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2008 NHL Entry Draft

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2008 NHL Entry Draft

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:11 pm

Tonight, at 7 p.m. on Versus is the NHL Entry Draft. A bunch of kids not even old enough to drink in Canada or the U.S. become NHL property tonight.

I hope to be around to update this and will be giving Rich a piece tomorrow on a recap. Hopefully, the Jackets (and my Sabres) will give us all something to talk about looking ahead to the July 1 Free Agent signing period beginning.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:20 pm

Well, I'll post this through the tumbleweeds of the forum.

With the 6th overall pick, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Russian Nikita Filatov.

Luke Schenn, the franchise defenseman I really wanted, got taken by the Maple Leafs who traded two picks to move up from 7 to 5. Clearly, the Islanders wanted Michael Boeddker, and knew that Columbus had no interest in taking him. Schenn was going to go 6 to Columbus, and it's a shame that he couldn't. He's a bruising physical specimen, basically NHL-ready on defense.

Meanwhile, Filatov, who has spoken English since he was 5, is a smaller version of a Nikolai Zherdev. Filatov possesses more leadership skills (he was captain of his WJC team this past year), and more of a desire to play in North American.

Also, he's very small, about 5'10" 175, and not NHL ready physically. It's probable that he'll be a top 2 pick in the CHL Import Draft next week, and then get used to the North American game there.


With the 19th pick, Columbus has traded it for former Buckeye R.J. Umberger. Umberger's claim to fame is getting massacred by Brian Campbell in the first round of the 2007 NHL Playoffs. They also dealt their 3rd round pick and got a 4th rounder back in the deal.

Umberger is not a top line center, so that is still a glaring need for Columbus going forward. It is possible that Filatov makes Zherdev expendable in a Marleau deal later on tonight, but that is highly unlikely.

I'll have a more in-depth piece on the Blue Jackets draft tomorrow, and the draft as a whole, along with the offseason.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:46 pm

Skating Tripods wrote:Well, I'll post this through the tumbleweeds of the forum.

With the 6th overall pick, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Russian Nikita Filatov.

Luke Schenn, the franchise defenseman I really wanted, got taken by the Maple Leafs who traded two picks to move up from 7 to 5. Clearly, the Islanders wanted Michael Boeddker, and knew that Columbus had no interest in taking him. Schenn was going to go 6 to Columbus, and it's a shame that he couldn't. He's a bruising physical specimen, basically NHL-ready on defense.

Meanwhile, Filatov, who has spoken English since he was 5, is a smaller version of a Nikolai Zherdev. Filatov possesses more leadership skills (he was captain of his WJC team this past year), and more of a desire to play in North American.

Also, he's very small, about 5'10" 175, and not NHL ready physically. It's probable that he'll be a top 2 pick in the CHL Import Draft next week, and then get used to the North American game there.


With the 19th pick, Columbus has traded it for former Buckeye R.J. Umberger. Umberger's claim to fame is getting massacred by Brian Campbell in the first round of the 2007 NHL Playoffs. They also dealt their 3rd round pick and got a 4th rounder back in the deal.

Umberger is not a top line center, so that is still a glaring need for Columbus going forward. It is possible that Filatov makes Zherdev expendable in a Marleau deal later on tonight, but that is highly unlikely.

I'll have a more in-depth piece on the Blue Jackets draft tomorrow, and the draft as a whole, along with the offseason.


Should have looked here first. Already commented on the Umberger trade.

ST, to be honest, if he is paired off with Nash on the first line, I think he'll be more of a contributor than you might think. He could be flat out nasty when paired with Lupul in Philly and I think Nash will have the same effect on him.

The Great One beat Howson to the punch on Jokinen.

Calgary picking up Cammalleri should improve an already steady attack from the Flames. He immediately becomes the 2nd line C. A great pickup for the Flames, despite having some injuries last season.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:52 pm

buckeyehoppy wrote:Should have looked here first. Already commented on the Umberger trade.

ST, to be honest, if he is paired off with Nash on the first line, I think he'll be more of a contributor than you might think. He could be flat out nasty when paired with Lupul in Philly and I think Nash will have the same effect on him.

The Great One beat Howson to the punch on Jokinen.

Calgary picking up Cammalleri should improve an already steady attack from the Flames. He immediately becomes the 2nd line C. A great pickup for the Flames, despite having some injuries last season.


