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Re; Blackhawks 2004 Draft Preview

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06-18-2004, 01:31 PM
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Re; Blackhawks 2004 Draft Preview

The HF Staff who wrote this article,identify LW's,gritty 2-way forwards,and getting a potential 30-40 goal scoring forward,in 3 different places in the article as the biggest needs for the draft....they say the Hawks will take Olesz (though he is not a LW nor does his inconsistent scoring suggest he can be a 30-40 goal scorer down the road--he's more likely to turn into a Holik or Bonk,IMO).....

At various times recently,Dale Tallon has said the Hawks priority for the draft will be: players who have "character",players who have "passion",SPEED up front,and
"explosive offense"........the Hawks say they will only trade the #3 pick UP not down --and reportedly they are discussing going after the #1 with WASH (for Ovechkin) and presumably if that fails,will also pursue a deal with PIT for the #2 (Malkin)-------but Tallon also stated they will not OVERPAY......so likely neither deal will go through and they probably end up having to draft at #3 ....

Think about this: IF Ovechkin really was a "franchise" player (we can discount Rick Dudley's opinion that he's the best Russian prospect in 20 years--the "expert",Dudley was canned by FLA of course,so obviously somebody doesn't think ghe's such an expertin talent judgement),then why would WASH ever consider passing on him in a trade? Obviously if WASH thinks they can live with the #3 (passing on Ovechkin and Malkin) in any deal with CHI,then they are in effect saying Ovechkin is iffy as a "franchise" player---CHI should think very carefully about giving away to much on what may be an iffy propiosition.........
Of course,WASH might decide that he really is a "franchise" player and keep the #1
We shall see what transpires...

However should CHI fail to move up for either Ovechkin or Malkin,then it is really up in the air as to who they might pick....some like HF say Olesz (though some like me doubt if he brings the "explosive offense","passion",or real SPEED,Tallon stated he wanted...others,thinking more like HF's needs analysis are championing LADD (LW,gritty 2-way guy, with loads of "Dub character" and "passion"---the only question marks,his SPEED --some say just average,and his real offensive potential by himself (ie. without a dominating centre like Getzlaf to set him up)....
Besides LADD shows up mostly as a 7-9 choice on most lists--taking him at #3 might be too high...

Some like me have championed Tukonen =size,SPEED,good work ethic and physical play =projected as a safe pick to be a good power forward =appears as the #4or #5 on most lists........plus he's the baby of the draft nearly a year younger than Ovechkin,so his true potential might have just been exposed with his great play towards the end of this season.....

BUT--I have championed Alexander Radulov even ahead of Tukonen----in agreement with Redline that he is the next best forward after Ovechkin and Malkin...
You cannot ignore his great stats for his age with TVER in the Upper League this season--while they did not equal Kovalchuk's for trhe same age in the same league
they were BETTER THAN Zherdev's....and it is still playing against men,with the exception of only a few juniors in that league.....SPEED,the promise of some "explosive offense" ,a hard work ethic,very good U-18 tournaments in Feb and April,also young (like Malkin,he turns 18 only in July) --and he plays with loads of "passion" --the only question marks are about his "character" in that he had run -ins with coaches and refs---some say this is ego --others say it resulted from his emotion and passion--so what some see a negative other like as positive;the other
concerns are that he has to work on improving his defensive assignments --unlike his brother Igor who is also deficient in this area,Alex's problem is not laziness,but probably the lack of a "natural" instinct/awareness of defensive responsibilities--but he admits he has to work on it and it can be taught if the kid is willing to learn--so I would not weigh this too much in comparison to what he can bring on offense which is natural and you either have the skills or not.......not surprisingly Radulov has the widest differences of opinions about him --ranging from the 3rd best forward (my opinion + Redline's) to some not having him taken even in the top ten,but only somewhere in the next ten--surprisingly,despite his brother Igor being in the organization,there has been very little talk in the Chicago media or on fan website boards about Chicago taking him----but clearly he fits some of CHI's profile for the player they want better than anyone else left on the board at #3(passion,speed,explosive offense) --and it is hard to know whether descriptions of his hard work ethic involve enough "effective" grit or not--he is never classed as a power forward --but that does not mean that as he matures and adds more weight and muscle that he won't supply the grit one wants--one scouting report in
the Hockey News said he plays more like a Finn than a Russian --that he will go through a player to get to a puck---if this is the way he plays,then adding the muscle as he grows older will make him even more effective in the grittier aspects--BUT what neither time nor maturity can improve is the natural SPEED,one on one skills,and offensive catalyst instincts a player has....so I have to hope tallon also thinks the same........besides,there may be the added benefit of motivating older brother IGOR to play harder and use his own natural scoring ability if his younger bro is there on the team with him,perhaps even on the same line.........however,while my own "hunch" says take Radulov,the Hawks usually take a different view than me --so if not him,then at least take the safe pick in Tukonen
--but they probably will do what most have been predicting: Barker (even though they need forwards after several recent drafts stockpiling D-men),Olesz,or Ladd...
While I am not impressed with Barker or Olesz,Ladd I suppose I can live with it in that he projects to no worse than a contributor on line two or three--but I still question whether his upside is as an offensive catalyst for line one material,and should either Radulov or Tukonen turn out better picks,then I will look back on this draft as the Hawks blowing another opportunity...

