Early 30

On the day he was drafted, Ales Hemsky was 6.00, 170. The WHL site lists Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as 6.0, 164. The two players–both highly skilled and perhaps not physically mature enough to face the rigors of an NHL season–are a likely match in terms of early career path. The biggest difference? Hemsky was a reach at #13; RNH is the de facto top prospect on the planet for his draft year. The early 30 after the jump.

This is my personal early top 30. It isn’t a mock draft, it does rely heavily on statistics and Desjardins’ NHLE but is not married to it. There are more CHL players and fewer high school, college and European players on my list at this time. That usually changes as we get closer to the draft and find out more about these kids (the combine impacts things a lot), but is an attempt to slot the 30 best players.

Sources: I’ve borrowed a lot from Kirk Luedeke this season. His Bruins Draft Watch provided me with many of the scouting reports that you’ll read below. A thumbnail sketch is required to fill in the blanks and most of the descriptions come from Kirk. In past seasons I’ve borrowed from hf board folks like Hiishawk and Blue Bullet, but am hopeful those characters and more will join me and publish their own top 30.

The top 10’s

In Gare Joyce’s wonderful scouting book Future Greats and Heartbreaks, he describes exactly what a "top 10" looks like: "an eighteen year old who should develop into a first line NHL player, maybe an All-Star, definitely someone who can contribute to a winning team." Not every season has 10 top 10’s (2003 had more than 10) and last year I suggested there were only 7 (here). Hindsight suggests there were in fact 8 (Jeff Skinner) top 10’s a year ago. That’s the same number as this year:

