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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 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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#54 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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#55 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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#56 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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#57 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 01:49PM
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I can see the Oil putting rumors out there to get a team in the top 5 to try and trade up, but who in their right mind would trade away the pick based on what someone above might do, when you can wait and see what they do and then make a decision on the floor.

If I had the top 2 I would take yak and Gal. Both are of Russian heritage, friends, linemates, and both have a lot of skill. They are also gym partners and I see them pushing each other for years to come. If they have great success together this may also be leverage for hometown discount in the future.

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#58 The Beaker
June 22 2012, 01:57PM
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@Truth

Really? She claims they will take murray after hours of that circulating and her quoting someone else and if that is indeed correct she's legit?

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#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 02:06PM
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@everyone

is there a bonafide source for this murray rumor?

ALso,

you want to know what would really piss me off if they take Murray #1... that would mean the one remaining thing keeping me mildly interested in the last 10 games right through the draft lottery would be erased...

all the excitement of staying worse than Montreal and beating Columbus at the lottery... meaningless.

we could easily get Murray at 2 or even 3...

it means you basically kept me interested for nothing... and you wasted the gift of Montreal playing marginally better and Columbus drawing the short straw.

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#60 Quicksilver ballet
June 22 2012, 02:13PM
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@ Cody Anderson

Looks like the Oilers think they have the Jackets mounted in their vice, putting the screws to Howson. If they're going to pee in Columbus' cornflakes (selecting Murray first) then they could follow up by getting the second overall pick as well. Selecting Galchenyuk or Yakupov with that aquired second overall selection would be optimal.

Hemsky/or Gagner, along with Paajarvi for the second selection. I'd even include an offer to flip firsts next season to get Galchenyuk.

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#61 BurkeTheTurd
June 22 2012, 02:16PM
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@ Come join the Dark Parade

Even if they got 1st and 2nd, you still wouldnt take Yak??

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#62 Lochenzo
June 22 2012, 02:17PM
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Maybe they're trying to make one of the other top 5 draft pickers blink. I'm planning on being on the treadmill when I watch the draft. Don't make me fall off Tambi!

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#63 Quicksilver ballet
June 22 2012, 02:22PM
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@ Burk

Need the center moreso than the winger, Murray and Galchenyuk are what the Oilers need. There's no KHL fears with Galchenyuk, which is best case scenario.

Galchenyuk will be worth the possible year wait. Murray makes it this year. I'd be estatic with Yakupov and Murray though. Just not as happy as with Murray and Galchenyuk.

Can we call Mammoet now if we're going to be moving Heavan and Earth on this deal?

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#64 Drinkin' the Oilaid
June 22 2012, 02:24PM
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@BurkeTheTurd

I think he's saying that the only way to get Columbus's pick is to take their guy first. Awfully dangerous game of chicken, taking the pick you think number 2 wants in order to try to get their pick from them.

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#65 Shredder
June 22 2012, 02:25PM
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Draft Murray. You can only get him at #2 if the Oil take Yak #1, and Columbus might not have taken Yak #1 if it was up to them...I'm sure he'll be a stud.

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#66 Truth
June 22 2012, 02:27PM
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@The Beaker

Yes, if she gets this right I will have a little more confidence in what she says. If they pick Yak or someone else, I, as well as everyone else, knows she is a complete fake.

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#67 HardBoiledOil
June 22 2012, 02:29PM
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draft Yak please...the BPA, spare us the surprises!

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#68 BurkeTheTurd
June 22 2012, 02:34PM
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I say take the best asset then manage the assets after. Hopefully tambo has it in him

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#69 Archaeologuy
June 22 2012, 02:36PM
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Kypreos on Twitter saying Canadiens shopping Subban. Maybe for 1st...

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#70 Quicksilver ballet
June 22 2012, 02:54PM
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@Archaeologuy

Montreal must not be happy with the money he wants to renew/extend him.

