MACGREGOR: THIS YEAR HAS BEEN MORE DIFFICULT

Jason Gregor
June 21 2012 09:30AM

Last year in Minnesota Stu MacGregor said the decision to take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was an easy one. In 2010, when he chose Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin, he said the same thing, but this year has been much different. I chatted with the Oilers head scout about how different this year's first overall selection has been compared to the previous two, and got his thoughts on drafting by position, and projecting a player's future.

"This has certainly been a more difficult process. There has been more players involved in the decision (first overall pick) this year than we've had in the past, for they've stayed in the discussion for a longer period of time. It's been a longer process than the previous two years, and I think some players have risen," said MacGregor.

"There has been the consensus amongst the public of Yakupov being the player, but I think some of the players from behind have closed that gap considerably, and that's why it has been more interesting."

Every scout will tell you that when they are drafting a player, they are doing so on the basis of a projection of the kind of player he will be in five years. It's not a simple task, so I asked MacGregor what are the main variables he uses when trying to project what the future holds for a player.

"I think you are trying to see which player is going to improve the most, which one has the most growing to do, the most potential growth as a player and a person, physically and experience-wise. I think that is what everyone tries to do anyhow, and that is part of our job regardless what draft you are involved in. This year is more interesting because of the number of people. You are trying to see how where they are going to be in three, four or five years from now.

"Who has the most potential is really what you are trying to find."

Out of the top prospects Oil Kings D-man, Griffin Reinhart, has made the biggest jump from October until now. MacGregor chimed in on why he feels Reinhart has climbed the rankings over the past nine months.

"It's almost like he got a bit more determined and decided he was going to show people he is a high-end prospect. Not to say that he wasn't, but he's growing into his body and now he's getting that physical strength that young kids with his size don't always have right away because they are tall and lanky," MacGregor said.

DOES POSITION MATTER?

JG: A lot of people say that a centreman is more important than a winger. If you had two guys who were graded out the same and one was a winger and one was a centre, would you give the edge to the centreman, based solely on his position?

SM: I think centre is one of the more important positions in the game. If you look at the teams that are strong in the NHL they have strong centres and good depth at centre, so that is one thing you have to take a long look at it. If you don't have depth at centre, you will probably try and take the centre because a centre does so much for the team.

Obviously I was going after the Yakupov/Galchenyuk angle with that question, and while I know it is rare that two players will grade out exactly even, if they were close I'd lean towards the centre. It is clear the Oilers lack a big centre, and if one of Galchenyuk or Grigorenko or is rated close or on par to Yakupov, I wonder if the Oilers would take the centre.

The Oilers met yesterday and will meet again today for a final time before making their decision. In years past the decision was essentially made before they came to the draft, and while it is possible they've already made their decision this year, it is clear that this week's meetings are more intense than previous years because, as MacGregor admitted, there are more players involved.

Whether it is Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko, Forsberg or  Murray it seems that amongst the Oiler scouts, and other scouting staffs, there isn't one slam dunk first overall pick this year.

I've stated for months that if I was picking I'd take Galchenyuk, and I sense that the Oilers are down to three guys; Yakupov, Galchenyuk and Murray. My gut says they will take Yakupov, but I honestly think they could surprise some people and take Galchenyuk.

Murray is a hell of a D-man, but I wouldn't draft a D-man first overall. The Oilers can't afford to be like the St. Louis Blues in 2006 when they took Erik Johnson and passed on Jordan Staal, Jonathon Toews and Nicklas Backstrom.

Today is the Top Prospects availability, and I'll try to find out if any of them feel they will be an Edmonton Oiler by tomorrow afternoon.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 Clyde Frog
June 21 2012, 11:16AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm on the first for Strome (and the 4th) bandwagon now! (With add-ons to be determined later)

Come on Tambo! Go get K-lowe and have him teach you the horrible secret he holds over Garth Snow's head... And get this trade done!

Its a fit on both sides and would give us the Gagner flexibility.

