FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH II: STU MACGREGOR

Robin Brownlee
May 02 2011 08:02PM

In my books, Stu MacGregor had a pretty sharp hockey mind long before he became GM of the Kamloops Blazers in 1995 or joined the scouting staff of the Edmonton Oilers in 2000. A lot of people feel the same way now, especially since he became Edmonton's chief scout in 2007.

It's no surprise, then, I've taken every chance I get to pick that brain of his. Doing so has pretty much been a rite of spring for me in preparation for the NHL Entry Draft for years, even before MacGregor took over as chief scout from Kevin Prendergast.

Want a no-frills, tell-it-like-it-is assessment of a player? MacGregor, who oversees an amateur scouting staff that numbers nine, is your man. Want to see how MacGregor's scouting list compares to that of Central Scouting Services or ISS? Not so much, as often as I've tried. Still, given the depth of prospects the Oilers have begun stockpiling on his watch, a chat with MacGregor is time well-spent.

With the Oilers holding the first overall pick for the second consecutive year, I tracked down MacGregor, as I suggested I would a couple weeks ago, to get his take heading into scouting meetings two weeks from now and the Entry Draft in Minnesota June 24-25. This is simply a heads-up on what's to come, based on that conversation.

A tease, if you will.

SURVEY SAYS . . .

So, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Adam Larsson? What's the top-end for Gabriel Landeskog? What about the late-season surge by Jonathan Huberdeau and the final rankings for Sean Couturier?

How much debate will there be about the No. 1 pick when the scouting staff meets in Phoenix May 15? Will it be an either-or, two-man discussion as it was with Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin last spring or are more kids in the mix to be the first name called?

First off, MacGregor didn't answer the Nugent-Hopkins or Larsson question because I didn't ask it -- at least not framed that way. I know, "Brownlee, you idiot, how could you NOT ask him?"

Well, because backing a chief scout, any chief scout, into a corner seven weeks before the Oilers call a name at the podium isn't a way to get your phone calls returned year after year. And, of course, you seldom get a straight answer any way. "Yes, we are taking Taylor Hall no matter what happens between now and draft day . . ." Or was it Seguin?

WHAT'S TO COME?

What MacGregor and I did talk about was Nugent-Hopkins, at length, as well as Larsson, Couturier, Huberdeau and Landeskog. I'll give you his take on each of them, as well as an extra item on Nugent-Hopkins as it refers to concerns in some corners about his size and questions about his offensive numbers on the power play versus at even strength etc.

We talked about the process of the scouting meetings when each and every scout on staff gets together to compare notes and lists on the way to compiling a final list, where the saw-him-good and the numbers come together in the form of a pecking, or picking, order.

As an aside, we talked a bit about 2009 second-rounder Anton Lander and Teemu Hartikainen, who turned some heads in a late-season stint with the Oilers. I'll spin something off from that, as well.

All told, it'll be MacGregor, MacGregor and more MacGregor from me over the next week or 10 days, broken into a series of six or seven items, starting tomorrow. I can't think of a better source of information with the draft approaching.

As always, stay tuned.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Moose
May 02 2011, 08:14PM
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Great stuff, Robin. Thanks for this...looking forward to it.

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#2 Mrs. Potato Dick
May 02 2011, 10:04PM
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@Oilcruzer

Agreed. I almost cheered when they announced the majority....finally.

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#3 upper-deck-drunk
May 02 2011, 10:24PM
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Hey Robin, do you think Stu is a future gm? Does he have the motivation to become one? I don't think he'd answer out of respect for Tambo but i wonder if its in his future.

Ya a majority govt...can't wait for that keystone pipeline to be built and 500,000 barrels of bitumen get shipped south everyday. Gonna be such a job creator in Edmonton! Go Harper! (fail)

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#4 Aron S
May 02 2011, 10:40PM
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I cried when they announced the majority. What have we done?

What a broken system.

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#6 lowetide
May 02 2011, 08:45PM
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Really looking forward to this series, Robin.

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#7 Oilcruzer
May 02 2011, 09:02PM
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Finally a stable government.

Nice - by the way, without giving up too much, does Stu have direct input on trading up? Or on the value received on trading down?

Does that get discussed as a last second "what do you think Stu?" gut call? Or do the scenarios all get discussed weeks in advance?

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#8 Trent
May 02 2011, 10:33PM
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So basically this column was just a shill for future columns? Nice.

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#9 @NateInVegas
May 03 2011, 01:03AM
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Robin,

All things being equal between RNH & Larsson could the tie go to Nugent-Hopkins because of the depth on defense in next year's draft?

