Organizational need is a bad way to draft players

If the Edmonton Oilers decide to make organizational need the primary criteria at this year’s NHL Entry Draft, they would be making a mistake.

As Robin Brownlee has been making clear, organizational need is part of the conversation. Here’s the quote he got from Stu MacGregor a little over a week ago:

I think (GM) Steve Tambellini was pretty clear that, you know, maybe we do have to make an organizational decision…

And here’s Brownlee this morning on the significance of that comment:

What struck me in my last conversation with MacGregor was his reference to Tambellini making it clear that organizational need is a factor that has to be considered, as opposed to taking the garden variety BPA. This is the first time I remember MacGregor making that reference regarding Tambellini or Lowe. Might "organizational need" bump Sarnia centre Alex Galchenyuk or defensemen Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart ahead of winger Nail Yakupov or am I just reading between the lines and seeing something that isn’t there?

Organizational Need

Which organizational need is more pressing – defense, centre or wing? In terms of the 2012 Oilers, clearly defense is the biggest need to be addressed, followed by centre, followed by wing. Based on need alone, that top pick at the draft should be a defenseman.

But then there’s another question – how likely is the player drafted to fill the hole, and how soon will he do it?

Ryan Murray is the consensus top defender in the draft, at the lead of a tightly grouped pack that includes Mathew Dumba, Morgan Rielly, Jacob Trouba and Griffin Reinhart. Murray’s polished, well-rounded, and mature, but lacks high-end offensive skills. If the Oilers are looking for a replacement for Chris Pronger, Murray’s probably not the guy. If they’re looking for a guy who can be Kevin Lowe (the comparable that Red Line Report uses), eventually, than maybe he is.

There’s a lot of value in that sort of player, the kind of guy who can play big minutes for 15-20 years. It typically takes a bit of time for that player to develop; certainly it would be unreasonable to expect Murray to take on that sort of load immediately. In Chicago, cornerstone defenders Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were both older than the club’s young star forwards – does it make sense to place the hopes for the blue line on a defender younger than Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins?

On the other hand, if the Oilers opted for a centre – Alex Galchenyuk or Mikhail Grigorenko – they could expect some significant offensive production right away. Likely, that centre would slot into the spot Sam Gagner occupies now, freeing up Gagner to be dealt as the centerpiece of a package for a young defenseman. That young defenseman would likely be better in the short-term (the next season or two) than Murray will be.  From a rebuilding perspective, drafting a centre might make more sense than drafting a rearguard.

Asset Management

But, then again, maybe it just makes more sense to take the consensus choice. Nail Yakupov, according to nearly every service out there, is the best available player in this year’s draft. Some experts have been more effusive in their praise – legendary coach Scotty Bowman went so far as to compare Yakupov to Pavel Bure.

Is Nail Yakupov’s trade value going to be higher than Ryan Murray’s a year from now if Yakupov performs as expected in his rookie season? If it is, does it perhaps make more sense to draft Yakupov, attempt to address the defense through trade or free agency this summer, and take stock in a year? If Yakupov seems compares favourably to Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle a year from now, might one of the latter two players be dealt for a defenseman? If so, what caliber of defender would one of them bring back in trade?

For that reason, more than any other, I oppose drafting a player based on team need. If Yakupov turns out as good as everyone seems to think he will, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to pry a high-end defenseman out of another team in exchange for his services (or those of Hall, or those of Eberle, should that make more sense).

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Wes Mantooth – Team Yakupov

    I shot my mouth off because the BJ’s would be retarded to trade up and take Murray and because you vastly overate the quality of player typically available at 5.

    • Actually, most of the scouts say Galchenyuk could have been as high as two maybe even number one had he not got hurt I don’t believe I’m over valuing anybody.

      Why would the Jackets be retarded if the take Murray? Who else would they pick?

      But, hey. I’m not here to argue, I was asked a simple trade proposal and would it make sense for both teams.

      If there’s a player that doesn’t make sense to the jackets then how about your version?

      It’s easy to poach on others ideas where’s yours?

      Remember that Pronger was traded for Brewer and two prospects plus picks if I’m not mistaken.

      EDIT;

      The Oilers NHL team is terrible!! The only bright spot has been the kids! At some point the Oilers are going to have to start dealing some of there prospects or stand to loose them for nothing anyways.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Wes

    Theirs no guarantee Galenchuk is there at 5, if he’s as good as you believe he’ll likely be long gone.

    It’s retarded for the BJ’s to trade up and grab Murray, because they could just grab him at #2

    • Yes, I guess, I should have explained that better, the Oilers have to project there taking Murray and will be moving down to take Yakupov instead to facilitate the trade for the fifth. Everything I have read leads me to believe that Montreal will take Grigorenko, they are extremely high on him.

      The Islanders are desperate for defensmen and have two really good centers already in Nielsen and some dude named Tavaras.

      That leaves 5 wide open.

      So what happens if Galchenyuk does get taken? Then the Oilers get there defensmen anyways so it’s a win either way.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Wes

    Ah, so we’re going to trick them into thinking we want the inferior player, so they give us something else and then they take the inferior player.

