Another Bloody Ryan

The wins and losses are sorting themselves out and it looks like the Edmonton Oilers will be picking 2nd overall at this year’s entry draft. It’s a very interesting slot, because Columbus ranks #1 overall before the lottery and "Fail for Nail" may not play in Ohio. It sets up an interesting opportunity for the Oilers.

Nail Yakupov is the best available player in this year’s entry draft. His OHL totals (39, 30-36-66) run through Desjardins’ puts him at 82, 19-23-42. This is "in the range" with Hall/Seguin in their draft years. I cannot imagine an NHL team passing on  Yakupov, even if he was born in the Kremlin. Should Columbus decide to pass on him, I imagine new GM Craig Patrick will deal the pick for another lottery position and something sweet.

Which might mean the Oilers trade up from 2nd and draft Nail to go with their hammers up front (I am so sorry. Seriously). A top 6 of Hall, RNH, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner and Nail Yakupov is an embarrassment of riches.

I don’t think it happens that way. I believe the Edmonton Oilers are too traditional as a franchise to think in those terms. The Oilers have spent their recent lottery picks on forwards and have a history of drafting F’s with their first selection–the last time Edmonton chose a defenseman with their 1st first round pick was the 1989 draft and Jason Soules. The Oilers took defenseman in the 1st round with their first selection in 1988 (Francois Leroux), 1984 (Selmar Odelein), 1983 (Jeff Beukeboom) 1982 (Jim Playfair) 1980 (Paul Coffey) and 1979 (Kevin Lowe).

I believe they do it again this season and pick Ryan Murray. Don’t follow my thinking?


  1. Is this about the Oilers and Russians? A little bit. The Oilers spent a pick on Alexei Mikhnov in the first round back in 2000 and Alexander Ljubimov in the third round, same year. That was the first year of Kevin Lowe’s regime and the Oilers don’t send ships into the White Sea anymore. In the past 5 drafts Edmonton has chosen players from Slovakia and Belarus, but the last pure Russian selected was Alexander Bumagin (6th round, 2006) who plays in Nizhnekamsk (the proud home of Russia’s petrochemical center).
  2. But they’d take Nail? Sure, if they drafted 1st overall. The kid plays in the OHL and everything about him suggests he wants to be an NHLer. I don’t think it’s wise to pass on that kind of talent and Stu MacGregor would be hard pressed to explain away passing on this player if he’s available.
  3. The 2nd best player is a Russian too. Well, that’s where the debate begins. Mikhail Grigorenko plays in the QMJHL and is a big, strong center. He is not the offensive equivalent of Nail (53, 38-42-80) but has terrific vision. As the season has developed, some scouts are less enthusiastic about this player and I think he may fall from the 2nd position.
  4. But why Murray? Well, he’s maybe the most NHL ready player in the draft. He has a nice range of skills and can skate. The Oilers don’t need a home run offensive player but badly need someone who will develop into a useful top pairing defenseman. Ken Hitchcock says “he does play like (Scott) Niedermayer,”
  5. Murray is an older prospect in this draft. I think the Oilers may feel that’s a positive, that he’s more advanced than a player like Oscar Klefbom. It seems to me the Oilers might think his age is a positive because they need a defenseman who can catch up to the cluster.
  6. Matt Dumba is going to be a killer. Maybe, but he’s not a big player and certainly not big enough to stay healthy with his style of play.
  7. Murray can’t stay healthy. He was injured early in the season, but recovered in time for the World Juniors. He has played 28 games since January 6th, so health seems to be back on track.
  8. What’s his scouting report? A nice one is here.
  9. Could this change? Sure. Hell, maybe they like Morgan Reilly is a player they prefer, but I don’t think they’ll take Dumba and I don’t think they’ll take the Russian Grigorenko.
  10. What is Murray’s NHLE? So far this season (on a poor team) Murray is 39, 9-18-27. NHLE is 6-11-17, or about equal with Brandon Gormley in his draft year.
  11. Meh. Murray is more than the offense. He emerged at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka, has at least one exceptional skill (footspeed) and has the tools to be a quality 2-way defender. His numbers are skewed partly because the team he plays for is a poor one. His Everett club trails the Oil Kings in the GF department by 111.

Things can change, Murray won’t have a playoff run to showcase his talents and that might factor in to the Oilers decision. In my opinion, based on the Oilers as a management group, based on their draft tendencies, based on the Oilers preferences in the skillsets of their defensemen, I don’t think they pass on Ryan Murray.

Even at second overall.

