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.
  • I am perplexed? Say they will take Murray first and have him and Rienhart close or even Yakupov, Wouldn’t you trade for example to columbus to swap picks + Col 5th round now you still get Reinhart or Yak + asset or go to third pick with Montreal give them a chance at Yak for their pick + a second rd pick now you get Reinhart or Galy + asset. Taking anybody first overall other than Yak is a complete blunder by management. They take Murray will really test if, In Stu we trust.

  • Hi Martin, I both agree and disagree with you. A small forward can be great a lineup of small forwards….not so much.

    If they drafted Yak with plans on playing him with Hemsky and Gagner, then I would tend to agree. Way too soft, too many turnovers, too easy to push off the puck. On this line Yak is the toughest and most physical of the group….that is not a good thing.

    Now put Hall, Hartikainan, or Paajarvi on the wing and it is a marked improvement. Put one of them on wing and Galnechyuk at centre and you actually have a physically imposing line that still has a tonne of skill. then Yak is the least physical of the group, and he is more than strong enough for that.

  • Forget the all time record for comments if they take Murray. There would be a public linching of Lowebelleni at the Edmonton International Airport. The Nuge would probably refuse to fly home with the brass.

  • I agree, if you are not taking the consensus #1 you have to try to trade down. the only problem is what if other know your needs and guess what you are doing, or do not value the #1 pick high enough to give you anything of value.

    Unless they Have Murray rated #1, it is way to risky to select him #1 hoping to get the 2nd pick as well. If they draft him #1 then i am sure they rate him #1. Tambelini does not have the balls to gamble like this………Hell I don’t think I have the balls for this gamble, and I am all about taking a risk.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      “if you are not taking the consensus #1 you have to try to trade down. ”

      bingo… otherwise it’s a waste of a #1 to take what would likely go #3.

      I guess a supplemental question would be (if you are worried you traded down and that Murray isn’t still available) how much daylight is there between Murray and the other Ds?

      If the Oil are desperate for a D 4 years down the road right now (crazy I know) they ought to trade the pick down, get an NHL asset and target any of the top 4 D men in the draft.

  • hmmm so there leaning on taking Murry.This murry guy isnt the same guy that had 5 pucks go off him into his own net in one game at the world juniors is it?Dithers you watch that game?If this dildo blows this pick its time for a revolt.If the almighty Stu endorses this pick without trading down to get him then Im sure alot of us will doubt how great he is.All this buzz on Murry makes me want to puke.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    is this “alyonka larionov” on tsn Igor’s daughter or something?

    she’s working the “social lounge” online… whatever that means… some kind of champagne room?

    at any rate, for anyone interested, tsn.ca will be streaming the draft online for free it looks like

  • Romulus, the main thing that seperates Murray from the other top D is he is NHL ready whereas the others are all 2 or 3 or more years away from the NHL. For a well rounded Dman (Not super offensive) He has one of the higher ceilings of D in the draft but will play NHL next year. 4 years down the road, who knows…….I think I would prefer Reinhart, because he is younger, bigger, and showed more year over year improvement.

    That being said Reinhart is not playing in the NHL next year and is probably 3 to 4 years away from being an effective Dman.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      I get the “nhl ready” talk. it seems legit in Murray’s case… but probably only to an extent. I mean there is a difference between be able to play

      1-9 NHL games (tiny percentage of the draft)

      9-82 NHL games (handful of the first round)

      82 NHL games as a reliable, contributing anchor at your position.

      Assuming Murray is in the second category… how many years until he reaches the third? is he there yet?

      I would guess, since Ds take so long to develop, he’s a ways away from that crucial third category.

      Basically the question is… is he Doughty material and on par with Doughty’s development (even he improved dramatically in his second year)??

      For a quick D, I still think your best bet is a trade for NHL established players. we have a lot of odds and ends to toy with…

    • Bucknuck

      assuming Murray = Barker is alarmist at best. Maybe they are taking Doughty, or Niedermeyer, or maybe Smid. Whoever they pick, I will cheer for that player to be the best, so I don’t hate Tambellini any more than I already do!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Guys, thanks for the replies, this is, whater happens in a few minutes, very very intersting.

    I read again or hear people saying they will get sick or be mad at the GM if Yakupov is not drafted 1st. I don’t understand that because I hope everyone realize that the information we have, is from the tv/radio/internet. We do not have all the details like teams does.

    Will, I understand that star players are exciting to look at. But you can’t have too many of them up front and none at D. You got a point though, you guys do have some good prospects on defence like Klefbom and Musil. I think Murray can be a good pick, imo he will be a very good pick.

    When trying to hit an homerun, you often get striked out πŸ™‚

    I would get a big center though, you got great players on wings, you need a strong center to play with Hall or Eberle.

    But hey, please note that if Montreal draft Galchenyuk or Forsberg because they are still available at rank 3. We will be VERY happy.
    πŸ™‚

    Good luck guys πŸ˜‰