One scout's early projections

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by turnbuckle*, May 1, 2004.

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  1. turnbuckle*

    turnbuckle* Guest

    I recently spent 30 minutes chatting with an acquaintance who is an NHL scout soon after he had returned home from the Under 18's. He is a great fella, and was one of my most useful sources for the draft article I wrote for the Ottawa Sun last June.

    I asked him about pretty much all of the top prospects off the top of my head, and was able to distinguish these ten prospects as his favourites entering the draft:

    Ovechkin
    Malkin
    Barker
    Picard
    Ladd
    Olesz
    Smid
    Stafford
    Montoya
    Tukonen

    Two Russians, Czechs and Americans, three Canadians and a Finn.

    As for players who may go in the next ten selections, some of his early favourites include Radulov, Korpikoski, Green, Schwarz, Valabik, Chipchura, Thelen, and Voloshenko, despite his skating deficiencies. I asked him if he thought Thelen was a possible top 10 selection; he doesn't think so. He's not very high on O'Neill. I asked him if he might go top 15. "Top 15?" he said with a laugh. "I wouldn't pick him in the top 15 rounds if there were 15 rounds."

    He is also not a big fan of either Wolski or Schremp. He seems to think their styles/attitudes will hinder their abilites to be effective NHLers. Too much dipsy doodling, and not enough willingness to pay the price, essentially. Judging by how emphatic he was, I'm really starting to believe that Schremp and Wolski are more likely to be drafted around the 20th position than they are the 10th, but all it takes is one organization to like either one of them for that projection to be refuted.

    He really likes Ladd, and has him pegged as a top 6 pick. He also believes Montoya will not be available when the Kings pick 11th. I told him few of the top ten picks are really looking for goalies, unless Carolina was interested. He seemed to think the 'Canes would indeed take him with the 8th pick if he is still on the board. I mentioned that the 'Canes have picked a goalie in the first round in two of the past three drafts and he remarked "Yeah but were they the right goalies? They need a number one." He definitely thinks Montoya will be the first goalie selected. He liked Montoya last season also, and he told me last spring that Montoya would have been a top 10 pick if he had opted in.

    He really likes Picard as well. Good size, great shot, good speed, competes....he noted his awkward skating style, but didn't think it was a major concern.

    High praise for Smid, noting that he took on a major role as one of the top defencemen on the WJC Czech team, and impressed with his poise and skill. Obviously, Smid played better in games other than the Canadian match, where I thought he struggled somewhat.

    Stafford has been a favourite of this scout for two seasons now. He really liked him last season as well, and thinks he has a solid NHL future. He sees him as a top ten pick without question.


    I'll be sitting down with him a couple of weeks before the draft for an in-depth interview if I get the same writing gig as last season. I'll also be interviewing other scouts and directors of player personnel if I get the assignment, and I'll compile a pre-draft Top 50 list for this board.

    Keep in mind that these are the opinions of one scout, and are by no means etched in stone. Also remember that I am merely passing this information on, and have not seen enough of the top prospects to form any sort of informed opinion on who should go where. In other words, don't shoot the messenger....thanks.
     
  2. monster_bertuzzi

    monster_bertuzzi registered user

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    Really no suprise that he has Smid so high. Apparrently a scout told Pierre Mcguire that quote: ''Thats too bad about Smid, we have him really high on our list....but after a stunt like that I dont know if you want a guy like that on your team.'' I think he was refering to when Smid got a ''boo boo'' on his pinkey. :dunno:
     
  3. DJ Spinoza

    DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Thanks for the info, do you by chance remember anything he said about Korpikoski?

    I hope he's wrong, because I'm holding out for him at #31, because we obviously can't take him at #2.
     
  4. Vagrant

    Vagrant The Czech Condor

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    With all due respect, I honestly don't think that Carolina will select Schwarz or Montoya if either are still available at #8. Carolina has two glaring weaknesses, and neither are goaltending.

    Kevin Weekes has proven himself over the past two seasons as a legitimate starting goaltender. He's only 28 years old, which is young by goaltender's prime standards, and is just starting to play like his potential would indicate he could. He has been the one constant on a team that has been abysmal the past two seasons and management wouldn't cut him under by drafting an heir apparent at this point. It would be pretty offensive, in my opinion.

