THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Jason Gregor
June 22 2012 12:34PM

At around 5:05 p.m. Edmonton time the Nation will either explode in excitement if the Oilers draft Nail Yakupov, or we'll set an all-time comments record if they take Ryan Murray instead.

Here in Pittsburgh all the speculation is that the Oilers will take Murray. We won't know until draft time if that's true, but I won't be stunned if they take him based on the buzz here in the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh. Murray will be a solid player, but if they do take him I think they'd be making a big mistake.

The optics would be brutal, but more importantly he isn't a lock as the best defender in the draft. Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart and Mat Dumba are on par with Murray, and many scouts and GMs that I spoke to here in Pittsburgh have been raving about Rielly.

Not one draft ranking had Murray rated first overall, it was mostly Yakupov while a few had Alex Galchenyuk rated #1. I respect the different scouting services. They are paid to scout the kids, and if none of them had Murray ranked #1, why would the Oilers?

Yakupov is the best winger, and in most scouts eyes the best player, in the draft. He's incredibly skilled, lightning fast and he has great hands. History shows that your odds of landing a superstar forward are much higher in the top-five, while the best D-men can come from anywhere in the first few rounds.

Taking Murray would seem like a safe pick, rather than the right pick at this point. Ultimately, we won't know for a few years if he turns out to be the best of his draft class, but the perception will be that they picked him because he was at the World Championships. Whether that is true or not, likely won't matter for some.

The Oilers have already made up their mind who they are taking, and they'll make it official at 5:05 MST, and once the announcement is made there will be no middle ground from fans.

They will either love the pick, or they'll be outraged. Outrage should not be part of the equation.

When was the last time a team drafted a player that wasn't ranked #1 by any scouting services?

If they choose Murray I will have lots of empathy for the young man, because going first overall should be a wonderful moment, but I don't think the Oilers fanbase will be as excited as they were in 2010 and 2011. And that will be unfortunate for Murray.

Keep in mind that in 2009 there were lots of rumours that the Islanders were going to take Matt Duchene instead of John Tavares, and it didn't happen. All of this Murray talk might just end up being rumours. We'll see.

QUICK HITS

  • Scott Howson is willing to move the #2 pick. He has been very open about it, and I wonder if the Oilers could offer enough to make a "Brian Burke" splash and walk away with the first two picks. Would they move Hemksy and something for the #2 pick? Would the Blue Jackets make that deal? I don't know, but it would be exciting if the Oilers found a way to get the first two picks.
     
  • Spoke to four different head scouts yesterday and all of them were raving about Morgan Rielly. They love his skill-set, but all of them were extremely high on his character. He'll need a lot of character if the Islanders take him.
     
  • Who would you take out of Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan or Jordan Staal? You could make a solid argument for all three of them.
     
  • A reminder about draft parties today. You can get a sweet Oilersnation.com T-shirt and party with Wanye at the Pint Downtown today, or you can tip a few back with Jason Strudwick at the Pint Off Whyte. With Struds you could win $500 if you can choose the first five picks in the correct order. Both parties will be a blast.
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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
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#1 Hemmertime
June 22 2012, 12:37PM
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With the Fist overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers select Nail Yakupov

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#2 Ales Hallsky
June 22 2012, 12:41PM
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If they dont pick Yak, They be on crack.

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#3 Mantastic
June 22 2012, 12:43PM
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all i hear is Europe playing and keyboards. It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN!

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#4 Jasmine
June 22 2012, 12:44PM
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It won't matter who the Oilers pick, there will be some people who'll criticize them. Has no one mentioned that Yakupov has missed games 3 different times this season. Is no one concerned about that?

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#5 kingoil19
June 22 2012, 12:44PM
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I will be absolutley choke if they don't draft Yakapov tonight.

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#6 Ales Hallsky
June 22 2012, 12:44PM
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Im daydreaming of Hemmer to Yak one timers all day. ALL DAY!!!

