Deep Ducks

459842519

The stars in Anaheim’s locker room were strangely absent after the Ducks’ 4-1 vanquishing of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

Guys like Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson had massive media scrums around them asking about beautiful looking scoring plays from their conquest.

This is not normal for Anaheim, a team with Hart Trophy winner (and playoff leading scorer) Corey Perry and star centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. All three have contributed in some form or fashion in Anaheim’s nine playoff wins this season.

Sunday afternoon against Chicago, the Ducks showed their depth with their lower lines leading the way against the stifled Blackhawks.

Right now, the Ducks are healthy, and they’re deep – which as Chicago of the two Stanley Cups since 2010 knows, is a powerful combination in the playoffs.

via Ducks’ depth halts Blackhawks stars in Game 1 victory | Puck Daddy – Yahoo Sports.

Yesterday, I got into a conversation over at Lowetide regarding the ridiculous depth on the Anaheim blue line.

The depth on the team is not just confined to the defense but let’s start there.

Beauchemin – Lindholm

Fowler – Despres

Stoner – Vatanen

Holzer – Wisniewski

Manson-Fistric

That’s 8 NHL defensemen, folks and the Ducks have WHL star Shea Theodore right around the corner.

So, how was this D built?

Beauchemin – acquired from Toronto for Joffry Lupul and Jake Gardiner. Lupul was a Ducks 1st round pick in 2002 and Gardiner was a 1st round pick in 2008. There’s a lesson here about not falling in love with your players if a #1D is the return.

Lindholm – 1st round pick 2012

Fowler – 1st round pick 2010

Despres – 1st round pick 2009 (by Pittsburgh). For Ben Lovejoy.

Stoner – UFA signing

Vatanen – 4th round pick 2009 (an absolute steal)

Holzer – From Toronto for Eric Brewer and a 4th round pick.

Wisniewski – From Columbus for Rene Bourque (salary dump), prospect William Karlsson and a 2nd.

Manson – 6th round pick 2011

Fistric – 1st round pick by Dallas in 2004, Acquired by the Ducks after a cup of coffee in Edmonton.

Still to come, of course, is Shea Theodore, the brilliant young D from The Seattle Thunderbirds who was picked in the 1st round in 2013 and scored 13G and 48P in only 43 games this season. (in a brief appearance with Norfolk of the AHL last month Theodore scored 4G and 11P in 9GP…jeebus)

That is just sick depth and I would expect the Ducks will be moving at least Wisniewski and Fistric in the offseason since both are sitting in the press box during the playoffs

I think the lesson here is that identifying and acquiring a #1D is crucial to developing depth since he can provide the shelter (Beauchemin played almost 24 minutes against Chicago) and experience that helps younger D develop.

That is born out by the last 10 cup winners where only the Cinderella Hurricanes didn’t have a stud on the blue line.

It also helps, of course, if you have a scouting department that can identify players like Lindholm, Vatanen, Manson and Theodore.

The Ducks horde of young, talented defensemen doesn’t end with the four in the playoff lineup. Josh Manson, 23, was a solid fill-in for 28 games this season. Shea Theodore, 19, was a first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2013 NHL Draft and is one of the top prospects at the position.

There has been a strong support system in place, with Trent Yawney joining Niedermayer as an assistant coach this season. Yawney coached Vatanen and Lindholm with Norfolk of the American Hockey League. Beauchemin is also able to help mentor them.

Fowler lived with Niedermayer when he joined the Ducks. Despres lived with Beauchemin after the trade. It’s all helped them settle in, and the team has benefitted from it.

More on the Ducks depth on D here.

Before the 3rd round of the playoffs began, I said I thought the Ducks’ depth would allow them to beat Chicago and, as we saw in game 1, Chicago has been forced to play their top 4 almost exclusively with David Rundblad and Kimmo Timmonen hardly leaving the bench.

All Anaheim has to do to win the series IMO is pound Keith, Seabrook, Oduya and Hjalmarsson into submission and that was exactly the strategy they deployed in game 1.

We’ll look at a Anaheim’s forward depth in our next post.

Phil Kessel

QAix3k0

It’s almost a certainty that the Toronto Maple leafs are going to trade Phil Kessel this offseason.