  1. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. 6.00, 164. Bob McKenzie says 6 out of 10 scouts have him at #1, Ken Hitchcock raves about him and Craig Button told me "you can’t trade for these guys and they don’t show up in free agency." I’ve long held Couturier is the best prospect in the draft and can find no math reason to elevate RNH. However, with the understanding that it’s a close call and with the stated worry about his EV/PP number, I believe this is the best player available at number one
  2. C Sean Couturier 6.04, 195. Huge center had a wonderful season (again) and delivered eye popping numbers compared to the rest of his team (along with Ondrej Palat).Size, skill, impressive wingspan and a long resume of results. Here’s what Kirk Luedeke wrote about him at Bruins Draft Watch about his skating:  it’s not a major flaw and is correctible with some work on mechanics. He has the size and power to be a legitimate power forward and top-six player for years in this league.
  3. C Ryan Strome 6.0, 183. A dynamic offensive player with a motor that won’t stop took a massive step forward this season. Excellent skater, soft hands, sees the ice well and he has decent size. Doesn’t have a lot of flaws to his game and it’s ridiculous how much he improved season over season.
  4. D Adam Larsson 6.03, 220. Big defender is already a seasoned pro in the SEL. I have him at #4 because it’s likely Larsson won’t be a major offensive contributor based on how he’s being used in the SEL. Despite having a lot to recommend him defensively, I don’t think he’s as valuable as the men above him.
  5. L Gabriel Landeskog 6.01, 205. The one guy in the draft I’m having a hard time slotting. Landeskog has a nice range of skills and that’s high value in my opinion. Landeskog is a difficult player to play against, a leader. He’s tough and because of the wide range of skills he’s certainly worth a lottery pick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken in the top 3, especially after what should be an impressive combine.
  6. L Jonathan Huberdeau 6.01, 168. I have him lower than many of the mock drafts or seedings, but Huberdeau is on an exceptionally talented team and his offensive numbers may have been inflated quite a lot courtesy the quality of team. He’s a talent, no doubt. I just like the other 5 kids better.
  7. Ryan Murphy 5.10, 168. He’s one dimensional but man what a dimension. Murphy is an exceptionally talented puck mover, his lack of size for the position he plays and some questions about his strength are the only real negatives. He could be the best defenseman in this draft.
  8. D Dougie Hamilton 6.04, 190. Big man can skate very well and has a major impact on his team’s powerplay. I’m nicking him a little because his offense is inflated via the powerplay and it’s very unlikely he’ll bring that to the NHL for some time (if at all). Still, a terrific player.
  9. LW Sven Bartschi 5.10, 185. Undersized winger with terrific skill is being undervalued by some. He is a pure WHL rookie and delivered an exceptional season. His impressive showing during the WHL playoffs appears to have cemented his status as a top 10 pick in this year’s draft.
  10. C Mark McNeill 6.01, 204. He’s big, plays center and has 2-way skills. That’s a lot to like. A very disciplined player, on the right side of the puck a lot and pays attention to detail. Under the radar for most of the year, he impressed enough at the U18’s to be considered a legit top 10 selection.
  11. RW Joel Armia 6.03, 191. Has size, speed and skill, a deadly combination. Armia is a load, highly skilled with great anticipation. Needs to add strength, and is never going to be a physical winger despite his being 6.03.
  12. R Zack Phillips 6.01, 181. Impressive offensive prospect, he gets nicked a little bit because of the team and line he plays on. He’s clearly talented, but isn’t an explosive skater. His scoring ability will get him taken earlier than a lot of people believe.  
  13. D Joe Morrow 6.01, 200. Morrow is an interesting prospect in that he brings a nice range of skills. Size, puck moving ability and he can play the position. The one thing that held him back a little was footspeed but that’s apparently improved this season.
  14. C Mika Zibanejad 6.02, 191. Big C improved late. At the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ont., the 6-foot-2, 191-pound centre led Team Sweden with five goals and nine points in six games en route to a bronze medal. Talented and a hard worker. 
  15. D Nathan Beaulieu 6.02, 195. Big defender with a large wingspan and the ability to make an effective headman pass. A good skater, he’s physical and has a mean streak. I don’t think he’ll be an offensive defender, but he does have a nice range of skills. 
  16. D Duncan Siemens 6.03, 200. Huge kid is one of the youngest players available in this draft. Has a nasty streak and some offense, although he is unlikely to produce big offensive numbers in the NHL.
  17. D Jamie Oleksiak 6.07, 244. A good skater for a guy his size, and his wingspan is enormous. He won’t bring a lot of offense but is probably at the top of the group of defenders who could be considered shutdown prospects.
  18. L Matt Puempel 6.0, 190. A dangerous offensive winger. He played for a very poor Peterborough team and scored over 30 goals, so there’s definitely a player there. Quick release, offensive players always go early.
  19. C Alexander Khokhlachev 5.10, 188. Undersized skill Russian played for Windsor in the OHL. Fast and slick, he is also a puck wizard and is one of those players who is always getting a lot of scoring chances. Among the more one dimensional players at the top of the draft.
  20. L Niklas Jensen 6.02, 188. Has a nice range of skills. Size, good speed and offensive ability, his big question mark is consistency. His “compete level” has been questioned by scouts and his overall offensive impact isn’t enough to get him into the top 20.
  21. C Mark Scheifele 6.02, 177. Impressed a lot of people with his U18 performance and has a nice range of skills. Slick puck skills and good motor make him a player that teams looking for compete level will probably take off the board quickly. His skating might be a little shy, but he’s an excellent prospect.
  22. G John Gibson 6.03, 205. Huge goalie with quick feet and glove. He’s one of those “block out the sun” goaltenders and is already pretty famous. He could go earlier than where I’ve slotted him, but should be chosen a little shy of Jack Campbell (Gibson is often compared to Campbell).
  23. R Ty Rattie 6.00, 167. Undersized skill winger showcased his talents during the WHL post-season. Just average foot speed, but he’s one of those players who always seem to be around the puck and possesses a lot of skill.
  24. C Shane Prince 5.11, 185. Coming off a very good season with Ottawa where he played on one of the best lines in the CHL. One of the older prospects at the top of the draft (Nov. 1992), it’ll be interesting to see if he gets a push coming out of the combine.
  25. D David Musil 6.03, 200. He’s fallen down the draft because Musil didn’t deliver offensively, but I don’t know that there was ever a lot of evidence that he’d be that player type. Musil may end up being a similar player to his father, and that’s certainly a player of value.
  26. L Brandon Saad 6.02, 210. Fell a long way during the season after being projected as a top 10 pick early on. He has size, a quick release an impressive offensive instincts. That combination should get him drafted on day one.
  27. C Viktor Rask 6.01, 194. Big offensive center with some skating issues. Something of a draft wild card in that his skill set is much better than his overall performance. Could go anywhere from late 1st to late 2nd round.
  28. C Boone Jenner 6.01 193. Kirk Luedeke from Bruins Draft Watch quotes an NHL scout saying Jenner “just skates his bag off” and that will get scouts’ attention. Not a great skater (one of several projected to go in round One), not flashy, but he’s tough and can handle himself. Might be one of those wingers who ends up playing on a skill line while also helping in an enforcer role.
  29. R Rikard Rakell 6.01, 190. Skilled agitator. Scouts like his skating and offensive potential, and he should be able to play a role on an NHL team even if his offense doesn’t come with him to the pro game.
  30. D Jonas Brodin 6.02, 172. Lanky defender whose calling card is foot speed. Swedish scout Par Larsson:"Looks tiny around net and corners, but never shies from contact and his fine positioning and timing allow him to handle the added physicality. Smart and makes heady plays with the puck, finding breaking wingers on the tape."
Many of the things stated in this ranking have been borrowed from Kirk Luedeke at Bruins Draft Watch. His exceptional blog remains the best available source for information that is readily available. My thanks to him for providing such an enormous amount of information on the 2011 draft.
  • paul wodehouse

