directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: What the experts are saying... (updated 6/24)

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, June 23, 2008

What the experts are saying... (updated 6/24)

I'm going to use this post to kind of cobble together what the "experts" are saying about the Jackets draft day moves.

We'll start with and there covereage here.

On Filatov:

Scouting Report: The consensus top European player available for selection in 2008, he was rated second overall by International Scouting Service and first among International skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings... a supremely skilled winger, he excels in important contests and displays loads of tenacity and determination... can also play center but is at his best when flying down his off-wing (left)... produced four goals and nine points in just seven games for Russia at the 2008 WJC in the Czech Republic... will need to add more muscle on his 6-0 frame in order to thrive in North America...

Impact: Filatov is an intriguing player, and he now heads to an interesting situation in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are loaded on the wings, led by Rick Nash, Nikolai Zherdev and top prospect Jakub Voracek, so there probably isn't a spot on the NHL roster for the time being. However, Filatov is expected to move to North America regardless of the Jackets' situation, and he could wind up in the CHL in 2008-09. Clearly, Columbus decided to go with the best player available, especially after trading their other first rounder in a deal for R.J. Umberger--who is expected to play center full time in Columbus.

Espn's Gare Joyce on the Filatov pick:

Gare Joyce says: This was a team in desperate need of D after the loss of Adam Foote. It might come away with the second-most skilled player in the draft. Does this tip a domino for trades? weights in on Filatov pick:

News: Columbus drafts Nikita Filatov

Views: This was the most intriguing pick of the first round because while Filatov was rated extremely highly by scouts, there is always the question about his accessibility. Without a transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian Hockey Federation, there have been concerns among teams about drafting players that may not come over to North America in recent seasons, a major risk when it comes to using a first-round pick. That the biggest reason Alex Cherepanov, a top five type, dropped all the way to 17th last season. But Filatov might be more talented, speaks English relatively well and has expressed a desire to play in the NHL as soon as possible. It's still a gamble for the Blue Jackets, but one that seems to have the odds on their side.

TSN on Filatov:

McKenzie: A lot of time you get Russian players and you wonder how they will get acclimatized to North America. This guy speaks English and a little French. He wants to be here. He's already given notice to his Russian team that he's leaving. He has a consistent work ethic and he's a strong team player.

Update: THN on Umberger trade:

What does it give the Columbus Blue Jackets?
In Umberger, the Jackets land a badly-needed forward with the potential to produce points from the center position. He can also play wing if needed, but the club is far deeper there than down the middle. Umberger is also familiar with coach Ken Hitchcock, so expect him to shoulder a heavy burden in Columbus. He may even become the team's first-line center.

What does it give the Philadelphia Flyers?
The Flyers need salary-cap relief so someone needed to go. Umberger is the right player to move at this time, since Philly boasts two quality winger prospects in Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk--who collectively should make the loss of Umberger easier to swallow. With the first-round pick, the Flyers added a need in defenseman Luca Sbisa, plus a third rounder in exchange for a fourth. All told, this move was necessary for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, so he did well from an asset management standpoint.

Update USAToday's Kevin Allen lists the Jackets as one of his top 5 winners from draft weekend:

5. Colombus Blue Jackets: It's not unthinkable that Nikita Filatov could end up the best scorer in this draft, and second round defenseman Cody Goloubef was a first rounder on some lists.

CNNSI's Allan Muir gives the Jackets an honorable mention on his list of "winners" for the 2008 draft:

To Columbus for snatching Nikita Filatov sixth overall, then adding the versatile R.J. Umberger in exchange for the first-rounder they acquired from Colorado in the Adam Foote deal.

What's even more interesting is who he picked as a loser -- Toronto for giving up 2 assets to get defensive defensemen Luke Schenn:

While every other club was loading up on skill in the first round, the Leafs gave up a pair of valuable assets (a second- and third-rounder) to move up two spots in the first to grab shutdown defenseman Luke Schenn. It was a bold move to be sure, and Schenn seems a good bet to be a stabilizing force on the Leafs' blueline for years, but a defensive-defenseman in the top five? That's the sort of talent you're supposed to pick up with those second- and third-rounders. When you get a chance to draft that high, you have to grab a difference-maker.

THN also dogged the Leafs for their draft day moves.

Update: Dobber Hockey on Filatov:

Columbus – They got a steal in Nikita Filatov. It is too bad that he joins a defensive system. However, coaches rarely last five years and by Ken Hitchcock’s fifth year Filatov will be 21 or 22. I don’t think he will make the team this year…but wouldn’t bet against it. He’s a year away at the latest and will have a rookie year similar to what Jaromir Jagr had. Offensively, his potential is as high or higher than Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane. Getting Matt Calvert at 127 could also be a steal, but the smallish forward could be five or six years before getting on your radar.

On Umberger:

Much like Cammalleri, RJ Umberger’s stock is on the rise. He will be a top line forward on Columbus, and his versatility will allow him to play either wing or center with Rick Nash. Umberger is a good scorer and passer. He is big, and can skate. No real holes in his game, he just never really got the opportunity he needed to flourish in Philadelphia. He is a 60-65 point forward for next year, at the minimum. He also played his college hockey in Ohio (at Ohio state), so he will be familiar with the Columbus hockey fans.

I have yet to read anyone say that Nikita was a bad pick for the Jackets which is a good sign. Of course you have the nay sayers who think all prospects do is go bust in Columbus but with career years from Nash, Leclaire and Zherdev last season I think that stigma is slowly starting to fade.. hopefully next season or chances at a top t0 pick fade as well.

I'll have more updates in this post as draft grades and reaction start being released.

On a side note, those damn Predators. They drafted a guy I really really liked in Colin Wilson. I think that dude is going to be a rock in this league for a long long time. If we traded down from 6 I would have loved to get that kid.


1 comment:

Douglas said...

I'm glad to see the networks supporting Howson's decisions... the guy is taking a lot of flak right now, but I don't think he had many options. The one thing that I don't like is that he led us to believe that he had more assets than he really did, but his decisions were solid.

Also, it's good to see positive info on Filatov. I can't believe how many people are already dissing the guy (just because he's Russian)... are we seriously trying to sabotage our own team?

How bad must it be for his morale and desire to play here, if the fans are bashing him before they even see him play? That is a terrible mistake to make, and I hope the fan base grows up a little bit and realizes that they're sabotaging one of our brightest potential lights, by setting him up to fail before he even crosses the ocean.