FTHM IV: JONATHAN HUBERDEAU

Robin Brownlee
May 05 2011 01:35PM

Jonathan Huberdeau can play centre or wing and he's billed by amateur scouts as being a mix of grit and skill. He's also been hotter than a 3$ pistol with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL playoffs. Think the Edmonton Oilers might want and need a player like that?

The question is, does Huberdeau grade out and project as a prospect worthy of the No. 1 pick at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota June 24-25? Can Huberdeau make a case for being the top pick with a strong playoff performance in the same way Taylor Hall cemented his place as the top dog a year ago?

I talked with Edmonton's chief scout Stu MacGregor about Huberdeau and got his assessment of the Saint John forward. I've added items and comments from Central Scouting Service, courtesy of NHL.com, although there are other scouting services, such as ISS, that can be referenced for more rankings and comments on Huberdeau.

I did likewise for Gabriel Landeskog Wednesday and will do the same for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Couturier, the top-rated remaining North American skaters, as well as Adam Larsson, the top-rated skater among European players, in coming days.

THE SKINNY FROM CSS

Jonathan Huberdeau

North American Skater

Saint John, QMJHL

Final Rank: 3 Midterm Rank: 4

Position: Center Shoots: Left

Height: 6' 1" Weight: 170

Born: June 4, 1993 Hometown: Laval, QC

Born in: Saint-Jerome, QC, CAN

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau

"He's the type of player who can change the outcome of a game suddenly and quickly. He has displayed unbelievably quick hands and an ability to set up and score goals. He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability . . . he's also gritty and does not back down when challenged."

-- Huberdeau helped Saint John to a first round playoff sweep of Cape Breton, recording five goals and 12 points (5-7-12) in four games. During the regular season, the Sea Dogs tied the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record for most wins in a season with 58 and went undefeated at home in regulation (32-0-1-1) to enter the 2011 playoffs as the top-seeded team in the QMJHL.

-- In 2010-11, he finished third in the QMJHL with 105 points (43-62--105) in 67 games and set new single-season club records for Saint John in points and assists. His plus-59 rating ranked first in the league.

MACGREGOR'S TAKE

Scouting Report: "He's got hockey sense, skill and vision."

Projection: "A very solid second-line player. It depends where he plays. He plays wing now, but he played centre when he first came into the league. What will he be in the NHL? He could be a centre."

Best Case Scenario: "He could be a first-line player."

Concerns: "He's only 170 pounds. He needs to get stronger to be able to take his game forward and be able to play in the areas that he likes to play in, which is in and around the net."

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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#51 mayorpoop
May 05 2011, 05:16PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

We need to be adding more centers, not subtracting from the ones we have.

If anything we should be dealing a winger for a center.

oh we need lots of things on that we can agree.

i get your point and don't disagree.

if one is not talking, there sure isn't going to be anyone listening. discussion is good.

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#52 Oilfan00
May 05 2011, 06:14PM
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What did Stu project RNH as?

Did I miss that or is that to come?

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#53 Slapshotzky
May 05 2011, 06:16PM
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So it sounds like Huberdeau's has less hockey sense/skill than RNH, or at the very least, his game style requires more weight to be as effective than RNH game style will require, no?

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#55 Oilcruzer
May 05 2011, 07:26PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Omark is 24 years old, he's essentially already in the prime of his offensive career.

He's scored 81 goals over his past 5 pro hockey seasons, 76 of them in 3 inferior leagues.

Ya, but he's still growing. He will be 6 ft in 5 years.

---

Two things on Johnathon Whoareyou er Scoobydo er ah nevermind.

If he can play center, what are his percentages on the dot?

If I had a nickel for every guy in the Q who scores points but never transitioned to the show... Points in the Q ain't enuf to impress.

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#56 NastyNate
May 05 2011, 10:03PM
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Just did some quick digging on wikipedia and the only proven first line forwards from the QMJHL in the last 20 years that were taken in the Top 10 picks (both first overall) have been Crosby and Vinny Lecav. I'll admit i've seen very few Q games in my lifetime, but the number of highly touted forwards to come from the league is very small. Makes me skeptical of anything to come out of the league if it is not a bonified #1 pick.

All other forwards taken in the top 10:Jakob Voracek, Derek Brasard (Quality players), James Sheppard (is it fair to say he is a bust?) Alexandre Picard (Another CBJ pick, bust? i think so), Pierre Marc Bouchard (meh?), JP Dumont (Not a bad career, but 3rd overall?), Alex Daigle (the epitomy of a bust), Marty Lapointe (Everyone loves marty).

