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06-21-2009, 04:15 PM
  #8
Langway
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Is it still a risk if a weakness can be masked and minimized? It's not like he'd have to carry a line in DC in the coming years unless some drastic changes are made up front. Judging a guy's NHL potential just based on stats alone is a pretty faulty endeavor. Context matters, as does the inexact science of projecting a player's skill set to the NHL level.

Players that are that big, can skate as well as he does and has his finishing ability are going to be highly valued. Maybe not as much as in the old NHL but I wouldn't say he's as big of a risk overall as some in that range. It's a solid draft but it's not quite 2003-esque...and even then not every player panned out. His current baseline talent should allow him to at least be a checking line player. That's more than could be said for some in the back-end of the first potentially. There are question marks for pretty much every prospect once they're placed under the microscope. It's a matter of what can be minimized, overcome and developed.

In Ashton's case one could argue that had he stayed in a more prominent role his production would have just masked some of these underlying area (perhaps not upon closer scrutiny but merely stats-based judgments). Instead you get a down second half and the potential for a team to get a player that could have potentially gone much higher had his season finished up differently.

Unless they're heads over heels for O'Reilly, they should trade down if he's their guy. He should still be there a handful of spots later--if not more--unless he's really climbed up teams draft charts from the interview process.

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