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#71 the big GRIGowski
June 22 2012, 03:00PM
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@Martin

Please don't compare the bums on your roster to #1 overall studs. Montreal would be ecstatic to get a player of Kovalchuk's skill set.

Please.

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#72 EricOG
June 22 2012, 03:01PM
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Martin wrote:

Hi Guys,

I'm a Habs fan and let me tell you this. Be careful at what you wish for. Most people that know hockey pretty well will tell you that offensive skill is a great asset, but it's not everything. There is much more to evaluate.

As a fan you don't have to. But the team managers have to. Remember pat Faloon? He was clearly the #1 pick at that time and guess what happened. There is more than just talent.

Carey Price was drafted in 2005 as the 5th pick overall. People in Montreal were VERY disapointed, we wanted Benoit Pouliot, but Minesota wanted him and they got Pouliot right before us. Now go ask Wild's management if they would like to go back in time and pick a different #4 overall pick... He had a tremendous offensive potential, but that's not enough.

Of course i'm not a Oilers fan but let me just say that as a hockey fan, I hope you guys get someone else.

First of all, he might be good, but he's fragile to start with. Then look at him as a Kovalchuk type of player. Lots of scoring chances, lots of turnovers. But who will repair his mistakes? Do you have the Ds for that? If he plays with other rookies, who's gonna back him up if he looses the puck? Fast play in the nhl will bring some doubt in his mind and he will hold the stick tight after a few games.

Second, look at your first 2 lines. You got small and light forwards. Very skilled and fast yes, but goals tend to be scored in front of the net more and more, and you need big guys for that.

Who's gonna win the battles in the corners or in front of the net against teams that has big D's?

Yea i'm a Montreal fan and don't tell me I don't know what we are taling about. We got many small-skilled players over the years and let me tell you this, when you don't have better, so be it. But now you guys got the chance to have a big power forward on your top two and I hope you get him.

My 1st pick this year as a Oil GM would be Galchenyuk. Second Murray, third Forsberg and then Dumba.

You guys need to have players that can plays at both ends of the ice.

my 2 cents...

Lots of good points. However, the nervousness and tension you can feel by just entering the thread comes from us knowing first hand that the Oilers management has a tendency to do one dumb move per every 1.5 good moves...

That's why most of us are going bpa all the way.. Trade his ass later should things go south later

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#73 The Beaker
June 22 2012, 03:05PM
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@Truth

I'm telling you right now they are trading the pick. Guaranteed.

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#74 The Beaker
June 22 2012, 03:06PM
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@Truth

So if they now trade the pick in any way, shape or form will I be the real deal?

No problem if they don't I just go back to being the fake I always was.

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#75 questioningoilersfan
June 22 2012, 03:11PM
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I am perplexed? Say they will take Murray first and have him and Rienhart close or even Yakupov, Wouldn't you trade for example to columbus to swap picks + Col 5th round now you still get Reinhart or Yak + asset or go to third pick with Montreal give them a chance at Yak for their pick + a second rd pick now you get Reinhart or Galy + asset. Taking anybody first overall other than Yak is a complete blunder by management. They take Murray will really test if, In Stu we trust.

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#76 geno
June 22 2012, 03:12PM
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draft galchenyuk then trade gagner and tuebert to chicago for mclean and their 1st then draft wilson. oilers just got big down the middle and nasty on the wing

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#77 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 03:13PM
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Hi Martin, I both agree and disagree with you. A small forward can be great a lineup of small forwards....not so much.

If they drafted Yak with plans on playing him with Hemsky and Gagner, then I would tend to agree. Way too soft, too many turnovers, too easy to push off the puck. On this line Yak is the toughest and most physical of the group....that is not a good thing.

Now put Hall, Hartikainan, or Paajarvi on the wing and it is a marked improvement. Put one of them on wing and Galnechyuk at centre and you actually have a physically imposing line that still has a tonne of skill. then Yak is the least physical of the group, and he is more than strong enough for that.