Thats the complete list of Forwards taken in the top 10 since 1990. What does all this mean? I really have no idea. With the exception of Crosby and Lecav, are the other skaters over rated? What does it say about the quality of players coming out of the Q? I personally thought there would be more big names player on the list. Should the Oilers trade up into to the Top 10 to Grab one of Huberdeau or Coutureier?

Not saying we should or shouldn't take any huberdeau or couterier just thought i would share this information.

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#57 Clyde Frog
May 05 2011, 10:40PM
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@NastyNate

When you put it like that its quite scary ..

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#58 speeds
May 05 2011, 10:48PM
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NastyNate wrote:

Just did some quick digging on wikipedia and the only proven first line forwards from the QMJHL in the last 20 years that were taken in the Top 10 picks (both first overall) have been Crosby and Vinny Lecav. I'll admit i've seen very few Q games in my lifetime, but the number of highly touted forwards to come from the league is very small. Makes me skeptical of anything to come out of the league if it is not a bonified #1 pick.

All other forwards taken in the top 10:Jakob Voracek, Derek Brasard (Quality players), James Sheppard (is it fair to say he is a bust?) Alexandre Picard (Another CBJ pick, bust? i think so), Pierre Marc Bouchard (meh?), JP Dumont (Not a bad career, but 3rd overall?), Alex Daigle (the epitomy of a bust), Marty Lapointe (Everyone loves marty).

Thats the complete list of Forwards taken in the top 10 since 1990. What does all this mean? I really have no idea. With the exception of Crosby and Lecav, are the other skaters over rated? What does it say about the quality of players coming out of the Q? I personally thought there would be more big names player on the list. Should the Oilers trade up into to the Top 10 to Grab one of Huberdeau or Coutureier?

Not saying we should or shouldn't take any huberdeau or couterier just thought i would share this information.

I don't know what the answer is, but I saw this and thought of Claude Giroux, who I know wasn't a top 10 pick but is a 1st rounder (22 OV) recently selected from the Q that has turned out really well.

Looking at his stats, it made me think how differently we look at stats now as fans than even 5 years ago.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0032452006.html

If we saw this production from a player eligible this year, we'd be wondering how and why he wasn't drafted until 22 OV.

And, as it turns out, probably a fair question.

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#59 NastyNate
May 06 2011, 12:11AM
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Yea Giroux is a great player for sure, reminds me of another player from the Q the Oilers selected 13th Overall in 2001.

It seems to me the Quality of players from the Q are not quite on par with the WHL and OHL. Since 1990 there has been 4 teams from the Q to win the memorial Cup, the OHL has produced 7 mem cup winners, and the WHL 10 times. This could lend to the idea that players from the Q may be slightly overrated in comparison to players from the WHL and OHL. I really have no idea on College players and European skaters. What it does show is the importance of scouting and i'm glad the Oilers appear to have a great one in Stu.

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#60 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 06 2011, 06:30AM
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Peacecountry wrote:

Just Drive down the QEII. They have it stocked in all the drugstores and 7-11's in town. This weekend happens to be buy 2 get the 3rd one free.

Your right those poor souls down the QE2 need some thing to appear excited about! Hockey sure don't cut it!

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#61 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 06 2011, 08:22AM
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Many of these players that many of you worry about such as Gagner will amaze you when Eberle and Hall start to hit their prime in two years. Just getting that look from a leader on the team can cause a whole lot of things to happen. If you do not respond to that look or speech from a team leader it is not long and you will be traded, as management will see you have lost the confidence of your peers. The boys will sort this all out we need not stress about it. Culture of winning does amazing things.

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#62 Truth
May 06 2011, 09:28AM
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Huberdeau's faceoff stats seem to suggest he is a winger that takes the odd draw. I would imagine similar to Curtis Hamilton's listing as a center.

FO Breakdown 2010-2011 Total FO Faceoffs Won FO Winning % Couturier 1430 778 54.41% Huberdeau 280 114 40.71%

as per http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2011/5/5/2151182/2011-nhl-draft-comparing-the-point-totals-of-sean-couturier-and

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#63 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 09:53AM
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Great Read R.B.

Gagner. Intersting points of view towards Sam. I personally like him as a player; I would like to watch and see if he can really come into his own and be that second line center.

Without throwing a whole whack of stats to back up my opinion on this matter, just strictly fan observation here.

Omark is a winger and really can’t be compared to Gagner roles or production. There for trading Gagner based on the fact you think Omark might be better offensively is just offensive. There’s more Gagner does that Omark doesn’t and that’s just the hard fact.