  • Talbot17

    i dont think you can pass on Grigs or Yakupov….eventually if you stockpile the forwards you can trade assets to get D assets that are ready sooner than the development of a D…unless Murray is that good to take at 2 or 3 this spring at the draft

  • Talbot17


    Do you think the Oilers should try and put an offer sheet in for Schneider in the off season? If Dubnyk isn’t a set reliability, I’d say its something worth considering.

    • Lowetide

      No. I don’t think the Oilers should pursue an offer sheet. Vancouver is extremely likely to match and I don’t think the Oilers should do Gillis’ job for him.

      Oilers DO need a goalie, but I don’t think they’ll do it this summer. NK has one more year on his contract and there aren’t many goalies available this summer.

    • DieHard

      Your willing to give a first, second and third for a. back-up goalie on the top team in the league. Honestly what’s makes you believe he is worth that price?

      Schneider a good goalie. But to get him out of Vancouver, that’s too much. I would of given a second for Bishop. Since we did not I’d try to snag Harding or Rask or Lindbach in the off season.

  • Old Soldier

    The talk on the CBA has been focused mainly on the amnesty clause. The Oilers could care less about that clause. It really will have little bearing on our team . They are not going to buy out Horcoffs contract. Keep dreaming Horcoff haters. The key issues which we all should be focused on is the ELC’s and the subsequent contracts when they are done. From what I have surmised is that the NHLPA and the NHL are going to be looking at making changes to those 2cd contracts. Whether its putting limits on the money and term. Those are the biggest issues that will affect our team moving forward. I think what they are proposing is setting cielings on how much a player can be paid in thier second contract and for how long they can sign. The NHL put the kabosh on those 10-15 year contracts and I think are looking at ensuring that the salary structure is not skewed such that teams have to be paying 7 million dollars a year to keep players like Stamko’s and Nash. Its frightening to many in the PA to see players get 4,5 million,and upwards to retain thier services for 6-10 years. They want more money in the the pockets of the players who have played for the league for 6-10 years. Once these kids hit free agency they can cash in but until then I believe thier is a belief that there needs be a cap on how much a player can make going into thier 2cd contract.

  • PutzStew

    I took the family to see the Rebels and Blades last night. What a good time. Dumba (and Petrovic.) was amazing.

    The kids was always in the action and creating plays. He had a short handed assist and a goal on the night. I wouldn’t worry about this kids size. He may not be tall but he’s not a small body either and he knows how to use he body size to he’s advantage. He’s not going to run guys over but knows how to get under them. His physical play is much like Jordin Tootoos but not quite as feisty. He had some really nice passes too. Defensively he was sound and didn’t give anything up, but I would have liked to see more hustle getting back after leading rushes but was he ever fun to watch.

    After the game he did an on ice interview which was really great to see. It was he’s little brother birthday and you could see the pride on his face to have him there last night.

    I got to thinking that he might be a perfect compliment to someone like Musil…or Klefbom. Kind of a Yin-Yan thing going on.

    Also the best thing about last night. Family of four to see a great game, eats, drinks and even buy souvenirs for under $100.

  • Talbot17

    If OIlers think that Murray has the potential to develop as eagerly and quickly as Karlsson in Ottawa, then that should be their pick. I know there is still a need for a big strong center , but I somehow feel that many Russuian, highly skilled for sure, seem to loose interest in the NHL game, or at least dont come to play every game.[ I know this excludes Malkin Datsuyk etc.]

    • Daniel5on

      Grigorenko makes me very nervous especially in regards to some of the latest scouting reports.

      In a Howson interview, who has a track record with Russian picks, he mentioned that in spite of being picked top of the first round, it still takes immense drive, dedication and effort for a player to make it.

      If you are not driven, it is easy to take a that step back to the KHL and make more money than you ever dreamed of playing in a country which you are comfortable in.

      Nail is to good not to risk the first pic on, after that go for the D-man. If the resume leaves you with some questions as Grigorenkos does, skip over him. There is a really good Latvian making the charge up the ranks as well, there is someone with something to prove…

  • Daniel5on

    I have been looking towards the draft for a few weeks now, and although there a lot of hockey left, I don’t think drafting a dman is our solution. Take the best available player!!!! IMO I would take the center, the big russian, said to be compared to malkin. With him in our top 6 gagner becomes expendable. I like gagner however you have to give something in order to get something in this leaugue. Gagner and our second round pick should be able to land a solid dman, maybe add a prospect in there as well

    Just my thoughts

  • Old Soldier

    Given their desire to keep Suter, whatever happens in the playoffs. I wonder if the Preds would be willing to make a draft day deal with the Oilers.