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#78 Will
June 22 2012, 03:18PM
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Martin wrote:

Hi Guys,

I'm a Habs fan and let me tell you this. Be careful at what you wish for. Most people that know hockey pretty well will tell you that offensive skill is a great asset, but it's not everything. There is much more to evaluate.

As a fan you don't have to. But the team managers have to. Remember pat Faloon? He was clearly the #1 pick at that time and guess what happened. There is more than just talent.

Carey Price was drafted in 2005 as the 5th pick overall. People in Montreal were VERY disapointed, we wanted Benoit Pouliot, but Minesota wanted him and they got Pouliot right before us. Now go ask Wild's management if they would like to go back in time and pick a different #4 overall pick... He had a tremendous offensive potential, but that's not enough.

Of course i'm not a Oilers fan but let me just say that as a hockey fan, I hope you guys get someone else.

First of all, he might be good, but he's fragile to start with. Then look at him as a Kovalchuk type of player. Lots of scoring chances, lots of turnovers. But who will repair his mistakes? Do you have the Ds for that? If he plays with other rookies, who's gonna back him up if he looses the puck? Fast play in the nhl will bring some doubt in his mind and he will hold the stick tight after a few games.

Second, look at your first 2 lines. You got small and light forwards. Very skilled and fast yes, but goals tend to be scored in front of the net more and more, and you need big guys for that.

Who's gonna win the battles in the corners or in front of the net against teams that has big D's?

Yea i'm a Montreal fan and don't tell me I don't know what we are taling about. We got many small-skilled players over the years and let me tell you this, when you don't have better, so be it. But now you guys got the chance to have a big power forward on your top two and I hope you get him.

My 1st pick this year as a Oil GM would be Galchenyuk. Second Murray, third Forsberg and then Dumba.

You guys need to have players that can plays at both ends of the ice.

my 2 cents...

Good points, but to be honest as an Oiler fan I pay attention to what's in our system, and what's in our system is something just as good, that will take just as long as Murray to be where he needs to be. Plus, for a defender, Murray is not big. Players like Getzlaf or Penner will own this kid.

Also, as an Oiler fan, as someone paying tons of money to go see games, what would I rather pay money for:

a) to see a smooth skating defenseman that is smart and does good things that no one really even sees.

or

b) The Nuge and Ebs coming off a great shift, the opposing team thankful our top talent is off the ice and not passing circles around them. But wait, what's this, the Hall Yak line is on the ice. Now it's two balls to the wall, skill for days players rushing through the middle. Hall breaks through as he takes a reckless body check, but not before the puck lands on Yak's stick. OMFG did you see what he just did??????? Hall and Yak hug at center ice. The post game interview is hilarious as stitch-face Hall grins about the play and the Yak yuks it up with the media. Everyone at work the next day is talking about the goal and quoting Yak like Will Ferrel.

Seriously, if getting to the playoffs and winning a cup means boring trap style hockey ala Nashville, you can have my Oil jerseys.

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#79 Smokey
June 22 2012, 03:18PM
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Forget the all time record for comments if they take Murray. There would be a public linching of Lowebelleni at the Edmonton International Airport. The Nuge would probably refuse to fly home with the brass.

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#80 freeze
June 22 2012, 03:20PM
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This is madness.

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#81 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 03:20PM
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I agree, if you are not taking the consensus #1 you have to try to trade down. the only problem is what if other know your needs and guess what you are doing, or do not value the #1 pick high enough to give you anything of value.

Unless they Have Murray rated #1, it is way to risky to select him #1 hoping to get the 2nd pick as well. If they draft him #1 then i am sure they rate him #1. Tambelini does not have the balls to gamble like this.........Hell I don't think I have the balls for this gamble, and I am all about taking a risk.

