An outside perspective on the 2013 Draft

Tim Murray, the assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators, is rapidly approaching the 20 year mark working for NHL teams, much of it on the amateur scouting side of things. He currently runs the team’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, a tremendously successful team that won the Calder Cup in 2011. Yesterday, Murray commented on this year’s draft, and his comments offer an outside perspective for Oilers fans.

Both Murray and Pierre Dorion, the Senators’ director of player personnel, have some interesting comments on the general makeup of the draft. Interestingly Murray downplayed the overall strength of the 2013 group, suggesting it doesn’t match well to the legendary 2003 crop.

Additionally, Murray suggested that there were tiers to the 2013 draft, saying, “This year, you could say there’s three top guys, and then there’s another five, then there’s another five, then there’s another six.” He didn’t elaborate on who the Senators have in those tiers, but the first one is obvious: Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, and Jonathan Drouin.

For the Oilers, the interesting group is the next five players, since they are currently slated to pick seventh overall. It’s a group that almost certainly includes Aleksander Barkov, Valeri Nichushkin, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan. The other guy in that tier from a Senators’ viewpoint is less obvious – Darnell Nurse has received significant press as a potential pick for the Oilers at seven, but Bob McKenzie’s final rankings have Rasmus Ristolainen ahead of Nurse in the number eight slot. Most lists give Nurse the edge, and he would be my guess as to the player Murray had in mind.

Making A Trade

Murray also made some interesting comments about trying to make a trade at the draft. He was answering a question about the possibility of the Senators moving up from 17th overall, but it works in reverse as a possible guide to a team like the Oilers moving down from the seventh overall slot:

If we were picking in the top five, it would be extremely hard – or top 10 – it would be extremely hard for [general manager Byran Murray] to come to [director of player personnel] Pierre [Dorion] and I and say ‘we have a chance to move down, we can get a third line centre, we can get the 20th pick in the draft and we can get a second round pick.’ It sounds exciting but if the whole amateur staff is in the suite in New York and that comes up the chances are we’re going to say ‘no.’ But saying that, there are teams out there that need NHL players, and they’ve stated it. There are teams out there that are very thin.

Adjusting a little for the Oilers’ position (seventh overall rather than top five), we might think of Ottawa offering the 17th overall, Zack Smith and a 2014 third round draft pick in exchange for the seventh overall. While a solid depth player like Smith and the extra pick are both good assets, is it the kind of trade that makes sense? If the Oilers have a shot at a guy like Lindholm or Monahan or Nichushkin or Nurse, is it worth shoring up the depth now, adding another a pick, and moving down to Curtis Lazar territory? It isn’t a question with an obvious answer, though (evidently like Murray) I’d personally lean more towards staying at seven rather than taking that specific package. Based on Jason Gregor’s interview with Craig MacTavish, the Oilers general manager feels the same way.

Recently around the Nation Network

As Craig MacTavish did yesterday, a number of general managers have been speaking to the media in the lead-up to the draft and answering questions. One of those is Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who talked about a lot of things. From the JetsNation recap, here’s their take on Cheveldayoff’s announcement that the team was looking for a top-six forward:

Just like almost every other team in the league, the Jets made it known today that they are in the hunt for another top 6 forward. Seems like Chevy has finally realized that he won’t be able to find one via the waiver wire. (Thank Goodness) It’s been said a million times already that the free agent pool is really thin, but there are some guys out there (Jarome Iginla?) that are up for grabs for a team willing to spend a fair chunk of change.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Spydyr

    Hey JW, very interesting read ya put out here today.

    I have been listening to radio show interviews and TV as well, and I have come to realize that the Oilers should go for one of three players…Lindholm, Monahan, or Nurse…

    Thew Oilers need a top 1A to 2nd line centre to go with RNH and these two of Lindholm and Monahan compliment that. I just read as well that Calgary may be leaning to grabbing Fucale as their 6th overall pick due to that this kid will be grabbed far before their 22nd pick.

    This opens the door more so, if a true rumour, for one of Monahan or Lindholm being available at #7.