Umberger can't play on the top line. He'll get absolutely shut down by the top pairings in the conference. The West is an animal of a different kind than the East. The East has the reputation of being rougher and a muck-and-grind conference, but the West is right there.

The problem I have with Phoenix getting Jokinen is that he was a steal. I will readily admit that Columbus did not have a Keith Ballard that they'd be willing to move. However, they have a high 2nd, much like Phoenix, and Tollefson is on par with Boynton. Columbus could have put the #19 with Tollefson and their 2nd or 3rd and gotten Jokinen. Ballard was a high pick, but has already been dealt twice (once by Buffalo in a Reinprecht/Drury deal). It makes me wonder what Howson offered.

Once again, they lack a true #1 centerman. Marleau has not moved, but the longer this goes, the less likely that he moves. Columbus is still lacking a franchise defenseman. Schenn would have been that guy.

I'll admit, Filatov has lots and lots of talent. His saving grace may be the fact that he was captain of his Russian WJC team. That, hopefully, personifies his desire to play the game and he won't take nights off like Zherdev. But, if I had my choice between Schenn and Filatov, it's a no brainer.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:13 pm

Skating Tripods wrote:
buckeyehoppy wrote:Should have looked here first. Already commented on the Umberger trade.

ST, to be honest, if he is paired off with Nash on the first line, I think he'll be more of a contributor than you might think. He could be flat out nasty when paired with Lupul in Philly and I think Nash will have the same effect on him.

The Great One beat Howson to the punch on Jokinen.

Calgary picking up Cammalleri should improve an already steady attack from the Flames. He immediately becomes the 2nd line C. A great pickup for the Flames, despite having some injuries last season.


Umberger can't play on the top line. He'll get absolutely shut down by the top pairings in the conference. The West is an animal of a different kind than the East. The East has the reputation of being rougher and a muck-and-grind conference, but the West is right there.

The problem I have with Phoenix getting Jokinen is that he was a steal. I will readily admit that Columbus did not have a Keith Ballard that they'd be willing to move. However, they have a high 2nd, much like Phoenix, and Tollefson is on par with Boynton. Columbus could have put the #19 with Tollefson and their 2nd or 3rd and gotten Jokinen. Ballard was a high pick, but has already been dealt twice (once by Buffalo in a Reinprecht/Drury deal). It makes me wonder what Howson offered.

Once again, they lack a true #1 centerman. Marleau has not moved, but the longer this goes, the less likely that he moves. Columbus is still lacking a franchise defenseman. Schenn would have been that guy.

I'll admit, Filatov has lots and lots of talent. His saving grace may be the fact that he was captain of his Russian WJC team. That, hopefully, personifies his desire to play the game and he won't take nights off like Zherdev. But, if I had my choice between Schenn and Filatov, it's a no brainer.


With Jokinen's move to the desert, delaying a move for Marleau becomes more and more costly.

Perhaps Hitch has a thing for Umberger where he believed he could pair him off with Nash. Chemistry is a tricky thing to predict. I'm willing to see how it plays out.

If Howson somehow has a trick up his sleeve for Marleau, then that changes a lot for the Jackets. But Howson can't be afraid to pull the trigger. It's almost like he is taking GM lessons from Mark Shapiro.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:06 pm

Also of note, ST, is that Buffalo picked up Schenn's blue line mate from Kelowna, Tyler Myers.

That's a very good move for them. Myers has Chara dimensions, but we'll see how he does with the Sabres. From all I get, though, Myers has loads of upside.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:12 pm

Another thought, ST...does this make Columbus the clubhouse leader in pursuit of Brian Campbell in FA? I would guess the answer is yes.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:39 am

buckeyehoppy wrote:Also of note, ST, is that Buffalo picked up Schenn's blue line mate from Kelowna, Tyler Myers.

That's a very good move for them. Myers has Chara dimensions, but we'll see how he does with the Sabres. From all I get, though, Myers has loads of upside.


I think Myers is a stud or a bust. Many big defensemen are susceptible to speedy forwards on the outside because their pivots are slow. They say that he needs to work on his foot speed, and that's of no shock to me. His agility will probably be a question. I think he was a bit too much of a reach for a team that needs to get younger on the blue line. They should have gone with a pick like Teubert, a kid who is more well-rounded.

Then too, Myers could be the next Pronger/Chara. He has the heavy shot already and the size that cannot be taught. If he can make the adjustments to play a better transition game while skating backwards and play effective physically, as the knock on him is that he is not a physical player, he should be able to succeed as a top 4.