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#82 steelymac
June 22 2012, 03:31PM
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hmmm so there leaning on taking Murry.This murry guy isnt the same guy that had 5 pucks go off him into his own net in one game at the world juniors is it?Dithers you watch that game?If this dildo blows this pick its time for a revolt.If the almighty Stu endorses this pick without trading down to get him then Im sure alot of us will doubt how great he is.All this buzz on Murry makes me want to puke.

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#83 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 03:32PM
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@Cody anderson

"if you are not taking the consensus #1 you have to try to trade down. "

bingo... otherwise it's a waste of a #1 to take what would likely go #3.

I guess a supplemental question would be (if you are worried you traded down and that Murray isn't still available) how much daylight is there between Murray and the other Ds?

If the Oil are desperate for a D 4 years down the road right now (crazy I know) they ought to trade the pick down, get an NHL asset and target any of the top 4 D men in the draft.

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#84 HallFever
June 22 2012, 03:34PM
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Please... Please take Yakupov.

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#85 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 03:41PM
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is this "alyonka larionov" on tsn Igor's daughter or something?

she's working the "social lounge" online... whatever that means... some kind of champagne room?

at any rate, for anyone interested, tsn.ca will be streaming the draft online for free it looks like

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#86 freeze
June 22 2012, 03:44PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

It is Igor's daughter.

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#87 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 03:46PM
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@freeze

ahhh... nepotism wins again! I hate that guy!!

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#88 Cody anderson
June 22 2012, 03:47PM
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Romulus, the main thing that seperates Murray from the other top D is he is NHL ready whereas the others are all 2 or 3 or more years away from the NHL. For a well rounded Dman (Not super offensive) He has one of the higher ceilings of D in the draft but will play NHL next year. 4 years down the road, who knows.......I think I would prefer Reinhart, because he is younger, bigger, and showed more year over year improvement.

That being said Reinhart is not playing in the NHL next year and is probably 3 to 4 years away from being an effective Dman.

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#89 DieHard
June 22 2012, 03:47PM
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Are we really gonna take Barker at 1st OV ???????

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#90 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 22 2012, 04:01PM
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Cody anderson wrote:

Romulus, the main thing that seperates Murray from the other top D is he is NHL ready whereas the others are all 2 or 3 or more years away from the NHL. For a well rounded Dman (Not super offensive) He has one of the higher ceilings of D in the draft but will play NHL next year. 4 years down the road, who knows.......I think I would prefer Reinhart, because he is younger, bigger, and showed more year over year improvement.

That being said Reinhart is not playing in the NHL next year and is probably 3 to 4 years away from being an effective Dman.

I get the "nhl ready" talk. it seems legit in Murray's case... but probably only to an extent. I mean there is a difference between be able to play

1-9 NHL games (tiny percentage of the draft)

9-82 NHL games (handful of the first round)

82 NHL games as a reliable, contributing anchor at your position.

Assuming Murray is in the second category... how many years until he reaches the third? is he there yet?

I would guess, since Ds take so long to develop, he's a ways away from that crucial third category.

Basically the question is... is he Doughty material and on par with Doughty's development (even he improved dramatically in his second year)??

For a quick D, I still think your best bet is a trade for NHL established players. we have a lot of odds and ends to toy with...

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#91 Martin
June 22 2012, 05:16PM
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Guys, thanks for the replies, this is, whater happens in a few minutes, very very intersting.

I read again or hear people saying they will get sick or be mad at the GM if Yakupov is not drafted 1st. I don't understand that because I hope everyone realize that the information we have, is from the tv/radio/internet. We do not have all the details like teams does.

Will, I understand that star players are exciting to look at. But you can't have too many of them up front and none at D. You got a point though, you guys do have some good prospects on defence like Klefbom and Musil. I think Murray can be a good pick, imo he will be a very good pick.

When trying to hit an homerun, you often get striked out :)

I would get a big center though, you got great players on wings, you need a strong center to play with Hall or Eberle.

But hey, please note that if Montreal draft Galchenyuk or Forsberg because they are still available at rank 3. We will be VERY happy. :)

Good luck guys ;)

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