Draft comments

Very interesting draft day for this team. Only one minor trade of picks and some interesting draft choices. Some things I've picked up since the draft from KLowe and KP:

  • KLowe said that they were taking a forward and defenceman with the first two picks, thus picking Plante at 15. Going away from a previously stated policy of BPA. Wanted Alzner or Gagner at 6.
  • He went on to say that Plante was their second highest rated defenceman (Alzner obviously first).
  • Hates CSB (who rated Plante late second round) because they do not do interviews with players or check for things outside of what they see on the ice. Redline and ISS do to a smaller degree and Redline had him rated 15.
  • He tried trading for the #2 and had a 3 way deal agreed upon (believed to be with LA or Wash and Philly obviously) but one of the teams backed out as he was walking up to the trade booth.
  • A lot of teams were concerned about Espo, has talent but don't know if he can play in traffic
So needless to say and interesting draft. A very comprehensive review of the draft can be found at HF or easily by clicking here. I know a lot of people are upset because so and so didn't get picked, but that seems more to be because they had more media coverage and not necessarily because they were better for this team.

Some other topics have come up about free agents. Lowe said that they were be making big offers to a certain small group of top free agents (rumoured to be in the 8 mil/year range) and then if that doesn't work have a 'B' group that they fall back to and so on.

Interesting days lie ahead.


Let the Offseason Begin!

So today Philly trades and signs for two of the biggest fish in the pond. Timmonen and Hartnell are in Flyer silks (and I mean SILK with those contracts) which makes things very, very interesting for the Oilers. Those pesky Pitkanen rumours just won't die and then Matheson jumps on bandwagon. I have to say I get a little sloppy and drool over the idea of getting Pitkanen QBing the PP. So with the Flyers acquiring a #1 defenceman, Matheson backing up rumours Pitkanen is being shopped, and contract issues between the teams being reported, we have to agree something could very well go down here. Another point made was that Pitkanen's agent feels that with arbitration they will get less that 2 million and so may demand a trade before then.

I'm going to start now by saying that I'm against a big trade. It will hurt our team without helping. There are not enough available players to right this ship at the moment and giving up large amount of assets would be a waste leading to some April golf lessons. We need to develop the large pool young talent this team possesses and see where it shakes out at the end of the season. By then we will have a better idea of who should stay and who should go, and maybe we will have less holes to fill due to young players coming into their own. By this time next year young players will be taking over declining veterans roster spots and we will have a better free agent pool to fill in the rest. Lets face it, we are not doing major damage this coming season.

But Pitkanen intrigues me, he's the name the strays from this philosophy. Instead of trading for an over payed veteran who can't save this team while he's still valuable, we would be getting a player who can deliver today (43 pts last year) and the next 10 years. If we were ever going to pay a price for a player, this is the time.

The Flyers need depth in every department, so i'm thinking a roster forward, defencemen, then an assortment of picks/prospects.

Would you do Lupul, Smith, Schremp, our #6 pick FOR Pitkanen and their #2? Keep in mind the Flyers are in more of a win soon mode than a rebuilding mode. Then next year rolls around and we sign a top pairing defenceman and our defence is looking more like this:

#1 - Pitkanen
Staios - Grebs
Smid - Greene

Clearly some guys will out play others (a Smid vs Grebs debate may insue) but right now as it stands that group could work well offensively and defensively. I'm thinking it will need a veteran presence in the bottom 3 so one of those guys gets shipped for a solid bottom pairing vet.


Magic 8 Ball says....

So today I read at HF that some really smart money guy has predicted that the cap will be at 48.5 million this coming season. That got me thinking as to what kind of money will the Oilers have to spend. Kevin Lowe has come out recently and said they will spend "close" to the cap leaving some flexibility for changes that may occur over the course of the season (say 7-10%). So lets look at who we have signed for next year.

Cap Hit
Actual Pay


Hemsky 4.1

Pisani 2.5

Lupul 2.312


Horcoff 3.6

Stoll 2.2

Reasoner 0.95

Pouliot 0.942


Moreau 2

Thoresen 0.57

Torres RFA



Smith 1.976

Staios 2.7

Greene RFA

Smid 0.915

Gilbert 0.908

Grebs RFA



Roloson 3.667


Total 29.34

That leaves our lineup looking something like this:

FA - Horcoff - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Lupul
Thoresen - Pouliot - Pisani
Moreau - Reasoner - Rookie

FA - Smith
Staios - Smid
Greene - Grebs


Forwards on the bubble include Schremp, Nilsson, Jacques, O'Marra, Stortini, and Brodziak. Our defence has all of our close to NHL prospects on it, and Deslauriers may back up Roloson.

By this account we need a 1st line LW, Top D man, and back up goalie with 13 mil to spend (accounting for RFA's approx salary and a rookie forward). Sounds promising? Not really. Thats the same forward group that finished DEAD LAST in goals for last year (if we get someone as good as Smyth to fill his spot). Leaving only a fourth line RW spot open to that crop of young guys hurts their progress. If we don't play some of those guys we need to trade them.

