CLEAR AS MUD!

Lowetide
April 15 2014 11:15PM

matty draft

The Edmonton Oilers didn't win the draft lottery, and that's a news story. The club has had three number one overall selections in recent seasons and had a good shot at another, but the Florida Panthers won the day and are now on the clock. Does it change the Oilers plans? Yes. And not really.

BE BAD, FOR EKBLAD!

Most Oiler fans probably feel the team's chances at Aaron Ekblad are gone now, but the draft is a tricky item. Remember Seth Jones one year ago? Fell all the way to Memphis Nashville, and it could happen again.

drance ekblad

HIGH C'S

There are three centermen available, and the Oilers will get a crack at least one of them on draft day. We compared their even scoring and their power-play production early in the year.

EVEN STRENGTH

top 3f at evens

Reinhart is the best offensive player at even strength, but this is close. I'd say all three of these players are going to have enough ability to play top 6F in the NHL. That shouldn't come as a surprise, but there were questions about Draisaitl's offense (and Bennett's too) and this graph addresses those concerns.

POWERPLAY

TOP 3F ON PP

Interesting. We don't have TOI totals, but the two WHL kids appear to be either more effective or more fortunate than Bennett. That doesn't mean they are better players—coaches make decisions based on their rosters and Bennett may have been used in a secondary manner.

IS THERE A WAY FOR EDMONTON TO GET EKBLAD?

gregor reinhart

Yes. If, as Jason Gregor suggests, Florida takes Reinhart #1 overall, Buffalo may take the big defender. However, they have an impressive group of young defensemen either in the NHL (Myers, the dancing McCabes, Pysyk) or on the way (Zadorov, Ristolainen).

It isn't a slam dunk the Sabres take Ekblad.


WHAT'S YOUR BEST GUESS?

leoni2

If you're heading to Vegas, bet Leoni.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Drowning in Oil
April 15 2014, 11:20PM
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Doesnt matter who hey choose. The question is... How will they develop them? This team better get their s.h.iy together. 8 years is a hell of a long time for a rebuild and the people of this city who throw their money away to watch and support this team deserve better!!

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#2 RexHolez
April 15 2014, 11:33PM
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- Don't have time to wait and see if Ekblad is worth the hype or just another bust like many other highly touted dman before him

- Leon seemed to disappear in the World juniors and prospect game. Makes me question him

I hope they go for Bennet, but they won't. Doesn't really matter tho, this team has far more problems than what 18 year old they pick this year.

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#3 WhattaMike
April 15 2014, 11:49PM
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IMO, I believe that Eckblad goes to florida to line up with Gudbranson as their top pairing due to this team having Huberdeau already being their future top centre.

I can clearly see Buffalo then taking Sam Reinhart as their top 2nd overall pick due to having a bunch of young defencemen prospects already.

What I think of the Oilers for this draft is that one of two things happen here. They either pick Draisaitl or Bennett to tag-team with RNH...with while moving Gagner in a trade type package (for say a high end defender or a second rounder in the draft) and/or he goes over to wing...or... they go to the Islanders and switch the 3rd and the 5th picks...with trying to get Griffin Reinhart back in Oil Country.

A very slight and unlikely other type choice is that soemone offers a top notch defencemen for that 3rd overaqll pick.

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#4 kale
April 15 2014, 11:50PM
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I know Reinhart has the benefit of playing with two linemates who are also ranked in the top 100 in this draft, including descheneau who was the player of the month in the whl, I have no clue who the other centers play with but that may give us more perspective on their true offensive abilities. Lowetide do you know who the other guys, meaning bennett and drasaitl had as linemates?

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#5 Butters
April 15 2014, 11:51PM
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LD is big, but not a lot of penalty minutes. Does he play big? To me it might come down to which dog you want in the fight, the Pit Bull(Bennett) or the Labrador(Draisaitl). I think the Oilers will take the latter and I am not sure that is the right call. I could be wrong.

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#6 The Ghost of Jari Kurri
April 15 2014, 11:54PM
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I believe the answer that you are looking for is... Mike Lah-Rey!

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#7 Muji
April 16 2014, 12:00AM
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If MacT can improve the team with some smart moves this summer without giving up anything crazy, we're actually in promising shape.

