Join Corey Pronman for playoff and draft talk.
Corey Pronman (hockey): The Under-18's just passed, the World Championships are entering the elimination round, the NHL playoffs are in full swing and the Draft is a month away.... but asides from that there's not really much to talk about.
Ron (Vancouver): At this point, the Canucks have to be the favorites to win the cup right?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Yes, but if they meet the Sharks in the Conference Finals their talent level is nearly equivalent, but the Canucks do have a notable edge.
Carey (Thunder Bay): What is the single most important tool you look for when doing draft rankings?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Depends on the position. The single most important skill in a hockey player is being able to control possession at even-strength so thereby you need to find which tool at each position helps deliver on that. For forwards, I think it's the ability to control the puck/puck skills, and for defense it's their hockey sense/decision-making.
R.A. Wagman (Section 203): Jameson Oleksiak - a true top ten prospect, or a big guy (a-la Dylan McIlrath) who doesn't completely suck, so gets moved t the top of draft boards?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Not top 10, but not McIlrath either (last year anyways, McIlrath's game took notable strides this season). He has offensive potential, but fringe skater and not very high-level defense makes me wary of taking him in that range.
Susan (LA): If the Canucks offered Kesler, Burrows, and a 1st round pick for Ovechkin, do you think McPhee would even consider the offer?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Kesler was arguably as good if not better than Ovechkin this year thanks to his overall contributions as discussed by Tom Awad a few weeks ago. While Ovechkin's year suffered due to horrid percentages working against him, any year in which he doesn't blow the doors down makes that $9.5 MM cap hit work against the Caps. Throw Burrows into that mix and I have to say yes it's an offer at least worth looking at, although Ovechkin will most likely bounce back next year to his previous form.
JonL (CT): Corey - any insight or opinion on the Rangers new pickup from Phoenix, Oscar Lindberg?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Pro level skater, thinks the game at a solid level, works hard on the ice and has an advanced defensive game. His offensive skills won't exceed average, and physically he has a ways to go. In regards to the trade, he's a much safer pro bet than Werek, but Werek has a tad more upside.
Bob (Las Vegas): Having a "big name" goaltender is over-rated, true or false?
Corey Pronman (hockey): True. Goaltending is the most valuable contribution you can get on the ice, but it is so unpredictable/volatile and the goalie's market is a pretty big buyer's market that it's a waste of resources to splurge on a big-time goalie.
Steve (Nashville): I don't follow the minors/prospects. If you had to rank the Top 5 farm systems in the NHL, what would it look like.
Corey Pronman (hockey): Will do a formal ranking in the summer, but in no particular order the systems that stick out the most are Detroit, NY Islanders, Nashville, Carolina, Columbus and maybe Chicago.
Craig (NY): Which player in the top 10 picks do you see having the most immediate impact to the drafting NHL team? Which player do you see having the most long term impact on the drafting NHL team?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Landeskog is by far the most NHL-ready prospect, but not really liking his upside. Nugent-Hopkins is the player who can likely have the highest career contribution level.
Tyler Seguin (Boston): What's the long term outlook for me? Am I eventually going to be a top 3 forward or was I over-hyped?
Corey Pronman (hockey): You're an elite young forward and will be fine. You were not ready for the NHL, but got stuck between a rock and a hard place because of that stupid CHL-NHL agreement that wouldn't let you go to the AHL which is where you needed to be.
Rangers fan (NY): Which teams have the worst couple of farm systems?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Dallas, San Jose, Calgary, Montreal and Atlanta are the lower-tier ones. I'm not even sure Philly has a farm system.
Bobby (New York): Is Versus going to use the TSN feed again this year or will they have their own team/production crew to cover the draft?
Corey Pronman (hockey): No idea, but I'm not sure you want Roenick giving you his draft prospects insight.
George (Florida): If you were Dale Tallon and Mike Gillis offered Cory Scheider and their 1st/3rd round pick for the Panthers number 3 overall pick, would you pull the trigger?
Corey Pronman (hockey): No and it didn't require much thinking.
Hariq (Philly): Who's going to win the World Series this season?
Corey Pronman (hockey): It's actually called the IIHF World Championship.
Andrew (Winnipeg): How well does Larsson really compare to Hedman and is there any chance the Oilers take him at 1?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Larsson and Hedman get unfairly compared because they're both big Swedish defenders at the top of the draft when they're really not much alike. Hedman is a better skater with more puck skills, while Larsson is a better physical player who is more advanced defensively than Hedman was coming out of the SEL. Don't think he'll go #1.
Bob (Long Island): Give me one good reason why I should renew my Islanders season tickets?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Apparently there's some big announcement coming in regards to a stadium. Also they have a a ton of good young players coming.
Steve (Montreal): Am I the only Canadian that feels like Winnipeg doesn't deserve another NHL team? Their current arena doesn't have enough luxury boxes or seats. Winnipeg isn't exactly full of corporations either. I still remember when they actually had a team and there were only 12,000-13,000 fans per game.
Corey Pronman (hockey): CBC did a feature a while back showing they can pull over 100 million, and CBC would never try to push a Canadian agenda. On the flipside, after seeing what Portland's (WHL)crowds have been like in the playoffs, I'm all for getting a team to go there if the NHL thinks it can work.