    The Oilers give up the second overall pick, Gagner and a prospect (Omark??) to Nashville for both their 1st rounders (8th and 26th) and Lindbeck.

    The Oilers still haven’t committed to Gagner and with the probable selection of Grigorenko, that would give Nashville some serious offensive potential down the middle and perhaps give Suter a reason to stay.

    The two picks give the Oilers the chance to take either Galchenyuk, who could be that big #2 center behind RNH, or if they are going to be willing to wait a couple years, then Griffen Reinhart at #8 and either dman Skeji or goalie Subban with the later pick. The probable buyout of Khabby will give the Oil room for Lindbeck and they do have Roy and Bunz in the system.

  • If you have watched the Oilers play the last year especially the last little while you will see that the Oilers are desperate for another top 6 forward!! There 5×5 play is above brutal!

    The fact that there has been a revolving door on the second line and the numerous line juggling tells everyone from the GM to the average fan there is a massive hole and is a issue.

    Clearly the Oilers can no longer play both Smyth and Horcoff in the top six positions any longer, IF a kid goes down with injury then you have short term fix but it can no longer be anything more then that.

    History tells us you do not pass on the opportunity to draft a top end highly skilled center man! You have almost rebuilt the whole top 6 why on earth would you stop short now??

    Grigorenko will be an elite player! Even Galchenyuk who can play both center and RW is a better option then Murray. Ryan Murray will be a good Defenseman but might not be a 1 or 2. To me that is a wasted pick if you have a better player ahead of him.

    I know the Oilers desperately need top pairing defensemen. I still believe that player can be had from a trade or UFA. The Oilers have an abundance of quality prospects to dangle. Finnish the top six and move on to Defense and Goaltending on July first!

  • Daniel5on

    I don’t like the idea of taking a D Man so early. Top quality defensemen can just as easily be drafted out of later rounds. It’s a huge gamble picking one so high in the draft. A nice big centre with some skill to play behind the Nuge would be perfect. Grigorenko is playing in the Q which limits his “Russian factor” considerably. Maybe we can shop Gagner for a young quality d-man at the draft. Having two small centremen will make it difficult to win in the west against teams like Detroit, Vancouver and San Jose…Does anyone still remember Ryan Murray’s three own goals in the semi-final against Russia at the WJHC??? I sure do….

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      You have to be a little further thinking than that. What are we going to yell at the parade – “Tops off for Yakupov”.

      • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

        I like the way you think but you’re over thinking this a little.

        Show me some boobies for Ryan Murray.

        Show me some boobies for Ales Hemsky.

        Show me some boobies for Jordan Eberle .

        Show me some boobies for Taylor Hall.

        Show me some boobies for that guy over there.

        It’s the first part that’s important.

  • A-Mc

    LT are you insane.

    At the WJ Murray was not nearly the player as Klefbom.Murray is a slightly bigger clone of Chorney.

    If the oilers pick any of the defense prospects they are making a mistake.This was supposed to be the draft for defense but they haven’t shown it.

    This team has to win next year.Draft the Russian and pick up a free agent defenceman,bring over Klefbom(he is as good as Larsson) add a tough forward via a trade we can avoid being Columbus.

    • Lowetide

      First sentence I can’t argue. Murray played less of a feature role with his WJ team, that I can agree with. The rest, we’ll have to wait and see. Should Klefbom come over this fall and have a bigger impact than the Oilers first round pick (if it’s a defender) we’ll have a fun roster contest to observe.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    If I had to guess, I think we will end up with Murray. The Lottery could always change things but I don’t see Columbus catching us in the standings and I could see us passing the woeful Habs. If we are picking 2 or 3 then my guess is that Murray will be available. From what I’ve seen of Everett this season (and it’s not much but still), Murray rarely leaves the ice and when he does, the Silvertips dig the puck out or their net.

  • book¡e

    How about “Strategically taking advantage of the counter-productive regulations of the National Hockey League that incentivise losing for the bottom teams in the league, making a mockery of the the concept of sportsmanship all while subjecting fans to pathetic hockey at the hockey-rink-so they get Gregorenko”

    I think its kind of catchy

    • Come on b-man, you’re a bigger buzzzkill than Buzz Killington. We want catchy slogans, not truth in advertising. If we really had to face up to what has happened to this franchise over the past 6 years, we’d collectively open our wrists. Let us have our fun.

    • Lowetide

      I don’t think they’d pass on Nail, and if they believe Grigorenko is the guy there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll take him.

      I’m saying there are some doubts among the scouts we have access too, and that might be similar to how the Oilers list looks at this time.

