Saturday, 23 June 2012

Draft Thoughts

The NHL Entry Draft is done for another year. I have to say that there were some definite winners and losers this year at the Draft when it comes to my opinion of who selected whom and who was traded where. I looked at the Jordan Staal deal yesterday, but there are some definite highlights of the draft that I want to go over along with a few downturns for some teams. You're welcome to destroy my opinions in the comment section, but I'll try to give you the reasons as to why I said what I said.

  • PITTBURGH: Say what you want about the loss of Zbynek Michalek and Jordan Staal, but $15 million in cap space allows you flexibility to add pieces you may have been missing. Adding a tough, gritty, scoring third-line centerman in Brandon Sutter also eases that burden as well. I like that Pittsburgh began restocking their reserve of quality defencemen with their selections of Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta in the first-round of the NHL Entry Draft. Taking the underrated 6'4" Matthew Murray in the third-round could turn out to be an excellent move if the goaltender can make the transition to the professional ranks.
  • TORONTO: Toronto did very well by drafting two highly-rated defencemen with their first two picks in Morgan Rielly and Matthew Finn. The only thing that the Leafs have to do now is let them develop. I also like the idea acquiring James van Riemsdyk simply because he is a big kid who can bring a winning attitude to Toronto from Philadelphia. If Toronto is going younger, van Riemsdyk is a good leader in this new generation.
  • LOS ANGELES: When you're already the Stanley Cup champions, there aren't really a lot of pieces that can be added to make you better. The drafting of Tanner Pearson at the end of Round One was pure gold. Pearson is a pure goal-scorer and can play physically - something that all teams love. Pearson is probably a year or two away, but Kings fans will love this guy.
  • WASHINGTON: They drafted Filip Forsberg as he slid down the draft. They picked up a workhorse in Thomas Wilson five picks later. Oh, and they went and added Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars for next to nothing. In short, Washington added a ton of offensive skill and grit in three moves within the first-round of the NHL Entry Draft. Grabbing Riley Barber at 167th overall? That could be one of the greatest moves ever made by Washington.
  • CAROLINA: Not only did they add Jordan Staal to beef up their offence for this season, but the drafting of Phillip Di Giuseppe in Round Two and winger Erik Karlsson in Round Four should help the puck find the back of the net in future seasons.
  • COLUMBUS: If they're waiting for the right deal to come along for Rick Nash, it appeared that this weekend was the best time to move him. Although the free agency period could make teams desperate to want to add Nash, I'm thinking GM Scott Howson is asking way too much again. While drafting Ryan Murray is a great selection, drafting the top goaltender from Sweden in Round Two and then Finland in Round Three pretty much guarantees that one of those two will wear another team's colors in the future.
  • WINNIPEG: The Jets made a great selection in Jacob Trouba as the ninth-overall pick, but it became a little more troubling to see what the strategy of the Jets was when it came to the rest of their picks as they didn't really add anything significant in terms of scoring or size. Adding Jonas Gustavsson from the Maple Leafs for a conditional 2013 pick was also puzzling. If the rumors of Pavelec jumping to the KHL are true, are Winnipeg fans content to start the season with one of Gustavsson, Chris Mason, or Eddie Pasquale as their starting netminder? Why not take a shot at Cory Schneider?
  • NY ISLANDERS: Getting Griffin Reinhart is a huge pickup for a team short on punishing defencemen. Trading for Lubomir Visnovksy from the Ducks made it appear that the Islanders might actually try protecting their goaltender this season. That is, however, until it was announced by Visnovsky that he was thinking about playing in the KHL next season. I like that the Isles drafted seven defencemen to start building their team the right way, but they didn't draft any scoring or goaltender whatsoever. And none of their defencemen, acquired or drafted, will play in the NHL next season. These moves are four to five years from seeing fruition. There's no guarantee this team will even be on Long Island at that time.
  • SAN JOSE: I like Tomas Hertl, just not as much as I would have liked Teuvo Teravainen in San Jose. I get that teams occasionally will pick a player because he fits a need on that squad, and Hertl does give San Jose another big, scoring player down the middle. But if San Jose wants to change its fortunes, it should probably look at getting some additional scoring. Gritty play didn't do so well in San Jose this season. Hertl will do well in NoCal, but I think Teravainen would have been a better fit.
That's how I saw it, kids. Give me your thoughts on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft! What did you like? Who made the biggest splash? What pick surprised you the most? Any and all draft chatter will be answered! And, of course, you're welcome to fry me for my thoughts if you so desire!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Peter Santellan said...

