Another Top 8 Pick?

Lowetide
May 25 2011 07:45AM

According to a Jim Matheson article yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers have completed their scouting meetings with no clear number one. How could this be true? 

I don't think the recent performance of Jonathan Huberdeau will impact the Oilers final list. Huberdeau's team is loaded, so their appearance in the final four is no surprise and his impressive offensive totals have been compiled when the other elite talent from this draft are no longer playing. It is perhaps unwise to punish those players for running out of blacktop.

One of the quotes in the Matty article attempts to shed some light on the issue but really just muddies the waters. Matheson suggests that GM Steve Tambellini feels if two players are deemed equal by his scouts, he may make the call based on team need. Here's the muddy: the Oilers team needs perfectly align with the top of the draft:

  • #1 Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, Ryan Strome, Jonathan Huberdeau
  • Gritty skill winger: Gabriel Landeskog
  • Complete defender: Adam Larsson

I think the Oilers might consider trading down to #3 or #4 overall if the return is right. That return might include picks and players with enough appeal to get the Oildrop from #19 overall (the LAK pick) back into the top 10. If the Oilers walk away from the draft's first round with Sean Couturier and Dougie Hamilton, is that worth more than RNH and Mark McNeill? 

It might be.

MAGIC 8 BALL

It is generally agreed that the top end of this draft is exactly 8 deep. We discussed it here. I'm not certain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the number one player on the Oilers list, but I think he's the odds-on favorite to end up there. I'd bet even more money that the Oilers scouts discussed a second pick in the top 8: if these eight kids are as good as advertised, collecting a future #1 C and a future top pairing defender would be a major heist.

HOW DO YOU GET THERE FROM HERE?

Columbus would seem to be a likely candidate. They select 8th and are looking to improve enough to make a playoff appearance. Atlanta and Ottawa are also in the range.

I don't know for certain that Steve Tambellini will attempt to move up from 19th to 8th (or better), but it makes a helluva lot of sense.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 knee deep in it
May 25 2011, 07:50AM
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Columbus is in a world of financial hurt. Fan interest declining, losing money, and unattractive to scarce UFA.

Howson has to do something fist but he has two contracts holding him down - Paulson and Commodore.

If Katz is willing to eat those contracts, then less assets have to be offered.

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#2 Archaeologuy
May 25 2011, 08:03AM
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This sounds, to me, like business as usual at Oilers HQ. They dont give up info on this kind of thing. They didnt last year and they wont this year either.

I'm more willing to believe that they know exactly who they're taking and dont want to give that info to the media than I'm willing to believe they dont know who they're taking #1.

I also think it would be a terrible mistake trading down from #1. I would have a sick feeling in my gut if the Oilers ended up missing the best player in the draft just to get another player in the top 10. They already have 3 selections in the top 31. Just take the best player at #1 and the rest is gravy.

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#3 VMR
May 25 2011, 08:19AM
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The problem I see is Columbus is the target to give up their #8 pick but who is willing to trade to get to #1 and what are they willing to give up?

Could you work out a #1 + Smid for #7 + Bogosian deal with Atlanta? Then you are still trying to figure out something that Columbus would want for the #8, Bogosian or Gagner would interest them but are likely to much to give up. Maybe Ottawa would give up 6 and 21 to move up but are 19 and 21 enough to get Columbus to give up #8?

I'd say it's a nice theoretical exercise but very unlikely anything happens. I'm sure they would trade down if they could get something to work but it seems like a real challenge to find a deal that makes sense for all 3 teams.

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#4 Aitch
May 25 2011, 08:21AM
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In a perfect world, they trade down (with #1) and up (with #19.) Get one of the Super 8 and an already established upper-tier player. Throw in another prospect to get it done if need be.

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#5 dawgbone
May 25 2011, 08:33AM
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"I don't think the recent performance of Jonathan Huberdeau will impact the Oilers final list. Huberdeau's team is loaded, so their appearance in the final four is no surprise and his impressive offensive totals have been compiled when the other elite talent from this draft are no longer playing. It is perhaps unwise to punish those players for running out of blacktop."

LT, didn't the exact same thing happen last year and the Oilers would have been stupid if they didn't take the proven winner?

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#6 madjam
May 25 2011, 08:39AM
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I wouldn't be trying to over complicate things for Tams and company , they'll have enough trouble just trying to clarify a number 1 decision .

