directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Yes, more draft...

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Yes, more draft...

Its definitely that time of year as the draft news is starting to hit hard and heavy.

There is a video over on where Leafs' interim GM Cliff Fletcher said that there are two teams behind them that were interested in moving up and 1 team ahead of them who are interested in moving down.

Could that team be Columbus? I think its very plausible.

If you take a look at the 5 teams ahead of Columbus:

* Tampa, Atlanta & NYI are in desperate need of restocking their systems with some blue chip talent and I can't see them trading away their picks in a very good to great draft year.

* LA is a team loaded with some top flight young talent in Kopitar, O'Sullivan, Brown, Johnson & Hickey. However they are in a position to take the player of their choice after Stamkos. With potential franchise defensemen like Doughty and Bogosian on the board I just can't see anyone making them a good enough offer to trade out of that position.

* The Blues are a team on the rebuild. If there was a team ahead of us that may trade back it could be them. Stamkos, Bogosian & Doughty seem to be widely considered the elite prospects of the draft. After that you have Filatov, Schenn, Peitrangelo, Boedker and perhaps Myers. The Blues may be looking at their board and say they'd be happy with any of those players so why not move back, pick up another asset and take whose left? I personally don't think that is the case and they have a player in mind that they want - some think its Schenn. They are also a team that could use more blue chip talent in their system.

Of course the team most Leafs fans are speculating it to be is Columbus. On a lot of levels it makes sense. Its no secret Columbus is in "win now" mode but at the same time Howson isn't going to be stupid and start dealing away picks for quick fixes. If he could move down and stay within the top 10 while either....

1. picking up a player that can help us win now


2. picking up more draft picks that Howson could then flip to another team for a player that could help win now

....he could then still grab a player high on their board as well as use the 19th to flip for a center or defensemen.

We have to keep in mind that he doesn't just have to trade the 6th outright - he could just trade down in this deep draft while still picking up "now" talent. Both Howson and Hitch aren't stupid, they know the core of any winning team is going to be built through the draft so its important to keep the system stockpiled.

Lots and lots of scenarios here to play out.

Another interesting note from this article about sure fire top 10 pick Cody Hodgson. Hodgson notes that during his interviews at the combine San Jose was a late add to his interview schedule.

Of course the speculation immediately begins that perhaps there is something to this Marleau for the 6th pick rumor making it around hockey circles. Afterall the Sharks don't have a pick in the first 3 rounds so why are they even bothering interviewing a kid that will go in the top 10?

We also have another new blog post from Nikita Filatov. This time he lists off four teams he think he'll go to: New York, Columbus, Toronto and Phoenix. Of course those are the teams picking 5-8.

He thinks the Islanders are the front runner. Here are some snippets:

And overall, I feel, that the four teams where I can end up have materialized. It is “Islanders”, “Columbus”, “Toronto” and “Phoenix”. Of course, I said a number of times, that I really do not care where I end up in the NHL. It is a huge honor to end up in any team. Why did I decide that I have good chances of ending up on these four particular teams? I just heard that the rest need defense man. These teams will compete for forwards.

Will not be upset, if I am selected by the “Coyotes” at eight or the “Islanders” at five. On the other hand, you know that draft is such a thing that can not be predicted. Anything can happen. At the time of the ceremony I can be traded somewhere.

You might be surprised that I will go to any team, even if it does not in the near future compete for some top spots. (Stanley Cup) But understand, for a young hockey player it is a lot easier to make the team which does not have a lot of superstars or a strong roster. A chance to try would come sooner. Besides, it is only now that Islanders, for example are considered an outsider (not competing for SC). But everything can change. Right in front of my eyes are examples of Washington and Pittsburgh. They were last, took players in the draft and now one team is fighting in the playoffs, the other is playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.

And overall, Islanders are not the worst of choices. As far as I know, there are no problems with possible owner changes, coaching changes; the club is moving away from the veterans, and seems to be betting on the youth. And after all, to end up in New York is better than playing in some city where no one cares about hockey. Always full arenas, interest to the game. But it can not be excluded, that I will spend a season in the Junior League. Nothing scary. But anything is possible. I already know what I have to work on. And I will try, to get an opportunity to play for the first team in this upcoming season.

Certainly some interesting thoughts there. Will he be upset if the Jackets or Toronto grab him? Or is he just saying he'd be happy with Columbus or Toronto and wouldn't be upset if he ended up on the Island or in Phoenix?

Who knows and really who cares I guess. We could read into comments all day but at the end of the day he's just a young kid who really seems to want to play in the NHL no matter where he ends up. also has a this great read on Filatov.

Central Scouting has rated 10 Russians among the top 30 European skaters this spring, but all signs point to Filatov being the only first-round draftee of the bunch.

Goran Stubb, the NHL’s Director of European Scouting, likes what he sees in the 18-year-old Filatov.

"Nikita is a leader, has a great attitude, an excellent work ethic and tons of talent,’’ Stubb said. "He has matured during the season and leads by example and is an excellent skater capable of changing pace, even at top speed. Despite his size (5-foot-11, 171 pounds), he plays aggressive, taking and giving hits. In addition to all that, the thing also attracting NHL teams is the fact he decided at an early age he wanted to play hockey in North America.’’

"If Nikita can guarantee that he will play in North America next year, I see no reason why he wouldn’t be a top-five selection,’’ Stubb told

"I want to play in the NHL right now and I’ll do anything to make that happen as fast as possible,’’ Filatov said.

I know I've been blogging a lot about this kid but he really is an interesting story to follow. At the end of the day I do think the Islanders grab him at 5.


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