However; would you trade Gagner or Cogliano plus L.A pick to say NJ for there pick plus cap players back? Knowing you have the start of good depth at center. Lander-Pitlick VV. Can the Oilers not draft 2 quality centers? Do you foresee Gagner and Cogliano being here when the team gets better?

Just looking at that from an organizational aspect trading them would give you your depth and future top 2 centers,(given the Oilers draft a center # 1) NHL ready about the time the Oilers are ready to compete x 2 years or so? That also puts you in the lottery next year as well. An argument maybe made that the Oilers’s given the current roster will be marginally better next year anyways.

Looking forward to reading more discussion on this matter.

Peace. P.S-RNH

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#64 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 06 2011, 10:08AM
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Wes Mantooth wrote:

Great Read R.B.

Gagner. Intersting points of view towards Sam. I personally like him as a player; I would like to watch and see if he can really come into his own and be that second line center.

Without throwing a whole whack of stats to back up my opinion on this matter, just strictly fan observation here.

Omark is a winger and really can’t be compared to Gagner roles or production. There for trading Gagner based on the fact you think Omark might be better offensively is just offensive. There’s more Gagner does that Omark doesn’t and that’s just the hard fact.

However; would you trade Gagner or Cogliano plus L.A pick to say NJ for there pick plus cap players back? Knowing you have the start of good depth at center. Lander-Pitlick VV. Can the Oilers not draft 2 quality centers? Do you foresee Gagner and Cogliano being here when the team gets better?

Just looking at that from an organizational aspect trading them would give you your depth and future top 2 centers,(given the Oilers draft a center # 1) NHL ready about the time the Oilers are ready to compete x 2 years or so? That also puts you in the lottery next year as well. An argument maybe made that the Oilers’s given the current roster will be marginally better next year anyways.

Looking forward to reading more discussion on this matter.

Peace. P.S-RNH

Yes I see Gagner here when we are better as he will be better as well. We also need to see what change the HOPE players bring to attitude. Success breeds success and we will see more of it this next year.

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#65 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 10:21AM
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@ Sheldon “ Oilers Fan for Life”

That’s just it. Has Gagner reached his potential? Is there room to grow? What’s he projecting at down the line? Will he become a top 2nd line center? Did the Oilers waste a couple of years of development because the rushed him? Will his face off percentage increase? Just too many questions at what is a very critical time in both the Oilers development as well as Gagner’s. Would Gagner flourish elsewhere? Also a very scary thought.

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#66 D-Man
May 06 2011, 10:21AM
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Wes Mantooth wrote:

Great Read R.B.

Gagner. Intersting points of view towards Sam. I personally like him as a player; I would like to watch and see if he can really come into his own and be that second line center.

Without throwing a whole whack of stats to back up my opinion on this matter, just strictly fan observation here.

Omark is a winger and really can’t be compared to Gagner roles or production. There for trading Gagner based on the fact you think Omark might be better offensively is just offensive. There’s more Gagner does that Omark doesn’t and that’s just the hard fact.

However; would you trade Gagner or Cogliano plus L.A pick to say NJ for there pick plus cap players back? Knowing you have the start of good depth at center. Lander-Pitlick VV. Can the Oilers not draft 2 quality centers? Do you foresee Gagner and Cogliano being here when the team gets better?

Just looking at that from an organizational aspect trading them would give you your depth and future top 2 centers,(given the Oilers draft a center # 1) NHL ready about the time the Oilers are ready to compete x 2 years or so? That also puts you in the lottery next year as well. An argument maybe made that the Oilers’s given the current roster will be marginally better next year anyways.

Looking forward to reading more discussion on this matter.

Peace. P.S-RNH

Good point on comparing Gagner and Omark; both play different positions... I do see Gagner still being here when the team gets better; Cogs won't be... I admire him for realizing and executing the changes in his game to evolve into a 3rd/4th line player - but he's simply too small and weak in the faceoff dot to be trusted... I wouldn't be shocked if he's dealt - he will be given another 1 year deal though as he's an RFA this year...

I can't see NJ even considering trading our LA pick and Gagner for their pick and a cap player... Granted, NJ would jump at the chance of unloading a bad contract like Rolston's, but considering their late season push for a playoff spot with Parise on the shelf - I can't see themselves motivated to move the pick.. They can get a good player (possibly Courterier), sign him to a 3 year ELC, waive one of their brutal contracts and still be under the cap... I can only see NJ talking to us if Hemsky is involved...

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#67 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 10:37AM
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@ D-Man

I completely agree about Cogliano for sure, I just don’t see the need for him in the future or now for that matter.

About Gagner, again, I like him, and would very much like him to succeed here; I think he’s a good fit for the group, just worried about the up side that’s all. Could we trade up at all into the top 5-6 spots and what would that take? Again, I keep coming back to Gagner being the most likely to get far value back as an opposing GM would want for a pick like that.