Here is next years rip off , as they plan to make us bigger ,yet worse off than last season . Hartekainen , O'Marra and Vandevelde will make us bigger as Reddox moves out to another league . Now we have already seen(last years preview) just how little thats going to take us upwards by last years further drop in NHL talent level . Now if they don't draft players this season ready to transition into NHL immediately - then we will be even more firmly entrenched in cellar than last 2 seasons

I am miffed, for lack of using vulgarity , why Katz allows this sort of rebuild further into the toilet to continue , while insulting the Oiler fans that they are becoming more competitive . Tams now says they might go with a need now in draft - how many more years did he need to come up with that brainwave ?

Give our new crop of rookies some NHL talent on which to grow and compete on instead of this hope crap and inferior fillins you keep feeding them and fans alike . Lets get on with the rebuild , not further entrenched in the toilet like last two seasons ! Time to get someone in that can properly assess talent and can procur some for current club - then we'll see our club start to move forward on this rebuild !

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#7 shau_co
May 25 2011, 08:49AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

This sounds, to me, like business as usual at Oilers HQ. They dont give up info on this kind of thing. They didnt last year and they wont this year either.

I'm more willing to believe that they know exactly who they're taking and dont want to give that info to the media than I'm willing to believe they dont know who they're taking #1.

I also think it would be a terrible mistake trading down from #1. I would have a sick feeling in my gut if the Oilers ended up missing the best player in the draft just to get another player in the top 10. They already have 3 selections in the top 31. Just take the best player at #1 and the rest is gravy.

Agreed - 100%.

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#8 bleed copper and blue
May 25 2011, 08:49AM
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I think Columbus is the target to move up in the draft. With Columbus, weak defense under the cap geek webpage, then would a package of Tom Gilbert and the 19th get the Oilers that top 8 pick?? Maybe too much to give up? Would something else pick or player needed back?

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#9 shau_co
May 25 2011, 08:56AM
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Don't draft by need. This has been discussed at length and imo makes no sense. Whoever you draft won't seriously help the team immediately anyway, so the propoer course if we don't have the size, is to go out and get it by trade or free agent signings. By the time RNH is in his prime, we can have the size issue well sorted out.

If I were Tambi, I'd be knocking on Upshall's and Glencross's door this off-season, to help out with the crust in our bottom-six.

Regardless, it is most likely that this team won't be seriously competitve next year, so be patient. Hopefully things will start to turn for 2012-2013.

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#10 shau_co
May 25 2011, 08:57AM
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My post above was at madjam...

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#11 Rogue
May 25 2011, 09:01AM
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shau_co wrote:

Don't draft by need. This has been discussed at length and imo makes no sense. Whoever you draft won't seriously help the team immediately anyway, so the propoer course if we don't have the size, is to go out and get it by trade or free agent signings. By the time RNH is in his prime, we can have the size issue well sorted out.

If I were Tambi, I'd be knocking on Upshall's and Glencross's door this off-season, to help out with the crust in our bottom-six.

Regardless, it is most likely that this team won't be seriously competitve next year, so be patient. Hopefully things will start to turn for 2012-2013.

I think Glencross has already signed a deal with the Flames.

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#12 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 25 2011, 09:02AM
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I think it's safe to say QSB just went balistic!

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#13 TigerUnderGlass
May 25 2011, 09:03AM
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shau_co wrote:

Don't draft by need. This has been discussed at length and imo makes no sense. Whoever you draft won't seriously help the team immediately anyway, so the propoer course if we don't have the size, is to go out and get it by trade or free agent signings. By the time RNH is in his prime, we can have the size issue well sorted out.

If I were Tambi, I'd be knocking on Upshall's and Glencross's door this off-season, to help out with the crust in our bottom-six.

Regardless, it is most likely that this team won't be seriously competitve next year, so be patient. Hopefully things will start to turn for 2012-2013.

Since Glencross is under contract that might not be the best idea.

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#14 Souby
May 25 2011, 09:03AM
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Aitch wrote:

In a perfect world, they trade down (with #1) and up (with #19.) Get one of the Super 8 and an already established upper-tier player. Throw in another prospect to get it done if need be.

I like your thinking on this. If we are talking about a perfect world here, then I feel the Oil need to get future #1 C and a solid D-Man out of the 1st round. My questions is, can the Oil make a trade using the #1 pick to get that "established upper-tier player" you mentioned? Maybe.

