The idea of writing some FanPosts have been on me since october but then there was
a war beetween greedy millionaires lockout and I just lost any motivation to do it. I invested my time to the Ahl school, family, hobbies. I rediscovered everything the NHL had been taking away from me. I was disgusted but yet I was on website and hockey related blogs every day to see what was going on. I tried to fool myself, swearing that I wouldn't be back but I couldn’t hold my ground. So I’m back. It’s been a while but I was never too far. In fact, I always there. I read virtually everything that was posted and commented here. I congradulate the amazing staff & amateurs here for always keeping the discussion clean, interesting and informative. You are the best... and there is a worst.
* Forgive me in advance for the miskates. I’m still trying to polish my inglich ;)
I first wanted to write an article about teams needs to win the cup. It would have been a very long post in which I would have taken a deep look at the similarities between cup winning clubs since the last lockout. But I’ll save that for later. I figured that for now, It would be much funnier to talk about my favorite subject (prospects around the league) and play the game of what ifs. Let’s do that.
After 2010-2011, the team biggest need was clearly for fowards. Brian Elliott had been traded a couple of months prior the end of the season and Craig Anderson’s stellar play gave hope that the goalie situation was settled.
On defense, we had a guy named Erik Karlsson who putted up 45 points as a 20 years old player but was minus 30 over the year. Nobody thought that he would post 78 points, plus 16 the next season and win the norris trophy but we sure has hell knew that he couldn’t be worst defensively. We also had a guy named David Rundblad who at the time was tearing the SEL and was thought as one of the game’s best prospect. Our back end was inevitably meant to improve.
Then, there was our top 6 made of Michalek-Spezza-Butler and Alfredsson-Da Costa-Foligno heading into the draft. The only prospects we had at the time with any sort of top 6 potential were Jakob Silfverberg, Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. Obviously, the team addressed the glaring need through the draft by selecting five fowards in the first four rounds and it was the right thing to do.
Where am I going with all this you ask?
There was a comment Pierre Dorion made to Nicolas St-Pierre on the Gatineau based radio station fm104,7 about that 2011 draft. It was last year and ever since I heard it, it kept tickleling me.
Mika Zibanejad was stuggling badly while Couturier, Scheifele and Hamilton were all killing it in their respective leagues. There were alot of questions rising about Mika’s ceiling and even more about the spot the Sens picked him a year earlier.
Asked about the reasons why Ottawa had taken Mika Zibanejad 6th overall and if they should have traded down to get him, Dorion responded something along those lines:
‘’ He’s a big guy with alot of skills that has the potential to be a premium power foward in the league. On draft day, he generated alot of late buzz from teams and we felt that if we dropped a couple of spots, he might have not been available. ‘’
Then the discussion shifted to the loss of David Rundblad and how the defense prospect pool was suddenly looking weak. That’s when the question came. Indirectly referring to
Dougie Hamilton the defensemen available at the draft, Nicolas Saint-Pierre asked if they would make the same pick now that everything was in perspective or if they’d chose another player instead of Z. Pierre Dorion responded something like:
‘’ We might have felt there was a defenseman out there that was just as good or maybe better but at the time, what we needed was fowards and when the draft was over we felt we had adressed that need. ‘’
Euh. Wait a minute.
That comment led me to multiple questions. Isn’t the draft all about always getting the best player available because an injury, a trade or a bad year can turn a position of strenght into a weakness just like that? Note that I’m not saying here that Dougie Hamilton is a better player than Mika Zibanejad, simply because I don’t know about that. Nobody does yet. What I’m saying is that it’s surprizing to heard that the organization that usually preach the benefits of picking the best player available did choose based on the organizational need that time, apparently.
That answer led me to alot of creating alot of scenarios. What if? What if over the course of the last 2 years the Sens had made different first round selections? For the fun of it, I wanted to make you choose between two scenarios. The one Ottawa’s in right now or the one they could have been in.
Let’s forget about the whole players-don’t-develop-the-same-under-different-teams/systems argument for a bit here (*cough* Mark Parisi *cough*) because it’s not an universal rule anyway. Chris Neil would stay Chris Neil with the Blue Jackets, Crosby would stay Crosby with any team, Carey Price would stay Carey Price wearing another jersey too. I don’t think talent, grit, strenght or speed disappear from a team to another. Yes some players have worst teammates than others to work with but that doesn’t mean the don’t/can’t produce. I think that the style, role, skills of a player more often than not transcends the team or the system.
Let’s say that everything happened the exact same way except that Ottawa picked Dougie Hamilton instead of Mika Zibanejad in 2011. Our defense would be shaping like one of the best in the nhl but we’d be lacking that potential game breaking foward that Z is. We probably would’ve been looking to fix that lack in the 2012 draft (Again let’s say things happened the same way) by drafting a foward or we would’ve also had the choice to just take the best player available (according the the team) with the 15th selection and that player would be Cody Ceci (assuming they didn’t pick him based on organizational need). If the Sens elected to go for a foward, they would have had the choice between one of those that were left after Ceci was taken. That group is highlighted by names like Teuvo Teravainen, Scott Laughton, Tanner Pearson and Sebastian Collberg. The Sens, while it’s unlikely, could have also traded up to grab either Grigorenko, Faksa or Filip Forsberg.
What if it happened one of those way? Would Ottawa be better or worst prospects wise than it is today?
#2: A Case for Jamie Oleksiak