Friday, 22 June 2007

NHL Entry Draft (2007) - Review


The more I think about this draft the less happy I am with it - at least as far as the performance of the Oilers go that is.

01 ... CHI ... Kane
02 ... PHI ... vanReimsdyk
03 ... PHO ... Turris
04 ... LAK ... Hickey
05 ... WAS ... Alzner
06 ... EDM ... Gagner
07 ... CLB ... Voracek

Excepting Hickey (who was well off the boards on most lists), the first 7 picks were like clockwork. While I really liked Voracek and - STILL - like him better than Gagner I can understand the Gagner pick. He did well in London.

Which is the problem. In London he played with Kane and he played under Hunter's system and as we have seen with Schremp, Perry et al, Hunter's system really pumps up the point totals of his offensive players (long shifts, lots of PP time, etc.).

Gagner may go on to score more points but my call is that Voracek will be the better player overall. STILL, Gagner was a solid pick. He should be a good player, he was on all the boards at that spot and his risk factors were low.

Note that LA missed an easy trade down here. No way Hickey was going before Alzner, Gagner & Voracek, they must have gotten greedy and were asking too much. Trading to the #7 or the #8 was doable here and any return is better than none. LA screwed up.

08 ... BOS ... Hamill
09 ... SJS ... Couture
10 ... FLO ... Ellerby

The rest of the top-10 brings us our first trade (San Jose and St. Louis) and a second surprise pick (Hamill). Unlike Hickey, Hamill isn't that far off the boards BUT the two picks combined pop Cherepanov out of the top-10. Boston, like LA, misses an easy trade down.

This sets up the first bit of drama in the draft - how far? Most can project Esposito to Montreal at #12 but that still leaves a lot of teams out there to take Cherepanov in the next few picks. As a legit top-5 talent in this draft class how far can he fall?

The trade was San Jose sending the #13 (via Toronto), the #44 and a 3rd in 2008 to St. Louis for the #9. San Jose is always aggressive and Couture is totally their kind of player. St. Louis does well to score two extra draft picks.

11 ... CAR ... Sutter
12 ... MON ... McDonagh
13 ... STL ... Eller
14 ... COL ... Shattenkirk
15 ... EDM ... Plante

More surprises here. Montreal passes on Esposito and all pass on Cherepanov. Carolina goes for character and the 'Sutter' mystique while Montreal and Colorado go after the hottest new thing - young American defensemen. St. Louis DOES go for skill but takes Eller instead.

All the picks are, moderately, solid picks to make but Cherepanov is now some 10 spots behind his probable draft ranking. We are witnessing full free-fall. We are also witnessing one of the few chances the Oilers will ever have to take true world-class talent.

We pick Plante.

I am now operating at a loss. Sure, Plante has potential but Cherepanov has exactly what the organization needs - high-end skill level. And he still has potential to be the best from the draft. An organization that needs skill takes a defenseman ranked well down the scale.

It beggars the mind.

Alzner, Ellerby, McDonagh, Shattenkirk, Hickey and Petrecki all rank significantly higher on most lists and higher on an aggregated basis as well - of those only Ellerby and Petrecki had 'hockey sense' issues. The #15 pick was a trade-down waiting to happen and it never did.

KNOWING that they weren't going to take Cherepanov, somewhere around pick #12 Edmonton should have made a contingency trade with the Rangers (if Cherepanov is there at #15 we get the #17 and a 5th rounder) - by the 15th it was too late. Rangers knew they had him.

Not happy at all with it. The only saving grace is what follows next:

Anaheim trades down and sends the #16 to Minnesota for the #19 and the #42 picks. So maybe Anaheim wanted Plante and the moment they couldn't get him they knew their next guy was available later and so traded down.

For Lowe's sake I hope so.

16 ... MIN ... Gillies
17 ... NYR ... Cherepanov

Minnesota picks a banger... because they just lost to Anaheim?? Gillies won't be ready until well after Pronger and Neidermayer are gone. On the plus side he IS a monster who can actually play so maybe he will be a difference maker via his aggressiveness.

