Let’s all get excited about the draft!

Jonathan Willis
June 29 2013 11:19AM

Photo: VancityAllie/Wikimedia

Every year, it’s the same thing. This defenceman is the next Chris Pronger or Shea Weber, this forward the next Steve Yzerman or Ryan Getzlaf. Guys who realistically project as third liners get written up as top-line players.

It’s important to step back, and remember that whatever is getting written about these players, the end result is likely to be far more prosaic in most cases.

The Hype

Looking back through old copies of The Hockey News draft guide, it’s remarkable how everyone – in some cases even NHL scouts – get swept away in pre-draft hyperbole. Some examples from the 2002 and 2004 Draft Guides follow; the reader should not worry if he has never heard of the players.

Viktor Alexandrov:

“There’s a lot to like about this guy,” said a scout. “He is better than the other Kazak (Nik Antropov) player we all know about.”

Cam Barker:

What sets Barker apart from the other huge defensemen in the draft is his love for and skill in handling the puck. Scouts are reminded of Edmonton’s Eric Brewer or Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester when they watch Barker. Ask Barker, though, and he’ll tell you he patterns his game after New Jersey’s Scott Stevens.

Jeff Deslauriers:

Hockey being steeped in tradition, it’s only right the Quebec League offer up another stellar pick in net for the 2002 draft. This year’s nominee, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, is a chip off the old block. He plays in the butterfly mode of a Patrick Roy and reminds scouts of the other QMJHL goalies making names for themselves in the NHL.

Bruce Graham:

“There is no real deficiency,” said a scout. “Either you like him or you don’t. He’s one of those guys who either does it for you or he doesn’t.” The scout said people were saying the same things last year about Patrice Bergeron, a second round pick of Boston, who turned out to be a solid NHL rookie at 18.

Joffrey Lupul:

What makes Lupul attractive might have something to do with the comparisons to Mike Bossy, one of the greatest natural scorers in NHL history.

Alexandre Picard:

He finds ways to get the puck and he reminds people of a young Ryan Smyth because of his work ethic.

Marek Schwarz:

“He’s even better and quicker (than Hasek) at this age,” said one scout.

Barry Tallackson:

Said another scout: “I see a power forward in the making. If you are looking at an Erik Cole type of player, this guy fits the mold.”

Martin Vagner:

Vagner makes the easy outlet pass and doesn’t panic when his options are limited. “What you have is Kaberle-type skill and vision with some meanness to his game,” said a scout.

Boris Valabik:

“He is very competitive,” said a scout. “He is a clone of Chara and I know a lot of guys who are kicking themselves when they passed on Chara. There’s a lot of projection, though.

The Other Side

Photo: Brooke Novak/Wikimedia

Of course, not every scout gets swept away. Take, for example, this read on Jay Bouwmeester, the top-ranked prospect by THN in 2002:

“He’s no Paul Coffey, but he might be Bret Hedican at best,” said one scout. “He’ll give you 10, 15 solid NHL seasons, but they will not be spectacular. We want to see him at a higher level.”

The passages above are in part my work cherry-picking, but even a completely balanced consideration reveals far more Schwarz and Vagner-type comments than Bouwmeester-type comments. It’s a dangerous thing to compare a prospect to an existing NHL player, because it’s invariably a best-case scenario. To pick one example, Darnell Nurse has been getting comparisons to Chris Pronger, yet after adjusting for era we find Pronger’s offensive production was 50 percent better than Nurse’s – it’s simply not fair or realistic to compare Nurse to one of the best defencemen in the modern era, particularly given the huge gaps in their draft year (and, for that matter, even bigger gaps the year before) offensive production.

There are plenty of examples of exactly this sort of thing in the draft; it’s always a good idea to tone down expectation.

Recently around the Nation Network

TSN's Darren Dreger broke the news this morning that Canucks goalie Cory Schneider was being discussed in trade talks - and that the Edmonton Oilers were likely one of the teams interested. Here's Cam Charron of Canucks Army on the motivation and the asking price:

All of which is to say that trading Cory Schneider, a player who would theoretically net a significantly better return and is only likely to be somewhat better than Roberto Luongo over the short-term, instead of Roberto Luongo is the right move from a hockey perspective. The Cory Schneider asking price is rumoured to be a first rounder and a prospect, and that's probably a pretty good prospect too. If Bishop can net Conacher, and Bernier can net Frattin; then Schneider should be able to get you an NHLer on an entry-level deal and a first if the market for him heats up. Essentially it's clear that the combined value of Luongo and a Schneider return, would outpace the combined value of Schneider and a Luongo return.