Nurse, Klefbom, Yakupov, Bennett/Draisaitl/Ekblad are a nice group of prospects. The secret is to acquire enough actual NHLers (e.g. your Perrons, Ferences, Gordons, Smyths, Markovs, etc.) so that these kids aren't guaranteed a prominent spot and can learn in sheltered roles.

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#8 mesa
April 16 2014, 12:04AM
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MAC T should threaten the league if u do not give us EKBLAD this year we r coming back next year for mc david.

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#9 Pat
April 16 2014, 12:04AM
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Nick Ritchie is exactly the type of player we need i think...

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#10 Bucknuck
April 16 2014, 12:10AM
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If i had to go to the podium, I wouldn't know whether to pick Reinhart, Draisaitl, Ekblad, or Bennett. Since they are that close... I don't really care who they take.

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#11 Sorensenator
April 16 2014, 12:10AM
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Why do people keep saying they have been rebuilding for 8 years? That means they started to rebuild right after they lost game 7 in the Stanley cup finals to the Hurricanes... really?

Five years ago, the Oilers had the most lost man games to injury and basically had an AHL roster for the final 20 games under Pat Quinn. The REAL rebuild started the next year when they drafted Taylor Hall.

Sure they drafted Sam Gagner at 6th overall, however Oilers management was keen on picking up veteran pieces such as Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. That is not typical of a rebuild but rather a retool to try to contend.

The Oilers head into next year in their fifth year of the true rebuild and we all hope of better results.

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#12 Sorensenator
April 16 2014, 12:26AM
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RexHolez wrote:

- Don't have time to wait and see if Ekblad is worth the hype or just another bust like many other highly touted dman before him

- Leon seemed to disappear in the World juniors and prospect game. Makes me question him

I hope they go for Bennet, but they won't. Doesn't really matter tho, this team has far more problems than what 18 year old they pick this year.

Bennet? Yes lets draft another small skilled forward... At least Leon has size and strength. Also he played for Germany at the world juniors, one of the worst teams at the tournament, I was there in Sweden.

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#13 Coco crisp
April 16 2014, 12:31AM
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McDavid is going to look good in oiler silks

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#14 Toby
April 16 2014, 12:37AM
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Sorensenator wrote:

Why do people keep saying they have been rebuilding for 8 years? That means they started to rebuild right after they lost game 7 in the Stanley cup finals to the Hurricanes... really?

Five years ago, the Oilers had the most lost man games to injury and basically had an AHL roster for the final 20 games under Pat Quinn. The REAL rebuild started the next year when they drafted Taylor Hall.

Sure they drafted Sam Gagner at 6th overall, however Oilers management was keen on picking up veteran pieces such as Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. That is not typical of a rebuild but rather a retool to try to contend.

The Oilers head into next year in their fifth year of the true rebuild and we all hope of better results.

One reason many think the rebuild started 8 seasons ago is they lost 9 players after the 06' run to the SC finals.

The Oiler yes-men say it wasn't until they drafted Hall in 10'. Stauffer and numerous Edmonton sports writers re-write history on a weekly basis. Spin doctors every one.

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#15 6 ring circus
April 16 2014, 12:50AM
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Kevin Lowe will know who to pick,he knows a thing or two about winning and if Katz thinks Lowe knows what he's doing, who are we to disagree with him.It's only been 8 years since they made the playoffs, lets give them some more time.

(What a F--ken Joke!!!)

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#16 joe nosabonada
April 16 2014, 01:07AM
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Sorensenator wrote:

Why do people keep saying they have been rebuilding for 8 years? That means they started to rebuild right after they lost game 7 in the Stanley cup finals to the Hurricanes... really?

Five years ago, the Oilers had the most lost man games to injury and basically had an AHL roster for the final 20 games under Pat Quinn. The REAL rebuild started the next year when they drafted Taylor Hall.

Sure they drafted Sam Gagner at 6th overall, however Oilers management was keen on picking up veteran pieces such as Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. That is not typical of a rebuild but rather a retool to try to contend.

The Oilers head into next year in their fifth year of the true rebuild and we all hope of better results.

Before deciding on rebuilding anything it must first be broken down. Either by choice or by circumstances. The Oilers were forced into rebuilding by both. So yes, Taylor Hall marked the beginning of rebuilding.

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#17 Quicksilver ballet
April 16 2014, 01:19AM
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Had tunnel vision for Ekblad all year, and will pray for a miracle that it still does happen. But if it isn't meant to be, all we can do is hope the kid they do take, turns out.

