NHL DRAFT TALK WITH KYLE WOODLIEF

Jason Gregor
May 28 2014 12:26PM

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Kyle Woodlief is the chief scout and publisher of the Red Line Report. He is a former NHL scout and has been involved in the draft for years. The Red Line Report has been a very good source for the draft in the past, and I caught up with Woodlief to get his thoughts on the Memorial Cup, the Edmonton Oil Kings and the top centres in this year's draft class; Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl.

My thoughts are in italics.

Gregor: Does the Memorial Cup impact the rankings very much?

Woodlief: Slightly, not that much. Guys like Robbie Fabbri, Dysin Mayo and Aaron Irving, there were a few prospects like every year, but I don't think Fabbri moves more than a spot from where he had been on our list, Mayo may move up a couple of spots and Irving might move down a few spots.

Gregor: Looking at Mayo and Irving, who do you have ranked higher and why?

Woodlief: We have Irving higher. After the first half of the season he had, right into January, was in our first round. The typical scenario for first year players in the WHL is they take a few months to get comfortable. He was the opposite. He came in and played well offensively in the first four months, but then it seemed like the coaching staff started sheltering his offensive minutes down the stretch, and he didn't produce much offensively, where as Mayo came on down the stretch. Irving was a ways ahead of him at the top of the stretch in February and March, and Mayo did close the gap, but long-term I think Irving still has more upside to his game.

Gregor: What do you like about Irving's game more than Mayo?

Woodlief: Irving is more physically active in his own end and he's a really good two-way defender. He can be part of a shut down pairing. Mayo, at this point, is more of a puck moving, finesse defender.

***Mayo was a top-four D-man for the Oil Kings throughout the playoffs, while Irving was in the 3rd pairing and didn't play nearly as much. Steve Hamilton didn't shelter Irving offensively as much as it was a case of Mayo playing better in the second half. They are different types of players, and while Irving is heavier and more aggressive, Mayo is a good skater and he thinks the game very well. It will be interesting to see which one becomes a better NHLer. I'm not as sure as Woodlief that it will be Irving.**

Gregor: Edgars Kulda was passed over last year but is ranked this year. When you are ranking players, how much does that extra year impact them?

Woodlief: Every year it seems we have more and more second and third year draft eligible players. In this particular draft year, because it is a weak year, I'm seeing on our list about 15-20% higher second and third year eligibles than there normally would be. We rank about 350 players during the course of the season and generally speaking you have about 30-35 players who are older, but this year there is about 50 of those types of players because it is a weaker draft year. You are looking for talent anywhere you can find it and guys like Kulda pop up.

The same thing happened to Kulda last year. He had a strong playoff for Edmonton, and we put him on our rankings late. I don't think we had him on our rankings all year, and then finally in April we put him on. He had a good regular season, but he came up really big in the playoffs. I'd be very surprised if he goes undrafted this year.

***He was ranked as a 4th or 5th rounder before the Memorial Cup. He might sneak into the 3rd round, but usually there isn't much of a difference between a 3rd rounder and a 4th or 5th. A lot of it will depend on how the player matures and what opportunity he is given within his NHL organization.***

Gregor: A player could have a great month or six weeks in the playoffs. Does that impact the rankings because many people value the playoffs more than the regular season?

Woodlief: You try not to get sucked in. The bottom line is it is a long grind in an NHL season, it is 80 games plus playoffs, so you want guys who can do it consistently over the course of a long season. Players in junior who aren't getting in done in the regular season,but rev it up for a couple of weeks at playoff time...It is good, it will get them on the list, and in some cases move players value up the board, but, again, you are still looking for that player who has done it over the long haul.

TOP END CENTRES...

ReinhartBennettDraisaitl

Gregor: Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl and Nylander are the best centres in the draft in most people's rankings. Where do you rank them from first to fourth and is there a significant drop at any point?

