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08-16-2012, 02:36 PM
  #1
Lethbeardski
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Drafting Forwards

I'm a pretty new Preds fan, and living on the East Coast of Canada, I don't get the opportunity to watch too many games. I wanted to get some hardcore fans' opinion on how the team has done drafting forwards in their history.

As a (relative) layperson regarding the matter, it seems like the team has had a hard time with it. Several of the team's more prominent forwards were acquired by trades. David Legwand didn't work out the way the team hoped he would, everyone knows how Radulov has(n't) worked out. Does the team have a problem with drafting forwards?

I'd also like to explicitly state that this isn't a troll or a dig or anything. It's something I've been thinking about for a while.

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08-16-2012, 02:58 PM
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I don't think we have a problem with drafting forwards, the only problem is drafting offensive forwards. Legwand is a great defensive forward and so are a lot of the forwards we draft, but we almost always go the safe route with our top picks and the one time we didn't play it safe and went for offensive talent it bit us in the ass.

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08-16-2012, 02:59 PM
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Poile doesn't take too many chances on forwards in drafts, usually takes the safe pick, which can be good, but can also hurt us. You could say that about most of Poile's picks tho, he should start taking some chances.

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08-16-2012, 03:03 PM
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RaiderDoug
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A couple of thoughts on that:

We've actually drafted forwards pretty well, but just no elite forwards. Guys like Hornqvist, Erat, Hartnell, Tootoo, Upshall, Spaling, etc all turned into solid if unspectacular NHLers.

Then again, you have to remember that we've never really been in a position to land a guy like a Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Bobby Ryan, Kessel, etc, etc. The highest pick we've had since '98 was #6 - it's hard to really land those bigtime dynamic forwards drafting outside the top 5.

We've also had some bad luck (like how Tampa won the lottery during our expansion year - landing LeCavalier while we got Legwand), or the one truly elite scorer we got turned out to be a complete headcase (Radulov), Budish's bad knees, Geoffrion busted.

Even so, Nashville has always had a preference to build from the blueline out. It's just the organizational philosophy. And looking at some of the D-men they've drafted and developed, it's hard to say that it's not a successful strategy.

I like what I'm hearing about Aberg, and I think Wilson has big upside and Smith has some serious scoring potential.

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08-16-2012, 03:05 PM
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CBMP is correct. I'd also like to add that Poile isn't going to draft someone unless they're "hard workers" for the most part.

Upshall is the perfect example.

Poile has done ok later in the draft though with guys like Erat and Hornqvist.

He's been throwing a lot of more high risk players to the wall lately though, lets see if any of them stick.

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08-16-2012, 03:16 PM
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gopreds19
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Yes, the team has a problem with drafting forwards. Specifically, our GM refuses to draft them. Instead, he goes with smurfs/smurf-defensemen (Ellis, Blum, Upshall) or goaltenders who are complete busts (Finley, Pikard). The others always seem somehow find themselves in the doghouse of either the head coach or GM, or both.

Other than that:
- Legwand didn't pan out as expected, but was still the right choice there (so bad luck),
- Hartnell ended up being who everyone wanted (though about 4 years too late, possibly due to life in Trotz doghouse)
- Hamhuis was a good player for us, but was playing as a #3 when he's really a #2.
- Suter is a dirty, lying POS. Though our GM is to blame for his departure, and the way he departed.
- Wilson isn't developing as expected, but has the tools. I see him as Hartnell 2.0. He shows signs of putting it together here, but spends so much time in Trotz' doghouse that he loses confidence, and ultimately puts it all together with another organization. Sad.

Really it's a combination of poor scouting and even worse development of our forwards. Want evidence, I think there's only been one time a forward drafted by the Preds who has posted more than 60 points in a season while playing for our team(Legwand in 2006 with 63).

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08-16-2012, 04:06 PM
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Lethbeardski
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Perhaps Poile has taken a VERY methodical approach to establishing his team. Take 10 years to build your defence and then start focusing on scoring goals.

Do you all think Colin Wilson has what it takes to be the team's go to offensive player? Either by creating opportunities or actually scoring goals?