Beggars can't be choosers.

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#18 BLAKPOO
April 16 2014, 01:22AM
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RexHolez wrote:

- Don't have time to wait and see if Ekblad is worth the hype or just another bust like many other highly touted dman before him

- Leon seemed to disappear in the World juniors and prospect game. Makes me question him

I hope they go for Bennet, but they won't. Doesn't really matter tho, this team has far more problems than what 18 year old they pick this year.

It does matter.

When you get a 3rd overall pick, you should take the BPA, with the intention of seeing how he fits into the plan in 3-5 years, not next season. Like it or not, these picks will be vital to our future team success.

If the previous regimes put as much importance into the draft and preparing for the future as the club has in recent years, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Think of all the drafts we've blown in the last 15 years, and how much better our club could have been with better scouting, preparedness and asset management.

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#19 nuge2nail
April 16 2014, 01:40AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Panthers will take Reinhert.

Sabres will take Bennett.

Oilers will take Ekblad.

Defencemen always drop at the draft... Hedman, Larsson, Jones, etc.

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#20 Danger Pay
April 16 2014, 01:41AM
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Eckblad or a Centre, the Oilers need both, just don't have the kids talking about making a push for the playoffs like they did last summer B/C we all know how that turned out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bmkdaqrg-8

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#21 Lyxdeslic
April 16 2014, 03:34AM
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Draft Bennett and trade Yakupov straight up for Griffin Reinhart. Id also potentially trade Yakupov straight up for another top 5 pick in this draft.

I dunno maybe I'm too hard on the kid, but I wouldn't mind trading Yakpuov for Drasaitl or Dal Colle if possible.

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#22 Lyxdeslic
April 16 2014, 03:34AM
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Draft Bennett and trade Yakupov straight up for Griffin Reinhart. Id also potentially trade Yakupov straight up for another top 5 pick in this draft.

I dunno maybe I'm too hard on the kid, but I wouldn't mind trading Yakpuov for Drasaitl or Dal Colle if possible.

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#23 Anton CP
April 16 2014, 03:43AM
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Just 7 months ago that Nick Ritchie was the No.1 prospect by central scouting, now he dropped to 7th. The reason for that because of injury concerns but other than that he is a great prospect. He has the size and the skill sets, he has speed for a 235lbs. A few years back that I was hoping Oilers would trade down RNH and draft Couturier instead because of his skills sets and I actually hope Oilers can do the same again and draft Ritchie instead.

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#24 pelhem grenville
April 16 2014, 04:45AM
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Lyxdeslic wrote:

Draft Bennett and trade Yakupov straight up for Griffin Reinhart. Id also potentially trade Yakupov straight up for another top 5 pick in this draft.

I dunno maybe I'm too hard on the kid, but I wouldn't mind trading Yakpuov for Drasaitl or Dal Colle if possible.

...with regard to your double post you said twice ..."[you]wouldn't mind trading Yakpuov for Drasaitl..." Draisaitl needs NOT to be traded for in any scenario...

imo 64 isn't going anywhere...he's needed on the right side along with Gagner who's a smurf & can't play centre and he's gonna get moved anyway when Draisaitl comes to the Oilers 3rd overall...

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#25 mayorblaine
April 16 2014, 06:15AM
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Ekblad if available. without question.

from reports on radio and twitter from reputable people i've heard Draisaitl may have size but he doesn't use it exceptionally well. if so, what are we gaining by drafting him. he's not the best center. take the best center.

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#26 Fumanshu
April 16 2014, 06:27AM
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mayorblaine wrote:

Ekblad if available. without question.

from reports on radio and twitter from reputable people i've heard Draisaitl may have size but he doesn't use it exceptionally well. if so, what are we gaining by drafting him. he's not the best center. take the best center.

That's not true at all. He doesn't crash and bang but he protects the puck well, hence, using his size.

Read Tim Murray's comments. He knows more than anyone here.

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#27 mayorblaine
April 16 2014, 06:41AM
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Fumanshu wrote:

That's not true at all. He doesn't crash and bang but he protects the puck well, hence, using his size.

Read Tim Murray's comments. He knows more than anyone here.

thanks for the info. will read the comments.