I wonder if Ottawa would give up Spezza, Jared Cowen and #6 for the #1, Gagner, Smid and a prospect/pick? Keep in mind, we are talking in perfect world, right?

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#15 Souby
May 25 2011, 09:06AM
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@shau_co

Although Glencross signed a 4 year deal with the Flames (2.55 cap hit/year), I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Upshall in Oiler silks.

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#17 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 25 2011, 09:07AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

This sounds, to me, like business as usual at Oilers HQ. They dont give up info on this kind of thing. They didnt last year and they wont this year either.

I'm more willing to believe that they know exactly who they're taking and dont want to give that info to the media than I'm willing to believe they dont know who they're taking #1.

I also think it would be a terrible mistake trading down from #1. I would have a sick feeling in my gut if the Oilers ended up missing the best player in the draft just to get another player in the top 10. They already have 3 selections in the top 31. Just take the best player at #1 and the rest is gravy.

"the Edmonton Oilers have completed their scouting meetings with no clear number one."

Wasn't this a fireable offense for Stu IYO?

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#18 shau_co
May 25 2011, 09:10AM
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Damn, I was using nhlnumbers.com for available FAs and they don't have Glencross new contract yet...

OK, Upshall and Laich then...

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#19 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 25 2011, 09:10AM
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"I think the Oilers might consider trading down to #3 or #4 overall if the return is right. That return might include picks and players with enough appeal to get the Oildrop from #19 overall (the LAK pick) back into the top 10."

Prepare to be shredded, I suggested the same thing a few weeks ago.... wasn't met with much enthusiasm.

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#20 Souby
May 25 2011, 09:13AM
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shau_co wrote:

Damn, I was using nhlnumbers.com for available FAs and they don't have Glencross new contract yet...

OK, Upshall and Laich then...

I like using capgeek.com because they are really good about keeping their info up-to-date.

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#21 aaron
May 25 2011, 09:19AM
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If (and that's a big if) the Oil brass are thinking much of the top 8 are almost interchangable, then other teams are likely thinking the same thing. Other teams will be reluctant to move up if it means giving up too much in the way of assets, ie. why give up too much for Larsson when you could have Murphy or Hamilton and still hang on to other good picks and prospects? Eating another team's bad contract(s) may be the only thing we can dangle as a carrot is my guess. Moving up a few spots from 19th may be more plausible than moving down from #1.

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#22 Archaeologuy
May 25 2011, 09:25AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"the Edmonton Oilers have completed their scouting meetings with no clear number one."

Wasn't this a fireable offense for Stu IYO?

Yes. Yes it is. If I pay a guy to tell me who the #1 18 year old player in the world is then he better deliver.

Somebody is better. Someone will have a more impactful career than the other. History and common sense hold those statements to be true.

If I hire a Coach and he tells me he doesnt have a gameplan then he's fired. If I hire a GM and he cant sign players or make trades then he's fired. If I hire a scout that cant tell me who the best prospect is then he is...***

***Keep in mind I have no desire to see Stu Mac fired. He's done a fine job. That's why I think he will make the determination before the draft that Player X > Player Y. I seem to recall from the OilChange series that the process of evaluation and discussion doesnt even end until shortly before Draft Day. Hell, the Mem Cup isnt even over yet. The Royal Decree isnt scheduled until June.

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#23 Chris.
May 25 2011, 09:26AM
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C'mon, let's face it: for better or worse the Oilers are gonna take RNH. Stu's favorite fishing hole is the WHL and RNH is the first concensus number one ranked prospect out of the WHL since Phillips. My guess is that Matty's article is designed to drum up false suspence for what is sure to be an anticlimatic draft for Oiler fans.

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#24 shau_co
May 25 2011, 09:34AM
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Souby wrote:

I like using capgeek.com because they are really good about keeping their info up-to-date.

Thanks Souby!

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#25 mayorpoop
May 25 2011, 09:39AM
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Chris. wrote:

C'mon, let's face it: for better or worse the Oilers are gonna take RNH. Stu's favorite fishing hole is the WHL and RNH is the first concensus number one ranked prospect out of the WHL since Phillips. My guess is that Matty's article is designed to drum up false suspence for what is sure to be an anticlimatic draft for Oiler fans.

let's hope this is the case!