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#7 ItsTheBGB
June 22 2012, 12:45PM
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IF they take Murray it will be so bitter sweet. It's like passing up on a Bugatti Veyron and taking a Porsche instead. The Porsche is sick, but a Bugatti is the king of cars....

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#8 Toro
June 22 2012, 12:45PM
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Not even Tambo can screw this pick up , Can he?

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#9 Ales Hallsky
June 22 2012, 12:45PM
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No

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#10 Craiger
June 22 2012, 12:46PM
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if they don't take the yak, i'm going after tambi with a handful of bath salts and a bib...

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#11 B-Rad
June 22 2012, 12:47PM
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If they take Murray he will become my new favourite dman but I will holler for the head of Tamlowe. It is not the kid's fault they made a mistake after all!

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#12 Talbot17
June 22 2012, 12:48PM
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I think Yakupov is a more safe pick, because he's coming onto a team with talent up front and more room for growth > smaller magnifying glass over him analyzing his rookie season. With Murray he would be coming in with unrealistic expectations as a life saver on the back end right from the get go. History suggests top D may not even pan out and considering we recently had a top 3 D pick bust on our team (a la Mr. Barker), i hope they take Yakupov here.

You hear Yandle is on the market, why not go for him? PHX needs a center, maybe pitch Gagner and whatever else to get him?

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#13 russ99
June 22 2012, 12:50PM
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Mantastic wrote:

all i hear is Europe playing and keyboards. It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN!

OK, now I have to play that before they make the pick. :D

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#14 justDOit
June 22 2012, 12:52PM
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I wonder how many different articles are already written, and just waiting to be released the minute Stambellini has finished his utterance?

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#15 Let's Rebuild
June 22 2012, 12:54PM
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For some reason I hope the Oilers draft Gob Bluth.

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#16 HallFever
June 22 2012, 12:56PM
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The Yak Attack needs to be Snatched.

Jordan Staal all the way......

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#17 Matt Henderson
June 22 2012, 12:57PM
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Might as well take Cecille Moog (Andy's Mom) with the 1st overall. Over the next 2-3 years she will help this organization as much as Ryan Murray.

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#18 salad
June 22 2012, 12:59PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

With the Fist overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers select Nail Yakupov

If the Oilers pick Murray I will petition for removal of management! Yakupov even Galenychuk I would be OK with but Murray ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!!

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#19 A-Mc
June 22 2012, 12:59PM
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As unlikely as it is, i think all the dithers comments and tambo head hunt rants would cease if by some miracle, we managed to draft first AND second with out losing franchise players in the process. Hell, even just 2 players in the top 10 with 1 being first overall, would gain tambolini a lot of respect in the oilersnation world.

I think the draft with be as eventless for the oilers as can be: the edmonton oilers are proud to select nail yakupov from the sarnia sting.

Ps: what does it say about the community here when selecting first overall isnt good enough?

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#20 pomeranzjake
June 22 2012, 01:01PM
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I think that these rumours have been a propaganda strategy the Oilers have employed trying to get CLB or Montreal to move up to get the man they want. Dont kid yourselves, if the Oilers keep the first pick they will take Yakupov.

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#21 The Gord
June 22 2012, 01:03PM
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Why does Edmonton management think they are smarter than everyone else? If they pick Murray, they are straight up setting that kid up to fail, and man is that an unfair thing to do to him. He has NO CHANCE of succeeding in Edmonton. He will be a solid NHLer, but he does not have the skill set or size to reach the talent level or success of a true number 1 draft pick. So the fans will be all over this kid, and they will drive him out of town at the first sign of struggle. Bad move Edmonton, the NHL is a business, your fans are your customers, and you are spitting right their collective face. Mark my words, Murray will not be an Oiler by the time he's 22.

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#22 Talbot17
June 22 2012, 01:04PM
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Murray won't be a guaranteed 1 or 2 D on any team yet Yakupov is basically guaranteed top 6...just doesn't make sense to me. If you were so high on a D like Reinhart get that 8th pick from Carolina somehow. One D is going to drop

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#23 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 01:04PM
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"the perception will be that they picked him because he was at the World Championships."

didn't Yak play at the WCs?

