Most drafts have tiers of talent in the first round - kind of like walking down those terraced stairs we often see carved into a hill that leads down to a beach - not this draft. This one has a ledge. Four, then Five, then the abyss. Of those top-9 it's more like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and then everyone else.
As with other recent drafts the goalies aren't well represented. I am starting to think its safe to say that the pendulum has swung and the search for the hot new goalie just ain't what it used to be. With Tim Thomas winning it and Dwayne Roloson pushing hard we may be in the era of Goalie's I'd Like to Pluck.
What makes that interesting is the wait. The wait for the first, next, Patrick Roy to start the swing back the other way. Don't kid yourself. It'll happen. Them GM's be cool cats. Lone wolves. Mavericks. They don't herd. They pack!
One more for you... what impact will Boston's 'tough' Cup win have on GM's this weekend. How skewed will the draft boards get as everyone looks to copy that template (Hello Tyler Biggs!)?
Anyways, feel free to read on...
After the top-2 a lot of these guys are one thing away from being viewed as sure-thing all-stars (Connolly/injury and Granlund/size and Tarasenko/Russian) so, normally, I wouldn't anticipate ANY team trading out of the top-12 (i.e. an honest shot at Skinner or Burmistrov? Sign me up!) and would expect all the action to start with St. Louis at pick #14 (just got their goalie and they KNOW how to play a draft)... except that... well... This is a VERY motivated draft year. Aside from the usual suspects (Islanders, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Ducks, Blues and Sharks) there are a bunch of teams that will have something going on:
1. Several teams have new management and one of them will want to make a splash
2. It's a deep draft with loads of desirable talent that will be available late
3. Chicago - their assets are good enough to entice competitive bids
4. Toronto - Kaberle should be moved this time around
5. Phoenix - Maloney is a player AND he has TWO mid-round picks
6. Florida - has declared they are open for business
etc. Don't see all of that come up every year.
Why don't I have Edmonton listed above? They don't have a lot of chips that would bring back a 1st rounder in this draft. Simple as that. Heck, they don't have the assets to bring back 2nd round picks. Unless they are willing to trade Gagner, Penner or Hemsky this team is stuck to staying where it is.
Well, as we all saw, last year was one of the most boring years I can ever recall. The most interesting about it, to me, was that the defensemen all dropped like rocks. It's like the GM's were reading the blogs (scoring forwards>d-men>goalies).
My best guess is that the draft was just too random for most GM's. Better to stay where they were and take the next name on the list than risk making a move and get busted.
I love the talent in the top-9 of this draft and were I a GM of Edmonton, Colorado, Florida or New Jersey it would be tempting to make this MY team's draft. Not so much 'put a stamp on it' as 'stick a white-hot branding iron right on it and let that brand sit so long I can take my knife and cut some seared beef right from the flank' it.
Want to set up your defense of the future? Larsson and Hamilton with a side of Murphy, Klefbom or Seimens to go. Want a new first line for 2014? Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, Landeskog, Strome, etc. Make the moves and get what you want. The talent is here and for a team in the right spot it is doable. Does New Jersey have to have a D-man... why not Landeskog at #4 and make a move to get Strome or Zibanejad a few steps later?
I must admit, in a moment of madness, I thought that Hemsky in a deal for the #8 and Gagner+ to Florida for #3 is THE way to reset the window. Might make people think they'd rather have Mad Mike running the team but I think there is merit to the old F5. Why blow up what you can nuke?
Anyways, something tells me this is a year where some GMs will have a target in mind and they will move what they have to in order to hit their spot. Having a fairly clear cut top-9 may do what last years top-2 failed to do and cause some action early in the draft.
-- Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, Couterier, Strome, Zibanejad - all centers, and one of every flavour to boot
-- Larsson - after watching the play-offs just passed, who wouldn't want the next Hedman?
-- Hamilton - good at everything? Really? Cool.
-- Murphy - is it just me or is there a small, offensive defenseman up for grabs EVERY year?
-- Landeskog - the only winger in the top-group, think about that
-- Grimaldi - Under-sized Under-dog. I'm sold.
Have I said I love this draft group? I do.
Best, realistic, bet? Nugent-Hopkins and maybe a move to the #8 (Columbus) or a drop to Larsson and a package of picks to get in the 10-12 range.