Word is that he is extremely skilled with the stick. That's huge, assuming that he doesn't become a defenseman known for taking bad penalties under the circles.

He definitely has upside, but at only 205 pounds in that 6'7" frame, he's got a lot of building to do. He's a project, similar to the Boris Valabik pick by the Thrashers. Valabik's been a bit of a bust so far, not playing any NHL games after being drafted in '04 at 10 overall.

As the Sabres are my favorite team, I'm hoping he's more of a Chara than he is a Valabik. I still would have liked to see them take Teubert, not to mention that LA was probably taking him all along and trading the 3rd rounder to move up was completely unnecessary.

You have to wonder how good Schenn made Myers look too. Schenn's a franchise defenseman and Howson made a big gaffe letting Toronto move ahead of him to take him. Filatov may be sound, but I firmly believe Schenn will be a Norris Trophy candidate one day.


Another thought, ST...does this make Columbus the clubhouse leader in pursuit of Brian Campbell in FA? I would guess the answer is yes.


One of Redden or Campbell is absolutely necessary for this team to contend. As is getting a top flight center, or at least a center comparable to Umberger so one of them can, hopefully, overachieve.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:40 am

Skating Tripods wrote:
buckeyehoppy wrote:Also of note, ST, is that Buffalo picked up Schenn's blue line mate from Kelowna, Tyler Myers.

That's a very good move for them. Myers has Chara dimensions, but we'll see how he does with the Sabres. From all I get, though, Myers has loads of upside.


I think Myers is a stud or a bust. Many big defensemen are susceptible to speedy forwards on the outside because their pivots are slow. They say that he needs to work on his foot speed, and that's of no shock to me. His agility will probably be a question. I think he was a bit too much of a reach for a team that needs to get younger on the blue line. They should have gone with a pick like Teubert, a kid who is more well-rounded.

Then too, Myers could be the next Pronger/Chara. He has the heavy shot already and the size that cannot be taught. If he can make the adjustments to play a better transition game while skating backwards and play effective physically, as the knock on him is that he is not a physical player, he should be able to succeed as a top 4.

Word is that he is extremely skilled with the stick. That's huge, assuming that he doesn't become a defenseman known for taking bad penalties under the circles.

He definitely has upside, but at only 205 pounds in that 6'7" frame, he's got a lot of building to do. He's a project, similar to the Boris Valabik pick by the Thrashers. Valabik's been a bit of a bust so far, not playing any NHL games after being drafted in '04 at 10 overall.

As the Sabres are my favorite team, I'm hoping he's more of a Chara than he is a Valabik. I still would have liked to see them take Teubert, not to mention that LA was probably taking him all along and trading the 3rd rounder to move up was completely unnecessary.

You have to wonder how good Schenn made Myers look too. Schenn's a franchise defenseman and Howson made a big gaffe letting Toronto move ahead of him to take him. Filatov may be sound, but I firmly believe Schenn will be a Norris Trophy candidate one day.


Another thought, ST...does this make Columbus the clubhouse leader in pursuit of Brian Campbell in FA? I would guess the answer is yes.


One of Redden or Campbell is absolutely necessary for this team to contend. As is getting a top flight center, or at least a center comparable to Umberger so one of them can, hopefully, overachieve.


Myers, for the most part, is still a boy growing into a man's body. I saw the same measurables at 6'7"/205#. Damn...what a toothpick. Still, as someone who follows the Sabres among other teams, I like his upside. It is a reach to take him as high as they did, but the Sabres could have a find if Myers pans out.

I'm pretty sure Howson didn't do all he could to grab Schenn. And to lose him to the perpetually mediocre Leafs didn't earn him much respect in league circles, to be sure.

The Jackets, almost assuredly, will be spending large jack in FA. I think Campbell would be a definite upgrade over Foote, as would Redden. But I have seen more of Campbell and could imagine him doing great things in Columbus.

A final note on Umberger would be that I prefer to think that Hitch has the same chance to do with him what he has apparently done with Hejda. As with Umberger, I saw a little more with Hejda than you have. But Hejda is a pretty good fit with Hitch's system, by and large.

