Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/21/12 at 08:06 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
There is an old-school assumption about defensive prospects that NHL teams may need to rethink on the eve of the 2012 entry draft, with the Edmonton Oilers poised to pick first again for the third consecutive year.
The Oilers will need to choose between Nail Yakupov, the consensus No. 1 pick, a Russian who’s played the last two seasons for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, and the handful of quality defensive prospects just behind him.
Just about everybody in hockey subscribes to the same well-worn truth when it comes to assessing young defencemen vis-à-vis forwards: Generally, defencemen take far longer to develop than forwards, so if the goal is to win sooner rather than later, as it is in Edmonton, then the best strategy is to take the most NHL-ready prospect, the forward.
But that thinking really doesn’t hold up to scrutiny any more.
Consider that in terms of its overall makeup, the 2012 draft class bears some resemblance to 2008, which also featured one consensus all-world forward at the top – Steven Stamkos – plus a lot of quality on the blueline.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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