Kessel is a controversial figure because many NHL observers question his conditioning and commitment.

But, what they don’t see, is a player who, despite a season of total dysfunction in Toronto, is one of the best pure goal scorers  in the league.

I’ve always thought that Kessel and Taylor Hall were pretty much synonymous so let take a look at at their respective stats since Hall entered the league.

10/11

Hall – 20G 22A 42P

Kessel – 32G 32 64P

11/12

Hall – 27G 26A 43

Kessel – 37G  45A 82P

12/13 (lockout season)

Hall – 16G 34A 50P

Kessel – 20G 32A 52P

13/14 

Hall – 23G 52A 80P

Kessel – 37G 43A 80P

14/15

Hall – 14G 24A  38P

Kessel – 25G 36A 61P

There is not much doubt that Kessel is a better hockey player than Hall.

The last 5 seasons don’t lie.

What should the Leafs expect to get back in a trade for Kessel?

We have to remember than Kessel is under contract for the next 7 seasons at a cap hit of $8M. (details here)

But that’s not the whole story.

Kessel’s contract is structured in an odd way with, for example, $10M in salary due next season PLUS a $4M signing bonus.

That kind of dough likely makes Kessel an unattractive proposition to any team operating on an internal budget. And when you consider how many teams are already cap strapped next season, the number of possible destinations for Kessel is actually quite small unless Toronto is willing to take a big contract in return.

 

Predictive Value II

Just thought I would update this post to see how the best CF% teams are doing in the post season. As you can see below, only two of the best CF% teams remain in the final four and two teams (Anaheim and the Rangers) weren’t even in the running when the shit started hitting the fan.

I would suggest that elite goaltending by the new age elite goaltender has a better correlation to success than any shot metrics that the Stazis can produce.

Lundqvist .944

Bishop .931

Anderson .925

Crawford .916

The Lightning, Ducks and Blackhawks have the offensive chops to outscore the Lundqvist dominance.

I’m putting my money on Tampa Bay and Anaheim.

Here are the Top 16 CF% teams in the league from the 2014/15 season…let’s see how predictive of post season success that metric has been:

LAK 55.4

CHI 53.6

DET 53.5

TBL 53.0

PIT 52.8

NYI 52.7

NSH 52.7

WPG 52.5

CAR 52.5

DAL 52.1

STL 51.8

BOS 51.7

SJS 51.5

WSH 51.4

FLA 51.3

MIN 51.0

The Final Four

bruce-boudreau-051115-620

There were no huge surprises in the second round of the playoffs with the possible exception of how quickly the Chicago Blackhawks disposed of the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild can match the Hawks in many aspects of the game except one…Patrick Kane.

Kane has been a force throughout the playoffs racking up 7 goals and 13 points in 10 games and the Wild had no answer. The player they acquired to provide high level scoring…Thomas Vanek…was once again a playoff no show managing only 4 assists and a -7 in 10 games.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has a problem on his hands with Vanek under contract for 2 more seasons at $6.5 million.

To get to the next level that will almost certainly included going through the Blackhawks, he’s going to have to add a high level scorer…we’ll se hot that plays out in the offseason.

But…on to the Final 4.

It’ll be fascinating to watch how the Anaheim/Hawks series plays out since the Ducks are skilled, big, mean and built in a manner to get past the LA Kings.

The Hawks, who don’t have the beef in the lineup that they did in their last two playoff runs are built on skill, speed and a quick transition game that depends to a large degree on stretch passes to generate offense.

I would bet that Anaheim will deploy a strategy that has their big forwards, Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, Maroon, Belesky, Etem and Thompson, pound the Hawks defense relentlessly to try and wear them down as the series progresses….the LA Kings style.

The Hawks will have to respond with quick recovery and transition to counter attacking, if the series goes to or near the limit, I think Anaheim will prevail.

To me, the most interesting story is not so much the matchup but how quickly and completely that Steve Yzerman rebuilt a team that is in the final four.

The Tampa Tribune took a look at just that this morning:

In 2011, Yzerman’s first season with the franchise, a team led by holdover franchise icons Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis and stop-gap veterans such as Dwayne Roloson and Sean Bergenheim reached Game 7 of the conference finals at Boston.