Pamela (Iraq (36th Division)): Thoughts on the new NBC/Versus TV Contract?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Have no idea why the contract is so long. It makes the raw totals look nice, but it's not the solution everyone thinks it will be once the deal reaches the mid-point and discount rates kick in.
Craig (NY): Who do you see the Devils picking at pick number 4 this year?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Shot in the dark is Couturier. They need scoring forwards in that organization/system no matter who they pick.
Justin Hall (Toronto): HUGE Leafs fan here, with the Leafs acquiring 2 late 1st round picks, are there any interesting sleeper picks in the 20-30 range this year?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Nikita Kucherov is the sleeper I've been pushing since before the U-18's, and will continue to do so especially after he destroyed the world at that tournament. I like Jonas Brodin a lot as well although he's not as much a sleeper.
Phil (Toronto): Do you think the Capitals will trade one of their young goalies? And should they? Or just wait it out as long as they can to determine which of the three is conclusively better (and stays healthy the most). What is the top end for Kuznetsov? Will he come next year?
Corey Pronman (hockey): They should if they can get value for them, although I don't think they can so it makes more sense not to. Kuznetsov is a top-tier prospect in regards to upside and has above-average first liner to all-star potential at the NHL, although he is a ways away from that point. He is staying in Russia next season.
Marissa (Las Vegas): Thoughts on Todd Reynolds blasting Sean Avery for supporting gay marriage?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Pathetic when it happened, dumb that he used a company rather than a personal platform to voice it, then he goes and tries to defend it on TSN Radio.
Kevin (New Jersey): Who is a good NHL comp for Larsson and Nugent-Hopkins?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Not a big comp guy, unfair to the prospects and usually sends the wrong message to the reader. Will have very detailed reports up on all the big names in the coming weeks, you can make your conclusions off that.
hayward4 (boston): The Bruins have the #9 pick in a draft with 8 clear blue chip prospects. Who do they take ... Zibanejad, McNeil, or Saad perhaps?
Corey Pronman (hockey): From a system need perspective Hamilton fits if he falls there, and Murphy if by some stroke of luck he's there. If all of the above are gone and all the major forwards, then Zibanejad is the player to go after. Saad is not really even in the discussion as well.
R.A. Wagman (Section 203): Corey - while in years past, there was a clear-cut top guy, or top 2-3 guys before a drop off. This year, it seems that there are a handful of guys with no, or little, separation between them (Larson, Landeskrog, Nugent-Hopkins, Couturier). How does this top group compare to past top echelon's? How does the second tier line up to past draft years?
Corey Pronman (hockey): There's no elite prospects at the top, just a bunch of very good ones. Last year I had Hall and Seguin in my top 5 overall prospects, not sure about where the 2011's will be (although the minors are pretty weak as well) but it won't be the same as last year. The draft as a whole though is deep and there's notable talent through the second round, but it's not all that enticing from an overall value perspective.
benrosenberg02 (buffalo): thoughts on next year's sabres? from new years on, they were pretty damn good.
Corey Pronman (hockey): They'll be good, but not great. Kassian will probably be there too, which will help since it's illegal for the Sabres to ever add a significant player through free agency (although with the new ownership that could all be up in the air). Miller's percentages came back to earth from last year, and they may very well swing back the other way slightly next year (which is a good thing).
golfdude (Abany): What do the Blackhawks most need to do this offseason?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Not sign an expired goalie and convince themselves into making him their #1. They are one of the league's elite teams and there aren't many holes.
SLake (Nashville): What have you thought of Craig Smith's performance at the World Championships this year? Is he the next Joe Pavelski?
Corey Pronman (hockey): No. He has pro possibilities, but he's a lower-tier prospect.
Steve (Kansas): Thoughts on Rocco Grimaldi and where he will be picked and/or what type of career he will have?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Just about every scout I've talked to start with the phrase, "If he was 5'11, he'd go first overall" in regards to Grimaldi. His skill set is ridiculous, but he's a stump size-wise. I really like him, and think he'll do well in the NHL because his physical game is actually surprisingly effective, but where he goes is anyone's guess right now.
Brad (Chicago): In last summer's purge of the Stanley Cup Champions, the Blackhawks picked up several prospects. Are any of them promising? Will we be seeing any of them in the upcoming season?
Corey Pronman (hockey): Jeremy Morin is a well above-average prospect and we had him in our Top 50 last summer. Jimmy Hayes is ok nothing worth talking about but has pro prospects and I'm not a Philippe Paradis fan. No idea when anyone will get there, although as we saw with Nick Leddy this year the new Chicago management is not shy about pushing its top kids.
Phil (Toronto): Do you think Steve Mason will ever get back to his first year form or did the BlueJackets ruin him by overplaying him when he had mono. He does have some seriously good junior hockey pedigree/form in the past.
Corey Pronman (hockey): You can't ruin a player by playing them early/too much, he didn't get less skilled, but you can slow down development. Mason got lucky in his first year, but even then he wasn't that good as in regards to his shot metrics he was simply above-average. His low shot count made the outdated stats (GAA, SO etc.) elevate his performance in regards to public evaluation. He'll be fine as he's still very young, but likely ends up an above-average league goalie when he's done developing and not a world killer.
Corey Pronman (hockey): Alright well that was a lot of good questions, thanks to everyone who contributed to the chat. Stay tuned to Hockey Prospectus in the coming weeks, as we have a ton of terrific stuff planned for our NHL Draft Coverage. To reach me you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @coreypronman. Until next time.