Since the draft order was set a month or so ago, one of the questions frequently asked of me has been, “So…would you want Matt Duchene or Evander Kane as the selection”? Well, unless I’m speaking on behalf of the Colorado Avalanche, having to chose between the two will not be an issue…as I believe the Avs will pick one or the other, more than likely Duchene.
Therefore, I think that the real question that will face Don Waddell on June 26 is, “Do you want Kane, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson”?
If the Thrashers look to concentrate on the center position, making the choice either Kane or Schenn, then I think logical choice is to go with Kane. If defense is the focus, Cowen is considered by many to be the best blueline selection after Victor Hedman. And, after all, you simply cannot have enough defensive talent in the organ-I-zation.
The only question here is would either of them be able to make an immediate impact on the Thrashers squad this fall? I don’t see Cowen making the team right off the bat as Bogosian did last fall and, given the Thrashers current situation at center…White, Peverley, Reasoner, Slater, (and possibly even Espo depending on his recovery),…so, Kane making an immediate impact in Atlanta might be a long-shot as well.
However, more times than not, the draft is mostly about re-stocking the talent pond…so that a draft pick plays at the NHL level this year or not is secondary.
But what about Paajarvi-Svensson …the 6-1, 200 pound Swedish left winger? If Waddell chose MP-S, is there at least the outside possibility that this 18-year old could have a decent shot at making the team this fall?
In this recent articleby NHL.com’s managing editor Shawn P. Roarke, NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb is quoted as saying that Paavjarvi-Svensson will be “ready for the NHL very soon”.
“He is absolutely fearless on the ice,” Stubb said. “He is a great skater. With his moves, he’s creating scoring chances both for himself and for his teammates. He is a guy that can go straight for the net and make things happen — just with his speed and his energy.”
Director of the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau E.J. Mcguire has said of MP-S, “”Magnus perhaps is the stereotype of the skilled Swede coming over here in recent years – outside speed extraordinaire, ability to freeze defenders and make all his good moves work even more effectively. He was a good contributor to his team at the World Junior tournament and I think will be an essential member of any NHL team in years to come. He showed, at the World Junior championships, why the 1980 comparisons to Mats Naslund, Kent Nilsson and more recently a Peter Forsberg will follow him over to his NHL team. He’ll be a high draft pick and I’m sure he’s going to be a combination of the kind of offensive flare and skills that have made those other three predecessors great NHL players.”
I could see this kid filling the third-line LW spot that’s being vacated by the departing Eric Perrin. Of course, I think it would be better if a proven top-six forward be obtained by Waddell…but if unsuccessful in that venture, MP-S could be a viable option. And in doing so, it could also free up Waddell to simply focus on acquiring a top-four defender via trade or free agency.
He’s got size…he’s got speed…he seems to have all the tools to be a big-time player in the NHL.
And Speaking Of The Draft…
Tim and Mark Ecclestone have invited us all over to TJs to watch the opening round of the NHL Entry Draft. They have provided me with their party room in the back…which is the no-smoking area…to hold this little shin-dig! Some details are still being worked out, but so far we’ll be offered $1 draft beers and Tim might even be joined by some of his former Atlanta Flames teammates there. There re other things being worked out as well and I’ll update you as they come about.
But make your plans to be there if ya can… RSVP with Trixie. As always…it should be great fun!
And One More Thing…
Hey Shawn and Mike at GSG…tell my good buddy Ron I said “hello”!