This time, the Lightning are tailor-made by Yzerman.

“Back in the 2011 playoffs, we were all relatively new and didn’t know what to expect from our team,” Yzerman said.

“It wasn’t as expected as it is here, where the expectations are a little higher,” Yzerman said in comparing 2011 to this year’s team. “So there is more of an expectation to win.”

Four years later, only two players — Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman — remain with the team.

Now, the roster is filled with draft picks such as Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, undrafted free-agent acquisitions such as Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown and Andrej Sustr, along with trade or free-agent acquisitions such as Ben Bishop, Valtteri Filppula, Anton Stralman, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle and Jason Garrison.

 Pretty clear evidence that Yzerman is among the elite of NHL GM’s.
One facet of Yzerman’s team building that doesn’t get mentioned much is how thoroughly he has mined an opportunity that many other teams ignore…Russians and to a lesser degree…other East Europeans.
Since his first draft, Yzerman has drafted:
Vladislav Namestnikov (2011)
Nikita Kucherov (2011)
Nikita Nesterov (2011)
Ondrej Palat (2011)
Andrei Vasilevskiy (2012)
Nikita Gusev (2012)
Kristers Gudlevskis (2013)
Fully 5 of those players have seen action in this seasons’ playoff action..around 20 percent of the TB roster.
Another interesting item in the TB draft strategy came in the 2014 draft when the Bolts had 3 picks in the first 2 rounds and selected 3 defensemen.
The first of those picks was Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting who, in this past NHL season, where he played for the Sting and, later, the SSM Greyhounds, scored 21 goals and 89 points before scoring another 16 points in 13 playoff games.
The second pick was towering Czech defenseman Dominik Masin who played for the Peterborough Petes, managing 26 points in 48 games.
The third pick was another big D, Jonathan MacLeod, who had a very nice freshman season with Boston University.

I would also be remiss if I failed to mention that Yzerman also signed 6’7″ 220 Czech defenseman Andrej Sustr.

With Victor Hedman leading the way, Nesterov and Sustr already playing significant minutes, 28 year old Anton Stralman under contract for another 4 seasons at a reasonable $4.5M cap hit and 2 thirty year old veterans, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn, to provide support, the Lightning D should be formidable for the foreseeable future.

And a forward group that includes Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson,Nikita Kucherov, Andrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin ain’t no chopped liver either.

Once a phenom like DeAngelo joins the group I think the Lightning will join the elite and stay there for a long time.

They’ll be up against a Rangers team whose window is slowly closing but I like the Bolts in 6 although the bookies don’t appear to agree with me:

via Bovada,

Odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup

New York Rangers                     2/1

Chicago Blackhawks                 11/5

Anaheim Ducks                         12/5

Tampa Bay Lightning                 19/4

McLellan-to-Edmonton talks gaining steam

Featured Image -- 931

oceansidewebtv:

Looking very likely that Todd McClelllan will be the next head coach of the Oilers and will be bringing in his long time assistant with him.

Originally posted on ProHockeyTalk:

Things are heating up between Todd McLellan and the Oilers.

According to the Edmonton Sun, forwards Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle — both currently playing under McLellan at the Worlds — have been asking “a lot of questions” of McLellan’s former player, Team Canada d-man Brent Burns, while also praising their experience under the ex-Sharks bench boss.

“[McLellan’s] been great,” Hall told the Sun.

“I’ve been impressed,” added Eberle.

New Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, currently in the Czech Republic for the Worlds, already interviewed McLellan for the head coaching gig — a position that, while currently “filled” by interim bench boss Todd Nelson, is obviously up for grabs.

What’s more, McLellan previously expressed an interest in joining the Oilers.

“Edmonton has always been an interesting spot for many people,” he said, per NHL.com. “It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there. Now…

View original 213 more words

Predictive Value

So, here we are moving into the second round of the playoffs with, in my opinion very few surprises.

The Calgary Flames have to be the David to Anaheim’s Goliath but I’ve been telling you all season that the Flames should NOT be discounted.

I suspect they will have a tough time advancing to the 3rd round just based on Anaheim’s size and skill but, then again, folks who have been trashing Calgary for their inability to show well in the “advanced” stats don’t understand what Calgary is doing, how and why.

