What readers and writers at Oilersnation think makes for great debate when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, but there’s nothing like actually hearing from somebody in the know. That’s why our 2011 series From The Horse’s Mouth with Oilers chief Stu MacGregor drew such great response last June.
Some of you asked for a 2012 FTHM between now and when the Oilers are scheduled to pick first in Pittsburgh, so I’m going to re-visit the series with snippets about the five players I think the Oilers are most likely to use the first overall pick on. More important, we’ll get MacGregor’s take on each of them.
While the overwhelming consensus is the Oilers will follow up the selections of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by taking forward Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, and that’s the safe bet, that makes for a short series, so I went five deep with MacGregor – starting today with Mikhail Grigorenko.
MacGregor, it’s no surprise, didn’t share the list compiled by he and his scouting staff leading into the draft, so I’ll be running the items based on the order of my choosing. I’ve included information from the NHL’s media site, including comments from the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.
THE SKINNY FROM CSS
In his first season with the Quebec Remparts, Grigorenko led all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookies with 45 goals and 85 points (40-45–85) and finished third in the league with eight game-winning goals.
Grigorenko represented Russia at the 2012 World Junior Championships, recording five points (2-3–5) in six games, helping Russia capture a silver medal. As a member of Team Russia at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, he led his team to a bronze medal, leading the tournament with 14 assists (4-14–18) in seven games.
In 2010-11, Grigorenko collected 35 points (17-18–35) in 43 games while playing for CSKA-2 where he competed against players as old as 22. He was selected second overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft — the Remparts traded up twice to secure him.
WHAT THEY SAY
– NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory
"He’s the type of player that controls the whole pace of the game. He can play with the puck at the same pace he plays without the puck. He sees the ice and opportunities really well.
"He can hang onto it longer than most players; some players might feel that they have to move it quickly, but Mikhail has the patience and the ability to see opportunities and let them develop, which is a special skill. He’s got a big, long reach and an ability to move in traffic with his size (6-foot-3.25, 200). He’s the kind of forward who will control the play and make things happen."
Scouting Report: "A big center who’s a great skater. He has exceptional hockey skills and vision."
Projection: "Depending on what team he’s on, he’ll be a No. 1 or No. 2 center."
Weaknesses: "He needs to get physically bigger, to fill out. He needs to learn to play a 200-foot game and he needs to develop that consistent shift-to-shift game. He has to maintain a higher level of play shift-to-shift."
NHL Comparable: "I think he’s like an Eric Staal."
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.