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#26 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 25 2011, 09:40AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Yes. Yes it is. If I pay a guy to tell me who the #1 18 year old player in the world is then he better deliver.

Somebody is better. Someone will have a more impactful career than the other. History and common sense hold those statements to be true.

If I hire a Coach and he tells me he doesnt have a gameplan then he's fired. If I hire a GM and he cant sign players or make trades then he's fired. If I hire a scout that cant tell me who the best prospect is then he is...***

***Keep in mind I have no desire to see Stu Mac fired. He's done a fine job. That's why I think he will make the determination before the draft that Player X > Player Y. I seem to recall from the OilChange series that the process of evaluation and discussion doesnt even end until shortly before Draft Day. Hell, the Mem Cup isnt even over yet. The Royal Decree isnt scheduled until June.

Sharpen the ax!!!

;0

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#27 Ender
May 25 2011, 09:42AM
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@Archaeologuy

I like your fire, Arch, but I think Chris has the right of it here. Stu isn't getting fired because he's already told Tambellini exactly who we're drafting if we hang on to the number 1 pick. The Oilers just haven't seen any potential gain in announcing that fact yet.

@ OB1

I do remember you taking the position that trading down might not be the stupidest thing in the world depending on what you ended up with versus what you might have to give up to get both picks. I supported your theory. I've looked at it a lot since then, though, and I can't see a deal out there that I think works well for both or all three GM's involved. I think the theory - ending up with two players in the top 8 - is fine, but in practice I don't see it working out. If I was a betting man, I'd say we're stepping up to the podium first. Not because it's the only way to do business here, but because it's the path of least resistance.

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#28 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 25 2011, 09:49AM
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Ender wrote:

I like your fire, Arch, but I think Chris has the right of it here. Stu isn't getting fired because he's already told Tambellini exactly who we're drafting if we hang on to the number 1 pick. The Oilers just haven't seen any potential gain in announcing that fact yet.

@ OB1

I do remember you taking the position that trading down might not be the stupidest thing in the world depending on what you ended up with versus what you might have to give up to get both picks. I supported your theory. I've looked at it a lot since then, though, and I can't see a deal out there that I think works well for both or all three GM's involved. I think the theory - ending up with two players in the top 8 - is fine, but in practice I don't see it working out. If I was a betting man, I'd say we're stepping up to the podium first. Not because it's the only way to do business here, but because it's the path of least resistance.

Ya, it's obviously a long shot.

More then anything it was just spit-balling ideas.

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#29 vetinari75
May 25 2011, 09:54AM
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It seems to be that the Oil are in a bit of a bind and would require two separate trades with teams with picks in the top 5 to adequately secure their choice of a future top 2 centre and either a top 3 defenceman (like Larsson) or a power forward (like Landeskog).

They can easily move down from the #1 pick but trading up from #19 is going to be a challenge unless they work out a three-way trade (Team A gets the #1 but sends players and a top 5 pick to the Oil; Team B gets the #19 pick and some of the Oil's prospects and/or players that Team A sends over in exchange for their Top 5 pick). Who can they trade with that would consider that option?

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#30 Souby
May 25 2011, 09:56AM
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@shau_co

your welcome

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#31 Kevin
May 25 2011, 09:57AM
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Souby wrote:

Although Glencross signed a 4 year deal with the Flames (2.55 cap hit/year), I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Upshall in Oiler silks.

We could have had Upshall for Souray straight up two years ago. Tambo backed out last minute thinking he could get more for Souray....... Tambo assessing- not a good thing for those of us in Oil land. The future will bring more top five picks. We are looking more and more like the NYI organization by the year.

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#32 Ender
May 25 2011, 10:03AM
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In reading Matheson's piece, the news that the scouting staff couldn't or wouldn't say who was number one was only very mildly interesting; I'm pretty sure that's all just smokescreen anyway. What I found much more interesting was his take that Souray would be bought out this year. Really? Why? All the reasons why it made sense not to buy him out last year are still valid reasons. Spread the remaining cap out over two years? I guess the Oilers could; the $2.4M cap hit isn't so big that the Oilers couldn't eat it this year if they wanted to, although losing $1.5M of room in 2012-13 might be slightly uncomfortable. But why would you? Why not just do what you did last year, leave him in the AHL to toil in obscurity, pay him his $4.5M, and not impact your cap at all? Who doesn't like that plan? Katz who's out $4.5M (instead of the $3.9M from the buyout; potential savings of only $600K)? He's finishing what he started and he's got the money, so I don't see some pocket-change being an issue with him when it wasn't last year. Souray? Who cares what he thinks; if he doesn't like it, he can just fail to report, we tear up the contract, and everyone can go their separate ways. No, the whole buyout thing just doesn't make sense to me. I don't see why Matheson feels it's such a foregone conclusion.