Woodlief: The top four grouping is Bennett, Ekblad, Reinhart and Draisaitl. Those are the top four on the board and it wouldn't surprise us if they went in any order. I tend to think that the top two players off the board will be Bennett and Ekblad, in which ever order you care to mention. I think just because of the fact that Edmonton has drafted a lot of really good players, but similar style players, who are all kind of like  Reinhart in some respect, I think if Edmonton sat still at number three and were looking for a player to take they'd be a little bit better off taking a big centre who could give you some size and strength down the middle in Draisaitl.

**Interesting that he didn't mention Nylander. I've read some reports that Florida really likes him, but I'd be shocked if they took him 1st overall. Maybe they trade down knowing they could get him later, but part of me feels the Nylander talk is a bit of a smokescreen.**

Gregor: If the rankings were out of 100, how close are Bennett, Reinhart and Draisaitl?

Woodlief: There is not a big gap at all. We have Bennett at #1 at Redline Report, because we've been really impressed with his heart and desire and that's put him over the top in our mind, but there is not a lot of a drop off from him to Reinhart and Draisaitl.

Gregor: I asked about the gap because you don't take size if the smaller player is clearly better. Are you suggesting the gap between the players is so small that in this case size would be the better option for Edmonton?

Woodlief: That would be take on the situation. They could use a big, strong centre down the middle more than they can use another player similar to what they have. I honestly think Reinhart projects better on the wing in the pros. I think he is more of a goal scorer than a play maker. He does both, don't get me wrong, but I think you can put him on the wing in the NHL with a good centre who can get him the puck he will fill up the net.

***As you know I completely agree with Woodlief. The Oilers don't need more of the same. They have an abundance of small, skilled players, so if it comes down to Reinhart and Draisaitl I take Draisaitl all day. The interesting decision would be if Ekblad and Draisaitl are both available at #3. If Ekblad becomes this year's Seth Jones and drops a few spots, I'd lean towards taking him over Draisaitl, but it would still be a tough decision. You need skilled size down the middle to win, especially in the western conference, but it would be hard to pass on Ekblad.**

Gregor: Which player do you think will go higher at the draft than people expect?

Woodlief: The one guy we really like at Redline Report over the course of the second half of the year is down in Calgary, big defenceman named Travis Sanheim. In the first half of the season in October to December you wouldn't have even noticed him, but all of a sudden in January he started taking off and he has just gotten better and better.

**Sanheim is 6' 3" and 195 pounds. He has been ranked as a late first rounder thus far, but with very few elite D-men in this year's class, a team between 15-25 might grab him if they need defensive depth.**

WRAP UP

think-positive

The good news for Oilers fans is that the Oilers biggest organizational needs are available with the 3rd pick. This team needs a right shot D-man and help at centre. In 2012, I wrote that I would have taken Alex Galchenyuk, because this team needed a big centre, and two years later I feel the same way. I'd pick Draisaitl, because I don't see Ekblad dropping to #3, but if he does then the Oilers could get a franchise right-shot D-man.

The Oilers should walk out of Philadelphia with either a big, skilled centre or an elite defender.

LAST CHANCE...

For the fourth consecutive year we are doing our Ultimate Sports Fan package in support of charity. On June 7th I am riding in the 190km MS Bike Tour, and I've come up with a pretty good package for the diehard sports fan.

How it works is you make a $100 donation and you get 1 entry. If you make a $200 donation you get two entries.

We only take 100 entries and we will raise $10,000 for MS.  The draw is Tuesday, June 3rd, and we only have 20 entries left.

This year's winner will get the following: The final package will be value at over $5,000.00

  1. A pair of tickets to the Oilers home opener in October.
  2. A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets in the lower bowl.
  3. A signed, game used Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stick.
  4. 20 tickets to the Oil Kings opening night game and banner raising night. Also, you will get an Oil King of your choice to come to your backyard rink or minor hockey practice for an hour. ( Between November 1st and December 15th.)
  5. A pair of Edmonton Rush season tickets.
  6. Two VIP floor seats to MFC 41 on October 3rd. That includes dinner before the fights, and you will also get to watch the prelims at ringside with the MFC broadcast team.
  7. The Nation's own Jason Strudwick and one of his former NHL friends will play a game with your Men's League team next season. Struds will bring the beer, a few good stories and some shootout moves.
  8. Four infield passes to the Canadian Derby on Saturday August 16th.
  9. Pizza for a year (1 pizza a week) from Papa Johns Pizza. When you want to watch the big games Papa Johns will ensure you have great pizza.

