Tuesday, 26 June 2007

2006-07 Off-Season UFA's (Part Three - Centers) - A

The third in a series of posts on the UFA market that will hit this coming off-season. The first post was all about goalie's and the second was all about defensemen. My latest update to those posts is here.

Convential wisdom has it that building a team starts from the net out. All else being equal it is better to have a good goalie than it is to have a good defensemen than it is to have a good center than it is to have a good winger. Funny then that marquee centers have traditionally received more pay and press than most goalie's or defensemen.

Easy call really. The top-scorer on a team is almost always a forward and the center on a line tends to direct the play. Goalie's and defensemen might have a greater impact on wins and losses but for the vast majority of fans out there it is the center who sells the tickets.


Age .. .$$ .. avg toi .. pp .. sh/gm

32 .. 5.75 .. 18.17 .. 4.07 .. _.10 .. Peter Forsberg
29 .. 3.08 .. 18.46 .. 4.25 .. 2.56 .. Chris Drury
29 .. 2.13 .. 20.59 .. 5.13 .. 3.02 .. Michal Handzus
28 .. 5.00 .. 19.18 .. 4.45 .. _.18 .. Daniel Briere
26 .. 5.00 .. 18.55 .. 4.28 .. _.02 .. Scott Gomez
32 .. 7.42 .. 17.04 .. 3.33 .. _.24 .. Alexei Yashin

36 .. 0.80 .. 12.20 .. 1.56 .. 1.34 .. Trevor Linden
34 .. 1.98 .. 17.59 .. 3.15 .. 2.08 .. Bryan Smolinski
33 .. 1.63 .. 19.07 .. 3.09 .. 3.06 .. Josef Stumpel
31 .. 1.48 .. 17.13 .. 2.27 .. 2.35 .. Todd White
31 .. 0.87 .. 16.24 .. 2.06 .. 1.24 .. Viktor Kozlov
28 .. 1.30 .. 16.14 .. 2.34 .. 1.58 .. Eric Belanger

35 .. 3.80 .. 16.49 .. 3.34 .. _.06 .. Robert Lang
33 .. 2.50 .. 14.39 .. 3.34 .. _.02 .. Eric Lindros
32 .. 0.50 .. 12.05 .. 2.17 .. _.14 .. Glen Metropolit
30 .. 0.60 .. 14.08 .. 1.39 .. _.24 .. Randy Robitaille
29 .. 2.90 .. 16.39 .. 4.37 .. _.04 .. Petr Sykora
28 .. 2.85 .. 12.30 .. 1.47 .. _.31 .. Mike York

36 .. 1.44 .. 14.53 .. _.10 .. 2.05 .. Wes Walz
32 .. 2.50 .. 17.24 .. _.24 .. 4.17 .. Michael Peca
31 .. 0.73 .. 10.55 .. _.24 .. 1.49 .. Kevyn Adams
31 .. 0.53 .. 12.32 .. _.08 .. 3.14 .. Scott Nichol
30 .. 2.39 .. 15.52 .. _.28 .. 2.57 .. Radek Bonk
30 .. 1.13 .. 13.32 .. _.51 .. 2.29 .. Wayne Primeau
30 .. 0.95 .. __.__ .. _.__ .. _.__ .. Jason Wiemer (inj.)

25 .. 3.00 .. 15.14 .. 3.22 .. _.19 .. Mike Comrie
25 .. 0.90 .. 12.12 .. _.08 .. 1.19 .. Patrick Stefan
25 .. 1.15 .. 13.23 .. _.53 .. _.31 .. Josef Vasicek

37 .. 0.45 .. _8.17 .. _.04 .. 1.51 .. Jim Dowd
36 .. 1.50 .. 13.53 .. 2.01 .. 1.09 .. Jeremy Roenick
35 .. 0.70 .. 15.33 .. 3.15 .. _.24 .. Yanic Perreault
35 .. 0.50 .. _8.53 .. _._5 .. 2.59 .. Travis Green
34 .. 1.52 .. _9.53 .. _.20 .. 1.38 .. Mike Ricci

29 .. 0.50 .. _9.30 .. _.12 .. _.02 .. Wyatt Smith
29 .. 0.45 .. _9.27 .. _.07 .. _.01 .. Eric Rasmussen
29 .. 0.45 .. _9.46 .. _.15 .. 1.06 .. Byron Ritchie
29 .. 0.45 .. 10.46 .. 1.55 .. _.__ .. Mark Hartigan
28 .. 0.70 .. 10.24 .. _.51 .. _.41 .. Mark Smith
28 .. 0.48 .. 12.55 .. 3.21 .. _.02 .. Jeff Hamilton
27 .. 0.63 .. 13.46 .. _.51 .. 2.56 .. Mikael Holmqvist
27 .. 0.75 .. 13.37 .. 1.06 .. _.48 .. Brett MacLean
27 .. 0.68 .. _7.33 .. _.04 .. _.02 .. Adam Mair
27 .. 0.45 .. 13.40 .. 1.21 .. 1.57 .. Toby Peterson
27 .. 0.45 .. _7.22 .. _.16 .. _.02 .. Tommi Santala

Group A: the 'name' players

This is an interesting category. Forsberg and Handzus have health issues, Briere and Gomez are offensive dynamo's who don't play much defense and Yashin will put up the points without a care in world (which IS the problem). Drury lacks the big numbers but is the better all-around player.

If Forsberg plays it will be in Philly or Colorado so look for him to be in Philly at $4.8 mill /yr (one year). Briere and Gomez are proven point producers and could end up anywhere so look for them to sign 4 or 5 yr deals in the $6.5 mill /yr range.

Handzus will cash in on his 'potential' (big guy who can play) yet again and will garner a $4.0 mill /yr payday while Yashin will get signed late August by some team that needs some offense ($3.5 mill /yr for one year).

