The not-so magnificent seven

Jonathan Willis
April 25 2013 09:56AM

With two games left in the season, the Edmonton Oilers can finish no lower than seventh overall in the pre-lottery draft rankings, and could finish as high as the second overall pick if everything breaks right (wrong?).

The Standings

Important games tonight include:

  • Carolina vs. N.Y. Rangers
  • Tampa Bay @ Boston
  • Nashville @ Detroit
  • Calgary @ St. Louis

Both the Lightning and the Predators can pass Edmonton with a win tonight. They’re only a combined 4-13-3 in their last 10 but both clubs are coming off wins. Tampa Bay is a long-shot, having played last night and facing Boston tonight, but Nashville is rested and facing a tired Detroit club. Calgary and Carolina, meanwhile, can add some space to their leads on Edmonton.

The Prizes

From NHL Numbers consensus draft rankings, here are the top-12 players available; the Oilers will almost certainly be selecting one of them.

The Oilers would need some Steve Tambellini lottery magic to grab Seth Jones – not only the best player available but also the best fit for need – but there are a lot of players to like here. I admit I’m partial to Aleksander Barkov, a guy who plays a complete game and has size, speed and skill, but that’s also because I’m more familiar with him than with the other prospects available here. The other big centre, Sean Monahan, likely also appeals to the Oilers, and of course the big defencemen group - Nurse, Ristolainen, Zadorov – all have a lot of appeal as prospects.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Matt Henderson
April 25 2013, 12:59PM
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Kenta wrote:

Players don't sign with Edmonton because its in Edmonton.

BPA got the Oilers in the mess they are in now despite having 3 first overall picks. Give your heads a shake "city of champions".

BPA got the Oilers into this mess?

Are you sure? The Oilers best players are the ones they selected and the players they could have chosen but did not are all worse than the guy they did.

Are you not, maybe, confusing the idea of choosing the best prospect in the draft with a complete and total failure to identify and bring in other talent from alternative sources like Free Agency of via trade?

Because its really easy to mix those up.*

*Actually not true

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#2 Matt Henderson
April 25 2013, 01:55PM
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Spydyr wrote:

BPA has to mean not the best skilled player. It has to mean the best hockey player available. There is more to hockey than skill. Things like heart , toughness, grit and the fear of failure.

All things the Oilers now lack.

The Oilers lack that but it isnt coming from the Oilers' last 3 BPA 1st round selections.

Hall is a motor that never quits. Big kid who served a suspension for a check that crossed the line.

Yak is physical and plays with more heart and passion than anyone. ANYONE.

Nuge just played 90% of a season with a torn Labrum based on the hope that THIS squad could make the Playoffs. If that isnt tough then I must be missing something.

The Oilers got into trouble at the draft when they stopped taking BPA and started looking at Organizational needs. Mitch Moroz anybody?

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#3 Will
April 25 2013, 01:01PM
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I really am at a loss for people who think we drafted wrong. Seguin, though really good, is not Hall. This team needs a Hall way more than a tough centre. Hall brings so many other things to the table above Seguin it's not even a comparison. RNH over Landeskogg? comon, how is Landeskogg working out in Colorado? A team with another really good big two centre? Oh they are at the bottom again. Huh. And Yakupov for Murray? Murray was the most overrated player at the draft, and has already had shoulder surgery. A case could be made that Gal might have been the better choice, but that is one hell of a gamble with the first overall on a player that spent the previous season injured. I mean that would have taken some serious faith in Gal coming back, and I don't think anyone's crystal ball is that good. And Gal is only a better payer purely because the oil need a centre with size. Having said that, Yakupov is one of our more physical players. The kid is a poor mans Ovechkin with the way he plays, only without the attitude. Plus why draft Murray when we signed Schultz. Getting Yakupov and Schultz is, in my opinion a better combo then Murray. You think Schultz would have signed here if we just drafted Murray? Nope.

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#4 Matt Henderson
April 25 2013, 10:06AM
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I've got this goofy feeling like the Oilers are going to finish 3rd and win the Lottery. Obviously they dont need to do that and hoping for it is completely selfish in a Karma sort of way, but the Oilers could be in 3rd VERY easily by the end of thursday night's scheduled games.

For the Record, I think 4th is very reasonable and Barkov would make me a very happy camper.

Alternatively, if the Oilers DO NOT win the lottery and choose to trade the pick I would be ok with it if the return was a legit top pairing Defenseman.

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#5 Spydyr
April 25 2013, 12:13PM
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@Jasmine

Did you forget to take your meds again?

It's is only noon you still have time today.

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Jasmine wrote:

Players don't sign in Edmonton because Pronger wanted out. Then accused Oilers fans for burning his baby crib despite the rental company saying it never happened.

I was there. I lit the first match.