I thought it would be interesting to go back and take a look at what the Statzis were predicting this season based on “puck possession” and hold their feet to the fire a bit.

The following graph is lifted from an article on SportingCharts.com and you’ll see pretty quickly how poorly the author performed in predicting how the teams in the WC finished in league standings based on their possession metrics.

bob-nhl-5_650x393

The first thing you’ll notice is that almost half of the teams predicted to finish in the playoffs didn’t even make the post season.

The other striking errors are the Kings finishing 1st in the west and Minnesota finishing 13th.

And therein lies the major problem of using past performance to predict future success or failure using nothing more than a statistical approach without raising your eyes from your spreadsheet to rationally assess how the ever shifting lineups of teams are affected by new additions, injuries, progression by young players, coaching changes and a host of other things that are reflected in the “advanced” stats.

If you’ve been following along, you will know that I have been predicting big things for the Wild all the way back to last season and, despite an early season scare caused by dreadful, goaltending, the Wild have been the best team in the NHL for months.

My being bullish on the Wild has been based on roster makeup, systems execution and coaching.I could go on at great length about those things but I’m going to address them a little later in this post when we look at some predictions for the second round.

Before leaving the Corsi/Fenwick debate behind, I’d like to remind you that there are many devotees of “advanced” stats that will tell you that those metrics can accurately predict who will win in the playoffs and win a championship. Really?

Here are the Top 16 CF% teams in the league from the 2014/15 season…let’s see how predictive of post season success that metric has been:

LAK 55.4

CHI 53.6

DET 53.5

TBL 53.0

PIT 52.8

NYI 52.7

NSH 52.7

WPG 52.5

CAR 52.5

DAL 52.1

STL 51.8

BOS 51.7

SJS 51.5

WSH 51.4

FLA 51.3

MIN 51.0

I think you would have to agree that using “possession ” stats to predict playoff success is pretty much useless and while any fool would agree that having the puck is better than not having the puck, there are so many other moving parts in play, that ignoring them leads to embarrassing moments like the article linked to above.

I’m sure the author was all agog that he was on to something brilliantly insightful but Maggie the Monkey could not have done a poorer job.

So, what about the Flames?

Why have they been so successful despite being 28th this season in CF%?

If you watched the Flames/Canucks series with a critical eye, you will have seen exactly the factors that can overcome or ignore the current “possession” fad a lead a team to win more games that they lose.

Bob Hartley (who should win the Jack Adams trophy hands down) has designed his systems play around the personnel he has and has and has received total buy in from his team.

There are several facets to what he is preaching:

1) Relentless forechecking and puck retrieval.

2) Pounding the opposition D in their own end to wear them down.

3) Keeping opposition shots to the outside

4) Blocking shots

5) A mobile D that turns pucks the other way with accuracy and speed.

5) Speed through the neutral zone

6) Crash the net.

There’s nothing magical about his formula and it only works if executed relentlessly but it doesn’t lead to Corsi success…it overcomes that metric.

Interestingly enough, I think you’ll see that Anaheim plays a very similar style although their personnel are bigger and more experienced.

That likely gives the Ducks the advantage in the series between the 17th and the 28th ranked CF% teams but I expect the Flames won’t go quietly and could upset the Ducks if they outwork them and execute better.

I’ve likely watched about 50-55 Flames games this season and I can honestly say that I have never seen the team take even ONE shift off.

We’re about to find out if they want it more than the Ducks.

Sunrise

sunrise

As many of you will know…I’ve long thought that Kevin Lowe was responsible for all that has befallen the Oilers over the past decade and, let’s be honest, he WAS in charge all those years.

The hiring of Peter Chiarelli and, most importantly, his insistence on also being the team’s GM, finally brings the Lowe/MacT cabal that has devastated the team to a merciful end.

I’m still a little worried that both of the villains will still be employed by the team in some capacity but they should be far enough away from the levers of power that they have very little influence on the team’s future.

Some observers have expressed concern that Chiarelli was hired too quickly without an exhaustive search but I believe the Oilers had to act quickly or he would have been hired elsewhere very quickly…likely in Ottawa.

