we draft him, but what are the chances he is still with the team when that happens.

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#66 Butters
April 21 2011, 12:17PM
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I think the CBA works against drafting defence higher. They take longer too develop and by the time they do, they are getting close to UFA status. This seems to lead to paying defenceman for their potential rather than their results, particularily if they are closing in on UFA. If the players are equal, I still think you have to pick a forward. You pick the dman only if he is BPA when you step up to the podium.

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#67 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 21 2011, 12:18PM
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Could we just buy that 4th from Jersey. 16th and the 31st for the 4th selection and Elias or Rolston?

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#68 Jason Gregor
April 21 2011, 12:23PM
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People you need to realize that trading down to get the 2nd or 3rd pick won't get you much in return.

When Burke did it, and he only did it because he owned the 3rd pick, and knew Atl wasn't going to draft one of the twins. Burke got a conditional 3rd rounder to move down one spot.

In the Bouwmeester deal...Florida traded down and got the OPTION to switch picks with Columbus the next season. (which turned out be be swapping to 3rd instead of 4th)...so technically they dropped two spots in 2002 and gained one spot in 2003.

Florida also traded away a 3rd and a 4th round to Atlanta so the the Thrashers wouldn't pick Bouwmeester.

Essentially Florida traded away the 1st pick overall in 2002, the 4th overall pick in 2003 and a 3rd and a 4th for the 3rd pick in 2002 and 3rd pick in 2003.

I'd argue they lost out in that trade by moving down.

People who think the Oilers are going to get much more than a 3rd rounder, maybe a 2nd for dropping a spot or two are somewhat delusional I would say.

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#69 Mantastic
April 21 2011, 12:24PM
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@Clyde Frog

it was a hypothetical question... just saying if the value is right, moving down isn't a bad idea. if you knew who the team picking 2nd overall with the 1st pick and it wasn't the same guy you were going to pick.

again, it was hypothetical...

that being said, i don't think trading down is usually a good idea

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#70 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 12:30PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I could trade my one $50 bill for two $20 bills and tell you that I have more bills then I did before, but you wouldnt say that I benefitted. Would you?

Lets just ignore the fact that the trade could also be a $50 bill for THREE $20 bills

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#71 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 12:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

People you need to realize that trading down to get the 2nd or 3rd pick won't get you much in return.

When Burke did it, and he only did it because he owned the 3rd pick, and knew Atl wasn't going to draft one of the twins. Burke got a conditional 3rd rounder to move down one spot.

In the Bouwmeester deal...Florida traded down and got the OPTION to switch picks with Columbus the next season. (which turned out be be swapping to 3rd instead of 4th)...so technically they dropped two spots in 2002 and gained one spot in 2003.

Florida also traded away a 3rd and a 4th round to Atlanta so the the Thrashers wouldn't pick Bouwmeester.

Essentially Florida traded away the 1st pick overall in 2002, the 4th overall pick in 2003 and a 3rd and a 4th for the 3rd pick in 2002 and 3rd pick in 2003.

I'd argue they lost out in that trade by moving down.

People who think the Oilers are going to get much more than a 3rd rounder, maybe a 2nd for dropping a spot or two are somewhat delusional I would say.

In the last few years teams have been trading high 2nd rounders to move up two spots between 5 - 10.

You have to think dropping from 1 to 3 would bring a bigger premium then dropping from 5 to 7 would.

Anyways, it's more spit balling then anything. If going from 1 to 3 really only brings you back a 3rd rounder then obviously you don't do it, eventually though, their has to be a price that's too good to pass up.

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#72 firemedic136
April 21 2011, 12:35PM
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It's amazing to see the extreme skew on ON towards the draft and the value of picks/ prospects There.

Granted, it's the only bloody thing to cheer about (See Wayne's earlier link- GOLD!) but everyone has forgotten/ or at least not mentioned, the value of picks to trade FOR ACTUAL HOCKEY PLAYERS.

2 months ago, it was all "Bogosian is available", "...OMG Johnson just got traded!..."

Now, could we trade that Kings pick for an actual top 9 player? Trade the 31st pick for Shea Weber's contract rights?

It's cool to scope out all of the prospects out there, but lets keep our eyes on the big picture here- making a great team full of veterans and young players. How many players in the first round from the last 3 drafts have yet to play an NHL game?

