An outside perspective on the 2013 Draft

Jonathan Willis
June 26 2013 12:41PM

Tim Murray, the assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators, is rapidly approaching the 20 year mark working for NHL teams, much of it on the amateur scouting side of things. He currently runs the team’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, a tremendously successful team that won the Calder Cup in 2011. Yesterday, Murray commented on this year’s draft, and his comments offer an outside perspective for Oilers fans.

Both Murray and Pierre Dorion, the Senators’ director of player personnel, have some interesting comments on the general makeup of the draft. Interestingly Murray downplayed the overall strength of the 2013 group, suggesting it doesn’t match well to the legendary 2003 crop.

Additionally, Murray suggested that there were tiers to the 2013 draft, saying, “This year, you could say there’s three top guys, and then there’s another five, then there’s another five, then there’s another six.” He didn’t elaborate on who the Senators have in those tiers, but the first one is obvious: Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, and Jonathan Drouin.

For the Oilers, the interesting group is the next five players, since they are currently slated to pick seventh overall. It’s a group that almost certainly includes Aleksander Barkov, Valeri Nichushkin, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan. The other guy in that tier from a Senators’ viewpoint is less obvious – Darnell Nurse has received significant press as a potential pick for the Oilers at seven, but Bob McKenzie’s final rankings have Rasmus Ristolainen ahead of Nurse in the number eight slot. Most lists give Nurse the edge, and he would be my guess as to the player Murray had in mind.

Making A Trade

Murray also made some interesting comments about trying to make a trade at the draft. He was answering a question about the possibility of the Senators moving up from 17th overall, but it works in reverse as a possible guide to a team like the Oilers moving down from the seventh overall slot:

If we were picking in the top five, it would be extremely hard – or top 10 – it would be extremely hard for [general manager Byran Murray] to come to [director of player personnel] Pierre [Dorion] and I and say ‘we have a chance to move down, we can get a third line centre, we can get the 20th pick in the draft and we can get a second round pick.’ It sounds exciting but if the whole amateur staff is in the suite in New York and that comes up the chances are we’re going to say ‘no.’ But saying that, there are teams out there that need NHL players, and they’ve stated it. There are teams out there that are very thin.

Adjusting a little for the Oilers’ position (seventh overall rather than top five), we might think of Ottawa offering the 17th overall, Zack Smith and a 2014 third round draft pick in exchange for the seventh overall. While a solid depth player like Smith and the extra pick are both good assets, is it the kind of trade that makes sense? If the Oilers have a shot at a guy like Lindholm or Monahan or Nichushkin or Nurse, is it worth shoring up the depth now, adding another a pick, and moving down to Curtis Lazar territory? It isn’t a question with an obvious answer, though (evidently like Murray) I’d personally lean more towards staying at seven rather than taking that specific package. Based on Jason Gregor's interview with Craig MacTavish, the Oilers general manager feels the same way.

Recently around the Nation Network

As Craig MacTavish did yesterday, a number of general managers have been speaking to the media in the lead-up to the draft and answering questions. One of those is Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who talked about a lot of things. From the JetsNation recap, here's their take on Cheveldayoff's announcement that the team was looking for a top-six forward:

Just like almost every other team in the league, the Jets made it known today that they are in the hunt for another top 6 forward. Seems like Chevy has finally realized that he won’t be able to find one via the waiver wire. (Thank Goodness) It’s been said a million times already that the free agent pool is really thin, but there are some guys out there (Jarome Iginla?) that are up for grabs for a team willing to spend a fair chunk of change.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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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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#51 MarcusBillius
June 26 2013, 06:01PM
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I think it was on FlamesNation that there was an article that showed that Iginla was actually quite bad this season in Calgary and didn't improve in Pittsburgh despite getting prolonged chances with the likes of Crosby and Malkin as his centers.

Any team signing him for big money or long term, or worse, both, is bound to be disappointed. He can still put up points because he can shoot, but he doesn't retrieve the puck very well, doesn't defend too well, has lost not just one step but two and... honestly, I really think Boston came away happier with Jagr than Pittsburgh did with Iginla.

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#52 WhattaMike
June 26 2013, 06:35PM
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I, for one, have stated several times recently in my replies/responses that Sam gagner should be traded now as he is a very young asset.

