DRAFT WEEK…FINALLY

For one week of the year, fans of bad hockey teams have a legitimate reason to be happier than those of competitive teams. The 2012 NHL draft is four days away and for only the 2nd time in NHL history, three Canadian teams will be drafting in the top-five; the Leafs sit at five, the Habs at three while the Oilers will choose first.

I can guarantee you that fans in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto are much more excited this week than fans in Phoenix, New Jersey and New York.

It will be curious to see if fans still be excited Friday night after the first picks are announced?

The Oilers need a lot of help before they are a legit contender, so they have to make sure they make their pick count. Nail Yakupov is rated #1 on about 95% of draft rankings. I’ve seen Alex Galchenyuk go first on a few, but mostly it is Yakupov. There’s been lots of talk that the Oilers are leaning towards Ryan Murray, because they desperately need help on the backend, but I’ll be very surprised if they don’t take Yakupov.

Just like the last two years, it is difficult to get a guarantee on who they will pick, and I applaud the Oilers for keeping it a secret. It makes the build up more exciting, but mostly it will make the moment extra special for the young man and his family.

"I kind of blacked out after they called my name," said Taylor Hall after being drafted 1st overall in 2010. Hall and Tyler Seguin had a lot of fun during the Taylor v. Tyler debate, but Hall admitted he wasn’t sure until Tambellini said from the Windsor Spitfires. Obviously Yakupov, Murray and Galchenyuk would love to go first overall. There is lots of prestige about being first, not to mention a load of pressure, but these guys would relish the opportunity to have Tambellini call their name.

I suspect the Oilers will take Yakupov, and he’ll be a dynamic scorer. If it was me I’d take Galchenyuk, because I like that he’s a centre with size and skill. No of us can predict the future, which is why the draft is so exciting, so we won’t know for at least five or six years if they choose the best player, but either way I’ll be shocked if the player they draft doesn’t turn out to be a very good.

DRAFT WEEK THOUGHTS

  • Filip Forsberg is the most intriguing player in the top-ten. He hasn’t put up many points playing in the "AHL" of Sweden this year. His team, Leksands IF, is the 2nd tier of the SEL, and he didn’t put up huge numbers. He didn’t score very much at the WJC either. Granted that is a very short tournament. All the scouting reports are that he’s a great two-way player, that he protects the puck well and makes smart decisions. That’s great, but without some big offensive numbers, I wouldn’t want to take him in the top-five. I want that pick to be a point-producer.
     
  • Most of the rumours involving trading of picks centres around the Carolina Hurricanes. They own the 8th pick, and many are speculating they are looking at a deal with the Pens for Jordan Staal. I like Staal a lot, but would Jim Rutherford trade the #8 and Brandon Sutter for Staal? That’s a big package for a player who’s never scored more than 50 points. I understand he’s played behind Malkin and Crosby, so he’ll likely produce more, but is he a 70-point guy? I’m not sure. Would be an interesting deal for both teams. The Pens would get a perfect 3rd line centre, and a top prospect. Could be appealing for both. Chip Alexander, beat guy for Canes, is pretty tapped in, and he said that Rutherford was open to move the pick, but as of now he has no significant offers.
     
  • Could the Canes just wait until next year, when Staall become an UFA, and sign him then?
     
  • Spoke with Florida Panthers director of amateur scouting, Scott Luce, on Friday, and he said he thinks Murray and Matt Dumba have the potential to be #1 D-men. It’s great hearing from different teams and how scouts analyse players differently. Most really like Dumba, but some have concerns if he can play the same way in the NHL. Luce is a big fan of Dumba. He also said they had Yakupov ranked #1, in case you are wondering.
     
  • Expect the Capitals to make some sort of deal on Friday. The Caps have the 11th and 16th picks, and at the very least I see them switching draft positions with another team. George McPhee has said he’d be open to moving one fo the picks for a proven player. The Caps need a scoring winger on their 2nd line.
     
  • The player I like the most who probably won’t go in the top-ten is Brendan Gaunce. Five years from now the team that drafted him will be very happy.
     
  • I keep getting asked if the Oilers can trade Belanger. Sure they could, but why do they have to. Belanger had an awful season, but if he is your 4th line centre, then your team should be better. My concern is if Belanger will accept that role. If he still feels he’s a top-nine forward then the new coach could have some issues, but if Belanger accepts that role, I think he could chip in with 20-23 points, help out the PK and win faceoffs. It is much easier to be a 4th liner, when your top lines are doing their job. Look at Colin Fraser in LA.
     
  • How is Ralph Krueger as a head coach? I’ll find out today when Hnat Domenichelli joins me in the two o’clock hour. The former NHLer has played the last nine years in Switzerland and knows Krueger.
     
  • The only other tim three Canadian teams picked in the top-five was in 1989:

    Quebec took Mats Sundin 1st.
    NYI choose Dave Chyzowksi 2nd.
    Toronto took Scott Thornton 3rd.
    Winnipeg drafted Stu Barnes 4th.
    New Jersey called Bill Guerin 5th.

RECOGNIZING COACHES

Most amateur coaches are more relaxed than Wil Farrell was in Kicking & Screaming, a horribly bad flick, but like Farrell all coaches volunteer their time.

Starting next week, I’m going to start honouring our great amateur coaches in our Elite Sportswear Coach of the Week segment.