The wildcard is Drury. Great leadership and 'clutch-player' rep will get him a payday a la Briere and Gomez but the question becomes - where? I will, actually, be disappointed if San Jose doesn't make a play for him. Signing Drury and trading Marleau for the pieces they need is the smart move.

Group B: the 'all-around good guys' group

Not the 1st-line ES, PP of PK but they can do it all and are often first over the boards for the 2nd-line PP or PK teams. It may be because they really are good at everything (a guy like Linden has years of veteran savvy to fall back on) or it may be because the team is undermanned (Stumpel is THAT good on the PK?) so do your research and make your call accordingly.

Linden will retire in Vancouver so look for a retirement contract for him (2 yrs at < $1 mill /yr). Smolinski is a guy who is good enough to be wanted by teams but not so good that they keep him, look for him to sign for a couple of years at $2 to 2.5 mill /yr. Florida likes Stumpel and Stumpel likes Florida; he'll get 3 years at $1.8 - 2.2 mill /yr.

After years of working his tail off White will finally get land a paycheque that fits his tweener status (better than 3rd line but not quite 2nd line); he'll want 3 or 4 years at $1.8 mill /yr or 2 years at $2 mill /yr. Belanger's numbers improved in Atlanta so he may get a slight bump into the $1.5 mill /yr range (expect a 2 year deal).

Kozlov is the wildcard of the group. Is he finally putting it all together? He had a good year last year and that may just land him a bigger contract. Look for a 3 year deal in $1.2 to 1.5 mill /yr range. I think he would like to go to a team that wants him - I do not know if that is New York.

Group C: the 'friends of the power-play' group

Players who, for better or for worse, aren't known for how they play defense. They tend to get lots of power-play time and some of them even earn it. The wildcard in the group is Lindros. His injury history is scary and he has changed his play because of it BUT he can still play the game pretty well. He will sign where he can, probably short-term, and get some $2 mill /yr for his troubles.

Lang and Sykora are more consistent than most but neither one is a 'core' kind of guy. I expect both to take pay-cuts. Sykora will probably stay in Edmonton the next 2 years for $2.8 mill /yr while Lang will get a chance to see more of the USA; also a 2 year deal and this one pegged at $2.5 to $3.25 mill /yr.

Metropolit, Robitaille and York represent the bottom end of this group. They will be paid accordingly. The first two will sign anywhere that needs a center who can work a 2nd power-play unit and they will be happy to make 700k to 800k a year doing it. York, after a dismal season is kind of in the same boat. His good years in Edmonton will get him a 2 year deal somewhere making $1.2 - 1.6 mill /yr.

Group D: the 'what's a power-play?' group

Players who, for better or worse, never see PP time because they are too busy being relied upon to play well defensively or because they wouldn't be any good on the PP regardless and SOMEONE has to play 2nd unit minutes on the PK. If Wiemer can ever play again (I never looked it up) he will get short-term 'see-if-he-can-play-again' deal for 550 - 700k /yr.

Peca is the big name and if healthy he is a legit difference maker. His big payday days are long gone but expect the Leafs or Islanders to give him a multi-year deal that averages $2.2 mill /yr or so. Walz is the elder statesman of the group and he will go to a team that needs a veteran like him who can play. Expect a 2 year retirement deal at $1.2 mill /yr or so.

Bonk has turned himself into a legit, top-end, defensive forward. I see him taking a pay-cut but it shouldn't be much of one - he'll go to anyone who pays him and I expect it will be 3 years at $2.2 mill /yr. Primeau is the very definition of generic 3rd line defensive forward. Given the lack of quality depth in the NHL a 2 year deal awaits him, somewhere, for $1.2 mill /yr.

Nichol and Adams are the guys who are kicking around because they can play better than the current rookie de jour and thus will hurt the team less in tight games. Look for Nichol to get a slight bump in pay to 650k /yr while Adams will take a slight cut in pay to 650k /yr. Both players will sign short term deals.

Group E: the 'wanna-be' players

A small group of players who have the talent to make some noise, and are still young enough to do so, BUT don't have the 'it' that it takes to get them over the hump. Comrie had a good play-offs with Ottawa and he will probably get the biggest paycheque of the bunch - just smaller than before. 3 year deal, somewhere that needs an offense first-last-always forward, for $2.5 mill /yr.

Stefan and Vasicek were both, once, highly touted prospects. Not great years for them however. Vasicek will get roughly $1 mill /yr for a couple of years from someone who wants to take a chance while Stefan may be re-inventing himself into a defensively sound forward. Take a couple more years for him to do that so expect another couple of 800 - 900k paydays for him this round.

Funny thing about Vasicek... not a good year in Carolina but dig a little deeper and you find out the guy played some very tough competition through-out the year. One of the best 'Quality of competition' stats in the NHL last year (courtesy of Desjardins). Interesting.

Group F: the 'it's a good-life' players

The guys are hanging on to their jobs every game of every year. I won't go into detail on most of these as it is fairly clear that the majority of them will be lucky to get 2 year contracts that aren't two-way deals. The best of them will get 650 - 750k contracts and the average will probably be in the 500k range.

Of the guys mentioned above, Peterson and (M) Smith may have solidified a reputation for being dependable utility forwards while Hamilton, MacLean and Hartignan may have given themselves a future as 2nd line PP fill-ins. Holmqvist and Ritchie make up the PK utility set of this this group. Rasmussen and Mair haven't done themselves any favors and (W) Smith and Santala are just fill-ins.

With this group of forwards it is always hard to say as to what will really happen. Why they even get playing at all can often be up for debate (some are only injury fill-ins, etc). The only thing that isn't debateable is that they won't make much more than the minimum and that even the smallest NHL paycheque is still a pretty good paycheque to have.

Group G: the 'you still play?' players

Centers tend to be under a LOT of pressure to perform in the NHL. They can get pushed out of their roster spot very quickly. Excepting Perreault, all the players in this group are guys who have fallen off the map (sts) in regards to their level of play and they should probably retire soon or sooner. None of them will get a contract longer than 2 years.