I would have thought "draft for position/need" would be the driving narrative, no?

first 2: if they got them... Yak and Gal... or Yak and Murray?

"He'll need a lot of character if the Islanders take him."

hahaha!!!

the sad truth is you could almost say the same for the Oil

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#24 maverick
June 22 2012, 01:07PM
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Just watched a reply of TSN panel and McGuire pushing for D and saying we have enough offensive depth. I am so glad he is not on TSN regularly anymore. He's a bit of a knuckle head.

Mackenzie and Dreger are on the ball not so much McGuire.

Still hoping for Yakupov instead of Murray.

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#25 Talbot17
June 22 2012, 01:09PM
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maverick wrote:

Just watched a reply of TSN panel and McGuire pushing for D and saying we have enough offensive depth. I am so glad he is not on TSN regularly anymore. He's a bit of a knuckle head.

Mackenzie and Dreger are on the ball not so much McGuire.

Still hoping for Yakupov instead of Murray.

Pierre is such an idiot lol I wanted to throw my kool aid at the TV hearing that

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#26 Bucknuck
June 22 2012, 01:10PM
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I think everyone is getting far too excited before the Oil have even selected anyone. For instance Travis Dakin and poor Arch are having a full scale Twitter rage at the stupidity of taking a Defenseman overall. I tend to agree, but I will wait until the selection before getting excited.

Perhaps they are trying to get the #2 pick from Columbus, and if Columbus REALLY wants Murray then this leak of info plays right into their hands, no?

Any way you cut it this is an exciting day to be an Oiler fan, which is a good thing in June :-)

I like the question about building a Team around Nash, Staal, or Ryan. I like Staal, but I don't think he's a 1st line centre, so you don't build your team around him. Nash is a force, but he's played for a losing team so long that I just don't really want him. Bobby Ryan is my guy because of his age, power, and skill.

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#27 fuzzy muppet
June 22 2012, 01:13PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Might as well take Cecille Moog (Andy's Mom) with the 1st overall. Over the next 2-3 years she will help this organization as much as Ryan Murray.

It's near the point I'm going to recommend you to be the Oilers GM.

This management team will likely get their walking papers if they screw this up.

There's only 2 options.

1) Take Yakupov

2) Trade down and take Defense

Anything else have to be considered an abject failure

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#28 Quicksilver ballet
June 22 2012, 01:14PM
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This is a glass half full or half empty moment for Stu MacGregor. He could go from the penthouse to the outhouse this evening if he blows this pick.

Maybe the reason they didn't announce a length of the Tambellini extension is because Katz and Lowe wanted him to take the fall for this possible questionable selection.

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#29 Evilas
June 22 2012, 01:14PM
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Hemmer dishes to Yakupov and he Nails it on the one-timer!

It's gotta be the Yakman!

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#30 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 01:16PM
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@ Talbot

because if we send the Gagner then yak will have to play wirh Horcoff. I would trade Hemmer + a lower draft pick, middling prospect or 4th liner.

If Horcoff got moved back into the top 2 lines I would have trouble watching this season. I guess on the bright side it would improve our chances of getting mackinnon next year.

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#31 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 22 2012, 01:17PM
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I'm going to puke if they take Murray #1

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#32 Evilas
June 22 2012, 01:18PM
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I would take Staal over Nash and Ryan. Not sure what the issue is with Ryan, but that's gotta raise a few red flags, Nash and his huge contract, no thanks, that is potentially crippling for any contender.

Staal brings much more to the table as a two-way center and if he is given a first-line role with legit offensive players, maybe he becomes an 80 point center....

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#33 dawgtoy
June 22 2012, 01:19PM
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@Cody anderson

My belief would be Hall would be groomed to take over the 2nd C position.

