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.

  • I will repeat myself, since you asked Jason, I would offer Columbus Gagner, next year’s first and Peckham for their pick and one of Methot, Nikitin, or Tyutin (in order of preferrence) and even one of the 2013 2nd round picks as a sweetener if necessary.

    I would pick Yak 1st and Galy 2nd.

    I would hope to improve by at least 10 places, so despite the deep 2013 draft, I do not want to be in the MacKinnon or Jones discussion.

  • If we had no 2nd line centre and had no cahnce of obtaining one, I would not be opposed to moving Hall. More often than not position changes with NHL players seem to be a temporary fix and generally don’t work that well.

    I think we are stronger with him on wing and either of Galchenyuk or Gagner at centre. If there were no other options than Horcoff, I would move Hall to centre.

    Nash’s contract is too big, I go with Staal with Ryan being a descent 2nd choice. Staal is a big, strong, talented forward, that excells 5 on 5 or on the PK. I am guessing he would do very well on the PP as well if he wasn’t buried behind 2 of the best players in the world.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Cody anderson

    But then we wouldn’t end drafting Mackinnon, we’d take some Dman that’s going to take 4 years to develop, and end up putting up 25 points a year as a #3

  • BurkeTheTurd

    The Oil wanted a king’s ransom or his knocked off socks for the #1 overall pick and we would use it ourselves on Murray? Really? Pulleezz, that is just not going to happen. Calm down. Daryl is not about to let a boycott of his pill stores happen. Its just bad for business.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    Any chance all the Murray buzz is just a ploy. I mean, from what I’ve read, Columbus has little interest in Yakapov (which is stupid because he’s exactly the type of guy to rebuild a franchise around). So that might mean Murray. Now if the Oil put it out there that they are going to take Murray, doesn’t that incentivize Columbus to trade for the number one pick? And then if they do take Murray, we end up with Yak and another asset at the same time. Or it could be a way to incentivize COlumbus to trade to pick entirely, in which case, we take both yak and Murray, or hope against hope, Yak and Gal.

  • vetinari

    If the Oil go with Murray or another defenceman at #1, yes, I’ll be ticked at management (not the player), but it signals to me that Tambi can’t orchestrate a trade for a veteran defenceman and doesn’t believe that he can land one via free agency on July 1st. The 2012-13 season will be based solely on the growth of the current lineup.

    I think that it would be better for the Oil to select Yakupov and then make a trade later in the evening with the team that lands their defenceman of choice (with presumeably a little more thrown in coming Edmonton’s way).

    As an aside, I wonder if Kreuger will get the head coach’s job on the basis that if the team plummets this year, Lowe can come in and turf both him and Tambi without tainting the pool of potential external replacements out there?

  • I don’t understand why so many people feel that the most important trait for a Dman to have is offensive flair. Sure it is the easiest stat to measure, but it is surely not the only one. I take a healthy younger Pronger over any other Dman in the NHL. Big, mean, and great defensively. Really his only major offensive weapon is his slapshot which many D possess.

    I would take Murray as the top D in this draft, followed by Reinhart. They won’t get as many points as a lot of the Dmen in this draft, but I think you win more with either of them in your lineup then you do with Dumba.

    because the points are so easily measurable I think you will have to pay someone like Dumba (Karlsson in an ideal world) a lot more then you will have to pay a superior Defensive D-man.

  • Well once the clowns blow this draft with the wink wink safe pick and take a Dman which we all know will fail the oilers give them credit are already looking at once again picking first overall yet again next year. How long does this fan base put up with KLowe running this team?? it’s clear that MacT will be coaching once they foolishly hire Ralph Kruger as coach he will get fired so MacT can take over, who would MacT prefer a star forward or a safe pick Dman?? this team is a joke plain and simple Kruger will do his best weekend at Bernie’s impression with puppet strings attached to MacT and Klowe, and with drafting a safe Dman is just another clear example of the blind leading the blind. Good luck oil fan this is the best time of year to reward another year of failure start looking at the 2013 top prospects you will want to get to know them.

  • I can see the Oil putting rumors out there to get a team in the top 5 to try and trade up, but who in their right mind would trade away the pick based on what someone above might do, when you can wait and see what they do and then make a decision on the floor.

    If I had the top 2 I would take yak and Gal. Both are of Russian heritage, friends, linemates, and both have a lot of skill. They are also gym partners and I see them pushing each other for years to come. If they have great success together this may also be leverage for hometown discount in the future.

  • Truth

    There has been a lot of debate about Tracy @TreenasOil on Twitter being the real deal or not (not Brownlee, however). Today we will all find out as she just tweeted Ryan Murray is the pick.

  • I am playing devil’s advocate for a minute here.
    I agree with everyone take Yak or even Gal if you don’t like Yak’s character.

    That being said, if Management was confidant that Murray could step in next year and perform at a similar level to what Smid is currently at with a little bit higher of a ceiling. Who could fault them for looking at him.

    I don’t think a 1st year pro will perform at that high of a level, but the WC proves they think he is already highly competant to play against men.

    Would you be happy with the result at the end of the year, if they took Murray, he played on the 2nd pairing all year, with similar results to current day Smid, and the Oil pushed for a playoff spot?

    If you said yes, would you still be happy if Yak got a hundred points somewhere else?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    @everyone

    is there a bonafide source for this murray rumor?

    ALso,

    you want to know what would really piss me off if they take Murray #1… that would mean the one remaining thing keeping me mildly interested in the last 10 games right through the draft lottery would be erased…

    all the excitement of staying worse than Montreal and beating Columbus at the lottery… meaningless.

    we could easily get Murray at 2 or even 3…

    it means you basically kept me interested for nothing… and you wasted the gift of Montreal playing marginally better and Columbus drawing the short straw.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @ Cody Anderson

    Looks like the Oilers think they have the Jackets mounted in their vice, putting the screws to Howson. If they’re going to pee in Columbus’ cornflakes (selecting Murray first) then they could follow up by getting the second overall pick as well. Selecting Galchenyuk or Yakupov with that aquired second overall selection would be optimal.

    Hemsky/or Gagner, along with Paajarvi for the second selection. I’d even include an offer to flip firsts next season to get Galchenyuk.

    • Drinkin' the Oilaid

      I think he’s saying that the only way to get Columbus’s pick is to take their guy first. Awfully dangerous game of chicken, taking the pick you think number 2 wants in order to try to get their pick from them.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    Maybe they’re trying to make one of the other top 5 draft pickers blink. I’m planning on being on the treadmill when I watch the draft. Don’t make me fall off Tambi!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @ Burk

    Need the center moreso than the winger, Murray and Galchenyuk are what the Oilers need. There’s no KHL fears with Galchenyuk, which is best case scenario.

    Galchenyuk will be worth the possible year wait. Murray makes it this year. I’d be estatic with Yakupov and Murray though. Just not as happy as with Murray and Galchenyuk.

    Can we call Mammoet now if we’re going to be moving Heavan and Earth on this deal?

  • 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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @Martin

    Please don’t compare the bums on your roster to #1 overall studs. Montreal would be ecstatic to get a player of Kovalchuk’s skill set.

    Please.