Perreault gets by on superior face-off skills and some decent PP work. He will find a job somewhere and make $1.2 mill /yr or so doing it. Ricci, Green and Dowd may get work as dependable 4th-line PK vets while Roenick never learned how to adjust his game to match his roster spot (not specialized enough in any one area of the game) and so he may be waiting on a new contract for quite a while. Expect most of the signings to be at or near the minimum.


Next part of this post follows directly below.

2006-07 Off-Season UFA's (Part Three - Centers) - B

Part 'B' of the third in a series of posts on the UFA market that will hit this coming off-season. Part 'A' is directly above this one.

Who To Target?

For my money the best players to target are (from each group):




Peterson / Ritchie

For less money than Briere or Gomez might make, Drury will provide more versatile and dependable play AND he can play the tough minutes. A team could do worse than making Drury one of the key building blocks of their forward group and a long-term deal on $6 mill/yr would be money expensively, but well, spent. Drury is also good as a 'put-us-over-the-top' guy on a short-term contract.

I only like Gomez and Briere on long, long term deals where they can become the identity of the team and the team can be built around them. I think Briere will actually stay in Buffalo but in any case both figure to be very expensive signings. I don't like them for the Oilers at all.

Smolinski and White are veteran guys who can anchor the 3rd line or cover the 2nd line and as such, if a team needs help in that area they would be great signings - short or long-term. I do think that they would both prefer longer-term deals in the 3 -4 year range at $2 mill /yr or so. Those would be good deals.

Belanger is a guy I like however. Given that quality 3rd line guys make anywhere from $1.5 to 2.5 mill /yr regardless, the smart GM will sign this guy to a long-term deal (5 years+) that tops out at $2 million but averages $1.6 mill /yr. Quality 3rd line cornerstone at an affordable price and inflation protected out the wazoo - what's not to like?

Sykora and Lang are both good pick-ups for a team that needs offensive depth for now and is willing to trade them at the deadline if the play-offs are out of sight for a while. Short-term deals of a single year is preferable - even if a premium has to be paid. I pegged their prices above.

Bonk has transformed himself into a valuable player. He is generally underappreciated and as a defensive minded guy he is undervalued. Belanger is the lesser version of Bonk imo. The smart GM knows what Bonk offers and gets him to sign a long-term deal in the $2 mill /yr range. Barring personality issues this is the kind of guy who can become a 'core' player on a good team.

Walz is a good, short-term, solution to any team needing veteran defensive depth and a leadership boost. Much like Lang/Sykora however his best use is as trade bait at the deadline. Short-term deal for few bucks means a nice draft pick later.

Peterson and Ritchie are great for any team that needs a veteran to baby-sit some rookies on the 4th-line and as such they should get picked up by some enterprising GM. I like them because they should stay at or near the minimum and out-perform their price at that level. 500k /yr for a couple of years.


So those are the centers. Were I Lowe and I was going to play it conservatively ('make-the-play-offs') I make my plays for:

-- Gomez, Briere or White.

Seriously. this team is so far away that only the offense of the big boys may get them a shot at the play-offs. White is a 'chance' pick in that he might help Horcoff and Stoll enough that the three of them carry the team in.

If I treat my team as a rebuild I look at:

-- Peterson, Bonk, Lang, Sykora and Belanger.

Peterson because he plays utility forward on the bottom two lines for me, Bonk because eventually Horcoff/Stoll may move on or be traded, Sykora nd Lang because I want the prospects/draft picks that come with trading them later and Belanger because I want to risk a little to maybe gain a lot.

Not a lot of solutions for the Oilers from the UFA centers available this off-season.


Have a great evening everyone.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

NHL Entry Draft - Your Oilers

Note that I have borrowed liberally from TSN, the NHL and Eliteprospects.com. All credit is due them.

While I didn't like the Oilers draft moves at all, I did like the players they took. The last two Euro's (Kytnar and Quist) look like real sleeper picks and make me think the Oilers weren't just going through the motions this year. Odd that later picks would give me more comfort on earlier picks but that is how it has worked.

Without further ado, at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft the Edmonton Oilers draft picks were:

006 - Sam Gagner

Shoots: R
1989 Birthyear (18 in August)
5'11" / 190 lbs

Skill player. Has great numbers both in terms of real numbers but also in terms of equivalencies.

My read is that this is a good pick. He projects out well, wasn't a reach at where he was chosen and has the skills needed to play. Issues are that he played for the London Knights and with Kane - both situations that pump up the numbers a bit. That said, still a good choice.

From NHL Central Scouting: A skilled forward with the ability to make the big plays. Has very good hands and is creative with the puck. Has a good wrist shot with a quick release. Has high-end passing skill both forehand and backhand. Sees the ice very well. Reliable in the defensive end and used in critical situations. A good skater, but needs to work on his acceleration and mobility. Needs to improve his ability to fight through checks.

From TSN: ... has spectacular highlight-reel puckhandling skills ... But for all the fancy dangles, he also has a lethal shot ... his strength is as a creative playmaker with great vision and passing ability ... "Skating is okay, not like his Dad's," said one scout of former NHL speedster Dave Gagner, who was blessed with great wheels but didn't have nearly the creativity or vision that his son brings to the table. For him to be more than a PP guy, scouts believe he will have to learn to win more battles and increase his competitiveness, but they duly note that this a young man with character and work ethic who grew up in a pro environment and understands what it takes to play at the next level and will work diligently toward that goal.

From ISS: His offensive skills are unquestionable and he has been a top point producer at every level that he has played. Shows very good puck control at a high rate of speed ... excellent anticipation, vision and passing skills ... Like other young players, at times will cheat on the offensive side of the puck, however he is dependable if game situation clearly requires strong defensive play. Does not have great size, must continue to work on core strength.