**Edit...THANK YOU. We sold out yesterday, it took less than a week. Awesome.***

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Dman09
May 28 2014, 02:44PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Soooo, big guy, soso skater, does hit but uses his size well.

Who is Dustin Penner?

Fans here loved that guy, so what could go wrong?

That is exactly what I was thinking.

But if you have a line of Perron-Penner type-Yakupov that might not be a bad thing. Yak and Perron can get pretty fiesty and a calming force at center might be a good complement.

Bennet however sounds like he plays a 6'3" game even though hes not and let face it look at the impact Perron had this season. That kind of impact can't be overlooked.

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#52 Sketchy
May 28 2014, 02:44PM
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@Jason Gregor

How about Bennets D game?

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#54 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 02:52PM
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Dman09 wrote:

That is exactly what I was thinking.

But if you have a line of Perron-Penner type-Yakupov that might not be a bad thing. Yak and Perron can get pretty fiesty and a calming force at center might be a good complement.

Bennet however sounds like he plays a 6'3" game even though hes not and let face it look at the impact Perron had this season. That kind of impact can't be overlooked.

Yeah, I agree. I was a fan of Penner. I wasn't actually trying say anything bad about the player type, I was just making a joke about how Edmonton's fan base tends to feel about these guys.

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#55 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 02:53PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

How many centres are deemed physical?

Does Crosby, Kopitar, Toews or others run around and hit guys? Draisiatl is very strong on the puck. I don't understand why anyone thinks centres need to be physical.

Every player has some deficiencies. You seem to only want to focus on his. Now Draisaitl isn't in shape? If you don't like a player, fine, but don't make up stuff.

Agreed. Running around hitting guys is the last thing I care about in my centers.

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#56 sizzay
May 28 2014, 02:58PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Soooo, big guy, soso skater, does hit but uses his size well.

Who is Dustin Penner?

Fans here loved that guy, so what could go wrong?

MacTavish spoke highly of Draisaitl

MacTavish didn't like Penner as a player

If MacT drafts Draisaitl, don't you think there is more differences than similarities?

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#57 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 03:08PM
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sizzay wrote:

MacTavish spoke highly of Draisaitl

MacTavish didn't like Penner as a player

If MacT drafts Draisaitl, don't you think there is more differences than similarities?

Very much not the point of my comment,but since you brought it up, no I don't.

Don't forget that MacTavish has admitted to making mistakes using Penner and that Penner was a good player.

Either way, my comment was more about the Oilers fan base than either player. Edmonton fans seem to have issues with bigger players that don't hit much because the don't appear to "have as much try" as little guys with their legs pumping hard.

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#58 BLAKPOO
May 28 2014, 03:09PM
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madjam wrote:

There is a strong case/argument for Draisaitl going first overall to be honest . Ekblad and Draisaitl might be first two chosen . Then who do we choose ? Maybe exposing Oilers interest in Draisaitl might come back to haunt them .

Umm.. if Ekblad and Draisaitl are both chosen, that means the consensus #1 guy, Bennett, is still available.

This, to me, seems to be more of a no-brainer decision rather than a problem.

If we had the #1 overall pick, Draisaitl wouldn't even be in the conversation. It would be a 2 horse race between Ekblad and Bennett.

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#60 Tom
May 28 2014, 03:17PM
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Draisaitl vs. Bennett

I think at the combine Oilers will look at Bennett's body type and strength to see if he can play with more weight and strength. I believe they did that with Taylor Hall and thought his body type could put on weight.

If Bennett does have the body type to be for example 200lbs+ I think he would be Oilers choice, if not than Draisaitl

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#61 Lochenzo
May 28 2014, 03:20PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Very much not the point of my comment,but since you brought it up, no I don't.

Don't forget that MacTavish has admitted to making mistakes using Penner and that Penner was a good player.

Either way, my comment was more about the Oilers fan base than either player. Edmonton fans seem to have issues with bigger players that don't hit much because the don't appear to "have as much try" as little guys with their legs pumping hard.

