The draft: Who would you take?

We are back folks. Had a nice long weekend. Watched some playoff hockey (and a bunch of other sports). Looks like the Rangers are in trouble of blowing a 3-1 series lead. The Devils didn’t look good Sunday night either. What are your thoughts on tonight’s Ducks-Sharks Game 6?

Let’s talk the draft today. My interview requests of  owner Bruce Levenson have been declined, so we’ll keep working the phones and get to other issues facing the team at a later date.

I must admit, I have to get up to speed on the draft. I know John Tavares and Victor Hedman. However, since the Thrashers are picking No. 4, neither will be around.

Until I get a chance to talk to Don Waddell and pick his brain about draft philosophy, etc., let’s just play general manager for the fun of it.

Anyone else think they go with an offensive player at No. 4? Got Zach Bogosian last year, that’s a big piece of defense. It’s no secret that the Thrashers need/want help for Ilya Kovalchuk.

Here is my list of contenders in order:

–    Matt Duchene. The Brampton center scored 79 points in the OHL last season. He was named Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler by coaches. Could he be the top line center Kovy needs?

–    Evander Kane. The Vancouver center was top rookie in the WHL with 41 points last season. Played on a line with Duchene in CHL prospects game.

–    Magnus Paajarvi-Svennson. He’s only 17 years old but was the fourth youngest player in the history of the Swedish Elite League.

–    Brayden Schenn. The Brandon center scored 88 points in the WHL last season. He is the younger brother of  Luke Schenn, who was the No. 5 pick last year by Toronto.

–    Jacob Josefson. The center played in the Swedish Elite League last season and is ranked third among European skaters by the NHL.

Duchene is being compared to last year’s top pick Steven Stamkos. I’d take him if he makes it past Colorado at No. 3, but that might not happen.

OK, so educate me. Who would you take?

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Thrashers have nine players in the World Championships. The preliminary rounds are underway. Ilya Kovalchuk has two goals and an assist for Russia. No other Thrasher has a goal, but Ron Hainsey has an assist for the U.S., Colby Armstrong has an assist for Canada and Ilya Nikulin has an assist for Russia. Zach Bogosian and Colin Stuart are playing for the U.S. Tobias Enstrom is a plus-3 for Sweden. Anssi Salmela is playing for  Finland and Boris Valabik is playing for Slovakia.

83 comments Add your comment

Russian

April 27th, 2009
3:25 pm

I do not know who will be better in DRAFT. Young player must mature and get expirience to play. I did not see very talented young players anymore. Kovalchuk, Nash, Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin were playing as 18-19 years old and they are teh Best on the NHL. Now after Malkin got Drafted, what we have Kane, Stamkos. They are good, but did not have 100 or more points. One more Young player must be Develop amd develop in right way. I do not know who will take this responsibility in Thrashers organization. I am thinking to switch our first pick on good player, like Nash, Heatley, Lecavele or Datsuk and etc. I know it sound crazy, but let’s try. If Our GM will sit and his safety ass and do nothing we are goign to Losers again.

Smitty

April 27th, 2009
4:15 pm

Try to trade up and get Tavares. Some say his stock is dropping but I disagree. Kane and Duchene might take a little time to season. Getting Tavares will show Kovy an attempt is being made to finally get him a # 1 center. It might also show potentials UFAs that we are finally getting serious about making a move past medicrity

Smitty

April 27th, 2009
4:16 pm

Bob

April 27th, 2009
4:30 pm

if there’s any way to move up and snag Tavares, that would be great. Duchene would be my next pick, but willing to settle for Evander.

Toby

April 27th, 2009
5:01 pm

Smitty

The only way the Isles are giving up that first pick is if we give them Kovy. In other words…not going to happen

Hockeyfan

April 27th, 2009
5:02 pm

We’ll get Kane.