    If Nichushkin was to be there as well, I am not sold on this kid’s ethics and attitude like I was with Yakupov the year before.

    Now Nurse might just be the Oilers’ newest crown jewel as well…especially if he could turn to be very much like a future Pronger type defender in the next two to three years … and this is what makes him such as tantalizing choice at #7.

    So there’s the only three right type choices for #7 if I was MacT….based on that MacKinnon, Jones, Barkov, Drouin were already gone by then.

    Right now for of maybe the Oilers trading that pick???…. Deal or No Deal?????…No Deal!!!!! Take one of these kids…

    • Ducey

      I think you may be right. Calgary may upset everything by going for Furcale at 6. Why?

      1)Craig Button was over the top in his praise for him during the TSN mock draft. His bother is the Flames’ chief scout.

      2)Feaster doesn’t mind making unorthodox moves.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Virtually zero chance of that happening. If they are committed to taking Fucale (which would be a shock), why would they not trade down to 10 or so and still be virtually guaranteed to get him.

      • RexLibris

        If that happened then the fan reaction would make the recent flooding seem like a minor inconvenience.

        Not saying I’m opposed to it, but I very seriously doubt that Feaster and Weisbrod go that route.

        At #22 perhaps, #28 very likely, if he is still around.

        But for them to reach that far down that early…hilarity would ensue, provided you don’t live in the 403 area code.

      • CaptainLander

        The Flames would probably have a good chance to get him at 22, or move the 2 late rounds to move up to say 15 and take him.

        But then again with Feaster…you never know.

      • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

        I don’t like this generalization. It’s so subjective. And it’s starting to become a cliche.

        Who’s better, Jones or MacKinnon? Nichushkin or Lindholm?

        • Buke

          Nichushkin has been scouted and compared to the best in the draft. There is little doubt that if he is there at seven he will be the BPA…question is, does SM and MacT go with BPA or try and fill an organizational hole.

          • Nichushkin may indeed end up being the best in this draft year.

            Having said that, I get the risk involved with taking such a player, however, if he’s there at 7 he will be the BPA and will fill a huge need.

            The belief is he can play both sides IIRC, RW/LW
            the Oilers desperately need a puck retrieval player and a big skilled body that can create separation for Gagner and Yakupov.

            I wouldn’t hesitate to take the Russian Bear.

            I can just hear Reg in the back ground!


            All those times in the past NHL teams have shown to be hesitant because of the unknown “Russian” character issues… This guy exudes it in spades… He may very well turn out to be the most talented player in the draft. But what good is it if in 2 years he decides he doesnt like his ice time or what line the coach has him on or what he’s beef stroganof tasted like. This is a “wild card” . And a wild card should not be used on the 7th overall pick in this years draft. Too critical a pick.

          • That’s obviously a red flag right there on Nichushkin. Sean Monahan seems like a very safe pick. But that’s also the problem with Monahan. Safe but less upside than some of the other guys.

            Can’t predict how Nichushkin’s personal angst will affect his play or his interaction with the team. But I will say that Patrick Kane can be a spoiled little bugger sometimes. But he’s also a Conn Smythe winner.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’d be trying to outright buy another late top ten selection. I know these kids are all about futures but they still need to keep blue chippers coming from the pipeline. Lindholm and Nurse, or Monahan and Ristolainen/Nurse are what’s needed. Short term pain for long term gain.

    We thought the first 3 yrs of the rebuild would be tough. The next 3 could be equally as difficult. Having to rush these kids (whenever possible) is a reflection of just how difficult things are with the parent club. Lowe did mention the Oilers would need about 6 yrs to get back on their feet. The Oilers are only half way there.

  • RexLibris

    For the record, I’m in agreement with Murray.

    2013 looks good, but it is broken into several strata of prospects, and I don’t believe that one will be able to find potential elite NHL players straight into the 2nd round.

    I believe this draft year will produce some solid NHL players, and will rival some of the better years, but to declare it to be one of the best in a decade before any of these players has skated a shift in the NHL is very premature.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!


    he was the a top 10 PK winger in the game last year.

    in 2011-2012 ryan smyth was tied for 24th ranked LW in league with 38 even points. He was tied with Nash, Landeskog, Ladd.