    Cam Ward is one of the top 30 goaltending prospects in the world by my estimation, and he's coming off a year in the WHL that could see him named the league's top goaltender as well as the league's most valuable player. While I understand that NHL GM's tend to not back just one horse, Cam is an elite prospect at a position that has quite a bit of depth for us with Kevin Nastiuk, Rob Zepp, Patrick DesRochers, Daniel Manzato, Daniel Boisclaire, and Mikka Jokela. Had they really felt the need to add an elite top-tier level prospect, they more than likely could have outbid Pittsburgh for the rights to Marc-Andre Fleury. Rutherford and Dudley have a good trading history despite being division rivals. A deal could have been materialized. They took Eric Staal instead, as he fit our needs better at the time.

    Outside of Tomas Malec and Danny Richmond, who are by no means slam dunk prospects, Carolina has not a single legitimate prospect on the blueline. After trading away Igor Knyazev, Danny Markov, and David Tanabe, there isn't a trace of youth on our blueline outside of Allan Rourke and Brad Fast, who both project to bottom pairing defenseman at best. Perhaps even AHL fodder. With the increasing age of this lackluster blueline, i'd expect Thelen to be the selection made at #8 if he's still on the board despite what this individual says. Unless he's a scout for the Carolina Hurricanes, it's unlikely that he knows their draft plans or has an immense amout of knowledge regarding their systematic needs. As for the fact that he said Thelen wouldn't be a Top 10 selection, i'd have to disagree there as well. There are rumblings that Thelen has an outside chance to crack the Top 5, not just the Top 10. Even more that he could possibly go before Cam Barker, who has seen his stock drop slightly with the materialization of flaws in his game. So in other words, the possible best defenseman in this draft will not fall past selection 10. Teams always need defense and always draft that position in an aggresive way. Each of the past two seasons, there have been 3 defenseman taken in the Top 10 picks. Thelen and Barker are the consensus best in most circles, and that leads me to believe that both will be selected there.

    While I do respect the fact that this man is an NHL Scout, we've known that scouts can be wrong as well. Nobody can predict what a team will do on draft day, and that is half the excitement of it. However, from the base knowledge that I have regarding the plans of the Hurricanes, we're not interested in a goaltender in the first round. Defense is hurting as well as offense.
     
  5. CREW99AW

    CREW99AW Registered User

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    Did he say what he dislikes about O'Neil's game?

    Does he dog it?
     
  6. X-SHARKIE

    X-SHARKIE Registered User

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    I dont know what there isn't to like about O'Neil....He's a very good guy...I have spoken with him multiple times in Green Bay and watched this guy work out at Summer camps. He's a class guy...and he is captain material.

    I dont think this scout has seen much NCAA....Stafford is impressive, but if you like him and ignore Thelen then you havent seen much College hockey.
     
  7. The Pucks

    The Pucks Registered User

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    I think you underestimate Cam Ward, he could be a top 10 to top 5 goaltending prospect. The kid is darn good. He will start making serious noise next season in the AHL.
     
  8. LaLaLaprise

    LaLaLaprise lalalaprise -twitter

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    This is also 1 scouts opinion.

    Everyone thinks differently, and teams have varrying opinions on these players.
     
  9. turnbuckle*

    turnbuckle* Guest

    He didn't really go into details about O'Neil; I'll ask him more about him when we sit down for a lengthier chat.

    As for Carolina having bigger needs, I hear where you're coming from Caniacforever.
    I was a little surprised that he figures the 'Canes will pick another goalie with a first round pick, but I should note that the scout in question was sitting with his team's director of player personnel when he made the statement, and the DOPP agreed with his contention.

    You have to have an elite goalie to compete for the Cup most seasons, as has been proven quite often in recent Cup play. No way Anaheim gets to the Cup final without Giguere last season, nor New Jersey without Brodeur. No way Calgary gets to within one game of the western finals without Kiprusoff; no way Toronto gets by Ottawa without Belfour, and on and on.

    With all due respect to Weekes; there are plenty of goalies better than him, and many of them are younger. How is he supposed to get better than them? Are they not going to continue to improve as well?