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#33 Reggie
May 25 2011, 10:06AM
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Saw Gerard Gallant interviewed during one of the Memorial Cup games and he commented something to the effect that Huberdeau put on 15 pounds in the past year. I see that he's 6'1" and 171 pounds.

Gallant also commented that he didn't know if Huberdeau was NHL ready due to the fact he still has some growing physically to do and needs to put on some weight etc. He then back pedaled and said something like, but it would surprise me if he made an NHL team in the fall.

He said that he was saying all year long that Huberdeau wasn't getting enough recognition for what he could do and that his climb up the rankings happened when the scouts took notice and started watching him.

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#34 Mantastic
May 25 2011, 10:06AM
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from brownlee's series, fthm, stu knows who's his #1 is, if anything this might drum up interests from other teams seeing if anyone is willing to take a bite, to make us an offer we can't refuse.

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#35 fuzzy muppet
May 25 2011, 10:07AM
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It's a shame that Colorado doesn't have similar needs as the Oilers.

It would be real nice to trade down to #2 and get #11.

pipe dreams...

Life sucks: The Couve will win the cup/ Lebron(LeFraud) will win the NBA title, no football, and my Twins are in last place in MLB.

All that and the Oilers are finishing bottom 5 again next year.

Kill Me

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#36 Mantastic
May 25 2011, 10:10AM
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@Ender

if we bought him out last year, the buyout would have been spread over 4 years as opposed to 2 years if we bought him out now. not saying that a buyout is a good idea.

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#37 Archaeologuy
May 25 2011, 10:15AM
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@Ender

And I said as much in comment 2. I just think that saying "they're equal" is a farce. It has never happened in the history of the game that the top 3-4 players in the draft have had equal careers. Someone is better. At least of the top 3-4. When someone comes out of left field (a la Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom) then it's acceptable to say "I had no idea" because nobody could see it happening.

But there is no excuse for having the 1st pick and not selecting the best kid out of the consensus top tier of prospects. It's your job to know who the best is.

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#38 Souby
May 25 2011, 10:19AM
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Kevin wrote:

We could have had Upshall for Souray straight up two years ago. Tambo backed out last minute thinking he could get more for Souray....... Tambo assessing- not a good thing for those of us in Oil land. The future will bring more top five picks. We are looking more and more like the NYI organization by the year.

True. In hindsight, I wish Tambo would have pulled the trigger on that deal but all we can hope it is a mistake-made, lesson-learned type of situation.

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#39 Spydyr
May 25 2011, 10:32AM
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What are the Oilers supposed to say .Yes RNH is going to be our first pick.Why would they show their cards. Makes no sense. Stu know who he wants .So do the Oilers. If it is not RNH I will be shocked.

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#40 Lochenzo
May 25 2011, 10:36AM
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Haven't had a chance to watch the Mem Cup. Best chance for many of us out west to watch Jonathan Huberdeau. Any impressions?

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#41 DieHard
May 25 2011, 10:42AM
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LT:

Do you think the 19th pick and Edmonton's 2012 1st get us a top 8 this year?

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#42 fuzzy muppet
May 25 2011, 10:49AM
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DieHard

You can't trade next years #1 with the likelihood of it being another lottery pick.

Next years draft looks much deeper.

The oilers will only move up if they have a specific guy targeted around 10-14. The price to go into the top 8 will likely be too high

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#43 Lord Tunderin'
May 25 2011, 10:54AM
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@Ender

FWIW, Capgeek's buyout calculator says the cap hit is $2.4M in year 1 and $1.5M in year 2 with real dollar savings of $1.5M.