Avatar
#52 manny
June 21 2012, 11:21AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I remember four or five Oilers fan whining that we have too many 3rd or 4th liners on the team.....and we don't have elite talent. Now hockey gods gave us gift this year for suffering all these years. Oilers orgnization can't decide to accept the gift(Yakpov).

Avatar
#53 vetinari
June 21 2012, 11:23AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

True, we could refer to Hall-RNH-Yakupov as "our first liners" and sadly, mean it more ways than one.

It could also be like putting all our eggs in one big fragile basket. Hall is the most physical of that group but he is no means ready to throw 25-35 year old men out of the way on a nightly basis to free up room for his teammates.

I suspect you'll only see those three together from time to time on the pp or on nights where we are down by a goal and taking a faceoff in the offensive zone. But even then, I think I'd prefer to see Eberle playing with RNH and Hall in those situations.

Avatar
#54 steelymac
June 21 2012, 11:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Check out the Krueger write up at sportsnet

Avatar
#55 Will
June 21 2012, 11:32AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

If they take Gal, and announce a blockbuster trade deal involving one of our centers other than Nuge that yields back some good defense, then I'm fine with it. In one swoop we got more size at number 2 center, and upgraded on defense. True, we may look at the team that took yak and see what kind of a player he becomes, but the Oilers become a deeper more solidified team than if they took another scoring winger.

Having said that, I still think they should draft Yak. I just want to see him play on a line with Hall so much. If hat everyone says is true, and he plays like Hall, watching a double Hall line would just be so much fun.

Avatar
#56 Gary L
June 21 2012, 11:39AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Archaeologuy wrote:

The Orange Aces ©

How bout the Oil Aces?

Avatar
#57 EL PRESIDENTE
June 21 2012, 11:59AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hall+Nuge+Nail and Petry+Schultz kid = a full house

Avatar
#58 Mark-LW
June 21 2012, 12:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

If the Oilers take Galchenyuk, does he go back to junior?

Avatar
#59 Yzermanfan19
June 21 2012, 12:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

doubtful right? You will need that extra year since he missed this year

Avatar
#60 Yzermanfan19
June 21 2012, 12:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ya but you have to be quite the ego maniac to say "No im the best on Sarnia" especially if you are friends with another top 5 prospect, at least in my opinion.

Avatar
#61 gongshow
June 21 2012, 12:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

Nice use of the phrase asscrack fuzz. I will try to insert that into a few conversations today.

Avatar
#62 madjam
June 21 2012, 01:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

OH OILERS - please awake us from the Nightmares of last 4 seasons and actually build a contender for next season .

Avatar
#63 semi_moronic
June 21 2012, 01:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hey Gregor,

Any idea if the Oil Change crew is running around at the Draft this year like last? It was pretty cool to see some of that behind-the-scenes stuff..

Avatar
#64 Digger
June 21 2012, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I still don't understand why people keep referring to Galchenyuk as a "big" center.

At the draft combine, his height was measured at 6', 0.5". RNH is 6'1", I believe.

His size is no better then NHL average for his age.

I would consider Grigorenko much more the prototypical "big" center, he's an honest 6'3".

Avatar
#65 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 21 2012, 01:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ BurkeTheTurd

Very good question, turd.

Avatar
#66 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 21 2012, 01:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Digger

Same reason everyone thinks the Kings forwards were so big, dispite the fact most of the top 9 were either 6'0 or shorter and or 200lbs or lighter.

Avatar
#67 Bucknuck
June 21 2012, 02:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Digger wrote:

I still don't understand why people keep referring to Galchenyuk as a "big" center.

At the draft combine, his height was measured at 6', 0.5". RNH is 6'1", I believe.

His size is no better then NHL average for his age.

I would consider Grigorenko much more the prototypical "big" center, he's an honest 6'3".

I think it's because he is over six feet tall and he is very strong for his age. Grigorenko might be tall, but he's lanky. Galchenyuk is built like Jason Statham. #almostnotquitebutclose

Avatar
#68 Shredder
June 21 2012, 03:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Darren Dregr thinks the Oilers will pick Ryan Murray #1 overall.