    There aren't many hockey people that would pick up Weekes (or Ward for that matter) in a trade for Theodore/Garon, Khabibulin, Luongo, Lehtonen, Oullette, Fleury, Raycroft, Blackburn, Tellqvist, Esche, Dipietro, Brodeur, Biron/Miller, or Emery, and that's just the eastern conference.

    If you are indeed comfortable with Weekes as a starter for a couple of seasons, as the team rebuilds, then perhaps picking Montoya isn't such a bad idea. He's basically the same age as Ward, and by most accounts, is a better goalie. Stands to reason that he would be the one most likely to be ready for NHL action in a couple of years.

    If Ward continues to develop and becomes a solid NHL calibre goalie, then the Canes can trade him for much-needed defensive help if Montoya works out as projected.

    Regardless of who Carolina picks, the player will not be helping the team for a season or two anyway.



    Hell; if the Canes take Montoya, they could turn around and deal Ward at the draft. Perhaps they could get a second and a third for Ward from a team with a surplus of picks (the Rangers?) and pick up a couple of defensive prospects. Lord knows they need more than one young defenceman in the ranks

    One top 10 draft pick is not going to solve Carolina's many needs, but if that pick ends up becoming the franchise cornerstone goaltender, then the most important pieces of the foundation is in place IMO.
     
  10. punchy1

    punchy1 Registered User

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    Cheers again turnbuckle. I read your last scouting reports from awhile ago and always find them interesting.

    I also feel that it is implied that this is one scout from one systems opinions on the players mentioned and as such, like every mock draft and report you read, it is opinion so it shouldn't be taken as fact.

    It will be interesting to see how his thoughts apply to the draft. I bet he isn't as far off as some might think. One thing that is certain about the Canes drafting style is that they take the best player available first and then positional selecting second as most teams do from what I have seen.

    I reckon that it will come down to the Canes opinion of Montoya as to rather or not they select him and not because of who or what they have in the system.

    I agree with your idea that they would draft the best player available at any position including goalie and if they feel Montoya is an upgrade over someone in their system that they would likely deal that player for another or maybe even a nice pick in the draft.

    That is what I would do if I were them. Montoya being an upgrade in skills over two of the lads in their system and their starter being 28, I would draft him and deal away whoever I had below him on the depth chart for another high pick (high as I could get) or to a team that is strong in its prospect depth in an area I am weak in.

    Thats me though.

    Cheers for posting this TB, grand bit of sport.
     
  11. Vagrant

    Vagrant The Czech Condor

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    Fair enough, but I still maintain my doubts. Carolina has been burned in the past by dealing away goaltenders and not giving them the proper time to develop. If you will remember, Jean-Sebastian Giguere was an original Hartford Whalers selection. In 1996, Carolina traded him away to Calgary in a deal for Gary Roberts and Trevor Kidd. That one blew up in our face on a grand scale, as Giguere was the Conn Smythe winner last year. Then in 1999, we let original 8th round selection Manny Legace leave the team via free agency. The organization got a little slap happy and traded for Jean-Marc Pelletier, who at the time was considered a more "sure thing" prospect, and were spurned as well. We have since dealt Pelletier for Patrick Desrochers and he's currently still in our system. He projects to no more than a backup goaltender.

    Carolina is more commited now to develop a goaltender within the ranks of the prospects that we already have it seems. Nastiuk had a fantastic playoff year again in the WHL and is on a fast track to gaining more noteriety. He was a 4th Round selection last season. Cam Ward, as mentioned above, has had three straight years in contention for the WHL goaltender of the year award. Rob Zepp has had stretches of play where he dominated the ECHL and has even managed to make a few all-star teams despite his early career injury troubles. Patrick Desrochers continues to have his troubles at the AHL level, but was almost given the reigns as a backup this season if it hadn't been for the Hurme and Storr situations. All in all, i'd say that goaltender is the posistion that this organization seems to be the most confident in and i'd be really surprised to see them draft against their weaknesses.

    It seems to me though that Carolina has always drafted to their needs. Take the 2001 draft for instance. Carolina needed a defenseman that played physical and was defense first for the most part and selected defenseman Igor Knyazev with the 15th pick. Still on the board were higher touted defesemen like Carlo Colaiacovo and Shaone Morrisonn. However, their game projected to be more offensive than defensive. It fit a system need and they jumped all over it, even though he busted.

