Chiarelli Snowed Under

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The 2012 NHL draft was absolutely loaded with blue chip defensive prospects.

For much of that year leading up to the draft, there was a lot of chatter that Ryan Murray might be taken 1st overall but as often happens, Murray fell while the Oilers blew a foot off and selected yet another scoring winger who can’t play a 2 way game.

See the photo above and you’ll instantly recognize that 4 of those teenage defensemen were from the 2012 draft and, if not injured I imagine they would have been joined by Murray.

Not pictured is 4th overall pick Griffin Reinhart who has managed only 8 NHL appearances and those came a season later.

The next 6 picks in that draft were all D and all of them have played significant games in the NHL others selected later in the 1st round and even the 2nd and 3rd rounds have become NHL regulars.

Here they are sorted by GP.

Hampus Lindholm 156

Morgan Rielly 154

Jacob Trouba 130

Cody Ceci 130

Olli Maata 98

Mat Dumba 71

Damon Severson 51

Derrick Pouliot 34

Connor Carrick 34

Petteri Lindbolm 23

Jake McCabe 9

Griffin Reinhart 8

Slater Koekkek 3

Shayne Gostisbehere 2

Brett Kulak 1

Obviously, Reinhart has fallen way behind the pack and I’m sure the NYI would have loved a mulligan on their pick and, of course, shipped Reinhart to the Oilers at the draft when the Oilers dangled the 16th and 33rd picks which the Islanders used to take Mat Barzal and, after a small trade. Anthony Beauvillier.

The latter may have been a bit of reach but Bob McKenzie had Barzal ranked 9th and I believe he would have been rated even higher if not for a freak off ice accident that broke his kneecap.

Despite the injury, Barzal scored more than 1PPG in the WHL and projects to be a dynamic potential winger for John Tavares.

While doing my Sunday morning whip around the web I ran into this somewhat contradictory comment from Lowetide:

LOWETIDE says:

One thing I wonder about Reinhart is his current trade value. If Edmonton decided to deal him today (which they won’t, this is just blue sky) what could they get in return? I suspect it’s fairly close to what they gave up but in a year the value will differ. By that I mean he’ll either have established himself a great deal more than he has so far, or he’ll be trying to break in to the NHL and his value will have gone down. It’s an important year for him.

While I can certainly agree with LT’s final point, I can’t get on board with the rest of it.

Given Reinhart’s slow progress post draft, I doubt you would find many GM’s who would trade a high 1st round pick in a very deep draft never mind throw in the 33rd pick.

Garth Snow absolutely picked Peter Chiarelli’s pocket on this one unless Reinhart arrives next season in a very big way.

And, even if he does, Mat Barzal may make the Oilers look very, very stupid on this one.

That will be an interesting race to watch but even more interesting is the development of Thomas Chabot  who the Oilers could have taken at 16 if they wanted a defenseman.

Craig Button:

His year-to-year development has been terrific. Plays a very assured game with and without the puck. He possesses excellent mobility and it allows him to be very effective defensively and to transition to offence quickly. A very good passer who gets the puck into the right spots at the right times. He showed glimpses of being in the group of top three defencemen of this draft, along with Hanifin, Provorov and Werenski.

In looking at drafts, I’ve always believed you can find tremendous value by keeping any eye on players who rise rapidly through the rankings in their draft year….and that fits Chabot to a tee.

From Defending Big D:

Thomas Chabot has had a pretty impressive rise up the draft rankings since the beginning of the year. On the NHL Central Scouting watching list before the season began he was listed as a ‘B’ prospect. One that could go between the second and fourth rounds. He now ranks 16th overall in North American Skaters in their final listing.

His rise up the rankings is reminiscent of Philadelphia Flyers first round pick last year, Travis Sanheim.

So who is Thomas Chabot? He’s a two way defenseman from the QMJHL who has stepped up into an important role for the Sea Dogs. Last season he was a rookie and relied upon a veteran to show him the ropes, this year he has become the veteran.

He’s doubled his points totals from his rookie season and it’s clear that he considers the special part of his game to be the offensive side. His skating is very good and helps him when he joins the rush up the ice. He’s also developed a reputation for his quick and clever plays over the past year, something that won’t have hurt his draft ranking at all.

Like many defenseman who like playing in the offensive zone they also have some defensive issues. His rookie season was seen as being quite one dimensional, with much of the focus on the offensive zone. It was this season that he’s started to use his body more and to focus more on the defensive aspect of his game.

It’s paid off, he’s scoring more but he’s also much better in his own zone than he was before.

That sounds to me like a player who is a great fit for the quick transition game that is becoming de rigeur in the NHL and, if he continues to improve defensively, he may make Reinhart look like an average #4 D that now seems like his upside.

Of, course lots of things can happen on the way to Grandma’s House but I think we have the basis of a very good story to unfold over the next few seasons and I would wager it’s not going to be a happy ending for the Edmonton Oilers.

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5 thoughts on “Chiarelli Snowed Under

  1. A key takeaway from a couple of conversations with Billy Moores years ago, “The key to every position (including goaltending) is skating.

    I have not seen Reinhart since he has turned pro, but my impression from Jr. was that he was only an average skater at that level, relying instead on great positioning and size dominate mostly younger skaters.

    If I am wrong, (as Chiarelli seems to think) or if his skating has improved greatly, the Oilers will have a huge shutdown guy. If I am right, the Oilers will have another Colten Teubert or Alex Plante.

    Much better skating defencemen, like Reilly or Pouliot would have been a much smarter draft bet, IMO.

    I also find it interesting that, of all of the non-established young defencemen that they could have gone after, they chose to target an ex Oil King.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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    1. Everything I’ve read indicates he is an average skater.

      If so, his upside is likely a #4 shutdown D if everything breaks right.

      I don’t think you trade a high pick in a deep draft for that kind of potential.

      As you say, I would think there were much better options.

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  2. I can find evidence that suggest both sides of the skating argument but even MacKenzie has him as a above average skater.

    http://lowetide.ca/2015/07/12/a-real-live-griffin/

    The one thing we can figure out without to much guessing is Chiarelli listened to MacTavish and Green then made the trade based on information given to him by both men.

    To me, I think Green most likely will get his head chopped off at the end of ne t season when Nurse flys past Rienhart.

    As much as people who say “they seen him good ” with the Oil Kings, I can counter that Musil was just as important to the Oil Kings cup run as Rienhart was and played just as big of roll.

    To me Musil is Reinharts comparable, I’ve had season tickets to both Oil Kings and Oilers and while Rienhart moves a little better then Musil and has a little quicker first step, it’s his hokey I.Q that that’s superior to Musil but that alone won’t get him to the NHL.

    problem is he hasn’t been able to do that at full speed and that’s the issue, he’s big, he’s mobile, he’s got a good first pass, he’s quick enough with a little above average first step but he can bring it all together even at the AHL level and was passed on the NYI depth chart, thus making him expendable.

    In the end it’s an overpayment and a pretty big one, at the same time I think he’s got a outside shot at second pairing most likely at 4 but he needs to invest significant off season work and AHL development.

    Crazy but Nurse will blow past him this year IMO

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    1. Still lots of time to see how this plays out but I remain adamant that you don’t trade a high 1st round pick for a “potential” second pairing D and then throw in another pick to boot.

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