I'm ok with that, but they better be sure of this kid...#EverettwillsuckwithoutMurraynextyear.

Avatar
#69 TKB2677
June 21 2012, 03:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The amount of backlash the Oilers would get is they took Murray would be ridiculous. I'm 100% any team EVER drafting a Dman #1 overall. The evidence overwelmingly suggests its a bad idea.

Avatar
#70 oilers2k12
June 21 2012, 04:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

You do understand that they draft based on where they think a player will be in five years, not what he did as a 16 year old?

Yes I've seen him play...I like him, a lot.

Do I think the Oilers will make a mistake in Yakupov, yes, because he is a small, skilled winger and they have a lot of them. He is a good player, but writing about Galchenyuk and giving people info is my job. You and many others make it sound like it is so easy to just select one player, and it isn't...The best player isn't always taken first overall.

I know many scouts who really like Galchenyuk as well. Fact is he plays C, and the Oilers need a big centre. That is why I would explore it deeply. Understand it isn't a shot at Yakupov, it is called doing their due diligence.

So you said you saw him play..when was this? When he was 16 years old? Well according to you that doesnt count.. Or was it the two regular season games he appeared in this past season? Since he just came back from injury those two games to me they dont count (if they do to you, he had 0 pts and was -4) The playoffs? Yakupov didnt put up big numbers but neither did Galchenyuk..

So how do you judge him then? The draft combine? I know guys at my local average joes gym who ride the bike at supersonic speed on level 20, so what.. Oh hes 2 inches taller than Yak, wow 2 inches makes Huge difference..

Oh yeah hes a center..so was Marc Antoine Pouliot.. Not saying he's MAP..just saying being a center,and putting up good numbers in junior for 1 season doesn't make you a great player..

I do think Galchenyuk will be a good NHLer just cuz scouts have him in the top 10(based I guess on his 16yr old season) but going by everything I've seen, and heard, Yakupov is much more dynamic, faster..more of a natural scorer..and apparently not a bad playmaker either(9 assists at the WJC)

So how does a winger outscore a center by 20 points when they play together on the same line playing close to same amount of games? Remind you of Kane-Gagner on the Knights?

Avatar
#71 @Oilanderp
June 21 2012, 04:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Archaeologuy wrote:

Yakupov is the easy choice. If one of the other candidates ends up better in 5 years its incredibly easy to justify the pick.

Unanimous best 18 year old player by all major scouting services. Pedigree of excellent play.

Other options were: Guy who played 2 games, Defenseman with no offense, Swedish kid who couldnt score in men's league, and another Russian who wasnt bringing it every night in his draft year.

Not difficult at all to justify if Yakupov doesnt pan out.

They're comparing him to Pavel Bure for Pete's sake.

Ryan Murray had 31 pts in 46 games on a putrid team. Is that lack of offense? But yes, Yak is the safe pick.

Avatar
#72 @Oilanderp
June 21 2012, 04:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Walter Sobchak wrote:

I have long advocated that Yakupov the best player the consensus #1 throughout the year be chosen, he has the best upside of all the players in the draft and have even read that he will be better then Hall.

I also believe the Oilers can no longer sit around and just pick one guy who can play per summer and call it a success.

I also agree with what Gregor said to a point about centers, I truly think that Galchenyuk has potential to be a great second line center, at this point of the rebuild just finish off the top 6 and concentrate on defense after the draft.

The Oilers should go and move heaven and earth to get Galchenyuk as well, dare I say even at the thought of one more year of suckvile.

Besides Krueger will love this kid.

I agree, something about bringing in two young russians (yeah i know one is american but you know what I mean) that makes me think they will be more than the sum of their parts. I'd be willing to undergo 2 more years of suck in order to get that done. Next year's suck is all but guaranteed anyway!

Avatar
#73 CaptainLander
June 21 2012, 04:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

As long as they take a forward I am happy, no need for dman at this point. Beside with the Oil injury history if we have 4 super star forwards that means we could almost have 2 playing and any one time.

