Thread: Speculation: Value of #1 Pick
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03-05-2011, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Crede777 View Post
The value of the 1st pick by itself is low. We'd be better off keeping it and drafting someone as opposed to trading it straight up.

Its utility, in my opinion, comes mostly in the ability to incorporate it into a package.
I agree with this. I don't know that the value of a first-round pick has ever been lower, which is pretty much the opposite of what I predicted when the salary cap was implemented. A first-rounder was used to acquire Mike Fisher, a 30-year-old second-liner with a contract that is way out of skew relative to his production.

Originally Posted by GoChiefsGo View Post
I've made arguments for smaller players coming out of junior before and been completely wrong, so I think it's only fair that I offer my completely unbiased opinion on Ryan Murphy's NHL potential.

While I love his game on the junior level, I seriously have doubts about his ability to translate that game to the NHL. We're talking about a 5'10 defenseman that's listed at 160 pounds. While it's worth noting that junior teams do have big players, there is a higher ratio of smaller players in junior than there is in the NHL. That simply gets overlooked in alot of situations, I feel, when comparing an undersized player's size to other players around him. 5'10" is a HUGE difference to the average height of today's NHL defenseman. I'm not sure on the exact number, but I'd be willing to bet that if you surveyed the entire NHL, you would come back with an average number around 6'1", 210 pounds. That's literally just a guess, so take that for what it's worth.
I don't think that the difference is even consequential for a variety of reasons. Physical height is a terribly overrated number, and weight (which is generally used as a rough indicator of strength) fails to take all sorts of genetic factors into account. Olympic weightlifters are an example of guys who are extremely slight and yet freakishly strong, and things that don't show up in height/weight like limb length and muscle attachment points are as important or more important than height and weight.

Gilbert Brule absolutely WRECKED the WHL through his draft year and the following season, when he was sent back late in the year. When he got to the NHL, his game simply didn't transfer over - and I will make the argument that his size was the main reason for that. He played a hard checking, power forward game in the WHL (over 200 PIMs in his draft year), and simply wasn't able to do that against the larger NHL forwards.
In retrospect, there was a huge red flag. Brule was noticed and stood out in every game that he played because he was always doing something. If he wasn't scoring, he was passing. If he wasn't passing, he was hitting. If he was getting hit, he was destroying an opponent (Ondrej Fiala, this means you).

But what was overlooked was that he basically was told to go out there and play without much regard for complex systems and the ability to think on the fly. At the NHL and even the AHL level, he always seemed to be behind....he'd go the wrong way, he'd stand flat-footed and get turned around on a breakout, he'd get confused in the neutral zone and basically float through space. The modern NHL requires a cerebral approach on the ice; I don't necessarily go for the lost confidence angle as much as the fact that he always looked tentative.

When Kris Russell was drafted by the Blue Jackets, I was absolutely ecstatic - more excited to see him go to the Jackets than I was any other player in that draft, because I had seen him play live and I knew that he was going to be a star defender in the NHL. One of the first things I did was tout him heavily on these boards to all of my fellow Jacket fans, I seriously thought he was the next Larry Murphy.

Looking back, I now realize that Russell was an extremely longshot to even make it to the NHL. I fear the same things with Murphy - one time into the corner with Milan Lucic on the forecheck could completely change him forever.
I think Russell's issues stem from a variety of other causes. It's been said many times before that defensemen tend to have a steeper learning curve; in that sense, Russell's sporadic play is not entirely unexpected, but his failure to have really begun to progress is alarming.

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