Oh and Chris good luck with getting Levenson to talk… But if you do, send him lots of good feelings from the fans [sarcasm]

Brendan

April 27th, 2009
5:07 pm

Obviously, we’d all like Tavares. Hedman isn’t too shabby of a consolation prize, either! But those guys, I’d wager, will be gone. Really, truly. When a GM tries to sway another into relinquishing a 1st or 2nd overall pick, it’ll cost a king’s ransom. A ransom that might include a melange of several roster players, prospects, and several picks, in varying forms and degrees, including some “conditional” picks. Realistically, I think we just have to see what’s still there at #4, then try to make the best selection. And it should still be fairly decent. I said, “should be.”

I like Brayden Schenn at #4. If I can’t have Schenn, I’d like Duchene. And if he’s gone, I’d take Kane. It’s not in my philosophical nature to MOVE BACKWARDS in a draft. Especially, inside the “lottery draft” portion of it. In other words, I prefer to take the best available player at my draft position, or … quite possibly, if I’ve got a SYSTEM I play where one particular draft pick represents a PERFECT FIT for that system, then maybe I’d go with the “perfect fit” player over the “best available player.”

A-hem. That said, if I’m Don Waddell, I keep my cards CLOSE TO MY VEST!!! I don’t tell ANNNNNNNYBODY (including the beat writer) who I’m going to pick. If asked, I’d reply, “I like a lot of guys at #4. Why? Are you offering me something to move back?” And as long as the Thrashers still get Brayden Schenn at the very next draft position (#5), then fine by me. I won’t cry a river of tears if Los Angeles (#5) says they want Kane or Duchene, and will cough up their pick #35 in the draft to do it. Now, if Phoenix (#6) asks, I might say, “no.” At pick #6, I can’t really be sure Schenn will still be there. I sure don’t want to walk away without one of these three: Schenn, Duchene, or Kane. I think the differences between them are negligible. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each. So, if I can pick up a 2nd round pick, or even two third round picks (1 this year, 1 next year,) to move back, and still get who I wanted all along, then yes. I’d do that.

Unfortunately, folks. Drafting is an inexact science. Alexandre Daigle and Patrik Stefan were 1st overall picks. And just about everyone was wrong about their guessing their potential. People love to slam Waddell over Stefan and heap copious amounts of praise on him for Kovalchuk. I do neither. These were “consensus” picks. So, either everyone was right. Or everyone was wrong.

In 2003, the top blueliner prospects were (1) Ryan Suter, (2)Braydon Coburn, and (3) Dion Phaneuf. While most think Phaneuf is the prize of that draft, was Nashville “wrong” to take Suter? Was Atlanta “horribly offbase” to select Coburn? Bear in mind, goalies and defensemen take LONNNNGER to develop, and, super importantly, at their various, individual PACE. Above all, they need to be developed PROPERLY!!! Atlanta didn’t develop Coburn, under Hartley’s reign. Then, the ownership put a playoff ultimatum on Waddell’s head and off Coburn went for “short-term gain, longterm loss.” Bygones.

Years from now, when we look back on the 2009 draft, Kane, Duchene or Schenn may emerge as the clearcut “winner” of the latter portion of the lottery draft. And nobody really knows who it will be. Maybe all three will be major forces in the NHL, years down the road. Maybe all three will never develop into their projected 1st line material. But I’ll tell you this much … it shouldn’t be because the Thrashers organization chose NOT TO DEVELOP the prospect. That’s completely unacceptable.

The Joker

April 27th, 2009
5:27 pm

Chris – At least Levenson didn’t call you a smart@$$.

Try contacting Gearon Jr., he appears to be the public relations owner this month. Levenson has been moved behind the bar.

MB

April 27th, 2009
5:35 pm

As nice as it might be to trade up and get Tavares, I don’t really see what you could give to get us there that you’d want to give away (and that other teams couldn’t match or surpass).

Duchene would be my first choice of the possibles, though I expect Colorado will take him. After that, I’d watch a lot of tape with JA to get his assessment on who would fit his system best, Schenn or Kane. Word is that Schenn is more NHL-ready, though Kane might have more upside long-term.

Fact is, either of them would have a decent shot at cracking our lineup…it’s not like we’re deep on talent in the forward ranks. Keep the pick, get one of these good young players, and look for a real top 6 forward (pref. RW) and maybe an experience top 4 d-man through free agency.