However, as I have thought more, I have decided that if Gagner singed for the right price per year, I see no major problems with him as 2nd line center for now....if the left winger can be one of size and who can help bring him and Eberle up even more.

That's right...i think that the Yak and hall with RNH arte destined to be the line of #1 on the Oilers.

I think that a big fast 2nd line top left winger can play with gagner and Ebs very easily and still score score score.

Now I am presently hoping the Oilers pick one of Monahan, Lindholm, Nurse at #7 and then somehow trade those two eligible second rounders to get a top 14 to 19 pick for either one of Horvat or Fucale.

I'd be very happy with any one of these two sets of kids this year.

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#53 NewAgeSys
June 26 2013, 06:37PM
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Oh my how short our darn memories are huh ??

Earth to Oiler fans, is there anybody out there ?

Look back at all of the lean years when we badly needed skill, remember Gagner breaking in and then name the rest of the players we have seen develop into regular NHLers with skill as their calling card?

If we can land Konopka without overpaying or another excellent faceoff man then the landscape changes. Our bottom 6 needs to be able to maintain dominant possesion minutes.

Micro-manage utilising multiple systems, fine, just dont miss any beats because this is a hard way to do things. Better have seperate coaches working each presentation and not overlap. Remember you are trying to execute the NHS impact the manual way instead of the automatic way so your labor input will be epic if you hope to make it work.

We need skill and we need it super sized, the big Russian is more than welcome. I can see Zharkov-Nichushkin-Smyth making a big 3rd line impact, the big men giving Smytty room to rip goalies apart in front of the net. They are huge and will lug the puck creating penaltys along the way to the net where Smytty will be waiting. And this way Smyttys linemates wont be leaving him in the dust he can still keep up to the beasts no problems.

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#54 Taylor Gang
June 26 2013, 06:39PM
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If they want size in the top 6, look no further that Monahan or Nichushkin. Lindholm will be great, make no mistake, but I just see more of the same...

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#55 Felt
June 26 2013, 07:58PM
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JW,

Are trades ever made at the draft, with existing players on a team for a draft pick?

Ex Sam Gagner for Curtis Lazar

Just an example I'm not suggesting it.

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#56 Reg Dunlop
June 26 2013, 08:03PM
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@WhattaMike

I think you have nailed it. Our centre depth is abysmal. Addressing the future 2c and 3c spots in one draft makes sense. Pick Lindholm and trade 2014 1st rounder+ for the highest pick possible in this years crap-shoot, maybe Horvat or Gauthier.

Regarding drafting the Russian kid... a story:

A clown I worked with was a gambler and one day after countless fails he won thick cash on the lotto. Quit his job and spent a disproportionate amount of his free time focusing on, you guessed it, beating the lottery again. I told him that he was lucky once and that it won't happen again, quit blowing money. It's like flipping a coin 100 times, each one coming up heads. GUARANTEED the next toss either ends up tails or the coin lands on it's edge. The oil won the lotto with Yak. It seems they got the only commie worth a spit, but tempting fate with another red pick? That coin will either land on it's edge or disappear through a wormhole. Nishkuski or whatever his name is will be mining salt in Volgagrad before he's 25.

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#57 Jerod
June 26 2013, 08:14PM
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@Reg Dunlop

Kyle Woodlief Head scout of Redline Report disagree's with you.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2013/06/25/nhl-draft-chat-promo-kyle-woodlief/2456317/

"I know of at least two NHL teams who have Nichushkin as the #2 overall player on their boards. I really think the top tier of forwards is four deep with Drouin, MacKinnon, Barkov, and Nichushkin."

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#58 WhattaMike
June 26 2013, 08:27PM
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@Jerod

I am with @Reg Dunlop right now on the following...

Then Bud, If Nichushkin is to go by #4, the Oilers have a great shot at one of Lindholm, Monahan or Nurse for sue.

The Oilers can then try to trade theire two 2nd rounders or....one of them and next year's first rounder...to get one of Horvat, Gauthier, or even Fucale....between the 14th to 19th overall this year.