    In 1999, Carolina selected a head scratcher with the 16th overall pick in David Tanabe. Tanabe was projected to be an Early 2nd - Late 1st Round pick, but Carolina had the dire need to develop a powerplay quarterback after the Paul Coffey experiment. They drafted him well before they probably had to simply because he fit the organization's needs. Even though he eventually did fall out of favor with the organization, he was still a need pick rather than a "highest available" pick.

    It's harder to put a finger on their drafting habits due to the fact that 4 out of our last 8 first round selections were traded in deals involving Glen Wesley and Sandis Ozolinsh. However, if history is any guide, Carolina has learned its lesson regarding goaltending prospects.

    I'm stil quite sold on either Thelen or a sliding Barker at #8. :D
     
  12. bleedgreen

    bleedgreen Registered User

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    cf, i agree with abit of what turnbuckle is saying about the canes. as well as ward has played, if they think montoya is the real deal....why not? ward is good but no one is throwing the "franchise" around him. i like the scenario of taking montoya and trading ward for some d help. if we cant get barker, this could be a big move. i like thelen too, but if montoya is a better prospect - he would be the wiser choice. i also agree with the assessment that the canes prospect problem will not be helped with one pick - they need to stockpile some prospects.
    thanks for the info turnbuckle, good post.
     
  13. chrisralph007

    chrisralph007 Registered User

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    What kind of player is this guy?!?
     
  14. Vagrant

    Vagrant The Czech Condor

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    Well, Carolina only has probably three established prospects in their entire organization. One of them, Cam Ward, is a goaltender that is considered one of the best prospects in the world by most. Not HF, as he didn't even crack the Top 50, but other places. :D

    He projects to be a starting goaltender in this league and is well on his way to developing like Carolina would have hoped. There have been no serious flaws in his game that have been found. I've watched Cam since he came in for his first camp at the tender age of 18 years old and he impressed me with his poise and reflexes even then. I'm sure I wasn't the only one, as i've heard Carolina management is awful high on him as well. When you have an elite goaltending prospect in the pipeline, you don't draft another unless you're afforded that luxary by a very strong prospect depth at every other position. Carolina doesn't have that luxary, thus can't afford to virtually "waste" a top ten selection on Montoya, who hasn't even proven his value to be more than Cam Ward's at this point. If you ask me, i'm going to go with Cam Ward who is more decorated, older, and progressed a great deal since his draft year. Montoya might end up being the better goaltender, but who is to say? Carolina will NOT trade Ward for any picks or prospects, i'm almost certain of this. He's too young and has too high of an upside for Carolina to make the Giguere mistake again. This organization has a history with mishandling goaltenders, and i'm fairly certain that Ward isn't going to be shipped out any time soon unless he falters on a grand scale in his first professional season next year. They wouldn't trade him without at least giving him that much. When you draft a goaltender who hasn't seen action in the NHL since his drafting two years ago, it's just wrong to punish the fans by trading him away for yet another goaltender they're going to have to wait on.

    Thelen or Barker might not help us immediately, but they're stud defensemen and that is something we just don't have. Can anybody name on defenseman in the organization that has top pairing upside? I sure can't, and I know Carolina's system as well or better than most. Matej Trojovsky is a 2nd pairing physical defenseman at best. Aaron Dawson doesn't have the offensive upside. Tomas Malec hasn't put it all together yet, but even at his peak is a #3. Danny Richmond is an offensive specialist at this point. Carolina would be best served to draft one of these upper echelon defenseman that may slide due to the rising european talents showcasing themselves. Carolina hasn't had a legitimate first pairing defenseman since they moved here. Loads of Carolina fans were hailing Danny Markov as one, but it's simply not true. He's a great second pairing defenseman, but many were quick to throw that label on him due to the fact that the fanbase is hungry for a defensive stallwort.