Let’s face facts…it’s not like we’re just a player away from a run at the Cup. We’re finally building the right way, so let’s keep on that track. Make use of our advantageous cap situation this summer and use the picks to build our young (and inexpensive) talent base.

LAC

April 27th, 2009
6:44 pm

Write an artical telling them how STUPID they are and Mr.Potty Mouth will call you names !

Steve

April 27th, 2009
6:50 pm

I will be happy with Duchene or Kane, either one.

Magnus may have the biggest upside of any of them, but since he is a winger, you are almost conceding you won’t retain Kovy if you draft him. I would prefer to keep Kovy and would therfore love to see one of the centers.

Don’t even THINK of moving down. Kane and Duchene will go 3/4 to whomever is drafting there. Schenn is a MAJOR step down from the other two, so if we drop back and get him I will not be pleased, and chances are Kovy wouldn’t be either.

Chris Vivlamore

April 27th, 2009
7:10 pm

The Joker: Not the first time Levenson hasn’t spoken to us.

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 27th, 2009
7:24 pm

I also like any of the projected top four for John Anderson’s type of system. Tavares, Hedman and Duchene are likely to be gone by four, so my gut says Kane, unless you feel the same with him as MPS and Schenn. I’m not saying I do, but that may open the door to trading down two spots, getting a roster player and one of those three with the sixth pick. If you really like Duchene though, and he’s there at three, do you offer Colorado a second or third to see if they would swap spots? I just don’t know enough about Duchene, Kane and MSP to tell if there is a major difference in talent and what they could bring to the team as early as next year.

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 27th, 2009
7:31 pm

Keep trying to communicate with them Chris, we appreciate it here! Check out Levenson and a couple of the others bios from their UCG company in DC. Maybe you could get an interview with one of the minority guys like Foreman or Peskowitz.

http://www.ucg.com/profiles.html

sisu

April 27th, 2009
7:38 pm

I would take Kane… on a side note Anssi might be in trouble with team Finland. Seems to be attitude issues with the coach. This is all because Kukkonen was added to the team and that means one has to sit. I will keep you posted.

Viking

April 27th, 2009
9:40 pm

Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson.

He will be one heck of a player – he already has begun nibbling at greatness. Since there are 8 wingers on a team, there should be room for him too.

P.S. Did you read about Toby’s potentially new smile on Rawhide’s blog?

B. Thenet

April 27th, 2009
10:13 pm

With the teams picking ahead of Atlanta, you never know if Hedman or Duchene could end up on the board at #4.

Schenn, Kane, or MPS should be the likely options at the 4 spot, I don’t think you can lose with either of them. Though I think Kane is going to be a year or two farther away from the NHL than the other two.

kracker

April 27th, 2009
10:56 pm

Paajarvi-Svensson can play in Chicago next season whereas Duchene, Kane and Schenn are all from the CHL and, by agreement, are prohibited from the AHL next season. It’s make the Thrashers team or go back to juniors for each of them. This could give MSP an edge. But is he versatile enough to play C or RW, which are our more immediate needs? I’m guessing ‘yes he can’.

I think a smart GM would sound out, if possible and in some circuitous way, a certain elite player on the Thrashers team to see who he likes at pick #4. Getting Kovy extended is job #1 for Waddell and what he thinks of these prospects would be good to know. Signing a couple of top FAs will mean a lot more but building for the near future should appeal to Ilya, too.

Brendan

April 28th, 2009
12:35 am

Chicago has eliminated Calgary, 4-1, in Game Six. Sigh. Okay. And Anaheim is up, 3-1, after 2 periods, at Honda Center, versus San Jose. If that score holds, it will be Anaheim (8) at Detroit (2) and Chicago (4) at Vancouver (3). That Canucks-Blackhawks series would be intriguing, as it’s Luongo vs. Khabibulin, in net.

Anaheim has won its last two playoff series with Detroit. In 2003, they pulled a herculean upset of the might Red Wings, who were trying to repeat as Cup Champions that year. They were swept by the Ducks, who made it all the way to the Finals, losing in the 7th game, to New Jersey. In 2007, Anaheim won the Cup. The Ducks defeated Detroit, 4-2, in the Western Conference Finals. The lifetimes series, however, is tied, 2-2.