Finally. The Rangers get Cherepanov. Cherepanov gets the Rangers. It is a perfect match. The Rangers love the showboats and Cherepanov will be on Broadway so... good for them. Incredible steal by the Rangers.

This is where the Oilers should have traded to. Barring the Anaheim maneuver Plante would have been available here. It really is too bad. Also note that Esposito is now some 7 to 9 picks behind his aggregate ranking. He is falling fast.

Calgary then trades down and sends the #18 to St. Louis for the #24 and the #70 picks. Standard 6 spot trade-up though I don't think Calgary squeezes enough out of them. St. Louis gives up very little to get their guy so good trade for them.

18 ... STL ... Cole
19 ... ANA ... MacMillan
20 ... PIT ... Esposito
21 ... EDM ... Nash

St. Louis takes a stay-at-home d-man (Redline loved him) while Anaheim picks up another hard-charging, two-way style forward. I have no opinions in any way on those picks. Good for them I guess.

Esposito hits the jackpot. He will get time on the wing with any of Crosby, Malkin or Staal. Wow. Maybe we have to start thinking that getting picked high is a BAD thing because Esposito will have to try to fail in Pittsburgh.

Edmonton then trades up with Phoenix, netting the #21 pick in exchange for the #30 and the #36. Great trade for Phoenix. Awful trade for Edmonton imo. A 9 spot leap at the shorter end of a round costs the #36 pick (high 2nd round)?

St. Louis only paid with the #70 (mid-to-high 3rd round) to get a 6 spot leap EARLIER in the draft. Lowe would have been better off to offer the 4th (2007) and a 3rd from 2008. Or something.

In a draft like this, with guys like Mayorov, Sweatt, Katic and Andersson still available, the #36 is like having an extra mid-round #1 pick. Lowe got schooled. By Phoenix of all teams. Insult to injury imo.

Nash should be a pretty good player. Given the price paid to get him he had d**n well better be.

22 ... MON ... Pacioretty
23 ... NAS ... Blum
24 ... CAL ... Backlund
25 ... VAN ... White
26 ... STL ... Perron
27 ... DET ... Smith

Best pick out of this group is Backlund imo. Most listings had him solidly in the top-20 and on an aggregate basis he was top-15 or higher. The rest of them are just guys you pick when you do because it is your turn next and his name is top-of-your-list.

St. Louis did very well this 1st round. They took the #9, #24, #26 and #70 and turned it into the #13 (Eller), #18 (Cole), #26 (Perron), the 44th and a 3rd in 2008. Davidson practically put on a clinic in regards to leveraging draft position.

Great draft for them.

Washington then traded the #28 to San Jose for the #41 and a 2nd rounder in 2008. Not a great trade but Washington is betting on the 2008 draft being as good as everyone says it will be. Personal opinion - bad trade. Should have squeezed more out of San Jose.

A) Backlund was on the board as late #24 while B) Petrecki was a highly rated d-man going in. Washington needs more draft picks like it needs a kick in the head so trading up for Backlund or taking Petrecki and doubling their chances of getting a high-end D-man to turn out (from Alzner and Petrecki) was the way to go.

28 ... SJS ... Petrecki
29 ... OTT ... O'Brien
30 ... PHO ... Ross

So tell me. If the draft was soooo bad why did San Jose, who started the day with NO first round picks end up bartering significant assets away to score two of them AND then manipulate the board to get the guys they wanted?

San Jose turned the #13, #44, a 2nd round pick in 2008 and a 3rd rounder in 2008 for the #9 (Couture) and the #28 (Petrecki).

San Jose is an aggressive team at the draft and has a history of drafting well. They paid the price for Couture and got a deal on Petrecki. Couture was a legit top-10 in this draft while Petrecki was considered one of the better d-men.

I have to assume - great draft day for San Jose. That team always has assets available for trade and is never afraid to use them.