    Montoya or Schwarz aren't top flight elite level talents like Lehtonen or Fluery. That much is pretty evident. If they were, i'd have no problem with Carolina drafting one of them. It's just that we already have a prospect that can be considered an elite but not top flight talent in Cam Ward. Montoya and Schwarz remind me of Blackburn and LeClaire of a few years ago. They weren't quite up there high enough to go in the top 5 picks, but slipped to teams that needed goaltending in a bad way and neither have panned out like they're supposed to yet or contributed to their team here 3 years later. Blackburn was rushed and nearly ruined, and Leclaire is in the AHL having a little trouble adjusting to the speed of the pro game. I'm not saying neither will pan out, i'm just saying that three years later neither are contributing to the teams that drafted them. Carolina has a few pieces in place that could make them contenders in a span of 3-4 years, and Cam Ward is a huge part of that.

    Why focus on goaltending when it's the only position we have depth and a elite level talent in? It doesn't make sense to me. I can agree that there is an argument for Carolina taking a goaltender, I just don't see it as the logical choice. Somebody bookmark this thread and bring it back up when draft time comes and see how wrong I am. I'll probably have my Montoya avatar up by then.l
     
  15. Flames Draft Watcher

    Flames Draft Watcher Registered User

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    Rumblings from hockeysfuture anyways. None of the sources I use have Thelan in the top 10 either. I'd say rumblings from a scout are about 100x more noteworthy than the HF hype. Just because you've seen almost every fan on this board put him in their top 10 doesn't mean he'll go there.

    As for O'Neill, I know Redline has him in the 20's. He's yet another one of those guys who appears to be overrated on HF.

    Good work Turnbuckle. Loved your post (and saved it) from last year and look forward to hearing from you again. One of the most informed posters on here IMO and I wish we had more contributors with the type of information you manage to collect.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2004
  16. RangerBoy

    RangerBoy TRUST THE PROCESS

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    Why would the Rangers make a trade for Cam Ward?

    They have Dan Blackburn and Henrik Lundqvist in the system.

    Blackburn(knock on wood)should return from his shoulder injury and Lundqvist wants to play in North America next season

    Do they need a third young goaltender? :shakehead
     
  17. Vagrant

    Vagrant The Czech Condor

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    Players don't always go where redline ranks them, or any other scouting service for that matter. The draft is too up in the air to really get a sense of how a team is going to draft based strictly upon the rankings. Where was Parise listed last year? Hudler the year before. There are exceptions every single year and i'm pretty sure that Thelen has caught a few teams eye. Especially those in the 5-10 range. Wasn't Montreal's Koysitsen *sp?* ranked #1 overall by Redline last year?

    My information on Thelen isn't just HF's opinion either. There have been quite a few scouts who have given him a very high grade. We'll just have to wait and see.
     
  18. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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    The goalies this year are the wildcards. There are rumblings that the people in the know think higher of them than a lot of the posters around here. Most of the mocks here have the first one going around 11 to the Kings and the second going somewhere before 20.

    I've seen a handful of posts here that cite scouts as saying the goalies are going to go higher -- this one for instance, which flies in the face of the general opinion here.

    I made a post a few weeks ago. Straight from Columbus GM Doug MacLean's mouth (on his radio show), he said he's taken several calls of people wanting the #4 pick to pick Schwarz.
    It's been suggested that he was drumming interest in the pick. I don't buy that. Interest was already there. What I think was interesting is that he said specifically, that teams are interested in goaltenders.

    This is just my long, slightly incoherent way of saying -- the interest in goalies seems higher in the real hockey world than on the HF one.
    I think a lot of people are assuming teams aren't interested in goaltending when they are (this isn't meant to be a shot at the Canes, which have been subject of debate here, just an observation about a lot of the teams picking high).

    I know that that is just two opinions (this scout and Doug MacLean's).
     
  19. DJ Spinoza

    DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Here's a quote from an old Red Line Report about Korpikoski:

    Seems like he has a lot of tools and is an exciting player. CSB midterm says he's 5'11" 172lbs, so he might be a little bit small. But those numbers could be old. :dunno:
     
  20. Oilers Chick

    Oilers Chick Registered User

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    Also, there are many players that almost no one hears nor talks about until they're drafted. Then they become all the buzz.