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#7 The Funky Chicken Has Left The Building
April 25 2013, 03:17PM
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BOLD move alert....Oilers sign Legolie - Mac T "...we see Legolie as an upgrade to our goaltending going forward."

http://www.legolie.net/bag.php?year=2005&bag=Oilers.jpg

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#8 Truth
April 25 2013, 11:06AM
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Will wrote:

Question, Nishkinen, Barkov, Jones, and Mohnahan are gone. Do we take Druoin or Mckinnon, or do we grab a worse player with some size and let these two potential future stars fall to someone else?

The Oilers would be dumb not to grab either Drouin or MacKinnon if they had the chance. Take MacKinnon if you have the choice.

The Oilers are small and timid, but you don't pass on those players IMO.

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#10 speeds
April 25 2013, 11:27AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Yea cause that strategy has always worked for us. BPA is a very subjective metric IMHO.

I would consider BPA with toughness and attitude being a very strong consideration.

I agree that there are some areas that need improvement with EDM's roster - it doesn't mean that picking the BPA has been the source of those problems.

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#11 bsmart
April 25 2013, 12:13PM
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I could see the oilers selecting 3rd on draft day. Would they pass on Drouin for Barkov? That is one tough choice to make. I would take Barkov ahead of Drouin.

I can't wait for the draft. I've always loved the prospect side of the game. Being an oiler fan it all fits together so nicely ;)

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#13 madjam
April 25 2013, 02:42PM
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Oilers did a reasonable /acceptable of drafting since the rebuild , but have done a very unacceptable job of procuring an NHL core to supplement them . That is now stage two for MacT. to do respectfully . Drafting different than we did , would not have probably solved the bigger problem of a competent core .

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#14 CaptainLander
April 25 2013, 02:59PM
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@madjam

Blood from a stone, how do you procure something when you clearly do not have the resources to procure it.

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#15 wiseguy
April 25 2013, 03:21PM
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@george burnett

@Will

"Murray overated? You obviously have never seen the kid play"

I'm pretty sure nobody has seen him play an NHL game against NHL players, so until he does I find it absurd to compare him to a player who has played a full (albeit shortened) season in the NHL with reasonable success.

Funny how someone else's shiny toy always looks more interesting than your own.

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#16 Racki
April 25 2013, 10:07AM
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I must admit, on one hand, I want the Oilers to win their last two because a guy like Hall that's carried this team on his back as best as he can deserves it. On the other hand, I'm all for drafting Barkov. There is a very very good chance he'll be gone before we draft at 5... at 4 he MIGHT be there.

Barkov is definitely the guy I want from this draft, assuming we can't get Seth Jones by moving up in the draft (which, really... any team would be crazy to move that #1 pick this year). Monahan would be a good consolation prize, but I still think its a consolation prize.

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#17 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2013, 10:10AM
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Is it time to put a bow on that second line center position?

If you're in MacTavish's (won the draft lotto) shoes Jonathan, would you take MacKinnon in that first overall spot. Seth Jones isn't likely to be the best D'man in this draft anyways.

If the Oil don't win the lotto, they should trade up to that probable second spot and get their guy.

Deadwood out, new life in. I heard The Sports Closet in the park is taking pre-orders on Shea Weber Oiler jerseys for the fall.

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#18 Rick
April 25 2013, 10:14AM
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Seth Jones may be the best player and at a position of extreme need but he is not a player that Edmonton can use to solve their immediate problems.

If by some reason they lucked out with the lottery then they should be looking to move the pick.

Hell even at #7, if the value is there they should unload the pick.

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#19 Will
April 25 2013, 10:15AM
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Nichushkin has been ranked much higher on other lists. If he falls to us though, that could be the perfect partner for Yakupov. Russian, big, centre. Though I still think Barkov is the standout here, as he would make our nordic line a bit better then Lander.

Well here's hoping for four first overalls in a row and we get Jones, but if not him then one of Barkov or Nichushkin.

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#20 madjam
April 25 2013, 10:17AM
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Oilers likely to garner 1-2 points in final 2 games and subsequently may finish in 7-8th position . If so , our draft could be in play if fab 4 and Nicushkin are gone , to acquire a star of note probably defencesively . Slepechev would be another 6-2 player we could get in second round with any luck . Remember , Detroit banner years carried 3 star Russian players of note . Yak it up boys .

From your list of six on down I,d prefer to trade for a star of note for center and/or defence .

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#21 Will
April 25 2013, 10:18AM
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Hmmm, trade the first overall to tampa for their first overall and oh, I don't know Ben Bishop? They get their defender they so badly need, we get our back up goalie to push Dubnyk, and we also likely still get our big centre depending on where Tampa's pick is.

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#22 nunyour
April 25 2013, 10:22AM
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Will anyone on that list drop their gloves to protect a team mate? The oilers are way to timid.

