NAILING IT IN?

Lowetide
March 10 2012 06:52AM

It'll take a lot of indifferent play, breaking curfew many nights and daydreaming all the time. However, the Edmonton Oilers--if they really don't try--might end up finishing 30th. AGAIN! The prize: the world's most valuable Nail.

Edmonton ranks 29th in the NHL this morning, and Columbus is still a mile back  at 30th. Two things would have to happen: Edmonton continues to lose and the Jackets stay hot. Here's how things look right now:

  • 30th: Columbus 51 points in 67 games
  • 29th: Edmonton 58 points in 67 games

I know, it sounds like a lot. However, the two teams play each other twice down the stretch, and if C-Bus wins both the gap becomes three points. Add that to the fact that Columbus is on a 4 game winning streak and Edmonton can't get out of its own way and the "trifecta" is in sight for the hapless Oilers. 

NEEDS MORE COWBELL! 

 Of course I kid. The Edmonton Oilers will try to win every game from here to the end of the season, and will no doubt win enough to stay clear of Columbus. Hell, they can still catch Montreal and finish in 28th if they get on one of their mini-streaks.

However, the Oilers are not playing their 19 best every night. If they were, Andy Sutton would be in the lineup along with Smid, Petry and Schultz (the club's 4 most reliable defenders currently) and we'd see Devan Dubnyk every game (DD's SP in 2012 is .912; NK's is .885). 

Are they looking at talent and evaluating? I'm sure they are at some level. But the decision to play Nikolai Khabibulin when Dubnyk has been outplaying him for 2.5 months now is curious and sitting Andy Sutton puts the team's defense in a big hole from the opening faceoff. 

These are not men nursing injuries, these are self inflicted Denver-boots and implies the Oilers management have one eye on the draft and another on the loss column.

No matter what you think of Tom Renney as a coach, evaluating him during this time is impossible. As bizarre as some of these decisions may appear to be, we really have no idea if this is a coach's decision or management "evaluating" talents like Theo Peckham--a man they have seen in about 150 NHL games now.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The top prospect is Nail Yakupov and no one is going to catch Columbus. Right?

--

 

Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Brad McPherson--Blue Bullet--and we'll talk about his legendary draft list and which players he sees as being good value this summer. I'll also ask about the gap between Yakupov and everyone else.
  • Jeff Krushell--from the Krush Health Show--is a wonderful resource on all kinds of matters. We'll talk about Ales Hemsky's injury, recovery time and long term impact. Plus--since he's a baseball nut too--we'll talk some Blue Jays and Nationals.
  • Jonathan Willis--always an interesting read--and I'll ask about his recent article on Dustin Penner and we'll discuss Edmonton's roster and management decisions this summer.
  • Kent Wilson--another outstanding writer and observer of the game--will touch base in regard to the Flames and their playoff run, what NHL teams look for when procuring winning players and if we have time discuss the value of EV save percentage as a measuring stick.
  • Jeff Angus from Canucks Army. We'll talk about the Canucks trade deadline moves, this Tanev kid and I'll ask Jeff if the Canucks are a better team this year than they were one year ago.

 Hope you can join us, and if not don't forget the entire show will be on the Nations soonafter.

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 Dipstick
March 10 2012, 06:59AM
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FIST birdie gets the worm. Worst team gets the Nail.

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#2 J-Dogg
March 10 2012, 07:44AM
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As with many other things, it would be interesting to see the conversations that go on in the Oilers' management. Especially if, as you hint at, they are doing their best to stay out of the win column while window dressing with enough pretext for plausible deniability.

Basically I wonder who decides it's time to go full retard and how that message gets conveyed to the right people.....subtly or otherwise.

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#3 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 10 2012, 07:53AM
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Columbus will pass the oilers and then win the lottery. oilers finish 30th and pick 2nd.

Conspiracy theorists will crawl out of the woodwork.

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#4 Stack Pad Save
March 10 2012, 08:08AM
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SO maybe all of the terrible line combinations and odd choices of who sits in the press box and who doesn't are really not the work of Tom Renny, but are actually the fault of a one Mr. Dithers?

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#5 The Beaker
March 10 2012, 08:11AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

Columbus will pass the oilers and then win the lottery. oilers finish 30th and pick 2nd.

Conspiracy theorists will crawl out of the woodwork.

OGDP?

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#6 justDOit
March 10 2012, 08:28AM
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So losing both of the games to the BJs could be considered the final Nail in the coffin for the 11/12 season.