Islanders have the #5 again but this year the wild-card is Colorado with the #11 to package. No pressure on Winnipeg so I don't expect any movement there and New Jersey is sitting pretty to rebuild but has too much pressure to reload so nothing will happen there (unless someone blows them out on an offer for their pick). Florida should step-ladder down (yet again) but it sounds like they want to move up so the pressure to 'win' this draft must be immense. Why do we never hear 'boo' out of Minnesota?
Miracles would include coming out of this draft with two of Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, Huberdeau, Hamilton and Landeskog. Great happiness means adding one of (in order) Couterier, Zibanejad, Murphy and Strome. I like the idea of trading down for Larsson (the Florida rumour) and I hope that at least one bad contract goes buh-bye. Hope being the wonderful thing it is (why can't we EVER trade Brule!?!).
Just to complete the crazy... Larsson, Hamilton and Murphy... MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Without further ado...
01 -- __1
01 -- _19 ... Trade with Los Angeles
02 -- _31
03 -- _62
03 -- _74 ... Trade with Calgary
04 -- _92
04 -- 114 ... Trade with Pittsburgh
05 -- 122
07 -- 182
Remember to adjust for compensation picks and the Devils forfeited pick (#69).
04.. New Jersey
05.. NY Islanders
09.. Boston ......... via ... Toronto
11.. Colorado ...... via ... St. Louis
19.. Edmonton .... via ... Los Angeles
21.. Ottawa ......... via ... Nashville
25.. Toronto ........ via ... Philadelphia
27.. Tampa Bay
28.. San Jose
30.. Toronto ........ via ... Boston
Below are the listings of the top-15 picks of each of the different, and independent, scouting ureau's. They are: McKeen's, ISS (International Scouting Service), Redline (Woodlief), The Hockey News and the CSB (Central Scouting Bureau).
Below that is an aggregated listing of those datasets after they have been fed through a scoring system. The scoring system simply reverses the order on the list (i.e. a player ranked #1 on the list scores 15 points while a player ranked #15 scores 1 point) and then adds ALL the points that player generates from the different lists.
Note that I counted the number of times a draftee made the top-10 of a list. This is to help add perspective. Prospect 'A' may have fewer points than prospect 'B' but if prospect 'A' shows as top-10 on all 5 lists then prospect 'A' may be seen as a safer pick to make.
|#||McKeens||ISS||Redline*||Hockey News||Central Scouting**|
|McKeens||ISS||Redline||Hockey News||Central Scouting|
Saad, Jaskin, Puempel (2 pts or less).
The big one: Nugent-Hopkins
Next best thing: Larsson, Landeskog, Huberdeau
Should be REAL Good: Hamilton, Couturier, Strome
Should be Good: Murphy, Zibanejad
Consolation Prizes: Bartschi, Beaulieu, Siemens, Klefbom, Brodin
Afterthoughts: Armia and everyone else
When looking at the list I tend to apply an arbitrary rule of thumb: any draftee within 10 points of another draftee is at threat to be picked ahead or behind that draftee. This is to recognize, in part, the modestly random (to me) aspect of what teams prefer in their players. It is also a measure of reasonableness.
Huberdeau has 62 pts - it would not be a big surprise to see him preferred over Larsson by any number of teams. It would also, however, be a surprise to see him picked ahead of Nugent-Hopkins.
Using that rule of thumb (and stretching it in places) I can expect that:
-- Nugent-Hopkins will take the top spot
-- Murphy or Strome could overtake Hamilton or Couturier but they won't make the top-4
-- If anyone ranked below Zibanejad is chosen in the top-9 it SHOULD be a surprise
-- If anyone ranked below Bartschi is taken in the top-9, the team making that call probably just made a big mistake
* Redline only releases, for free, their top-10. I found the other 5 names, using various other websites and a little bit of deduction, but cannot completely verify for accuracy. If you have the goods please feel free to self-correct while you read. I will update as the information becomes public.
** CSB does not aggregate their European and North American lists. So I did it. It's always a bit of an educated mess and the day they finally make a single master list will be a day to celebrate.
Have a great evening everyone, and enjoy the draft.