Little guy with legs pumping hard...like Tie Domi. Great if the guy only plays 10 minutes a game. You can't do that if you play bigger minutes. Chris Pronger had a big, long efficient stride and he could play 30 minutes a game. Compare that to PK Subban who was running around (a lot more disciplined game than in past years, mind you) against the Bruins and now has nothing left in the tank. The Rangers are torching him.

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#62 Frank
May 28 2014, 03:34PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Kings have Kopitar (224) Carter (212), Hawks have Toews (208) Handzus (215), Ducks have Getzlaf (221), Sharks have Thornton (220), Minnesota has Koivu (222), Blues have Backes (221) and Colorado has Stastny (205).

That is 7 out 8 west playoff teams, which if you add up is more than half of the West. Dallas was only team without one and they finished 8th and didn't win a round.

It is okay to accept the truth that the Oilers aren't big enough up the middle. In the West you need skilled size to compete.

You also need 2 -way players. Oilers have none in the top 6 yet

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#63 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 03:40PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Kings have Kopitar (224) Carter (212), Hawks have Toews (208) Handzus (215), Ducks have Getzlaf (221), Sharks have Thornton (220), Minnesota has Koivu (222), Blues have Backes (221) and Colorado has Stastny (205).

That is 7 out 8 west playoff teams, which if you add up is more than half of the West. Dallas was only team without one and they finished 8th and didn't win a round.

It is okay to accept the truth that the Oilers aren't big enough up the middle. In the West you need skilled size to compete.

So making it far only counts when it supports your view? Neither Eastern finalist has one on their top 2 lines.

Detroit competed in the west for a long time without meeting your criteria.

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#64 oilabroad
May 28 2014, 03:56PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Kings have Kopitar (224) Carter (212), Hawks have Toews (208) Handzus (215), Ducks have Getzlaf (221), Sharks have Thornton (220), Minnesota has Koivu (222), Blues have Backes (221) and Colorado has Stastny (205).

That is 7 out 8 west playoff teams, which if you add up is more than half of the West. Dallas was only team without one and they finished 8th and didn't win a round.

It is okay to accept the truth that the Oilers aren't big enough up the middle. In the West you need skilled size to compete.

I have to disagree with this, Edmonton needs to become more difficult to play against, not just add bigger pylons... Big soft Euro who doesn't play a 2 way game doesn't solve a lot of this teams problems

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#65 LOIL99
May 28 2014, 04:06PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

So making it far only counts when it supports your view? Neither Eastern finalist has one on their top 2 lines.

Detroit competed in the west for a long time without meeting your criteria.

Altho I don't necessarily agree with Gregor on this, I think his point was the Oilers have to beat the west just to make it to the playoffs. And then have to win 3 rounds against the west before they ever play the east. So you don't build your team to match up against the east.

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#66 Zarny
May 28 2014, 04:15PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

So making it far only counts when it supports your view? Neither Eastern finalist has one on their top 2 lines.

Detroit competed in the west for a long time without meeting your criteria.

And both NYR and Mtl will likely get pulverized against LA or Chi.

It's been 5 years since Detroit really competed in the West; and when they did they had guys like Franzen doing work. Zetterberg was also a horse on the puck, Datsyuk a perennial Selke nominee and they had a 7 time Norris winner on the blueline with Lidstrom.

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#67 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 04:26PM
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Zarny wrote:

And both NYR and Mtl will likely get pulverized against LA or Chi.

It's been 5 years since Detroit really competed in the West; and when they did they had guys like Franzen doing work. Zetterberg was also a horse on the puck, Datsyuk a perennial Selke nominee and they had a 7 time Norris winner on the blueline with Lidstrom.

Gregor set out some very specific criteria that must be met to contend. You don't get to defend it by saying "Detroit was good for other reasons", because that is exactly my point.

I agree that the winner of the west likely wins the cup because they are better teams. I don't claim size isn't a factor. I'm claiming that having at least one top 2 center weighing a minimum amount is not a requirement.

