Spring brings with it many wonderful colors. The shadow grey’s give way to deep, rich blue and green and the warmth of the sun invites the fairer sex to show us what we’ve been missing these long, dreary months. Whatever God you pray to, the maker of the big old sun was absolutely on our side.
The weeks are flying by now, we’re scant days away from the NHL entry draft (I can write any damn thing I want here, you’re not reading). Blah Blah blah blah blah, list of consensus top 8 below.
We’re in the "market correction" phase of this year’s draft. We’ve talked ourselves in circles (pre-draft talk looks exactly like your collie chasing its tail) and now it’s the period where we wake up, put the empties away and pour the stale beer down the drain. So, what are the market corrections this spring?
- Sean Couturier: After being relegated to the back half of the top 10, we hear rumblings from various credible sources that the big man from Phoenix, Arizona is likely to go in the top 5 overall. Credible sources are here and here.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Very quickly, the lean C has established himself as the clear #1 pick. It might be Ken Hitchcock’s praise or Bob McKenzie’s prose, but either way RNH is firmly slotted as the top selection. I don’t expect things to change down the stretch.
- Adam Larsson: His contribution to a quality SEL team during the playoffs is testimony to Larsson’s defensive abilities. There is some question about how much offense he’ll deliver but it’s a good bet Larsson will be the second name off the board.
- Ryan Murphy: More and more, people are looking at his boxcars and wondering why he isn’t in the top 5. Murphy (63gp, 26-53-79) had an enormous offensive season in the OHL–on par with Ryan Ellis one year ago.
- Ryan Strome: Despite exceptional numbers, he remains outside the top 5 on many lists. Math gushes over his ability and he might end up being this year’s Jeff Skinner (although not a pure scorer like Skinner).
- Jonathan Huberdeau: A complete wild card now, he could go anywhere from 3rd overall to the tail end of the top 10. A huge playoff is helping him move up the list.
- Gabriel Landeskog: I expect the draft hype to hit new highs for him come combine time. Landeskog is a man, he’s well spoken and any NHL team interviewing him is likely to be very impressed by his composure under pressure.
- Dougie Hamilton: Another player that several publications have all over the top 8 (Redline has him at 4, Bob McKenziie at #7).
And that my friends is pretty much the universal top 8 (in no particular order). It’s a strong list, and according to several sources falls off after that and it’s pretty much a crapshoot through the end of round two. But those are the players whose names will be called draft night. Will the Oilers get RNH? Larsson? What if they could make a deal and get two of the top 8?
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Among the guests scheduled to appear:
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. We’ll talk Stanley Cup playoffs, the World Hockey Championships and the nationwide opinions of Vancouver’s Canucks (it’s varied).
- Gregg Drinnan from Taking Note will update us on WHL business and we’ll talk about the classic series involving Kootenay and Portland.
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun will chime in on the playoffs, we’ll mull over the Oilers and the conversation will no doubt involve the people of Winnipeg.
- Olivier Gabriel, Portland Winter Hawks winger and Columbus Blue Jacket prospect. I’ll ask him about his draft experience and how he ended up signing with the Jackets.
Your calls and emails are a big part of the show, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll read them all.