So tonight is the 1st round of the NHL Entry draft. Exciting times for Oilers fans (wouldn’t it be great if we could look forward to something else other than the draft?). Some of the media out there seem to be of the mind that the Oilers will pick Ryan Murray. I’m pretty sold that we’ll take Nail Yakupov. I should say, I’m pretty sold that we SHOULD take Nail Yakupov. Most lists have had him as the consensus #1 since nearly the start of the year. Most scouts have said that there is Nail… and then there is everyone else – there apparently is a big drop off after Yakupov. These other kids are decent talents, but Yakupov is apparently that much better. So why would we settle for a lesser player, just because we need defensemen?
Erik Duhatschek had an article about why he thinks the thought of defensemen taking longer to develop is old-school, and wrong. David Staples had a rebuttal to this, which answers my question of “he singled out one year.. what about the other years?” He provides details of at least the 2006-2011 stretch, stating that the forwards have been more prominent in this group (Save for the 2008 “anomaly”).
So who is it going to be? I think Yakupov.
In other news, Jordan Staal and Keith Yandle are two names that have been rumored to be available now. Interesting. I’d like either of those guys on this team. Staal will likely go play with his bro, Eric, in Carolina… because according to the media, he can’t pull his brother’s tittie out of his mouth.. apparently. I guess guys will only play with family. As far as Yandle.. well, he’d help out our D situation. The Oilers would need to move someone. I think guys that should be available are: Corey Potter, Ryan Whitney, and Nick Schultz. To a lesser extent, Theo Peckham (I think he’ll pick it back up this year and be good again.. and make people regret jumping off his bandwagon), and Andy Sutton (whom I really like here because of his toughness, and get-it-done, keep-it-simple defensive play).
Also, Bob McKenzie seems to figure that the Oilers and Justin Schultz are a good fit for each other. I like that idea, but I hope the Oilers don’t give him a very high contract. The guy hasn’t played in the NHL… let’s not pay him a $4M / year contract already. Actually, from what I understand, he’ll be an entry-level deal, anyways.. so that might not be a concern. I think the Oilers could appease his need to stay in the NHL by offering him a one-way deal though. He might still play in the AHL, but he’ll get paid like an NHLer. Fine by me, and probably fine by money-bags McGee.
Update @ 9:40AM: Forgot to mention that the rumor is Christobal Huet wants to come back to the NHL again, and will play for cheap. The Oilers should be all over this. However, given that we keep our overpaid aging, 1st-overall acquiring goaltender here, and send the superior (Danis, Gerber) goaltenders down to the AHL… I don’t see the Oilers bringing him here to play in the NHL. They’ll ride out Khabibulin, so long as we still have him.