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#28 tired
April 16 2014, 06:43AM
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And he shall be Leon and he shall be a good man

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#29 K_Mart
April 16 2014, 07:01AM
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Lyxdeslic wrote:

Draft Bennett and trade Yakupov straight up for Griffin Reinhart. Id also potentially trade Yakupov straight up for another top 5 pick in this draft.

I dunno maybe I'm too hard on the kid, but I wouldn't mind trading Yakpuov for Drasaitl or Dal Colle if possible.

I get it, Yak looked like garbage this year. But he's already proven he can score at the NHL level. The fair weather fans that want to trade Yak when his value is as low as it is now are crazy. The kid lost his confidence and doesnt know his role on this team, that's it. That's the reason, I believe, his decision making appeared to be so dreadful this year. If you want to trade him, you do it when his market value exceeds his team value. Right now, Perron is the only player here who fits that description.

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#30 flyfish1168
April 16 2014, 07:07AM
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It is never a bad thing to have to many good players in one position. This will help us use them as trading chips to get what we want when we are close to making a run at the cup or playoff position. Good example is what the Kings did getting Richards for Schenn and then for Carter with Johnson.

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#31 jonny94
April 16 2014, 07:11AM
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Off topic but Bob Mckenzie just did a retweet that Anton Belov signed a 4 yr contract with the KHLs SKA.

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#32 jonny94
April 16 2014, 07:13AM
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Bob Stauffer**** not Mckenzie. My apologies

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#33 Twoskidoos
April 16 2014, 07:32AM
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@RexHolez

RNH didn't even make the WJ team his first time around.

Don't base your opinion on a very small sample size in which he was likely the lone exceptional player on a bad German team.

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#34 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 16 2014, 07:47AM
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Repost:

Was trying to get a read on just how physical a player Draisaitl is. Found the following.

He hasn't missed any games in two years of CHL hockey.

The following are quotes from scouts and analysts at nhl.com

"You want to talk about a miniature Jaromir Jagr with a Doug Gilmour-type intensity, you've got him right here," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com.

"Leon is a great hockey player but also a great teammate," Tuomie said. "His skill level is unbelievable. He thinks the game very well and makes players around him look better."

"That kid works so hard every shift," Bordeleau said. "I don't see how this kid doesn't go early. There's no one in this draft class who can protect the puck like him."

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#35 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 16 2014, 07:49AM
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On a previous post I polled the scenario where Ekblad and Reinhart are gone and our choice is Bennett or Draisaitl.

Bennett won 68 to 57.

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#36 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 16 2014, 08:03AM
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All of the top 4 look like players who will be above average NHL talent.

Not really knowing any of them, my concern with Bennett is that he is the smallest of the group and to date has experienced the most games missed due to injury.

My concern about Draisaitl is that he is a non- Canadian import. This usually carries some risk as well.

Bennett is 6' 180lbs. Draisaitl 6' 1.5" 209lbs.

Bennett +- is something like + 29 Draisaitl and Reinhart are plus single digit.

Like Kale said at #4 above....would be very interesting to see some analysis of each guys line mates.

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#37 Clyde Frog
April 16 2014, 08:10AM
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I don't care which Centre we take AS LONG as the kid can generate offense off the cycle, not just the rush.

What we are desperately lacking is not size, but ability to properly generate and sustain pressure off the cycle.

I would rather draft a kid who is 5'11" or 6'00" like Dustin Brown but can be the kog sustaining offensive pressure then picking up a flashier passer/shooter who is 6'2" or 6'4" at this point.

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#38 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 16 2014, 08:13AM
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LT when you say........"Yes. If, as Jason Gregor suggests, Florida takes Reinhart #1 overall, Buffalo may take the big defender. However, they have an impressive group of young defensemen either in the NHL (Myers, the dancing McCabes, Pysyk) or on the way (Zadorov, Ristolainen)."

"It isn't a slam dunk the Sabres take Ekblad."

I'm sure there are bloggers in Calgary and Long Island who are saying.."if Florida and Buffalo take centers, it isn't a slam dunk that the Oilers take Ekblad...they have an impressive group of young defensemen in Klefbom, Schultz, Marincin and Nurse...and they could really use a Bennett or Draisaitl at 2C"

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#39 The Last Big Bear
April 16 2014, 08:19AM
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Sorensenator wrote:

Why do people keep saying they have been rebuilding for 8 years? That means they started to rebuild right after they lost game 7 in the Stanley cup finals to the Hurricanes... really?