    This year Ryan Smyth had 11 even points.
    he played 527 even minutes in 47 games.

    He played 24.66 games of even minutes with Brown, pettrell, Eager, Horcoff, Hartikainen, hemsky.
    in that time he had .5G and 2.5 assists and -8.
    So a full season he would be 2G 8A and -26.
    All with guys who will not be on the team.

    The rest of his major minutes (22.33 games) were with Belanger, Yakupov, Jones, Eberle, Pajarvi, Gagner, RNH, Smithson.
    he had 1.5G and 6.5A. or a season pace of 6G 24A 30 EVP +6. His shooting % was below average this year.

    So he will be playing with players that he is a 30 to 38 evp winger with next year.

    and the guys he was a 9 evp -6 player with will all be gone.


  • Buke

    Zach Smith is the Senators 4th line centre on an expensive (and long) contract for that role, and they have cheaper and possibly better replacements.

    i.e. Zach Smith is tarnished goods. Therefore one should only offer tarnished assets (a short big contract, a long small contract) in return, or a low draft pick. (Or wait for the Senators to be forced to put someone, maybe Zach Smith, on waivers at training camp).

    You certainly don’t trade a high first round pick for such a tarnished asset.

    Hemsky (your own tarnished asset) for Zach Smith makes sense. Both teams would be taking a measured risk on something they need.

    Sean Monahan for Zach Smith (and stuff) is just really dumb, IMHO>

  • If both Lindholm and Monahan are off the board I’d pick Nurse ahead of Nichushkin any day.

    Despite the KHL issue, it’s a need pick.

    None of our defense prospects are big, tough, play a complete game and control the zone like Nurse does.

    Besides, we can’t expect all of Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat, Musil and maybe Simpson to become impact NHL players.

  • Word to the Bird

    Nichushkin is a left winger isn’t he?

    And besides, I’m looking at it on an organizational needs side. He adds size to the top 6, and he uses his size.

    He could also make Yakupov want to stay more.

      • Word to the Bird

        There’s a thing called “moving”, you ever hear about it?

        Did you ever consider that maybe if he didn’t feel like he belonged he’d go somewhere else? Jeez…

        • Yeah sure, anything is possible. The problem is that creating worries out of nothing is just perplexing. We might as well start going “Shhhhh everyone, stop mentioning Ebs in trade scenarios, he might actually read them and want to leave!!!”

      • Im sure all he means is that it cant hurt to have a young fellow countryman on your team going through the same thing in a new country. Its nice to have someone to talk to.

        No one said it was a line of questioning, as you said he moved his family here. end of story on that front.

        Hes also right, VN is a LW, and since hes big and very skilled he fills THE hole in our top 6. Gagner may not be perfect but he is not a hole on the roster.

  • BC BOY


    With St. Louis signing Patrik Berglund and Kevin Shattenkirk and still having to sign Pietrangelo do you think Chris Stewart would be available? He would fit in perfect with our top 6

    • Word to the Bird

      Who do you intend on playing out of position? Eberle, Yak, or Stewart, who are all rw’s. MacT wants to improve compete level. Stewart doesn’t always show up.

  • 15w40

    If Valeri Nichushkin is there, I think you have to take him. Could be the next Chris Stewart and the Oilers don’t have any of that.

    Get a defenseman via trade or free agency. A 2013 drafted D-man is likely 2 years away minimum from being an impact player.

    Klefbom is coming, Marincin is coming, Fedun is available.

    Coburn might be an option.

    I still say the Oilers should see what kind of deal nets them Joe Colborne from the Marlies. Big centre, not a real mean streak but may slot in nicely up the middle in the next year or two.

    • Spydyr

      I doubt Iglina going to Boston. Boston really doesn’t need him or his salary. They have seen him good and he is lacking. I see Iglina trying to get to SoCal, where the weather is better. Will take a major haircut on the part of Iglina.

