The Fail for Nail, Blow for Grigorenko, and the Suck for Galchenyuk.
Even before the Habs playoffs hopes were flushed down the toilet, fans were clamoring for a Habs meltdown for a shot at a top 5 pick. The last time they picked so high, they plucked their current franchise goaltender from unsuspecting loser teams.
(Is there a player besides Crosby from the 2005 draft as valuable as Price?)
Will it be Galchenyuk? Forsberg? Grigorenko? Or maybe the top dog, Nail Yakupov?
Habs fans would love to draft one of the aforementioned players, especially an imposing centreman like the 6′ 3″, 200 lbs. Mikhail Grigorenko.
Everybody and their pet monkey is an armchair GM: fan boards are espousing their “educated” guesses on who they feel the Habs should draft:
– We need more size at centre a la Beliveau;
– We need to draft the best available player a la Gainey/Timmins;
– We should build from the goalie out and draft a big hulking D man like the Predators model.
So-called experts such as Bob MacKenzie, Craig Button, McKeen’s Hockey, and Central Scouting scramble to one-up each other on the latest player rankings. Every waking moment of these teenager’s lives is analyzed. Professional scouts show up in the dozens to minor league hockey games amid the throngs of aggressive parents and crazed groupies hoping to glimpse at the next big thing in the NHL (“hey, I knew Crosby from his Rimouski days”, blah, blah).
Save for a couple of blue chippers, it’s impossible to predict how an adolescent will mature as a hockey player. But it’s clear the Habs need to hit a home run with this year’s pick come hell or high water. Now is not the time to play it safe, so if they need to trade up to get an elite prospect, then do it.
Although talent can be broken down into measurable components (shot, pass, defense, etc.), the one intangible is the player’s mental toughness. For every world-class talent like Crosby drafted in the first round, there are two dozen Benoit Pouliots.
This is a prerequisite for playing in Montreal. If we’re top 10 in drafting, I target Galchenyuk, who recently returned from a serious knee injury, so he’s a wild card worth the risk. If we do reach inside the top 5 however, I would ignore common sense about drafting a Russian and grab Grigorenko at all costs.
Sometimes you draft Doug Wickenheiser, when you should’ve drafted Denis Savard. But Grigorenko’s talent is exceptional and at 18 years of age, will mature into a great hockey player.