What a grab that would be... to then have one of Lindholm, Monahan or Nurse...with one of Horvat, Gauthier or Fucale...at this year's draft.... before any Oiler new trades, buyouts, and/or deals for other players/veterans happens.

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#59 Jerod
June 26 2013, 08:42PM
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@WhattaMike

Yeah, If they think Horvat or even Lazar is that good , I think that makes sense.

Oilers are rebuild mode they are building to make a competitive team and it can't happen in 1 year.

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#60 Oiler Al
June 26 2013, 09:24PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

I think you have nailed it. Our centre depth is abysmal. Addressing the future 2c and 3c spots in one draft makes sense. Pick Lindholm and trade 2014 1st rounder+ for the highest pick possible in this years crap-shoot, maybe Horvat or Gauthier.

Regarding drafting the Russian kid... a story:

A clown I worked with was a gambler and one day after countless fails he won thick cash on the lotto. Quit his job and spent a disproportionate amount of his free time focusing on, you guessed it, beating the lottery again. I told him that he was lucky once and that it won't happen again, quit blowing money. It's like flipping a coin 100 times, each one coming up heads. GUARANTEED the next toss either ends up tails or the coin lands on it's edge. The oil won the lotto with Yak. It seems they got the only commie worth a spit, but tempting fate with another red pick? That coin will either land on it's edge or disappear through a wormhole. Nishkuski or whatever his name is will be mining salt in Volgagrad before he's 25.

Reg, come on now have a little class, this is 2013,... calling people [ players ] " commies" or "red picks" is crass and insensitive. Respect works both ways.

Just saying.

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#61 Quicksilver ballet
June 26 2013, 09:51PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

I think you have nailed it. Our centre depth is abysmal. Addressing the future 2c and 3c spots in one draft makes sense. Pick Lindholm and trade 2014 1st rounder+ for the highest pick possible in this years crap-shoot, maybe Horvat or Gauthier.

Regarding drafting the Russian kid... a story:

A clown I worked with was a gambler and one day after countless fails he won thick cash on the lotto. Quit his job and spent a disproportionate amount of his free time focusing on, you guessed it, beating the lottery again. I told him that he was lucky once and that it won't happen again, quit blowing money. It's like flipping a coin 100 times, each one coming up heads. GUARANTEED the next toss either ends up tails or the coin lands on it's edge. The oil won the lotto with Yak. It seems they got the only commie worth a spit, but tempting fate with another red pick? That coin will either land on it's edge or disappear through a wormhole. Nishkuski or whatever his name is will be mining salt in Volgagrad before he's 25.

Now THERE'S, some passion. No beating around the bush, just right to the point!

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#62 Oilcan
June 26 2013, 11:21PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Oh my how short our darn memories are huh ??

Earth to Oiler fans, is there anybody out there ?

Look back at all of the lean years when we badly needed skill, remember Gagner breaking in and then name the rest of the players we have seen develop into regular NHLers with skill as their calling card?

If we can land Konopka without overpaying or another excellent faceoff man then the landscape changes. Our bottom 6 needs to be able to maintain dominant possesion minutes.

Micro-manage utilising multiple systems, fine, just dont miss any beats because this is a hard way to do things. Better have seperate coaches working each presentation and not overlap. Remember you are trying to execute the NHS impact the manual way instead of the automatic way so your labor input will be epic if you hope to make it work.

We need skill and we need it super sized, the big Russian is more than welcome. I can see Zharkov-Nichushkin-Smyth making a big 3rd line impact, the big men giving Smytty room to rip goalies apart in front of the net. They are huge and will lug the puck creating penaltys along the way to the net where Smytty will be waiting. And this way Smyttys linemates wont be leaving him in the dust he can still keep up to the beasts no problems.

Haha by the time Zharkov is ready to play in the NHL (if ever) Smyth will be 42 years old...he has trouble keeping up now, at that age he might have trouble even finding the ice from the dressing room.

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#63 Spydyr
June 27 2013, 09:45AM
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Jerod wrote:

Yeah, If they think Horvat or even Lazar is that good , I think that makes sense.

Oilers are rebuild mode they are building to make a competitive team and it can't happen in 1 year.

Sure but it is seven long years outside the playoffs.When can it happen?

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