If Larsson' NHL comparable is Ohlund is that the best Edmonton can do drafting the D-man 1st overall? (not that Ohlund's a hack no pun)

The Oilers can draft Defense 19,31 this year, and 1-5 & 31-35 next year.. With Petry & Marincin there's no need to rush taking Larsson #1 now.

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#10 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 03 2011, 07:40AM
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OK so I was wrong I only had to wait a few hours for the first page to show Good reading Robin!

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#12 Wäx Män Riley
May 03 2011, 12:52PM
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Mrs. Potato Dick wrote:

Agreed. I almost cheered when they announced the majority....finally.

Keep your filthy political views out of my hockey!

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#13 Wäx Män Riley
May 03 2011, 12:56PM
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Truth wrote:

Election over, finally.

Looking forward to these upcoming pieces Mr. Brownlee.

Also, if the long gun registry had never been introduced the money saved could have paid for APPROX. 3 new $400 million arenas. Good riddance Liberals.

Instead it will be used to buy war machines.

Guns registered, or more war machines that are used to fight nobody?

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#14 Archaeologuy
May 03 2011, 01:03PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Instead it will be used to buy war machines.

Guns registered, or more war machines that are used to fight nobody?

Maybe those fighter jets will fly over RX2 on its inauguration day. Since they probably wont be used for anything productive, they can at least be festive.

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#15 buttermilk biscuits
May 03 2011, 01:05PM
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LAST!

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#16 Mrs. Potato Dick
May 02 2011, 08:19PM
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Crap. I thought I'd get all the details now...

Can't wait to hear his comments.

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#17 Pucker
May 02 2011, 08:19PM
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I wudda had my fist fist. And on Brownlee's woulda been sweet . . . but I went through that damn poll thing first. . and voted already!

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#18 Ribs
May 02 2011, 09:40PM
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Sounds great!

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 02 2011, 10:00PM
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Lots of great blogs on here, but it's ones like this (and the rest that will be following in the MBS series) that make this the go to place for Oiler news/opinions.

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#21 Horcsky
May 02 2011, 10:16PM
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Well done Brownlee. Looking forward to the mini-series.

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#22 Hemmertime
May 02 2011, 10:35PM
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Tease! Thanks for spreading it out tho, I need my fix and a huge article wouldnt cut it for long (plus then the comment debates more fun!)

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#23 buttermilk buscuits
May 02 2011, 10:41PM
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Why make Stu the GM is he is great at being the chief Scout? I am not a hundred percent sold on Tambi yet..but..one thing he has NOT done yet is screw this teams future up, but only time will tell if he can add to and maintain this team when or if this team becomes a serious contender...early work by Trading for OSullivan and signing Khabby point to no..but who wouldve seen the performances of those players coming? Or what about the Erik Cole trade? We all thought it was great at the time..and so did Tambi..we were both wrong.. Hopefully next time Tambellini decides to bring in Veterans he does his homework correctly..or, maybe a wiser choice would be..just ask Stu the bastard...Magnificient Bastard that is.

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#24 Tyler
May 02 2011, 10:51PM
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Dammit Brownlee, you've been watching reality T.V haven't you? ....... And we'll find out the results....... AFTER THE BREAK!!!! The suspense is killing a guy.

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#25 buttermilk buscuits
May 02 2011, 10:56PM
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You better have the first blog on this interview up by tommorow nine thirty in the AM..if not I will be very disappointed as that is when I have a break at work and I spend my breaks reading Oilersnation..

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#26 David S
May 02 2011, 11:14PM
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Nice intro Robin. I'm looking forward to this new series.

BTW. Word on the Tweet is that you're drivin' a sweet Corvette. I have a feeling you wouldn't be driving something like that stock. Care to share the mod list (susp., exhaust, wheels, tires, engine, etc.)?

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#28 dougtheslug
May 02 2011, 11:45PM
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Brownlee you teasing dog. Stringing us along 'til June. This better be worth it.

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Robin, I'm very much looking forward to this! All along I've been hoping someone would ask the right person the right questions.

So if you have a good relationship with Stu and you've kept your ear to the ground, and it reads like you do/have on both accounts, this series shouldn't disappoint.

Great job... at least so far.

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#30 Wanye
May 03 2011, 12:54AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Wanye exaggerates.

It's the 436-HP 2008 Z-51 with the Z06 actuated exhaust/bigger brakes/F-1 run-flats/paddle shift etc.

Hope to have the guys at Horsepower Solutions bump it up a bit this spring so I can take on Gregor's crazy KIA in a grudge race at Castrol.

I must say, though, I caught a distinct hint of bowel movement from Wanye on a relatively tame (to me) romp out towards Winterburn Rd. As Wanye dropped his lunch down his left pant leg, he blurted something like, "So, you've taken some driving courses and stuff, eh?"