So, where do the Oilers go from here?

With the Ship of Fools now departing the harbour and an accomplished POHO/GM in charge, I expect Chiarelli will set out to balance the team.

He specifically said he said at his introductory news conference that he would not be afraid to trade any of the young starts if he thought he could improve the team and, from my point of view, that was the most welcome thing he said.

The team must address goaltending and their woeful defense and, while the former should be relatively easy to solve through free agency or a minor trade of assets, I don’t believe there is any other currency than one of Hall or Eberle to accomplish the latter.

The Oilers have to find TWO top pairing D and they have to be in the age range of the young cluster.

There’s a bunch of talk over at Lowetide today that the Oilers should look at bringing in someone like Chara but, c’mon, he’s 38 years old and is breaking down quickly.

There is also some hope that the Oilers will jump on cap strapped teams to land a first pairing D but, other than Hall, Eberle or Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick, the Oilers don’t have any assets that would be of interest to those teams unless they want to give up Nurse or Klefbom which, I’m my opinion, is likely not wise.

Be interesting to se if Chiarelli and I are on the same wavelength.

Top Pairing Defensemen

1051238_ce58b6ae05

Where do top pairing defensemen come from?

I was “in conversation” with some Oiler fans last night…pretty much all of whom are counting on Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse to soon be a cheap source of high level defensive acumen while the team spends all its resources on the top 6 forwards it has received via the draft.

That may happen but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Let’s take a look at the best defensemen in the WC and how they got to the NHL.

Anaheim: Hampus Lindholm – Drafted  6th overall in 2012. Spent part of 1 season in the AHL and made an immediate impact in the NHL at the age of 20. (6G 30P +29)

Arizona: Oliver Ekman – Larsson – Drafted 6th overall in 2009. Made an immediate impact in the NHL immediately after being drafted.

Calgary: Here is your outlier. Mark Giordano was never drafted but instead spent 4 seasons bouncing between the Flames, the AHL and Russia before finding his game.

Chicago: Duncan Keith – Another crooked development path as Keith was drafted in the 2nd round in 1983 and spent 2 full seasons in the AHL before becoming an NHL regular. (this was before the salary cap era which pushes teams to have more cheap youngsters on their rosters.)

Colorado: – Erik Johnson – Drafted 1st overall in 2006 and played in the NHL as an 18 year old.

Dallas: Alex Goligoski -Picked in the 2nd round in 2004 but made his NHL debut as an 18 year old.

Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty – Picked 2nd overall in 2008 and made an immediate impact in the NHL as an 18 year old.

Minnesota: Ryan Suter – Picked 6th overall in 2003 (again pre-cap) and spent 1 season in the AHL but made an impact in the NHL as a 20 year old

Nashville: Shea Weber  – Picked in the 2nd round (OMG) in the generational 2003 draft. That was the draft that also produced Suter, Burns, Coburn, Phaneuf, Seabrook, Stuart, Klein and Carle who were all taken before Weber. Weber spent part of 1 season in the AHL but was already a beast at 21 year of age.

San Jose: Brent Burns – Drafted 20th overall in 2003 and spent 1 season in the AHL.

St. Louis: Alex Pietrangelo – Drafted 4th overall in 2008. Spent another year in junior but was an impact player as a 20 year old.

Vancouver: Alex Edler – Drafted in the 3rd round in 2008. Spent part of 1 season in the AHL but was an NHL regular at the age of 21.

Winnipeg: Tyler Myers – Drafted 12th overall in 2008. Won rookie of the year in the NHL and then struggled. With noting the Jets also have Jacob Trouba who was selected 9th overall in 2012 and spent one year in NCAA  hockey before making an impact in the NHL at the age of 21.

So, that brings us to Klefbom and Nurse.

Klefbom was 19th overall in 2011 and despite showing some promise in 60 games this season at the age of 21. One would think, if he’s going to emerge as a top pairing D, we should see evidence of that next season. If that doesn’t happen, I would think he career trajectory would most likely to be compared to that of Alex Edler who I believe might be the weakest #1D on this list.