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#68 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 04:27PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

Altho I don't necessarily agree with Gregor on this, I think his point was the Oilers have to beat the west just to make it to the playoffs. And then have to win 3 rounds against the west before they ever play the east. So you don't build your team to match up against the east.

When in Rome huh? You don't build teams to match up with certain styles, you build teams to be the best hockey team you can build. Gregor has a size fixation. If it was the other way around he'd be praising the virtue of Eastern conference teams that really know how to build a roster.

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#69 Lofty
May 28 2014, 04:36PM
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Dman09 wrote:

That is exactly what I was thinking.

But if you have a line of Perron-Penner type-Yakupov that might not be a bad thing. Yak and Perron can get pretty fiesty and a calming force at center might be a good complement.

Bennet however sounds like he plays a 6'3" game even though hes not and let face it look at the impact Perron had this season. That kind of impact can't be overlooked.

Fair point but I would love to see a good pissed off 2nd line. Bennett would be sexy in between Perron and Yak. Looks doubtful but it could happen.

Yaks best game of the season came when he played chippy.

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#70 tileguy
May 28 2014, 05:36PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You don't draft a player just so another team can't have him. You draft a player that you like the best. The Oilers shouldn't care about the Flames.

Draisaitl is 18, his defensive game isn't great, but he, like most skilled players, will improve as he goes. Is Reinhart's defensive game that much better? Nope.

Just wondering if you believe that for yak and gagner?

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#71 Zarny
May 28 2014, 06:00PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Building the best team in hockey means matching up against every style. The Oilers match up against one. To win the Western Conference you have to be able to score and defend against highly skilled players 6'1-6'4" 205-230 lbs. The Oilers can do neither.

The East knows how to really build a roster lol?

Since the shootout was adopted in 2005-06 the West's record against the East was 818-524-189 heading into last season. The trend didn't change in 2013-14. Since the last lockout the West is 5-3 in Stanley Cup finals. Doesn't look like that trend is going to change this year either.

If LA wins the Cup this year it's 4 of the last 5 with Chi. The other was Bos lol. It's not a coincidence both have every kind of player. The Oilers have 1.

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#72 Jeremy
May 28 2014, 06:07PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

How many centres are deemed physical?

Does Crosby, Kopitar, Toews or others run around and hit guys? Draisiatl is very strong on the puck. I don't understand why anyone thinks centres need to be physical.

Every player has some deficiencies. You seem to only want to focus on his. Now Draisaitl isn't in shape? If you don't like a player, fine, but don't make up stuff.

All those centres you mention are great w/o the puck, Toews is very physical, the others go into corners and come out with the puck .

At the moment Bennett is much more aggressive w/o the puck, Draisiatl protects the puck well. Oilers have no players like this. Either one will be a good choice.

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#73 backup bob
May 28 2014, 06:20PM
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Will wrote:

I still don't think they can go wrong.

Ekblad if he's there. Draisaitl if not, Bennet if all three are gone.

The team is getting one of a right shooting franchise D who can quaterback a powerplay and has some size, a big centre who is hard on the puck, or a skilled centre who plays with an edge.

There is literally no bad option here.

I agree, the #3 pick should bring back a great player, unless the Oilers go with their "secret" draft list.

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#74 OilersDynasty
May 28 2014, 06:39PM
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Why not BOTH Ekblad and Draisaitl. Gagner+ to NYI for Bailey+ and 5th pick

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#75 cp119
May 28 2014, 06:39PM
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@Jason Gregor

I wasn't implying he was out of shape. Only asking a question I thought you may have an answer for, seeing you have spoken with people more in the know than me.

Why so defensive?

How many times have you said "but he doesn't play big" or "he needs to be more physical" of other players?

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#76 BLAKPOO
May 28 2014, 08:02PM
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OilersDynasty wrote:

Why not BOTH Ekblad and Draisaitl. Gagner+ to NYI for Bailey+ and 5th pick

Gagner+ .. hilarious.

1. Steal underpants

2. ????

3. Profit!

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#77 Bsmart
May 28 2014, 09:54PM
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I think it is plausible that ekblad will be available at 3. I don't think buffalo takes a d and I think Florida is stuck on Bennett.

