WEEKEND WRAP

I’m not sure I agree with that, but I’m guessing many scouts and GMs have felt like that years after a draft. "Why didn’t I take that guy instead," would be a common thought, but you don’t want to think that when you have the 1st overall pick. Not every first overall pick is going to be the best in his draft class, but recently many of the first choices were the best ones.

The Oilers need to ensure that in 2017, they were happy with their first round pick in 2012.

Over the next 40 days we will see, read and hear lots of different possibilities regarding the Oilers first overall pick. Will they take the consensus best player, Nail Yakupov, will they take a D-man or will they trade down? They are all possibilities, but considering Kevin Lowe already told me he doubts they’d get a good enough offer to trade down, it’s likely going to be Yakupov or a D-man.

It is clear that next season the Oilers need a top-pairing D-man more than an elite right winger, but in three of four years will that still be the case? No one knows, which is why you draft the best player available on June 22nd.

It is unanimous amongst every scouting bureau that Yakupov is the best player, and Kyle Woodlief from the Red Line Report said this about Yakupov on my show on Friday.

"Yakupov is the clear number one at the Red Line Report. He’s an explosive talent with a strong work ethic and he is the one true marquee talent in this year’s draft. After him it gets interesting. There is a group of seven guys who could go anywhere between two and eight. Galchenyuk, Rielly, Murray, Dumba, Grigorenko, Forsberg or Teravainen are all very close."

Woodlief had an interesting take on Murray in a recent article at USATODAY

There is very good depth, there is very little marquee, star quality to the top guys. In fact, we don’t see a true No. 1 blue-liner emerging out of this year’s crop. While a kid like Ryan Murray might have great value as a smooth-skating, savvy shutdown defender who can move the puck and will be a captain in the league for 10 years, his style of play is more along the lines of a Kevin Lowe or a Glen Wesley rather than a Paul Coffey.

 Some have suggested the Oilers are really high on Murray, especially because he’s playing in front of Lowe at the World Championships, and he’ll be a ver good player, but unless the Oilers get a surprisingly good offer to trade down, I don’t see any way they can pass on Yakupov and claim it was the right choice.

QUICK HITS

  • Dale Hunter is a quality NHL coach, his style isn’t exciting, okay it is boring, but he clearly doesn’t like certain aspects of coaching in the NHL and he announced he’s returing to the London Knights in the OHL. I suspect Ovechkin will be a better player for having Hunter behind the bench for the past few six months. Ovechkin needed some tough love, and I think it will pay off in the future.
     
  • It had been 22 years since fans saw a game seven at Rexall Place, and last night the Oil Kings sent the fans home happy with a convincing 4-1 victory over Portland. Edmonton’s goaltending and depth was the difference in the series. Their quest for the Memorial Cup starts Friday at 5 p.m. MST when they battle the hosts from Shawinigan. They play Saint John on Monday and London on Tuesday.
     
  • The Oil Kings have seven drafted players: Mark Pysyk (23rd overall to Buffalo in 2010), Kristians Pelss (181st overall, Oilers, 2010), Keegan Lowe (73rd, Carolina, 2011), Travis Ewanyk (74th, Oilers, 2011) Martin Gernat (122nd, Oilers, 2011), Michael St. Croix (106th, Rangers, 2011) and Laurent Brossoit (164th, Calgary, 2011). Griffin Reinhart will go in the first round this year, Mitch Moroz and Henrik Samuelsson should go somewhere in the 2nd-4th rounds and Ashton Sautner could also go. Curtis Lazar will be a first rounder in 2013.
     
  • The Capitals want a coach with NHL experience. If i’m George McPhee I’d have Craig MacTavish and Paul Maurice on my interview list. Neither is as crusty as Hunter and their personalites would mesh well with Ovechkin.
     
  • The Blue Jackets removed the Interim tag from Todd Richards today and made him the 6th head coach in franchise history. Columbus was 18-21-2 under Richards, and that isn’t horrible considering the Rick Nash fiasco was going on the entire time. Until the get a goalie they could have Scotty Bowman behind the bench and the Jackets wouldn’t get close to the playoffs.
     
