Monday, June 27, 2011

Too Much Draught Gives Me A Headache

When it comes to the draft I leave it to Lowetide and speeds and others to give me the lowdown.

I know the top guys but that's about it and really like most fans I couldn't give you much more than to parrot what I've heard from other sources. Other than the kids who played at the WJC - Larsson, Landeskog, SC, Armia - I haven't even seen any of them play.

I subscribe to the general wisdom I guess. Always pick best player available. Play the percentages that say you should try and accumulate as many picks as you can in the higher rounds (well duh) but you know what I mean. Two second round picks is better than the 28th pick - you're more likely to get a player. Don't pick a goalie in the higher rounds. Don't pick guys who project to be goons or fourth liners or spare parts until much further along. You know the dime a dozen guys that you can pick up for minimum wage any year.

When it comes to the Oilers and drafting its either feast or famine it seems. The glory that built the dynasty was followed by a decade of absolute shit. Once the great club was broken up there were hits (Smyth) and misses (Bonsignore, Kelly) but mostly misses. Financial constraints had a lot to do with the Oilers' struggles over the years but so did their scouting. When the best goalie you have drafted since Fuhr and Moog is Jussi Markannen then you have problems.

When it comes to Stu MacGregor the consensus is that he is fantastic although two fellows whose opinion I value quite a bit, Tyler Dellow and RiversQ, are a little skeptical. I tend to lean towards the former opinion although of course the tale will not be told for years.

MacGregor has been lucky enough to have two number one picks and consensus number one picks at that. Years from now I don't think anyone can blame him even if Hall or Nugent-Hopkins turn into Brian Lawton or Alexandre Daigle. And Paajarvi pretty well fell into his lap. I think he gets marks for selecting Eberle. The gap toothed CLUTCH PERFORMER was in the range when they picked, it certainly was no reach, but they made the right pick and when you make the right pick you deserve the plaudits.

So lets say he's two for two on first round picks, we'll disregard the two number ones. Here are the eight number one picks before he came on board after Ales Hemsky was picked - Niinimaki, Pouliot, Dubnyk, Schremp, Cogliano, Gagner, Plante, Nash.

Dubnyk looks to at least be an NHL goalie and the jury remains out on what Cogliano and Gagner will be (and their development has been handled atrociously imo) but Niinimaki was an awful pick and Schremp and Pouliot are barely hanging on. The story remains to be told on Plante and Nash.

To be fair Pouliot was not a reach and injuries derailed him but compare him to a bunch of guys picked after him and its tough to take.

Overall that's pretty poor and of course that's part of the story too. When you compare MacGregor to what has come before he's going to look pretty good, especially considering his one pick outside of the top ten looks to be a better player that each of those eight guys.

In any case where MacGregor's reputation has been made so far is in the later picks, from the second round onwards. The reality of the situation is that at this point its still up in the air although the skies look like they may be clearing.

In those six drafts prior to his hiring you've got two pretty good players in Stoll and Greene, a useful player in Brodziak (picked in the seventh round - yowza!), three guys who I would bet on making it in Peckham, Petry and Omark and a handful of guys who have gotten some games in but are doubtful as NHLers - Stortini, Reddox, McDonald, JFJ, Chorney and Vande Velde.

And of course there's the rub when it comes to this whole drafting thing. We're still waiting on guys who were drafted four and five years ago. If Petry, Peckham and Omark all become good NHLers then the previous regime looks a whole lot better. If Dubnyk becomes a quality starter, if Plante makes it, if Gagner and Cogliano establish themselves all of a sudden the pre MacGregor era looks pretty quality.

As for the MacGregor era itself, well its early. Does our prospect pool look very good? Absolutely. Are many of his picks after the first round tracking well? Again, absolutely. Abney was a reach and other than Hartikainen nobody else from 2008 looks like they will amount to anything but after 2008 there is a long list of kids who look like they have a shot. Its promising and this past Saturday brought more of the same.

(And I relaize Musil is the real deal but this Simpson pick, seriously? The Oilers are the ultimate old boys' club within the ultimate old boys' club.)

In any case the Swedish defenceman and Musil and some of these other kids look like they may have promise and that's what its about.

Is MacGregor magnificent? His kids are on track but we have to wait three or four years before we will know for sure. I'm hopeful of course because that's my nature but healthy skepticism is okay too.


Dennis said...

I'm just gonna comment on that title and wish that I could drink like I used to:)

Let me tell you that I wouldn't waste that newfound old ability!

Black Dog said...

As long as I stick to good beer I'm generally ok. Just have to do the heavy duty water before I hit the hay.