    Ritchie is a great darkhorse pick. But there’s no need to splurge a first overall on him. If the Oilers are interested, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll still be available at 18. I am kind of surprised he didn’t make LT’s Early Thirty, but there’s a kid who might sneak in after the combine.

  • My opinion. Which is just as uniformed as the rest of you is that the Oilers will go with RNH. I think that when the Oilers look at what type of player they will need in 5 years that he fits the bill exactly. Smart, skilled and and able to consistently deliver the puck to his teammates.Brains before brawn. Thats what I really think it comes down to for me. I like SC’s size but does his hockey IQ match that of RNH? I think that is what seperates them. RNH has that intangible. He has that ability to see how the play will develop and be proactive rather than reactive to the play. What kind of linemate would you rather Hall and Eberle have? The kind that is one step ahead?Or the one that is one step behind. Examples. Gretzky and Kurri. Messier and Anderson. Zetterberg and Datsuyk. When Zetterberg and Datsuyk are out on the ice together the chemistry is amazing. There is not a whole lot of calling for the puck. They know what each other is going to do. Those of us old enough to remember the other 2 combos know what I am talking about. Its something you can’t teach a player. It just has to be there. I think that RNH will have that and will given time develop that kind of on ice relationship with Hall and Eberle. Thats why I think the Oilers will take him number 1

  • paul wodehouse

    FIST is out now i’m guessing

    but how’bout fifty fist? it was ok last time

    …and it’s ok michael your uniformed opinion is as good, if not better, than anyone elses’ uniformed opinion …

  • paul wodehouse

    I distinctly remember Oilers bypassing a future power forward in Doan for a flashy speedster in Kelly . Better hope Hopkins doesn’t turn out to be next Kelly ,and we end up by-passing at least 3 power personnel in Larsson, Couturier and Landeskog .

    • Wax Man Riley

      Kelly is one of the 30% Points from goals guys that are busts. altough busts is harsh. RNH will be a 18-20G/seaason guy with 27 to 35 assists. but you do not take that #1. #15-30 yes. #1 no.

      A sam gagner , Matt Stagan. Around top 30 for centers in points, top 30 for centers in assists. Just not #1.

      give me the top 3 forward are top 2 dman with the least bust risk. RNH is not that.

      Stu takes risk with players that have trends that say huge potential.

      2nd round to #65 great 16yr old year and something affects draft year

      in the rounds that almost never get NHL players. Top 65 to end of round 7.