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 Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 T__Bone88
June 29 2013, 11:28AM
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I remember Reasoner being touted as the next Joe Sakic and didn't Dan Cleary have some scouts call him the next great one since Gretzky. It is interesting looking back at previous drafts where the player had so much praise and the player ends up being a player that doesn't make the NHL.

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#2 Rama Lama
June 29 2013, 11:29AM
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Reading about Cam Barker was halarious............I would fire the scout that said that about him, or at least send him to Calgary.

Nichuckin will be the steal of the draft........I said it fist!

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#3 Jason Gregor
June 29 2013, 11:46AM
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JW,

Comparisons are the biggest mistake scouts or writers can make. I find it funny how many of the 3rd and 4th rounders were compared to such good players.

I'd like to see a study on why most comparisons always involve the best case scenario.

David Conte said it best to me... "Players are all unique. There will be no next Sidney Crosby, but there will be the next Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones."

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#4 oliveoilers
June 29 2013, 11:48AM
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@Rama Lama

lol, yeah send him and Barker to Calgary!

Anybody reading the trade feed on TSN? It's hilarious. Never let the truth get in way of a good rumour!

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#6 DonDon
June 29 2013, 11:55AM
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Rather than getting excited about the draft tomorrow, I'm now getting worried over all the rumours, many of which sound disappointing. Edmonton has been mentioned by the MSM as to the possibility of acquiring Loungo and Schneider. There is very mixed opinions expressed by posters about other players that may be available due to poor play or salary dumps.

MacT has generated great expectations about attracting the type of players the club is missing, which will be a very difficult job as the organization's assets outside of the young untouchables are limited.

To add new players to the roster requires subtraction. What happens if the club can't get trading partners for Hemsky and Horcoff? I understand July 5 is the deadline for buy-outs.

Winning those last few games at the end of another disappointing season has dropped the club into 7th spot, probably just far enough down to miss the best players, otherwise why would there be all the talk about trading down?

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#7 Dog Train
June 29 2013, 12:09PM
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I would be choked if we parted with our first and a prospect for Schneider. Goaltending is an organizational weakness but good goaltenders can be found for less than what Schneider or Bernier retrieve. I hope we can sign Khudobin.

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#8 Toro
June 29 2013, 12:11PM
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Thanks for making a blog that didn't have a bunch of stupid stats and numbers for once, good read ... Funny how Cam Barker compared himself to Scott Stevens when he's softer then Stortini

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#9 Al-36
June 29 2013, 12:14PM
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Toro wrote:

Thanks for making a blog that didn't have a bunch of stupid stats and numbers for once, good read ... Funny how Cam Barker compared himself to Scott Stevens when he's softer then Stortini

Come on Toro we can debate Stortini's skating and fighting ability but you can't sat he was soft!

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#10 Bucknuck
June 29 2013, 12:20PM
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I like comparing players to existing ones. Obviously everyone is different, but it can give people a read on what you think of a player. "Nurse is big and nasty but not particularly outstanding on offence" doesn't have the same impact as "He's the next Derian Hatcher". It's more fun and entertaining, and really that's the name of the game.

So get excited and compare away, just don't get pissed when they aren't that player you compared them to.

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#11 T__Bone88
June 29 2013, 12:24PM
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Wow just read over on the Sun's website, Tychkowski has Hemsky as one of the worst draft choices made by the Oilers in team history. I just do not understand the disdain for Hemsky.

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#12 Matt
June 29 2013, 12:26PM
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I think there's also a bit more innocuous reason for this - people writing for a general audience want to use comparisons and analogies that the general public can understand. Saying a guy plays butterfly in the style of Patrick Roy isn't really saying "this guy is the next Patrick Roy", and makes more sense to your average reader than saying "This guy plays a similar style to Marc Denis".