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#68 Mantastic
May 06 2011, 11:02AM
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i think i would rather have strome over huberdeau

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#69 madjam
May 06 2011, 11:45AM
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Good cases can be made for all i'm sure . Coutourier , Larsson and Landeskop we do not have to worry about size , as all i'm sure will just get bigger and better down the line ! How many Coutouriers can we possibly pass up on that seem to fit the mold and size the Oilers would like to go with down the middle ? Despite Coutouriers slight drop in rankings due to health reasons as much as anything , he offers more than the others in the way of a big centerman ! Larsson is best suited for next season and may very well be best of group down the line . Due to nature and depth of this years group , it would be a good year not to pass up on what might be a franchise defenseman or big centerman ! Due to Coutourier going down in rankings, this maybe a good year for a daily double hit for Oilers with use of trade and/or trading of our second and third pick to move down in draft ?

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#70 Archaeologuy
May 06 2011, 12:16PM
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http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Whitney+likes+Nugent+Hopkins+Oilers+draft+pick/4740089/story.html

Whitney says go with the Nuge. You can get D-men through trade or Free Agency, but not Centres.

That's coming straight from the Defenseman's mouth folks.

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#71 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 12:33PM
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@ Madjam

Agreed That’s what I’m proposing to do with Gagner, or whatever combination of player draft pick’s to get into the top 5 and get two quality picks, let’s shorten this re-build.

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#72 madjam
May 06 2011, 12:39PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Whitney+likes+Nugent+Hopkins+Oilers+draft+pick/4740089/story.html

Whitney says go with the Nuge. You can get D-men through trade or Free Agency, but not Centres.

That's coming straight from the Defenseman's mouth folks.

Well , if they are so easy to get why have we got worst defence in the league ? We are talking Oilers here , and we are not like other clubs .

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#73 K-UGER Industrial Smoothing
May 06 2011, 12:40PM
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everyone knows marc pouliot was a great pick by the Oilers.

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#74 Archaeologuy
May 06 2011, 12:58PM
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madjam wrote:

Well , if they are so easy to get why have we got worst defence in the league ? We are talking Oilers here , and we are not like other clubs .

In the past 5 years the Oilers have acquired Pronger, Lubo, Whitney, and Pitkanen via trade. Each play huge minutes, move the puck, and 3 of them are former lotto picks.

We have the worst defense in the league because 1 cried like a girl to be traded, 1 healthy one was traded for the other injured one, and 1 was moved out when the GM played a shell game with Carolina that saw us walk to the table with Pitkanen and walk away with O'Sullivan. Mix in a little Sheldon Souray magic and some Tom Gilbert surprises and voila, a recipe for a poor defense.

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#75 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 01:14PM
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Again, all the more reason to try and trade up in the draft. Possible grab that center man and possible a D-man.

Side note; still can’t believe Tambo said with a straight face he doesn’t expect to be in a lottery situation again next year!

I think Arch just explained why we won’t be, the best explanation why I heard in yet.

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#76 Wes Mantooth
May 06 2011, 01:15PM
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Sorry, that should be " will be"

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#77 mayorpoop
May 06 2011, 01:45PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

In the past 5 years the Oilers have acquired Pronger, Lubo, Whitney, and Pitkanen via trade. Each play huge minutes, move the puck, and 3 of them are former lotto picks.

We have the worst defense in the league because 1 cried like a girl to be traded, 1 healthy one was traded for the other injured one, and 1 was moved out when the GM played a shell game with Carolina that saw us walk to the table with Pitkanen and walk away with O'Sullivan. Mix in a little Sheldon Souray magic and some Tom Gilbert surprises and voila, a recipe for a poor defense.

well put.

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#78 madjam
May 06 2011, 02:06PM
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This could be a transition year out of the basement if they get going on resizing transition . Vandevelde ,Landers and Hartekainen may be pencilled in for starters . This years draftees , depending on whom Oilers choose might be step in that direction as well. How many of diminutive status personnel beyond Gagner and Eberle may be kept long term ? Cogs ,Omark, Reddox and Brule status questionable along with the likes of Jones and Fraser . Now they can all play in a limlited roll , just not all on the same team as we found out . What's the long range plans for Hemsky , Horcoff , Khabby and Souray ? Jacques , Stortini , MacIntyre staying or going ? Strudwick and rest of questionable defence that has questionable skill , physicality and prone to injuries ? Special teams ?

You'd have to think Oilers will be prioritizing / experimenting to rid itself of dimiutive status and physicality going into this season !