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#23 Racki
April 25 2013, 10:25AM
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BTW, doing some more watching, here is the remaining schedule for teams in that bottom area:

Oilers: Away vs. Wild (very likely a loss) Home vs. Canucks (probably a loss) Predicted finish: 41 pts

Avalanche: Away vs Coyotes (likely a loss) Home vs Wild (likely a loss) Predicted finish: 37 pts (note though, if they somehow won these two and the Oilers lost their two, the Avalanche would finish ahead of Oilers)

Lightning: Away vs Bruins (likely a loss) Home vs Panthers (likely a win) Predicted finish: 42 pts

Predators: Away vs Red Wings (likely a loss) Home vs Blue Jackets (likely a loss) Predicted finish: 41 pts

Hurricanes: Home vs Rangers (likely a loss) Away vs Penguins (likely a loss) Predicted finish: 42 pts

Flames: Away vs Blues (could go either way) Away vs Blackhawks (likely a loss) Predicted finish: 42 pts

So by my guesses, I have the Oilers likely finishing 4th last. But there's possibility they could finish even 2nd last if they really blow it and Colorado wins both theirs, and TB gets at least 1 point in their remaining 2 games (could be likely).

I wouldn't be surprised if the Oilers finish 3rd, with Panthers locking up #1, and the Avs #2. But it will be hard for the Preds to jump ahead of the Oilers, I figure.

I don't think the Oilers will get any points vs. the Wild or Canucks though.

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#24 freeze
April 25 2013, 10:27AM
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Barkov or bust!

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#25 The Other Ron Burgundy
April 25 2013, 10:37AM
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Whoever we pick better not be on the opening-day roster in the fall. Allowing prospects a year or two getting bigger, stronger and used to North America (as the case may be) is what good teams do. MacT needs to replace 3 centers this summer - Lander counts as a replacement if he's ready and willing to play 4th line minutes.

Ott and Vermette are my wish list for the 2C and 3C - size, grit, not a complete loss offensively and both over 56% on faceoffs. And they have a lower cap hit than the Gagner/Horcoff combo. Vermette has 2 years left on his deal and Ott 1 - perfect timing to bring Barkov/Monahan along slowly and properly.

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#26 Ducey
April 25 2013, 10:38AM
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@Racki

Flames won't win any more. They suck on the road.

Hopefully NASH can squeak out an overtime loss.

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#27 Truth
April 25 2013, 10:41AM
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The Oilers will screw everything up and win both of the remaining games. Calgary will win the Lottery. I bet the Oilers are going to trade down in the draft to grab Lazar much higher than he should go anyway.

I'm still frustrated about that season finale win a few years back over Calgary that put the Oilers in 6th position, only for the 5th position Blackhawks to win the lottery and get Kane. I wonder if they would have won the Cup with Gagner instead?

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#28 bumboclate
April 25 2013, 10:48AM
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Listen ppl we are not unloading any top 10picks thats just stupid in my eyes. the oilers should pick in this order if they finish in bottom 5 or better. valeri nichushkin, Darnell nurse, Rasmus Ristolainen than Sean Monahan. I like Darnell Nurse hes a mean in your face sob. hey can move the puck well and hes tough as nails. oilers need players like that!! On a side note NFL DRAFT DAY BABY!!!! GO RAIDERS!!!!!

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#29 bumboclate
April 25 2013, 10:50AM
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@Truth

I pray it aint so. lazar is not even in my top 15 on my list!!!

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#30 Will
April 25 2013, 10:55AM
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Question, Nishkinen, Barkov, Jones, and Mohnahan are gone. Do we take Druoin or Mckinnon, or do we grab a worse player with some size and let these two potential future stars fall to someone else?

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#31 bumboclate
April 25 2013, 10:59AM
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Will wrote:

Question, Nishkinen, Barkov, Jones, and Mohnahan are gone. Do we take Druoin or Mckinnon, or do we grab a worse player with some size and let these two potential future stars fall to someone else?

druoin and mckinnon will be gone before we can get our hands on them. i have a feeling though more ppl are leaning towards barkov the mckinnon. but if i had to choose im taking mckinnon. straight work horse. him and taylor hall on the same line would be a crazy first line for years to come!!!

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#33 Rama Lama
April 25 2013, 11:03AM
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What about trading a player ( Sam Gagner) and a second round draft choice for another first round pick ........in the top 10?

We would have some real options then but would need to rely on the UFA's to round out the team.......risky strategy but the draft seems to stronger than some have suggested.

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#34 rubbertrout
April 25 2013, 11:05AM
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Ryan Clowe.

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#36 Truth
April 25 2013, 11:12AM
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Absolutely to Ryan Clowe. If they don't make a pitch they don't know what they're doing. Which is up for debate either way.