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#13 Mr common sense
June 29 2013, 12:28PM
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Ahahahahahahah!!!! Nice post JW those commentaries on the players made me choke on my hotdog

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#14 Quidge
June 29 2013, 12:50PM
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T__Bone88 wrote:

Wow just read over on the Sun's website, Tychkowski has Hemsky as one of the worst draft choices made by the Oilers in team history. I just do not understand the disdain for Hemsky.

Where does he say that?

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#15 BArmstrong
June 29 2013, 12:55PM
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Seguin being shopped?

Hemsky and Krejci had good chemistry playing together during the lockout... does this work for Boston?

Hemsky for Seguin + Savard - this shifts 5+ million in cap hit to EDM for 4 years. Savard's cap hit hurts, but can probably be absorbed

Seguin > Gagner. Gags to Toronto for Gardner+, or give a qualifying offer, have him start on the 1st line while RNH heals, pad his stats, trade.

PRV+ to Philly for Coburn.

Pitlick + 2nd for Clutterbuck.

Horcoff for something? (retain SOME salary, or buyout. Maybe a deal to PHX for Boyd Gordon - Oilers pay the salary, PHX gets the cap hit. Not certain Horc would waive his NMC.

Sign Emery.

easy peasy:)

~GMing is simple~

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#16 Graham James
June 29 2013, 12:56PM
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I love drafts!!

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#17 vetinari
June 29 2013, 12:57PM
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Sounds like MacT is at least trying to land us a whale (or two) rather than the small fishes that Tambellini would bring home. I'm guessing real trades will surface by this evening so that scouts can made the appropriate adjustments in their strategies for tomorrow.

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#18 BArmstrong
June 29 2013, 12:59PM
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And of course... Keep the #7 and draft Lindholm, Monahan, or Nurse.

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#23 BArmstrong
June 29 2013, 01:07PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Blows up that deal don't it? Ya, obviously Hemsky isn't worth Seguin - just trying to think outside the box. I'll go back to reading other people's trade ideas and quietly shaking my head:)

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#24 Soccer Steve
June 29 2013, 01:10PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think it's natural to blue-sky prospects. Not sure why we do it, but I think we're all optimists at heart.

Ha!

I'm impressed by your optimism on the human race but the reason scouts (or, in some cases, "scouts") do this is because their palms are being greased by the multiple layers of representation that follow these prospects around (i.e. agents, publicists, teams, mom & dad).

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#25 LinkfromHyrule
June 29 2013, 01:16PM
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Please don't trade for schneider. Don't get me wrong he's a great goalie, but there are more pressing needs for our team imo. Having two great goalies will not help us if our defense is as porous as it was last year.

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#26 T__Bone88
June 29 2013, 01:17PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Agreed after reading the article again he does not say he was a bad choice, he was just covering the Fraser and Prendergast choices. It was just a misleading headline and flipping through the picture slideshow to see Hemsky among the bad choices. But yeah very baffling that they included Hemsky and Arnott in that poll.

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#27 Asian on Oilers Nation
June 29 2013, 01:20PM
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Yes, according to Bobbie Mac, Seguin is being shopped. JW, Should the Oilers pursue him? If they were, you'd have to think #7 is going to be part of the package.

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#28 David S
June 29 2013, 01:20PM
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DonDon wrote:

Rather than getting excited about the draft tomorrow, I'm now getting worried over all the rumours, many of which sound disappointing. Edmonton has been mentioned by the MSM as to the possibility of acquiring Loungo and Schneider. There is very mixed opinions expressed by posters about other players that may be available due to poor play or salary dumps.

MacT has generated great expectations about attracting the type of players the club is missing, which will be a very difficult job as the organization's assets outside of the young untouchables are limited.

To add new players to the roster requires subtraction. What happens if the club can't get trading partners for Hemsky and Horcoff? I understand July 5 is the deadline for buy-outs.

Winning those last few games at the end of another disappointing season has dropped the club into 7th spot, probably just far enough down to miss the best players, otherwise why would there be all the talk about trading down?

Man. I remember the days when athletes played every game to win and draft position was something only GM's had to worry about.

Being a fan of sport, I for one am damn glad the boys pulled a few out of the bag at the end of the season. Losing is for losers. Play your guts out and go for the win every time. That's what makes a SC contender.

I'm more choked that the guys ran out of gas reaching for a playoff spot. Hopefully MacT can fill enough gaps that we have a fair shot next year.

