TOP DRAWER

Lowetide
November 28 2012 05:26PM

 

There was a time in my life when this hockey card was my prize possession. I hid it in a shoe box, top drawer of my dresser, and Orr was hidden at the bottom--I felt thieves would go after the Leafs and Golden Seals at the top. I had the entire set (that's a story for .another day) but the Orr card had special value. He was my hero, but he was also the very best player on the very best team--the Boston Bruins of my youth. 

Choosing Orr as #1 among men like Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, Wayne Cashman, Johnny McKenzie, Johnny Bucyk, Dallas Smith, Gerry Cheevers and Derek Sanderson was easy--Orr was so unique as a player even the older men would tell you he was the bet hockey player alive in 1971. (Note: My Mom threw the entire shoebox out my first summer working away from home. Seriously. The entire 1970-71 collection--Ken Dryden's rookie card was part of that collection).

I think we all have our own personal "pecking order" for our favorite teams. Take the current Oilers. Our man Wanye clearly values his Jordan Eberle bobblehead beyond any other, while I believe Taylor Hall is the top drawer talent. I've read many posters online suggest "the Nuge" may end up being the best talent--hell Jonathan Willis himself has waxed poetic on that very subject. 

And what of the outsider, the Russian, the Nail? WHAT IF he's the best of the bunch? 

MY "TOP DRAWER" LIST

For me, Taylor Hall has been #1 on the list since this goal in December 2010 (it was in OT, and a winner). He's the first of the kids to push the river, his secondary numbers tower over the others and he's going to be a star in Eric T's "zone entry" revolution I just know it. 

However, that's my opinion. That and $5 get you most of a cup of coffee these days, and there are some outstanding candidates for #1 on this Oilers team. 

  • Jordan Eberle, ridiculous scorer with soft hands. He's so smooth he's Don Juan on ice. 
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, sees the ice and dishes passes so beautifully it borders on the impossible. If he continues his current pace on the powerplay, he'll soon erase the days of "MacTavish powerplays" which features things like a broken Mike York and a healthy Toby Petersen in our 5x4 memory banks.
  • Nail Yakupov, who posted two more assists this morning and is having an outstanding season (18, 10-8-18) for Neftekhimik. 
  • Justin Schultz, the young man who has taken the AHL by storm and given Oiler fans one more reason to be excited for next NHL season.

THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE

My favorite Boys on the Bus member was Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri wasn't far behind. I was in absolute awe of Gretzky, and maybe that's why Messier was my favorite (it also probably didn't help that my buddy Lorne kept saying 99 was better than Orr) but I think there's something else at work here: it is not clearly established at this time which of these young players will have the highest ceiling and which of them will have health on their side. 

Its an interesting question. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Five years from now, we should have a clear order 1-5 for this group. If you ask me which player will end up being the best in the group, my current order is this:

  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  3. Nail Yakupov
  4. Jordan Eberle
  5. Justin Schultz

 Two things: 

  1. What does your list look like?
  2. Don't tell Wanye I put Eberle at #4. 

 

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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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#51 etownman
November 29 2012, 12:50PM
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ashley wrote:

Yakupov will have the best career. Crazy skills. All the tools. Tremendous instincts.

2. Eberle 3. Schultz 4. RNH 5. Hall

Hall's still a good 5 to have on the list, but he is the least skilled of those 5.

His fellow draftee, Seguin, is tearing up the Swiss league. At this point, I think it's clear that Seguin will have a better stats career. Still, the Oil may have known this, and indicated at the draft that they went with character which I think is a great call.

Seguin's a bit of a funny duck by all accounts. Hall's a solid player, a leader with grit. And he can still score his share.

Don't be too sure on Seguin having a better stats career than Hall! Hallsy is playing in a much toughter league than Seguin right now but the pts/game are not far off! Seguin has played on a much better team in the NHL to date, but that's going to change in the next 2 to 3 years! One thing I do agree with you on is that Hall has much more grit! To put it bluntly, Seguin is soft!