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#7 Dutchscooter
March 10 2012, 08:42AM
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So, we will get a highly skilled, small forward if we fall to 30th.

Hey, we need one of those!

Right?

Uh.......right?

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#8 @NateInVegas
March 10 2012, 08:50AM
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So let me get this right. Players can't gamble, roid-up, or have bounty programs, but organizations are allowed to tank??? That NEVER happens! Does it?

Yakupov's game away from the puck is a hot mess, but I'm absolutely in favour of securing one of the top 2 picks. Hang in there season ticket holders.

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#9 Reality Check to the head
March 10 2012, 08:57AM
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Is it just me? But I see alot interference out there that isnt being called anymore.

I do think management is handcuffing Renney with an eye for next year. They also want to see if Peckham will get out of his funk or this the real Theo. They dont need to play Sutton, he is a known entity and signed for next year. The season is over, now it is time for player auditions. I dont mind watching it because as a fan I have a number of questions going forward. However, if management hasnt made a decision on Barker by now then they would be the only ones. Barker shouldnt see another NHL ice surface.

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#10 J-Dogg
March 10 2012, 09:12AM
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The only mistake bigger than taking more of what we already have at this year's draft, is taking a D man, who IF he develops into elite talent, is almost assuredly late to the party in doing so.

Please either take one of the Russians as a more immediately useful talent or shiny trade fodder later on.

Or better yet, use this year's first pick in a package to get us the Stud D we all crave.

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#11 Oil Kings
March 10 2012, 09:24AM
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The 30th place team is due to lose the lottery.. I know, I know, statistically every year its 50/50, but the last place team has retained the first pick four years in a row now. I think CBJ is picking second this year.

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#12 John Chambers
March 10 2012, 09:38AM
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@Oil Kings

That's not quite true.

Last year New Jersey won the draft lottery and moved up from #8 to #4. The Oilers still retained the #1 pick, but they did not win the lottery.

But I get what you're saying - finishing last isn't a guarantee that you'll pick first, and it's a pretty dishonorable thing for the organization to attempt.

Fielding a sub-par club here and there against Montreal and Columbus, however, is in and of itself not a poor strategy move.

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#13 Time Travelling Sean
March 10 2012, 10:04AM
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Anyone think that sitting Whitney is a bad move?

He has had time to get normalized and hasn't and maybe a healthy scratch is a wake up call?

Renney doesn't normally throw vets under the bus, but he has been playing awful lately.

Oh and I don't think we're tanking. I don't like not playing Sutton, but he's 36 and may need a break, and playing Khabby is getting redundant even with Dubby giving up his soft goal at the crucial point in the game he still gives us a better chance to win then with Khabby.

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#14 FastOil
March 10 2012, 10:16AM
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There is nothing in this draft that the team needs. We are overloaded with D prospects and there are no Doughty's this year. The top players are a soft centre and small right winger.

The Oilers need a young skill strong centre and LW, a goalie and three NHL defencemen at least. You shouldn't draft goalies high, or non-franchise type D.

So I say Fail for Nail and package the first up for a young top pairing type D to replace Gilbert. The first overall has a lot of value, and doesn't suit us this year. Whatever you do, do it well, including be awful. Last place please.

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#15 FastOil
March 10 2012, 10:25AM
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Come to think of it, if the Oilers win the first and Howson wants it, swap picks with the option (at the Oilers discretion) to swap first picks once in one of the next two drafts, and trade the second pick off for a young first pairing type D.

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#16 Smokey
March 10 2012, 10:35AM
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Oil Kings wrote:

The 30th place team is due to lose the lottery.. I know, I know, statistically every year its 50/50, but the last place team has retained the first pick four years in a row now. I think CBJ is picking second this year.

I think your right. Until he's 100 percent, and maybe he will never be, I see him as a 3 rd pairing guy, and a first or second unit PP specialist.

Im hoping he's ready next season to log minutes, but he's been plain brutal in his own zone.

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#17 Quicksilver ballet
March 10 2012, 10:51AM
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With Russians in the top two spots the Jackets are surely to be a little gun shy after what they've been through selecting Russians in a lottery position.

I agree with what a few others have mentioned. There's a wild card at play in this draft. Someones due to get bumped up overtaking that No. 1 selection in the draft. Oilers will be picking first or third this summer after finishing in that 29th spot.

