Max Return

This week saw all kinds of news breaking around the 2011 Entry Draft. New Jersey won the lottery (Lou must have found the Crossroads shortly after Robert Johnson, buddy’s had a horseshoe implanted since the 80’s) and the Edmonton Oilers won too. The town team will select first overall. Or will they? 

One of the stories coming out of the draft lottery (Darren Dreger had the story April 13: here) is the Oilers willingness to hear offers for the first overall pick. This didn’t happen a year ago, and implies that the Oilers may value one or more players at the same level. Tambellini mentioned there were 6 players of interest to his scouts and we can probably guess the six names and be pretty close (RNH, Larsson, Landeskog, Couturier, Huberdeau, Hamilton).

My best guess is that the Oilers like someone aside from RNH and Larsson just as much as those two players and feel the guy they like might slip a little. If they can acquire a valuable piece for the future while also acquiring their target player, doesn’t that make sense?  


I don’t know, that’s why I said "my guess" is that there’s some disagreement about the number one player. When we look at each player’s season in the clear light of day it’s clear ALL of the top prospects this year have some things that both recommend them and suggest the Oilers may not look their way on the draft floor.

  1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins: Elite level passing ability and a ridiculous sixth sense in regard to the highest percentage opportunities, he’s the one guy I can see the Oilers walking up to the podium and selecting number one overall. Why wouldn’t they? RNH is not an elite level even strength player in the WHL, and his skill set is (somewhat) duplicated on the Oilers current roster. Other than that, all arrows point to him.
  2. Adam Larsson: When you’re choosing first overall, it’s generally viewed as being a wise decision to take an offensive force. Larsson isn’t that player, and more than that there’s a long list of evidence that suggests this player type has an extremely hard time covering the bet when selected in lottery territory. Jason Gregor wrote about the defense versus forwards discussion here.
  3. Gabriel Lansdeskog: Rugged winger with solid scoring skills is a perfect fit for the young Oilers. If they had the first three selections the club could address all of their needs but that’s not going to happen and the argument against Landeskog is similar to the argument against Larsson: not enough offense for a franchise player.
  4. Sean Couturier: The argument for Couturier has to do with his boxcars (58gp, 36-60-96) and his size: 6.04, 195. The toughest thing for the Oilers organization at the draft table is to pass on this kid. Why? Anyone who has followed this organization for the last 20 years knows that a center with size has been sought after over and over again. Hell, Jason Arnott was drafted almost 20 years ago and he’s still going. What if Couturer is Arnott? Would that be good enough? The downside is "what if he’s Doug Wickenheiser?" and answering that question makes certain the Oilers scouts will be earning their keep this spring. Couturier had a hand in 38% of his team’s offense (96 points for SC, 251 goals for Drummondville) despite missing 10 contests.
  5. Jonathan Huberdeau: This year’s Tyler Seguin in that he’s closing late and could end up going in the top 3. He’s a 2-way talent who can play center or wing and has dynamic and obvious offensive skills. The downside is that he’s not much bigger than RNH and he plays on a loaded Saint John’s team. Five Sea Dogs scored more than 30 goals this season, and their 324 goals were 47 ahead of the second place team. How much of that offense is Huberdeau and how much of it is the residue of the other Sea Dogs? Huberdeau took part in 32% of his team’s offense (105 points on a team that scored 324 goals).
  6. Dougie Hamilton: I think he’s closing the gap on Larsson. Hamilton enjoyed an excellent regular season and appears to be going super nova (9gp, 3-11-14) in the post-season. Hamilton has size, mobility and can move the puck and impact the powerplay.

Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon. Scheduled to appear:

  1. Kirk Luedeke from Bruins Draft Watch. We’ll talk about the American kids in the draft, the U18’s going on right now and his opinions on the best player available at number one.
  2. Craig Button from NHL on the Fly and tsn: Button’s mock draft after the lottery selection was a very interesting item and we’ll discuss that and his family connection to the Central Scouting bureau.
  3. Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show. Guy has a good handle on the NCAA kids and can talk to us about the youngest General Manager in hockey. He’s probably younger than you!
  4. Matt Bugg from McKeen’s and Dobber Hockey. We’ll look at the top of the draft and go deep too. Bugg is a very astute follower of each year’s entry draft.
  5. Cassie McLellan from Raw Charge dot com. We’ll talk about the wisdom behind selecting Hedman before Kane and ask if taking a defenseman that high looks good a couple of years later.
  6. Tim Currell from is making life miserable for Canucks fans. So we like him. 🙂
  7. Gregg Drinnan from Taking Note! the best source for WHL news.