  • Spydyr

    so what if seth jones is sitting at 4th over all… would a trade of the seventh overall + hemsky + a second round pick (56 overall) plus toni rajala for the fourth overall and a 3rd round pick or a role player do the trick?

    just a thought

    • Word to the Bird

      Realistically, I could see them trading us the fourth overall pick for Hemsky with half of his salary swallowed by us (not cap, Nashville is a salary floor team), our 7th overall pick, the 56 overall pick and one of our good defensive prospects like Marincin.

  • Since Feaster became the Flames GM and made that totally off the board “jankowski” pick last year, I think the Flames will go for one of Lindholm, Monahan or Fucale…

    But then again,…lol…another Jankowski type might be available at the 6th spot…

    Anyways, I very much like one of just three for the Oil…Lindholm, Monahan, or Nurse…for #7.

    I am also hoping very much too…that the Oilers may trade both 2nd rounders (or one and a prospect/even a trade) to get back to 16th (Buf) or 19th (Columbus) for either Horvat or Fucale myself.

    If the Oilers could get two picks of Lindholm, Monahan, Nurse or Fucale… (and I like defenceman kid McCoshen too)I would be ecstatic!!!

  • crobar

    I Would bet that Nichushkin is gone before
    the call for No.7 comes up. this guy is really a top 3 pick. I think the big question is always
    is he staying here wanting to go back to the KHL./ Ask Washington about that.

  • crobar

    Oilers poised to get their man . The least talked about is probably the one – to discourage others from seeing our hand for fear they might take him before us .They don’t want to over hype him until after the draft . I venture that man is Ristolainen and his booming shot , something we have sadly lacked for a while now . To me it’s not only the best choice , it’s the obvious one .

  • Spydr:

    MacT clearly stated, his line structures. You need speed for zone entry, high blue and along the boards. but wants high pocession players who can carry out the puck and penetrate the zone Not wanting turnovers. He needs a puck control player who can enter or drive the box. A player who can handle the post 05-06 physical play in front of the net.
    He wants zero dump and chase.

    Smyth has slower footspeed but still managed many full pocession zone entries last year. Mact was likely smiling ear to ear watching video of smyth. His terrible results were largely with Petrell, Eager, brown. complete tools that ran around with no skill or common zone sense. Bu bye!

    Smyth would enter the zone look for a target and peteagbro would be no were to be seen.

    he would try to control the puck along the boards on his own or do a wrap around with limited success as the dmen compressed on him with zero concern for the supporting forwards.

    When he played with real players he had options, more space, and results.

    I know you really want to be right.

    But giving some unsupported response cause you have nothing to counter the facts is worse than my five year old whinning and turning away.

    He is at least smart enough to know when he is wrong.

    Ryan Smyth is a top 30 Even point scoring left wingwithquality teamates. He is an elite pk winger.

    That is Why MACT was very stern and direct in sayin Ryan Smyth is going no were.

    Smyth is likely going to be 11 even minutes on the 4th line getting 28 to 32 even points.

    He is not the problem re support from the bottom 6.

    Bye Pettrell, Eager, Jones, Smithson, Belanger,

    we start our bottom six with
    13th XXX
    14th Brown???????

    Brook it!
    Chook it!
    cook it!
    crook it!
    hook it!
    gook it!
    kook it!
    look it!
    nook it!
    rook it!
    snook it!
    stook it1
    took it!
    aw but no B……………

  • MarcusBillius

    I think it was on FlamesNation that there was an article that showed that Iginla was actually quite bad this season in Calgary and didn’t improve in Pittsburgh despite getting prolonged chances with the likes of Crosby and Malkin as his centers.

    Any team signing him for big money or long term, or worse, both, is bound to be disappointed. He can still put up points because he can shoot, but he doesn’t retrieve the puck very well, doesn’t defend too well, has lost not just one step but two and… honestly, I really think Boston came away happier with Jagr than Pittsburgh did with Iginla.

  • Word to the Bird

    I, for one, have stated several times recently in my replies/responses that Sam gagner should be traded now as he is a very young asset.

