THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

At around 5:05 p.m. Edmonton time the Nation will either explode in excitement if the Oilers draft Nail Yakupov, or we’ll set an all-time comments record if they take Ryan Murray instead.

Here in Pittsburgh all the speculation is that the Oilers will take Murray. We won’t know until draft time if that’s true, but I won’t be stunned if they take him based on the buzz here in the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh. Murray will be a solid player, but if they do take him I think they’d be making a big mistake.

The optics would be brutal, but more importantly he isn’t a lock as the best defender in the draft. Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart and Mat Dumba are on par with Murray, and many scouts and GMs that I spoke to here in Pittsburgh have been raving about Rielly.

Not one draft ranking had Murray rated first overall, it was mostly Yakupov while a few had Alex Galchenyuk rated #1. I respect the different scouting services. They are paid to scout the kids, and if none of them had Murray ranked #1, why would the Oilers?

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Yakupov is the best winger, and in most scouts eyes the best player, in the draft. He’s incredibly skilled, lightning fast and he has great hands. History shows that your odds of landing a superstar forward are much higher in the top-five, while the best D-men can come from anywhere in the first few rounds.

Taking Murray would seem like a safe pick, rather than the right pick at this point. Ultimately, we won’t know for a few years if he turns out to be the best of his draft class, but the perception will be that they picked him because he was at the World Championships. Whether that is true or not, likely won’t matter for some.

The Oilers have already made up their mind who they are taking, and they’ll make it official at 5:05 MST, and once the announcement is made there will be no middle ground from fans.

They will either love the pick, or they’ll be outraged. Outrage should not be part of the equation.

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When was the last time a team drafted a player that wasn’t ranked #1 by any scouting services?

If they choose Murray I will have lots of empathy for the young man, because going first overall should be a wonderful moment, but I don’t think the Oilers fanbase will be as excited as they were in 2010 and 2011. And that will be unfortunate for Murray.

Keep in mind that in 2009 there were lots of rumours that the Islanders were going to take Matt Duchene instead of John Tavares, and it didn’t happen. All of this Murray talk might just end up being rumours. We’ll see.

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QUICK HITS

  • Scott Howson is willing to move the #2 pick. He has been very open about it, and I wonder if the Oilers could offer enough to make a "Brian Burke" splash and walk away with the first two picks. Would they move Hemksy and something for the #2 pick? Would the Blue Jackets make that deal? I don’t know, but it would be exciting if the Oilers found a way to get the first two picks.
     
  • Spoke to four different head scouts yesterday and all of them were raving about Morgan Rielly. They love his skill-set, but all of them were extremely high on his character. He’ll need a lot of character if the Islanders take him.
     
  • Who would you take out of Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan or Jordan Staal? You could make a solid argument for all three of them.
     
  • A reminder about draft parties today. You can get a sweet Oilersnation.com T-shirt and party with Wanye at the Pint Downtown today, or you can tip a few back with Jason Strudwick at the Pint Off Whyte. With Struds you could win $500 if you can choose the first five picks in the correct order. Both parties will be a blast.

  • Truth

    @The Beaker

    Yes, if she gets this right I will have a little more confidence in what she says. If they pick Yak or someone else, I, as well as everyone else, knows she is a complete fake.

  • Drinkin' the Oilaid

    Hi Guys,

    I’m a Habs fan and let me tell you this.
    Be careful at what you wish for. Most people that know hockey pretty well will tell you that offensive skill is a great asset, but it’s not everything. There is much more to evaluate.

    As a fan you don’t have to. But the team managers have to. Remember pat Faloon? He was clearly the #1 pick at that time and guess what happened. There is more than just talent.

    Carey Price was drafted in 2005 as the 5th pick overall. People in Montreal were VERY disapointed, we wanted Benoit Pouliot, but Minesota wanted him and they got Pouliot right before us. Now go ask Wild’s management if they would like to go back in time and pick a different #4 overall pick… He had a tremendous offensive potential, but that’s not enough.

    Of course i’m not a Oilers fan but let me just say that as a hockey fan, I hope you guys get someone else.

    First of all, he might be good, but he’s fragile to start with. Then look at him as a Kovalchuk type of player. Lots of scoring chances, lots of turnovers. But who will repair his mistakes? Do you have the Ds for that? If he plays with other rookies, who’s gonna back him up if he looses the puck? Fast play in the nhl will bring some doubt in his mind and he will hold the stick tight after a few games.

    Second, look at your first 2 lines. You got small and light forwards. Very skilled and fast yes, but goals tend to be scored in front of the net more and more, and you need big guys for that.

    Who’s gonna win the battles in the corners or in front of the net against teams that has big D’s?

    Yea i’m a Montreal fan and don’t tell me I don’t know what we are taling about. We got many small-skilled players over the years and let me tell you this, when you don’t have better, so be it. But now you guys got the chance to have a big power forward on your top two and I hope you get him.

    My 1st pick this year as a Oil GM would be Galchenyuk. Second Murray, third Forsberg and then Dumba.

    You guys need to have players that can plays at both ends of the ice.

    my 2 cents…

    • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

      Lots of good points. However, the nervousness and tension you can feel by just entering the thread comes from us knowing first hand that the Oilers management has a tendency to do one dumb move per every 1.5 good moves…

      That’s why most of us are going bpa all the way..
      Trade his ass later should things go south later

    • Good points, but to be honest as an Oiler fan I pay attention to what’s in our system, and what’s in our system is something just as good, that will take just as long as Murray to be where he needs to be. Plus, for a defender, Murray is not big. Players like Getzlaf or Penner will own this kid.

      Also, as an Oiler fan, as someone paying tons of money to go see games, what would I rather pay money for:

      a) to see a smooth skating defenseman that is smart and does good things that no one really even sees.

      or

      b) The Nuge and Ebs coming off a great shift, the opposing team thankful our top talent is off the ice and not passing circles around them. But wait, what’s this, the Hall Yak line is on the ice. Now it’s two balls to the wall, skill for days players rushing through the middle. Hall breaks through as he takes a reckless body check, but not before the puck lands on Yak’s stick. OMFG did you see what he just did??????? Hall and Yak hug at center ice. The post game interview is hilarious as stitch-face Hall grins about the play and the Yak yuks it up with the media. Everyone at work the next day is talking about the goal and quoting Yak like Will Ferrel.

      Seriously, if getting to the playoffs and winning a cup means boring trap style hockey ala Nashville, you can have my Oil jerseys.

  • It won’t matter who the Oilers pick, there will be some people who’ll criticize them. Has no one mentioned that Yakupov has missed games 3 different times this season. Is no one concerned about that?

  • ItsTheBGB

    IF they take Murray it will be so bitter sweet. It’s like passing up on a Bugatti Veyron and taking a Porsche instead. The Porsche is sick, but a Bugatti is the king of cars….