4 years ago (that long alreadys? it was all Kadri vs Gagner. Glad we choose right. that is all.

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#73 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 12:52PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Are you saying that you're willing to give me three $20 dollar bills for a $50? Most GMs arent THAT brain-dead.

As JG mentions above, the returns on moving down arent that great.

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#74 Clyde Frog
April 21 2011, 12:54PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

The way to properly construct this metaphor is.

You have a 100 dollar bill, I will trade you several 20's for it.

The catch is you don't get to count them before we finalize the deal.

Scenario A - The trade is for a 2nd or 3rd round pick - will you make the deal hoping I am going to hand you more than 5 20's?

Senario B - The trade is for a prospect - You think you saw at least 2-3 bills, do you now feel more comfortable that there is at least 3 more bills in my stack?

Honestly unless I am 100% sure I have a way of accurately guaging the value of the bills from the stack I saw there is no way I make the deal.

Would you?

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#75 Kevin
April 21 2011, 12:57PM
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Great read !- with all the holes this team has to fill, I would do anything I can to acquire as many picks in the first round. By all means trade 1st overall to acquire an extra pick. ST should have traded Hemsky at the dead line but if he can salvage him for a 1st rounder I would do that too. If Gagne and Cogs and whatever can be packaged to get another I would do that too. I we are in fact making this youth movement- then by all means jump in and do it. Let's face it, we finished dead last the passed two seasons with the players we have. We have to many smallish type fowards and need to make a call on who stays and who goes. I would say one of Gagne ,Cogs or Omark could be had in our top 6. Not three, not two but one. Pick one and move the others. Like I said acquire picks and let Stu do his thing at the draft.

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#76 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 12:58PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Are you saying that you're willing to give me three $20 dollar bills for a $50? Most GMs arent THAT brain-dead.

As JG mentions above, the returns on moving down arent that great.

Enough with your little games. It's a legit strategy that could produce tangible assets in the right situations and shouldn't be completly ignored.

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#77 Mantastic
April 21 2011, 01:00PM
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picks and prospects are still a gamble and don't have HARD value so the money metaphor isn't a good one in the slightest. it's more like trading lottery tickets with different %'s of winning.

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#78 Jason Gregor
April 21 2011, 01:01PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

This past year...

LA traded 19th pick to Florida for 15th pick and 59th pick overall.

Montreal traded 27th pick and 57th pick to Phoenix for the 22nd pick and a 4th rounder.

Chicago traded 30th pick to Islanders for the 35th pick and 58th...

There is a massive difference between trading a top-five pick and 19th-30th ranked picks...

The risk is much higher, and considering teams/scouts don't see that much of a difference between the top four or five picks right now, why would any team give up something of actual substance. Getting a 2nd rounder to drop a few spots is a big gamble, considering less than 20% of 2nd rounders ever pan out.

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#79 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 01:01PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

The way to properly construct this metaphor is.

You have a 100 dollar bill, I will trade you several 20's for it.

The catch is you don't get to count them before we finalize the deal.

Scenario A - The trade is for a 2nd or 3rd round pick - will you make the deal hoping I am going to hand you more than 5 20's?

Senario B - The trade is for a prospect - You think you saw at least 2-3 bills, do you now feel more comfortable that there is at least 3 more bills in my stack?

Honestly unless I am 100% sure I have a way of accurately guaging the value of the bills from the stack I saw there is no way I make the deal.

Would you?

That isn't close enough to the actually situation at hand to bother with.

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#80 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 01:07PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

This past year...

LA traded 19th pick to Florida for 15th pick and 59th pick overall.

Montreal traded 27th pick and 57th pick to Phoenix for the 22nd pick and a 4th rounder.

Chicago traded 30th pick to Islanders for the 35th pick and 58th...

There is a massive difference between trading a top-five pick and 19th-30th ranked picks...

The risk is much higher, and considering teams/scouts don't see that much of a difference between the top four or five picks right now, why would any team give up something of actual substance. Getting a 2nd rounder to drop a few spots is a big gamble, considering less than 20% of 2nd rounders ever pan out.

Yes exactly, those teams are landing 2nd rounders to move back 4 or 5 spots in the mid to late first round, that's a far bigger returnthen your original post highliting when teams were getting 3rd and 4th rounders.

You yourself are saying teams/scouts don't see that much of a difference between the top 4 or 5 picks, so the risk actually isn't much higher, the risk would be very low this year.

If you think the top 4 are all pretty much equal, then you wouldn't have any advantage picking 1 vs 2, 3 or 4.

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#81 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 01:07PM
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Mantastic wrote:

picks and prospects are still a gamble and don't have HARD value so the money metaphor isn't a good one in the slightest. it's more like trading lottery tickets with different %'s of winning.

Exactly

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#82 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 01:16PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Enough with your little games. It's a legit strategy that could produce tangible assets in the right situations and shouldn't be completly ignored.

It's A strategy. Calling it "legit" is debatable.

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#83 D-Man
April 21 2011, 01:19PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Could we just buy that 4th from Jersey. 16th and the 31st for the 4th selection and Elias or Rolston?

You could probably get Rolston for free - NJ has waived the guy once already to dump his contract (with limited success)... Elias would be of some interest to me - but not for a first rounder.. He's nearing the end of his career - the 31st pick for him straight across would definitely work... Elias would have two more years at $5.0 million too - that would definitely work; although I can't see Jersey biting on that deal...

I can't see Jersey willing to trade their 4th pick either.... They have too many cap issues right now.. They'd probably want to keep a talented young player like a Strome or Courterier in junior for a year or two - allow them to develop and then take a roster spot once they've dumped their albatross contracts like the one they have with Rolston. Your proposal is a fair one though; even though I can't see LL biting...

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#84 Clyde Frog
April 21 2011, 01:20PM
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Lol, it is straight up text book sentential logic.

You have a percieved knowledge of the value A and would consider accepting a combination for B and C, but cannot accurately peg the value. You essentially start gambling that the return of C will raise the value of B to an acceptable level.

So for example we understand the value of $100, we can percieve value in a stack of $20's but cannot prove the value until the conclusion of the trade and hedge our bet by requesting our trading partner add extra 20's to increase the odds of the value going up.

Why is this provably true? If B's percieved value was originally on par with A or greater, B would be rated higher in the first place and the person you are trading with would be taking actions against their own interests.

And that is the crux of the issue all of the speculation requires the other teams to want our $100 dollar bill more than their stack of 20's, which with all the discussion currently being held just doesn't seem likely in any case.

But I digress, moving 1 position will net you minimum returns at best. Moving 3-5 might increase the rewards, but you proportionally decrease your payoff chance and are starting to bet that You alone have inside information that teams 1,2,3,4,5 do not possess or will not act on.

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#85 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 01:24PM
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@Clyde Frog

Finally. Someone is making sense.

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#86 ubermiguel
April 21 2011, 01:28PM
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D-Man wrote:

You could probably get Rolston for free - NJ has waived the guy once already to dump his contract (with limited success)... Elias would be of some interest to me - but not for a first rounder.. He's nearing the end of his career - the 31st pick for him straight across would definitely work... Elias would have two more years at $5.0 million too - that would definitely work; although I can't see Jersey biting on that deal...

I can't see Jersey willing to trade their 4th pick either.... They have too many cap issues right now.. They'd probably want to keep a talented young player like a Strome or Courterier in junior for a year or two - allow them to develop and then take a roster spot once they've dumped their albatross contracts like the one they have with Rolston. Your proposal is a fair one though; even though I can't see LL biting...

Problem is LL doesn't always call the shots any more, like in the Kovalchuk deal. The ownership in NJ might want that #1 pick for the publicity. RNH would be on entry-level contract which makes the cap manageable. Elias + #4 pick for the #1 pick? Would Couturier be available at #4?

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#87 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 01:36PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

It's A strategy. Calling it "legit" is debatable.

Yet teams do it all the time. I guess they aren't as smart as you.

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#88 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 01:39PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Lol, it is straight up text book sentential logic.

You have a percieved knowledge of the value A and would consider accepting a combination for B and C, but cannot accurately peg the value. You essentially start gambling that the return of C will raise the value of B to an acceptable level.

So for example we understand the value of $100, we can percieve value in a stack of $20's but cannot prove the value until the conclusion of the trade and hedge our bet by requesting our trading partner add extra 20's to increase the odds of the value going up.