    However, as I have thought more, I have decided that if Gagner singed for the right price per year, I see no major problems with him as 2nd line center for now….if the left winger can be one of size and who can help bring him and Eberle up even more.

    That’s right…i think that the Yak and hall with RNH arte destined to be the line of #1 on the Oilers.

    I think that a big fast 2nd line top left winger can play with gagner and Ebs very easily and still score score score.

    Now I am presently hoping the Oilers pick one of Monahan, Lindholm, Nurse at #7 and then somehow trade those two eligible second rounders to get a top 14 to 19 pick for either one of Horvat or Fucale.

    I’d be very happy with any one of these two sets of kids this year.

    • Reg Dunlop

      I think you have nailed it. Our centre depth is abysmal. Addressing the future 2c and 3c spots in one draft makes sense. Pick Lindholm and trade 2014 1st rounder+ for the highest pick possible in this years crap-shoot, maybe Horvat or Gauthier.

      Regarding drafting the Russian kid… a story:

      A clown I worked with was a gambler and one day after countless fails he won thick cash on the lotto. Quit his job and spent a disproportionate amount of his free time focusing on, you guessed it, beating the lottery again. I told him that he was lucky once and that it won’t happen again, quit blowing money. It’s like flipping a coin 100 times, each one coming up heads. GUARANTEED the next toss either ends up tails or the coin lands on it’s edge. The oil won the lotto with Yak. It seems they got the only commie worth a spit, but tempting fate with another red pick? That coin will either land on it’s edge or disappear through a wormhole. Nishkuski or whatever his name is will be mining salt in Volgagrad before he’s 25.

  • Oh my how short our darn memories are huh ??

    Earth to Oiler fans, is there anybody out there ?

    Look back at all of the lean years when we badly needed skill, remember Gagner breaking in and then name the rest of the players we have seen develop into regular NHLers with skill as their calling card?

    If we can land Konopka without overpaying or another excellent faceoff man then the landscape changes. Our bottom 6 needs to be able to maintain dominant possesion minutes.

    Micro-manage utilising multiple systems, fine, just dont miss any beats because this is a hard way to do things. Better have seperate coaches working each presentation and not overlap. Remember you are trying to execute the NHS impact the manual way instead of the automatic way so your labor input will be epic if you hope to make it work.

    We need skill and we need it super sized, the big Russian is more than welcome. I can see Zharkov-Nichushkin-Smyth making a big 3rd line impact, the big men giving Smytty room to rip goalies apart in front of the net. They are huge and will lug the puck creating penaltys along the way to the net where Smytty will be waiting. And this way Smyttys linemates wont be leaving him in the dust he can still keep up to the beasts no problems.

    • Spydyr

      Haha by the time Zharkov is ready to play in the NHL (if ever) Smyth will be 42 years old…he has trouble keeping up now, at that age he might have trouble even finding the ice from the dressing room.

  • Word to the Bird

    If they want size in the top 6, look no further that Monahan or Nichushkin. Lindholm will be great, make no mistake, but I just see more of the same…

  • Word to the Bird


    Are trades ever made at the draft, with existing players on a team for a draft pick?

    Ex Sam Gagner for Curtis Lazar

    Just an example I’m not suggesting it.

  • Reg Dunlop


    I am with @Reg Dunlop right now on the following…

    Then Bud, If Nichushkin is to go by #4, the Oilers have a great shot at one of Lindholm, Monahan or Nurse for sue.

    The Oilers can then try to trade theire two 2nd rounders or….one of them and next year’s first rounder…to get one of Horvat, Gauthier, or even Fucale….between the 14th to 19th overall this year.

    What a grab that would be… to then have one of Lindholm, Monahan or Nurse…with one of Horvat, Gauthier or Fucale…at this year’s draft…. before any Oiler new trades, buyouts, and/or deals for other players/veterans happens.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Nichushkin would solve our biggest concern- size in the top 6.



    We can fill in the bottom six with a ufa pickup, the second rounders and Hemsky trades.

    Larionov would support Nichushkin in his development as well i imagine. I doubt he’s available at 7 though. His YouTube videos are ridiculous.