Brendan

April 28th, 2009
1:26 am

Anaheim … has done it. The San Jose Sharks 2009 playoffs … are OVER. Just like a flame-broiled burger. Oh well. If there’s a Sharks fan out there reading this, you have my empathy and my sympathy. You deserved BETTER. And we fans are going to be denied the potential Red Wings-Sharks CF, to which many of us were looking forward. Bygones.

I think it’s easy to look past Anaheim, if you’re Detroit. At this moment, Wings fans are probably rejoicing. Unless they really did prefer to face Vancouver. For Chicago, the #4 seed, they won’t have to face #1 SJ. This is a potentially more advantageous series for the Blackhawks. Neither team has been to the CF for quite a while. For the Canucks, it was 1994. For Chicago, it was 1995. One of these teams will end that drought. I love it when that happens.

LAC

April 28th, 2009
1:42 am

Watched the Ducks beat the Sharks… The SJ announcers
were saying how it is time to TRADE Joe Thorton among others…

So I ask this… Should we try to trade out first round pick for Joe ?

He does have a no trade clause and no doubt has spoken to dan boyle on how wonderful it is here… But is it worth the chance ?

I say trade the pick for a true #1 center !

nfieldr

April 28th, 2009
2:33 am

I’m not sure that I’d want Thorton. He doesn’t seem to me to have any “heart”. Sure, he squared off with Getzlaf tonight, but that was personal.

Toby

April 28th, 2009
8:10 am

Booooo Anaheim…Don’t we have their 2nd round pick by way of Montreal?

tbone

April 28th, 2009
8:27 am

Pick Waddell’s brain now thats funny

Viking

April 28th, 2009
8:55 am

Toby’s World Championship is over. His injury is worse than what was initially thought. He has a serious facial fracture and a concussion.
The newspaper article is in Swedish, but has pictures and a video:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/internationellt/hockeyvm2009/article5009343.ab

I do not have time to translate it now, but the news should reach us here in the US anyway. Toby is going to have surgery by a Finnish doctor who can speak Swedish. The article is only concerned with the fracture, so hopefully the concussion is minor.

Pablo

April 28th, 2009
9:08 am

Who cares. This sounds like the Spring of 2007. The same crappola. As long as Levenson and Waddell have power, this team will be losers until the day the franchise moves from Atlanta (2010?). I’m just proud of myself! Two years running now on my Thrasher protest..not a $dime spent on this worthless organization.

Glovesave29

April 28th, 2009
9:39 am

I’d go with Schenn. I like the tougher WHL when it comes to preparing prospects for the NHL. Travel is also considerably longer than the OHL or QMJHL, so again – that preps them for life in the NHL. Plus, ya gotta like the lineage, Brayden’s big brother is going to be a stud for a long time in T.O.

Falconer

April 28th, 2009
10:12 am

Oliver Ekman-Larsson the Swedish Defenseman might also be worth your consideration.

@ Kracker: Magnus COULD play in the AHL next year but most Europeans do not want to come over play in the minors–if they are not in the NHL they would rather play in the top league in Sweden (and who can blame them really).

Viking

April 28th, 2009
10:52 am

**Falconer** On the other hand Magnus P-S has said he has a very open mind about next year. From NHL.com:

“I don’t have an exact plan (for the future),” Paajarvi-Svensson said. “I’m pretty open, especially after the Draft. I don’t know what I am going to do, but I really like it (in North America). I like the small rinks. I’m very open for anything — NHL, minor leagues, play in Elitserien. I’m very open.”

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 28th, 2009
11:07 am

Too bad about Enstrom. Hope the injuries are not too severe. I was waiting for something like this to happen to him over the past two years. Watching him play with the Thrashers, I would cringe seeing him go into the corners chasing a puck with a 6′5 opponent barreling down on him. No more smallish guys needed on this team. Our quota has been met. That includes the upcoming draft.