Pittsburgh clearly helped themselves despite losing two key players. The Michalek trade opens the door for either Simon Despres or Joe Morrow, or they could go after a big name free agent. I get the feeling Zach Parise will get a harder look than Ryan Suter, seeing as the Penguins have a lot of depth. When it comes to Columbus, they need help everywhere, and that includes depth in goal. When you go through Steve Mason, Curtis Sanford, and Allen York, you know you need help. However, I get the feeling Rick Nash will remain a Blue Jacket because unless Howson reduces his demands a little, the trade isn't going to happen. More and more, it looks like the Islanders are becoming the place no one wants to go to, particularly when you think of Visnovsky thinking about the KHL and Nabokov refusing to report to the Isles a couple of years back.

Anonymous said...

1.Visnovksy is now telling the NY press he will play for the isles next season.

2.Isles have top goalie prospects Poulin and Nilson developing well in the AHL.Koskinen is playing in Finland.

3.Isles have scoring prospects Kabanov,Nelson,Niederriter headed to the AHL.

4.Isles expect defensemen De Haan,
Donovan and Ness to take 1 or 2 nhl spots next season.

Anonymous said...

Read a few scouting reports.
Scouts are saying Reinhart will be in the nhl,in 1-2 yrs.

When he was drafted,the drafts announcers said he was close to nhl ready.

Teebz said...

@Anonymous #1 - Visnovsky's change of heart is great, but he'll play where he's paid the most money. Guaranteed.

Poulin, Nilson, and Koskinen are nowhere near NHL ready if the Islanders want to finish outside of the Atlantic division cellar.

Kabanov, Nelson, and Niederreiter are nowhere close to being productive contributors at the NHL level. They'll need at least a year or two in the AHL for sure.

De Haan, Donovan, and Ness can certainly try to make the team, and I hope they do. Just don't expect them to be game-breakers.

Teebz said...

@Anonymous #2 - Reinhart is close, but so was Chris Pronger if you believed the critics when he joined Hartford. It takes, on average, defencemen 3-5 years to fully develop at the professional level in the AHL, and another 1-2 at the NHL level. Rushing Reinhart to the Island will be similar to what they did to Chara and Hamonic. None were ready to step in immediately, and a couple of years of seasoning certainly would have helped them.

Anonymous said...

Teebz,Isles scout Trent Klatt is an ex-teammate of Vis.You can bet Snow and Klatt have been playing phone tag with Vis,selling him on a season in LI.Imo Vis will be playing on LI next season and enjoy like Nabokov did this season.

Chris Botta reported today that the Isles and Ducks have been in talks about Bobby Ryan.The isles are losing Parenteau and have his salary to put towards Ryan's salary.

Poulin and Nilson both had strong 2011-2012 AHL seasons,leading Bridgeport to the Division crown.Snow has indicated he expects one of them to challenge for the #2 goalie spot.

Isles are not counting in the 19-22 yr olds Kabanov, Nelson, and Niederreiter to contribute next season.I pointed out they were the NYI top forward prospects because the writer seem to think the isles,had no top forward prospects.Questioning why they took no forwards in this yr's draft.

With Streit,Vis,Hamonic and MacDonald,the isles aren't asking rookies De Haan, Donovan, or Ness to be game-breakers.
Snow says he expects 1 of them to be on the Isles roster.That one will be getting 3rd paring minutes.
The other two will be getting a lot of icetime in the AHL.

Anonymous said...

Teeba, nhl scouts were saying Reinhart was 1-2 yrs away BEFORE the draft.

No one is rushing Reinhart into the NHL by saying he'll be on the isles roster in 2013-2014 or 2014-2015.

That ETA is from different scouting reports.

Anonymous said...

Teebz,you clearly don't watch the NYI play.

Your statement that Chara,a 3rd rounder and Hamonic,a 2nd rounder,were disappointments or struggled show that.

22 yr old Hamonic is developing very well,playing over 22 mins a game.
Maybe ya should comment on teams you actually watch.

Peter Santellan said...

What did you think of Calgary's draft? I thought they reached on their first pick...even after trading down to acquire an additional pick. I get the feeling that it will turn into a bust pick like so many others in the last 20 years or so for the Flames.

Teebz said...

Visnovsky, like Nabokov, may sign, but there's still no guarantee. If St. Petersburg offers $4 mil/season tax-free, would the Isles give him that? Would he take less to play there? That's a difficult question to answer.

I hope the Islanders can get Ryan. Tavares' and Moulson's numbers will certainly benefit from his addition.

I agree that Poulin or Nilson could be a backup, but you have Nabokov, and there's that 15-year contract that's still lurking. Keeping them in Bridgeport isn't a bad thing. Look at Cory Schneider.

De Haan can certainly play 10 minutes a night, but why not put him in Bridgeport where he can play 20? Give him NHL minutes in the AHL, and let him become a premier defender. Ditto for Donovan and Ness. If the Isles are building for the future, why rush it?

Teebz said...

I agree that Reinhart might be 1-2 years away, and that's a good timetable. He's an above-average player, so I expect his development to be ahead of schedule. But there is still a large gap between the AHL and the NHL, so he should be eased into the pro game at the NHL level. Let him develop into a premier defenceman the right way by not rushing him up the ranks.