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08-16-2012, 04:12 PM
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TMI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopreds19 View Post
Yes, the team has a problem with drafting forwards. Specifically, our GM refuses to draft them. Instead, he goes with smurfs/smurf-defensemen (Ellis, Blum, Upshall) or goaltenders who are complete busts (Finley, Pikard).
Just a correction here, but he drafted something like 6 forwards with his 8 draft picks this past draft. I believe four out of the first five picks were used on forwards (three left wings and one center).

In 2011, 4 out of 7 selections were forwards.

You're also leaving out Suter, Weber, Klein, Ekholm, Josi, Laakso, COR, Vainonen, etc when you say things like he only drafts smurfs. If you look at our prospects right now we have something like 16 players at or over 200lbs, and another 9 in the 190s. The idea of Poile being in love with "smurfs" that has lingered since the lock out is out-of-date.

Those who say that Poile's biggest problem with drafting elite forward talent is his aversion to risk taking are right on the money IMO. He doesn't have a problem with drafting solid forwards. He has a problem with taking a risk on a potentially elite offensive forward when he has the option of taking a safer, two-way style forward instead.


Last edited by TMI: 08-16-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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08-16-2012, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
Just a correction here, but he drafted something like 6 forwards with his 8 draft picks this past draft. I believe four out of the first five picks were used on forwards (three left wings and one center).

In 2011, 4 out of 7 selections were forwards.

Those who say that Poile's biggest problem with drafting elite forward talent is his aversion to risk taking are right on the money IMO. He doesn't have a problem with drafting solid forwards. He has a problem with taking a risk on a potentially elite offensive forward when he has the option of taking a safer, two-way style forward instead.
Logic and facts have no place in a discussion of Poile's drafting.

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08-16-2012, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaiderDoug View Post
A couple of thoughts on that:

We've actually drafted forwards pretty well, but just no elite forwards. Guys like Hornqvist, Erat, Hartnell, Tootoo, Upshall, Spaling, etc all turned into solid if unspectacular NHLers.

Then again, you have to remember that we've never really been in a position to land a guy like a Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Bobby Ryan, Kessel, etc, etc. The highest pick we've had since '98 was #6 - it's hard to really land those bigtime dynamic forwards drafting outside the top 5.

We've also had some bad luck (like how Tampa won the lottery during our expansion year - landing LeCavalier while we got Legwand), or the one truly elite scorer we got turned out to be a complete headcase (Radulov), Budish's bad knees, Geoffrion busted.

Even so, Nashville has always had a preference to build from the blueline out. It's just the organizational philosophy. And looking at some of the D-men they've drafted and developed, it's hard to say that it's not a successful strategy.

I like what I'm hearing about Aberg, and I think Wilson has big upside and Smith has some serious scoring potential.
While Budish has had some injury problems, he started coming on at the end of the year and has been named captain of his college team in his junior season. We have to remember power forwards usually develop slower than most other types of players. I'm not sold that he's been a bust at this point. Sometimes guys take time to develop. Every time I've seen him in camp I see the tools that Poile and the staff want in a big power forward. I think he's going to be fine in time.

Geoffrion was never expected to be anything. He was a late second round pick and I don't think anyone expected him to be anything more than a grinder.

Radulov was a bust.

While Erat isn't an elite forward, he's been a guy that's put up 50 points or more for the past 5 or 6 years if I'm not mistaken. He's a second tier guy and he was picked up in what, the 6th round if memory serves? Erat is highly underrated and I bet a lot of teams would love to have him on their team.

Hornqvist for a guy drafted last has been a steal.

I think Poile goes for the safe picks because he wants to see the team do well over the long haul. If he takes chances too often, the franchise will suffer. It's a catch-22, do you draft safe and try to get a 1-2 players a year from the draft or do you try to catch lightning in a bottle and hope it pans out more times than not? Maybe he needs to take a chance or two but his formula has produced a very solid Nashville team for the last 8 or so years.

I think Poile tries to go the safe route with character guys that play a solid two way game because he knows that's what Trotz is going to want.

As far as Pickard being a bust, it happens. Hindsight is 20/20 in any draft. While he was a first round bust, Poile's first round track record is still solid amongst GM's and his non-first round picks have generated quite a few players on the roster. To me, almost any GM can draft in the first round, it's the later rounds where you make your money.

