Blake Wheeler at #5?

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by HockeyFan21, Jul 15, 2004.

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  1. HockeyFan21

    HockeyFan21 Registered User

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    Since Wheeler went so early in the draft, how will this impact his potential? What kind of rating using HF's rating system do you think he would be looking at?

    Would he be more valued because of where he was picked or do you think his talent will be weighted more and get a lower rating?
     
  2. hbk

    hbk Registered User Sponsor

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    Phoenix had Wheeler ranked as the third best available player but they appear to be the team that saw him the most and as a result most publications and experts had Wheeler ranked much, much lower. If it wasn't Phoenix theire may be a movement to push the ranking of Wheeler on HF's Top 50 but in all likelihood Wheeler will have to prove himself against stiffer competition before everyone starts to jump on the bandwagon. I use the "if it wasn't Phoenix" comment only to indicate that most posters here don't really follow the Coyotes and are merely looking at the potential negatives of this selection at this point in time. The majority tends to rule but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    fyi - I have Wheeler ranked as the third best prospect in the organization behind both Keith Ballard and David LeNeveu. I too am being cautiously optimistic. High risk/high reward selection. I hope it pays off.
     
  3. PhoPhan

    PhoPhan Registered User

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    High risk/high reward is exactly right. He played amazingly last year, but when you're that big playing in high school, you'd better. If he works hard, though, he could be a dominant force. He has all the tools.
     
  4. XX

    XX It's finally over

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    Hes trying out for the USHL, and he will probably make it. Hes going to take a long time to develop, as most power forwars do. Big players are even harder to judge, because they can cut corners with their size that wont be there at the pro level. Wheeler wont be ranked for awhile...
     
  5. PuckFan01

    PuckFan01 Registered User

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    Take it from somebody who has seen the kid play more than a few times, he has the skill. It is just a matter of him adding strength and bulk right now. If anything, his size hasn't been as much of a factor in his success as you appear to think. Unlike a lot of big kids, he mostly uses his skill to succeed as opposed to just physically overpowering smaller opponents.
     
  6. db23

    db23 Guest

    The problem was that Blake won a lot of their games 18-0, 17-0, 19-1, scores like that. As a team they averaged over 8 goals a game. A lot of Wheeler's opponents would be 16 year olds who were less than 150 pounds. Probably wearing glasses.

    Brian Boyle was in a similar situation last year. Huge highschooler with good raw skills etc. He really came down to earth when he moved up to the NCAA. Which is not to say that he still can't become a good prospect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2004
  7. chaachie12

    chaachie12 Registered User

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    I, like the poster above, have seen Wheeler on several occasions. While he is much bigger than everyone else on that level he used his size much less than I would have expected. He has all the skills...while I agree his numbers are inflated by competition, I assure you the Coyotes were not concerned with his HS numbers...they saw the skills too.
     
  8. X-SHARKIE

    X-SHARKIE Registered User

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    I have played vs Wheeler this past summer, before the 2003-2004 campaign.

    I played for Team Wisconsin midgets.

    He obviosly is just HUGE! and strength is not an issue in his current play but he did look lanky, He was extremely extremely fast, and had an amazing shot. Blake is also a great guy, even joked with me on the ice a bit back and fourth all in good fun after he crashed the net.

    I feal honored to be scored on by the 5th overall pick.

    I also played vs Kessel and Johnson this summer at a goalie camp. It well be cool to see them drafted in the next two years.
     
  9. PuckFan01

    PuckFan01 Registered User

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    Don't you mean Breck HS above? ;) I think Wheeler would be upset if somebody said he played for rival Blake HS. :)

    While Wheeler's team didn't always play tough teams, he still stood out against the teams were good. Especially in the state tourney and against Blake HS.

    Again I'll say that if you have watched the kid play enough over time, you would notice that his success doesn't rely on his size advantage. Yes, it helps but many of his points come from fast skating and skill as opposed to outmuscling opponents.