Why is this provably true? If B's percieved value was originally on par with A or greater, B would be rated higher in the first place and the person you are trading with would be taking actions against their own interests.

And that is the crux of the issue all of the speculation requires the other teams to want our $100 dollar bill more than their stack of 20's, which with all the discussion currently being held just doesn't seem likely in any case.

But I digress, moving 1 position will net you minimum returns at best. Moving 3-5 might increase the rewards, but you proportionally decrease your payoff chance and are starting to bet that You alone have inside information that teams 1,2,3,4,5 do not possess or will not act on.

The problem is that not everyone (team) puts the same value on each asset.

Their is no, hard "$100" (or $20) ranking accross the board, we don't know exactly what dollar value each team puts on each player, some teams may rank RNH $100 while others only rank him at $90. That is what makes the market.

The above is great in theory but useless in reality.

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#89 The Beaker
April 21 2011, 01:49PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Sure, not really considered a cup contender by anyone I listen to.

6 out of 7 drafted by them, 2 in the first round. Majority of their D under 27 and Suter taken at 7 is eating up a lot of their minutes.

Still no lottery pick Defensemen leading the charge for their corpse. Arguably their best player in Weber was a second rounder.

I'm not advocating never drafting any defensemen, just stating that the ability to pick up good-great-excellent category defensemen when they mature is much easier then the equivalent forward. So in terms of priority in a lotto pick I would go for an offensive forward 8 times out of 10, as they seem to be the hardest to aquire and least likely to develop with later picks.

I don't see any of the teams listed building their core around a Lottery pick defensemen that they actually drafted...

you hadnt mentioned anything about cup contention, just "leading" D cores, that was why I asked. L.A. would probably also be good to examine. But oh well the point has been made.

For the record I am not partial to drafting Larsonn either.

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#90 Peterborough
April 21 2011, 01:53PM
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Ender wrote:

Despite the fact that Larsson looks like a pretty solid hockey player to this point, he should still be considered a mirage by anyone who understands that buying a 6-49 ticket does not constitute a sound financial investment.

Gregor has written two fine articles on drafting defensemen and the relative success rates history has shown. They are both required reading, but I’ll hit a couple of the highlight statements:

Jason Gregor wrote:

In the last 20 years, the only true elite D-man chosen in the top five who spent significant time with the team that drafted him was Scott Niedermayer. Mike Rathje, Chris Phillips and Rotislav Klesla have spent at least ten years with the team that drafted them, but none of them are elite.

Jason Gregor wrote:

By my count in the 47-year history of the draft, only seven [players picked top-5] have emerged as elite defenders. Brad Park, Denis Potvin, Dave Babych, Larry Murphy, Scott Neidermayer, Chris Pronger and Ed Jovanovski. Drew Doughty looks like he’ll join that group and the jury is still out on Bogosian, Hedman, Suter, Phaneuf, Johnson and Johnson.

Here are the numbers, people. In the 47 years Gregor refers to above, there were obviously 235 players drafted in the top 5. 63 of them were defencemen, or about 27%. That number already indicates that people who are doing the drafting normally shy away from defencemen in the top-five if they can. Of those 63, Gregor picked 7 as elite. Go ahead and critique one or two of his selections if you want, but it won’t significantly change the fact that the percentage of top-5 defenders that become star players is in the neighbourhood of 11%. Not good odds.

Want to know how many of those 63 players were picked at #1? There were 11 in draft history. Exactly two of them (Denis Potvin and Ed Jovanovski) made Gregor’s impact-player list. Let me be Jim Rome for a second and say that again in case you missed it: only twice in draft history has a team picked a D-man first overall and had him turn into the absolute stud they envisioned.

For all the people advocating picking up Larsson at #1, here’s the thing you really want to understand here: in 47 years of drafting, professional scouts who spent their lives looking at the best hockey players in the world decided 63 times that they had found a player worth spending a top-5 pick on. Roughly 56 of those 63 times, they were dead wrong. Those are lousy odds. Every one of those guys thought they were doing the best thing for their hockey club. We’re smarter than all of those guys though, right? We know for certainty that Larsson really is the bomb, right? Right?