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06-18-2004, 01:36 PM
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For what it's worth, I've heard that at least one Chicago scout has Barker rated 3rd. Don't know if that will be the final call, but it could have an influence.

#3 spot seems to be a good pick to trade if the Hawks aren't sold on one player in particular. They could move down a half dozen spots or so to a team that does have a clear favoite at #3.

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06-18-2004, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by hawksfan50
Think about this: IF Ovechkin really was a "franchise" player (we can discount Rick Dudley's opinion that he's the best Russian prospect in 20 years--the "expert",Dudley was canned by FLA of course,so obviously somebody doesn't think ghe's such an expertin talent judgement),then why would WASH ever consider passing on him in a trade? Obviously if WASH thinks they can live with the #3 (passing on Ovechkin and Malkin) in any deal with CHI,then they are in effect saying Ovechkin is iffy as a "franchise" player

Because a GM who thinks Ovechkin's great got fired, that means Ovechkin isn't great? Sorry, try again.

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06-18-2004, 02:07 PM
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I think the Blackhawks potentially trade down.... They say they want a forward right??? well alot of teams think barker is going to go third. So why don't the hawks pretend their gonna take him and then trade down a few spots and get a guy like Schremp who may be a better pick anyways than Barker in the long run and they can get another player with this deal.....

The truth is the hawks are ok on the defensive side of things from a prospects perspective:
McCarthy, Seabrooke, Babchuk....... they can afford to do this transaction....

Just a thought but maybe a good idea...

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06-18-2004, 02:19 PM
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Since I am familiar with the article , I might give some perspective from HF Staff. If you look at the overall prospect list of Chicago and include their young players, Yakubov, Radulov, Vorobiev, Arnason, Bell, Calder, and their blueliners (A nice bunch.) you see that complimentary players are where they are lacking the most. If Yakubov et al, develop properly, skilled players are going to be the place where they are least deficient.

Think of the Ottawa Senators of a few years ago. Skill, skill, skill, but everyone said they needed more grit and toughness up front. They go out and acquire the Smolinkis, Rob Rays etc to be complimentary to the Havlats, Hossas, Alfredssons and Bonks. Chicago is in a similar position in that respect.

That said, all throughout the season Rostislav Olesz was the guy that was ranked top 3 with Malkin and Ovechkin. He has been playing with men since the age of 15 and has no glaring weaknesses in his game. He has been compared to everyone from Holik to a more offensive Milan Michalek. Also, take a look at what is coming down the pipe for the Blackhawks at center and see if an offensive minded Bobby Holik type player might fit in the mix.

Regardless of team needs, grit, character, we all know that all that gets thrown out the window when you are looking at the top echelon of players. Sure, Chicago can look at Barker. Sure they can look at Ladd. Sure they can look at Tukonen. They would be stupid not to. As far as Barker goes, I would rank him, Tukonen, Ladd and Olesz as all very close, but all things considered equal, the Hawks have Babchuk, Seabrook, Barinka, Wisniewski all with bright futures, Barker isn't who I would select at three. If I personally were the GM of Chicago, I would make Columbus pay me not to take him and grab Olezs with number 4 overall while adding a 4th round pick.

Now, when it comes to the 2nd round, that is where the addressing of team needs might happen with #32, 41, 45 and 54 overall picks. I would expect to see one or two strong two way, gritty forwards from North America.

All of this would be opinion and conjecture after studying the draft for about 2-3 hours a day for the last 6 months, but again, the only people who really know what is going on are Tallon, Dumas and their staff. I am sure they see it differently than I do.

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