Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Draft Day: Feel the Excitement!

The day Kings’ fans have been looking forward to since the regular season ended is finally here. Draft day. The day when legends are made and spirits broken. I know I woke up with a little bounce in my step. A lot of people like to denigrate this great sport of ours, but I feel no shame in saying that draft day is one of my favorite days of the year. It's like Valentine's Day (but without me crying as much). Rejoice, hockey fans.

Of course, I can't say that my spirits weren't dampened a little bit by today's news that the Sharks traded Vesa Toskala. The Sharks and Ducks are supposed to be getting worse while the Kings get better, but with the Sharks possessing a first-round pick now (and the Lightning giving up a #1 pick to the Ducks for Shane fucking O'Brien), it looks like the Kings are going to be #3 in California for a little while longer.

No matter, though; today's draft day, and I'm still excited. I have a feeling the Kings will do something shocking tonight during the draft. It just seems like it's their turn to set the hockey world abuzz. But first, I wanted to ask a question: how the hell is Greg Oden only one year older than Kyle Turris? I mean, look at them:

I mean come on, Oden’s like 50 and Turris looks like he’s 12.

Anyway, the Kings continue to mystify your noble correspondent, because I have absolutely no idea what they are going to do. It is especially difficult because what the Kings do is dependant on what the three teams picking ahead of them decide. As I am wont to do, I’ll post a few scenarios that are plausible and then my bullshit idea.

The Kings Play it Safe

The Kings hold onto their pick and draft Karl Alzner, the top-rated defenseman in this year’s draft. This is more of a need pick, as it is not believed that Alzner is the 4th best prospect in the draft. However, it would fill a hole in the Kings’ system and give them a solid defensive prospect that could eventually be paired with Jack Johnson. I have a problem with this idea because it seems like the Kings would be wasting a top draft pick on a player that could be picked later. I’m not against drafting for need, but it seems foolish to do so this early in the draft. If you’re just going to play it safe, you might as well trade down. Which brings me to…

The Kings Trade Down

Rumors abound that a number of teams are looking to trade down, including the Vancouver Canucks (who currently sit at 25). As I mentioned before, the Kings have a pretty elite farm system and it could be argued that they don’t really need to improve it. They would be better off improving the current team with a younger, NHL-ready player that could step in immediately. Maybe the Kings could wrangle someone like Kevin Bieksa or Alex Burrows and the #25 pick from the Canucks in exchange for the #4 pick and one of the Kings' many other picks in this year’s draft. The problem with this idea is that there’s always the risk the Kings would miss out on a great talent by giving up a pick this early in the draft. I don’t think I could bear to watch Jakub Voracek or James Van Riemsdyk light up the Kings knowing that they could have been on the team. This brings up my next point…

The Kings Take the Best Player Available

This is my favorite option. I think the Kings would best be served by just taking the best forward they can, depending on who’s taken earlier. I personally think that the best player available in this draft is Alexei Cherepanov, the ultra-talented winger from Russia. I know there are knocks on him, but that’s what makes him so intriguing to me. The Kings could potentially be getting the best player in the draft without having to move up. Here's a video of Cherepanov's exploits in Russia (where he set a record for goals by a 17 year-old):

I know my fellow Kings fans are wary of developing another inconsistent winger from Russia named Alex, but his talent is just too great to pass up. If the Kings draft Cherepanov, I think it would send a clear message to the rest of the league that the Kings are going to do whatever it takes to get better.

I’m going to wait until Monday and then give a run-down of who the Kings drafted, so I hope to see you guys again then. Here's a list of prospects as rated by TSN to reference through the first round tonight. I’m not going to the Kings’ draft party (I have a feeling blogging about the Kings is sad enough), but I’ll be having my own little draft party at my apartment. (It’s not so much a party as me drinking alone, but that’s just semantics.) Have a good time tonight. This is the time of the year when every team gets better; enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

I know there are knocks on him, but that’s what makes him so intriguing to me.

Sounds eerily like what happened with Kopitar. Every GM talked himself into "yeah but he's Slovenian so clearly his stats are inflated."

I'm with you. Go with the highest upside. You can never have too many scorers.

Treved said...

If you think there's a chance the Canucks would trade Bieksa for a pick, you're smoking better stuff than I've got.

Ben said...

hahah. Oden does like 30 years old, and Turris looks like a muppet.

dbushik said...

Bieksa is overrated.

Well, if we hold onto the pick, there is a good chance of one of those top three guys slipping to 4. PHI or PHX may decide Voracek is a better bet. If van Riemsdyk or Turris slips, I think you have to take him.

If that doesn't happen, I like Cherepanov. Either him or Voracek might be more appropriate for that high a pick than Alzner.

If we trade down, I think the hope would be to stay in the top 15 or so and try and land a defender (Alzner could slip down a number of spots, and then there's Ellerby, McDonagh and Shattenkirk still out there likely in that range). I would assume the additional return in a deal like that would likely be an aditional later pick (like a third rounder).

You mention that it's the Kings turn to "shake up the NHL", but what exactly do you think we have that anyone wants of consequence? The first is pretty much it, and I don't know if that's going to be earth shattering. We made the big draft day deal last year with Demitra.

Pretty much anyone worth a damn on our team now is either nigh untouchable or...actually that's pretty much the only option. Blake? Who would want the salary in return for declining play? We're pretty much only up for that because he has a future in the front office here and as a tutor for Johnson.

I'm getting the feeling DL is after a defender and a forward in terms of young veterans to build with. Auccoin going to CAL today could signal Stuart signing with LA as a UFA and there has been talk of Souray also (I'd prefer Stuart).

Maybe we send that first somewhere for the forward he's looking for (heard some crazy rumors we were talking to ATL about Hossa today), but it's probably more likely he's looking at Gomez or Briere as a UFA. Considering the strength of the draft and it being widely considered three players deep on the top end, I'n not sure how attractive that pick is to bring in real talent.

I'm anxious to find out how it plays out tonight. F'in Versus better not pull another boner like they did with the awards show, because I'm counting on my DVR.

Man, I'd galdly have dealt our first rounder for Vokoun...

RudyKelly said...

Who the fuck is Thomas Hickey? Goddammit...

Matt Gunn said...

Thomas Hickey? I mean, he's a great pick around 20-30th... but why the hell did they not trade down? Wow.

Interested on hearing what you think of this pick.

dbushik said...

DL did try and trade down but was unable to get a spot high enough to get the guy they wanted, so they went ahead and took him at 4. He says he talked to another exec with a pick between 10 and 13 whose team was planning on taking him there, so trading down too far would have meant missing this kid.

Hey, it's easy to say "who's Hickey", but two weeks ago you likely would have said "who's Kane". And after the first three picks, the field was pretty much wide open. Some teams had Hickey in their top 10, some in their top 20, some out of the first round. It wasn't just the Kings going off the consesus rankings to take the guy they thought was best. I think 4 first rounders weren't even in TSN's top 50, and plenty of guys fell pretty far.

This was a wide open draft. Everyone's first reaction is going to be about how little the earth shook, but the proof will be in the tasting of the pudding. It wasn't the safe pick, but we can't really make a call on this being good or bad until Hickey develops or one of the guys we assed on does.

I do think DL has an underlying failure here in not being able to trade down, but he probably had to trade down to no lower than 10 or 12 to get the guy he wanted (which would have made for a similar failure if he missed the guy). STL moved their pick at that position, but they were looking to move down. TOR moved their pick at that position also, but they did it to get Toskala. It doesn't look like the option was really there.

I geuss we'll see how fans react to DL as GM come July 1.