Psh. Just because I got in the car and asked `Uh does this have a lot of horsepower and what not?`and you answered `this is one of the fastest production cars on the planet you idiot`does not mean I don`t know my cars.

Your car is red.

*drools*

Also: Miniseries!

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#31 David S
May 03 2011, 01:31AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Wanye exaggerates.

It's the 436-HP 2008 Z-51 with the Z06 actuated exhaust/bigger brakes/F-1 run-flats/paddle shift etc.

Hope to have the guys at Horsepower Solutions bump it up a bit this spring so I can take on Gregor's crazy KIA in a grudge race at Castrol.

I must say, though, I caught a distinct hint of bowel movement from Wanye on a relatively tame (to me) romp out towards Winterburn Rd. As Wanye dropped his lunch down his left pant leg, he blurted something like, "So, you've taken some driving courses and stuff, eh?"

Niiiice! Kinda figured you'd be dippin' into the parts bin. Those cars have so much potential the only limits are your wallet and fear. I'll have to keep my eye open around town for it.

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#32 striker777
May 03 2011, 02:26AM
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I can't wait to read these articles. Personally, I think we should keep trading down until we get Couturier, but... in Stu MacGregor I trust )

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#33 beaumatters
May 03 2011, 05:56AM
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For those who remember,but Couturier reminds me of Jason Bonsignore.

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#34 buttermilk buscuits
May 03 2011, 06:01AM
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Huberdeau reminds me of Andy Moog..but I have never seen him play so I dunno..

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#35 Caveat Emptor
May 03 2011, 08:15AM
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@beaumatters

Because both are big centres? I am certainly old enough to remember Bonsignore and I don't see the comparison at all. They aren't the same player, in any sense except size and position.

Bonsignore had zero heart and was butter, with such concerns being present the day he was drafted (I somehow recall O'Neil, who was picked immediately after at #5, deriding Bonsignore with a comment such as he was "chicken"). There were huge question marks about Bonsignore's ability to be an NHL player the day he was drafted - he was really a boom or bust player.

Additionally, Bonsignore was never, ever, considered a 2 way centre.

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#36 buttermilk biscuits
May 03 2011, 08:33AM
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wtf? Its 9:30, wheres the interview!??!!

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#37 John Chambers
May 03 2011, 08:47AM
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Will this Oilers mini-series be narrated in a husky, ominous-toned voice a la Oil Change?

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#38 Truth
May 03 2011, 08:51AM
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Election over, finally.

Looking forward to these upcoming pieces Mr. Brownlee.

Also, if the long gun registry had never been introduced the money saved could have paid for APPROX. 3 new $400 million arenas. Good riddance Liberals.

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#39 Woodguy
May 03 2011, 08:52AM
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Looking forward to it Robin. The stuff you can pry from Stu's brain the better.

About 10 years ago I took a 2 day racing course with CASCARs down in Calgary.

Most amazing fun ever.

If you're not on the gas, you're on the brake.

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#40 Quicksilver ballet
May 03 2011, 09:40AM
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This is much like working in radio. Much time is spent conversing about what you will be talking about followed by a round of summarizing what you did talk about. Not alot of actual content is needed for that middle portion. After reading this effort....maybe your own radio gig isn't that much of a reach afterall Robin.

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#41 Dman09
May 03 2011, 10:14AM
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I love that your breaking it up. Gives more to think about over the next while. And naturally lately the articles are thinning out so the more the better. Just my two bits but RNH and SC. Just do what ever you have to to get both. Even if it means saying buy to hemsky, gagner and some low drafts. Center postion needs to be sorted out. Two centers, one with lots of skill and one with lots of size. Could be the difference maker for the team as I dont see Gags, brule, Fraser or cogs being acceptable pieces to the puzzle. However in a year or two if you Have RNH, SC, Horcoff, VV, Lander all in the mix of center. I think thats looking pretty damn good with some depth.

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#42 positivebrontefan
May 03 2011, 10:24AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

This is much like working in radio. Much time is spent conversing about what you will be talking about followed by a round of summarizing what you did talk about. Not alot of actual content is needed for that middle portion. After reading this effort....maybe your own radio gig isn't that much of a reach afterall Robin.

It's a long summer here in Oiler land. If Brownlee unloads the goods all at once you guys are gonna be bitchin' for articles in the dog days of summer.

On another note have you taken the Vette out to the track and had a go at the quarter yet? Road and Track had it listed at 12.8 in the quarter but our elevation up here wreaks havoc on quarter mile times. Nice car.

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