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
June 22 2012, 01:20PM
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A reminder about draft parties today. You can get a sweet Oilersnation.com T-shirt and party with Wanye at the Pint Downtown today, or you can tip a few back with Jason Strudwick at the Pint Off Whyte. With Struds you could win $500 if you can choose the first five picks in the correct order. Both parties could end up turning into a wake.

I fixed that for you Jason, hope that's alright.

They better bar the doors at The Pint if the Oilers select Murray. Many a patrons could be running out on their tabs if this doesn't end well.

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#35 madjam
June 22 2012, 01:22PM
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Drafting Yakupov or Gally comes with a built in excuse if they fail , while Murray does not . Can't see Tams overexposing himself by taking Murray to be honest . Slightly more or equal risk , but likely higher reward rest with Gally . Defensively Trouba or Dumba or Reilly . I just can't see the logic of choosing Murray if the risk is he might not be a viable top two - not at NBR.1 anyways . Taking Murray seems to make having first choice invalid , or of no value to us , as i'm sure we would have got him at NBR.2 anyways ! Then his pick would not have been/perceived as not so bad ?

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#36 Evilas
June 22 2012, 01:24PM
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I will repeat myself, since you asked Jason, I would offer Columbus Gagner, next year's first and Peckham for their pick and one of Methot, Nikitin, or Tyutin (in order of preferrence) and even one of the 2013 2nd round picks as a sweetener if necessary.

I would pick Yak 1st and Galy 2nd.

I would hope to improve by at least 10 places, so despite the deep 2013 draft, I do not want to be in the MacKinnon or Jones discussion.

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#37 fuzzy muppet
June 22 2012, 01:25PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

You are correct.

Not to besmirch the "magnificent" one, but outside of the obvious #1 picks and the Great Mr. Eberle, all Stu has really gotten are propects, Not real NHL players.

MPS has been underwhelming.Hamilton and Pitlick and Martindale all had nice arrows early but then their production fell off the table as they turned pro. It's only been a few years, but there's no guarantee they will ever be good NHLers.

If he botches this pick....

Msybe he's not that magnificent after all?

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#38 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 01:28PM
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If we had no 2nd line centre and had no cahnce of obtaining one, I would not be opposed to moving Hall. More often than not position changes with NHL players seem to be a temporary fix and generally don't work that well.

I think we are stronger with him on wing and either of Galchenyuk or Gagner at centre. If there were no other options than Horcoff, I would move Hall to centre.

Nash's contract is too big, I go with Staal with Ryan being a descent 2nd choice. Staal is a big, strong, talented forward, that excells 5 on 5 or on the PK. I am guessing he would do very well on the PP as well if he wasn't buried behind 2 of the best players in the world.

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#39 Pat
June 22 2012, 01:28PM
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I freaking love Morgan Rielly and I see a way higher upside in him vs Murray. What is your gut feeling on who they pick? Murray seems to be the overwhelming favorite to be picked is that your sense too?

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#40 BurkeTheTurd
June 22 2012, 01:29PM
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take the goal scorer, we need help this year not 2-3 years down the road

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#41 fuzzy muppet
June 22 2012, 01:29PM
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@Evilas

If they draft a Defenseman at 1...

hello lottery

Take yakupov and acquire actual NHL defensemen.

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#42 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 22 2012, 01:29PM
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@ Cody anderson

But then we wouldn't end drafting Mackinnon, we'd take some Dman that's going to take 4 years to develop, and end up putting up 25 points a year as a #3

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#43 VanReferee
June 22 2012, 01:31PM
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Remember Mark Messier started out as a winger too. There no reason Hall couldn't make the jump...

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#44 Buzz Lightbeer
June 22 2012, 01:32PM
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The Oil wanted a king's ransom or his knocked off socks for the #1 overall pick and we would use it ourselves on Murray? Really? Pulleezz, that is just not going to happen. Calm down. Daryl is not about to let a boycott of his pill stores happen. Its just bad for business.