If you want to nominate a coach send an email to Gregor@theteam1260.com. We’d like to speak with coaches who are currently coaching. It doesn’t matter if it is a team sport or an individual sport. Just fire off an email and tell us what makes this coach so good. Include his name and the team he coaches.

Kudos to all of you who volunteer your time as a coach, manager, running the time clock or any other part of amateur sports. It’s great that you help out, and hopefully all of us can help out at one point in our adult lives.

  • Rocknrolla

    Anyone out there got a CBA handy? or link? I heard that there is specific bonus structure built into the CBA under ELC. Apparently there is quite a large bonus for being picked 1st overall, which is why the actual salaries are a lot higher for Hall and Nuge vs. Ebs. It would make sense then that these kids all say they want to go number 1…

  • Reg Dunlop

    @blue31

    I will gladly yield my rights and freedoms if it means passing the OilPatriot act whereby the oil have the right to monitor alcohol consumption of all Russian prospects.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I think the Oilers should use a second or third round pick on Matej Beran. the kid is a center, has monster size and puts up very solid numbers on a brutal team. In his first full season after coming from Czech Rep he has put up 22 goals and 61 points in 68 games for a team that won 19 games all year. Someone with size like that always has issues with skating but so has other good players in the past. Most notibily for the Oilers right now is Hartikinen but he has turned into an awesome prospect. Martin Hanzal comparison in my opinion and that would look good on the 3rd line.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The city sets seemingly random speed limits on some stretches of road. Everyone knows at least one stretch that is a “favourite” for radar traps.

    The problem is the freedoms that citizens are willing give up. Where will this stop? Will it be OK when there is a camera monitoring every street? Every corner? Perhaps monitoring every yard? Your yard? Your house? Why not? Don’t think it hasn’t been discussed.

    After all, according to the logic of some above posters, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?” Laws are arbitrarily made by the government of the day. And apparently most people have no problem DOING WHAT THEY ARE TOLD!! OR ELSE!!!!

    This is not an issue about speeding. Those who think it is are naive.
    Just keep this in mind: No matter what freedoms you think are OK to surrender, there is always a group who will fight to push it further than even YOU find it acceptable. Then what? Is that when you start fighting back?

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Does Edmonton have those, too? Because those pictures are from outside the Costco on Broadmoor in the Park, so they’ll be gone by the fall, anyway. Boy, they LOVE that spot! I just assume they’re always there. Because they’re ALWAYS there. I don’t know where the County is going to make up that lost revenue from…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @~30~

    Obviously you’ve misinterpreted my post. Like yourself, i’ve never had a photo radar ticket either, but you never know when you end up on a street when the speed limit dips down to 50km per hr rather than the usual 60km ph.

    Not everyone here is 60yrs+ like yourself Mr.Holier than thou. I drive within the legal speed limit and still think it’s a cash grab. Are you going to pass judgement on me too?

  • Rocknrolla

    @Come join the Dark Parade, Whaaaaaa! Don’t speed and you won’t be paying anybody anything.

    I’ve got no time for losers that pass me while I’m doing the speed limit and claim that speeding tickets are a tax grab. I hope your car insurance goes up too. That is, if you are driving with insurance.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The city of Edmonton has got what it takes, to take what you got……it’s not just the trucks parked at the side of the road now. New portable photo radar units that are easily mistaken for utility boxes.

    http:/i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh208/brian_sportframe/securedownload2.jpg

    http:/i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh208/brian_sportframe/securedownload.jpg

  • oilredemption

    I agree on Yak and Galchenyuk–would love to get both and then add more by trading Sam to Washington for their pick, and of course signing young Schultz after the draft. Don’t know how we’d get the pick to grab Galchenyuk, but maybe Tambo surprises us all in a good way and pulls off a miracle.

    Add Cooper for coach and I’m a happy fan.

    (Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive…)

  • Pronger's Wife

    Oilers’ perfect week will unfold as follows:

    Wednesday: The Nuge wins the Calder and Eberle wins the Lady Byng.

    Thursday: Steve Tambellini realizes that he doesn’t have a head coach yet and signs John Cooper to a 3 year deal.

    Friday: Oilers trade first overall pick to Montreal for PK Subban and 3rd overall pick in which Oilers take Galchenyuk.

    Saturday Afternoon: Justin Schulz looks at the Oilers roster and says “Holy Jumpin'”. Picks up phone, calls his agaent and says “Agent, I want to sign with the Oilers on July 1st”.

    Then of course I’d be really excited, and then there will be a lockout and they won’t play hockey until February.

  • oilredemption

    said it before and i will say it again. Oilers need to get Cooper the mans on fire so how can u pass on the guy and let kruger be his assisant and if Cooper fails by christmas u let kruger take the reins. Its a short leash but it will show a level of credibility if he can get the oilers past the rodeo show in november and be competitive in the run for the playoffs by the new years. If we sit 10th in the West i would be happy to keep him any worse and Kruger its time to saddle up and take over.

  • vetinari

    I have a feeling that it will be an eternity waiting for Carolina to make their first round (#8 selection) depending on which players are still on the board at that time.

    I have a feeling that at least one quality defenseman may be available at that spot and there will be some teams willing to trade up to get to that pick, melting Rutherford’s phone.