Five years ago, the Oilers had the most lost man games to injury and basically had an AHL roster for the final 20 games under Pat Quinn. The REAL rebuild started the next year when they drafted Taylor Hall.

Sure they drafted Sam Gagner at 6th overall, however Oilers management was keen on picking up veteran pieces such as Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. That is not typical of a rebuild but rather a retool to try to contend.

The Oilers head into next year in their fifth year of the true rebuild and we all hope of better results.

Lol.

Just going to call a mulligan on the whole rebuild around Smid+Hemsky+Cogliano+Gagner+Brodziak+Schremp?

The reason people think it was a rebuild was because the Oilers gutted their roster, traded away their best player, and dressed 15 roster players between ages 18-25.

"But look", you say, "they acquired a veteran defenceman, that means it was never a rebuild!"

Kool-Aid and shenanigans.

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#40 Truth
April 16 2014, 08:35AM
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For all of you wanting to trade Yakupov away for a pick in this draft please realize he would easily be the best prospect in this draft class had he been a couple years younger.

http://oilersnation.com/2012/6/15/how-much-offense-did-yakupovs-knee-injury-cost-him

Yakupov was scoring at 2.04 pts/game prior to going down with a knee injury and 1.64 pts/game total in his draft year. It has always been my belief that he came back too early to prove that the knee would not be an ongoing issue and he is fit as a #1 overall.

He did have a rough season this year but who's to say any of these players will not stumble a bit prior to turning 20.

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#41 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
April 16 2014, 08:44AM
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Take Ekblad if he's there. I like Leon's size, but I like Bennett's tenacity. If Ekblad gets picked, I have no clue who they should take.

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#42 The artist formerly known as Harry
April 16 2014, 08:46AM
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BLAKPOO wrote:

It does matter.

When you get a 3rd overall pick, you should take the BPA, with the intention of seeing how he fits into the plan in 3-5 years, not next season. Like it or not, these picks will be vital to our future team success.

If the previous regimes put as much importance into the draft and preparing for the future as the club has in recent years, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Think of all the drafts we've blown in the last 15 years, and how much better our club could have been with better scouting, preparedness and asset management.

WRONG!! Best player available for the first two top five picks yes but after that the Oilers should have drafted for need and took Murray over Yakupov. And now you want to add another small forward to the mix? When are Oilers fans gonna realize that we need size!

All I know about Leon is from what I see in the numbers so if they Oilers think hes there guy draft him. If not package the pick with Gagner to Phiily or Colorado and get Couturier or Orielly for it

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#43 God
April 16 2014, 08:51AM
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Why are we so concerned with players that won't even be serviceable for years to come.

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#44 Zarny
April 16 2014, 08:54AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Lol.

Just going to call a mulligan on the whole rebuild around Smid+Hemsky+Cogliano+Gagner+Brodziak+Schremp?

The reason people think it was a rebuild was because the Oilers gutted their roster, traded away their best player, and dressed 15 roster players between ages 18-25.

"But look", you say, "they acquired a veteran defenceman, that means it was never a rebuild!"

Kool-Aid and shenanigans.

The Oilers were not "rebuilding" from 2006-07 to 2009-2010. They finished 19th in '06-07 as Lowe chased the dream thinking he could retool the roster for another run at the Cup.

No different than Calgary perennially duct taping their roster together deluding themselves into thinking Iggy and Kipper could carry the team for one last run IF they could just make the playoffs.

Chasing players with offer sheets and get turned down by UFA's is not rebuilding I'm afraid. After Heatley thumbed his nose at Edm and the 2006 roster had unraveled to a last place team they opted for the "rebuild" through the draft route. An unviable option in previous years considering Lowe had traded picks away for the run at the Cup.

That is when they traded away half their roster and started to rebuild.

You should try reality sometime...you'll like it.

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#45 DT
April 16 2014, 08:57AM
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@BLAKPOO

I have to disagree, a bit. The Oilers have obvious, identifiable needs: centre and defence. Luckily, this year the top for projected picks are three centres and a defenceman. So, it will be hard for them to pick the wrong player. After three first overall picks, and a number seven last year, they should draft for need this time out. They took the best player available when they selected Yakupov, and though I have no real concerns about his long term potential, he was not the right pick. They had the same needs then, with Eberle and Hemsky on right wing already, and they chose another winger. If they screw up and draft another winger this year, somebody better get fired.