      Look at our 2007 draft on:

      2006 Peckham RD3 #75
      2007 Omark RD4 #97

      2008 Hartikainen RD6 #163

      2009 Rajalas RD4 #101, Roy RD5 #133

      2010 Blain RD4 #91, Bunz RD5 #121, Davidson RD6 #162

      They pick the correct risks. just not at #1

      • Wax Man Riley

        Well… 106 players had 20 goals, but you know what? As I look, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Getzlaf, and Mike Ribiero are not part of those 106 players. I would still have those 3 on my team.

        I see your argument. I understand where the logic comes from. I see some select stats to back it up. I am not in the hockey “know” enough neither have I seen any of the players play for any length enough to come to a decision.

        I just wonder where the hype comes from? Is it just hype for hype’s sake?

        Are other pro scouts trying to spoil the pick for Edmonton?

        Malfeasance for malfeasance’s sake? (long live Dwight Schrute)

    • Wax Man Riley

      What’s to say Courtourier doesn’t turn out to be a Kelley? Big guy that put up good numbers in junior. We won’t know for a few years. My guess is that they both will have very good careers, and it is just a matter of picking the best option, no the one that won’t be a bust.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Huh? Double post eh? Well then … You know what time it is…

      I think Landeskog will be the one that stands out in the long run in this draft, but I can’t see the Oil taking another winger. Also, not a 3rd liner with the first pick. I’m looking forward to seeing RNH dishing to Hall, Ebs, Pääjärvi, et al.

  • hopkins will not be kelly, he is an elite passer with a great shot that he dosent use often because he likes to pass you put him with eberle and hall and he makes hall and eberle reach their maximum potential. Cogliano gagner and horcoff are not elite offensive players so hall and eberle have not alot to work with yet you could just imagine how good they would be with somebody that makes them look better. You cant pick coutourier with the number 1 pick when hes ranked anywhere from 6th to 8th. You could just imagine the backlash from the fans if coutourier ended up being a 20 goal 2o assist guy and responsible in his own end, and hopkins ends up being a 30 goal 60 assist guy it wouldnt look good

  • @rickithebear,

    Taylor Hall is the franchise player. To maximize his talents, he’ll eventually need an elite playmaker. (The type Edmonton can only draft)

    Nugent-Hopkins probably won’t score 35 goals per year in the NHL, but you draft him to set up Taylor Hall for 40+ consistently.

    If Larsson’ projected to be a solid #2 defenseman, Edmonton can find that type of player or better via UFA, RFA, 2012 #1, or get lucky with #19, #31 this year.

    The Oilers PP is terrible, why knock RNH because he might be able to fix it?

    Larsson scored 1 goal in the SEL this year, that projects to Ladislav Smid type #’s in the NHL.

    What if he’s Chris Phillips?

  • paul wodehouse

    Nate: finally a valid arguement with risk in mind.

    To me RNH is a less physical hemsky. As for our PP. if Omark is not the side board QB I will be pissed. he controls. pressures the d for a shot. willing to go down below the goal line. he is a 4 option guy on the side boards. hemsky is not and we would be duplicting Gagner with RNH.

    Set-up man for Hall????????????? Hall is a diresct line player who works well with a second direct line player. nope do not by that fit.

    Larssons 16 and 17 year seasons are the best in SEL the last 25 years. the best offensively. this with him getting 3rd unit pp time. Would be if he was getting tons of PP. your point is valid though Forwards and Dmaen with tons of PP time and are not high goal producers are a big problem. they should be avoided like the plague.

    Wonder if we knw any players like that?
    Thanks nate you are correct RNH should be avoided.

    • Wax Man Riley

      But… but… Nate posted this:

      Taylor Hall is the franchise player. To maximize his talents, he’ll eventually need an elite playmaker. (The type Edmonton can only draft)

      Nugent-Hopkins probably won’t score 35 goals per year in the NHL, you draft him to set up Hall for 40+ consistently.

      If Larsson’ projected to be a solid #2 defenseman I think Edmonton can find that type of player or better via UFA,RFA,2012 #1, or get lucky with #19,31 this year.

      The Oilers PP is terrible, why knock RNH because he might be able to fix it?

      Sounds like he likes RNH…. am I missing something?

    • I think, as I have said before, that your work on this point deserves some serious consideration.