    People who rank players are merely stating their opinions based upon whatever resources they used to compile their lists, that doesn't necessarily mean it's gospel. It just mere makes for another interesting or not so interesting topic of discussion and something to read that's all.
     
  21. Flames Draft Watcher

    Flames Draft Watcher Registered User

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    Well I've followed the draft quite closely the past few years. I have had the Redline draft guide, THN and I read HF quite closely.

    Based on the past few years as case studies, HF ends up completely overrating some players (usually North American based) and massively underrating some Euro's. It's logical and it's bound to happen. I think you're guilty of putting a bit too much stock into what's said on these boards. I think when THN, CSS's final rankings come out and other such material that we'll find this corrects itself somewhat (euro's rising because suddenly posters do know a bit about them, North American's dropping to fit the euro's in.)
     
  22. Vlad The Impaler

    Vlad The Impaler Registered User

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    I don't want to go into how "informed" the opinions here are.

    However, in my experience and after talking to a lot of people, one thing on HF you find is that many of the "HF evaluators" are using all sorts of sources on top of their own eyes.

    What it means is that while you call this "HF rumblings", many of the guys around here make their top lists by blending their own evaluations, CSS, Redline, McKeen and ISS plus other smaller ressources. As well as those who claim to have talked to scouts.

    I leave it to everybody to judge by themselves how accurate, original, legitimate or useful this method, or HF, can be.

    But one thing I know is, HF rumblings are far from being a single source. In fact, HF is probably the view that looks the most closely at what's going on because the posters are looking everywhere, including at Redline.
     
  23. Vlad The Impaler

    Vlad The Impaler Registered User

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    Who doesn't?

    IME, HF ain't much worse than the other sources as far as rankings. As I said, these rankings are in great part the products of collecting information from other sources.

    Few people on HF knew much about Anton babchuk, for instance, in his draft year. And by knowing, I mean firsthand knowledge. He was not exposed for us North Americans to see. He was in mosts top ten rankings here at HF and few people thought he would last past the 10th selection. Fast forward to draft day and reality hits hard.

    His ranking as a top 10 selection here was purely a result of outside sources, mainly RedLine, who were extremely high on him (I believe he was only 7th Euro on CSS).

    Here's the truth: based on a case study, EVERYBODY ends up completely overrating some prospects. Including pro scouts, NHL teams and Redline.

    Where HF differs is that there is a vast pool of posters and there is a huge difference between them in how *legitimately informed* they are (as opposed to just regurgitating stuff they read in some poor analysis). But then again, after reading some of the commercial stuff out there, I also often wonder what they are thinking and how they came to certain conclusions.

    I guess that's the beauty of scouting. It is wonderful and very difficult to do. A real challenge.
     
  24. bleedgreen

    bleedgreen Registered User

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    i thikn theyve been just as bad with handling d-men as well. this is the team that traded pronger at 20 - as well as the tanabe and knyazev. my point is they havent handled assetts in general very well, and its impossible to say what they will or wont do at the draft. i think they are a shaky first round team - i hope they prove me wrong. they dont seem to follow any method to me either - so i say its possible they would trade ward or richmond to get something they think they need. the track record against that isnt sparkling. id like to see ward get a shot too, but i want them to take the best guy possible period...it all goes back to asset management - not drafting to whatever their shift in thinking is this year.

    i dont care in the end if its montoya, schwarz, ladd, barker, or thelen - though i think its gonna be one of the above. wouldnt surprise me if they dropped and took green. all i want is for them to commit to developing their prospects and assetts and continue to get younger stronger faster better. they need more prospects than they have so at some point they have to find a way to get more core assets. maybe theyll finally trade oneill at the draft? something has to give for them to improve.
     
  25. PMP5030

    PMP5030 Registered User

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    Granted, I'm no professional scout, but I did see most of O'Neill's games at Notre Dame this year, and I don't think he's nearly as bad as the NHL scout thinks. Is he a top 15 worth pick? No. His skills, especially offensively, are still somewhat raw.
    But he made a huge impact on Notre Dame's team defense with his long reach and fairly good skating ability.

    Based on his size and skating, I think he'd be worth a late 1st-round pick, the potential for a NHL top-4 defenseman is there. I'm interested to see in what ways his game improves (or doesn't) next season.
     
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