Getting a first line C still seems like a necessity even after getting Umberger. But I'm sure that Umberger, at worst, will be a pretty solid anchor for a second line. If Hitch can get him to work solidly with Nash, more power to him.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:12 pm

buckeyehoppy wrote:Myers, for the most part, is still a boy growing into a man's body. I saw the same measurables at 6'7"/205#. Damn...what a toothpick. Still, as someone who follows the Sabres among other teams, I like his upside. It is a reach to take him as high as they did, but the Sabres could have a find if Myers pans out.


I'm aware of that. I realize that he has a lot of growing to do. However, being 6'7" and playing like you are 5'10" doesn't impress me. I've seen scouting videos on the kid and he shies away from the physical game. If I were 6'7" and any weight, I would hit any and everything. Like I said, I still would have liked Teubert. Myers looks like a rebuilding pick. And if they're going into rebuilding, that means Miller goes and the reins get handed to Enroth. That's a risk.

I'm pretty sure Howson didn't do all he could to grab Schenn. And to lose him to the perpetually mediocre Leafs didn't earn him much respect in league circles, to be sure.

The Jackets, almost assuredly, will be spending large jack in FA. I think Campbell would be a definite upgrade over Foote, as would Redden. But I have seen more of Campbell and could imagine him doing great things in Columbus.


I'm not sure where the Jackets are going to get a ton of money to spend on FA. Obviously, they have the cap room. But as a small/mid market team, funds aren't easy to find. Hopefully Ted Ruth continues to develop and they could, hypothetically, have a D of:

Campbell/Klesla-Klesla/Redden
Tollefson-Russell
Hejda-Ruth

within the next 3-4 years.

For what it's worth, Columbus took Cody Goloubef, a defenseman out of Wisconsin, with their 2nd round selection. I've seen him projected as a first round talent, as well as about where he was taken. This is a pick I absolutely love. CBJ traded their 4th rounder to move down and took Steven Delisle, another defenseman, from the Quebec Major Junior League. He's 6'6" 209, so he must really be a project. They picked up another 4th from the Flyers and took Drew Olson (5'11" 215) from Brainerd HS in Minnesota.

With three 5th round selections, the Jackets took LW Matthew Calvert from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL; Tomas Kubalik a RW from the Czech Republic, and Brent Regner, another D, from Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

They have their regular picks in the 6th and 7th round barring any deals.

A final note on Umberger would be that I prefer to think that Hitch has the same chance to do with him what he has apparently done with Hejda. As with Umberger, I saw a little more with Hejda than you have. But Hejda is a pretty good fit with Hitch's system, by and large.

Getting a first line C still seems like a necessity even after getting Umberger. But I'm sure that Umberger, at worst, will be a pretty solid anchor for a second line. If Hitch can get him to work solidly with Nash, more power to him.


Umberger shouldn't see first line minutes, but he probably will. The only real top C out there in FA are Pavol Demitra (who has primarily played at RW and been hurt) and Martin Straka, but I'm wary on Straka.

I'm not sure that I can foresee any chemistry with Nash for Umberger. He's a decent distributor of the puck, but what Rick Nash really needs is a Ron Francis type player. Obviously not to his caliber, but a guy with laser like accuracy passing the puck.

Umberger is a Hitchcock type player in that he won't take any shifts off. But, his talent ceiling is that of a second-line C. I firmly believe that.

This is another reason why the Filatov pick bothers me. If he was a C that could play a good two way game with tremendous speed and good passing, then sure. He has the finishing ability, but Columbus needs distributors. He is not one.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:13 pm

And as I post that, the Jackets take RW Cameron Atkinson from Avon Old Farms HS in Connecticut.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sat Jun 21, 2008 2:58 pm

With the Jackets final pick, they take C Sean Collins from the MJHL.

In terms of Ohioans, none of the 211 players taken in the draft were born in Ohio. Three, however, have Ohio connections.

Defenseman Greg Pateryn, originally from Sterling Hts., MI, was taken in the 5th round 128th overall from the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Another Jr. Blue Jackets defenseman, Luke Witkowski, originally from Holland, MI, was taken in the 6th round 160th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Later in the 6th round, at 177th overall, C Tommy Wingels out of the U of Miami OH was taken by the San Jose Sharks.

For what it's worth, the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets were a .500 team and Pateryn and Witkowski combined for 40 points and a -11 rating.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:44 pm

Skating Tripods wrote:...being 6'7" and playing like you are 5'10" doesn't impress me. I've seen scouting videos on the kid and he shies away from the physical game. If I were 6'7" and any weight, I would hit any and everything. Like I said, I still would have liked Teubert. Myers looks like a rebuilding pick. And if they're going into rebuilding, that means Miller goes and the reins get handed to Enroth. That's a risk.