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#79 Archaeologuy
May 06 2011, 02:27PM
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@madjam

Instead of focusing on size, I would rather they focus on skill or talent.

You can draft Pouliot, I'll take Parise.

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#80 Clyde Frog
May 06 2011, 02:51PM
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@madjam

Lol... Just lol.. Long range plans for Khaby, Horcoff and Souray? Truly did you just ask that?

If you don't know what those are.. Well there is no hope.

If after everything you have seen you still dream of Larsson lacing his skates up as #1, I think we can safely put you 100% in the category of internet troll.

The Oilers are looking to put the best team on the ice, last I checked you win games by scoring more... Picking kids with low ceilings because they like to get their elbows up in the corner and are over 6 feet tall is NOT the way to win.

#1 pick, choose the kid with the heighest percieved ceiling, develop, support and provide him any and all opportunities you can.

So far it definitely looks like RNH will be that pick from the interviews so far.

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#81 madjam
May 06 2011, 03:49PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Instead of focusing on size, I would rather they focus on skill or talent.

You can draft Pouliot, I'll take Parise.

Our size limits our ability to compete adequately within our own division . We will remain basement dwellers as long as we remain so . You want to draft size with skill like everyone else is doing . I'm not substituting skill for size wanting to get bigger , so why do some of you people make stupid conclusions that i do . Has the last 5 years not taught you that size is a big problem on our teams ability to compete on a level basis with other big clubs in our own division ? Are Larsson , Coutourier etc . without skill - of course not - so why do some of you try and make it sound like they are !!

Why not reach out and try and "kill two birds" with one stone if both are almost equal ? Might make more sense for some of you to at least figure out and admit what some of the problems are that need fixing . How many problems does RNHopkins begin to fix anyways ? You don't know you just hope he'll be another Gretsky type . Chances of that are not very good to begin with .

I guess the big clubs going into the final four again this season is a good reason not to draft size ? Size doen't matter if you don't care to be competitive .

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#82 jr_christ
May 06 2011, 04:08PM
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Look I've tried arguing against Archeologuy before... you just can't.

Plus, everytime I see that Harrison Ford picture I sometimes think it's actually Indiana Jones giving his advice/stats. NO ONE in their right mind would EVER argue with Indy...

...well except Henry Jones Sr

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#83 Clyde Frog
May 06 2011, 06:11PM
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@madjam

Lol...

Playoff Scoring leaders as of right now:

1. Martin St.Lous - 5 8" 174 pounds

2. Vincent Lecavalier - 6 4" 204 pounds

3. Steve Downie - 5 11" 194 pounds

4. Patrice Bergeron - 6 2" 194 pounds

5. Claude Girioux - 5 11" 172 pounds

6. Ryan Kesler - 6 2" 202 pounds

7. Teddy Purcell - 6 2" 201 pounds

8. Alex Ovechkin - 6 3" 233 pounds

9. Brad Marchand - 5 9" 183 pounds

10. Mike Cammelari - 5 9" 182 pounds

Okay these are the kids who have put up the most points at the HARDEST time to put up points.... See a trend?

Only 1 gentleman is even over 210 pounds and he falls into the generational player category.

Average weight 194 pounds, a target RNH should be able to hit with a 6 foot frame. I just don't get the crying about his weight when he has plenty of years to pack it on.

Yeah Madjam, your thoughts are totally based on fact... Yup for reals and stuff.

Also the point is these kids ARE NOT equal, if anything this article should give you a feel for how not equal they all are. There is no runaway stat pushing them apart but to think that the scouts can't discern a diffirence is a joke.

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#84 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 07 2011, 12:47AM
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madjam wrote:

Our size limits our ability to compete adequately within our own division . We will remain basement dwellers as long as we remain so . You want to draft size with skill like everyone else is doing . I'm not substituting skill for size wanting to get bigger , so why do some of you people make stupid conclusions that i do . Has the last 5 years not taught you that size is a big problem on our teams ability to compete on a level basis with other big clubs in our own division ? Are Larsson , Coutourier etc . without skill - of course not - so why do some of you try and make it sound like they are !!

Why not reach out and try and "kill two birds" with one stone if both are almost equal ? Might make more sense for some of you to at least figure out and admit what some of the problems are that need fixing . How many problems does RNHopkins begin to fix anyways ? You don't know you just hope he'll be another Gretsky type . Chances of that are not very good to begin with .

I guess the big clubs going into the final four again this season is a good reason not to draft size ? Size doen't matter if you don't care to be competitive .

You were also the guy that put up about 349,483 posts about drafting Gudblllllindson rather then Hall, so I wouldn't be taking myself too seriously if I were you.

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