PROSPECTS TALK

Thirteen of the top prospects in this year’s draft and a host of media had lunch and then did interviews on the roof top of the Empress boat of the Gateway Clipper fleet. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Pittsburgh, but it was incredibly hot and muggy on the roof top.

Most of the media members must have thought the cups of water had vodka in them, because they were chugging them left and right. The 13 young men: Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk, Morgan Reilly, Cody Ceci, Radek Faksa, Olli Maatta, Jacob Trouba, Griffin Reinhart, Matt Dumba (ranked 1st to 11th by central scouting) and the top ranked European, Filip Forsberg and the #1 ranked North American goalie, Malcolm Subban went through a few bottles of water while answering numerous questions.

All the players were incredibly excited, but most admitted it was just one step towards their goal of making the NHL.

Here’s a quick recap of what I discovered.

  • Alex Galchenyuk hasn’t spoken to the Oilers since the combine, which would lead me to believe it won’t be taken first tomorrow. That isn’t a major shock, considering Galchenyuk admitted that, "My injury probably cost me a shot at going #1. I’m healthy now and feel great, but not playing made it hard for me to show what I can do," he said.
     
  • Filip Forsberg played wing this past season, despite being listed as a centre. When I asked him the hard question of comparing his game to an NHLer he responded with, "Corey Perry. I like to shoot and I’m not afraid to mix it up. I love how he plays." If he can score 30 goals and get under the opposition’s skin he’ll be a great pick for someone on Friday.
     
  • "Hitting doesn’t come down to size. It comes down to the technique, how you go about doing it, how you catch the guy, how your feet are positioned, balance, your explosiveness and how you pop through the guy so I’m not worried about that. I guess we’ll see once I’m at that level we’ll see what I can and cannot do. I’m excited to go to the next level," said Matt Dumba.

    Dumba was a great kid. Very personable, excited and determined yet very respectful. He’s heard the concerns about his size and style equating to success in the NHL, but he’s confident in his abilities as a player and as a hitter.
     

  • Malcolm Subban’s favourite goalie is Henrik Lundqvist and he tries to emulate his athletic style. 
     
  • Lots of rumblings that the Ottawa Senators are a legit contender in the Rick Nash sweepstakes. It would take a lot to get him, one of their young goalies, Bishop or Lehner, Foligno, their first rounder this year and possibly another high-end prospect. Would be good to see a market like Ottawa land a big fish, rather than the usual teams like Philly, NYR, Detroit, etc.
     
  • Did you know that Pittsburgh has the most bridges of any city in the Western Hemisphere? Little tidbit I learned over lunch today.
     
  • New associate coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Craig Hartsburg, will join me at 2:20 MST today on TEAM 1260 and we’ll get his thoughts on Nash and some other NHLers.
     
  • Former NHLer and father of Griffin, Paul Reinhart gave a very good viewpoint from a parent’s perspective on what today should mean for their kids.

    "I think the big thing for these guys and their families to recognize is that what happens in the next 24 hours really has nothing to do with your career. Everything that you have done to date has put you in this position, but it’s all about what you do afterwards. One thing I’ve tried to inpart upon my boys is that you are now graduating to a point where development will always be important, but make no mistake, when you are being paid winning is important.

    "Tomorrow will be a wonderful statement for what you’ve done in the past, but going forward to be successful in this game you have to become a winner, you have to make sure that, not just you continue to develop, but that you somehow develop the players around you."

 

  • OutDoorRink

    After seeing all of the interviews etc, I would not be upset if we took Murray first. I love how he talks about being a leader, and gaining the respect of your team mates. I think he would be a fantastic future Captain for the Oil going forward, and man, do we need to upgrade our D.

    However, I’d be happy with Nail or Galchenyuk too, so no worries.

    Got my booze and chow ready. It’s gonna be a fun evening.

  • Reg Dunlop

    From Jill Ireland’s latest article:

    “The Oilers brought a few players into Edmonton following the NHL combine, including Murray and Yakupov. They did not meet with either player in Pittsburgh. Nor did they talk again to forwards Mikhail Grigorenko or Alex Galchenyuk.”

    So who did they interview this evening?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Edmonton has one more interview to do this evening. It will be at the conclusion of this meeting that the Oilers will reveal to him that he’s their guy and he can rest peacefully this evening knowing he’ll be an Edmonton Oiler very soon.

    The guy they’re talking to is Alex Galchenyuk.

    • ubermiguel

      and some time ago they said that they’ve known him and had many discussions over the years with him so he was the most known quantity of the kids up for draft

  • Cervantes

    Aside from Burkie swinging the Sedin picks a decade ago, can someone remind me when there was an actual decently awesome trade done on the floor? We hear all these big rumours around draft time, and maybe I’m getting old and cranky, but it seems like forever since one of them actually hit. I mean, I’d love the believe the Oil will move Yak for Subban, or drop some prospects/picks in exchange for another top 10 pick, but I can’t recall the last time someone did that, let alone Steve “Lemme Think About That” Tambellini.

  • Truth

    Hockey Break @HockeyBreak, who is usually pretty accurate, just tweeted the Flyers close to aquiring the #6 pick from Ana. Could we see JVR in Anaheim and then a subsequent Bobby Ryan to the Leafs and the Ducks jumping one spot up in the draft? Other pieces would be included I’m sure, but Leafs fans have to be dreaming of that.

    Interesting couple of days ahead.

  • ubermiguel

    “Alex Galchenyuk hasn’t spoken to the Oilers since the combine, which would lead me to believe it won’t be taken first tomorrow. That isn’t a major shock”

    The major shock to me is that Galchenyuk is actually an “it”. This could be the first trans-gender NHL first rounder that I know of!

    It puts the puck in the net or else it gets the hose again.

  • “Did you know that Pittsburgh has the most bridges of any city in the Western Hemisphere?”

    Hmm, guess that explains the “City Of Bridges” moniker…..

    I’m really, really interested in how this Galchenyuk kid turns out. From everything I’ve been reading over the past few weeks I’m starting to get the impression he may turn out to be Getzlaf-esque in terms of being taken later than he probably should have and making a lot of teams regret passing him over (though I’m sure no one here can relate to anything like that….).

  • “Alex Galchenyuk hasn’t spoken to the Oilers since the combine, which would lead me to believe it won’t be taken first tomorrow. That isn’t a major shock”

    The major shock to me is that Galchenyuk is actually an “it”. This could be the first trans-gender NHL first rounder that I know of!

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Great read, Jason. I agree completely about having a different team be able to land the big fish. It’s really nice to NOT be able to predict where the stars are going to go for a change – if that happens!

  • Shaun Doe

    Just putting it out there for people that haven’t seen the video is all. Many people tend to feel that Dreger to be a very well connected individual. So just thought it was worth noting when he has a “Feeling” about something.

    • nhlest79

      There is only a primary assist awarded overseas, so many players lose out on points. That affects their numbers.

      He MAY have been playing in the “men’s” league, so that would obviously slight his numbers since he is playing against mature men. He MAY have been in their equivalent of junior, however, and then this point is irrelevant.

      But still, the fact that there is only one assist is huge. Plus I don’t think there are as many goals scored over there as there are in our junior leagues here.