We won’t be at the Pint today, but will be back next week and have some big items on the way and especially as we move toward the entry draft. You can email questions to and thanks for all the great questions.

NOTE: The OKC Barons game will be live on Team 1260 starting at 2pm today. Take your "pocket radio" with you and keep it on 1260.

  • Lyxdeslic

    I agree that movie up in the draft would be wonderful and all but i wouldn’t mind keeping our later draft picks (19th and 31st) and seeing what steal Stu Macgregor can accomplish. When looking at the draft in the last 8 years we see HUGE names go late in the first round:
    Jordan Eberle – 22nd pick
    Claude Giroux – 22nd
    TJ Oshie – 24th
    Wolski – 21st
    Mike Green – 29th
    Zach Parise -17th
    Ryan Getzlaf – 19th
    Brent Burns – 20th
    Ryan kesler – 23rd
    Mike Richards – 24th
    Corey Perry – 28th
    Loui Ericksson – 33rd

    just to name a few. With this being such a deep draft who knows who could be a late round steal, i Trust Stu!

  • Craig1981

    Do you think It might be possible to move down with the 1st and up with the 15th (if LA losses this round) and get 2 players on this list. Remember the Avs have 2nd and 11th

  • Crash

    Why would anyone pass up an opportunity to land the next Lidstom in Larsson , and not have to give up anything to get him ? Yet most of you would give up more than our first pick to get other defencemen . These stud defencemen have been doing very good over last few seasons lets not ignor that , nor that you build from backend first in a rebuild ! We all like offence , but not when it comes to leaving a less than adequate base on the backend .

    If Larsson is the next Lidstrom then lets end the arguing and just take him first while we have the chance to do so , rather than risk taking just a good forward but not what one would call a franchise playwer like Larsson is likel to end up being !

    • Crash

      Does that Larsson is Lidstrom come with some sort of guarantee?

      History tells us Larsson stands a much better than even chance of not having that kind of impact.

      Read Gregor’s article from yesterday.

  • oilersrule05

    @ Lowetide.

    If you are arguing from a Larsson supporter’s view, what kind of things would you be saying to boost the idea of drafting Larsson over RNH? Because I’m mostly reading about taking the offensive power, taking forwards over defensemen so early in the draft, etc., which is legit. But I”m wondering what kind of arguments you could make for taking Larsson over RNH.


  • Maybe you all can help me figure this out
    I think the best thing the Oilers should do is draft or trade for needs, we badly need a center that is almost unanimous from what I read and hear. I don’t care about size as it makes little difference if the players got talent. I do care about BPP, if that’s RNH, Couturier or Strome, Huberdeau I don’t really know, as I have only seen RNH play, and he looked impressive. (sorry I seen SC at the WJC and did not look bad)
    I do know that Horcoff is a third line center and not a true top 2, and if the do sign Lander I’m guessing he’s a 4th or OKC bound.
    Does that not leave Cogliano or Gagner available?
    I completely agree with Gregor in the fact that we should not draft a defensemen but trade for one, but who’s out there that’s potential top 4 and available? (If your Nashville you do not trade Weber as some have suggested) What do the Oilers give up to attain a top 4 D player?
    Can or should the Oilers retain the 1st overall pick and try and trade up to the top 5 for a potential top 2 centers? Or a 1st line center and defensemen? Possibly Landeskog?
    I do know the Oilers need 2 top centers and 2 top D-man and a good goalie to be competitive team, can we not obtain these this summer? Or do they want a top 5 pick again next year?

    I’m so confused!

  • I bet Florida wants RNH & Larsson to go #1,2..

    Gudbranson, Kulikov, Ellerby…

    Edmonton’s in a position to get the player they want and add assets but we’ll see what Tambellini’s capable of. (still waiting)

    Taylor Hall won’t like sharing the spotlight with another 1st overall, better for the 2011 pick to know his role.

    Easier to send the #2 pick back to the WHL than #1, and it gives the Oilers one more year to make a decision with Gagner.

