Sunday, 28 June 2015

Friday Morning Angst: Thoughts before the 2015 NHL Draft

Love the draft, the anticipation, it's like Christmas when you're about to receive and unwrap sooooooo many shiny new presents.  I wish we had more picks, that we were drafting higher, but that's what having good management, competent coaching and a competitive team will do, it lands you at the bottom of the draft order.

1)  Since we're picking at #26, I think you take the best player available if there’s one clearly head and shoulders above everyone else, like someone you had ranked as 10th overall and is still on the board.

If not, then within a tier of comparable players, you can focus on an organizational need, someone who’ll fit in to your AHL plans. As we discussed before you can’t have a bottleneck where prospects are limiting each other’s ice time, like four goalies or four goal-scoring right wingers.

With these caveats, it might be time to look for a defenceman, with Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi now graduated, we don’t have any frontline prospects in our system, we haven’t drafted many d-men since 2012.

I have my fingers crossed for Jérémy Roy.

2)  We're not going to help immediate help for our forwards and to address our scoring woes.

Michael Frolik would be a really good option to band-aid over our Top 6 for a couple of years, I’d like to have him, but in a weak UFA class he’ll be in demand, and I don’t think we’ll be able to afford him.

3)  I often compare and contrast our situation, our team, to the Vancouver Canucks, it's funny how our fanbases are alike in many ways. Yesterday I brought up Patrick White, their David Fischer, as a ‘for instance’, and a buddy of mine visibly winced, shook his head, and asked me not to bring up that guy’s name ever again.

4)  Size isn't quite the attractant it once was.  Prospects like Brandon Carlo would have been fought over just a couple years ago.  Look at the Flyers grabbing Samuel Morin in the Top 10 in 2013.   The Canadiens traded up in 2010 to draft giant project Jarred Tinordi at #22, to make sure they didn't miss on him.

Now, look at the Norris Trophy nominees, all on the solid 6 foot range, with the smaller Erik Karlsson the actual winner.

At the start of the season I wanted 6’4″ Nicolas Roy, but now am smitten with Jérémy, and his size is a non-issue.  There was concern he was too slender throughout this season, but he measured in at a respectable 6′ and 188 pounds at the Combine

5)  I’m not averse to Daniel Sprong, never really saw him play, I like the descriptions I've read but take the warning flags in consideration.

I think Trevor Timmins will have a great read on Jérémy Roy, since he plays on the same team in Sherbrooke as Daniel Audette, who's already on board as a draftee. Donald Audette, his father, is a scout for the Canadiens too, so lots of intel, lots of viewings, if there’s a player they can get right it’s him.

Noah Juulsen is in a situation that’s somewhat alike, in that he played on the Silvertips with Nikita Scherbak.

Brett Lernout started his career on the Saskatoon Blades with Darren Dietz and Dalton Thrower, I think that’s when he planted a seed and the Canadiens kept tabs on him, and moved up in the draft to get him.

6)  Unrealistic Trade Scenario, Vancouver edition:

a TSN 1040 listener proposes Zack Kassian and Eddie Lack to Carolina for Jeff Skinner, a second-rounder, “and maybe a fourth-rounder.”

Note that their second is 35th overall.

7)  After hearing what Carey Price had to say in the press conference after the awards ceremony last night, I feel a little better about our team, it’s a very optimistic, positive assessment of the team, which isn’t necessarily what we’re faced with daily on social media.

8)  Viktor Stalberg is on waivers, apparently not to be bought out, just to see if another team would take the contract off the Preds’ hands.  Wasn’t he a great favourite of HIO, one or two summers ago, to embiggen the roster and the third line?

9)  Hold the phones, I’m not stuck watching Sportsnet or TVA if I want to watch the Draft. Apparently NBC will be using TSN talent, so I know what I’ll be streaming.

And, as the article points out, there’s an added bonus: less Leafs!
Of course, there will be an expected shift in the news that McKenzie and Dreger break. For TSN, anything and everything Toronto Maple Leafs was the focus; and even when it wasn’t, there would be some way to tie a story back to the Centre of the Hockey Universe.

This didn’t necessarily play well when the coverage was simulcast in the U.S., where the myopic debates about the Leafs’ checking line winger for next season aren’t exactly front-burner topics.

So with NBCSN doing its own thing, McKenzie anticipates that the franchises we constantly see on the network will be the ones they focus on – spending a little more time on the Philadelphia Flyers at No. 7 than the Leafs at No. 4, potentially.

10)  And is it my faulty memory, or didn’t TSN really truly have a ‘national’ component back in the day, with attempts to report from every team? Lisa Bowes covered Calgary, Ryan Rishaug Edmonton, Dave Pratt and Farhan Lahlji Vancouver, …

I’d have TSN on or off for a few years, depending on if I had cable, and when I did I’d soak it up, loved to find out what was going on elsewhere.

It seems that the Toronto focus has really intensified in the last decade. Due to budget cuts maybe, they’re slacking off from their original mandate to cover sports for all Canadians, like basically every cable network like History and Discovery starting to show teen pregnancy shows and ‘Fast and Furious’ sequels.

My sense, anyway.

11)  The KHL seems more and more wobbly.  There was just a 24-player trade, due to financial strife within the league and roster manipulations.

12)  Taking in various mock drafts, I hate how the Bruins end up with Barzal X 2, Meier X 2, and in the others could pick up Zboril, Guryanov, Svechnikov…

13)  With the Sabres acquiring Robin Lehner and Ryan O'Reilly, it looks like Tim Murray doesn’t have the cojones to lose another season for Auston Matthews in the 2016 draft. Too bad. I’d have liked to see him pout again about not getting the first pick, failing to understand that he had an 80% chance of getting the #2 pick, and only 20% chance at the #1.

14)  After his craven appearance at the NHL Awards ceremony, I wonder what disadvantaged child or three-legged puppy Gary Bettman will use as a human shield this time, to forestall the tsunami of boos.

It's not that I don't respect them, I have no beef with Panthers fans, but I fear they’re not knowledgeable fans, they don’t understand how urgent it is that you HAVE to boo, mercilessly, the whole session, whenever the repugnant little toad approaches the microphone and smarms into it.

15)  TSN 1040 Vancouver’s Dave Pratt and ‘Bro’ Jake (excitedly): “If Robin Lehner is worth a first-rounder, how much (more) is Eddie Lack worth?!”

Dan Rosen, of : “Well, what the Lehner trade does is take out one of the teams bidding for a goalie and which had a first-rounder in play out of the equation. There’s even less demand for Eddie Lack now.”

Dave Pratt and ‘Bro’ Jake: “…”

16)  I was hoping that Tom Gilbert could net a second or at least a third, but maybe that ship has sailed for now, maybe a pick for next season. A first for 2016 at the deadline?

I had the odds that P.A. Parenteau gets bought out at 33%, but since he hasn’t been put on waivers yet, I guess that ship has sailed too. I guess they’re taking a chance that with another strong off-season of work, maybe fewer injuries, he can contribute more.

I had in my mind’s eye an image of Rick Dudley giving him a call every couple of days, checking in on him, maybe Scott Mellanby drops by while he’s working out at the gym, sizing him up, poking and prodding him, while they hem and haw about whether to buy him out.

The buyout window is more helpful for players, allows them to find a job, rather than teams, who if it was mid-July let’s say, could evaluate their roster, see who they picked up in trades at the draft, as UFA’s on July 1, and then decide if they need to buy anyone out, a player they couldn’t trade.

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