As for our defence, its even worse. Even if we add a #1 defenceman, half of our defence will be rookies or damn close. Leaving me to do another draft blog next year on who we could pick at #6. Between Greene, Smid, Grebs, Gilbert I can only see 2 of them being on our roster. We need a solid veteran to play on the 3rd pairing with one of the rookies, and then the other one plays top 4 with a guy like Staios or Smith. That leaves the 7th spot for a veteran who isn't hurt by sitting out long stretches. If we sat Gilbert a large part of the season he'd never get better. The more I look at it, Greene is the guy to go (I know i just can't lay off him). I doubt we trade Smid (has the highest upside) or Grebs (we just aquired him, has 2nd highest upside) and Gilbert gets sent down to Springfield before Greene, leaving him holding the short straw. I also want to clarify that this team is 2 top pairing dmen away from competing for anything in the playoffs (which isnt happening this year), so hopefully we are just able to compete in the regular season and develop the players we have.

The more it shakes out, the more we know a trade is coming. Large part of that money is going to be spent on a defenceman, and to get that defencemen some roster players are going to have to go with the picks/prospects. To be honest it could be any combination, but from the looks of things Torres, Pisani, Lupul are the top candidates. With the LW UFA our top 9 wingers look pretty strong and there is room to fit a guy like Nilsson or Schremp in there.

And knowing Lowe, he'll have a 5 mil + player on this roster to make the Smyth ordeal feel better, either at LW or D (or center if we could get rid of Horcoff...alas I dream). I doubt that is achieved through free agency with a low supply and high demand I don't want to see this team over spend on players that won't get us to the SCF.

So really there are only two big holes to fill in our roster, but apparently a lot more questions than that would indicate. Just some food for thought.


Whats The Name of the Game?

6 W Milan Michalek

16 R Steve Bernier

43 C Josh Hennessy

47 D Matt Carle

139 G Patrick Ehelechner

201 R Jonathan Tremblay

205 F Joe Pavelski

216 F Kai Hospelt

236 C Alexander Hult

267 D Brian O'Hanley

276 F Carter Lee

This is a list of players drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2003. Quite a remarkable draft year, in fact I would have to mention one of the best by any one team. Gauging a draft only 4 years after the fact is a tad soon, but the progression of some of these players is simply amazing. Of the 11 players drafted, 4 of them have become NHL regulars on a deep sharks team. Michalek and Carle have become young stars with bright futures while Bernier and Pavelski have become solid contributors on their way up. The fact that all 4 players have remained with the sharks is astonishing. A man largely credited with this teams procurement success is General Manager Doug Wilson, who took over two months prior to this draft (though had been with the organization for the past 10 years). They had four picks in the first two rounds and 11 overall and made something happen with them.

The Edmonton Oilers have 3 first rounders and 1 second rounder, but only 3 picks after that. Their picks are very top heavy this year, in what appears to be a weak draft. But if your gonna be picking, you might as well pick early, no sense on waiting till closing time and picking the last girl not puking. So here’s where we stand as of now: 1st Round – 6, 15, 30, 2nd Round – 36, and then a 4th, 5th, and 6th rounder. Here’s how the scouting services shake things out for the top 10:

Current Top 10 Players






Patrick Kane (RW)

Patrick Kane (RW)

Patrick Kane (RW)


Kyle Turris (C)

James vanRiemsdyk (LW)

Jakub Voracek (RW)


Jakub Voracek (RW)

Kyle Turris (C)

Kyle Turris (C)


Karl Alzner (D)

Alexei Cherepanov (RW)

Karl Alzner (D)


Alexei Cherepanov (RW)

Jakub Voracek (RW)

James vanRiemsdyk (LW)


James vanRiemsdyk (LW)

Karl Alzner (D)

Sam Gagner (C)


Kevin Shattenkirk (D)

Sam Gagner (C)

Logan Couture (C)


Sam Gagner (C)

Maxim Mayorov (LW)

Zach Hamill (C)


Ryan McDonagh (D)

Keaton Ellerby (D)

Ian Cole (D)


Zach Hamill ( C)

Mikael Backlund

Ryan McDonagh (D)

There appears to be a general consensus on the top six prospects - Kane, Turris, Voracek, JVR, Alzner, Cherepanov(whom redline didn't list on their top 10 but they are considered weirdly hard markers about some players). Aside from a shocking move the Oilers will likely take one of these guys with their pick, going purely based on best player available. Chicago picks first and I can remember hearing somewhere they want a pure scorer. Kane jumps off everyone’s tongue but Cherry might be a sleeper pick depending on what they’ve seen and liked. I have a feeling if Cherry does fall he won’t fall far. I also have a feeling the Oilers don’t want Alzner, who is probably the most NHL ready player, due to having a stable full of good young defencemen. This leaves Turris, Voracek, and JVR as the leading horses. The greatest weak point in our organization appears to be the lack of an elite prospect at any position. So with these 3 players we need to be looking for who's going to be the greatest impact player.