That's part of what makes Chara such a stud. He has the size and uses it to his advantage. How well Myers can learn his style of play and work to gain 20# or so will tell the story with him.

I did say he was a reach at #12, so the Sabres taking him as a presumed project player suggests they are already in a rebuild.

Miller would be useful to several teams. But he can't do it on his own. He needs a brutal blue line in front of him to clear the crease. He had that for a while the past few seasons in Buffalo, but started losing pieces this year.

I think the Sabres will be one of those teams that will perpetually be on the periphery unless they can assemble a FO like the Braves or the Athletics did in baseball and just build from within the system
and be prudent in the trading of prospects. That takes a lot of work, but, obviously, it can be done. More and more, it will have to be done in places like Buffalo and Columbus where the big time money and fan base is typically inconsistent.

That's why Myers seems like a riskier proposition than the Sabres can really afford.

Skating Tripods wrote:I'm not sure where the Jackets are going to get a ton of money to spend on FA. Obviously, they have the cap room. But as a small/mid market team, funds aren't easy to find. Hopefully Ted Ruth continues to develop and they could, hypothetically, have a D of:

Campbell/Klesla-Klesla/Redden
Tollefson-Russell
Hejda-Ruth

within the next 3-4 years.

For what it's worth, Columbus took Cody Goloubef, a defenseman out of Wisconsin, with their 2nd round selection. I've seen him projected as a first round talent, as well as about where he was taken. This is a pick I absolutely love. CBJ traded their 4th rounder to move down and took Steven Delisle, another defenseman, from the Quebec Major Junior League. He's 6'6" 209, so he must really be a project. They picked up another 4th from the Flyers and took Drew Olson (5'11" 215) from Brainerd HS in Minnesota.

With three 5th round selections, the Jackets took LW Matthew Calvert from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL; Tomas Kubalik a RW from the Czech Republic, and Brent Regner, another D, from Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

They have their regular picks in the 6th and 7th round barring any deals.


Would you think that Goloubef will crack the line-up before Filatov under the circumstances?

Filatov is young and might be NHL-ready. But Goloubef played at Wisconsin and they're in a league which does a pretty good job of sending guys to the NHL with a good, basic skill set that mirrors lots of NHL style programs.

I like Wisconsin's style of play. Here's hoping the Jackets can get a little lightning in a bottle with this kid because they need to start getting some blue liners who can lay down the law in the crease.

Skating Tripods wrote:Umberger shouldn't see first line minutes, but he probably will. The only real top C out there in FA are Pavol Demitra (who has primarily played at RW and been hurt) and Martin Straka, but I'm wary on Straka.

I'm not sure that I can foresee any chemistry with Nash for Umberger. He's a decent distributor of the puck, but what Rick Nash really needs is a Ron Francis type player. Obviously not to his caliber, but a guy with laser like accuracy passing the puck.

Umberger is a Hitchcock type player in that he won't take any shifts off. But, his talent ceiling is that of a second-line C. I firmly believe that.

This is another reason why the Filatov pick bothers me. If he was a C that could play a good two way game with tremendous speed and good passing, then sure. He has the finishing ability, but Columbus needs distributors. He is not one.


Straka is a guy I've always liked. But he's getting up there and really hasn't fulfilled all the promise that he could have.

It doesn't mean that either he or Demitra couldn't spur Nash to greater achievement. I think either one could, but neither one is an ideal player that you would think of to pair off with a perennial all-star.

But there is always a degree of luck that goes into a successful campaign. Straka has always been a steady, if not spectacular, player. That might be who Nash needs to be paired off with at this stage of his career.

Ron Francis was always steady but not spectacular. But he found an additional gear later in his career and became more than just a serviceable player.

Perhaps Straka or Demitra could become that kind of player and the way the league is, the chemistry is typically a crap shoot.

Howson might just have to bite the bullet. He couldn't get the Jokinen deal done, so now he has limited options. Howson will have to deal with that fact through FA.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:34 pm

buckeyehoppy wrote:That's part of what makes Chara such a stud. He has the size and uses it to his advantage. How well Myers can learn his style of play and work to gain 20# or so will tell the story with him.

I did say he was a reach at #12, so the Sabres taking him as a presumed project player suggests they are already in a rebuild.

