With reports from TSN that Toronto is entertaining a serious offer for defenseman Tomas Kaberle and the draft upon us tomorrow, it seems appropriate to pass on this horrifying story of Oilers draft-day decision making.
Even trying to promote a player who impressed them could have been problematic for a scout if that player was not already a favorite of Fraser’s too. Every scout out there has a tale of the one that got away and, ironically, it’s usually about a type of player who seems to be exactly what the team is missing from its current lineup.
“Tomas Kaberle,” said [Oilers’ scout Chris] McCarthy right away when asked about his own personal fish story.
“I went over to Russia for a tournament that was almost in Siberia. It was just Kent (Nilsson) and I because Barry (Fraser) didn’t go that year. I saw Kaberle there and I said to Kent ‘this guy’s a player!’ He had a skinny neck and he was a stick of a player back then but he had great wheels. We were talking and I really got Kent on the bandwagon once he started watching him too. The only other scout there was Anders Hedberg from the Leafs. I had Kaberle ranked 25th or 26th on my overall list that year and I couldn’t even get him listed on our entire list! Then Toronto takes him in the ninth round and the kid is still playing! I was killing myself! I never said anything much about it later but I did say to Kent ‘We screwed up’ and we really did. Here’s a guy we could have stolen and Anders got lucky because we couldn’t keep our mouths shut.”
Anyways, Kaberle’s likely to be traded this summer, either at the draft or a little later on, but regardless, this was a guy the Oilers should have taken a chance on. But I suppose Barry Fraser was busy in Mexico anyway.
This isn’t exactly recent news, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it.