      However, you still haven’t explained to me how a guy like you who played junior hockey with Bobby Clarke came to obsess over goal scoring ratios given that your more famous teammate made the hall of fame after putting up a 30% ratio as an 18 year old.

      • Corey Perry had roughly 30% of his points come from Goals in his draft year. Marty St Louis only had 30% of his points come from goals while he was playing in college. Brad Richards had about 29% from goals in his draft year. Joe Thornton had about 30% of his points come from Goals as well.

        The more I look at it, the less convinced I am that some sort of goal/assist ratio is the golden rule for hockey prospects. You want to argue that RNH isnt likely to score 50 goals in the NHL? Fair. Argue that he’ll bust out? Not convinced.

        Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Sedin, Brad Richards, and Ryan Getzlaf have never scored 35 goals in the in the NHL. I’d still hand over the 1C job to any of them in a heart-beat. Goal scoring is incredibly important, but it’s not the only aspect that matters.

        How bout this stat. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been a factor in 40% of all of the Red Deer Rebels’ 268 combined goals.

        Huberdeau in on 32% of his team’s goal output. Couturier in on 38% of Drummondville’s goals. Strome in on 39% of Niagara’s Goals For.

        Both Strome and The Nuge were about 20 points ahead of the next closest guy on their respective teams. SC was tied for his team lead, Huberdeau was about 10 points ahead of the next guy on his team.

        Of all the top offensive prospects 1 player did the most with the least amount of help. That’s RNH. Strome in at a close 2nd.

        Strome also has about 30% of his points come from goals, for what its worth.

        • Wax Man Riley

          HEY, HEY, HEY!!

          That’s enough with the “reason”, and the “logic”, and other “stats” to back things up.

          Both are very good arguments for taking RNH or not taking RNH.

          The 30% goal argument is not the rule.

          Henrik Sedin, in his final year in the SEL had 9G, 38A. That is 19% from goals. Does anyone argue his ability to be a #1C?

        • Wax Man Riley

          perry had 32% that is fairly standard but the kid had 1ppg in his 16 year old year with a 47% ratio that year. You wonder why he went 28th overall. he has consistent draft year he is top 5.

          Brett ritchie to me is in the same situation.

          Datsyuk ??????? was 42% in the RSL before his draft. Not 30% so he ould translate numbers to NHL.

          Thorton 34% what are you looking at this isn’t pick a player and round up or down. he should have been 1.4PPG by age 23 oh look 1.3ppg

          Plus your one of the bad boy girlfreinds!

          do not question this unless you come with accurate facts! its embarrassing.

          “Strome also has about 30% of his points come from goals, for what its worth!”

          do you see me even consider him. At least the scouts arn’t as mees the draft stupid as the are with RNH or were with Daigle.

          • I dont know where you’re going with this “bad boy girlfriend” thing, but its creeping me out a little.

            But back to hockey, did you just attack me for not using accurate facts while continuing to hold strong to a magic goal/assist ratio rule that you just made up? Come on now.

            Big Joe scored less than 34% of his points from goals. I agree, it was framed poorly when I said he scored “about” 30% with goals, but it still highlights a player who put up significant points via assists who continued that trend in the NHL.

            I just dont buy your correlation. It doesnt hold up very well.

        • It’s true that Couturier had less clearance from his closest scoring teammate than did RNH, but it’s also true that RNH’s 2nd closest teammate was 25 points behind him while SC’s 2nd closest teammate was 44 points behind him.

          In terms or plus minus, Couturier was 1st, while RNH was 3rd on his team. To give an idea of scale:

          Couturier +55

          Palat +37

          Randazzo +30

          Mathieu +20

          Archer +40

          Persson +37

          Nugent Hopkins +30

          Ferguson +29

          • I’m not knocking SC. He still contributed a huge amount to his team’s total offense. If anything, I think Huberdeau has benefitted more from playing on a stacked team, not so much SC. Plus, as you mentioned, his +/- is outstanding. I was just taking a look at that ridiculous 30% business and noticed some other numbers that I think have a little more weight.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I think just as telling is the number of points that a player contributes to the team total, i.e. RNH being in on 40% of the goals that the Rebels scored.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Max: henrik was one of (12)??? players who were top 10 in scoring in SEL while still developing Core strength.

    the list is K. Nilsson, Gradin, Loob, Sanstrom, Sundstrom, Matts Naslund, Markus Naslund, Forsburg, H. Sedin, D. Sedin, Zetterburg, Omark.