As for the last "Anonymous" comment, if you thought Chara was developing nicely on the Island, I'm not sure what team you were following in the mid-1990s. He was lost at best. 11 and 9 points in two seasons, and he was a -27 in both seasons. He was the biggest pylon on the ice. He moves to Ottawa, and he scores 23 points and was a +30 in his first season with the Senators.

Hamonic is coming along, but his play is still spotty at best. I don't expect him to be a Norris candidate immediately, but he could have used another season in the AHL. 26 and 24 points in two seasons is nice, and he's been a plus player as well. That's great! He's certainly coming along, but I think he could have done more time in Bridegport and been further ahead. 7 points in 19 games seems to indicate that.

I have can't speak for the Islanders at all, but rushing all of this good young talent to the big league isn't always the best idea.

Teebz said...

@ Pete - I thought Calgary did well, but it won't change their standing for at least a couple of seasons. They certainly made a good move in moving down the draft while focusing on Jankowski, but Calgary needs to start building talent now.

They just don't have the roster right now to win, so they need to start stocking the cupboards while they have that luxury.

Anonymous said...


Isles have seen several players reluctantly join the team,only to see them come to enjoy it and push to remain when their contracts ended.We'll see on Vis.I'm more concerned with whether he can bounce back offensively in 2012-2013,how much an impact he'll have on the Isles pp.

Moulson's coming off a career high 36 goals and Tavares a career high 81 pts.I am not worried about who's on their line.Tavares can put up points next to anybody.

Botta tweeted that Nabokov will be the #1,either Poulin or Nilson the #2 and RD the #3.Isles realize DiPietro can't stay healthy.

Isles are in a youth movement.They are building with their kids.De Haan,Donovan and Ness were eached briefly called up to the Isles from the AHL,when injuries hit this season.Each played well.Isles will have one play sheltered 3rd pairing mins ,be mentored by Streit and Vis,two vets who's contracts end in 2013.

Anonymous said...


How can you predict Reinhart will not be eased into the roster?In 1-2more yrs,Hamonic,MacDonald De Haan and Donovan,the isles best young blueliners between their nhl and ahl teams,should all be nhlers,their development ahead of Reinhart's.

The summer the isles traded the 6' 9" Chara,he was about 22 and other teams were starting to take notice of his development.He was improving his skating.The trade deadline before he was dealt,the Flyers tried to trade for him.Isles knew he had high potential and he was a key trade chip.

22 yr old Hamonic is the isles best defenseman,so we have another disagreement.Next to Tavares,he is the the NYI best young player.

Do you actually watch the isles play?

Teebz said...

First Anon - I hear you. The youth movement is an excellent idea, but I'm still in the belief that allowing the younger players to flourish in Bridgeport is a good idea. I'm excited for the the future of the Islanders, especially if everyone starts hitting their potential at the same time.

Teebz said...

Second Anon - you talk like you're Garth Snow. Easing him into the lineup in 1-2 years is a good timetable, but he could be playing with the Isles this season. Good for him if he does, but I think defencemen should be left in the minors longer.

Detroit seems to have the same idea. They let their players mature in Grand Rapids, and they get great return. Lidstrom, the standard for defencemen today, played three seasons in Sweden before jumping to the NHL. He didn't come out of Sweden as "the next one", but as a solid defenceman. From there, he got better as an NHL defenceman, but he never looked like he was overwhelmed.

Chara is a perfect example of a big kid needing extra time to develop. He was drafted in 1996, and was moved in 2001 to Ottawa. He was just starting to hit his stride five years after playing the pro game. 3-5 years? Fits like a glove.

Chris Pronger broke into the league in 1993, and didn't become the solid defenceman we know him as until 1997. 3-5 years? Once again, it fits.

Go back to the Isles' dynasty years. They allowed the kids to grow together. Bossy, Trottier, Potvin, Smith, and Morrow were vital cogs who grew together, and they added a couple of veteran pieces. That's how to build good hockey teams, and history continues to show that the great NHL teams have all followed this method (albeit with different ranges of success). NYI, Calgary, Edmonton, New Jersey, Detroit, and Colorado all followed this method quite well during they heydays. Los Angeles is doing the same thing right now.

As for Hamonic being the best Isles defenceman? That's an opinion, and I welcome it. Statistically, I'd agree with you, but I watched him with Brandon when he dominated the WHL. He needs to regain that same confidence and control the game. Does he have it in him? Absolutely. He just needs to find a way to bring it out.

And as for watching the Isles, I try to catch as many games as possible. I like the team. I own a Kasparaitis Fisherman and a traditional Satan jersey. But we don't get MSG in my neck of the woods, and it isn't offered. Therefore, I can only catch games that are on the NHL Network, TSN, CBC, or the Jets TSN feed. I maybe see 10-12 Islanders games per year because of my Canadian limitations.

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