Take a pass on the lottery ticket and draft a forward. Seriously.

Why does no include the past history of NFL and NBA over the last 50 years??? Ohhh wait its not relevent. Gregor seems to think that the past 20 years is relevent to today. Worse he has infected some smart people here with his ludicris BS. Its not relevent. It means nothing. The game has changed.

To repeat the game has changed. Look at the past 5 years that is relevent. Look at the D-men taken in the top five. Busts??? I know its early to tell but I don't see many of them.

Why is it that anyone here thinks Gregor is a smarted hockey man than the management of these teams he isn't. Not even close and neither are any of you.

Let the man, MBS, do his job. He's way better at it that you are. Than any of you are.

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#91 Archaeologuy
April 21 2011, 01:54PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Yet teams do it all the time. I guess they aren't as smart as you.

1) To often questionable results

2) Who is?

How much do you honestly expect in return, and will those picks amount to more than the best player in the draft?

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#92 D-Man
April 21 2011, 01:56PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

Problem is LL doesn't always call the shots any more, like in the Kovalchuk deal. The ownership in NJ might want that #1 pick for the publicity. RNH would be on entry-level contract which makes the cap manageable. Elias + #4 pick for the #1 pick? Would Couturier be available at #4?

Good point about NJ's new ownership... If I'm Tambo - I'd probably try to get Zajac over Elias, but I'm not sure NJ would bite... That's a pretty steep price to pay for RNH, even though that deal give them more cap space to afford Parise...

From everyone asides from Lowetide, you could probably get Couturier for the fourth pick though.. Although I haven't seen him play (asides from the WJC - where he was okay), I've heard he doesn't play with enough 'heart'.. Not sure if there's any validity to that comment, especially considering the awesome season he's had.

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#93 Ender
April 21 2011, 02:00PM
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Regarding the whole "trading-down" scenario, I think everyone who has commented on it today is right.

Jon is right when he says that it's possible it could be beneficial under the right circumstances.

Arch is right when he says it's usually considered foolish to give up a bird in the hand for two in the bush, especially when you're not completely sure what any of the birds look like.

OB1 is right when he says that if someone is offering you two 10-pound birds for one 15-pound bird, you get more bird by accepting the offer.

Gregor is right when he say the Oilers are unlikely to have anyone offer them that sort of deal.

Ultimately, I don't think it's going to be an issue. I don't think there are many dance partners out there willing to give up assets to trade up to number one, and the few GM's that might probably don't have anything to offer that would tempt Tambi. I think it's a given that Tambi wants to draft in the top 5 or 6 no matter what; the optics of finishing dead-last and then not picking near the top looks very, very bad from a public-relations standpoint. That in mind, there is really a pretty short list of teams that Tambi could talk to and of those teams, I don't feel that any of them are inclined to offer what we would need to swap top-6 picks.

Trading-down might work in theory, but it's unlikey to be a scenario in play for the Oilers this spring.

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#94 JB
April 21 2011, 02:03PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

People you need to realize that trading down to get the 2nd or 3rd pick won't get you much in return.

When Burke did it, and he only did it because he owned the 3rd pick, and knew Atl wasn't going to draft one of the twins. Burke got a conditional 3rd rounder to move down one spot.

In the Bouwmeester deal...Florida traded down and got the OPTION to switch picks with Columbus the next season. (which turned out be be swapping to 3rd instead of 4th)...so technically they dropped two spots in 2002 and gained one spot in 2003.

Florida also traded away a 3rd and a 4th round to Atlanta so the the Thrashers wouldn't pick Bouwmeester.

Essentially Florida traded away the 1st pick overall in 2002, the 4th overall pick in 2003 and a 3rd and a 4th for the 3rd pick in 2002 and 3rd pick in 2003.

I'd argue they lost out in that trade by moving down.

People who think the Oilers are going to get much more than a 3rd rounder, maybe a 2nd for dropping a spot or two are somewhat delusional I would say.

Particularly in a draft where there's no consensus elite talent. Teams will be reluctant to part with much considering how closely ranked the top 5-7 guys are.

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#95 Peterborough
April 21 2011, 02:03PM
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D-Man wrote:

Good point about NJ's new ownership... If I'm Tambo - I'd probably try to get Zajac over Elias, but I'm not sure NJ would bite... That's a pretty steep price to pay for RNH, even though that deal give them more cap space to afford Parise...