Center Kyle Turris has been receiving the most press, and has impressed everyone by garnering the first ever #1 prospect rating for a Tier II player. He scored 66-55-121 in 53 gp for second in scoring in the BCHL, which is a less competitive league than other highly rated players have been playing in. A similar league to what Cogliano played in prior to his draft; Turris has put up much better numbers. This was said by one scout: “You can’t explain presence, but that is what he has on the ice; a thing that only a few gifted players have,” says Peter Sullivan. “He’s got that gift of being in the right place at the right time. Everybody talks about his offensive abilities, but he is just as good in his own end as he is in the offensive end and you don’t see that too often. He’s just a special, gifted player.”

Voracek makes another interesting pick that could fall to the Oilers. Playing in the QMJHL for Halifax he led all rookies with 86 points in 56 games. What was more impressive was his playoff performance where he scored 24 points in Halifax's 12 game drive. This is the scouting report on Voracek, who sounds eerily similar to Hemsky:

has an imposing physique with strong legs and a broad upper body .. always looks alert and has head on a swivel .. the main offensive force on his team and carries himself as if he knows this .. has a slow pickup and looks to be a bit lead footed upon acceleration .. has deceptive speed once going and can make defenders miss with speed, stickhandling, and moves .. soft hands can make any type of pass under pressure .. does not hesitate to use his size to his advantage but is not a nasty presence .. works hard along the boards and fights .. a bit lax coming back and is prone to leaving the zone prematurely .. has a great shot .. one of his biggest flaws is his willingness to dish the puck to a fault when he should just hold on to it and shoot .. is a bit of an enigma from time to time as he can get on hot and cold streaks .. The strapping winger will be a wonderful draft day pickup for a team who needs a playmaking winger with size and skill

Probably the least known of the top 6 is James Van Riemsdyk. He had a solid season with the U.S. National Development Team and capped it off with an excellent U-18 World Championships where he was voted best player of the tournament. Another scout said “He’s a big horse of a player with unbelievable changes of speed”, and being a 6'3" LW that can be a huge asset to any team. Here is what Redline had to say about him:

Beautiful long stride, excellent patience, quick release, needs to fill out, sweet hands, strong on his skates, needs to compete a little harder, tough to see him; very good skater; smooth long stride; goes to the net; not overly physical; soft on "d"; very raw; very good with the puck, sometimes looks lost without it; saucer passes; strong on stick; good stops/starts; needs to start challenging himself more if he wants to be a player

As long as one of the teams ahead of us take Alzner, one of these three players should fall to us. If that does happen no one can complain about getting any of these guys. Sam Gagner is another guy who is rated close the the 6 spot but I find to many question marks in his game. Many have said his even strength play leaves something to be desired and that all his success comes from the PP (flashbacks?). Twenty of Gagner’s 35 goals were on the power play, as were 50 of his 83 assists, and playing on a very strong London team points are not hard to come by. If he fell to us at 15 I would cry with joy, but he is definitely a top 10 player and could go even before the Oilers pick at 6.

So with the 6th pick the Oilers are taking someone where you pretty much know what your going to get. With the 15 and 30 picks its a crap shoot of players, where different scouting services have players rated totally different through the rest of the first round. At 15 I would like to see Logan Couture fall to us though he is rated in the top 10. He's a 6'1" center for the Ottawa 67's in the OHL. He got 74 points in 58 games during a year where he suffered from Mononucleosis and a skate cut to the leg. His biggest knock is his skating but shares many qualities that Jarret Stoll contains. The scouting report says that he "is well-built and looks very sturdy on his skates .. a methodical worker whose movements always look comfortable and controlled .. has a good hockey IQ .. causes turnovers with an active stick and smart, well-timed pressure .. owns above average hands and vision .. makes many nifty passes on both backhand and forehand, with pressure or without, looking or not looking .. solid on the draw and is a reliable center man". To me that sounds like a solid two-way centerman with skating issues. I've tossed the idea of Angelo Esposito around my head, and if he fell to 15 it would be hard not to take him. But he has done very little to impress, specifically of late, and tends not to show up in big games. This would definitely be a boom or bust pick but this could be a way you get that elite level prospect.

At our 30 pick it just becomes harder to settle on certain players because of the lack of depth in this draft. If you are taking a chance you could try a player like Akim Aliu who has skill but also has attitude problems that are well documented. A guy like defenceman Nick Petrecki from the USHL could fall and would be a great pickup at this point in the draft. I guess at this point it depends a lot of who's left. The first round is loaded with defenceman so its easy to see one being picked here.

Depending on what happens on draft day we may not end up with all of our picks. I'm a strong believer that we don't end up with all 3 first rounders, and that a bigger trade happens between now and draft day. But with whatever is left heres hoping Lowe has a little Doug Wilson magic.


Hockey Rivals

I found this while looking through some stuff on the internet and thought it was gold and should share it. My favorite part is the box of irrelevance with the Coyotes and Blue Jackets.