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#18 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
March 10 2012, 10:57AM
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Dubnyk may be out playing Khabby however DD is not an NHL goalie. Almost guaranteed 2 soft goals a game and I cringe everytime he touches the puck. The Oil will go nowhere without a real goalie

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#19 Clarko
March 10 2012, 11:19AM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Dubnyk may be out playing Khabby however DD is not an NHL goalie. Almost guaranteed 2 soft goals a game and I cringe everytime he touches the puck. The Oil will go nowhere without a real goalie

"Almost guaranteed 2 soft goals a game"

Really? So, if he should have a 0.90 GAA? I know he lets in some softies, but I think this point is over exagerrated. Like the article said, Dubnyk's save percentage is .912 in the new year. That is hardly terrible on a team that has a very soft defense.

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#20 Spydyr
March 10 2012, 11:33AM
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Drafting 101

1)Never trade an asset until you know what you are trading away.Don't trade draft picks until you know what players are available.

2)Never trade a lottery pick.Just don't.

3) BPA always until the last two rounds.Then maybe take a flyer on a need.Then draft for size, speed and heart.

Just my opinion but in the new NHL teams are built through the draft and size, speed and heart win.

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#21 Time Travelling Sean
March 10 2012, 11:39AM
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You can trade a lottery pick for a lottery pick.

Lottery picks haven't worked out in the past. If there ever was a rule don't trade away a 1st or 2nd. I've looked at lots of drafts over the years and I was surprised at the success rate of the 1-2 guys to the drop off of the 3-9 guys.

Most drafts from 2000-2005 I see more players playing in the NHL from the 2nd round than players from the 5-12 spot.

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#22 Eulers
March 10 2012, 11:48AM
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#BarkerFTL

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#23 FastOil
March 10 2012, 12:15PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

You can trade a lottery pick for a lottery pick.

Lottery picks haven't worked out in the past. If there ever was a rule don't trade away a 1st or 2nd. I've looked at lots of drafts over the years and I was surprised at the success rate of the 1-2 guys to the drop off of the 3-9 guys.

Most drafts from 2000-2005 I see more players playing in the NHL from the 2nd round than players from the 5-12 spot.

I agree normally a 1-2 pick is a keeper. This year is not strong. Yakupov is a very good player, but he isn't a sure thing and is small. Grigorenko is soft even if big and there is enough scuttlebutt about work ethic and racking up points in easy games etc to also be concerned. I want players that point in tough games too.

Neither are really strong sure thing players and both replicate what we already have. Unless you think Yakupov can improve on Hemsky or Eberle and Grig on Gagner or RNH, we can live without them. And IMO there wouldn't be an improvement in either case.

Both have the KHL as a bargaining chip that I don't like, and I can't think of a top level Russian player signing a value contract to help build a winner like Crosby or the Sedins did. They seem to like the big contracts which again I don't see a lot of working out.

This year, for a blue chip younger D prospect or something really special I would deal. Or flip picks with a team that looks to be bad next year and swap again.

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#24 Spydyr
March 10 2012, 12:21PM
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FastOil wrote:

I agree normally a 1-2 pick is a keeper. This year is not strong. Yakupov is a very good player, but he isn't a sure thing and is small. Grigorenko is soft even if big and there is enough scuttlebutt about work ethic and racking up points in easy games etc to also be concerned. I want players that point in tough games too.

Neither are really strong sure thing players and both replicate what we already have. Unless you think Yakupov can improve on Hemsky or Eberle and Grig on Gagner or RNH, we can live without them. And IMO there wouldn't be an improvement in either case.

Both have the KHL as a bargaining chip that I don't like, and I can't think of a top level Russian player signing a value contract to help build a winner like Crosby or the Sedins did. They seem to like the big contracts which again I don't see a lot of working out.

This year, for a blue chip younger D prospect or something really special I would deal. Or flip picks with a team that looks to be bad next year and swap again.

So flip picks with a team "that looks to be bad next year"

That would be taking a chance and trading for an unknown commodity.

For me taking an chance and hoping for the best is no way to run a team.

Only make a deal when you know all the parts involved.Acquire picks do not trade picks away.

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#25 Fresh Mess
March 10 2012, 12:29PM
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Dubnyk is an NHL goalie, and despite having his development horrendously mishandled by the Oilers, he has still shown stretches of excellent play.

The only question is whether he can find the consistency to handle a number 1's workload on such a terrible team.

RE: Management "tanking" seasons. Losers take the easy way. This management team, led by Kevin Lowe, is either morally bankrupt and trying to lose, or they are sincerely trying to improve the team and are just grossly incompetent. Either way the fans of Edmonton deserve better management.