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#29 David S
June 29 2013, 01:23PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Ahahahahahahah!!!! Nice post JW those commentaries on the players made me choke on my hotdog

I've seen pics on the web that say otherwise, but in general that sort of thing is pretty much impossible unless you're some sort of yoga Jedi.

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#30 shifty203
June 29 2013, 01:35PM
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I'd offer RNH and some spare change for Seguin. Oilers wouldn't be able to afford RNH and Seguin long term, on top of the other young guys who will be due for raises.

Oilers would get a top line center who's more rounded now, Bruins would get a cheap center who's still on the development side, and a in progress prospect or two.

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#31 LinkfromHyrule
June 29 2013, 01:37PM
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David S wrote:

I've seen pics on the web that say otherwise, but in general that sort of thing is pretty much impossible unless you're some sort of yoga Jedi.

HA! well done sir

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#33 rob
June 29 2013, 01:39PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Savard's cap hit just goes on LTIR, so it shouldn't be a huge concern. Also, if the Bruins are trying to shed salary, they won't want Hemsky. Also, Hesmky's not remotely a fair return for Seguin.

what about yak for seguin?add the other pecies in this article and we are on to something,would you do that trade?

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#34 Rogue
June 29 2013, 01:40PM
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Re/Seguin

Not with his hip issue. Is this why he disappears in the playoffs?

Remember The Whitney!!!!

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#35 shifty203
June 29 2013, 01:42PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wouldn't even consider moving RNH for Seguin.

I would in a heart beat. As long as the payment wasn't much more. Definatley would not include the first.

Point is, can't keep both. So if you are acquiring Seguin, Hopkins has to go.

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#36 DSF
June 29 2013, 01:43PM
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Seguin is 15th in the league in ES goals over the past 2 seasons.

http://tinyurl.com/nvuzmkw

That's 1 behind Eberle. who has a higher cap hit, and 10 ahead of Hall.

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#37 Bonvie
June 29 2013, 01:45PM
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@shifty203

Crazy talk!!!!

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#38 Toro
June 29 2013, 01:51PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Why am I surprised a guy who hates numbers thinks Zack Stortini is soft?

I wonder how many times you would have dropped the gloves with Boogaard in Stortini's shoes. No questioning that player's heart.

I would have dropped the gloves then just gave him a big hug, does that make me tough?

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#39 OILERSORDEATH
June 29 2013, 01:59PM
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shifty203 wrote:

I'd offer RNH and some spare change for Seguin. Oilers wouldn't be able to afford RNH and Seguin long term, on top of the other young guys who will be due for raises.

Oilers would get a top line center who's more rounded now, Bruins would get a cheap center who's still on the development side, and a in progress prospect or two.

Thank Zeus you're not the Oilers GM!!

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#40 The Soup Fascist
June 29 2013, 02:01PM
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Toro wrote:

I would have dropped the gloves then just gave him a big hug, does that make me tough?

Sure you would have. Clearly you have no idea how big and strong those guys are ......were.

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#41 rob
June 29 2013, 02:01PM
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CAN THE OIL DO SOMETHING?ALL THIS TRADE RUMOR ECT IS BULL#$%@,LETS SEE SOMETHING GET DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(its starting to feel to tamellini to me)

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#42 The Soup Fascist
June 29 2013, 02:04PM
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rob wrote:

CAN THE OIL DO SOMETHING?ALL THIS TRADE RUMOR ECT IS BULL#$%@,LETS SEE SOMETHING GET DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(its starting to feel to tamellini to me)

Tough to trade with yourself.

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#43 BleedingOil
June 29 2013, 02:05PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Reading about Cam Barker was halarious............I would fire the scout that said that about him, or at least send him to Calgary.

Nichuckin will be the steal of the draft........I said it fist!

I bet Nichushkin will go before Nichuckin.

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#44 nuge2nail
June 29 2013, 02:09PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Our two biggest and most difficult to fill needs are: Top Six LW power forward. Top 4 Defenseman.

Nichuskin will solidify our top Six for a long long time. The opposite of this would be to draft a center(Lindholm or Monahan) and than trade Gagner down the line for a top 4 defenseman.

If MacT can add Coburn + Clutterbuck this will be the best canada long weekend Oilersnation has seen in a long time. Plus we have the Hemsky trade(zach smith + a second) and the Horcoff buyout to look forward too.

