Monday, May 14, 2012

The Candidates 2012 Revisited

Earlier in the month I did a writeup about the top 6 potential candidates for the upcoming 2012 NHL draft. I feel this year is different than others as there seems to be many shades of gray when it comes to this draft. In this writeup, I will give the pros and cons of each candidate and how they will fit into the Edmonton Oilers system and depth chart.

Nail Yakapov:
Pros - Dynamic offensive player. Would give the Oilers another top 6 threat off the wing either as a puck carrier or shooter. Can play immediately. Another trigger man on the powerplay.
Cons - The Oilers already have three puck carriers on the wing in Hall, Hemsky and Paajarvi, Eberle is no slouch with the puck either, along with RNH down the middle. Yakapov is no bigger than anyone in the top 6 in a top 6 that needs to get stronger. Drafting Yakapov leaves gaping holes down the middle and on D. Then their is the Russian/KHL factor, I don't think its as big of a deal as it is with another player that will be on the list.

Jacob Trouba:
Pros - All around defenseman the Oilers are looking for. Can play physically, shutdown the other team's best players, all while contributing on offense. Cannon for the power play, playing pitch and catch with RNH on the powerplay is very appealing. Big minute player.
Cons - Committed to U of Michigan, meaning he could be a 4 year player there, so the team drafting him will have to wait for him, something the Oilers don't have the time for. The Oilers need to move this team forward ASAP.

Ryan Murray:
Pros - All around Dman, not quite the same frame that Trouba has. Has the calm, cerebral play the Oilers need on the backend. Has a very well rounded game and does it all very well. Can play in a variety of roles and can play in all situations. Can play immediately.
Cons - Has issues with strength battles, like 90% of the Oilers team. Shoots left which all the Oilers young stars do, outside of Eberle, which doesn't make for a good powerplay. Oilers have an abundance of left handed shooting Dmen, on the current team and in the pipeline. His offensive upside is debatable at the pro level.

Mikhail Grigorenko:
Pros - All around centerman that is working feverishly to get better at his defensive game, something the Oilers need. Equally good at shooting as he is at passing. Grigorenko would be the perfect complementary 2nd line center to RNH over time. Grigorenko's size would help out the top 6. Would be able to contribute immediately to the Oilers despite contrary reports.
Cons - Russian/KHL factor is a bigger deal here than it is with Yakapov, as its rumoured that CSKA Moscow has already been sniffing around this player. Faded down the stretch with his junior club in Quebec, something a lot of first year Europeans struggle with. Ended the year with mono. Doesn't play with a high motor.

Alex Galchenyuk:
Pros - Much like Grigoranko, an all around centerman, another strong complement to RNH. More of a playmaker and less of a shooter than Grigorenko. Very cerebral player.
Cons - Only played 8 games plus 6 playoff games this season, so there is still a bit of an unknown quality to his game. Tough to gamble on a player that is recovering from an ACL injury when there is more healthy choices out there. Not overly big, but if chosen by the Oilers would be one of the bigger players in the top 6.

Mathew Dumba:
Pros - High energy, impect player from the backend. Skates miles and hits like a truck. Shoots cannons from the point and shoots right, much like Trouba, can play pitch and catch with RNH on the powerplay much like they did in their days with Red Deer. Very much the type of puckmoving type Dman the Oilers forwards could use.
Cons - His smaller stature could lead to injury woes, something the Oilers have had their fill of over the last few years. Dumba's defensive game is a still a work in progress, mostly on positioning and reading of the play. I don't see him as a strong penalty kill player.

I, initially had Murray as being the pick, but when I wondered about the offensive upside of Murray and him being a top pick, I jumped on the Grigorenko bandwagon. Grigorenko is a silky, smooth center, that ran out of gas down the stretch, but wondering about the KHL factor, left me cold. Had a look at Trouba during the U18 tournament and he, along with Seth Jones, 2013 draft eligible, were lights out for the Team USA. Trouba's skillset would be ideal for the Oilers, but after I heard an interview with Trouba, he reaffirmed his commitment to the University of Michigan. The Oilers cannot wait for him, when the train desperately trying to leave the station. Back to sqaure one. I think I might be coming full circle on the Murray pick even if it isn't a total fit. Yakapov isn't even in the discussion for me. The Oilers are pretty full on the wings, and no one wants to trade centers/Dmen for wingers. It just doesn't happen in today's NHL, and if it does, its usually of the B-grade variety. Teams are wising up to the fact that a teams' core lies in the centers and the defense. Wingers are luxaries in todays NHL, they are still needed to win, but usually one of the final pieces added. People will be surprised at the return Rick Nash will get in the summer. I will be releasing the first round of my mock draft towards the end of the month, up to #32 so I include the Oilers 2nd round pick as well. As well as a Edmonton Oilers mock draft that will include all of the Oilers picks.

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