Is Kris Letang the answer to anyone’s question at pick 1?
That’s the question your Commissioner was pondering for much of the last 24 hours after the deadline for picking keepers in the OFNHL closed. Based on at least some metrics, there’s a case to be made that the Penguins oft-injured blueline ace is a chance to be drafted first overall in the 2017 OFNHL Draft.
- He’s a lock to log big minutes (if healthy), including the power play, and will chip in stats across the board.
- Even though he hasn’t played a full quota of regular season games since 2010–11, his three year points average still sits at a highly respectable 70; that would have put him easily in the top 20 of all skaters last season (4th amongst D-men), only one behind fantasy-darling Erik Karlsson.
- He’s playing on perennial Stanley Cup contenders the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- And a good defender is worth his weight in gold!
Sure, if GM Cori Swards was to pick Letang first and leave the likes of Malkin or Stamkos on the board there may be some eyebrows raised. But it may yet prove to be a masterstroke.
Here’s which players each team locked in ahead of the Draft:
Some fun facts:
- Only two goal keepers were protected, but they would be in the consensus top 3 in the league.
- Centre’s were the most popular pick, with 10 of the 24 players protected manning the pivot
- Experience matters: only four players in either their second or third season in 2017–18 were kept on a roster.
So where will the remaining players land in the first round of the draft?
- Kane’s Kandy Kanes
With a first line RW and C locked in, GM Swards could well be looking at his blue line in the first round. The likes of Letang, Ristolainen and Pietrangelo loom.
- Stoop This Patrick Marleau
“It’s a bit ironic i inherited all these Habs as a Leafs fan” remarked new GM Michael Paul. With two solid LW’s protected, no one would be surprised if Stamkos or Malkin are snapped up quickly to solidify his Centre spot.
- 9am? Saturday? Madness!!
With Doughty and Price, the defensive core of this team is all sorted. Time to load up on some offence — if either of Malkin or Stamkos are still available, they are a strong chance, or maybe Giroux will get a look?
- The TarasenkSHOW
With Toews and Tarasenko, GM Schniagl is another who could cast their eyes towards the backend. “I just couldn’t stand to let anyone else have Captain Serious. Even though last year wasn’t his most productive year, I’ve followed his off season and he’s focusing more on offense.” Buffalo’s beast Rasmus Ristolainen could be where this pick lands.
- Backes Streit Boyes
With two top-20 Centre’s locked in, it’s a case of “anything else” for the Boyes. Could either of Boston’s top line wingers in Marchand or Pastrnak get the nod?
- Quick’s Schtick
Didn’t think he’d go for Panarin but here we are! Funnily enough, GM Ng has a chance to redraft another forward stud he let go in Leon Draistal at this spot if he felt it worth it and you know, it wouldn’t be as big a reach as some would think.
- Black Lives Maatta
Hahahaha I’m not telling you anything about my strategy…I jest of course! I don’t think I need D help in the first round, so my eyes are firmly set on someone who will complement Kucherov. Backstrom looks a possibility.
- Hat Trick Laine
One of the benefits of playing with Alistair for so many years is that I know how he thinks. I knew he was going to go with Seguin and Laine, just like I know (I have no idea, I’m guessing) that Wayne Simmonds and PK Subban are on his radar. They are just GM Hogg kind of players.
- I Haz A Saad
What do you do when you have Connor McDavid? Probably draft anything but another Centre at this point in the picking order. Could we see the defending champions load up on the blueline and pair Hedman with Arizona’s Ekman-Larsson?
- A-Ho! (Take On Me)
Shout outs as always to Mark White whose team names year in and year out are just so brilliantly on point. He’s got Crosby and big Buff already raring to go, and in the back of my mind I can’t shake the suspicion that he’s putting Mitch Marner and Brayden Schenn through some pre-draft workouts…
- Oshie Likes It Ruff
The young gun and the ageing star; yes, the Ruff’s could make a buddy-cop styled series based around their two keeper choices. “Eichel and Ovie” has every chance to be the feel-good hit of the year, but who will be GM Thierry’s love interest — a young gun defender like Werenski or Ghost Bear? Someone more mature like Giordano? Or maybe the dangling allure of Kopitar will take his fancy?
- Very Zibadbjad
Burns and Matthews are going to be putting up points for daaaayyysss for last years ‘Presidents Cup’ winners, so maybe that means GM Thompson will again look to lead from the front and grab an out-and-out lock in net — Devan Dubnyk or Matt Murray anyone?