015 - Alex Plante

Shoots: R
1988 Birthyear (19 in May)
6'4" / 225 lbs

Defensive defenseman. Has great physical attributes and good numbers (especially in the play-offs) for a guy who is supposed to be a defensive defenseman.

My read is that this is a good pick. The only thing I don't like about it is that he was chosen ahead of Cherepanov. He projects out well, was debateable as a reach at where he was chosen but the physical package is such that he could ACTUALLY be the rarest of all things - a franchise d-man. Issues are that he has an '89 birthyear and that he really needs to work on his skating and mobility. That said, if not for the Cherepanov controversy, I really like the pick.

From NHL Central Scouting: A stay-at-home defenseman with good size. Has a long stride and is able to skate the puck out of his own zone. Moves the puck quickly and shoots well from the point. Is well positioned. Needs to improve his foot speed and agility. Needs to improve his play under pressure.

The TSN Insider's Forecast: ... is a big, strong, aggressive player who is not without some offensive ability ... probably the polar opposite to / an ultra-offensive minded defenceman ... The question mark on Alex is skating but he has enough assets to get by ...

From ISS: ... one of the biggest draft wildcards. The number one attraction of this player is his combination of outstanding size and skill. He is blessed with a genetic gift and a relatively high level of skating and puck skill for a player this big. Plante is an intense player who is mean and not afraid of playing along the boards or competing physically. He has a good stride and his agility is improving.

021 - Riley Nash

Shoots: R
1989 Birthyear (18 in May)
6' 1" / 175 lbs

3rd line center with 2nd line upside. Good skater and plays a smart game. His point totals indicate he is a fairly decent passer.

Again, I like the player but hate how we got him - a reach where he was taken and we gave up two other, very good, draft picks to get this guy. Could be the next Zajac but getting a good read on guys who are basically playing highschool level hockey is tough. Going to Cornell next year and the school isn't known for being a hockey player factory. Lots of issues with this guy and he will HAVE to turn out well just to justify the picks used. I want to like the guy but am having trouble doing so. Here's hoping...

From NHL Central Scouting: A skilled forward. A shifty center with good skating ability. Handles the puck with ease and is smart positionally. Needs to be more consistent through 60 minutes. Needs to improve his ability to get in to good scoring position.

The TSN Insider's Forecast: Nash's biggest weakness at this point is that he's not physically developed and needs to get much stronger.

From ISS: ... a good, honest player willing to work hard and give a consistent effort every night. He fits the mould of a "late-bloomer" and with continued attention to small details he will continue to improve.

097 - Linus Omark

Shoots: L
1987 Birthyear (20 in February)
5'8" / 167 lbs

2nd line playmaking winger. Good skater, smart player, good skills, poor size. Being brought in to a) give him his shot and b) push the other prospects.

I have to say that I really like this pick (though I think we should have traded up to get Mayorov, who went at #94 to Columbus). As an overager who has been playing the professional game Omark is a true boom-or-bust pick. Given that the pick is from the 4th round I don't really care if it is a reach or not and a gamble at this point is well worth it. Size is a big issue because if he does make the team, with guys like Thoreson already aboard, the Oilers will look a lot like Smurfs in those blue jersey.

From NHL Central Scouting: A skilled forward with excellent speed… has quick feet and can beat defenders one-on-one… handles the puck well in traffic and passes the puck well forehand and backhand… sees the ice well and is effective on the power-play… battles hard along the boards…

From Eliteprospects.com: A flashy player with first-class technical skills and hands. Very creative player with good hockey sense and natural scoring ability. Defense is okay, although it can be fine-tuned. Good skater with great agility and moves. Additional strength and muscles would not hurt.

127 - Milan Kytnar

Shoots: L
1989 Birthyear (18 in May)
6'0" / 182 lbs

2nd or 3rd line center. Interesting blend of defense and skill.

I love this pick. Has all the hallmarks of the kind of under-the-radar guy that teams like Detroit have been scooping for years. Young guy has already made a mark on the international stage and has already captained a team a national level team. Everything about him screams big upside and a character guy. Only issue is the skating so lets hope he gets that training asap.

From NHL Central Scouting: A hard working two-way center… has good hands and a quick stick on face-offs… has good on-ice awareness and a good shot... able to play very physical… needs to improve his first step quickness…

From Eliteprospects.com: nothing reported.

157 - William Quist

Shoots: L
1989 Birthyear (18 in July)
6'3" / 191 lbs

All over the map. Winger. Skill guy with great skating and reach.

Another pick I love. Another one of those 'under-the-radar' guys and if he can actually play then the only thing holding him back is strength. Barring an affliction of 'Niinimaki syndrome' (the inability to gain strength and stay healthy) that can be developed. Probably won't be anything but all a team needs is one guy from the later rounds to really turn out and all is gold - just ask Detroit about Datsyuk and Zetterberg one day.

From NHL Central Scouting: nothing reported.

From Eliteprospects.com: A huge guy that is a very good and speedy skater. Quist is technically skilled and has good hands. He is creative with the puck and tough to stop thanks to his great reach. Could use some extra muscles and strength.
Have a great evening everyone.

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.

The Big Day - First Round Fever

NEVER trust recipes from books. What takes them 3 minutes takes a flub like me 20. Sorry I'm late. Show just started and Balsillie has had his cut off... gonna be a good show...

5:10 pm - No action yet but the Globe and Mail is reporting that Chicago and Phoenix have a deal to swap picks. (EDIT: Guess not)

5:17 pm - Bettman gets a warm welcome.

5:30 pm - Chicago takes Kane at #1 ... its a start

5:37 pm - Philly takes vanReimsdyk at #2 ... so far ... yawn ...

5:45 pm - Gretzky (or Phoenix as some say) takes Turris at #3 - nice welcome for Gretz btw.

