If they redid the 2012 Draft, would Nail Yakupov still go first overall?

Jonathan Willis
March 13 2013 08:37AM

The Hockey News just did their annual Future Watch issue, surveying scouts from every NHL team and asking them to rank the best prospects in the game. Is Nail Yakupov still seen as the cream of the 2012 crop?

Yes, he is.

The top-three of Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk remain intact, though Galchenyuk slides ahead of Murray according to the scouts THN talked to. The magazine’s stated criteria for Future Watch is to rank players by who will be the best NHL’er in five to 10 years; despite Yakupov’s struggles adjusting to the NHL he’s seen as the guy who will ultimately emerge as the best of the lot.

Other big moves:

Defenceman Slater Koekkoek, the 10th overall pick by Tampa Bay after a brilliant but injury-shortened 2011-12 campaign, received no votes in Future Watch. Thus far this season, Koekoek has 29 points in 42 games and a minus-24 rating. Fellow blueliner Cody Ceci, who went 15th overall to Ottawa, also missed out – he has 62 points in 67 games and a minus-10 rating.

Seventh overall pick Matt Dumba – who briefly contended for the top consensus ranking on the blueline early in the 2011-12 season – saw his stock fall too; if the scouts THN talked to redid the draft today, he’d fall to 17th. Derek Pouliot (8th overall) and Griffin Reinhart (4th overall) saw smaller drops, each falling seven spots in the new rankings.

Jacob Trouba and Mikhail Grigorenko both made big strides, with Trouba rising from ninth overall to fourth in these rankings, and Grigorenko rising from 12th to sixth despite unimpressive stats in Buffalo.

The biggest jump came for Russian star Andrei Vasilevski, who has excelled in consecutive World Juniors (and is playing lights-out in Russia). He jumped from 19th overall on draft day to 10th overall in these rankings. Eight spot jumps were made by forwards Scott Laughton and Stefan Matteau, defenceman Olli Maatta, and goaltenders Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 13 2013, 12:08PM
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Jprime wrote:

Is DSF...mchockey79?

that may be the biggest mismatch/misidentification of all time.

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#52 OilClog
March 13 2013, 12:11PM
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So Yakupov currently has 1 more point the Mueller...

So statistically speaking, since they're both scoring forwards.. and Yakupov in his first season already has 1 more point, then Mueller the I am not a rookie.. That would make him better.. correct.. because he has more points.. in a league where scoring is the most important part.. Hmmm.

How friggin good are both of these guys compared to that Granlund kid??? WOW!

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#53 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 13 2013, 12:16PM
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This is what losers do, all mired in a slumber of imperfection and micro statistical analysis. +/- is more of a unit performance, team play, moreso than the solo value of some players obviously struggling their first few yrs in the league.

5v5,+/-,Save%, team goal differential, yada yada yada. Kids are expected to struggle, it's the all too familiar on again off again veteran support on this club. Pin the tail on those donkeys.

The kids are all right.....

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#54 Dog Train
March 13 2013, 03:42PM
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It's way too early to say definitively but Yakupov was the consensus pick and I remember most fans wanted to draft him. I like Galchenyuk too but it would be difficult to take somebody who played so few games in his draft year 1st overall. There were some people in the Murray camp and his injury is unfortunate but his ceiling is much lower than Yak's anyways. Hindsight being what it is, people will question this decision from time to time but Yak was the best prospect back then and still seems like the best prospect in that draft today.

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#55 Truth
March 13 2013, 04:14PM
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Murray will be Chris Phillips without the (very slight) physicality. No doubter to take Yak, although Galchenyuk has the benefit of being a natural center. Yak will be a beast in a few years

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#56 2004Z06
March 13 2013, 04:19PM
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I wanted Galchenyuk and still do! I get the whole BPA thing, but why not BPA based on organizational need. Why does it have to be one or the other?

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#57 Wax Man Riley
March 13 2013, 05:31PM
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Todd wrote:

I hate to even engage you, since its impossible to debate someone irrational....

30 games into his rookie career Stamkos had 3g, 7a. So according to your logic Peter Mueller is also a better hockey player than Steven Stamkos.

Its asinine.... Lets talk about Yak in a few years, its just pure a$$ talk now. Dumb.

Hahahahaha..... I would prop this to infinity if the interwebz would let me

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#58 Wax Man Riley
March 13 2013, 05:34PM
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DSF wrote:

Rookie season:

Peter Mueller - 22G 32A 54P -13

Steven Stamkos - 23G 23A 46P -13

Nail Yakupov - 19G 20A 39P -35 (82 game projection) Notice anything?

i notice that Meuller is obviously a better player than Stamkos and I would take him on my team over "Stamkos the Bust"™ every day.

