Thursday, April 14, 2011

Draft Chatter

Let's just pretend Senators GM Bryan Murray desperately wants Gabriel Landeskog in this year's draft. I don't know if that's the case - maybe he's dying to get Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Ryan Strome or any of the other top prospects. I won't even presume to make an argument as to who is better, simply because I'm not a scout and I don't see enough junior games to give you an educated opinion on a bunch of 18 year-olds.
But for argument's sake, let's say he wants Landeskog and he's targeted Florida who have the 3rd overall pick, likely where Landeskog will go if Adam Larsson or Hopkins go 1-2 as expected. It's a possibility the Avalanche see Landeskog as their next Peter Forsberg and bypass Hopkins because they already have a number one centre in Matt Duchene. Maybe.
But what would Murray have to offer Panthers GM Dale Tallon in order to pry that third overall pick away?
Of course, it starts with Ottawa's 6th pick. That's a no-brainer. The Panthers need to come out of this draft with an elite prospect and the cutoff seems to be in the top 10, if not lower. They could still get one of the guys they want with Ottawa's 6th pick but they might also be able to get a roster player or two who can help them right away as they desperately try to get back into the playoffs after a 10 year absence.
To see who Ottawa might be willing to give the Panthers, we first have to figure out who they wouldn't trade.
In my humble opinion, the Senators won't move the following players:
Alfredsson, Spezza, Michalek, Neil, Butler, Greening, Z. Smith, Phillips, Karlsson, Carkner, Cowen, Rundblad, Anderson and Lehner.
That still leaves a short list of players or prospects they would move for the right deal but there are a few players who Florida wouldn't take as part of any package. That includes Filip Kuba (who could be bought out anyways) and Sergei Gonchar.
What we're left with, and what actually might make sense, is a package of Nick Foligno or Peter Regin and Patrick Wiercioch or another prospect already in Ottawa's system.
The 6th overall pick, a possible 25 goal scorer in Foligno and a long-term prospect in Wiercioch would be a pretty good return for Tallon to simply move down three spots and still get a blue-chip player in the draft.
Is it enough? Maybe not.
Foligno could play for the Panthers right away and in an expanded role might score some goals for them. That's at the top level of his curve but he also might just prove to be a third liner on a team filled with similar players. Tallon could be looking for more of a home run than just getting a character winger like Foligno.
Regin might appeal to Tallon a little more (if he was paying attention to the 2010 playoffs) and the Senators must know they have a highly skilled player who simply fell victim to the dreaded sophomore jinx. Regin is going to be a top-six stalwart, and soon, but would he be worth sacrificing if it meant getting a future captain like Landeskog?
If Landeskog turns out like many think he will, of course it will be worth it. No question.
You don't get very many chances to get elite players like Landeskog or Hopkins (or Larsson for that matter, but it's unlikely the Senators would bypass an elite forward for another defenseman). You can set your organization up for the next ten or fifteen years with guys like that. Foligno is certainly not going to be that type of player. Regin will be good, but no one is saying he's going to be a franchise player.
Landeskog would also be a good fit with Ottawa simply because they already have a boatload of Swedish prospects and a current Swedish captain who also happens to be the most popular player in the history of the team. The Swedish contingent coming together in Ottawa certainly mirrors the success that the Detroit Red Wings have with Swedish players. And rumour has it that Landeskog's favourite team growing up was the Ottawa Senators.
It's a marketers dream.
In short, if Murray has Landeskog rated as their number one priority for the draft, expect him to throw the kitchen sink at the Panthers in order to get that 3rd pick (or at the Av's for their second slot).
But Dale Tallon is not in the business of doing other teams favours. Ottawa would have to part with someone they likely don't want to see go.  The Senators may like players like Strome or Jonathan Huberdeau enough to stay exactly where they are in the draft.
Yet Murray's past suggests he's not afraid to make a big trade. He's also not afraid to move players once thought untradeable (see Mike Fisher, currently tearing it up for the Predators in the playoffs).
This should get interesting.


Anonymous said...

I like Landeskog, the little I've seen of him.

That said, I hope that the Sens just stay where they are and take the best player they can get. Many scouts I've heard on the various talk shows talk about how drafting at 5 or 6 may may still get you the bes player in the draft.

Look at Skinner this year. Wasn't he drafted 7th?

The point is that it's a crapshoot, and you just never know. Now, if this year's draft had an absolute can't miss like Stamkos, then that's a different story.

But, given the fact that Huberdeau, Strome, or Couturier might be still available at 6th, why not save your assets. After all, I think what you do with the player after the draft is just as important, if not more important.

This organization turned Alfie, Hossa, Havlat ... even Chara into real good players by allowing them to develop and grow. I think that under good management, any of those top guys could work out for us.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon - Amen ... well said! The player chosen 6th has just as much a chance to be a star as the the player picked 3rd. The player chosen 3rd also has just as much a chance to be a dud as the the player picked 6th. BM shouldn't gamble away assets on what is already a gamble.

Anshu said...

I agree with the previous commenters which is also why I think the price to move up 3 spots may not be that expensive.

I think it was Gord Wilson who suggested the possiblity of bundling Ottawa's pick plus one of their second round picks in order to move up. Maybe that's on the low end but I'd say Regin, Weircoch, and the 6th pick would be way too high a price to pay.

Anonymous said...

If Landeskog is the blue chip propect the organization has identified, I would want BM "to throw the kitchen sink at the Panthers in order to get that 3rd pick."

BM could package both first round picks (#6 and #21) to the Panthers in return for their first round and second round picks (#3 and #33).

Anonymous said...

Minus the "kitchen sink" guy, this is the most intelligent comment section I have seen to date...glad to see most people think logically...stay pat Murray!