John Buccigross on Malkin and the draft

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John Buccigross on Malkin and the draft

Postby Sam's Drunk Dog on Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:11 am

From http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=buccigross_john&id=2404185
John,


In a recent article, you listed your top 10 prospective Hall of Famers under 30. Perhaps the most talked about player not in the NHL has been Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins top draft pick the year before Crosby and the guy selected directly after Ovechkin. Your list included Ovechkin and Crosby. Is Malkin a future franchise cornerstone like the above mentioned or is he a tier below those guys?


Will Linthicun
Taneytown, Md.


From what my eyes have seen, Malkin will be the run-away winner of the Calder Trophy when he enters the NHL. Until someone actually plays in the NHL, there is always uncertainty. However, Malkin has a Mats Sundin game. He is big. He can skate. He can shoot. He can create. He has a bit of nastiness. With Crosby and Malkin, the Penguins are obviously set at center. This year's draft is heavy with centers. Erik Johnson, an 18-year-old defenseman, is tempting to take, but teenage players can sometimes take a long time to develop. The Penguins are primed to trade down, perhaps using the possible first pick as a way to unload Sergei Gonchar's salary if that is in their plans. If someone wants Jordan Staal or Jonathan Toews or Johnson bad enough, it will cost multiple draft picks and a player.


What would I do? I would take Phil Kessel and make him a wing. He can skate and shoot. Crosby or Malkin will get him the puck and Kessel will score. His status has dropped a bit after an indifferent world juniors, where he showed a lack of puck movement and playmaking. Well, the Penguins have the best young playmaker in the game and will be among the NHL's elite very soon. They need finishers. Kessel is immature and needs to train, practice and act with more humility and hunger. But he most likely will be an NHL finisher, and if he plays with Crosby, he can be an instant 30-40-goal guy.
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Postby mnpensfan on Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:26 pm

I don't get the whole "Let's trade down for more picks" mentality I've been reading lately. This draft seems pretty thin beyond the top 4. Let's just grab one of either Johnson, Kessel, Toews, or Staal. Unless we win the top pick and trade down to either 2-4, then I don't want them to trade the pick by any means.......
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Postby Guido on Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:41 pm

Johnson, Kessel, Staal, in that order. sure the pens need finishers, but they also need help on the blueline. whatever they don't get in the draft, they will take in as free agents this Summer.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:29 pm

Guido wrote:they also need help on the blueline.


Don't be so sure of that. Remember, it will be at least 2-3 years (and more if heaven forbid CP is still GM) before Johnson makes it to the NHL. By then, you have Whitney, Welch, probably Gonchar, Orpik, and some combination of Letang, Bissonette, Lannon, Scuderi. It seems that a few years down the road, they should have a pretty solid blueline. But where in the pipeline is a guy like Kessel who can fill the net?
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Postby pfim on Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:50 pm

The Pens "should" have two great playmakers for many years, I'm not sure an elite sniper is what they really need, see: Thornton, Joe.

They do need goalscorers, and if the best player available when they pick is a goal scorer, then that's who they should pick. If not, they can pick up adequete goal scorers through trades or, gulp, free agency. They will hardly ever have the means to acquire a number 1 defenseman through a trade or free agency, so if that is the best player available, they should not try to fill a short term need (which probably wouldn't be filled by next year anyway) at the expense of a potential number 1 defenseman.
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Postby Reilly on Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:55 pm

Guido wrote: sure the pens need finishers, but they also need help on the blueline.


they need to stop taking penalties first. Adding Nick Lidstrom to this team won't help them at all right now.
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Postby DelPen on Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:56 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
Guido wrote:they also need help on the blueline.


Don't be so sure of that. Remember, it will be at least 2-3 years (and more if heaven forbid CP is still GM) before Johnson makes it to the NHL. By then, you have Whitney, Welch, probably Gonchar, Orpik, and some combination of Letang, Bissonette, Lannon, Scuderi. It seems that a few years down the road, they should have a pretty solid blueline. But where in the pipeline is a guy like Kessel who can fill the net?


But Johnson will be better than all of them and a Norris candidate eventually. You can't say that with a straight face about anyone in our system.
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Postby Reilly on Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:00 pm

DelPen wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
Guido wrote:they also need help on the blueline.


Don't be so sure of that. Remember, it will be at least 2-3 years (and more if heaven forbid CP is still GM) before Johnson makes it to the NHL. By then, you have Whitney, Welch, probably Gonchar, Orpik, and some combination of Letang, Bissonette, Lannon, Scuderi. It seems that a few years down the road, they should have a pretty solid blueline. But where in the pipeline is a guy like Kessel who can fill the net?


But Johnson will be better than all of them and a Norris candidate eventually.


Or he could be a monster bust.
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Postby pfim on Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:09 pm

Reilly wrote:
DelPen wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
Guido wrote:they also need help on the blueline.


Don't be so sure of that. Remember, it will be at least 2-3 years (and more if heaven forbid CP is still GM) before Johnson makes it to the NHL. By then, you have Whitney, Welch, probably Gonchar, Orpik, and some combination of Letang, Bissonette, Lannon, Scuderi. It seems that a few years down the road, they should have a pretty solid blueline. But where in the pipeline is a guy like Kessel who can fill the net?


But Johnson will be better than all of them and a Norris candidate eventually.


Or he could be a monster bust.


And Kessel could be the cookie monster. Of course Johnson could be a bust, you could say that about all the players in the draft.

No one the Pens have on the blueline has ever been as highly thought of as Johnson. They're not going to skip over Johnson because they already have Orpik, Ryan Lannon, Bissonnette, Whitney and Scuderi.
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Postby langano on Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:09 pm

I think the main problem with the penguins' defense is lack of experience. And you can't expect Gonch to do much more than play his offensive stlye. Give them time. Chara had terrible troubles up until his fifth season , now he's considered tops in the league.

Jay Mckee would be a good addition for the right price.
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Postby Guido on Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:10 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
Guido wrote:they also need help on the blueline.


Don't be so sure of that. Remember, it will be at least 2-3 years (and more if heaven forbid CP is still GM) before Johnson makes it to the NHL. By then, you have Whitney, Welch, probably Gonchar, Orpik, and some combination of Letang, Bissonette, Lannon, Scuderi. It seems that a few years down the road, they should have a pretty solid blueline. But where in the pipeline is a guy like Kessel who can fill the net?


good point, i guess both needs could be addressed.

Would Kessel immediately play in the NHL or would he ened a year or two like Johnson?
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Postby MrKnowNothing on Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:20 pm

Kessel probably could jump right into the NHL. It depends on wo drafts him. A team like the Pens with a weak top 6 could bring him right up.
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Postby netwolf on Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:38 pm

This could change depending on what happens with the GM post, but Patrick has preferred college guys stay in school.
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Postby Draftnik on Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:05 am

Bucci brings up an interesting angle. If they could unload the onerous Gonchar contract and still grab Kessel that would be appealing. I doubt any team in the top 3 or 4 would take on that ridiculous noose. If they could unload Gonchar and still end up with some prospects and picks it could be a good enough reason to trade out of the Top 5. The 2006 draft chip may be the only card they have to dump Gonchar in the next 4 seasons.
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