      But as reported earlier in this thread by poster CP, the Oilers may indeed have the Russians 1-2.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    So let me get this straight, this Grigorinko kid makes Gagner expendable? How?! the kid is 18 and unproven, Gagner is 22 and just coming into his own as a 2nd line center(where he should be) by tossing aside Gagner for Grigorinko makes this “rebuild” last even longer than it should.

    Now I can see Grigorinko as a 3/4 center for the next couple yrs just not a 2nd line center right off the bat.

    Grigorinko should make the BELAGER TRIANGLE expendable.

  • DieHard

    I think the final “lists” for the 2012 draft may be changing and that might change the Oilers list. Barker was a 3OV. We cannot afford that. Unless we get a forward, trade + for a Dman of consequence.

  • book¡e

    For those interested, assuming EDM finishes 2nd last, they would have an 18.8% chance of picking 1st, a 52% chance of picking 2nd, and a 29.2% chance of picking 3rd, if I did the math correctly.

  • Yakupov Since WJHC: 14GP 10G 5A 15pts -7 1.07 ppg. He’ll be 19 on opening night, but how complete of a player is he? Skipped the prospects game and is trending the wrong way IMO.

    Grigorenko: 18GP 14G 9A 23pts +10 1.27ppg. I’m not suggesting he should go 1st, but it makes you wonder how much room for improvement there is with this player? He’s coached by a Hall of Fame goalie and doesn’t turn 18 until May.

  • leftwinger9

    Stink out the rink-o for Grigorinko!

    Never, ever, ever take a d-man in the top 2 unless you’re absolutely sure they are a lock to be a #1 guy for years to come. Can’t say that for sure about any of these guys.

    If they pick first or second, take a Russian. After that, its anyone’s guess. I’d take Reilly. Most upside.

    Go Habs!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Sorry, I meant move up one spot with my earlier post…. the second overall pick plus the Anaheim second rounder or Paajarvi or Omark for the first overall?

    • EasyOil

      Read again – Oilers haven’t taken a D-man FIRST in the first round since 1989. Plante was taken second in the first round, after Gagner. Same with Klefbom, RNH was first; Descoteaux was taken after Devereaux in ’96, etc.

  • RexLibris

    Hey LT,

    If the Oilers are selecting 2nd overall I would be worried about them taking Murray with that pick.

    I know Grigorenko isn’t anything spectacular, although one would hope that MacGregor’s staff have already determined that. And Yakupov seems a lock for fist overall (even for Columbus with their tarnished history of selecting and developing Russian prospects). But I’m left wondering if the Oilers would weigh Grigorenko against Galchenyuk. Both are larger bodies, both play in North America, Grigorenko making a point of coming over in order to nix the “Russian Factor” stigma in his draft year, and both have exceptional playmaking abilities. Galchenyuk’s parents moved to the U.S. specifically so he could play in the CHL.

    Had Galchenyuk not been injured this season I honestly think that the articles on ON would be centered on which of these two prospects the Oilers might select. He’s a centre who had 84 pts in his first 68 games in the OHL. He has the same size as Murray and a good scouting report is here:

    I understand the desire to select a defenceman, especially when one is available that has been compared to Niedermayer. That being said, I haven’t read or seen anything in Murray’s game yet that leads me to think that he is worth a 2nd overall pick. I think he is a slightly larger and more defensively responsible version of Ryan Murphy, which is hardly a bad thing, just not enough to take him that high.

    If it came to the Oilers looking at Ryan Murray or Morgan Rielly I would almost rather they traded down a place or two and drafted Griffin Reinhart in order to pick up another 2nd round pick this year or next.

    So ,I guess my list of preferences, if the Oilers find themselves drafting in the 2nd or 3rd overall position is to take Galchenyuk, Grigorenko, or trade down a place or two and choose Reinhart or Rielly. However, as always, I shall trust in Stu to make the best choice.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Two names for you. Matt Carle UFA D-man from Philly and David Jones UFA Winger from Colorado. What are the chances of getting either of these guys? Tough to think Flyers let a very good 27 year old D-man walk, but they have Cap issues. No cap issues for the Avs, but they are notoriously cheap and have some very good RFAs to re-up (Duchene, O’Reilly, Porter, Johnson). Carle will be a legit number 1 or 2, but he will have to be an overpay. Jones is a 6″2″ 220 lb winger who scored 27 last year. Struggling a bit this year, would not cost the farm. Not overly physical but a big body who I think could be a top 6.

    Could cross fingers / close eyes and wish for Parise (although he is another smurf) and Suter but not likely. Thoughts on these guys??