Look at the turnarounds of Phoenix, St Louis, Ottawa, Winnipeg etc.... There is just no excuse for this level of pathetic failure year after year.

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#26 FastOil
March 10 2012, 01:11PM
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Spydyr wrote:

So flip picks with a team "that looks to be bad next year"

That would be taking a chance and trading for an unknown commodity.

For me taking an chance and hoping for the best is no way to run a team.

Only make a deal when you know all the parts involved.Acquire picks do not trade picks away.

"Come to think of it, if the Oilers win the first and Howson wants it, swap picks with the option (at the Oilers discretion) to swap first picks once in one of the next two drafts, and trade the second pick off for a young first pairing type D."

I mentioned this a few comments back. I agree you shouldn't take unnecessary chances, but at the same time you have to do something to make this team better.

We need a defensemen that is playing well now, and I don't think it's a risky bet that Columbus will be last again next year after their team gets blown up, so if it's there why not? If we get that D I am pretty sure we move up a bit in the standings and finish ahead of them. Actually even if we don't get that D.

Although as mentioned I am not sure Howson wants a Russian, but he may be gone by then.

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#27 Oilersfan4
March 10 2012, 01:30PM
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I say forget the two Russians and draft a Dman(Ryan Murray).We already have a future top line and possibly three 40 to 50 goals a year players so why get another forward when the problem is on the blue line and in goal.We need a stud Dman or a stud goaltender not a 2nd line forward.

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#28 Derik
March 10 2012, 01:56PM
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Even if they got Nail, Oilers would continue to falter.

Wrong philosophy from the start.

Small Young fast team with potential. How has that been working?

Ohh ohh next year, how many times will you say it until you realize you are insane.

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#29 Time Travelling Sean
March 10 2012, 04:18PM
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@Derik

You know Patrick Kane is small.

Giroux is small.

Karlsson is small.

Krejci is small.

Oh and Potential has a meaning. Try and figure it out.

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#30 Ryan Murray
March 10 2012, 04:39PM
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Forget the Russians.......Ryan Murray! We need More Ryan's as they have heart and soul, Can't miss Russians like Ovechkin? Where is he now ?

I say we trade down and draft guys from around here!

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#31 Time Travelling Sean
March 10 2012, 05:16PM
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@Ryan Murray

Where's Malkin? Don't cherrypick.

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#32 Derik
March 10 2012, 05:28PM
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I never said there is no room for small players, but when majority of your team is small your in trouble.

This team would be destroyed by playoff teams at the moment. Most teams don't bring their A game to play the Oilers.

Try and figure it out. TTS

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#33 Derik
March 10 2012, 05:34PM
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Time Travelling Sean

Why do teams want to get bigger before the playoffs?

Why did Vancouver pick up Byron Bitz and Zack Kassian?

Why do teams want to be like Boston?

I could go on but I

Nailed it!

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
March 10 2012, 05:43PM
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How does Brad Marchand fit into this train of thought then?

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#35 Oilcruzer
March 10 2012, 05:53PM
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@Derik

Ohh ohh next year, how many times will you say it until you realize you are insane. ---

I dunno. Tell us. Or ask Vancouver or Toronto or Ottawa or San Jose or...

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#36 Derik
March 10 2012, 06:51PM
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@ Oilcruzer

Have some more Kool-Aid. EdM should be in the Stanley Cup next year.

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#37 Randall Shermer
March 10 2012, 07:19PM
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Hey now, the lottery still has something to say about who gets the Nail prize. Is that just ignored because it screws up the narrative?

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#38 OILERSORDEATH
March 10 2012, 08:30PM
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Derik wrote:

Time Travelling Sean

Why do teams want to get bigger before the playoffs?

Why did Vancouver pick up Byron Bitz and Zack Kassian?

Why do teams want to be like Boston?

I could go on but I

Nailed it!

Nice try but its not going to help Vancouver they still have all the divers, biters, and whiners. St.Louis will fu#%in destroy them.

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#39 billylikestodrinksoda
March 10 2012, 08:33PM
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@FastOil

ignore

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#40 billylikestodrinksoda
March 10 2012, 08:33PM
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FastOil wrote:

I agree normally a 1-2 pick is a keeper. This year is not strong. Yakupov is a very good player, but he isn't a sure thing and is small. Grigorenko is soft even if big and there is enough scuttlebutt about work ethic and racking up points in easy games etc to also be concerned. I want players that point in tough games too.