  • Too much is being made of the Kings anemic PP. Yes it stinks, but since the lockout the only team that won the Cup Finals with a great PP was Carolina. The Canes scored 9 or their 19 goals v. the Oilers with the man advantage. And while the Bruins PP was only 11% last year, they scored five PP goals v. the Canucks. Of course having a good PP helps, but usually solid EV play wins you the Cup much more than a great PP.
     
  • If you don’t think team chemistry matters in sport, you should watch the Edmonton Rush. They were brutal offensively for the first three months of the season. Head coach Derek Keenan made a gutsy move and benched his leading goal scorer, and 2nd leading scorer, Scott Evans with four games remaining in the season. He felt Evans wasn’t buying in, wasn’t using his teammates and was turning the ball over too often. The move paid off. The Rush offence looks completely different and in their two road playoff wins they’ve outscored their opponents 34-14. They have much better ball movement offensively and more guys are involved. They face Rochester in the NLL final on Saturday at 5:30 MST on Shaw. Edmonton fans could witness two championships in six days. Maybe the seven year drought of losing that has plagued sports fans in Edmonton is coming to an end.
  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Whew! It’s nice to see an article suggesting the oiler braintrust is leaning toward making the RIGHT decision as opposed to all this speculation that tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum are leaning towards not taking BPA.

    A truly sobering article, Jason. Kudos.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Ken – you’re over-rating Reinhart.
    He has many fine qualities, but he certainly isn’t a Pronger. He’s big, strong on the puck and makes good decisions but it seems to me his footspeed is really lacking.
    That being said, I have a lot of confidence in him as a chl defenseman. If he’s available for the Oiler’s second pick, he’d be a good pick up.

  • RexLibris

    Stauffer raised an interesting idea on his show this afternoon. I’m not sure if it was his or one proposed via the intertubes.

    Trading down with the Islanders giving them the 1st overall and Martin Marincin for Ryan Strome and their 4th overall.

    I have no idea if this is even something that either GM would consider, but the idea of being able to attain both Strome (a center) and then perhaps being able to draft Reinhart or Rielly at #4 has some appeal.

    It isn’t necessarily what I would I do, but my paycheques don’t say Edmonton Oilers General Manager on them.

    As for MacTavish coaching again, I’d love to see him back in the NHL. I was kind of hoping he’d end up in Calgary if only for the photo op of he and Harvey the Hound together. 😉

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    Wow are you sure you are not underrateing him? Did you happen to read Brownlee’s blog a little while ago with Stu Macgregor?
    http://oilersnation.com/2012/5/11/local-content-macgregor-checks-in
    Macgregor stated that Rienhart was a top ten pick. That is a far cry from falling to 32. Mind you I would be exstatic if the Oilers could get him.
    Maybe let the scouts scout and relax and enjoy the Oilers instead of trying to pick apart a teenager.

  • Reg Dunlop

    From the few times I saw the Kings this year, I would love to see the oil select Henrik ‘Son of Sam’ Samuelsson. Regardless what happens with the 1st pick we will still need some prick-ness which I am sure HS has in his DNA. Any chance he is still there in round 2?

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Hi Longbottom.
    You’re right. I don’t have the knowledge of scouts and these guys are just teenagers. One of the joys I had watching the Kings was the difference in development between the younger players and the 20 year olds.

    I like Reinhart. I liked Paul Reinhart too. But he’s definetly not a Pronger.
    Pysyk sure looked good and he went 23rd.

    I’m thinking more of a talented Robin Regehr. Or a Paul Reinhart. Both very good defensemen. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he goes in the top 10.
    But I’d be shocked if he is available at 32.

  • OutDoorRink

    Depending on what he does in the Memorial Cup, Reinhart could go anywhere from 8th to 14th. He looked solid in the WHL playoffs and has steadily improved over the length of this season.