by Lisa Brown on 06/08/12 at 01:30 AM ET
Wearing the familiar Canadian flag golf shirt, Mikhail Grigorenko addressed the Edmonton Media Thursday afternoon. When Grigorenko wore this shirt, or another copy of this shirt, at the NHL combine it sparked comments about Grigorenko’s ambitions to stay in Canada. The argument being that after the negative Russian player attention in Nashville, that it might reflect poorly on the young players who will be drafted this June. And so. that very question inevitably came up in Edmonton, Like Nail Yakupov it would seem that Grigorenko also has a great sense of humour saying that of course he would like to stay in Canada, have you seen this shirt? “I came here to play NHL so, you know.. And I have a Canada polo now. I really like Canada, this country and not just for hockey. Hockey is amazing here, I really like to be here and it’s amazing in Canada.”
Ranked by most scouting lists as #3, Grigorenko may soon find himself playing for a Canadian team and a real Canadien if Montreal selects the young Russian, but it is interesting that the Oilers are bringing in so many other players this season. Last season, the Oilers only brought in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when it looked as though it was down to the centreman and defenceman Adam Larsson for a tour of Edmonton and the year before both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin made the trip. And Hall and Seguin appeared to be neck and neck in the rankings. This year with multiple players but a seemingly clear cut front runner in Yakupov it seems that the Oilers may be bringing in multiple players to keep the excitement level up.
Grigorenko, like all of the top prospects is a talented player who has an excellent shot at a successful NHL career, but with the #1 overall pick, the Oilers would be foolish not to select the best overall player (BPA). And right now, from all indications, that player is Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers could still move the first overall pick and select later in the draft but the first overall pick won in the lottery is difficult to put a price on and with any luck, this will be the last time for a very long time that the Oilers have this opportunity. At least we can hope.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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