Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thoughts on the Draft

I'll start with Philadelphia's moves the day before the draft.

Flyers send Mike Richards to Los Angeles for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and a 2nd round pick

This one seems okay. I'm not as high on Richards as most people--I think a good deal of his success stemmed from playing with Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne, as well as converting on the power play rather than even strength--and giving up Brayden Schenn (the consensus best drafted player not in the NHL, at least before the 2011 draft started) and Wayne Simmonds (a young power forward who can play on any line) is a pretty good return.

Flyers send Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek, 8th overall pick (Sean Couturier), 3rd round pick

The fact that Couturier inexplicably dropped to 8th instantly makes this trade better, but at the time, I felt Philadelphia really got the short end. Jakub Voracek is a borderline top-6 player and won't get much better than a decent 2nd line center, let alone a player of Carter's caliber. The 8th pick comes in a weak draft.

Flyers sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year, $51 million deal.

Bryz is in his 30s and won't be getting any better. The cap hit is manageable, but last season the Flyers received solid goaltending during the regular season from Bobrovsky and Boucher, so they won't be any better in net then, and goalie performance in the playoffs is unpredictable (and not as if Bryz even has a mediocre, let alone great, playoff track record). Don't like this move at all.

On the whole, I don't see why both Richards and Carter needed to be shipped out. Now not only did Philly lose two tough minutes players without acquiring replacements (have fun next year, Claude Giroux, it's your show now), but it also made itself younger. With so much hinging on the 35+ Pronger and Timonen, it doesn't make sense to me. They look to have thrown away their Cup hopes for the near future (until Brayden Schenn becomes an impact tough minutes player, say, 4 years from now).

Sharks send Devin Setoguchi, 28th overall, and Charlie Coyle to Wild for Brent Burns.

I like the analysis given on TSN--steep price, but may work out well for both parties. San Jose will have some holes to fill in the near future as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, and Dan Boyle aren't getting any younger, and while they traded away a consistent 20 goal scorer and top-6 winger, as well as 2 first rounders (Coyle is a solid prospect), Burns is a legit 1D. If Doug Wilson can keep him around and not overpay a year from now when Burns goes UFA (which I think he'll do: he's a great GM, and getting value FA deals is his specialty), this should work out well for San Jose both in the short and long run. Especially if they keep finding gems in the later rounds (Marleau, Pavelski, Demers to name a few).

I have to feel bad for Setoguchi, though. Like DJ King last season, he was traded immediately after signing an extension, in this case within a couple of days.

Avalanche send John-Michael Liles to Toronto for a 2nd round pick.

I would've thought Liles is worth more, especially in a weak draft. He is a Burke-type player, though. Like this move for Toronto.

Blackhawks send Troy Brouwer to Washington for 26th overall.

Good move for Chicago. They have depth in their system and could afford to move the RFA Brouwer. I think Washington paid a steep price--especially considering that a)players like Rocco Grimaldi, Scott Mayfield, Vladislav Namestnikov, Zack Phillips, Tomas Jurco, and Alexander Khokhlachev were still on the board at that point, and b)other reasonably young tough minutes-capable players like Chris Higgins, Marcel Goc, and Ruslan Fedotenko would be available for signing after July 1, without ditching a first-round pick used to get this tough minutes player, and c)the Caps had already traded away their 2nd and 3rd round picks for this draft--but if GMGM can lock up Brouwer on a series of value contracts, which I think is very likely, this trade is a win for Washington.

Blackhawks send Brian Campbell to Florida for Rostislav Olesz

Love this move for Chicago. They ditch an albatross contract (5 more years at $7.1 million cap hit) for another bad, but not as bad, contract. Olesz replaces Troy Brouwer pretty well and saves Chicago some money. Meanwhile, while Florida does spend to the floor while actually spending less money (Campbell's cap hit moving forward will exceed his actual salary), I don't know why Tallon would want such long term, as rebuilds generally take less than 5 years. Oh, right, because he's not a very good GM.

Scott Mayfield, Brandon Saad, Alexander Khokhlachev, Rocco Grimaldi not drafted in first round

So...disappointing past year given the year before that, who the hell knows, he's Russian!!!, and size. Maybe McPhee should trade up to grab a player or two.

1. EDM Nugent-Hopkins

After reading the reports, it seems RNH is the only draftee with a true NHL-elite skill (his vision), and is safe considering his rankings (Tambellini won't get grilled), but I think I would've picked Larsson or Couturier.

2. COL Landeskog

He should step right into Colorado's lineup and win the Calder, since his physical maturity is a big reason why he is ranked so high. Unfortunately, his other skills aren't nearly as good, so his ceiling is probably on the 2nd line or borderline top line.

3. FLA Huberdeau 4. NJD Larsson

NJD keeps lucking on, and I like Huberdeau, even if he's a bit unproven and had two other great players to help him out in Phillips and Galiev. In the Memorial Cup, Huberdeau was the only player who I thought was consistently able to execute the simple plays and make some more dazzling ones as well.

7. WPG Schiefele 8. PHI Couturier 9. BOS Hamilton 10. MIN Brodin

Reach, lucky cap-incompetent ducks, wow Kessel, smartest European defenseman in the draft. Gotta love hockey sense on the blueline.

14. DAL Oleksiak...22. TOR Biggs

Size!!! Truculence!!! Think they went too high.

No first round goalies.

Smart. But each goalie not taken is another player that won't fall to the Caps. Oh well.

Columbus trades Nikita Filatov to Ottawa for a third round pick.

Talent doesn't grow on trees. I'm really annoyed Ottawa got a player with such great upside for so little.

Zakhar Arzamastsev not drafted.

Dmitry Orlov's D pairing partner in the KHL, and the defensive conscience of the pair, he's described as smooth skating with untapped offensive potential. Puck Worlds has him as the 4th best Russian prospect.  "He's definitely NHL material." 7.5C. Efficient at evens. Young in his class (meaning he's always played against bigger, stronger players). "Possesses hockey intelligence." Mid-third round material. I'm no scout, but this sounds like a guy who dropped thanks to the "Russian factor"--as did Namestnikov and Khokhlachev, who were both ranked in the mid-to-late first round--and hence could be a good pickup. I'm surprised George McPhee didn't take a flyer on him with a late pick. Anyway, I think he'll end up getting drafted next year.

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