  • oilersrule05

    Keep our first pick , and try and move down with L.A.’s pick and a smallish incumbent forward . Maybe even our 31st pick if it means top 5 or 6th depending on whose available at that time . Can a scenario be found to rid team of Khabby and or Souray with little to no damage ? If there be any movement , we’d have to be sure what other top 5 and six clubs are taking and that order . What is best deal with Colorado that we might hope for ? I know i’m not sold on smallish defenceman Lilies .I’m leaning to have some space to try and get Musil later in the first round if possible as a priority .

    Moving up will be costlier than most of us think . The other clubs would rather move down as well , and are unlikely to give much in return to do so , seeing as their appears to be no clear consensus or franchise player like a Crosby , etc..

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    How about the #1 pick and Cogliano to the Devils for the #4 overall and Zajac?

    Relieves the Devils cap issues (they can choose RNH as a replacement), the Oil get their #1 center, and then draft Hamilton with the #4 pick.

    They still have the option of upgrading the Kings pick by trading it with a roster player.

    • Crash

      Now here we finally have a good trade suggestion…this is an excellent idea. Jersey may even go for this. They get the #1 pick, plus more cap space to resign Parise.

      The only worry would be if Zajac would resign here after his contract expires in 2 yrs.

      Doesn’t necessarily mean the Oilers would have to grab a d-man with the #4….but this is a solid idea.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Could the Oilers trade their #1 pick and 19th pick to Colorado for the #2 pick and #11. And if Edmonton wanted to move up they could trade their #11 from Colorado and the 31st for a couple picks higher.

    Wishful thinking

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I really believe they actually have to, and are going to trade the pick. The best player available doesn’t smoothly fit into the organizations depth chart… Especially after they have finally realized that high compete players that are below avg size and are willing to go to the dirty areas are most likely to ge hurt… Duh. Sound like the current roster much?

    Horcoff is forever our 3rd line C (and he will be the best and most over paid at the position in the NHL) which leaves holes at 1st, 2nd, and 4th. 4th liners are a dime a dozen, there is no clear franchise first line C in this years draft class, and lots of 2nd line C’s in the draft. Problem is we have a crazy log jam at 2C (Gagner, Pitlick, Lander, etc) and we have lots of quality wingers.

    Long story short, i believe the pick + assets will be moved for a 1C or 1D.

    Or take Larssen and set the record for 3 first overall picks in a row.

    • Wax Man Riley

      What are the chances that Penner is just not a good fit in LA. He is a big body with hands, but without the speedy finesse players of the oilers to open up the ice, he isn’t as effective.

      Then again he has a bit of a record of slow starts with a new team. Maybe next year he will rip it up.

      • Rogue

        I would think Penz would have a solid year next year. After all, it is his contract year, and one thing that is pretty much a constant, in all sports, athletes turn it on in the contract year. re Holik, Marchant.

  • 24% body fat

    These evaluations of these players seem fairly similar to the ones i posted as a comment on yesterdays article. However I tended to highlight the negatives of each player.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Sounds like a fully loaded show. I ‘ll be listening. As far as listening to offers for the first pick.Lets say Ottawa comes calling. Lets say the Oilers are thinking about picking Strome or Courtier. Will they be there at 6? Tough to say. If I thought either one would be there at 6 I could live with a deal that saw Ottawa and Edmonton flip picks. But here’s what I would ask in return. I would want Nashvilles # 1 pick that they traded to Ottawa in the Fisher deal. 2-1. Which then would give us the 6th, and perhaps the 15th and 16th picks in the first round of the draft. 3 picks in a draft that everyone says is pretty even from the top down? Add a Courtier or a Strome, along with a McNeil and a big Dman and it would look pretty good to most Oiler fans.

    I think Ottawa needs to rid itself of the ghosts of this past season. They need to make a splash. They need to give the fans in Ottawa a bone. The faithful there have been beat up and dragged through the mud this past year. Giving up that Nashville pick for a shot at the number 1 pick overall would go along way to placate the mob. Bryan Murray got a 3 year extension last week. He needs to prove that that descision was not the wrong one. The ownership have put the future of the franchise in his hands. By making a bold move he sends a message to the fans and the ownership that the Senators are moving forward.

      • Light, Sweet, Crude

        Here: is a simple points education: Not looking at zone shift or outscoring or other situational defining of ability.

        Wonder what the 30th(bottom first) and 45th (top 2nd) ranked players for each position got.