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08-16-2012, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaiderDoug View Post
Then again, you have to remember that we've never really been in a position to land a guy like a Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Bobby Ryan, Kessel, etc, etc. The highest pick we've had since '98 was #6 - it's hard to really land those bigtime dynamic forwards drafting outside the top 5.
Can I get you to affirm this quote the next time someone pokes fun at the Blue Jackets' drafting history?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopreds19 View Post
Really it's a combination of poor scouting and even worse development of our forwards. Want evidence, I think there's only been one time a forward drafted by the Preds who has posted more than 60 points in a season while playing for our team(Legwand in 2006 with 63).
...and yet Martin Erat has turned in seasons of 57, 57, and 58 points in 68, 76, and 71 games played respectively (06-07, 07-08, and 11-12), and (with the exception of his rookie season, and a 27-game sophomore season) has never gone below 49 points in a single year.

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08-16-2012, 06:21 PM
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gopreds19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
Just a correction here, but he drafted something like 6 forwards with his 8 draft picks this past draft. I believe four out of the first five picks were used on forwards (three left wings and one center).

In 2011, 4 out of 7 selections were forwards.

You're also leaving out Suter, Weber, Klein, Ekholm, Josi, Laakso, COR, Vainonen, etc when you say things like he only drafts smurfs. If you look at our prospects right now we have something like 16 players at or over 200lbs, and another 9 in the 190s. The idea of Poile being in love with "smurfs" that has lingered since the lock out is out-of-date.

Those who say that Poile's biggest problem with drafting elite forward talent is his aversion to risk taking are right on the money IMO. He doesn't have a problem with drafting solid forwards. He has a problem with taking a risk on a potentially elite offensive forward when he has the option of taking a safer, two-way style forward instead.

Thanks for the correction, but I only included 1st round picks, which was largely where the "smurf" reputation came from, pretty much tongue in cheeck because it seemed the poster was new and probably hadn't been introduced to all the "smurf" talk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post
Can I get you to affirm this quote the next time someone pokes fun at the Blue Jackets' drafting history?



...and yet Martin Erat has turned in seasons of 57, 57, and 58 points in 68, 76, and 71 games played respectively (06-07, 07-08, and 11-12), and (with the exception of his rookie season, and a 27-game sophomore season) has never gone below 49 points in a single year.
I love how everyone points out Erat (and Hornqvist too), as if it was all some grand scheme to wait until so late in the draft to pick those guys up. And then they are proof that we can indeed develop players. Wow, 2 guys. That's great. But...but...but, Smith looks good too. And don't forget Pekka!

Every GM finds a few diamonds in the rough or gets lucky and someone blooms late. But then they forget about all the Arkhipov's, Anderson's, Geoffrion's, Upshalls, Legwands, Hall's, etc etc etc etc etc who never ever pan out.

No player drafted by the Preds has ever scored more than 63 points in a season for the Preds (I think I'm right on that). That's one fact that is abysmal, no spinning it. Some combination of bad drafting and development is responsible.


Last edited by Guerzy: 08-16-2012 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Stay on-topic.
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08-16-2012, 06:51 PM
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I think we are fine at drafting forwards. The issue is that the vast majority of top offensive players go very early in the draft, unlike D and G. The issue isn't our drafting, it's where we are picking. All we can get is two way guys (Watson, Bourque, etc.), Ds, and Gs. We actually have gotten a few good offensive guys as well, especially for where they are drafted (Erat, Horny)

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08-16-2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top 6 Spaling View Post
I think we are fine at drafting forwards. The issue is that the vast majority of top offensive players go very early in the draft, unlike D and G. The issue isn't our drafting, it's where we are picking. All we can get is two way guys (Watson, Bourque, etc.), Ds, and Gs. We actually have gotten a few good offensive guys as well, especially for where they are drafted (Erat, Horny)
Where the Preds fall in the draft order is a major factor. Our one #2 overall was the median for second forwards selected prior to last season (I haven't run the numbers this summer). Hartnell developed into a consistent 20+ goal scorer prior to the firesale (18g in 59 g followed by two straight 20+ seasons). Radulov had the talent but his actions demonstrated why he fell down the draft board. Uppie never developed into more than an injury prone 2nd/3rd liner with brief flashes of decent play. Hall was decent here early in his career, averaging about 14 goals per season as a Pred in a secondary/tertiary scoring role. Spaling is developing nicely into a contributing player. The late round picks are panning out well .... Erat, Smith, Bourque, Hornqvist. We're still waiting to see if Wilson can step up his play consistently .... Budish is in his last year of college eligibility ... Watson is transitioning to the pro game ... Latta .... Beck ....