5:50 pm - like clockwork here - Los Angeles takes THOMAS HICKEY at #4??

Best ranking on that guy was #13 (TSN) - didn't show on Redline, McKeen's, THN, or anyone else for that matter.

Wow. Small defender goes #4. First big surprise in the draft.

Voracek for Edmonton now (though we hear it will be Gagner).

5:54 pm - TSN reporting that Edmonton almost made a deal. wheeeee....

5:59 pm - Washington takes Alzner at #5 - Voracek is ours if we want him...

6:04 pm - Oilers take Steve Kelly... I mean Gagner at #6


6:14 pm - Oilers take Voracek ... oh ... Columbus takes Voracek at #7

sigh again - thank god for good steak off the BBQ

6:20 pm - Neely - classy - I like that - Bruins take Hamill at #8

6:25 pm - TRADE

St. Louis send #9 to San Jose for #13, #44 and a 3rd (2008)

Nice trade. San Jose AGAIN trades up. These guys know who they want and go get them.

6:28 pm - San Jose take Couture at #9

6:33 pm - Florida takes Ellerby at #10

So the top-10 actually taken compared to the aggregated list.

Kane ......... Kane
vanReimsdyk .. Turris
Turris ....... vanReimsdyk

Hickey ....... Voracek
Alzner ....... Cherepanov
Gagner ....... Gagner
Voracek ...... Alzner
Hamill ....... Couture
Couture ...... Ellerby
Ellerby ...... Esposito

Hickey is the wildcard, Hamill was #11 on the aggregated list so no surprise there. Cherepanov's exclusion is driving the TSN staff nuts.

6:40 pm - Carolina takes Sutter #11

I'll call it - Cherepanov to Colorado. They are the first team who can afford to take a chance like that. Montreal takes Esposito next. St. Louis takes Eller.

6:44 pm - TSN is saying Gainey likes some American d-men so maybe Shattenkirk? nope.
Montreal takes McDonagh at #12.

Look for something to come out of this is Quebec (well duh)

6:50 pm - St. Louis thanks their fans in Tuktoyaktuk. As do I. Jarmo kingmaker takes my call:
St. Louis takes Eller at #13.

Damn. I liked him.

McGuire is freakin' out a bit over Cherepanov. I think Colorado takes him. If Colorado passes and we don't take him I will be very disappointed in Lowe.

6:54 pm - Colorado ruins my streak and takes Shattenkirk at #14 (who I think Edmonton wanted).

Will Anaheim get Cherepanov?

7:00 pm - Lowe gives up his chance to take a world class talent.
Edmonton takes Plante at #15.

F*&k. Can't have enough defensive defencemen. Who needs scorers?

7:04 pm - TRADE

Anaheim sends #16 to Minnesota for #19 and #42.

Well played by Anaheim. Knowing it was Plante I think Edmonton could have traded down pretty easily imo.

7:07 pm - Minnesota takes Gillies at #16

TSN saying it is all Anaheim fear factor at play. Who knows. All I know is Cherepanov is still out there.

7:12 pm - New York gets, possibly, the best player in the draft,
Cherepanov at #17

wow. lucky them. Oilers couldn't trade down at that point? yeesh.

oops - time warp!

7:06 pm - TRADE

Calgary sends #18 to St. Louis for #24 and #70

Another good trade by St. Louis. They get who they want. Lowe taking notes? Dammitt.

7:08 pm - St. Louis takes Cole at #18

7:12 pm - Anaheim finally pulls the trigger and gets MacMillan at #19

No idea on this one. 3rd line forward to pencil in.

Esposito, Backlund, Mayorov, Sweatt, Petrecki, Perron and Katic are left from the aggregate list. Can't see Pittsburgh taking him but who knows eh?

7:19 pm - heh. Pittsburgh takes Esposito at #20

Great for Esposito. Hope he can play wing.

7:24 pm - TRADE

Phoenix sends #21 to Edmonton for #30 and #36

Wow, did we pay a lot for those 9 spots. Sweatt?

7:26 pm - Edmonton chooses Riley Nash at #21

Sorry - but I officially hate that trade for that pick. Niinimaki the Second. He would have been there at 30 imo.

7:31 pm - Montreal takes Pacioretty at #22

Power forward type apparently.

7:36 pm - Nashville picks up Blum at #23

7:44 pm - Calgary takes Backlund at #24

Potentially a great pick-up for them. Aggregated rankings had him at #12.

7:47 pm - Vancouver takes White at #25

Off the board there - though TSN does report that ISS had him #23.

7:53 pm - St. Louis takes Perron at #26

Nice pick imo. Guy can score.

Eller, Cole and Perron plus the #44 and a 3rd in 2008 less the #70 pick. Clinic put on by St. Louis imo.

7:57 pm - Detroit takes character and potential with Smith at #27

Good pick.

8:03 pm - TRADE

Washington sends #28 to San Jose for #41 and and 2nd rounder in 2008

Nice trade

8:04 pm - San Jose then takes Petrecki at #28

Great pick. Like TSN says, was top-15 on most lists.

8:10 pm - Ottawa takes O'Brien at #29

Who? Oh well. Echoes of the Foster pick New Jersey made so many years ago.

8:14 pm -
Phoenix takes Ross at #30

Wow. Guys like Mayorov, Sweatt, Katic - all still on the Board at #30.

Crazy draft imo.

Winners are Cherepanov (goes to the big show in New York), Esposito (he gets to play with Crosby, et al), St. Louis (lots of movement and good assets to show for it), Columbus (get a real player in Voracek), San Jose (getting Couture and Petrecki) and Phoenix (Turris and fleeced the Oilers).


Have a great evening everyone.

The Big Day - Early Trades

Been a busy day so far. Pre-draft synopsis and analysis, as I can, will follow.