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#78 Cody anderson
May 28 2014, 10:10PM
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OilersDynasty wrote:

Why not BOTH Ekblad and Draisaitl. Gagner+ to NYI for Bailey+ and 5th pick

LOL, that would be awesome.....Now all we have to do is feed The NYI GM the date rape drug before the draft so we can say he agreed to this trade.

Pretty sure if we were willing to eat 1/2 of Gagner's salary and throw in all of our draft picks except #3 they still wouldn't give us the 5th even without Bailey

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#79 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
May 28 2014, 10:53PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Gregor set out some very specific criteria that must be met to contend. You don't get to defend it by saying "Detroit was good for other reasons", because that is exactly my point.

I agree that the winner of the west likely wins the cup because they are better teams. I don't claim size isn't a factor. I'm claiming that having at least one top 2 center weighing a minimum amount is not a requirement.

How's having two small centers working out for the Oilers?

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#80 Fasteddy
May 28 2014, 11:13PM
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@Jason Gregor

For what it's worth Reinhart took virtually every important d-zone faceoff, and killed penalties.....hardly what I'd consider a weak defensive player. I find it amusing that everyone wants to hope that the big guys can turn into Eric Lindros......they almost never do. Why not take the best HOCKEY player?! Perhaps the WHL Player of the Year.......

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#81 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 11:25PM
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@Zarny

I feel like you missed the word "if" in my comment because you just spent a lot of effort telling me how wrong I was for something I never said.

That, or "if" does not mean what you think it means.

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#82 TigerUnderGlass
May 28 2014, 11:28PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

How's having two small centers working out for the Oilers?

The proper question is, "how is having a terrible team working out for the Oilers?"

Unless you honestly believe giving Sam Gagner 2 inches and 10 pounds would have saved the season.

how has 2 small centers worked out for Detroit for the last decade?

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#83 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 28 2014, 11:54PM
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So the compete level wins this ratings battle. Proving size isn't everything. What good is size if its not accompanied by skill speed mean streak and compete.

Ekblad or Bennett, or bust.

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#89 Zarny
May 29 2014, 09:35AM
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Great interview. Two quotes stood out:

1)"because it is a weak year"

2)"There is not a big gap at all"

The top 4 could go in any order. Every player in this draft has holes in their game.

The top 4 player that seems to benefit the Oilers the least is Reinhart; too much like Nuge.

Otherwise the Oilers need a D like Ekblad, a top 6 F with the intensity of Bennett and a big C like Draisaitl. All will do. None are particularly better than the other. Just different.

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#90 Nick
May 29 2014, 09:35AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

The proper question is, "how is having a terrible team working out for the Oilers?"

Unless you honestly believe giving Sam Gagner 2 inches and 10 pounds would have saved the season.

how has 2 small centers worked out for Detroit for the last decade?

They are terrible because they have no skilled size. Every good team has big, strong forwards who can score and are hard to defend. Most have it down the middle. If Gagner was bigger and stronger he'd be harder to knock off the puck, and he likely could defend better.

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#91 Zarny
May 29 2014, 10:17AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Here's the thing; you argue the exception to the rule.

Bos did it with 2 smaller C; of course one was a Selke winner. They also had 6'4" 220 lbs Lucic and 6'2" 220 lbs Horton on W and a 6'9" 255 lbs freak on D who happens to be a Norris winner.

Det also did it with 2 sub-200 lbs C. Again, Datsyuk just happens to be a Selke winner and perennial nominee and Zetterberg was an absolute horse on the puck. They also had a 7 time Norris winner on the blueline and a 6'4" 220 lbs Franzen squatting in front of the net. Det also hasn't done squat over the last 5 years as the number of big C in the West proliferated.

You're right though, it isn't an absolute to have 1 of your 2 top C be big. There isn't one blueprint to building a Stanley Cup winning team. I get that point and I agree.

It isn't a coincidence however that Bos and Det are the exception. Since the previous lockout the other SC winners are Carolina (Staal), Anaheim (Getzlaf), Pittsburgh (Malkin & Staal) Chicago (Toews), LA (Kopitar & Perry), Chicago (Toews) and this year it will likely be LA or Chicago again. The year before the lockout was TB who had Lecavlier.