Neither are really strong sure thing players and both replicate what we already have. Unless you think Yakupov can improve on Hemsky or Eberle and Grig on Gagner or RNH, we can live without them. And IMO there wouldn't be an improvement in either case.

Both have the KHL as a bargaining chip that I don't like, and I can't think of a top level Russian player signing a value contract to help build a winner like Crosby or the Sedins did. They seem to like the big contracts which again I don't see a lot of working out.

This year, for a blue chip younger D prospect or something really special I would deal. Or flip picks with a team that looks to be bad next year and swap again.

The top 2 this year is very strong. Stronger then rnh and landeskog last year in terms of skill level. Yakupov is a sure thing. From every scouts account hes a franchise player. Just like Rnh, Hall, Tavares, and Stamkos were all deemed to be the same.

And that grigo scouting report is from one tsn article posted last month. Others have stated no such issues with him.

Yakupov would definitely be an upgrade on hemmer and grigs would be an upgrade in gagner. In my opinion, no matter who we draft this year, Gagner cannot be our long term solution at 2C.

Just cause they are russian doesn't mean they have tickets to the KHL and deals worked out over there. I mean in reality radulov is the only great russian player who even plays over there.

your point on contracts seems ridiculous. Datsyuk and Malkin contracts come to mind of examples of good russian contracts. I'd even toss kovalchuks name into that group if he plays like he has since the 2nd half of last season.

Unless you got a legit TOP 2 NHL dman back, trading these picks would be asinine

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#41 Derik
March 10 2012, 09:21PM
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@OILERSORDEATH

I would be happy to see St louis take out Vancouver. Blues are a big team with great goaltending. Even Nashville could beat Vancouver.

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#42 Joels
March 10 2012, 09:59PM
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Nail Yakupov injured

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#43 horndog77
March 10 2012, 10:03PM
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Why not trade are lottery pick and other spare parts to Columbus for Rick Nash. Columbus should be in full rebuild mode and the Oiers need to get bigger.

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#44 horndog77
March 10 2012, 10:11PM
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Maybe trade are lottery pick to Buffalo for Ryan Miller

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#45 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
March 11 2012, 03:59AM
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No Fail for Nail here,

In no hurry for Murray

Take the stud D-Man

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#46 pelhem grenville
March 11 2012, 05:46AM
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LT...thanks for the memories...ahhh!!!first there was Bardot then Monroe then Mansfield then Lollobrigida and then thanks to your impeccable selection this a.m....> Claudia Cardinale...no wonder i grew up loving classic women...

oh then there was Fonda, Welsh, Wood, Loren and every Playboy centerfold since you were born...

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#47 pelhem grenville
March 11 2012, 05:47AM
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on topic...i like Nail as well...

DIDYA SPRING YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD YET CITIZENS?

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#48 FastOil
March 11 2012, 12:50PM
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@billylikestodrinksoda

"Unless you got a legit TOP 2 NHL dman back, trading these picks would be asinine"

That is what I am saying.

I haven't read anything that says there is a really elite player in this draft at all, just lots of D, none franchise.

I said I couldn't think of Russian value contracts, you thought of two, although I don't know if Malkin's is value with how streaky he is. Datsyuk for sure, Kovalchuk no way he will ever live up to that money and length.

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#49 billylikestodrinksoda
March 11 2012, 02:00PM
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FastOil wrote:

"Unless you got a legit TOP 2 NHL dman back, trading these picks would be asinine"

That is what I am saying.

I haven't read anything that says there is a really elite player in this draft at all, just lots of D, none franchise.

I said I couldn't think of Russian value contracts, you thought of two, although I don't know if Malkin's is value with how streaky he is. Datsyuk for sure, Kovalchuk no way he will ever live up to that money and length.

its not like hopkins was hyped up to be elite talent either. All the scouting reports state that yakupov is an exceptional talent. From Bob Mckenzie...

"akupov, like Ovechkin, is a dynamic, game-breaking goal-scoring winger who isn't afraid to get physical or get his nose dirty going to the hard areas to put the puck in the net"

yakupov and grigorenko arn't generational talents but few are. yakupov's upside is probably the same as Hall (75-85\pts/season) which in this league is a top 20 scorer.

Haha i wouldn't say malkin is a streaky hockey player. He's been dominating the NHL the past 3 months and the only issue he has had with streakiness i guess, were his knee injuries.

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#50 manuel
March 11 2012, 03:07PM
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forget thie years pick. look to 2013. nathon mackinnon he looks like the real deal to mi.give this years pick to Columbus.so we can get MACKINNON...

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