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?

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.

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.

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.
  • Quicksilver ballet

    This is a glass half full or half empty moment for Stu MacGregor. He could go from the penthouse to the outhouse this evening if he blows this pick.

    Maybe the reason they didn’t announce a length of the Tambellini extension is because Katz and Lowe wanted him to take the fall for this possible questionable selection.

    • fuzzy muppet

      You are correct.

      Not to besmirch the “magnificent” one, but outside of the obvious #1 picks and the Great Mr. Eberle, all Stu has really gotten are propects, Not real NHL players.

      MPS has been underwhelming.Hamilton and Pitlick and Martindale all had nice arrows early but then their production fell off the table as they turned pro. It’s only been a few years, but there’s no guarantee they will ever be good NHLers.

      If he botches this pick….

      Msybe he’s not that magnificent after all?

  • Bucknuck

    I think everyone is getting far too excited before the Oil have even selected anyone. For instance Travis Dakin and poor Arch are having a full scale Twitter rage at the stupidity of taking a Defenseman overall. I tend to agree, but I will wait until the selection before getting excited.

    Perhaps they are trying to get the #2 pick from Columbus, and if Columbus REALLY wants Murray then this leak of info plays right into their hands, no?

    Any way you cut it this is an exciting day to be an Oiler fan, which is a good thing in June 🙂

    I like the question about building a Team around Nash, Staal, or Ryan. I like Staal, but I don’t think he’s a 1st line centre, so you don’t build your team around him. Nash is a force, but he’s played for a losing team so long that I just don’t really want him. Bobby Ryan is my guy because of his age, power, and skill.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Just watched a reply of TSN panel and McGuire pushing for D and saying we have enough offensive depth. I am so glad he is not on TSN regularly anymore. He’s a bit of a knuckle head.

    Mackenzie and Dreger are on the ball not so much McGuire.

    Still hoping for Yakupov instead of Murray.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “the perception will be that they picked him because he was at the World Championships.”

    didn’t Yak play at the WCs?

    I would have thought “draft for position/need” would be the driving narrative, no?

    first 2: if they got them… Yak and Gal… or Yak and Murray?

    “He’ll need a lot of character if the Islanders take him.”

    hahaha!!!

    the sad truth is you could almost say the same for the Oil

  • Talbot17

    Murray won’t be a guaranteed 1 or 2 D on any team yet Yakupov is basically guaranteed top 6…just doesn’t make sense to me. If you were so high on a D like Reinhart get that 8th pick from Carolina somehow. One D is going to drop

  • Why does Edmonton management think they are smarter than everyone else? If they pick Murray, they are straight up setting that kid up to fail, and man is that an unfair thing to do to him. He has NO CHANCE of succeeding in Edmonton. He will be a solid NHLer, but he does not have the skill set or size to reach the talent level or success of a true number 1 draft pick. So the fans will be all over this kid, and they will drive him out of town at the first sign of struggle. Bad move Edmonton, the NHL is a business, your fans are your customers, and you are spitting right their collective face. Mark my words, Murray will not be an Oiler by the time he’s 22.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think that these rumours have been a propaganda strategy the Oilers have employed trying to get CLB or Montreal to move up to get the man they want. Dont kid yourselves, if the Oilers keep the first pick they will take Yakupov.

    • Drinkin' the Oilaid

      Agree on propaganda, but maybe I’m hoping it’s more than simply pressing someone to trade up. Maybe the Oilers are thinking (okay, maybe “thinking” isn’t the right word, but stay with me) along the same lines as Gregor. Maybe the Oil are floating “we’re taking Murray” to convince the Blue Jackets their man will be gone in the hopes that they can convince the Jackets to trade the number 2 pick for Hemsky and others.

      As an aside, if the Oilers move a roster player under the age of 30 for a pick (Hemsky included), it will be counterproductive. They have to stop getting younger at some point, and bringing in two more first round picks is going to start causing roster havoc in the next couple years.

  • A-Mc

    As unlikely as it is, i think all the dithers comments and tambo head hunt rants would cease if by some miracle, we managed to draft first AND second with out losing franchise players in the process. Hell, even just 2 players in the top 10 with 1 being first overall, would gain tambolini a lot of respect in the oilersnation world.

    I think the draft with be as eventless for the oilers as can be: the edmonton oilers are proud to select nail yakupov from the sarnia sting.

    Ps: what does it say about the community here when selecting first overall isnt good enough?

    • fuzzy muppet

      It’s near the point I’m going to recommend you to be the Oilers GM.

      This management team will likely get their walking papers if they screw this up.

      There’s only 2 options.

      1) Take Yakupov

      2) Trade down and take Defense

      Anything else have to be considered an abject failure

  • Talbot17

    I think Yakupov is a more safe pick, because he’s coming onto a team with talent up front and more room for growth > smaller magnifying glass over him analyzing his rookie season. With Murray he would be coming in with unrealistic expectations as a life saver on the back end right from the get go. History suggests top D may not even pan out and considering we recently had a top 3 D pick bust on our team (a la Mr. Barker), i hope they take Yakupov here.

    You hear Yandle is on the market, why not go for him? PHX needs a center, maybe pitch Gagner and whatever else to get him?

  • 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….

  • 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?