Big? Check. Mean? Check. Little offensive upside? Check. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images via view2.picapp.com
The scouting report will strike the average Oiler fan as very familiar and not just because the report reads as if the writer knew exactly what sort of defender the Oilers need and the fans have been clamoring for:
Big, mobile blue liner.
Lack of offensive upside is what prevents him from being at the head of... draft class.
Seems to play a strong physical game.
Relishes physical contact.
Immovable force along the wall.
Solid hockey sense and vision.
Not an instinctive offensive player.
Isn't an effective point man/PP shooter.
May not ever be anything more than a low-end second pairing or solid third-pair defender at the NHL level.
No, you're not reading a classic Matt Greene scouting report circa 2002, you are reading all about Patrik Nemeth, the big mashing defenseman from Sweden.
Nemeth stands 6' 3" and weighs in at 212 pounds. He spent 2009-2010 with the AIK organization, splitting time between the under-20 team and the professional club, currently playing in the second division of the Swedish League, the Allsvenskan. He's a physical force on the ice who moves well and will likely be a shut-down-type defender and penalty killing expert, yet he's going to last well into the second round because he has zero offensive ability. The closest comps that come to mind are Matt Greene and Jason Smith, prior to his knees totally failing him. In other words, it's the type of player that the Oilers have been looking for since trading Greene for Lubomir Visnovsky. I've seen message-board types toss out Hal Gill as a comparable, but Gill cannot move, let alone move well.
Listed below are Nemeth's pre-draft rankings from the various scouting service and media outlets:
|Central Scouting||11th - Euro|
As usual, the ISS rank skews a bit higher for the European player and the Hockey News skews far lower. Bob McKenzie has Nemeth at 42 which, if accurate, doesn't bode well for Nemeth's name being called by a member of the Edmonton management team. It seems like a reach to take Nemeth with the 31st overall pick and it's doubtful that he will be available when the Oilers draft again at 48.
There is a possibility that the OIlers could use their extra sixth-round picks and maybe a roster player to move up from 48 into the late 30's to select Nemeth if a physical defenseman is still on the wish list. However this may all be a moot point. In the poll about the 31st pick, fans were in favor of taking Alex Petrovic, the big blueliner from Red Deer. Should that happen, it's doubtful that the Oilers would have interest in Nemeth. Lowetide has been very high on trading up to land Dylan McIlrath, the massive pugilist from Moose Jaw, which would render any discussion about Nemeth or Petrovic moot.