OK, a new Lowetide article is up that mentions news about the Columbus Blue Jackets cleaning up their scouting staff. Don Boyd (Assistant GM, dubbed “amateur scouting guru” by the article) and Bob Strumm (Pro Scouting Director) were fired. Lowetide mentions that with this happening so close to the draft, you have to wonder if this fuels the rumor even more of their 8th overall pick being available. Of course, the Oilers and Howson have their history, and he’s generally been a willing dance partner with us.
It wouldn’t come easy, but we have some assets that we are looking to move. Tambellini could take a quantum leap in everyone’s eyes if he moves some assets that aren’t long term Oilers for another top-10 shot. Add that to the New Jersey rumor.
We’d obviously have to give up something significant for the 8th overall pick, but could you imagine if the Oilers manage to get that pick and the NJ pick? Even if we give up the 19th pick, we’re still looking mighty good having #1, #4, and #8. It’s a pipe dream, but let’s imagine it comes to fruition. Think of the huge step forward this organization’s future could take if these prospects pan out.
Humoring this possibility, I would draft Adam Larsson first, because I think he is the best defenseman available and we really should seal that. At four, I would take one of the big center prospects (and by big, I mean “elite potential”, not size) in this order, depending on availability: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, Jonathan Huberdeau. If by some long shot he’s available, my pick at 8 would be Gabriel Landeskog, but I doubt he would be available. So if not, and if we picked RNH at #4, I would use #8 pick for another centerman, as a back up; one that has size, like Ryan Strome. If we got Couturier or Huberdeau at #4, and we didn’t get Landeskog at 8, I would pick one of the d-prospects available next (even though we have Larsson). This would be my order, based on availability: Dougie Hamilton, Nathan Beaulieu, Ryan Murphy. Each of those guys has their own top-appeal and could be an excellent top pairing with Larsson in the future.
Now, you would have to think that this route would be a slow one as far as making us a contender… but stocking the shelves with quality talent will go a long way in taking us from a very good team to a superb team. Again, I go back to the old Montreal Canadiens drafting style – empty the cabinets for as many 1st round picks as you can. One of those picks will almost surely pan out to be a spectacular player, and the others have a good chance too. And that was back in the day when drafting was much more of a crap shoot. Doing it now gives us increased chance of getting some quality players. “Get ‘er done, Tambi”
Another rumor to add to the mix… Jeff Carter’s name is being mentioned as available, since the Flyers are likely going to sign Ilya Bryzgalov (at a cost) and would need to move salary. I’d say that if he’s available, we should jump on the deal. Jeff Carter is signed until 2019 (at least.. I can’t see past that year) at what I would consider a good contract for his abilities. He’s got BIG size and is the #1 center we so desperately need. Yes, solving it in the draft would be great, but I think making this move eliminates risk and allows us to draft Larsson instead. Having Carter between Hall and Eberle also gives them a giant launch in both of their careers, being able to play with such a skilled center. Carter is 26, which doesn’t make him young anymore, but he still has several good years left, I’m sure. He’s consistently put up a lot of goals each year including 46 one year.
Just more to consider. Since the Flyers would be looking to drop salary, that would mean we would have to give up some cheaper assets. That could mean moving #19 and a prospect or more established player. I would do it, as long as it doesn’t involve moving Paajarvi, Hall or Eberle. I would even consider Gagner in this situation, but that would mean that we should still be interested in a center this year, but it would be a #2 guy now… which perhaps Horcoff could fill for now while Pitlick develops.