    “Then the Oilers get there defensmen anyways so it’s a win either way.”

    Except the odds of that player being better then Gagner (let alone Gagner + Petry +) is only +/- 35%

    • At some point, whether it’s at the draft or during the season, Gagner or Hemsky WILL be moved as they are the Oilers best options for trade.

      We have a lot of 3/4 defensmen in the system, Petry is not a huge deal.

      Anyways, I’m done with this, the question was asked who would I trade from the Oilers to get an extra pick. I think we both know it’s very unlikely but something has to be done to move forward, this team is a 30th place team for a reason.

      I stand by the fact I think the Oilers need to move up in the draft and eveluate what the really have on this roster. I think the Oilers need both Yakupov and Galchenyuk more then they need a defensmen you can find through trade or UFA

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Wes Mantooth

    Petry is far from being our best defensive prospect! Good yes, but far from the best the Oilers have.

    OK. WHICH D-MEN 23 YRS OLD OR YOUNGER DO YOU HAVE TRENDING BETTER THAN PETRY?

    Defensmen are easier to come by, the Oilers have an abundance of 3/4 defensmen trading one won’t hurt any cause.

    REALLY? I HAVE ALWAYS HEARD THAT D-MEN ARE THE TOUGHEST POSITION PLAYERS TO SECURE TALENT IN. PETRY IS PLAYING IN THE TOP PAIRING RIGHT NOW. I REALIZE THIS IS SAD BUT TRUE. HE IS A DEFACTO 1/2 ON THIS ROSTER AT THIS TIME – MORE IS THE PITY. TRADING HIM WILL HURT ….. A LOT. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT REPLACING HIM.

    As for the goaltender Bunz is at least 2 years away at best, who’s a better goalie in the future Bunz or Roy? Can you tell me that?

    YES I CAN TELL YOU THAT. ROY HAS REGRESSED. THIS IS CLEARLY INDICATED BY HIS PRESENCE IN THE ECHL AND THE ORGANIZATION CARRYING TWO VETERANS IN OKC. HE IS FAAAAR FROM READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP. BUNZ IS ABOVE HIM IN THE DEPTH CHART.

    Will a competent goalie be on the market in a year from now?

    YOU MEAN LIKE KHABBY WAS 3 YEARS AGO??????

    As for Gagner, Galchenyuk projects to be a far better player around the 5th spot.

    AND YOU ARE DETERMINING THIS HOW??? GAGNER TAKEN AT 6 OVERALL HAS A SIMILAR PEDIGREE TO GALCHENYUK. GAL MAY END UP BETTER, BUT NOT SURE HOW YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED THIS GIVEN THE INJURY PLAGUED YEAR GALCHENYUK HAS HAD. WHAT CRITERIA ARE YOU USING TO PROJECT HIM “BEING A FAR BETTER PLAYER”?

    Not sure if that trade will happen, but I think people tend to over value the players we have.

    UNLIKE OVERVALUING THE QUALITY OF 5TH OVERALL DRAFT PICKS? LOOKED AT THE LAST FIFTEEN 5TH OVERALL POSITION PLAYERS:

    Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn, Karl Alzner, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Whitney, Stan Chistov, Raffi Torres, Tim Connolly, Vitaly Vishnevsky, Eric Brewer, Richard Jackman.

    YIKES! I SEE A COUPLE OF DECENT POINT PRODUCERS IN VANEK AND KESSEL (WHO BOTH HAVE THEIR OWN ISSUES), ONE GUY WHO SPENDS MORE TIME IN THE INFIRMARY THAN ON THE ICE (CONNOLLY), ANOTHER WHO CAN’T STAY OUT OF SHANNYS DOGHOUSE (TORRES) A COUPLE OF ABSOLUTE BUSTS (V. VISH AND CHISTOV) AND A BUNCH OF SOLID JOURNEYMEN. JUST WHO IS THE GENERATIONAL TYPE PLAYER THAT FELL TO 5TH?

    BTW. PLEASE DONT MISINTERPRET CAPS AS YELLING. I AM JUST TOO MUCH OF AN OLD FART TO FIGURE OUT ITALICS IN THIS FORMAT ON MY CRACKBERRY. SORRY WES.

    • No problem Soup, Roy was put into the ECHL because you can’t have a goalie starting in the AHL with zero experience.

      That being said you right about Bunz and is why I chose him over Roy, but my point was you can’t really project goalies as wells players IMO.

      As for Petry,Like you mentioned, he’s a good option on the Oilers, that’s not saying much. The Oilers have options on defense whether via trade or UFA, again.. Not to sound like I hate the guy but he would be an atractive asset for another team.

      I Personelly think Klefbom will be better. Gernat projects to be round about the same as Petry and Musil could be another 3/4 defensmen as well, not to mention Teubert, Plante, Maricin , and what if Peckham has a turn around year? Point is The Oilers have to move something, Petry is an attractive player.

      Keep an open mind that the Oilers with Petry will be as bad without Petry. you can find Petry replacement on the open market for the time being.