Miller would be useful to several teams. But he can't do it on his own. He needs a brutal blue line in front of him to clear the crease. He had that for a while the past few seasons in Buffalo, but started losing pieces this year.

I think the Sabres will be one of those teams that will perpetually be on the periphery unless they can assemble a FO like the Braves or the Athletics did in baseball and just build from within the system
and be prudent in the trading of prospects. That takes a lot of work, but, obviously, it can be done. More and more, it will have to be done in places like Buffalo and Columbus where the big time money and fan base is typically inconsistent.

That's why Myers seems like a riskier proposition than the Sabres can really afford.


I agree with you. When the Sabres made their deep run, one of the key cogs on that blueline was Jay McKee, who led the league in blocked shots. His play wore off on everybody else and guys like Lydman and Tallinder played stellar right alongside.

Now, with guys like Paetsch getting playing time, and the heart condition of Numminen, it's just not the same team.

Many people hypothesize Miller going back to Detroit, as he grew up in the state and broke every goaltending record at Michigan State. If he wants to go to Detroit, a great place for Buffalo to start would be getting Jonathan Ericsson. He's going to be a top 4 in the league for a long time.

In the faster, quicker NHL, Myers will have to be sound positionally. If he's not going to have the foot speed, he'll have to compensate by outsmarting rushing forwards.


Would you think that Goloubef will crack the line-up before Filatov under the circumstances?

Filatov is young and might be NHL-ready. But Goloubef played at Wisconsin and they're in a league which does a pretty good job of sending guys to the NHL with a good, basic skill set that mirrors lots of NHL style programs.

I like Wisconsin's style of play. Here's hoping the Jackets can get a little lightning in a bottle with this kid because they need to start getting some blue liners who can lay down the law in the crease.


I go a little more in depth on Goloubef in my draft recap which will run tonight or tomorrow.

Simply put to answer your question, no. I feel that forwards need much less seasoning than defensemen. Filatov's a liability in his own zone right now, as are most Russians and most offensively gifted draft picks. He wasn't drafted for defensively responsible play. He was taken to put the puck in the net and create offense. That translates faster to the NHL than defensemen like Goloubef do.

Now saying that, I think Goloubef could be a better NHL player. Surely, comparisons will be hard to make as they play two different styles of game. Goloubef won't be rushed the way Filatov could be because he's already playing collegiately, which is better than playing in the minors. He's at a tremendous hockey program that has had quite a few defensemen drafted in the top two rounds recently.

As I write in my piece, Goloubef won't be a banger and his offense will come. All reports peg him as a fantastic skater with very advanced awareness for his age. You can never have enough responsible defensemen.

Straka is a guy I've always liked. But he's getting up there and really hasn't fulfilled all the promise that he could have.

It doesn't mean that either he or Demitra couldn't spur Nash to greater achievement. I think either one could, but neither one is an ideal player that you would think of to pair off with a perennial all-star.

But there is always a degree of luck that goes into a successful campaign. Straka has always been a steady, if not spectacular, player. That might be who Nash needs to be paired off with at this stage of his career.

Ron Francis was always steady but not spectacular. But he found an additional gear later in his career and became more than just a serviceable player.

Perhaps Straka or Demitra could become that kind of player and the way the league is, the chemistry is typically a crap shoot.

Howson might just have to bite the bullet. He couldn't get the Jokinen deal done, so now he has limited options. Howson will have to deal with that fact through FA.


Rick Nash needs somebody that he can continue to learn from, while passing him the puck. Doug Weight is available, granted, he's not a first line centerman anymore either.

I still think the best bet is to make a trade for Patrick Marleau, but I can't imagine that happening. I think Howson's going to improve the defense and hope that he gets enough offense to compete. I see him adding a bottom four defenseman to play with Russell so he can be more creative, while not worrying about his partner. I still think Redden or Campbell is a must for this team to compete.

By the same token, I have no idea what their plans are for Derick Brassard this season. They had a very hard time cutting him and Jakub Voracek in training camp last year. Brassard projects as a top line center, but obviously, that's a few years away.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:58 pm

Word in Columbus is that Filatov will be developing as a centerman.

http://blog.dispatch.com/cbj/

He's going to be a defensive liability for many years, but his draft value increases that much more if he can become a top line C.
A God Damn dead man would understand that if a minor league bus in any city took a real sharp right turn, a Zack McCalister would likely fall out. - Lead Pipe
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