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#45 Will
June 22 2012, 01:33PM
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Any chance all the Murray buzz is just a ploy. I mean, from what I've read, Columbus has little interest in Yakapov (which is stupid because he's exactly the type of guy to rebuild a franchise around). So that might mean Murray. Now if the Oil put it out there that they are going to take Murray, doesn't that incentivize Columbus to trade for the number one pick? And then if they do take Murray, we end up with Yak and another asset at the same time. Or it could be a way to incentivize COlumbus to trade to pick entirely, in which case, we take both yak and Murray, or hope against hope, Yak and Gal.

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#46 VanReferee
June 22 2012, 01:33PM
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Buzz Lightbeer wrote:

The Oil wanted a king's ransom or his knocked off socks for the #1 overall pick and we would use it ourselves on Murray? Really? Pulleezz, that is just not going to happen. Calm down. Daryl is not about to let a boycott of his pill stores happen. Its just bad for business.

Perhaps Daryl needs a rush to the pill stores which would happen if we selected Murray. We'd all need medication to understand that pick...

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#47 vetinari
June 22 2012, 01:37PM
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If the Oil go with Murray or another defenceman at #1, yes, I'll be ticked at management (not the player), but it signals to me that Tambi can't orchestrate a trade for a veteran defenceman and doesn't believe that he can land one via free agency on July 1st. The 2012-13 season will be based solely on the growth of the current lineup.

I think that it would be better for the Oil to select Yakupov and then make a trade later in the evening with the team that lands their defenceman of choice (with presumeably a little more thrown in coming Edmonton's way).

As an aside, I wonder if Kreuger will get the head coach's job on the basis that if the team plummets this year, Lowe can come in and turf both him and Tambi without tainting the pool of potential external replacements out there?

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#48 Drinkin' the Oilaid
June 22 2012, 01:39PM
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pomeranzjake wrote:

I think that these rumours have been a propaganda strategy the Oilers have employed trying to get CLB or Montreal to move up to get the man they want. Dont kid yourselves, if the Oilers keep the first pick they will take Yakupov.

Agree on propaganda, but maybe I'm hoping it's more than simply pressing someone to trade up. Maybe the Oilers are thinking (okay, maybe "thinking" isn't the right word, but stay with me) along the same lines as Gregor. Maybe the Oil are floating "we're taking Murray" to convince the Blue Jackets their man will be gone in the hopes that they can convince the Jackets to trade the number 2 pick for Hemsky and others.

As an aside, if the Oilers move a roster player under the age of 30 for a pick (Hemsky included), it will be counterproductive. They have to stop getting younger at some point, and bringing in two more first round picks is going to start causing roster havoc in the next couple years.

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#49 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 01:39PM
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I don't understand why so many people feel that the most important trait for a Dman to have is offensive flair. Sure it is the easiest stat to measure, but it is surely not the only one. I take a healthy younger Pronger over any other Dman in the NHL. Big, mean, and great defensively. Really his only major offensive weapon is his slapshot which many D possess.

I would take Murray as the top D in this draft, followed by Reinhart. They won't get as many points as a lot of the Dmen in this draft, but I think you win more with either of them in your lineup then you do with Dumba.

because the points are so easily measurable I think you will have to pay someone like Dumba (Karlsson in an ideal world) a lot more then you will have to pay a superior Defensive D-man.

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#50 snoopy
June 22 2012, 01:39PM
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Well once the clowns blow this draft with the wink wink safe pick and take a Dman which we all know will fail the oilers give them credit are already looking at once again picking first overall yet again next year. How long does this fan base put up with KLowe running this team?? it's clear that MacT will be coaching once they foolishly hire Ralph Kruger as coach he will get fired so MacT can take over, who would MacT prefer a star forward or a safe pick Dman?? this team is a joke plain and simple Kruger will do his best weekend at Bernie's impression with puppet strings attached to MacT and Klowe, and with drafting a safe Dman is just another clear example of the blind leading the blind. Good luck oil fan this is the best time of year to reward another year of failure start looking at the 2013 top prospects you will want to get to know them.

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