Flames first round targets 2013: Valeri Nichushkin

Christian Roatis
June 04 2013 09:18AM

 

Nate MacKinnon, Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin are roundly considered the best three talents in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft. However, many scouts have wondered if maybe you could expand that group a bit - make it a formidable 4. The reason being, there's a kid from Russia who some believe to be right on par with his three North American counterparts in terms of skill and potential. That being Valeri Nichushkin.

The big six foot four, 201 pound Nichushkin saw his stock rise all season after impressive stints in both the MHL and VHL (comparable to North America's CHL and AHL respectively) capped off by an 18 regular season and 25 playoff game stop in the KHL. His solid play during the regular season led to him becoming an important piece to his teams KHL final run. He scored six goals and nine points over the course of the playoffs.

Immediately following his teams elimination, he joined Russia for the U18 tournament where he put on nothing short of a show. He would record four goals for seven points in six games and earned rave reviews on his play. Nichushkin's utter physical dominance at the tournament led scouts to call him a "man among boys".

The Scouting Reports

Hockey Prospectus' draft guru Corey Pronman ranks Nichushkin as 4th best prospect, calling him a potential star:

Nichushkin is an impressive power forward who has a ton of natural gifts. He could be a potential star, if not an elite power winger in the NHL. His best skill is his skating ability, as he is a true plus-plus skater that defensemen need to respect when he's barrelling down the wing. If a gap gets too tight, Nichushkin will likely be behind the defender in no time. He is also a strong, 6'4'' pillar who loves to drive to the net. Combining that with his speed and skill, he draws a lot of penalties. Nichushkin's north-south game is his strength, but he has a high level of ability with the puck, with the capability to make players miss. He can make plays to his teammates, and he has good offensive instincts, although his hockey sense is an area of division among scouts.

Some question his vision, feeling he can be a little selfish. Others think his hockey sense is above average. He has the ability to skate through an entire team, so it cannot be considered surprising that he tries to do a lot. One area of concern: he needs to improve his defensive play.

Like most Russian forwards, Nichushkin likes (and is very capable of) scoring. His skill set is undeniably impressive and being a big man, has the ability to create space for himself to use it. His shot may be one of the more unimpressive components of his offensive game and it's still very good, which speaks volumes about the rest of his game. As mentioned by Pronman, Nichushkin skates like the wind despite being a big dude, which could potentially make him the perfect player for today's NHL. Big enough to not be knocked around but fast enough to keep up with the pace of the game.

Form an offensive stand point, Nichushkin is NHL ready now and after a contract dispute with his KHL team that ended in the termination of said contract, he's free to come over and try his luck in North America next season.

The Numbers

Nichushkin's KHL sample size is a little weird as he actually played more games in the playoffs than in the regular season. His combined NHLE is 19 which is well behind other elite prospects. However if you compare his numbers to some other high profile, Top 5 Russian prospects in their draft year, he does quite well:

Name

 KHL PPG

NHLE over 82 games

Valeri Nichushkin

.35

 19

Alexander Ovechkin

.37

 20

Evgeni Malkin

.35

 19

Alexandr Svitov

.38

 20

Nikolai Zherdev 

.55

 29

The KHL is considered to be the second best league in the world behind the NHL, and if you stuck a 17 year old kid into the show, he'd probably put up comparable numbers - particularly if he only played a few minutes a night as kids tend to in both the NHL and KHL. Funny enough, Nichushkin's numbers line up more with Malkin and Ovechkin (who are now obviously superstars) rather than Svitov and Zherdev (who now sit comfortably atop draft bust charts everywhere), which of course doesn't mean anything but is just fun to look at and convince yourself it foreshadows something.

His numbers however look much better once you put them in context. He seems to be tracking along exactly what other much hyped KHL prospects have in the past and he could possibly even improve on that PPG statistics next season in the NHL. The crucial part with Nichushkin is how he's handled by his NHL team from here on in as one could argue development played a large role in the failed NHL careers of Svitov and Zherdev and the successful ones of Malkin and Ovechkin.


In addition, there is some risk in accurately judging a guy who hasn't played as much as some of the higher end contemporaries such as Barkov, Lindholm and the junior kids. Nichushkin was mostly a support piece in his season for the KHL while player like Lindholm (16 minutes a night) and Barkov (20 minutes a night) were key features on their clubs, to say nothing of CHL stars like Jones and Drouin who no doubt played half the night most games.

There is also the question of the completeness of Nichushkin's game: many of the other top-10 forward picks already have advanced two-way capabilities whereas Nichushkin's defensive acumen is usually considered a weakness. Skating through teams on the big ice in Europe is one thing, but you have to be able to play both ends of the ice to some degree in order to thrive in North America.

Conclusion

It's very possible that Nichushkin falls to 6 and will be available to be selected by Calgary if they so choose. Although his potential is massive, the "Russian Factor" still hangs over his head and could very well be the reason he drops. The fact that he could conceivably pull a Radulov and bolt back to the KHL if things don't go rosy in North America could certainly enough to scare NHL teams away. Although he has said he'll cross the pond to try and make the NHL next year, he reiterated that he will not play in the AHL at any point in his career. It's NHL or KHL, no in between.  

Should he still be there at 6, I think it's important Jay Feaster and Co. take a long look at him because he does have franchise changing potential - something Calgary could desperately use. 

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#1 Kurt
June 04 2013, 11:38AM
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Kevin R wrote:

If he were to fall to #6, I must say I am really torn. I've been on other sites & read different teams blogs & some of the chatter about what they would be prepared to give to trade up for this kid blows me away. If we could get an incredible return, I must say, how do you not look for trade offers from teams like Buffalo & New Jersey. I read one suggest Jersey give up Larsson & their 9th overall to get Nichushkin. You have to assume the kid is the real deal, but can you afford if he isn't quite there & you cant send him to the AHL to get right seasoning. That sits on me like a mega greasy dinner.

You read on a blog that NJ is willing to give up Larsson & their 9th?!?

That should happen right after Edwards does a trade/buyout of Lecavelier's $30 mil, and right before it start raining skittles while Superman and Ironman fight to save the universe in the skies above Calgary... At least that's what I heard on some blogs.

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#2 BurningSensation
June 04 2013, 11:37AM
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One of the fun pass times for hockey nerds like me is using past/present players as NHL comps for soon to be draftees. My buds and I were having a few pops and came up with the following;

1. Seth Jones = Rob Blake with speed

2. MacKinnon =Pat Lafontaine without concussions

3. Drouin = somewhere on the Ray Whitney/Sergei Makarov/ Patrick Kane tree

4. Barkov = Dale Hawerchuk

5. Nichushkin = a selfish Mats Sundin before he was converted to a center

6. Lindholm = Henrik Zetterberg (4 out of the 5 guys used this comp, the other we liked was 'a fast Mike Richards')

7. Monahan = easily the most controversial. Half my crew thought he would be something like David Backes, the others think he's Dave Gagner.

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#3 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 01:18PM
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Keep it friendly gents. The time to fight is when the Flames take Fucale 22nd overall.

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#4 Avalain
June 04 2013, 02:54PM
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@Scary Gary

Actually, I kind of hope he's right. But at the same time I hope that Calgary traded with Tampa for the 3rd overall.

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#5 Stockley
June 04 2013, 09:26AM
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I'm on the fence with this one. As much as I like the positives attributed to his game I am leaning more towards making a much safer pick. If he's a bust or if he decides to take his puck and go home; then the Flames are once again set way back in their rebuilding phase. Calgary desperately needs to break the stigma attached to them choosing 6th overall, whoever they select HAS TO work out this time around.

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#6 everton fc
June 04 2013, 09:47AM
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His English seems poor. His body language also bothered me in the video of him from the combine.

Still - his strengths - Size/Speed/Skill. Things we need. His weakness - Defence. If he has a bit of the gritty edge Ovechkin sometimes shows... Might we worth a longer look. But if he's so-so in training camp, enough to be demoted...

Does he go home?

All that said, we took what I still think was an insane, unwise risk on Jankowski. We can't afford another first-round dice roll.

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#7 Bezer
June 04 2013, 09:48AM
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The Flames just don't have the high tier prospect base to take a risky pick. I prefer a defensively sound player also. The first round, over the years, is littered with busted careers of highly skilled players that had undeveloped defensive play.

It's gonna be really hard to pass up one of the centers that sould be available..

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#8 Kevin R
June 04 2013, 09:51AM
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If he were to fall to #6, I must say I am really torn. I've been on other sites & read different teams blogs & some of the chatter about what they would be prepared to give to trade up for this kid blows me away. If we could get an incredible return, I must say, how do you not look for trade offers from teams like Buffalo & New Jersey. I read one suggest Jersey give up Larsson & their 9th overall to get Nichushkin. You have to assume the kid is the real deal, but can you afford if he isn't quite there & you cant send him to the AHL to get right seasoning. That sits on me like a mega greasy dinner.

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#9 Bezer
June 04 2013, 09:52AM
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My bad I thought he played wing but he is listed as a center. I suppose it makes the choice a little harder but I say go with the "safe" pick still

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#10 Will
June 04 2013, 09:53AM
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I really hope this kid falls to six, and that the Flames pass on him so the Oilers get our big Power forward LW to play with Yak on the second line.

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#11 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 09:54AM
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@Bezer

He has mostly played wing as far as I know.

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#12 Parallex
June 04 2013, 10:11AM
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I doubt that the Flames take him... but my gut is telling me that they should. The speed, the strength, the size, the skill... the tools are just so good.

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#13 dangsnipecelly
June 04 2013, 10:37AM
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Kevin R wrote:

If he were to fall to #6, I must say I am really torn. I've been on other sites & read different teams blogs & some of the chatter about what they would be prepared to give to trade up for this kid blows me away. If we could get an incredible return, I must say, how do you not look for trade offers from teams like Buffalo & New Jersey. I read one suggest Jersey give up Larsson & their 9th overall to get Nichushkin. You have to assume the kid is the real deal, but can you afford if he isn't quite there & you cant send him to the AHL to get right seasoning. That sits on me like a mega greasy dinner.

I agree... If Nichushkin, Monahan and Lindholm are all still available at #6 (unlikely I know) then trade that pick back to Buf at #8 and let them take Nich, Edm can take Monahan or Lindholm and we can take whoever's left. We should be able to get another pick or prospect out of that deal and still get our guy...

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#14 Bikeit
June 04 2013, 10:51AM
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I remember the last russian that was a man among boys at world Juniors in Vancouver. Evgeni Malkin.

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#15 BurningSensation
June 04 2013, 11:06AM
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everton fc wrote:

His English seems poor. His body language also bothered me in the video of him from the combine.

Still - his strengths - Size/Speed/Skill. Things we need. His weakness - Defence. If he has a bit of the gritty edge Ovechkin sometimes shows... Might we worth a longer look. But if he's so-so in training camp, enough to be demoted...

Does he go home?

All that said, we took what I still think was an insane, unwise risk on Jankowski. We can't afford another first-round dice roll.

Others have been making the same kind of plea, 'draft safe', rather than taking a guy like Nichushkin who has elite game breaking potential.

I am going to suggest you are exactly 180 degrees wrong. With three picks in the 1st rnd, the Flames can take a chance on a guy like Nichushkin and potentially scoop up a franchise caliber winger with the 6th overall pick - that is the kind of risk you have to take IMO to make your team better. Drafting an average level of player (like say, Mike Fisher/Sean Monahan) does little to improve the Flames long term. Landing a big/fast/goal scoring power winger? Those guys can take you FAR.

@Kent Wilson

I'd read elsewhere that Nichushkin's NHLE is 30 pts (20g-10a-30pts);

http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/05/sean-monahan.html

Is there a reason for the discrepancy in projecting his NHLE?

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#16 SmellOfVictory
June 04 2013, 11:15AM
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Bikeit wrote:

I remember the last russian that was a man among boys at world Juniors in Vancouver. Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin never had any questions about his hockey sense, though. That said, it's hard not to get pumped about Nichushkin. He definitely has the same feel as those elite Russian guys, albeit he likely won't turn out quite as good. His scouting report reads like that of a Kovalchuk clone, except lacking the elite shooting ability (that can be improved, but I doubt to anywhere near what Kovy's got).

I absolutely would not take him above any of the top 4 ranked guys, but when it's down to him vs Lindholm vs Monahan, the decision would be a lot harder.


@Burningsensation: It looks like Nich's NHLE for this article was calculated purely off his KHL stats; I imagine the other NHLE was calculated including his MHL/VHL stats.

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#17 BurningSensation
June 04 2013, 11:27AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Malkin never had any questions about his hockey sense, though. That said, it's hard not to get pumped about Nichushkin. He definitely has the same feel as those elite Russian guys, albeit he likely won't turn out quite as good. His scouting report reads like that of a Kovalchuk clone, except lacking the elite shooting ability (that can be improved, but I doubt to anywhere near what Kovy's got).

I absolutely would not take him above any of the top 4 ranked guys, but when it's down to him vs Lindholm vs Monahan, the decision would be a lot harder.


@Burningsensation: It looks like Nich's NHLE for this article was calculated purely off his KHL stats; I imagine the other NHLE was calculated including his MHL/VHL stats.

That makes sense - thanks! I've seen a little variation in NHLE for a couple of players, notably Nichushkin and Drouin, now I understand why the Big Russian has so much variance (still don't know why Drouin vacillates between 53 and 49pts though).

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#18 everton fc
June 04 2013, 11:52AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Others have been making the same kind of plea, 'draft safe', rather than taking a guy like Nichushkin who has elite game breaking potential.

I am going to suggest you are exactly 180 degrees wrong. With three picks in the 1st rnd, the Flames can take a chance on a guy like Nichushkin and potentially scoop up a franchise caliber winger with the 6th overall pick - that is the kind of risk you have to take IMO to make your team better. Drafting an average level of player (like say, Mike Fisher/Sean Monahan) does little to improve the Flames long term. Landing a big/fast/goal scoring power winger? Those guys can take you FAR.

@Kent Wilson

I'd read elsewhere that Nichushkin's NHLE is 30 pts (20g-10a-30pts);

http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/05/sean-monahan.html

Is there a reason for the discrepancy in projecting his NHLE?

I wouldn't pick Monahan at #6. I'd take Lindholm over him, as I've stated before.

And I should have expressed myself this way; if we took a fly on Jankowski, as a "risk", why not this guy? Like I said, he has size/speed/skill. I like that, as well.

So just to confirm; I wouldn't draft Monahan. So I guess I should ask myself and others, do you take Lindholm or Nichushkin at #6? If you take a run at Nichushkin, he has to make the team out of camp, no matter how bad a camp he has. That's really the only way to close the hole on his returning to the KHL.

Hope that made sense. We're not far off, in terms of opinion.

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#19 everton fc
June 04 2013, 11:55AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

One of the fun pass times for hockey nerds like me is using past/present players as NHL comps for soon to be draftees. My buds and I were having a few pops and came up with the following;

1. Seth Jones = Rob Blake with speed

2. MacKinnon =Pat Lafontaine without concussions

3. Drouin = somewhere on the Ray Whitney/Sergei Makarov/ Patrick Kane tree

4. Barkov = Dale Hawerchuk

5. Nichushkin = a selfish Mats Sundin before he was converted to a center

6. Lindholm = Henrik Zetterberg (4 out of the 5 guys used this comp, the other we liked was 'a fast Mike Richards')

7. Monahan = easily the most controversial. Half my crew thought he would be something like David Backes, the others think he's Dave Gagner.

If I made this list, I'd take Lindholm at #6.

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#20 jeremywilhelm
June 04 2013, 11:57AM
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Kevin R wrote:

If he were to fall to #6, I must say I am really torn. I've been on other sites & read different teams blogs & some of the chatter about what they would be prepared to give to trade up for this kid blows me away. If we could get an incredible return, I must say, how do you not look for trade offers from teams like Buffalo & New Jersey. I read one suggest Jersey give up Larsson & their 9th overall to get Nichushkin. You have to assume the kid is the real deal, but can you afford if he isn't quite there & you cant send him to the AHL to get right seasoning. That sits on me like a mega greasy dinner.

L.O.L.

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#21 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 12:03PM
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@SmellOfVictory

As far as I know, there aren't any NHLE translation factors for those leagues.

I can't see any reference to Nichushkin's NHLE in the linked article by Burning Sensation. Is it in the comments somewhere?

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#22 Big Ell
June 04 2013, 12:06PM
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I believe we have to take Nichushkin at 6th if he is still around. If he is still available, you can probably assume Lindholm and Barkov are gone. We need the best player available. This franchise has a history of taking the safe pick with the exception of Jankowski. When was the last time the Flames had a prospect with this kind of offensive potential?

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#23 icedawg_42
June 04 2013, 12:08PM
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@everton fc

It kinda tickles the fancy to have a potential Malkin on the team, however unlikely that's his true ceiling. Too many question mark factors though, I think Feaster still takes the 'safe' road. Lindholm's still my guy.

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#24 SmellOfVictory
June 04 2013, 12:10PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

As far as I know, there aren't any NHLE translation factors for those leagues.

I can't see any reference to Nichushkin's NHLE in the linked article by Burning Sensation. Is it in the comments somewhere?

There isn't really a dedicated section - just this ranking, right below Monahan's stats:

Jonathan Drouin, Halifax (QMJHL) 19-30-49
Sasha Barkov, Tappere Tampere (SM-Liiga) 18-22-40
Elias Lindholm, Brynas (SEL) 15-25-40
Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax (QMJHL) 17-22-39
Max Domi, London (OHL) 15-18-33
Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat (WHL) 14-19-33
Sean Monahan, Ottawa (OHL) 13-20-33
Anthony Mantha, Val d’or (QMJHL) 17-13-30
Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL) 20-10-30
Adam Erne, Quebec (QMJHL) 9-15-24
Curtis Lazar, Edmonton (WHL) 13-8-21

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#25 BurningSensation
June 04 2013, 12:13PM
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@Kent Wilson

(from the Lowetide link)

Jonathan Drouin, Halifax (QMJHL) 19-30-49 Sasha Barkov, Tappere Tampere (SM-Liiga) 18-22-40 Elias Lindholm, Brynas (SEL) 15-25-40 Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax (QMJHL) 17-22-39 Max Domi, London (OHL) 15-18-33 Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat (WHL) 14-19-33 Sean Monahan, Ottawa (OHL) 13-20-33 Anthony Mantha, Val d’or (QMJHL) 17-13-30 Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL) 20-10-30 Adam Erne, Quebec (QMJHL) 9-15-24 Curtis Lazar, Edmonton (WHL) 13-8-21

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#26 Austin
June 04 2013, 12:15PM
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In the most recent interview on the draft by the Flames brass, Contoy said they weren't going with a risky pick. Nichuskin is likely NHL ready though so does that address the likelyhood of them avoiding him due to the KHL factor. He will likely be gone because I can see Carolina taking him for sure.

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#27 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 12:21PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Right.

I have no idea except that maybe LT is using an older NHLE. Mine is based on recent work done at Puck Worlds:

http://www.puckworlds.com/2011/8/4/2344313/how-good-is-the-khl

Which yields a modern NHLE for the KHL of only .65. It was closer to .9 (.91 for Russian Elite League) in the past, so that may be the issue.

Even using that translation factor, the NHLE for Nichushkin's year only comes out to 26 for me and that's combining his regular season and playoff output.

So Im not too sure.

Quick update - Corey Pronman says he's found that NHLE players under 20 years old in the KHL is more or less on par (or 1.0), meaning his NHLE would be 0.35X82 = 29.

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#28 Baalzamon
June 04 2013, 12:33PM
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Personally, I think the Flames' board for possible 6th overall selections looks something like this:

Barkov, Monahan, Lindholm, Nurse, Ristolainen, Shinkaruk.

I really doubt they're seriously considering Nichushkin, mostly because of PR stuff. Generally, the consensus is that they "can't miss" with this pick, and I'm not sure they want to "risk" Nichushkin at this point--whether that risk is imagined or not.

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#29 icedawg_42
June 04 2013, 01:00PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Personally, I think the Flames' board for possible 6th overall selections looks something like this:

Barkov, Monahan, Lindholm, Nurse, Ristolainen, Shinkaruk.

I really doubt they're seriously considering Nichushkin, mostly because of PR stuff. Generally, the consensus is that they "can't miss" with this pick, and I'm not sure they want to "risk" Nichushkin at this point--whether that risk is imagined or not.

personally I'd shorten that list to Lindholm and Monahan..and on the outside Nurse (only because we don't have a legit top 2 D man any more)

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#30 Kevin R
June 04 2013, 01:08PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

L.O.L.

My reaction too but I guess that might tell you how highly regarded this kid is by other teams. What GM's would really be prepared to part with for this kid could be a way different story.

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#31 Kevin R
June 04 2013, 01:13PM
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Kurt wrote:

You read on a blog that NJ is willing to give up Larsson & their 9th?!?

That should happen right after Edwards does a trade/buyout of Lecavelier's $30 mil, and right before it start raining skittles while Superman and Ironman fight to save the universe in the skies above Calgary... At least that's what I heard on some blogs.

You seem like the kinda a guy that enjoys fly fishing, paint drying & watching cement mixers twirl. Maybe go have a few buckets of chicken wings, that might cheer you up.

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#32 Scary Gary
June 04 2013, 01:26PM
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I guess I'm one of the few Nichushkin fans. He has the natural size and talents to be a game changer in the NHL. If Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin and Barkov are gone then I would be looking very hard at this guy (and Lindholm).

We'd have to sign a Gonchar like russian veteran for two years to mentor him but seeing the impact he had on Malkin it would be well worth it while we rebuild; plus we could use his offence.

Also, I Hope Button is wrong: http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=49649

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#33 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 01:31PM
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@Scary Gary

Wrong about Monahan at 6? Or Fucale at 7?

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#34 SmellOfVictory
June 04 2013, 01:44PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Keep it friendly gents. The time to fight is when the Flames take Fucale 22nd overall.

You are a mean man.

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#35 Scary Gary
June 04 2013, 01:49PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Wrong about Monahan at 6? Or Fucale at 7?

Both, more so Fucale. Like others I'm not a fan of goalies in the first round.

Another question/thought to anyone really, should Colorado try to trade their first pick if a D man is what they're after? Surely they could grab a top 8 pick (Buffalo) and a second first rounder (16) + roster player for their number one. This way they could grab a Nurse and a top forward (Ernie, Mantha, etc) plus a roster player.

My thought is D or goalies first overall don't usually work out. Would you rather have: 2006, Eric Johnson or Jonathan Toews?

2003 MA Fleury or Eric Staal/Getlzaf

2000 Dipietro or Healtey/Gaborik/Hossa

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#36 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 01:53PM
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@Scary Gary

Agreed re: picking defenders high. In that case, though, COL should keep the pick and just get the best forward at 1.

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#37 the-wolf
June 04 2013, 02:24PM
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If Monahan can't skate well enough to keep up, he's a bust.

Interesting that Craig button called his skating "very good," for whatever that's worth.

But if Monahan is fast enough to keep pace with the game, I think he does more to help a team win than Lindholm or Nichushkin.

I agree he needs to be looked at very seriously, but threatening to flee back to Russia as soon as things don't go your way doesn't endear me to a player.

And while normally I'd agree with the notion of taking some risk for the potential of a home run pick, Calgary had to nail this pick, regardless of having 2 more.

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#38 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
June 04 2013, 02:34PM
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the-wolf wrote:

If Monahan can't skate well enough to keep up, he's a bust.

Interesting that Craig button called his skating "very good," for whatever that's worth.

But if Monahan is fast enough to keep pace with the game, I think he does more to help a team win than Lindholm or Nichushkin.

I agree he needs to be looked at very seriously, but threatening to flee back to Russia as soon as things don't go your way doesn't endear me to a player.

And while normally I'd agree with the notion of taking some risk for the potential of a home run pick, Calgary had to nail this pick, regardless of having 2 more.

Mckeens and other sites assert that Monahan's stride mechanics are fundamentally sound, and that there is accordingly a very strong probability that his mobiity and speed will continue to progress.

Given that this assertion has been repeated by a number of scouting agencies, I really don't worry about his skating at the pro level. Plus, it's not like he is below-average at this point in his career anyways.

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#40 Kent Wilson
June 04 2013, 03:12PM
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From what I've read about Monahan's skating, he's fine balance and mechanics wise. He's just not all that fast.

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#41 the-wolf
June 04 2013, 03:31PM
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@Christian Roatis

Of possible interest: Button has Monhan at 6 and Linholm at 9 in his final rankings.

Anyone hear that Fan interview about Monahan? That guy was raving about him.

And I've also seen Monahan sink to 13.

I don't think we can trade into the top 3, but I do think we could get into the top 15 to get a guy like Domi and I think Philly at 11 is the most likely candidate. Either their pick or try and get Coutuier who I think gets unfairly dumped on in these parts. The guy is stuck behind Schenn, Giroux and Briere and did a pretty admirable job in almost a pure shutdown role as a 20 year old. Just have to get him out of there before he forgets HOW to score.

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#42 the-wolf
June 04 2013, 03:34PM
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@Kent Wilson

Apparently he's been working hard on explosiveness and watching the TSN comibne special he tested top of the class, I think.

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#43 Smokey
June 04 2013, 06:01PM
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Bezer wrote:

The Flames just don't have the high tier prospect base to take a risky pick. I prefer a defensively sound player also. The first round, over the years, is littered with busted careers of highly skilled players that had undeveloped defensive play.

It's gonna be really hard to pass up one of the centers that sould be available..

the Flames will be lucky if the guy falls to 6th. Guy should not make it outta the top 5.

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#44 Jeff In Lethbridge
June 04 2013, 07:01PM
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Kevin R wrote:

You seem like the kinda a guy that enjoys fly fishing, paint drying & watching cement mixers twirl. Maybe go have a few buckets of chicken wings, that might cheer you up.

why the hell do you lump fly-fishing in with pain drying? fly fishing rocks... ask Miika

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#45 Jeff In Lethbridge
June 04 2013, 07:04PM
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I wonder why anyone would assume that FEASTER is going to do the "safe thing"??? really?

Not J Feaster! he will do whatever he thinks is the smart thing (many disagree with his assessment re jankowski), and he isn't afraid to be ballsy or make mistakes...

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#46 Lordmork
June 04 2013, 07:37PM
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We've heard Feaster say that Flames scouting thinks there are 4 elite players in this draft. I think the top 3 are obvious. So who's #4? Barkov or Nichushkin? Whether or not we take him is almost certainly going to depend on the scouting appraisal of his talent level. If they think he's #4 and he falls to 6, we take him. If Barkov is #4, then that's that.

As much as we need a centre, my instinct might be to take Nichushkin if he falls to 6. As much as we need centres, we need skilled prospects at pretty much every position. If we have concerns about him I wouldn't be afraid to turn around and trade him for what I hope would be a shiny return, but if he's available then I think we'd want him.

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#47 ChinookArch
June 04 2013, 09:05PM
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This player is the definition of high risk high reward. If he's available at 6 you have to take him, end of story.

He's simply far better than any other option.

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#48 Glenn
June 04 2013, 09:27PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

This player is the definition of high risk high reward. If he's available at 6 you have to take him, end of story.

He's simply far better than any other option.

I think you're absolutely right! Not so sure where he is on Weisbrod's boards though.

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#49 icedawg_42
June 05 2013, 07:00AM
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ChinookArch wrote:

This player is the definition of high risk high reward. If he's available at 6 you have to take him, end of story.

He's simply far better than any other option.

I think you're right in principle, but we've all heard Conroy and Feaster both say "we HAVE to get this one right" - that suggests to me they're searching for as close to zero risk as possible.

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#50 jeremywilhelm
June 05 2013, 10:07AM
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Dear Lord, if you pass on Nichuschkin at 6, you deserve to be shot. I have my gun ready Feaster.

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