Avatar
#74 CaptainLander
June 21 2012, 04:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@@Oilanderp

It would be cheaper to go after Grigs as the second russian. Sounds like you can grab him beyond the 8th pick.

Avatar
#75 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 21 2012, 06:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ShredderDarren Dregr thinks the Oilers will pick Ryan Murray #1 overall.

I'm ok with that, but they better be sure of this kid...#EverettwillsuckwithoutMurraynextyear. ...

Don't want to scare you Shredder, but Everett sucked with Murray in the lineup as well. Columbus stumbles upon a windfall with Edmonton passing on Yakupov. Watch them fleece Gardiner from the Leafs along with a flip flop of picks. The Leafs still get the best player in the bunch in Yakupov.

Avatar
#76 Wanyes bastard child
June 21 2012, 06:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bucknuck wrote:

I think it's because he is over six feet tall and he is very strong for his age. Grigorenko might be tall, but he's lanky. Galchenyuk is built like Jason Statham. #almostnotquitebutclose

Think this Statham kid will be available with our 2nd or should we try and move up for him?

Avatar
#77 Cervantes
June 21 2012, 06:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

steve wrote:

I don't see it being very hard. Trade first pick and Hemsky to the Habs for Subban and the third. Take Galnychuk with the third and win lots of Stanley Cups... Seems easy enough no?

put the xbox controller down for a sec and ask yourself why montreal makes that trade.

montreal trades one of their top d-men who is showing huge potential AND a top 3 pick for the #1 pick and a guy who cant stay healthy??

sure it seems easy... if you are sniffing that asscrack fuzz brownlee was trying to trade earlier...

Hemsky plus Yak is an infusion of roughly 140 points into the MTL roster, I can't be arsed to look up Subban but I guess he was around 50 last year? So, you pick up a gun on a 3 year ELC and 2 years of Hemmer on a reasonable top6 contract in exchange for a solid but porous defenseman who's due for a pay raise and a russian centre who's been injured all year.

That doesn't sound like too bad a deal for MTL. That's a lot of points for cheap for the next 5 years or so.

Avatar
#78 GVBlackhawk
June 21 2012, 07:03PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
oilers2k12 wrote:

So you said you saw him play..when was this? When he was 16 years old? Well according to you that doesnt count.. Or was it the two regular season games he appeared in this past season? Since he just came back from injury those two games to me they dont count (if they do to you, he had 0 pts and was -4) The playoffs? Yakupov didnt put up big numbers but neither did Galchenyuk..

So how do you judge him then? The draft combine? I know guys at my local average joes gym who ride the bike at supersonic speed on level 20, so what.. Oh hes 2 inches taller than Yak, wow 2 inches makes Huge difference..

Oh yeah hes a center..so was Marc Antoine Pouliot.. Not saying he's MAP..just saying being a center,and putting up good numbers in junior for 1 season doesn't make you a great player..

I do think Galchenyuk will be a good NHLer just cuz scouts have him in the top 10(based I guess on his 16yr old season) but going by everything I've seen, and heard, Yakupov is much more dynamic, faster..more of a natural scorer..and apparently not a bad playmaker either(9 assists at the WJC)

So how does a winger outscore a center by 20 points when they play together on the same line playing close to same amount of games? Remind you of Kane-Gagner on the Knights?

Thank you. Finally someone using their brain and thinking about this situation logically.

Draft Yakupov because he's the best asset and will be worth more to the team later.

Avatar
#79 Cowbell_Feva
June 22 2012, 12:18AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

GVBlackhawk. Before you pump the tires of Oilers 2K12 about being logical, how do you figure that Yakupov is the best asset and be worth more to the Oilers later?? That is rediculous not logical. He could break his fibula tomorrow for all you know.

The difference is that Galchenyuk is a centerman. As Gregor stated (and anyone who has looked at the past few Cup Champs) they had depth up the middle, not on the wings. LA,Boston,Chicago,Pittsburgh.... see the correlation?

Comments are closed for this article.