LAC-I was thinking along the same lines about Thorton. But I still have reservations about trading that pick for someone who has carried a “lack of heart” tag since his days in Boston.

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 28th, 2009
11:12 am

Russian

April 28th, 2009
11:21 am

I hope Toby will be OK to Camp. He is too small guy to be D-man. :-)

kracker

April 28th, 2009
11:44 am

Falconer, Viking – I should think an *almost NHL ready* player would welcome a stint on the team’s AHL affiliate to learn the pro game and rink quicker, get to know the players and to get acclimated with the USA and American culture, especially if they are from other than North America.

If the choice is a Junior team here or stay in their system, that is a different matter, I suppose.

MB

April 28th, 2009
11:48 am

At the end of two, Russia is tied at 2 with Switzerland. Kovy has a goal and an assist, and our old buddy Vitaly Vishnevski had the cross-checking penalty that led to the second goal for the Swiss.

Smoothie

April 28th, 2009
11:56 am

Goodness gracious I feel so bad for Tobes. Such a gruesome injury and I cannot bring myself to watch the video. The pictures were enough visual for me. Reminds me of the hit by Lemieux on Draper from the classic Avs vs. Wings series of the late 90’s. I sincerely hope the concussion is minor and that he did not lose too many chiclets.

I imagine his Thrasher teammates at the World’s have taken notice of this bush league hit by Lightning goon Martin Karsums. Let’s hope that there will be a heavy dose of payback served cold to Mr. Karsums come October when we play TB the first time. Either Eric, Zach or even Kovy needs to take this butt-plug down hard.

GaVaHokie

April 28th, 2009
12:06 pm

I think Duchene was “factory made” for John Anderson’s system… speed, good hands, playmaking ability, good two-way play and apparently, “a great PK player who’s always a threat to score short-handed” according to E.J. McGuire.

If I were GM, I’d make a swap with Colorado to assure myself of Hedman or Duchene…

I think Kane is the most likely to go back to Juniors out of the Top 5 choices of Tavares, Hedman, Duchene, Kane and Svensson… he could use another year to continue his growth spurt… especially if he comes into camp and is proven to be easily separated from the puck.

I wouldn’t be upset with any of those five choices.

Spud Webb

April 28th, 2009
12:15 pm

LAC I’d trade the 4th pick for Thorton, just my opinion. I love that guy and him asking Getzlef last night “you wanna go”, makes me happy!!! I realize his teams have choked, but I would love to see he and Kovy on the same line.
If we cant do that, I’ll go with Duchene, I like that kid.
Ducks will beat the Wings (PLEASE!). They won’t back down and have the experience, should be a great series. Osgood will lay a few eggs!!!! Here is to hoping!
No big surprise with “My interview requests of owner Bruce Levenson have been declined”. Classic, jack&sses. What a joke this “ownership” is.

drajax

April 28th, 2009
2:13 pm

Kane, bring him up and play him now; let the Spirit group market him to the community so we can get people in the seats, a healthier franchise will benefit all.

TROTTINGHOME

April 28th, 2009
3:37 pm

who cares haven’t watched 30 seconds of the game in over 4 years

GaVaHokie

April 28th, 2009
3:48 pm

… well, keep trotting then.

Spud Webb

April 28th, 2009
4:21 pm

Well put GaVaHokie!

Thomas Magnum

April 29th, 2009
9:18 am

If you want a better run down and some videos of the players available in the draft while atlanta might be picking then go to http://WWW.THEWORDONTHEBIRD.BLOGSPOT.COM

jared

April 29th, 2009
9:55 am

i say kane,Kane plays with a more physical edge and we need a bigger stronger team, duchene is known for being a good two way player yes, however we need folks to protect some of our team(lil toby?).

GaVaHokie

April 29th, 2009
11:34 am

Jared… not with the #4 pick… I want a goal scorer. You can draft toughness in later rounds or sign it in free agency… like Laraque.

Alan

April 29th, 2009
3:29 pm

Let’s not compare apples and oranges… or, rather, scorers and enforcers. Kane is a scorer with physical toughness. If we can’t get Duchene (Colorado is quite high on him), we should target either Kane or MSP — and I’m leaning towards Kane for his physicality and scoring ability. I wouldn’t be unhappy with MSP, though.

