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: