Friday, June 25, 2010

My $0.02 on the draft

Not a ton of time to type, so I'll get straight to the point.

First, the NHL draft is about projecting 3-ish years down the road and figuring out what you need to fill gaps at that point.  These are raw (high school age, largely) kids who are going to go back to juniors (like John Moore, Steve Mason, etc.) or, if they're really good, the AHL.  Sure there are always a small handful of players who actually go straight from the draft to an NHL roster, but that group is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

This makes the NHL draft very different than, say, the NFL draft where a team's draft is a bust if the top 3 rounds' players don't make the roster.  Also different than the NBA draft where, at only 2 rounds, the first-rounder is pretty much expected to step in and play a lot of minutes.

In the NHL, the draft is all about development.  Which makes the whole hoopla surrounding the draft kinda silly - except for the fact that it gives Columbus Blue Jackets fans an excuse to engage in serious puck talk in the middle of the offseason.  And I like that excuse.  Even though I can't do it this year.  (Damn you, Ohio University!)

So let's look ahead and think about what the Columbus  Blue Jackets really need in the 3-ish year window.  It seems that General Manager Scott Howson has restocked the cabinet with defensemen - enough that one or two of those wet noodles will stick to the wall and be productive NHL players.  We could stand to be a little deeper at forward, with a need to improve general depth up and down the organization.  Forward depth would be helped dramatically if a certain petulant Russian would get his rear end back to the States...but I digress.

My opinion on this draft: We need a good goalie.

You probably think I'm insane right now, but I'm the guy who suggested that Fedor Tyutin was the CBJ MVP last season.  So cut me some slack.

We apparently have 3 known quantities at goalie for next season.  Steve Mason (Restricted Free Agent in 11/12), Mathieu Garon (Unrestricted Free Agent in 11/12) and Gustaf Wesslau (RFA in 11/12).  Both Dan LaCosta and Kevin LaLande are RFAs this year.  I hear that Howson is looking to re-ink LaLande and let LaCosta find another port in the storm.

But look at that: No goalie is signed past the end of this upcoming season.  If all goes to hell - Mase gets a killer offer that Howson won't match, Garon moves to the next stop and Wesslau decides that another team is his place to try to get to The Show, we'll have nothing.

My friends, we need a goalie prospect.  And a reasonably good one that could use some seasoning in juniors or challenge for an AHL slot this year.  Maybe not in the first round, but I wouldn't wait too long to grab one.  Presuming the prospect pans out, that would put the CBJ in fine shape in net come the 11/12 offseason.

(But another puck-moving defenseman or a top-line center wouldn't hurt, either.)

Enjoy the draft!  Carry The Flag!


  1. Over at The Cannon, and my thoughts in general, are that the Jackets should draft a goalie with the Raffi pick at 55. My guy is Philip Grubauer, who plays for the Windsor Spitfires.

  2. I'll be seriously disappointed if we end up trading down in the first round. Our blue line, and lack of a true #1 defenseman, has been a major weakness of this team since Day 1. Sitting at #4, we're guaranteed to get one of the three guys who are all but locks to be top defenders in short order. To move down and take another winger who MIGHT be able to play on the 2nd line would be infuriating.

    Howson likes value. I get that. But there's something to be said for taking a potential Kaberle, a potential Pronger, or a potential Duncan Keith. Take the best player you can get your hands on and stop trying to be the smartest guy in the room!

    Go Jackets!

  3. Point taken, Brandon, but those needs are immediate. 99% of the draft is not about filling immediate needs, though. If you're satisfied with the buildup of a pipeline to get those types of players in the CBJ system, then I say great. Otherwise, we have to be thinking trades and free agency.

    Mike: Nice call! I don't know anything about either of those guys, but a second rounder on a goalie sounds about right. (And Boyd seems to be able to sniff out deals on goalies...right, Mase?)

  4. Drafting a goaltender is always tricky, though; they're kind of up and down. I figure that if one of the two leading guys (Campbell or Pickard) drops to our first 2nd rounder that we might try that; otherwise, I'm content to try with the second 2nd, or even the 4th round.

    And yeah, I also like Grubauer. :D My primary reason for thinking Pickard at all is potential "brother against brother" matches vs. Nashville five years down the road, which would fit nicely into the Civil War theme. :)

  5. We've needed a two-way, #1 D-man (and center, but that's a moot point for now) for the entire history of the franchise. Budget teams simply don't get those guys via trade or free agency. I agree that a goalie would be nice, but this is one of the few times we get a shot at an elite talent...we have to make it count and take Gormley/Gudbranson/Fowler at #4. (preferably: Gormley)


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