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#52 Wax Man Riley
November 29 2012, 12:51PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Think he may have had a couple OK wingers that game.

Burrows had a couple good players on his line too. I don't remember him potting 8 in a night.

Semin has had some good players on his line...

Getzlaf has played with some pretty good wingers.

Ditto Brad Richards.

Gagner is not any of these players I know, but he put up 8 pts playing with 1st and 2nd year NHLrs.... and Cam Barker

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#53 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 29 2012, 01:19PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

It's funny, you mention that Orr was was your favorite player, because I seriously think Schultz could end up having the same type of impact, and therefore he's #1 on my list.

i says pardon?

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#54 ClosetGM
November 29 2012, 02:05PM
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1. Eberle Hall Schultz Yak RNH 2. Gagner

Some will say taking the easy way out. But as I see it obviously there will be arguments about who is better and points and games played will be able to determine in the end who is the best player. That being said when its all said and done and if these kids can stay together, everyone will be looking back going wow wtf just happened. All six of these players are very good to elite NHL players. I just can't wait for hockey to start again.

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#55 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 29 2012, 02:42PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Burrows had a couple good players on his line too. I don't remember him potting 8 in a night.

Semin has had some good players on his line...

Getzlaf has played with some pretty good wingers.

Ditto Brad Richards.

Gagner is not any of these players I know, but he put up 8 pts playing with 1st and 2nd year NHLrs.... and Cam Barker

......and Cam Barker.

That's awesome waxman. With those three words, you've forever ended this debate. Anyone who questions the merit of his 8 pt night should now just shut up.

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#56 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 29 2012, 04:14PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Burrows had a couple good players on his line too. I don't remember him potting 8 in a night.

Semin has had some good players on his line...

Getzlaf has played with some pretty good wingers.

Ditto Brad Richards.

Gagner is not any of these players I know, but he put up 8 pts playing with 1st and 2nd year NHLrs.... and Cam Barker

Didn't he manage to set up Barker in that game too?

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#57 David S
November 29 2012, 04:19PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

......and Cam Barker.

That's awesome waxman. With those three words, you've forever ended this debate. Anyone who questions the merit of his 8 pt night should now just shut up.

^THIS. The Wax Man is a good dude.

We've all been saying it. Put Gagner with actual skilled guys who can complement his game and it's show time. And I'm sorry but that doesn't include Ales Hemsky.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying he's the second coming or anything, but man that kid can play with the right support. PHEW!

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#58 konst16
November 30 2012, 12:27AM
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If "best" means "best overall career", like your pitch to make the hall of fame, then this:

1. Eberle 2. Schultz 3. Yakupov 4. Nuge 5. Hall

Ebs and Schultz at the top based on how I've seen them think the game, and their comments/personality/work ethic. They both seem in the best position to avoid injury and consistently improve as offensive stars throughout a long, successful career.

Yak has one of the best allround offensive games I've ever seen at his age, combined with his clear overwhelming desire to win, suggests to me he will be a star. A hunch puts him below the other two as I expect his time in edm/nhl to be more abbreviated.

Nuge and Hall last, Ouch. Despite being incredible talents, both seem slightly more one dimensional than the rest, and with their style, I question their ability to stay healthy over a long career.

If "best" means "favourite", than this is mine:

1. Hall 2. Ebs 3. Yakupov 4. Schultz 5. Nuge

No point with justification, pure personal preference..

As an oilers fan, putting those 5 in order felt like a psychometric instrument. It could change daily, and make yourself second guess yourself 10x over. I mean, until today I was pretty sure Ebs was my fav but wouldn't have the career of the others, now re-reading my lists above I've clearly been drinking my own kool-aid.

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#59 Light, Sweet, Crude
November 30 2012, 07:05PM
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1. Nuge 2. ? 3. ? 4. ? 5. Hall

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