      Galchenyuk 16 year old season projects him to be in the range of RNH, plus a lot of scouts who watch him say that he’s an elite talent. If not injuried could be number 1. However based on other teams needs I think he will fall to fifth, doesn’t mean he’s a true fifth.

      In the end as I said, I’m not sure how likely a trade like this would happen, only if it’s plausible to happen. The players involved and my reason for there involvement, I also stated it would be a overpayment but one in the long run benefits the Oilers.
      Thanks Soup.

  • The Soup Fascist

    OK We will agree to disagree. I think we both agree this team needs to improve. My only point would be if I was going to overpay for a player I am going to overpay for a genuine first pairing D-man vs another young forward. But if we all thought the same way life would be pretty boring.

  • Old Soldier

    I dont see Galchenyuk getting past Montreal, so most of the deals would be irrelevant. In fact I think even Columbus is eyeing Galchenyuk to pair with Johanssen. The scouting services seem to be fairly uniform in Galchenuk being a safer pick for center than Grigorenko, with similar upside.

    If, and its a huge if, ST was serious about getting the duo, Yak and Galchenyuk, there is one advantage, Howson loves Hemsky, and is very familiar with the organization. Obviously the package would be big, and probably include next years #1, but if there is time to pull a Burke, this might be it. Junior linemates with exquisite talent…..our Russian Sedins.

  • RexLibris

    @ Wes Mantooth and Soup Fascist

    What about the following scenario:

    If the Oilers did decide to draft Galchenyuk first overall (one report compared him to Marian Hossa but as a center, another player who missed his draft year with a knee injury), then presumably Yakupov, Grigorenko, and Murray would be selected in the next three picks.

    This would leave Toronto with the prospect of selecting another defenseman or a winger with their fifth overall pick. If Burke finds himself in this position he may be more willing to entertain trade options for that pick if it addresses his more immediate concerns. I don’t know that the Oilers could afford the asking price, but it does create some scenarios.

    Another option to contemplate would be a three-way deal between Edmonton, Columbus and Toronto. Maybe something that would see Columbus send Rick Nash to Toronto in exchange for the 5th overall pick and Colborne and Schenn. The Oilers first overall would go to Columbus along with Linus Omark. Curtis Hamilton could be sent to Toronto. And the Oilers would receive both the 2nd and 5th overall picks from Columbus.

    Three way deals are pretty tough to balance, and this is a crude, amateur attempt, but it is a potential deal that the three GMs could be looking at. I think out of the three GMs Tambellini is the one who has the most time and patience while the other two might be looking for some more immediate improvement to mollify their disappointed fans.

  • The Soup Fascist

    A lot to think about. IMO I don’t see Burke giving up Schenn / Colborne / 5th for Nash and his big fat contract. He would get run out of town given the fact that Seguin and D Hamilton are already in another team’s silks. Not saying I love Colborne or Schenn but Burke is under the microscope.

    I get that everyone wants their cake and eat it too. I would love to take another skilled forward and a high-end defenceman in the top 5 / 6 this year too. Just not feeling it. Fun to talk about though.

    I still think it plays out that Oil take “Yak” and HOPEFULLY sign a capable free agent D-man this year Carle / Wideman / Garrison in addition to Justin Schultz. That is a ton to ask for. Still does not address our lack of size / grit up front but would make us better. IF we find one or two capable D-men and IF the kids continue to develop and IF Dubnyk has a solid year and IF Smyth, Whitney and Eager find their games and IF Belanger thinks last year was just a bad dream (or the the oil can dump him) and IF we stay relatively healthy – we could make a run at the playoffs. Hmmm, 6 “IFS”. We likely need 5 of these IFs to come through to have a sniff at playoffs.

    * Decides to book Spring Fling in Vegas for next April using surplus money that was squirreled away in envelope marked “Oilers 2013 Playoff Tickets”.

  • RexLibris

    @SF

    I think the size and grit up front is generally what had been developing in OKC and may be added this June.

    Further to that, I think we lack only size and that is something that, in and of itself, does not determine a great player. Gagner, Hall and RNH all have some grit to them in the way they play the game and the areas of the ice they tend to occupy. As well, each one is fully willing to engage, physically and after the whistle, with the opposition. Not that this is always a good think, but…

    Pitlick, Hartikainen, Pelss and in all likelihood our 2nd round pick this year are all more physical forwards.

    As well, it should be noted, that if the Oilers take Yakupov, he has a reputation of being quite physical.

    I’m aiming for a finish this upcoming year around the 22nd overall position. I think this is reasonable and in keeping with other recent rebuilds and our level of talent/development.

    I suspect that, in the end, there may only be two draft positions separating the Oilers from the Flames. If that were to happen it could make for some interesting trade scenarios at the Nations.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    To Reg Dunlop… careful what you wish for. If I was given the GM job, and given the fact I’m not in the GM circle, I would have no contacts.

    The team would be like Calgary starting next season, and wallow in the basement for many decades. Darryl Katz, knowing lots about Pharmaceuticals and F*ck all about hockey, would then promote me to President of Hockey Operations, where I could sit on my perch in the Ivory tower and let the new GM take my slings & arrows.

    Wait…doesn’t this sound familiar??