Calgary and Chicago - taking on salary for potential upside


Zyuzin is a known quantity on the books for 1 more year at $1.475 mill ($1.400 Cap). Chicago just saved themselves $2.6 (2007/08) + 4.0 (2008/09) in Cap space and $6.525 in salary. Easy to see why they did the trade.

Calgary gets a guy who knows Keenan's system and, if healthy, is a top-10 d-man in the league. He can be THAT good on the power play. Question is: his health. If he continues to have the health issues Calgary lost this trade in a big, big way.

Overall - big gamble for Calgary.

Toronto and San Jose - draft picks for a UFA to be and a salary dump

13th overall pick (2007), 2nd round pick (2007) & 4th round pick (2009)
Toskala & Bell

Toronto shores up their goaltending picture and gets a LW who proved he can play the game in Chicago... but not so well in San Jose. Toskala alone makes this a good pick-up, Bell gets his game back and it is a big win all around.

San Jose gets something back for Toskala, who would never have re-signed there and who was keeping other prospects back, and dumps salary on a guy who just never worked out for them. Without a dime coming back in salary they can now make a big UFA play, and I think they will.

Great trade for Toronto but iffy for San Jose as it comes down to what they do with the money.

Nashville and Florida - predators declawed

1st round pick (2008), 2nd round pick (2007) and conditional 2nd rounder

2008 is a deeper draft but with Vokoun in net Florida is a MUCH better team so it is a bit of a saw-off for Nashville. Vokoun is a legit top-10 goalie so Nashville had better hope that Mason's performance from last year wasn't a fluke. Bad trade for them imo. Great for Balsillie though.

As noted, Vokoun is a legit top-10 goalie. Florida needed a goalie. With the core of that team (Horton Bouwmeister, etc) a year older Florida will be MUCH improved next year. The team also gets to keep their top-10 pick THIS year. What a nice trade for them.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

NHL CBA - RFA Offer Sheets

This is an archive post to create a quick-reference on RFA (in this case: Group 2 Free Agents) Offer Sheet compensation requirements as negotiated in the CBA. This is not a comprehensive guide.

Used when a team (A) offers a contract to a player, who is a RFA with another team (B), and the player has accepted the contract. Team B has one of two options - they can match the contract and retain the player or they can accept draft pick compensation (per below).

RFA Offer Sheet* .......... Req. Compensation**


_,660,000 or less ......... none
_,660,000 - 1,000,000 ..... 3rd round pick
1,000,000 - 2,000,000 ..... 2nd round pick
2,000,000 - 3,000,000 ..... 1st and 3rd etc.
3,000,000 - 4,000,000 ..... 1st, 2nd and 3rd
4,000,000 - 5,000,000 ..... 1st x2, 2nd & 3rd
5,000,000 or more ......... 1st x4


_,773,442 or less ......... none
_,773,443 - 1,171,882 ..... 3rd round pick
1,171,882 - 2,343,764 ..... 2nd round pick
2,343,764 - 3,515,645 ..... 1st and 3rd etc.
3,515,645 - 4,687,527 ..... 1st, 2nd and 3rd
4,687,527 - 5,859,412 ..... 1st x2, 2nd & 3rd
5,859,412 or more ......... 1st x4

2008 (from NHLSCAP)

_,863,156 or less ......... none
_,863,157 - 1,307,811 ..... 3rd round pick
1,307,812 - 2,615,623 ..... 2nd round pick
2,615,624 - 3,923,434 ..... 1st and 3rd etc.
3,923,435 - 5,231,246 ..... 1st, 2nd and 3rd
5,231,247 - 6,539,061 ..... 1st x2, 2nd & 3rd
6,539,062 or more ......... 1st x4

* Amounts increase in lock-step with Average League salary
** Picks acquired from other teams cannot be used as compensation

In the 2006 off-season, Philadelphia (Team A) offered Ryan Kesler (the RFA) a one-year contract of $1.9 million. Vancouver (Team B) then had 7 days to match the offer. If Vancouver did not match the offer then they would have recieved a 2nd round pick from Philadelphia as compensation.

Note: Vancouver matched the offer and retained Kesler.


I hope this has been of assistance.

NHL CBA - Negotiated Pay Levels

This is an archive post to create a quick-reference on certain pay-levels for NHL prospects and players as negotiated in the CBA. This is not a comprehensive guide.

All in U.S. $ except where noted.

Draft or .... Max Pay .... Max Pay*.... Min Pay
Year ........ Rookie's ... Minor Lge .. Roster Player

2005(06) .... 850,000 .... 62,500 ..... 450,000
2006(07) .... 850,000 .... 62,500 ..... 450,000
2007(08) .... 875,000 .... 65,000 ..... 475,000
2008(09) .... 875,000 .... 65,000 ..... 475,000
2009(10) .... 900,000 .... 67,500 ..... 500,000
2010(11) .... 900,000 .... 67,500 ..... 500,000
2011(12) .... 925,000 .... 70,000 ..... 525,000
2012** ...... 925,000 .... 70,000

* Minor league (AHL) pay is in native currency
** NHLPA retains right to extend agreement to 2012

The Rookie pay numbers are inclusive of signing bonus and most other types of bonus. Not included is exceptional play performance bonus - this amount is set in the CBA and can substantially increase the overall compensation earned by players on entry level contracts.

Minimum Minor League pay is equal to the greater of $35,000 and that which the respective Minor League itself sets in place. i.e. if AHL minimum is $40,000 then minimum pay in that league is $40,000. All subject, of course, to the Max pay level noted above.

Maximum pay for a roster player is set at 20% of the agreed upon Salary Cap figure for the year in which the contract is negotiated. i.e. if the Cap for the year is $39 million then the most that player can make in any year of that contract is $7.8 million.

I hope this has been of assistance.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Live Blog Attempt

Just like it says.

Starting at approx. 5:00 nwt time (MST) I will start live blogging the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. From home at least.

Should be fun.


Have a great evening everyone. See you then maybe.