    That is a special list. I take henrik if he is with his brother. but you put a Goal scorer on there side because as i have said in the past. You need one set up player on each line. look at Burrows. A nice 50%G player. Henrik traditionally yeilded to His brother you take that as a pair.

    But they were elite Special. Rnh 1.5PPG in the CHL at best he is a 70 point guy.

    But the 30% goal guys never hit there NHLE. Sam Gagner is the best example.

    He was 2.22ppg in CHL which wiould be 1.59PPG at age 23. his first three year compare to lecavalier adn such but he has not made the step up.
    has has one more year to maybe get up to 50% of that value and become a 60 point center. but alot of the 30% guys have a 50% in the NHL from expected.

    Getzlaf: 19th pick overall do you take him before Staal, Vanek, Carter, Parise. they all get you more goals. Getzlaf is a 25G/ season player ther are 60 25 goal scorers. he doesn’t have a lack of goals that would need to be made up by the wingers.

    Draft management: you will likely get a RNH clone in strome or Prince one at 7-10 and the other at #30. why waste #1.

    • Sedin 19-75-94 (35PP), Getzlaf 19-57-76 (27PP), Thornton 21-49-70 (33PP): Come be the Oilers number 1 Center any day of the week.

      I think your point projection for Nugent-Hopkins is a fair projection for his rookie year but not when he is 22-28 and playing with Hall and Eberle. He is an elite player who can put the puck in the net anyway good players find ways for their team to score and he does just that, I don’t care if he comes and put up 10 goals and 60 assists thats still 70 more goals for the OILERS.

      For the record Daigle put up 51 points as an 18 year old in the NHL, not saying it wasn’t all him but it could be that his development haulted because was jerked around a bit by the sens.

  • Prediction: RNH WILL be the 1st overall pick and he WON’T be a bust, the other guys will be good but I think if the Oilers are smart they send him back to juniors and he will come back at 6’1 175-185 come next fall and be the Oilers number 1 center for as long as they have him under contract I also think in his prime he will be a 75+ point guy.

    Plus he will help get the Oilers PP into the top 10…this is without Bucky as the PP coach…

  • Wax Man Riley

    Am I ever glad I’m not the one on the line for this decision. Couturier also played 11 less games.

    Is there any proof that the QMJHL is actually a weaker league?

  • Arch: RNH apologists are like the Girl who dates the bad boy and is always making dumbas…. excuses for her parents.

    as for the sedin’s there is a symbiotic relationship were the whole is worth more than the individuals. but the individuals are great.

    Arch as 30% business. Prove it wrong! PROVE IT WRONG!

    • I think if you want anyone to buy into this you need to provide your work somewhere and show the dataset.

      You post it everywhere and throw out numbers as fact even though they are completely unverified.

      Your theory may have value but until you can demonstrate it comprehensively there is no reason to give 30% any more value than “clutch scoring”.

    • NastyNate

      Um… Hopkins is the opposite of bad boy. In fact, it seems to me like the type of guy you bring to your parents because he seems harmless and docile.

      And for the entire “assists don’t count” argument, i’m going to pop out some names of prominent “pass first players” that fared pretty well. Gretzky. Weight. Janney. Juneau. Thornton. Spezza. Gilmour. Getzlaf. Sedinette. Did i mention Gretzky? Dan Marino. Tom Brady. Ron Francis I think i mentioned Gretzky. Didn’t he have like… 2000 assist and like… 900 goals or sumptin? isn’t that like… i dunno… 30 percent?

      I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but if you’re implying “risk management” into your argument, wouldn’t you want somebody that EVERYONE is raving about when it comes to talent, personality and commitment?