Nurse was elected 7th overall in the 2013 draft and is spending another season in junior hockey and may need a season in the AHL before becoming an NHL regular. As you can see from the above, that would be very unusual for a player with his draft pedigree considering most of the players on this list were impact players at the age of 20-21.

Obviously, every player has a different development path that is affected by all sorts of factors but it is also pretty clear that elite defenders emerge very early,

And, almost without exception, you cannot win a Stanley Cup without one.

Dum Luck

Bush-Phone-ear-finger-copy-512x330

The Edmonton Oilers are likely a much better hockey team today than they were yesterday but they are also a team that is being rewarded, handsomely, for a decade of incompetence.

It is true that the NHL draft lottery exists to give a leg up to teams that have fallen on hard times but the Oilers will now have FOUR 1st overall picks in their lineup and unless their management can deliver a winner in short order, they will deserve every bit of scorn from hockey fans all over the world will heap on them.

With Connor McDavid in the fold, Kevin Lowe and Co. have likely bought themselves more time with fans and, most importantly, owner Daryl Katz but unless they can surround all that young talent with the right veterans (something they have shown little aptitude for), the stakes will be very high.

I would say they have the length of Connor McDavid’s entry level contract to win a Stanley Cup and, if they haven’t, it will be time to blow it all up again.

There are a few reasons for that.

The most important of those is that the Oilers will be in a very tenuous cap position with all of Hall, Eberle, Hopkins and, perhaps, Yakupov earning big dollars and, one would imagine if McDavid lives up to his draft billing, a second contract that far eclipses the $6 million now being paid to Hall, Eberle and Hopkins.

When you consider they have to acquire (and pay) TWO top pairing defensemen and a legitimate starting goaltender, they are likely to have very little remaining cap space to fill out a team with good complimentary players.

Of course, they will likely rely on some of their prospect depth to fill out the bottom of the order but, bear in mind, in 3 years time some of the players will also be needing second (more expensive) contracts as well.

Prudent management I think should already be looking 3-4 years down the road and realize that they need to make some moves now to prevent that situation from developing.

If we assume that two top pairing D are likely going to cost north of $5 million each, you could see a situation in Connor McDavid’s 4th season where the Oilers are paying him $8M, Hall, Hopkins and Eberle $6M each and Yakupov perhaps $5M.

That would be a minimum of $41M to pay 7 players and, depending on where the cap is at, could make it exceedingly difficult to round out a winning roster.

The Oilers can, of course, move any one of those highly paid pieces at any time but, considering they desperately need to fill out they D corp and get solid goaltending, it make a whole lot of sense to start that process right away and get on with trying to win.

Tomorrow just arrived.

Nail Yakupov

YAK

 

On a personal level, there’s a lot to like about Nail Yakupov.

The kid wants to succeed in the worst way, he’s affable, helps the homeless and seems to have toned down his showboating.

But, today, the Oilers extended Yakupov for 2 years at $2.5M despite him being the worst #1 overall pick since Patrik Stefan in 1999.

Yakupov just completed his 3rd NHL season lets take a look at how the first forwards chosen since 1999 have fared in PP/G in their 3rd seasons.

Stefan – .389

Heatley – .806

Kovalchuk – 1.07

Nash – 1.00

E. Staal – 1.22

Ovechkin – 1.37

Crosby – 1.36

J. Staal – .598

Kane – 1.07

Stamkos – 1.11

Tavares – .988

Hall – 1.11

Nugent – Hopkins – .700

Yakupov – .407

That’s pretty damning especially when you consider Jordan Staal was assigned a 3rd line shut down role in Pittsburgh and still managed to outscore Yakupov by a considerable margin.

I can understand the Oilers trying to salvage Yakupov considering they used a #1 overall pick to get him but the reality is he is a marginal NHL player at this point.

I don’t put a lot of stock in plus/minus but it’s also worth noting that Yakupov just won the NHL Green Jacket with a -35 following on the heels of his -33 last season.

You can’t put too much stock in the stat but a career -72 does tell you this player cannot play defensively in the NHL.

Yakupov has two more years to prove he can play in the NHL but, based on his performance thus far…I wouldn’t bet on it.

And, it’s worth noting that Alex Galchenyuk, picked 2 spots after Yakupov, just posted a 20G 46P season (.575 PPG).