I suspect Mr. Gregor focuses on adding size at C because it makes sense. That's the key F position and the position where Divisional and Conference rivals are stacked with big, skilled players.

If the Oilers had 2 behemoth W like Lucic or Horton they probably could do with 2 smaller C if one was a nominee for best defensive forward in the league. They don't. They have Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, Perron, Nuge and Gagner. Every one of them is average or smaller. So if you are going to add size it's logical to match up positionally against Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton, Backes, Toews etc.

The comments by some (not you) about adding big pylons are downright ludicrous.

There is nothing pylon-ish about Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton etc. They are as skilled or more as any player on the Oiler's roster but also have the advantage of size and reach.

Which seems to be something the parrots of "size doesn't matter" don't understand. I can only assume they've never actually played hockey and had to lean against a skilled player who has a 3" and 20 lbs advantage on you and can put the puck 7 ft away simply by extending their arms. It matters. A lot.

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#92 Zarny
May 29 2014, 10:21AM
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oilabroad wrote:

I have to disagree with this, Edmonton needs to become more difficult to play against, not just add bigger pylons... Big soft Euro who doesn't play a 2 way game doesn't solve a lot of this teams problems

What an absolutely ridiculous comment.

There is nothing pylon-ish about Kopitar, Carter, Toews, Handzus, Getzlaf, Thornton, Backes, Stastny etc.

Absolutely nothing.

Mr. Gregor is talking about adding a big, skilled C that is the NHL equivalent of Shaquille O'Neal and you drivel about Bill Wellington.

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#93 madjam
May 29 2014, 11:12AM
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Zarny wrote:

Great interview. Two quotes stood out:

1)"because it is a weak year"

2)"There is not a big gap at all"

The top 4 could go in any order. Every player in this draft has holes in their game.

The top 4 player that seems to benefit the Oilers the least is Reinhart; too much like Nuge.

Otherwise the Oilers need a D like Ekblad, a top 6 F with the intensity of Bennett and a big C like Draisaitl. All will do. None are particularly better than the other. Just different.

Not sure having two Hopkins type would be detrimental to our future - might even be the most advantageous . Do not agree with your assessment of Reinhart .

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#94 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
May 29 2014, 11:14AM
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Interesting to see, if Ekblad, Bennett, Draisaitl go as the top three, will Burke take Reinhart at 4th?

There is a Reinhart legacy in Calgary. But I think Burke might take Dal Collle, Vertanin, or Ritchie.

Or trade down knowing he can get one of these three.

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#95 TigerUnderGlass
May 29 2014, 12:33PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Lars Eller, who is 215 pounds and plays centre, isn't on Montreal's top two lines and leading their forwards in playoff scoring?

And FYI...Montreal is in the east. West plays different style, and is much bigger. Which is why my original point said in THE WEST.

Plekanec and Desharnais both play a lot more.

Eller lined up as the 4th line center last game.

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#96 TigerUnderGlass
May 29 2014, 12:49PM
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Zarny wrote:

@TigerUnderGlass

Here's the thing; you argue the exception to the rule.

Bos did it with 2 smaller C; of course one was a Selke winner. They also had 6'4" 220 lbs Lucic and 6'2" 220 lbs Horton on W and a 6'9" 255 lbs freak on D who happens to be a Norris winner.

Det also did it with 2 sub-200 lbs C. Again, Datsyuk just happens to be a Selke winner and perennial nominee and Zetterberg was an absolute horse on the puck. They also had a 7 time Norris winner on the blueline and a 6'4" 220 lbs Franzen squatting in front of the net. Det also hasn't done squat over the last 5 years as the number of big C in the West proliferated.

You're right though, it isn't an absolute to have 1 of your 2 top C be big. There isn't one blueprint to building a Stanley Cup winning team. I get that point and I agree.