    Wheeler will also have an advantage Boyle did not. That being a good amount of junior hockey experience in the tough USHL before he starts college. If I remember correctly, Boyle came straight out of prep hockey and that isn't going to prepare a player as much as junior hockey would. So Wheeler should probably be more ready to produce in college hockey in comparison to Boyle.
     
  10. db23

    db23 Guest

    It is just so hard to project the H.S. kids. So using a top 5 pick is a real risk. It would be hard to imagine him being better than Rotislav Olesz or Lauri Tukkonen, for instance. Or A.J. Thelen. Thelen was an NCAA All American while Wheeler was in the 11th grade of high school, and they are the same age. Tukkonen was playing his second year in the SM Liiga and he is a month younger than Wheeler. That is a tremendous amount of projection, passing those players up. Or Drew Stafford who had over 100 points playing at Shattucks a year ago, against much better competition overall.
     
  11. Grave77digger

    Grave77digger Registered User

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    Wheeler was as big a surprise as Goligoski going in the 2nd to the Pens... high risk high reward with alot of skill and largely unknown
     
  12. stardog

    stardog Registered User

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    Faulty argument and reasoning. They didnt choose him because they thought he was better. They chose him because they feel that Wheeler someday, SHOULD be better.
    They didnt select a player for the now, but for the future, and they feel that of the available players, Wheeler will be the best.
     
  13. db23

    db23 Guest

    Well, obviously they "felt" he would be better in the long run, but the chances of that coming to pass are somewhere between 0 and none as far as I'm concerned. No criticism intended of Blaek Wheeler. It was just a really dumb move by the Coyotes. Not that there was a lot to choose from in this draft after the top 3.
     
  14. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing Child... please.

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    It was a very high risk move by the Yotes, and unless the kid turns into a superstar they'll probably never hear the end of it from their fans. There were a couple of dozen guys ranked ahead of him, and it's almost a certainty that at least 2 or 3 of the guys that he jumped over will turn into elite players. There will always be people criticizing the team for passing on those guys for Wheeler. Frankly, I almost feel sorry for the guy - he's probably going to have to deal with a lot of fan pressure in Phoenix. Every time he blows a play, people will say, "We coulda had So-and-so instead of this guy!"
     
  15. PhoPhan

    PhoPhan Registered User

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    Not true. Most fans have already forgiven them. I, for one, applaud the boldness of the move. They felt he was the best player available, and they took him, because they thought he deserved to be taken. Could they have traded down? Possibly, but there are plenty of rumors that say they couldn't have. If he is a bust, then yes, they deserve to be berated. However, what if they traded down for him, and he ended up being taken higher, and became a superstar? Would it be worth it to pick up and extra 3rd round pick?


    A couple dozen? Says who? The Coyotes had him ranked 3rd. And for the record, in any entry draft, especially this one, there is no such thing as a "certainty".
     
  16. hbk

    hbk Registered User Sponsor

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    As a Coyote fan, I can understand the criticism regarding asset management. However, they got the player that they wanted. A player that they heavily scouted and interviewed (I beleive they were the only NHL team to meet with Wheeler at his home). Dave Draper and the rest of the scouting staff had to plead with Coyote management to select the player they felt would be an impact player in the NHL. Should Barnett have risked dropping a handful of spots for the sake of garnering another 3rd round pick? Easy to say that nobody would have taken him but let's face it more than one GM had indicated that they thought they would be going "off the board" with their selection. To risk losing the player that their scouting staff had targetted, Coyotes management risked further alienating their scouting department a year after they walked out on the team during the draft due to perceived mismanagement of draft picks in what was largely considered an elite high caliber draft. Do you p/o your employees or do you do the safe move and select their guy? Coyotes kept their employees happy and they got the guy they wanted. It's a good management decision from that perspective. Time will tell if they could have used their asset more wisely.
     
