This is Mr. McGregor from the Tales of Peter Rabbit. He tended his garden and watched out for quick moving rabbits. In this way, the Beatrix Potter character is somewhat similar to our own Mr. MacGregor: tending the garden, watching for quick moving rabbits.
For about three years now, many of us have called Stu MacGregor the "Magnificent Bastard." It is meant as a compliment and is well earned; MacGregor and the Oilers scouting staff have sussed out a few things about the entry draft and followed them religiously. First, they pay close attention to the kids who attend the scouting combine (this week, for those who don’t follow the combine). Second, they usually draft players that are "inside the range" of their proojected draft number. As an example, here’s last year’s list:
- #1: Taylor Hall: #1 (ISS, Redline, Bob McKenzie)
- #31: Tyler Pitlick: ISS20; Redline30; Bob McKenzie25
- #46: Martin Marincin ISS40; Redline 50; Bob McKenzie71
- #48: Curtis Hamilton ISS60; Redline 121; Bob McKenzie57
- #61: Ryan Martindale ISS61; Redline 100; Bob McKenzie58
- #91: Jeremie Blaine Redline 156
- #121: Tyler Bunz ISS 14G; Redline 178; Bob McKenzie NR
- #162: Brandon Davidson ISS75; Redline204; Bob McKenzie NR
- #166: Drew Czerwonka unranked
- #181: Kristians Pelss Redline218
- #202: Kellen Jones unranked
As you can see, #1, #31, #46, #48 and #61 are selected around the projected number. Why is this important? Well, when you choose a Jesse Niinimaki, you better be right. Saying "well, we heard New Jersey wanted him" implies David Conte isn’t smart enough to start a rumor in hopes someone swallows it whole. No sir, better to have the courage of your convictions and follow the list that you’ve agreed upon and for goodness sake don’t let one scout sway you when the entire room hasn’t seen Alexei Mikhnov.
I suspect the scouting staff will be paying close attention to the defensemen this draft. I’m quite certain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is number one on their list (as speeds said on Nation Radio this past Saturday, the organization made no effort to distance themselves from RNH when rumors were hot and heavy a couple of weeks ago), but would bet money that Adam Larsson and Dougie Hamilton are tucked safely inside the top 5 (MBS said as much with Bob Stauffer yesterday afternoon) and that the names of Ryan Murphy, Nathan Beaulieu, Joe Morrow and Duncan Siemens are also being discussed.
It’s going to be a fun month. MBS gets his contract on the eve of June, there are trade winds blowing and the number one overall pick belongs to the Oilers. Let’s get this party started.