      You keep on bringing up Daigle, but he had a “holier than thou” attitude. If Hopkins ever commented that “nobody remembers who got drafted second”, i would agree that he would be a bad 1st overall pick. Daigle failed cos of his personality and commitment, not lack of size or talent. I don’t foresee the same problem with RNH.

      BTW, i don’t care who we draft as long as it isn’t Dan Marino. He’s too good of a passer.

  • Can’t believe LT puts Larsson 4th because of his scoring numbers as a 17 year old playing against men in the SEL.

    If the guy shows that he has all the offensive and defensive skills of a franchise quality defense prospect and is cool under pressure, IMO that would count for a lot more than stats while playing defense effectively underage in a high-level league.

    There’s two assumptions here that seem a bit wrong:

    1. The only way the Oilers can get a #1 center is through the draft.

    Even though our current management refuses to do so, the Oilers are capable of acquiring a potential impact player in a trade. We have lots of quality young players, and won’t be able to pay them all in 4 years.

    2. The Oilers can acquire a #1 or #2 D in RFA/UFA/lower picks that can be as good as Larsson.

    Unless we get ridiculously lucky and convince another Pronger to come here in FA, this isn’t going to happen. Would you rather have Larsson or someone like Teubert anchoring the D in 2-3 years?

    • Wax Man Riley

      There have been many very good defensemen taken in the later rounds. Weber was #49,Ehrhoff #106, Lidstrom #53, Chara #56, just off the top of my head.

      Unless we get ridiculously lucky or convince Crosby to sign here, I believe it is harder to find that elite #1C.

      Would you rather have a Datsyuk or Lacavalier type player (RNH or Couturier) here in 2-3 years, or Gagner centering our top line?

      I’m with Gregor in that the top D men are easier (not MUCH easier, as even TOP wingers are hard to come by) than a #1C

  • NastyNate

    @Lowetide

    What top prospects will be playing in the mem cup? I see the Saint John Sea Dogs won tonight and so there is Huberdeau. Anyone else we should be watching with any of our picks? (Potential 1st & 2nd rounders.)

    This is really the only time I get to see players from out east.

  • Clyde Frog

    I just worry about the Q with SC, impact players who are not generational don’t seem to come out of the league very often.

    As for Rickie…

    Again buddy you are taking a goals vs assists ratio and holding it up with no limits.

    Want archeology guy to prove it wrong?

    2006 Entry Draft

    John McCarthy had a 50% G to A ratio, never amounted to anything

    Same with Ben Ferriero 65% in the ratio.

    We can go on, without your “math” or placing any limits on it, its a joke.

  • Mantastic

    i really hope mark mcneil falls down to our LA pick. in most lists, he’s at the 15-20 range, which is perfect for us.

    i really see him as being a clowe/kesler type.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I would love if the Oilers could get him and if he is still there around 15 I wouldnt be surprised at all if the Oilers moved up to get him, in saying that I am pretty confident that he will not get passed 15, I think he will be one of those guys that a team takes in the top 12 that is kind of a surprise to people because of where he was ranked (Like McIlrath with NYR last year) after his U18 performance as well I think he has moved up in teams lists.

      • Mantastic

        that’s what scares me, someone getting him before we do! he was clearly the best player on a runt of a team and has size, skill, power, character and grit! but at least we wouldn’t have to give up that much more to move up from 19th.

        • Blue Bullet

          No I don’t think so, and I think in the end as sweet as it would be to get another top 5 or top 10 pick it would benefit us more trading up a few spots to the 12-16 range and taking McNeil, I think it would take less do that, maybe 18 and Brule or 18 and a 3rd or a 4th or something and I think that would help us in the long run more so then trading 18 and 31 for a top 10 but I guess it all depends on who we get, I think McNeil will become a Getzlaf type guy (Rated later in the first round but goes on to become a dominant power forward/center), except the difference is Getzlaf went 19 or something and I think McNeil could squeeze into the top 12 or even 10 (maybe), I would not be opposed to drafting RNH then McNeil that would solidify our Center position for years.

  • Blue Bullet

    Interesting list. With the top 8 this year its coming down to a matter of personal preference. Makes for an interesting time when doing draft rankings that’s for sure.