        30th R. Smyth 47PT
        45th R. Malone 38pt
        30th Jokinen 54pt
        45th J. stoll 43pt
        30th Samuelson 50pt
        45th Bertuzzi 45pt

        third line you have to get less than:
        You are 2nd line by points above this value.
        LW 29pt;
        C 37pt;
        RW 32pt

      • oilersrule05

        I don’t agree as both horcs and gagner are good second liners. I’ll agree on not having a true first line centre.I wouldn’t mind trading down if obtained another first rounder.after its all said and done 2 top ten pics could fill some holes. That said in Stu we trust.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The Oilers need NuHo and Strome or Couturier this summer. Maybe Gagner or Hemsky and the 31st gets us that pick from Columbus, i’d even take Commodore back. If we do find a partner to help us move up into the top 7-8 it makes it easier to gamble and take RNH No.1 overall.

    That Devils pick at No. 4 is a unique opportunity as well. With the Devils right up against the cap maybe flip that 4 for 16 for a prospect and take some salary off their hands.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            LOL. isn’t that what drafting kids is all about. Spending your picks for something you hope rewards you beyond your wildest dreams in the future?

            I don’t know how old you are Obbie but i’m sure we’ve both seen alot of hockey in our day. As you know i’ve already decided Gagner will never be the player we hoped he be for a N0.6 overall pick.

          • I don’t know what you were hoping to Gagner to be, but it’s pretty early to give up on him. Development doesn’t always go in a straight line – it’s possible that Gagner has maxed out his potnetial already, but it’s also possible he has another gear, or two, or more – at the same age Pavel Datysuk was a year from even leaving for NA, nevermind becoming the stunning player that he was this afternoon.

          • Wax Man Riley

            I think the point is that time will tell. Believe me, we have seen Gagner for only 4 years. He is 21, which I figure means, at this stage in his development, he is an NHL player, in whatever limited capacity, he isn’t going to the AHL. Agreed? Even if he doesn’t develop any further, he will be in this league.

            He has a very possible 14 years remaining in his career. That is over twice what he has already played.

            I also think about myself at 21, and realize how good I could be at something now, if I did it everyday for the last 10 years. I would probably be pretty darned good.

            Now, I don’t see Gagner being an Oiler for 14 more years, But he has a lot of time to get better.

          • Crash

            Cmon OB1, I thought you were one of the guys who wanted the Oilers to add transition vets…now you’re endorsing Q’s get rid of Hemsky idea for the #8 overall plus throwing in #31? Unless Hemsky has indicated he is not interested in coming back, would we really want this?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Hey I’m a huge Hemsky fan and if I was confident he could stay healthy then I’d gladly give him an 8 year contract.

            I’m just not convinced he’ll play more then 1-2 full seasons the rest of his career and IMO it’s too much risk going long term in that situation.

          • Crash

            I hear what you are saying but Hemsky and a #31 for a #8? How will it look or how will you feel if Hemsky puts his 2 yrs of serious injuries behind him and holds form for another 5 yrs?

            I understand the risk, but isn’t it just as big of a risk or maybe even bigger making that trade for a #8 overall?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Ya deffinitly risks either way. I think everyone knows I’m not a huge fan of draft picks (outside the top 2-3ish each year). However factoring everthing in, in this situation, I would make the move.

            I don’t think it’s an easy call either way, just what I would do with the information that we have.

  • Spin2WinLenny

    The article you referenced on the Oilers accepting offers for the first overall pick is from last year. It says they could target Florida for their first rounder and Nathan Horton.

  • Lowetide

    @ Lowetide

    With only two legit Top 4 d-men on the roster (Whitney and Gilbert) how do the Oilers not take Larsson? Don’t they have a better chance of fixing their centre issue via trade than trying to fill two holes in our top 4 defensive core?

    • In Gregor’s article he makes it pretty plain that D men are often a bust, and there’s no guarantee of making the big show.
      Of course this could be said of anyone, but forwards in the top 10 are a better bet.

      I say Couterier. We need his size. We need a strong center. Done. Trade for a couple D men.

    • Lowetide

      Jimmer: They already have a few items in the hopper and Marincin may end up being a terrific top 4D. If they take Larsson I’m fine with it but would suggest that getting the better offensive player is a better plan.

      Gregor’s article is a really good read in this regard.