No superstars, but, enough serviceable picks to build a competitive team.

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08-16-2012, 08:20 PM
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Welcome aboard.. From one to another

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08-16-2012, 09:21 PM
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I guess the main question with drafting forwards or Poile in general is, do you believe that choosing the safe option is the best one (or is being safe the best way to ice a competitive team to the cup).

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08-16-2012, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherHockeyFan View Post
I guess the main question with drafting forwards or Poile in general is, do you believe that choosing the safe option is the best one (or is being safe the best way to ice a competitive team to the cup).
There is no one size fits all answer here. Looking back at some of the first round picks, Poile went with a less than safe option.

Look at 2004 .... a guy with top ten projections talent wise drops to the Preds draft spot at 15th overall. Play it safe or take the talented player with rumors of personality issues?

2008 .... one of the top ranked goalies is available when the team picks for the second time in the first round. Take him or go with a safer forward pick?

2009 .... we go with Ellis when Kassian, Kreider, Schroeder, Leblanc and Josefson available? Smart move to go with the puck moving, but very small, d-man or go forward?

2010 ... which big young forward do you take? Watson? Bjugsad? Go big defender and take Tinordi? (none of those three have a NHL game yet).

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08-16-2012, 11:44 PM
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Viqsi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopreds19 View Post
Every GM finds a few diamonds in the rough or gets lucky and someone blooms late.
Funny, I would think a Central Division hockey fan would be more familiar with the track record of Doug MacLean.

Of the guys who MacLean drafted and actually was the one around to sign to pro contracts and were still in the NHL or AHL last year, it's Marc Methot, and then Aaron Johnson, and then Andrew Murray (who MacLean barely knew; he got his pro contract not long before MacLean was shown the door), and then Beyond Here Be Dragons. Everyone else either couldn't hack it in the pro leagues here, or were signed and developed under Howson.

Compare and contrast with the impact of having guys like Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, and especially Pekka Rinne.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopreds19 View Post
But then they forget about all the Arkhipov's, Anderson's, Geoffrion's, Upshalls, Legwands, Hall's, etc etc etc etc etc who never ever pan out.
I count all of two first round picks in that list. Some case may have been made for alternatives to Upshall (Lupul and Bouchard, despite inconsistency and injuries respectively), but the names following Legwand are real high-octane guys like Rico Fata, Manny Malhotra, Mark Bell, Michael Rupp, and Nikolai Antropov. The only other guys with comparable or better production after him are Alex Tanguay (heck of an off-the-board pick there, and good luck picking him out of that haystack of top-15 guys), and two late-round payoffs in Simon Gagne and Scott Gomez.

As for your second-rounders listed... two of them are both from the acknowledged worst draft in recent (perhaps all) NHL history - and y'all STILL got one of the best impact players out of that one in Erat (whom you have subsequently dismissed). The third has NO impact forwards appear in the rest of the ENTIRE DRAFT after him, unless you count Cal Clutterbuck as a major points contributor or Viktor Stalberg as a great scorer.

And Arkhipov was in the third round. Since we've already learned from you that late-round guys don't count, I guess we can just dismiss that name entirely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopreds19 View Post
No player drafted by the Preds has ever scored more than 63 points in a season for the Preds (I think I'm right on that). That's one fact that is abysmal, no spinning it. Some combination of bad drafting and development is responsible.
Your fact is noted. The conclusions you have jumped to require a logical chain to connect them, which you are suggesting is implied but I'm not seeing it.

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Old
08-17-2012, 03:06 AM
  #19
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People keep saying Radulov is a bust. He may be a bust personality wise, but hockey wise he is far from a bust. I just wish his ego wasn't the size of north america so he could fit in here.

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