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#46 CenterForWin
April 16 2014, 08:59AM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

I don't care which Centre we take AS LONG as the kid can generate offense off the cycle, not just the rush.

What we are desperately lacking is not size, but ability to properly generate and sustain pressure off the cycle.

I would rather draft a kid who is 5'11" or 6'00" like Dustin Brown but can be the kog sustaining offensive pressure then picking up a flashier passer/shooter who is 6'2" or 6'4" at this point.

In this case, for this draft, the Center that can generate offense off the cycle is actually the 6'2 kid and not the 6'0 kid. By all reports and highlights, most of Bennett's offense comes from the rush, while Leon's offense is from puck possession and slowing the game down.

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#47 DT
April 16 2014, 09:03AM
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@The Last Big Bear

In 2007, they finished with 71 points. They were competing for a playoff spot until the trade deadline, then got hit with injuries. I remember they had to bring in a kid from the Q on an emergency tryout because every defenceman was hurt. Trading Smythy didn't help. 2008 they finished with 88 points. 2009 they finished with 85 points. That doesn't sound like a rebuilding team to me.

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#48 DT
April 16 2014, 09:06AM
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@Zarny

Agreed. Plus, the EIG needed playoff revenue to turn a profit. They has been a lot of talk that hockey ops was mandated by the owners to pursue the playoffs. Rebuilds weren't an option.

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#49 blainer
April 16 2014, 09:18AM
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Zarny wrote:

The Oilers were not "rebuilding" from 2006-07 to 2009-2010. They finished 19th in '06-07 as Lowe chased the dream thinking he could retool the roster for another run at the Cup.

No different than Calgary perennially duct taping their roster together deluding themselves into thinking Iggy and Kipper could carry the team for one last run IF they could just make the playoffs.

Chasing players with offer sheets and get turned down by UFA's is not rebuilding I'm afraid. After Heatley thumbed his nose at Edm and the 2006 roster had unraveled to a last place team they opted for the "rebuild" through the draft route. An unviable option in previous years considering Lowe had traded picks away for the run at the Cup.

That is when they traded away half their roster and started to rebuild.

You should try reality sometime...you'll like it.

This statement is 100% accurate. We started the rebuild after the Heatley(options) fiasco. The oilers realised at that point that they were not gonna be able to sign free agents.

After the season with all the injuries they drafted Hall and so the rebuild began. This has not just been a rebuild..they started from scratch. I don't remember seeing a team being so far behind. They didn't even have their own minor league team. As a result it is taking alittle longer than everyone has hoped. We are getting very close and I think this last year and the pick we are getting is crucial.

I personally am glad that if we missed the playoffs...miss it to the point we are drafting in the top five and get that center we desperatley need. Remember we were told the rebuild is gonna take 5 years. We ae almost done. Our prospects are almost there. This rebuild is going the right way ..like it or not..Bring on Draisaitl

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#50 Cody P
April 16 2014, 10:14AM
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The harshness on Yakupov is very over emphesized. Let's be honest, we won't make the playoffs next year but the year after is not out of the question. Yes, Yakupov is more raw than most 1st overals in most recent years. However, his skill is incredible and his ceiling is higher than any other player on this oilers team and this includes 2 other first overals. If we look at him as a prospect we can say that hey, if we bring this guy along right, he could be an amazing player. That job is up to Dallas Eakins. It is his job to bring yakupov a game full circle, and when he does I believe we will be marvelling in the in flexible player we have. The guy has so much drive intensity love and care for the game that his effort cannot be questioned. With that type of effort, a guy is going to make strides. In regards to the draft, we know that Sam Reinhart is gone and I do believe we need to draft ekblad if he's available. However, I seem ever so tempted to take either Bennet or Draistl. We all know their games. Bennet is ferocious on the attack and grinds despite his size with a great touch with the puck (reminds me of a larger, more skilled Gallagher. And I love that guy). Then Leon is a large puck controlling centerman with a great touch with the puck and wicked shot. For me the decision will come at the combine when true height and weight is shown as well as the fitness level of these athletes. If Leon lacks in fitness I'll probably take Bennet, but if Bennet is smaller than he is said to be at 6'1/2" and 182lbs I take Leon.

Just my take on things.

Ps. I agree. Yakupov is in this draft class he still goes #1.

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