------

The winners are (in order):

-- St. Louis (great maneuvers),
-- San Jose (killer instinct),
-- Phoenix (fleeced Edmonton),
-- New York Rangers (cherry on top),
-- Pittsburgh (unreal skill level),
-- Columbus (Voracek was still around - yay Kings!),
-- Calgary (extra pick and Backlund at #24),
-- Anaheim (nice extra pick),
-- Esposito and Cherepanov.

The losers are (in order):

-- Los Angeles (could have traded down imo),
-- Boston (could have traded down imo),
-- Washington (mis-fired on the #28 and missed Backlund)
-- Edmonton (poor maneuvering, no Cherepanov)

Their maneuvering was so bad that their guys HAVE to turn out in order to vindicate the decision making. One could try to say the same of San Jose but:

-- they didn't pay through the nose to get their picks,
-- they got Couture near where he was ranked,
-- they got Petrecki well down the list
-- they didn't need a great draft to help turn their fortunes around

Edmonton, i.e. Lowe, doesn't have that kind of leeway. I do think their players are better than many think (I like Nash, not so much Plante and I am ambivalent on Gagner vs Voracek) but they REALLY need at least one of them to cover the bet and another to pay-off to make it all good.

Draft could have been:
-- Gagner, Cherepanov and Backlund / Nash or
-- Gagner, Cherepanov, Mayorov and Andersson

Yes, yes. I know. The real winners will be those teams whose picks actually become usable player assets. Talk to you again in 5 years.

------

Was fun. Have a great evening everyone.

4 comments:

PunjabiOil said...

Excellent analysis YK. The best blog on the web IMO.

My own thoughts from HF

Cherepanov carried some risk, but talent wise, he is top 3. With 3 first round picks, it would be a reasonable gamble to pick him at 15. For teams with only 1 pick, it was NOT AS reasonable of a risk.

Gagner, Cherepanov, and trade up to select Plante. I like that much better than

Gagner, Plante, Nash.

If you think about it, Nash and Plante have plenty of question marks surrounding themselves too. Both projected early 2nd rounders - if you're going to gamble on projects, do it right.

At the very least, Esposito was there at 15.

Bob Stauffer called it. The Oiler organization just doesn't have the guts.

A shame. Just like Lowe's undelivered promises and sinking down this once, a proud organization.

Mr DeBakey said...

Well,
The Oilers did better than
Los Angeles & Washington

The foolishness of taking Alzner 5th was highlighted when the Caps passed on the opportunity to take Petricky 28th.

Why didn't LA trade down?
What could the Oilers have thrown into the pot with the 15th pick to get the 4th Pick?

Anyways, I'm more OK with this draft then last evening.

Good Breakdown
San Jose - Couture & Petrecki great
St Louis - Eller, Cole & Perron - Bingo!

YKOil said...

Thanks PO,

I'll defer to LT, mc and the rest on the 'best blog' matter but reading the words is very nice regardless.

No question - missing on Cherepanov there is crazyness imo. The guy was top-4 talent in this draft. If you like Plante that much then trade for the 16th.

yeesh.

Hey Mr. D,

I actually updated my review a bit just to say more about the LA and the Washington cock-ups.

To whit:

"A) Backlund was on the board as late #24 while B) Petrecki was a highly rated d-man going in. Washington needs more draft picks like it needs a kick in the head so trading up for Backlund or taking Petrecki and doubling their chances of getting a high-end D-man to turn out (from Alzner and Petrecki) was the way to go."

In other words, Washington had a rare chance to cover their bet and passed - bad playing imo.

The LA miss was alarming. Knowing that they were taking Hickey, trading down there was THE BEST MOVE. Period.

They probably could have dropped all the way to Boston at #8. No way Boston would not have given up, at the least, a 3rd to move up 4 spots in the draft and get a legit shot at Gagner and Voracek.

Compared to what San Jose and St. Louis did Los Angeles and Washington screwed up horribly.

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