Either way I'm excited for the draft.

Hall Hopkins Eberle

Nichuskin Gagner Yakupov

Paarajvi Smith Clutterbuck

Smyth Lappiere Brown

Coburn J Shultz

Smid Petry

N Shultz Belov

Klefbom

Bryzgalov/Emery/Luongo Dubnyk

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#45 Time Travelling Sean
June 29 2013, 02:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Seguin is 15th in the league in ES goals over the past 2 seasons.

http://tinyurl.com/nvuzmkw

That's 1 behind Eberle. who has a higher cap hit, and 10 ahead of Hall.

He gets paid 500k less than Ebs, and Hall has missed 40ish games the past 3 seasons.

Also all of his ES goals seem to disappear in the playoffs, which is a big part of the reason why ES goals are such an important stat.

I think we should try to sign Jagr. He seems slowish but he would have so much useful insight and tips for our younger players, which would be worth it, and he still is a threat to score 40-50 points and plays a grinding power game which is something we've lacked. 2 years 7M?

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#46 The Soup Fascist
June 29 2013, 02:16PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Our two biggest and most difficult to fill needs are: Top Six LW power forward. Top 4 Defenseman.

Nichuskin will solidify our top Six for a long long time. The opposite of this would be to draft a center(Lindholm or Monahan) and than trade Gagner down the line for a top 4 defenseman.

If MacT can add Coburn + Clutterbuck this will be the best canada long weekend Oilersnation has seen in a long time. Plus we have the Hemsky trade(zach smith + a second) and the Horcoff buyout to look forward too.

Either way I'm excited for the draft.

Hall Hopkins Eberle

Nichuskin Gagner Yakupov

Paarajvi Smith Clutterbuck

Smyth Lappiere Brown

Coburn J Shultz

Smid Petry

N Shultz Belov

Klefbom

Bryzgalov/Emery/Luongo Dubnyk

Your oldest top 6 forward is like 23 years old. I hope the plan is to bring in a veteran proven top 6 guy with size and grit. Even for a couple of years. I have no idea who that may be but they are out there.

Does Ryan Malone have any tread left on the tires?

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#47 DSF
June 29 2013, 02:18PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

He gets paid 500k less than Ebs, and Hall has missed 40ish games the past 3 seasons.

Also all of his ES goals seem to disappear in the playoffs, which is a big part of the reason why ES goals are such an important stat.

I think we should try to sign Jagr. He seems slowish but he would have so much useful insight and tips for our younger players, which would be worth it, and he still is a threat to score 40-50 points and plays a grinding power game which is something we've lacked. 2 years 7M?

So, should we discount Hall's value because he's always injured?

Seguin hardly "disappears in the playoffs".

He has 8 points in 22 career playoff games.

While that is certainly not elite production, it's worth noting he was absolutely snake bitten in this past playoff season.

He had 70 shots on goal in 22 games...that's more than 3 shots/game. Seguin was second on the Bruins...one behind Bergeron who had 71.

Unfortunately his shooting percentage was an abysmal 1.4% while his normal is 10.4%.

I wouldn't count on that continuing.

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#48 horndog77
June 29 2013, 02:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Seguin is 15th in the league in ES goals over the past 2 seasons.

http://tinyurl.com/nvuzmkw

That's 1 behind Eberle. who has a higher cap hit, and 10 ahead of Hall.

I'd still rather have either of those two players compared to Seguin. I'm not saying he's not a good player, I just think they are better. Pretty hard to land Seguin and have Hall Eberle Yaks and Nuge the salary would kill Edmonton.

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#49 nuge2nail
June 29 2013, 02:21PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

With the team I suggested above:

Our top line is ridiculous. Our third line is hard hitting with a mix of skill. Out fourth line will not be dominated.

Our defense will be tough to play against, a pick mover with a stay at home shut guy In every pairing. Only weakness is Smid, in terms of pick moving.

And the Brygalov Coburn combo would be great. Any goalie tandem to push Dubnyk will be great.

Looking forward to some deals being announced soon.

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#50 Johnny
June 29 2013, 02:22PM
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So does anybody (DSF) trade Hall for Seguin???

If your answer is "yes" you can just run along..

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