All The News That Fits

A few weeks into the 2011-12 NHL season, there are some similarities emerging for the 2010 and 2011 entry drafts. In both seasons, the top 2 selections made the leap to the show, both drafts boast a defenseman who adjusted seamlessly to the show and then a later pick in the top 10 who made some teams look foolish for passing them over. It’ll be years before we make the call, but how is this trending?

2010 saw 6 kids jump right to the show and 5 would play complete seasons:

  1. Jeff Skinner 82, 31-32-63
  2. Taylor Hall 65, 22-20-42
  3. Cam Fowler 76, 10-30-40
  4. Tyler Seguin 74, 11-11-22
  5. Alexander Burmistrov 74, 6-14-20
  6. Nino Niedereiter 9, 1-1-2

I’d argue there were three (Skinner, Hall and Fowler) legit everyday players in the lineup and that Seguin was a bit player at times and a regular at others. Burmsitrov played an elevated role for the Thrashers but was not a major contributor (sure looks like one now, though).

Five players spent the majority of the season in the NHL, one slipped away at the deadline. All of these players were selected in the top dozen choices on day one 2010 entry draft. The top 2 selections (Hall & Seguin), a defenseman (Fowler) and a surprise forward in the top 10 (Skinner) were the headliners for the year.

The 2011 entry draft looks very similar from here. The top 2 selections (RNH & Landeskog) made the grade and a defenseman (Larsson) has made a seamless adjustment to the show. A pick later in the top 10 (Couturier) is making some teams look foolish for passing over him–but it’s early.

  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 10, 5-4-9
  2. Grabriel Landeskog 10, 4-2-6
  3. Sean Couturier 10, 2-2-4
  4. Mark Scheifele 7, 1-0-1
  5. Mika Zibanejad 9, 0-1-1
  6. Adam Larsson 8, 0-0-0
  7. Brandon Saad 2, 0-0-0

RNH and Landeskog appear to the the class of the group, but Couturier has survived the cut and could have an impact on the Calder race ala Skinner one year ago. All reports on Larsson have been extremely positive, so he also looks like a quality pick. The others have been sent back, meaning there are 4 players who passed an extremely difficult test this fall.


We’ve just counted arrows and there’s a long way to go. More than their on-ice boxcars, health and progress of any kind are the watch words for the next year or so. You don’t want to hear "Tyler Seguin has a hip condition" unless he was at a Hip concert the night before. You can say that Taylor Hall has been more productive than he was a year ago (10gp, 2-3-5 -4 a year ago and 10, 3-5-8 +4 this time) but you’d rather see better boxcars at year end as an arrow. **NOTE: The Seguin story linked to above is now being disputed by HNIC’s Cassie Campbell via twitter.


Sometimes you have to look at something for a long time before you can realize how significant it is historically. The draft is no different–2010 still looks deeper and stronger than 2011 and the Oilers do appear to have grabbed two jewels in their grab for glory.

But we’re barely on the freeway and these days are just snapshots. Somewhere in the top 10 there’s a chronic hip problem and the back pages contain great value we can’t see from here. "All the news that fits" didn’t mean one damn thing once upon a time, and that’s the beauty of watching things unfold. Sometimes life surprises you in the best possible way.

Nation Radio is back on the air today at noon. Among the guests scheduled to appear:

  • Kirk Luedeke from Redline report. Kirk and I are going to talk about the 2011 draft so far. Are there any surprises? Is RNH the best of the bunch out of the box? Do those of us who felt Sean Couturier was the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft enjoy early bragging rights?
  • Cam Moon from the Red Deer Rebels. With Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton to stay, I’ll ask Cam about the impact on the Rebels this season. Moon was vehement in the spring (BEFORE the draft) that size, bulk, speed–whatever–wouldn’t be enough to keep RNH from having an impact at the NHL level. He was right.
  • Ryan Batty from Copper and Blue. Ryan always has a strong opinion and doesn’t waiver when it’s unpopular but worth defending. Such is the case this week, as Batty wrote a fine article entitled "Why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Should Go Back to Red Deer." I’ll ask him about that and a few other Oiler related items this afternoon.
  • Danny Gray from Leafs Nation. I’ll ask him about Kessel’s fast start, why Ron Wilson hates people and we’ll discuss Phaneuf’s lack of Phaneufiness this season.
  • Sutton

    Opposition is aware of his big body and physical play and that’s one of the reasons Oilers are not being pushed around as much and the kids can move little more freely. He can handle the puck well and move it out of our zone, which we lacked last year, and besides few bad penalties that he takes from time to time, He is a big plus on our team, we’ve added some size in the off season which Oilers so needed and results are showing,
    We are not in the first place by accident and I expect us to stay closer to the top then the bottom and making the playoffs.
    Remember, Oilers in 89-90 Stanley Cup season were not the offensive machine, were outshot two out of every three games and only Randford’s incredible play and us realizing after Kings come back year earlier that ended our dream of winning the Cup without Wayne, we started to play defense, our PP improved and so did our PK. It is what Oilers are doing right now, not by playing end to end shootout style game, but playing to win the long and hard season and making the playoffs.
    They are young and talented and along with the coach are learning the system together right from the scratch, from the tiny little seedling, they know plenty about defeats, all the bad apples are gone, the new tree was planted last year and its roots are well deep in the ground and it is growing pretty fast, the young buds are ripening quickly right before our eyes, the leaves are slowly forming. And like in the life of the tree the young Oilers went through the Fall and Spring is fast approaching, the fruits of hard labor are going to be sweet and plenty of and I can’t wait for the bite of that apple.

    • m3sh

      Whoa there bud. That whole counting chickens before they hatch adage is applicable here. Yes, there’s promising signs, but in no way are we making the playoffs quite yet – everything is going our way right now, we’ll see how this team responds to some real adversity (Hemsky and Whitney out is not adversity, that’s BAU).

      Everyone says wait until 20 games… then it’ll be 30, then 40; until we make the playoffs people will say we likely can’t/won’t. I’m one of them – 5 years of seeing random 5 game win streaks followed by 10-13 game losing streaks tends to colour one sceptical. Which is not to say I’m not enjoying every goddamn second of this current run of success.

      My measuring stick is always regulation losses. If we hit 30, we’re likely done, lucky to be 8th seed if at all. If we make it to the all-star break with less than 20 regulation losses, i may just starting believing it’s possible 🙂

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Sorry, off topic. Me and my buddy were discussing Penner signing the offer sheet to come to Edmonton. We gave up picks, can anyone tell me who those picks turned out to be? Thanks in advance.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I do recall Lander taking a dirty head shot by Guillaume Latendresse of the Minnesota Wild this year. Unfortunately there was no call, no controversy, and therefore no suspension either. That pissed me off.