Still, our team needs a bit more physicality. Knock some of those guys off the puck, and that puck doesn’t go into your net.

Hijacker

April 29th, 2009
6:47 pm

Tavares, Hedman and Duchene will likely be gone before the Thrashers have the chance to pick them. I don’t see of these teams dealing with Atlanta.

You are facing the real threat of losing both Kovalchuk and Kozlov next summer. The best move now and in the future is drafting MSP. An Extremely fast and fluid skater, and quite possibly the second best player in the 2009 draft.

They are plenty of comparisons between Magnus and many of the other great Swedes like Forsberg and Sundin who’s numbers were comparable at the time. More fairly a comparison between Naslund and Svensson-Paajarvi is a more precise pairing, as his defensive game is not anywhere near the quality of his offensive game. Although he’s got a great physical makeup, his style of play shys away from the physical stuff. Aside from that he’s a tremendous playmaker and stout goalscorer, putting in quite a few goals, and is adept on the breakaway. Both skilled and creative, Magnus has a good attitude and does his best every game and practice. It is obvious that he wants to improve and he enjoys the challenge to better his game. He needs to work on his defensive play and consistency, but has incredible potential for both.

–> The idea of trading the Top is just INSANE! Haven’t we learned a thing from the mistakes of the past?

My Top10:
1.Hedman
2.Tavares
3.Duchene
4.Svensson-Pääjärvi
5.Kane
6.Cowen
7.Ekman-Larsson
8. Schroeder
9. Kulikov
10. Schenn

Players that I like in the second round:

ATL 2nd rounder: Zach Budish: A 6′2” 230 lbs monster winger from Edina HS (Minn.) The power forward was a sure fire 1st rounder if not for a midseason injury.

ANA 2nd rounder: Brian Dumoulin: An awesome skating Dman, future powerplay QB..compared to Ryan Whitney.

scottbravesfan

April 29th, 2009
6:53 pm

They should pick Kane.

Toby

April 30th, 2009
11:53 am

My biggest worry about MSP is that he pulls a Nikulin and never plays for us. I’d take Kane.

Alan

April 30th, 2009
12:28 pm

I think he wants to come to the NHL, Toby. I remember reading somewhere that he said that’s his goal. We can’t just avoid overseas prospects simply because they might “pull a Nikulin,” much like we can’t avoid Canadian prospects simply because they might “pull a Lindros.”

Regardless, I see advantages in both Kane and MSP, and hope we draft one of the two.

Brendan

April 30th, 2009
3:50 pm

My guess is that we’ll draft Kane. And that’s not bad, really. None of them are “bad.” There’ll just be varying degrees of “better.” The key, here, is not just to draft the right player, but also, to DEVELOP said player. With the direction and approach that the Thrashers seem to be on now, I think that will happen. With Bob Hartley, he had a playoff ultimatum and didn’t play Braydon Coburn. You remember the famous Hartley quote, “You know, I got to play dah player(s) dat best give us dah chance to win.”

I don’t see any playoff ultimatums, as I gaze around. For the Thrashers, the playoffs would just be a surprise “perk” of their building plan. No owner is opposed to pure profits. That’s what playoff games represent. Not a single player in these playoffs has been paid since 12th of April, or thereabouts. Players are only paid during the regular season. Occasionally, you’ll see a malcontent simply walk away from the team, at the end of the season, if he doesn’t have a contract for the next season. Even if the team makes the playoffs. He simply leaves, having been paid. It’s a pretty tactless and classless thing to do, but hey, ultimately, the players play the game for money (and not from the goodness of their hearts. This is how they make a living). And once they’ve collected their final paycheck, they can walk out the door. It speaks to the player’s “character.” For that matter, they can up and walk out the door in mid-season, if the European league they join doesn’t have a player transfer agreement. Freddy Brathwaite did it in 2008, I believe. He didn’t really risk anything, as he didn’t have a future with the Thrashers anyway. He probably made more money in Russia, tax free.