Friday, 15 June 2007

The 'Core' Of A Team

One of the keys to ANY successful team building strategy is having the RIGHT veterans in place. The'right' veterans are characterized by three characteristics:

1. They can still play the game

-- even if their role has changed (reduced time, fewer responsibilities, etc.) they can still play, in their new role, at a high level

2. They do not distort the salary structure of the team

-- they don't have to be paid minimum wage, some of them can even earn serious cash, what is important is that a role player isn't making far more than he should be

3. They have bought into the team concept and lead from that example

-- they either bleed the colors that they wear or they are true professionals and always give their best; either way they lead on the ice and in the dressing room


Think Jason Smith
1. Once he could play top-line pair without issue - almost regardless of line-mate. Now? Well, now he should only top-line if his line-mate is a legit #1 or #2 d-man - Smith just can't cover all their deficiencies anymore. He is STILL a great pairing partner for the 2nd-line however.

2. Given his age and playing status Smith should be making Staios type money. A retirement contract of 3.0 / 2.8 / 2.2 / 1.5 / 1.5 (taking him to age 38) has a Cap avg of $2.2 mill /yr and should work well. Much more and it gets tougher justify given his diminishing level of play.

3. He has been team captain for many years now. While those years have been good (2005/06) and bad (most seasons pre-2005/06 and 2006/07), HE has always been good. Played as well as he can. THAT is a valued commodity in the dressing room.

One could easily argue that if Ottawa had guys like Smith on defense and a guy like Smyth (Oh, how I miss thee) on the forward lines that they would have won a Cup by now. Guys who play the game with passion make poor teams competitive and good teams great. imo anyways.

ESTABLISHED team leaders under contract:




POTENTIAL team leaders under contract:


ON THE RADAR and on the roster:


They represent, currently, the core of the team.

Horcoff, Pisani, Moreau, Smith and Staios all bleed the blue and copper. Roloson is, at the very least, a true professional and Stoll is growing into leadership roles in every game he plays. Not a bad group to have as a veteran core at all.

Hemsky and Torres represent the wildcards in the group. If Torres ever gets his head together he would be one become one of the great LW's to don the uniform here and Hemsky is the kind of guy who could carry a team if he wanted to and it will be interesting to see if he ever really tries.

If Reasoner can get his game back, and he takes a bit of a pay-cut (say 700k) he could lead the team from the 4th line for a long time on this team. Thoreson fits the very definition of an energy role-player and has a great defensive game so in the same price range he is invaluable.

Greene is an interesting case. He plays hard and that is good. He plays with edge and that is good. The problem is - can he learn to play smart? Better positional play combined with fewer stupid penalties make this guy indispensable. A little more Jason Smith and a little less Sean Brown please.

I have always been a fan of Pouliot. Anyone who has ever read my HF posts would know that. In fact Parise was dropped (or 'not-picked') by the Oilers BECAUSE of Pouliot's game and penchant for playing hard no matter the circumstance.

Trading a 'core' player is always a risky move as they establish a team's identity for the fans, integrate the new players (rookie's or trade-ins) as they are acquired, set the tone for how the team plays the game on the ice, etc.

what, whAT, WHAT!?!

A fear has been identified in the Oilogosphere (Dennis and Lowetide among others). It is, quite simply, based on uncertainty ascribed to Kevin Lowe's mindset after the disaster that was last season.

What will he do?

Most fear he will spend too many assets, or the wrong assets, to try to acquire players (via trade) to try to 'fix' what was wrong.

Where giving up Horcoff to get Richards (Brad) is certainly debateable, giving up Horcoff, Pouliot, Gilbert and a high pick to get Richards crosses the line. The same could be said for any trade for Redden.

My fears are a little more focused. I don't want to lose too much of the core (above). Guys like Sykora and Tarnstrom have a lot of talent but no one ever built a team around them. Smyth on the other hand. Damn

Lose too many core-players and you aren't just rebuilding lines - you are rebuilding the team. Without the continuity a team falls apart. I don't want to be the next 'Phoenix' or the next 'Florida'. Or even the next Oilers (mid - late 90's).

THAT is the scary proposition.


Oddly enough I will be posting in the near future on a team rebuild strategy that DOES gut large parts of the team. I do believe however that doing poorly on purpose, as part of a strategy to get better long-term, is workable. i.e. you shouldn't see any double standards in play.


Have a great evening everyone.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

NHL Entry Draft (2007)

For archive purposes I am compiling and re-posting my NHL Entry Draft (2007) stuff here. Below are links to a review of the 1st round of the draft and then to a review of the picks the Oilers made in the draft:

NHL Entry Draft 2007 - First Round Review

NHL Entry Draft 2007 - Oiler Picks

For myself, Voracek is the real deal imo and I am on record as preferring that the Oilers:

-- trade up to get him OR
-- they trade down to secure more top-30 picks.

i.e. Using the 6th pick and a roster player to get the 9th, 24th and 26th out of St. Louis wouldn't be a bad way to go.

Without further ado...

Oiler Draft Picks (for use or trade)

01 -- __6
01 -- _15
01 -- _30
02 -- _36
03 -- ___ Traded to Minnesota (Roloson)
04 -- _96
05 -- 126
06 -- 156
07 -- ___ Traded to Buffalo (Hejda)

Remember to adjust for compensation picks.