Complete Speculation: MacT trades Gagner and the Oilers 1st (Barkov/Monohan/Nichushkin) for Simmonds and Philly's 1st (Lazar). Who wins?

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#37 madjam
April 25 2013, 11:13AM
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We could also lose one position in draft order if another club above us wins lottery don't forget . Nicushkin will not go in top 4-6 unless it is the Oilers . All other bottom clubs unlikely to want to wait on him ! It could end up being a waisted pick if he prefers to stay in homeland for a long time as well . We can wait longer than the others from what I see . Maybe he can tutor Zharkov in the interim ?

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#38 Rama Lama
April 25 2013, 11:14AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

BPA. Always BPA.

Yea cause that strategy has always worked for us. BPA is a very subjective metric IMHO.

I would consider BPA with toughness and attitude being a very strong consideration.

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#39 Will
April 25 2013, 11:19AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I could be wrong, but I've generally seen Nichushkin listed at left wing, not centre.

Nhl.com has him listed at RW, and another site had him as C, which I guess tells me he's dynamic and has been put in all positions.

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#40 Will
April 25 2013, 11:23AM
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Question number 2 would any of these picks playing with the Oil next year make our team better?

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#41 Will
April 25 2013, 11:26AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I could be wrong, but I've generally seen Nichushkin listed at left wing, not centre.

The might not be so bad either as some size on our LW to play with Yak would also be a good fit. Perhaps we pick up Antripov on free agency for two years to centre the two russian kids? Just saying, that line would have a ton of size and skill. Though I know everyone hates Antripov for some reason.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
April 25 2013, 11:38AM
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Will wrote:

Question number 2 would any of these picks playing with the Oil next year make our team better?

If it pushed Horcoff/Smithson/Belanger out of the picture, then yes.

Deadwood out, new life in. Edmonton needs a top pairing blueline help now. You just can't draft a kid who may be projected to be able to be just that. It'll be 4-5 yrs before you know where Jones fits in overall. MacKinnon impacts the Oilers within the first two yrs.

Trade the pick and insure we need to keep these so called deadwood types here longer, give your head a shake. This deadwood out/new blood in process is exactly the type of progress management was tawkin about all along.

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#43 Shane
April 25 2013, 11:42AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Yea cause that strategy has always worked for us. BPA is a very subjective metric IMHO.

I would consider BPA with toughness and attitude being a very strong consideration.

So your saying we would have made the playoffs with Seguin, Landeskog and Murray?

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#44 Digger
April 25 2013, 11:42AM
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I'm pretty much never in favour of trading draft picks in the top 5, mainly because teams generally aren't willing to give you enough in return to warrant doing so.

My prediction is the Oilers will talk about moving the pick and try to create a market (just like they've tried to do in previous years), but in the end they'll keep the pick because nobody's willing to give them the King's ransom they'll be looking for, draft what they consider to be BPA and move on with their day.

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#45 DSF
April 25 2013, 11:44AM
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speeds wrote:

I agree that there are some areas that need improvement with EDM's roster - it doesn't mean that picking the BPA has been the source of those problems.

Making the wrong call on who is BPA can be the source of those problems.

Going back to the 2007 draft:

Gagner or Voracek or Couture?

2009: Paajarvi or Kulikov?

2010: Hall or Seguin?

2011: Hopkins or Landeskog or Huberdeau?

2012: Yakupov or Galchenyuk?

A very different looking team if there is a different evaluation of BPA.

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#46 Jasmine
April 25 2013, 11:47AM
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@Rick

Oilers will be bashed no matter who they draft. They're still getting bashed for drafting Hall ahead of Seguin. Someone prior to the draft in 2010 said it would be the biggest mistake in Oilers history if they drafted Hall instead of Seguin.

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#47 Joel
April 25 2013, 11:48AM
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JW,

What happens if Oilers pick #4 and Jones Barkov and Mckinnon are gone?

Do they take Drouin? I don't think so unless they are trading Eberle or Yakupov.

Now a Player like Eberle could get you a Adam Larsson who would be in the top 4 of this draft.

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#49 Rama Lama
April 25 2013, 11:51AM
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Shane wrote:

So your saying we would have made the playoffs with Seguin, Landeskog and Murray?

No what I'm saying is that If I were selecting between two or three players that are evenly ranked.........say number 5, 6, and 7, ............I would pick the toughest of the bunch.

It seems to me based on stats and expert analysis, there is not much of a difference between the top ten players in this years draft?

Prove me wrong.......comparing the forwards?

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#50 Jasmine
April 25 2013, 11:53AM
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@Truth

People really need to learn math. If they had lost that game, they would have had 69 points and finished 4. Washington would have been 5th and won the lottery and got Kane. Stop bashing wins and lying if they lost they would have finished 5th. They would have been 4th and fallen to 5th as Washington would have won the lottery. http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=20062007&type=LEA

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