From everyone asides from Lowetide, you could probably get Couturier for the fourth pick though.. Although I haven't seen him play (asides from the WJC - where he was okay), I've heard he doesn't play with enough 'heart'.. Not sure if there's any validity to that comment, especially considering the awesome season he's had.

I suggested this might be a possiblity in earlier threads. But you are missing the point. Rolston contract is bad and the Devils need cap relief to sing Parise. They might be forced to shed salery and will need to pay a team, via sweetening the deal, to pick up a guy like Rolston. Toronto puuled off a simlar move with Tampa a few years ago at the dead line. The big problem is he has a NTC and won't want to come here.

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#96 D-Man
April 21 2011, 02:05PM
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Peterborough wrote:

Why does no include the past history of NFL and NBA over the last 50 years??? Ohhh wait its not relevent. Gregor seems to think that the past 20 years is relevent to today. Worse he has infected some smart people here with his ludicris BS. Its not relevent. It means nothing. The game has changed.

To repeat the game has changed. Look at the past 5 years that is relevent. Look at the D-men taken in the top five. Busts??? I know its early to tell but I don't see many of them.

Why is it that anyone here thinks Gregor is a smarted hockey man than the management of these teams he isn't. Not even close and neither are any of you.

Let the man, MBS, do his job. He's way better at it that you are. Than any of you are.

I don't think anyone is saying Gregor is smarted than anyone here or in management... He simply identified some simple statistics to prove his point - that elite defensemen are very difficult to come by and need time to develop...

I do agree that we should let the Magnificent Bastard do his job, considering his last three draft years, but to not take history into consideration is foolhardy... Larrson has even said it himself - he is not the next coming of Nik Lidstrom... He does have a tremendous upside; but the NHL is a significant step above the Swedish elite league...

I haven't seen any of these guys play - but I do know that drafting Larrson could be an organizational mistake... In Oiler nation, we will be putting alot of pressure (like we did on Hall) for this first round draft pick to excel. That would be tough on a defenseman, considering we're a last place team with a weak defensive core. You can hide a Couturier or a RNH in our lineup - but you could not hide Larrson, especially if this first rounder isn't NHL ready...

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#97 Dman09
April 21 2011, 02:07PM
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How about the Oiler move down a spot or two if someone take Souray off their hands.

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#98 Oilfan00
April 21 2011, 02:09PM
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@firemedic136

No chance 31st gets the rights to Weber he is a RFA (Nashville could get 1 first rounders if someone offered an offer sheet), also it was never Kadri vs Gagner they weren't in the same draft year.

Clyde Frog and Archaeologuy I am with you guys on the dollar bills thing, we have enough prospects in the pool its time we get some legit ones, we don't need more picks we just need good picks I would take 2 sure things then 2 could be decent and 8 who knows.

I don't think a team will give up much to move up because they will probably get their guy at the current spot, like people have said whoever the Oilers value the most take him number 1.

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#99 Mantastic
April 21 2011, 02:09PM
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@Clyde Frog

everything you're saying makes sense but your money metaphor is still an awful one.

and you have to take into account, people value different prospects/picks differently, like what OB1 is saying. there are not predefined values for each pick and they are totally subjective to the ones holding pick and the ones looking to obtain that pick.

if you are trading down to persay getting 2nd overall and + 3rd rounder and you knew that team valued another player higher then the one you were going to pick 1st overall, why wouldn't you make that trade?

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#100 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 21 2011, 02:10PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

1) To often questionable results

2) Who is?

How much do you honestly expect in return, and will those picks amount to more than the best player in the draft?

I think we could land 2 second round picks and stay in the top 4. If we couldn't get that, then I stand pat.

Coincidently I think those 2 extra picks would be enough to move LA's pick into the top 10 (assuming they lose 1st round).

In this specific draft I'd rather have 4 and 9 then 1 and 18 (or whatever it will be)

I also don't think theirs a clear best player in the draft (we've already been over that). (and it seems most NHL scouts agree as per Gregors post above)

I think the gap in talent this year between 1-4 is more like the 2006 draft then it was in the 2004 or 2005 draft.

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