Team Order - 1st Round

01.. Chicago ....... via Lottery
02.. Philadelphia
03.. Phoenix
04.. Los Angeles
05.. Washington
06.. Edmonton
07.. Columbus
08.. Boston
09.. St. Louis
10.. Florida
11.. Carolina
12.. Montreal
13.. Toronto
14.. Colorado
15.. Edmonton ....... via ... NY Islanders
16.. Anaheim ........ via ... Tampa Bay
17.. NY Rangers
18.. Calgary
19.. Minnesota
20.. Pittsburgh
21.. Phoenix ........ via ... Dallas
22.. Montreal ....... via ... San Jose
23.. Nashville
24.. St. Louis ...... via ... Atlanta
25.. Vancouver
26.. St. Louis ...... via ... New Jersey
27.. Detroit
28.. Washington ..... via ... Buffalo
29.. Ottawa
30.. Edmonton ....... via ... Anaheim

Top-15 Player Rankings (aggregated)

Below are the listings of the top-15 picks of each of the different, and independent, scouting bureau's. They are: McKeen's, ISS (International Scouting Service), Redline (Woodlief), The Hockey News and the CSB (Central Scouting Bureau).

Below that is an aggregated listing of those datasets after they have been fed through a scoring system. The scoring system simply reverses the order on the list (i.e. a player ranked #1 on the list scores 15 points while a player ranked #15 scores 1 point) and then adds ALL the points that player generates from the different lists.

Note that I counted the number of times a draftee made the top-10 of a list. This is to help add perspective. Prospect 'A' may have fewer points than prospect 'B' but if prospect 'A' shows up top-10 on all 5 lists then prospect 'A' may be seen as a safer pick to make.

The Scouts Recommend (Final Lists)

... McKeens ..... ISS ......... Redline* .... Hockey News . CSB**

1.. Kane ........ Kane ........ Kane ........ Kane ........ Turris
2.. Turris ...... vanReims. ... Voracek ..... vanRiems. ... Kane
3.. Voracek ..... Turris ...... Turris ...... Turris ..... *Cherep.
4.. Alzner ...... Cherep. ..... vanReims. ... Voracek ..... vanReim.
5.. vanReims. ... Voracek ..... Gagner ...... Cherepanov .. Ellerby
6.. Cherepanov .. Alzner ...... Couture ..... Gagner ..... *Backlund
7.. Shattenkirk . Gagner ...... Hamill ...... Couture ..... Alzner
8.. McDonagh .... Mayorov ..... Cherepanov .. Alzner ...... Gagner
9.. Gagner ...... Ellerby ..... Esposito .... Esposito ... *Eller
10. Couture ..... Backlund .... Moller ...... Sutter ...... Voracek
11. Sweatt ...... Esposito ... *Alzner ...... Ellerby ..... Esposito
12. Hamill ...... Gillies .... *Cole ........ Hamill ..... *Mayorov
13. Eller ....... Couture .... *McDonagh .... Gillies ..... Hamill
14. Ellerby ..... Petrecki ... *Katic ....... Mayorov ..... Perron
15. MacMillan ... Perron ..... *Petrecki .... Petrecki .... McDonagh

Graded Rankings

.......... Top-10 . Scoring
Kane ........ 5 ___ 15 + 15 + 15 + 15 + 14 = 74
Turris ...... 5 ___ 14 + 13 + 13 + 13 + 15 = 68
vanReimsdyk . 5 ___ 11 + 14 + 12 + 14 + 12 = 63
Voracek ..... 4 ___ 13 + 11 + 14 + 12 + 06 = 56
Cherepanov .. 4 ___ 10 + 12 + 08 + 11 + 12 = 53
Gagner ...... 5 ___ 07 + 09 + 11 + 10 + 08 = 45
Alzner ...... 4 ___ 12 + 10 + 05 + 08 + 09 = 44
Couture ..... 3 ___ 06 + 03 + 10 + 09 + 00 = 28
Ellerby ..... 2 ___ 02 + 07 + 00 + 05 + 11 = 25
Esposito .... 2 ___ 00 + 05 + 07 + 07 + 05 = 24
Hamill ...... 1 ___ 04 + 00 + 09 + 04 + 03 = 20
Backlund .... 2 ___ 00 + 06 + 00 + 00 + 10 = 16
Mayorov ..... 1 ___ 00 + 08 + 00 + 02 + 04 = 14
McDonagh .... 1 ___ 08 + 00 + 03 + 00 + 01 = 12
Eller ....... 1 ___ 03 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 07 = 10
Shattenkirk . 1 ___ 09 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 00 = 09
Gillies ..... 0 ___ 00 + 04 + 00 + 03 + 00 = 07
Sweatt ...... 0 ___ 05 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 00 = 05
Petrecki .... 0 ___ 00 + 02 + 01 + 01 + 00 = 04
Perron ...... 0 ___ 00 + 01 + 00 + 00 + 02 = 03

The big 3: Kane, Turris & vanReimsdyk
Next best thing: Voracek, Alzner, Cherepanov & Gagner
Could be Good: Couture, Ellerby & Esposito
Afterthoughts: Hamill, Backlund & everyone else

A Rule Of Thumb

When looking at the list I tend to apply an arbitrary rule of thumb: any draftee within 10 points of another draftee is at threat to be picked ahead or behind that draftee. This is to recognize, in part, the modestly random (to me) aspect of what teams prefer in their players. It is also a measure of reasonableness.

Eller has 10 pts - it would not be a big surprise to see him preferred over Backlund by any number of teams. It would also, however, be a surprise to see him picked ahead of Esposito or Couture.

Using that rule of thumb I can expect that:

-- Turris could go #1 and Voracek could overtake vanReimsdyk but not Turris or Kane
-- Cherepanov may overtake Voracek but Gagner will not
-- If anyone ranked below Gagner is chosen in the top-7 it SHOULD be a major surprise
-- If anyone ranked below Backlund is taken in the top-9, the team making that call probably just made a big mistake


* USAToday only publishes Redline's top-10 so I do not have an official top-15 list. Luckily for me they publish the Redline top-10 every month. The extra 5 players listed have shown up on more recent Redline listings at one point in time or another.

** CSS does not aggregate their European and North American lists. So I did it. Given the weakness of the Old World's offerings this year I started the highest CSS ranked Euro two spots behind and followed on from there.


Have a great evening everyone. New post tomorrow.