I agree, however, that parking him in the AHL for another year is the better option.

http://www.capgeek.com/buyout_calculator.php?player_id=21

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#44 madjam
May 25 2011, 11:00AM
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Reddox moves to SEL and declares it is a step up from AHL ! Larsson has already shone in SEL over last 3 seasons . Larsson fills 3 holes if he jumps up into Oilers roster . He has size , he has experience against men , and he has upper skills besides being a D- man which we desperately require above all others ! Do you see anyone else in draft that seems that NHL ready - no . Larsson least risky pick of them all, and as close to a guaranteed good player as you can get in any draft , and he'll only get better !

What scares you from Larsson is fear that you have not seen enough of him to give him an unbiased opinion like you have done for some of the others you are more familiar with . Familiarity is not a precise tool to judge on in his case .

Secondly , does Coutourier and Landeskog not fill more voids than Hopkins , besides being more ready to make the jump to NHL next season with size and physicality we should relish and not have to worry about over next few years ?

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#45 DieHard
May 25 2011, 11:09AM
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@fuzzy muppet

I believe injuries played a key role in the Oilers demise in the last 2 years. Without those injuries I think we would have been outside the lottery (not by much but still outside). I also believe that next year we will get a pick in the 9 - 11 range (barring the same injury bugs) which would be a good trade for this year's top 8.

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#46 eskimo44
May 25 2011, 11:12AM
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@Kevin

I belive i recall the deal you are reffering to, it was actually for Hartnell. At the time Souray for Upshall would have been ludicrous. No one knew he was a d-bag yet and he just had a very good season, while Upshall was just an average 3rd liner. However you never know, maybe i'm recalling this incorrectly or there is something i don't know.

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#47 Archaeologuy
May 25 2011, 11:18AM
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@DieHard

Still, without fixing the team needs in Net and on the D, as well as facing the very real possibility of moving Hemsky at the deadline, trading next year's pick is still a big gamble. The injury prone guys are still here, the MVP goalie isnt getting younger, and the management is prepared for a marathon rebuild.

I think they can do better next year, but that 1st rounder is a safety net that I wouldnt get rid of just yet.

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#48 mikey
May 25 2011, 11:18AM
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"The Oilers have concluded their scouting meetings prior to next month's draft, but Olczyk swears there was no resounding affirmation of their No. 1 pick"

If they ask the room and get a unanimous recommendation they do themselves a disservice in mentally closing off the process before the Memorial Cup final, combine, interviews etc. Faced with unanimity a good head scout would take a page from Fonda in 12 Angry Men. I half suspect that Stu did exactly that last year with his apparent lean to Tyler.

Another reason not to crowd one side of the boat, is the practicality of keeping an apparently final choice under wraps. If the full staff doesn't know until very late it might even stay under wraps.

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#49 Quicksilver ballet
May 25 2011, 11:18AM
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In a draft where 4 of the top 6 players available are centers, it would be yet another mistake by the Oilers to not address the obvious needs down the middle. Any effort made to move down in an effort to land more fools gold is a bad idea. The BPA in this draft just happens to be what this team desperately needs. Take the reward for the soilage you passed off as NHL entertainment to your fan base last season.

Thinking along the lines of this written article leads me to believe there's little doubt we'll be in this same position 5 yrs from now with these two fools at the helm.

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#50 dawgbone
May 25 2011, 11:27AM
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madjam wrote:

Reddox moves to SEL and declares it is a step up from AHL ! Larsson has already shone in SEL over last 3 seasons . Larsson fills 3 holes if he jumps up into Oilers roster . He has size , he has experience against men , and he has upper skills besides being a D- man which we desperately require above all others ! Do you see anyone else in draft that seems that NHL ready - no . Larsson least risky pick of them all, and as close to a guaranteed good player as you can get in any draft , and he'll only get better !

What scares you from Larsson is fear that you have not seen enough of him to give him an unbiased opinion like you have done for some of the others you are more familiar with . Familiarity is not a precise tool to judge on in his case .

Secondly , does Coutourier and Landeskog not fill more voids than Hopkins , besides being more ready to make the jump to NHL next season with size and physicality we should relish and not have to worry about over next few years ?

If the Oilers were a defenceman away from competing for the Cup, then I'd draft Larsson.

The problem with Larsson is that he's just not projected to put up a lot of points. If he was a 50+ point defenceman year in and year out (ala Lidstrom, Pronger, etc...) then he'd be hard to pass over. If he's a 35-40 point defenceman that plays in all situations, then you have to wonder if that's good enough for the #1 overall pick.

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