It isn't a coincidence however that Bos and Det are the exception. Since the previous lockout the other SC winners are Carolina (Staal), Anaheim (Getzlaf), Pittsburgh (Malkin & Staal) Chicago (Toews), LA (Kopitar & Perry), Chicago (Toews) and this year it will likely be LA or Chicago again. The year before the lockout was TB who had Lecavlier.

I suspect Mr. Gregor focuses on adding size at C because it makes sense. That's the key F position and the position where Divisional and Conference rivals are stacked with big, skilled players.

If the Oilers had 2 behemoth W like Lucic or Horton they probably could do with 2 smaller C if one was a nominee for best defensive forward in the league. They don't. They have Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, Perron, Nuge and Gagner. Every one of them is average or smaller. So if you are going to add size it's logical to match up positionally against Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton, Backes, Toews etc.

The comments by some (not you) about adding big pylons are downright ludicrous.

There is nothing pylon-ish about Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton etc. They are as skilled or more as any player on the Oiler's roster but also have the advantage of size and reach.

Which seems to be something the parrots of "size doesn't matter" don't understand. I can only assume they've never actually played hockey and had to lean against a skilled player who has a 3" and 20 lbs advantage on you and can put the puck 7 ft away simply by extending their arms. It matters. A lot.

I agree to a point. I have never said that size doesn't matter. Often it does because it is what helps make a certain player better than another.

I disagree with the suggestion that one of your top 2 centers must weight more than 205 in order to win. If a 5'11, 190lb player is better than a 6'3 220lb player you don't take the 6'3 player because he is bigger.

The other part of the list of players you mentioned is that besides being big they are awesome at hockey.

Also awesome at hockey: a whole bunch of other centers who do not weight a minimum of 205.

I've noticed a lot of other people listing Handzus as a key top 6 center over 205, but the guy is playing about 13 minutes a game. Those are not top 6 minutes and well short of both Kruger and Shaw.

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#97 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 29 2014, 12:49PM
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madjam wrote:

Not sure having two Hopkins type would be detrimental to our future - might even be the most advantageous . Do not agree with your assessment of Reinhart .

True that. If anything, Hopkins still looks to be light years away from being a legitimate No.1 center. Creating a competition for that position would be a good thing. The lack of it has them mired in the basement.

Doomed is the organization unwilling to admit their shortcomings.

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#98 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 29 2014, 12:51PM
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madjam wrote:

Not sure having two Hopkins type would be detrimental to our future - might even be the most advantageous . Do not agree with your assessment of Reinhart .

^^^^Yeah, what that guy said!^^^^

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#99 TigerUnderGlass
May 29 2014, 02:00PM
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@Jason Gregor

Detroit also had big wingers beside those centres...Shanahan, Franzen, Holmstrom....they also had some guy name Lidstrom on the blueline.

Short version - they had a good team. You can't say something as specific as "one of your top 2 centers must weight minimum of 205" and then explainan exception with "they had other things going for them" because that is an admission that your original statement is fallacious.

The entire west has big centres now, and Detroit hasn't got out of the 2nd round since 2009. They haven't been winning with smaller centres the past few years since teams got bigger down the middle.

Are you claiming that Detroit hasn't been as good because Datsyuk and Zetterberg are too small?

Keep believing they can win with small, skilled forwards who also aren't aggressive. Never gonna happen.

Who has ever EVER claimed the bolded line above? Why do you insist on adding nonsense while restating my position? It's juvenile at best.

NOBODY has ever said lets get a bunch of small guys. The issue is one of focus. I want to focus on good, you want to focus on big.

It is easier for a big player to be good than a small one, so focusing on good will lead to having size on your team organically. Focusing on big leads to JF Jacques on your first line.

I'm not objecting to size, I'm objecting to adding inferior players because of their weight, and I'm objecting to strangely specific team building requirements like an insistence that one of your top 2 centers weigh a minimum of 205 when YOU YOURSELF ADMIT THAT IT ISN'T NECESSARY OF THE REST OF THE TEAM IS GOOD.

Everyone points to Getzlaf and Kopitar as if those are players that grow on trees. If Bennett is a better player he should be selected (I have no idea who is better) because takingsomeone else who is not as good and does not skate as well because he is heavier is bad bad bad management.

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