Here are the 5 teams that I thought had a pretty poor weekend at the draft. I bet a lot of you are expecting to see the Flames on this list. Nope. While I killed Feaster for what he did on Friday night, he actually had a good Saturday getting Brett Kulak in the 4th and maybe the best value pick of the draft with Coda Gordon of the Swift Current Broncos in the 6th. Again, we all have no idea how this draft went til 5-10 years from now, but this is my opinion today so in no particular order here are the 5 teams that left me scratching my head.
St.Louis – I don’t know what their strategy was for this draft but it seemed to be “let’s take as many projects and off the board picks as possible”. What were they trying to accomplish? It’s just my opinion but Schmaltz was pretty off the board at 25, then something called a Samuel Kurker was taken with their 2nd round pick, MacKenzie MaCeachern and Colten Parayko in the 3rd. Kurker and MaCheachern both played on high school teams this season, Parayko is out of the AJHL. 1 of those guys would be questionable, they took 3 in a row with early picks. They had some decent picks late with Walters, Tremblay and Seamen but it was too late. Hey, maybe 1 or 2 of those projects pans out and Schmaltz doesn’t bust like a lot of USHL players do….but if that happens I would say the Blues have the best scouts in the game.
Edmonton – You can’t include the top pick when talking about the Oilers. I’m not going to sit here and debate whether it should have been Yakupov or Murray. They couldn’t have gone wrong with either in my mind because the need for D-men is so great for them and absolutely no need for another small winger. But they went BPA and you can’t be critical of that. But Moroz at 32 with Finn and Thrower on the board was terrible. I get it, they need to get tougher. But Moroz would have been only ok value at 63 let alone 32. Then at 63 they take a BCHL kid who has size again but is another winger. Then at 91 they get great value with Zharkov but he was then the 4 winger they took in 4 picks…when they came into the draft overloaded on the wing! Just ridiculous drafting. As good as Stu McGregor and company have been at the draft Oiler fans saw this same thing in 2009 when they took Troy Hesketh, Kyle Bigos and Cam Abney in rounds 3 and 4 with much better players available.
Colorado – I guess you could say this all started on July 1st 2011. Their draft was doomed pretty much on that day when they dealt their 1st and 2nd round picks for Semyon Varlamov. That was a horrific move and some Avs apologists have tried to say how it was a success just because it didn’t go AS BAD as most expected it to. They played a system this season that was created to make Varlamov as good as he possibly could. Add to that Varlamov wasn’t worth a 1st and a 2nd, he was going back to Russia! I’m certain a 2nd would have done the trick. But to put the icing on the cake, Filip Forsberg fell to 11. A top 5 prospect fell into their laps, except they gave their laps to the Caps a year ago. But to cool it on killing them for that deal, the other thing I couldn’t stand is they didn’t draft any size. This isn’t a large team to begin with, but then they didn’t draft a kid taller than 6’0, and the only guy they took standing 6’0 was Mitchell Heard. Size isn’t the end all be all, but in a year where the largest team in the league won the Cup, I would suggest it’s rather important! I know Troy Bourke was a good pick in the 3rd round, but all in all a pretty bad job by the Avs who somehow luck into being a better organization than they actually are.
NY Islanders – This doesn’t have anything to do with their picks, although 7 for 7 with D-men….I know I was hammering them for not having D-men but all 7 picks?!? This organization is a gong show to say the least. And that point was proven when Garth Snow offered Scott Howson and the Jackets all his draft picks to move from the 4th pick to the 2nd pick. Absurd offer. I get it that they loved Ryan Murray, but you can’t trade away your draft. And some people want to point out that picks in the 2nd – 7th rounds rarely pan out but it’s not as much about those players panning out and more about blowing 6 assets. You can use those picks/players you draft to make moves later on. Add to this, not much difference between the big 4 WHL D-men this year. Reinhart has a much bigger upside than Murray.
Columbus – What the Islanders did was stupid, but even more absurd was Scott Howson passing on the deal. WOW! Scott Howson right now is easily the worst GM in hockey. At the moment I can’t think of who would be 2nd. MAYBE Jay Feaster? But Howson has to take that deal. He could have used those picks to trade back into the 1st round probably without giving up 31. Or, you load up your system with assets that you can deal at a later time to perhaps load up at a trade deadline. And again, not much difference between the 4 WHL D-men. Any of those 4 (Murray, Reinhart, Rielly, Dumba) could emerge as the top D-man of this draft, easily.
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