  17. PuckFan01

    PuckFan01 Registered User

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    If you go back in time, a lot of draft picks that were "sure things" end up as being disappointing or "busts". The draft landscape is also littered with players who end up being very good players even though they were underrated by many.

    To call a move "dumb" when it was made in a draft that just happened is very premature. Until we see how Wheeler develops in the next few years, we really can't say if it was a dumb move or not. It may end up being a very smart move in the end.

    I am not a Coyotes fan but I have to admire the guts they showed. I'd rather have a front office that has a strong belief in their ability to judge talent (even if it means going against the grain of popular belief from time to time) and follows through on their belief when the moment arrives than to have a front office that is afraid to make gutsy decisions.
     
  18. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing Child... please.

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    No, if that was their guy, they did the right thing by taking him. And I applaud their audacity as well. But the fans who have already forgiven them have no reason not to at this point - the honeymoon is just starting. All I'm saying is that if he turns out to be a bust, that honeymoon will come to a screeching halt, and a lot of the fans who are applauding the pick today will be condemning it 5 years down the road.


    Central Scouting Bureau and just about every other professional scouting service, that's who. Consensus projection for Wheeler was late first, early second at best. That's late twenties, low thirties. He was drafted at #5. A couple of dozen spots ahead of where he was projected.

    No individual player is a certainty, but I maintain it's an absolute certainty that at least 2 or 3 of the players who were ranked ahead of him but drafted after him will blossom into elite players. There's no way of knowing which ones, but there will be some - there are examples of this in every draft. If Wheeler turns out to be a mediocre player, there will be fans who crucify the Yotes for passing on them to take Wheeler. I'll bet money on that right now.
     
  19. King'sPawn

    King'sPawn Enjoy the chaos

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    Hey, if Phoenix feels Wheeler was the third best, good for them. However, I know I'd be PO'd at the Kings if they didn't trade down, had they been in the Coyote's shoes. Many reports had Wheeler at 25 and later. You know what you could get for a team to trade down 20 spots in the first round?

    Heck, the Kings probably would have dealt a bit to get pick #5 and draft Montoya, if they were serious about getting goaltending. Even trading six spots down, you could get maybe a fifth or sixth. What's the problem with a little more depth?

    The reason why I forgave the Kings picking Boyle last season is 1) they had three first round picks and 2) this prospect camp, Boyle's doing pretty well. I was ticked, at the time, they didn't grab O'Sullivan. Them's the breaks, though.

    Good luck to Phoenix, that the prospect works out. They could have done a lot more with that pick, though, if Wheeler was who they wanted.
     
  20. Gwyddbwyll

    Gwyddbwyll Registered User

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    Of course there are 2 or 3 guys.. there always are in any draft with any pick! Just look at how many people wishing they had Gagne or Havlat even if they drafted a pretty good player.

    I also have to disagree with the opinion that there were a couple dozen guys ahead of him. He certainly wasnt going to be there "very late 1st / early 2nd". The consensus doesnt matter when it comes to a one-off event - which is why all the scouting rags tell you they are NOT predicting the draft. Because all it takes is one team.. out of thirty teams.. or even one guy out of this army of scouts for a guy to be taken higher. In a weak draft as well teams are inclined to gamble. Zajac and Wheeler were very fast risers and both went much higher than expected. Also remember HF tends to be behind the current opinion, so the consensus on here doesnt always match the consensus of 30 different NHL teams. I firmly believe Wheeler was not going to be there after the top half of the draft. Certainly other teams were well aware of him. Dallas already stated they wanted to pick him at 20 and its hard to imagine that Minnesota and New York Isles were not very interested since Wheeler fits their drafting profile to a T.
     
  21. db23

    db23 Guest

    The Islanders were definitley targeting him at #16 overall. Milbury dropped some hints prior to the draft that the Isles were going to go "off the chart" with the pick.
    When pressed, he said that they were looking at a player "who may be there, butwe don't expect to be there...". So even at #16 the Isles didn't expect Wheeler to be around.
     
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