EVERY DAY! YOUR LOGIC IS SOUND!

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#59 dougtheslug
March 13 2013, 05:53PM
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DSF wrote:

Rookie season:

Peter Mueller - 22G 32A 54P -13

Steven Stamkos - 23G 23A 46P -13

Nail Yakupov - 19G 20A 39P -35 (82 game projection) Notice anything?

Extrapolating from a small sample size can be dangerous, DSF. For example, Yak was +2 last night in Colorado. Assuming he has turned the corner on his defensive play, and thus projecting last nights performance over the rest of the season, that translates to a +/- of +33, or over an 82 game season, +101. Real meaningful. As meaningful as your projections.

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#60 Shredder
March 13 2013, 05:54PM
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Has this site really come down to a debate about Yakupov versus Mueller? Really?

And I thought the Gagner rumors were bad...

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#61 DSF
March 13 2013, 05:59PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Extrapolating from a small sample size can be dangerous, DSF. For example, Yak was +2 last night in Colorado. Assuming he has turned the corner on his defensive play, and thus projecting last nights performance over the rest of the season, that translates to a +/- of +33, or over an 82 game season, +101. Real meaningful. As meaningful as your projections.

Oh, I think comparing rookie seasons gives us a little bit of insight.

While the sample size is small it can help to illustrate that things can go up (Stamkos) or down (Mueller) in subsequent years.

Was Yakupov the right choice?

Maybe, although if its' at all close you should always pick a centre over a winger.

Yakupov certainly hasn't done enough thus far to convince me he is better than Galchenyuk.

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#62 Oiler Al
March 13 2013, 06:20PM
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I think OIlers should have been drafting for need last year. It's not like Crosby was an option on the podium.The need was a center and defense , but they took BPA, because someone else made the pick for them ! Not eash to acquire a stud ctr, or d- man.

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#63 Todd
March 13 2013, 06:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Oh, I think comparing rookie seasons gives us a little bit of insight.

While the sample size is small it can help to illustrate that things can go up (Stamkos) or down (Mueller) in subsequent years.

Was Yakupov the right choice?

Maybe, although if its' at all close you should always pick a centre over a winger.

Yakupov certainly hasn't done enough thus far to convince me he is better than Galchenyuk.

End of the day the bottom line is just that the consensus of NHL scouts as a collective is that Yak was and still is the best.

Maybe you are smarter than all NHL scouts.

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#64 StHenriOilBomb
March 13 2013, 07:29PM
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Anyone know what Stamkos' scoring was over his first 26 games? I seem to remember him having a wicked second half...

These comparisons are useless so early into someone's career. Yak's career could be like that of a Kovalchuk, or a Yashin or anywhere in between. We don't know. All we know is that the kid competes extremely hard, has a wicked shot, and can't play defense.

Jeff Skinner had a better stats his rookie season than Stamkos or Tavares did in theirs. Does that mean he's the better long term choice?

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#65 DSF
March 13 2013, 08:15PM
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Todd wrote:

End of the day the bottom line is just that the consensus of NHL scouts as a collective is that Yak was and still is the best.

Maybe you are smarter than all NHL scouts.

NHL scouts have been wrong many, many times.

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#66 StHenriOilBomb
March 13 2013, 08:21PM
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DSF wrote:

NHL scouts have been wrong many, many times.

And I assume so have you. It doesn't mean that your opinion is invalid. In fact, if scores of people with your penchant for stats and critical thinking came to a consensus I'd be inclined to listen to it.

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#67 DSF
March 13 2013, 08:27PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

And I assume so have you. It doesn't mean that your opinion is invalid. In fact, if scores of people with your penchant for stats and critical thinking came to a consensus I'd be inclined to listen to it.

Yes I have.

But, when a draft pick is being lionized while others are outperforming him is a little daft.

Early days to be sure but I doubt Yakupov will be a more valuable player than Galchenyuk.

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#68 Butters
March 13 2013, 08:44PM
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The Oilers had to pick Yak. He broke Stamko's rookie scoring records with Sarnia. He may have been older when he did it, but still. Also, the Oilers could sse what he could without Gally. They didn't get a good look at Gally without Yak or Gally in his draft eligibilty year at all.

We armchair scouts have no skin in the game, if we did, we likely would have pushed Yak.

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#69 DSF
March 13 2013, 08:47PM
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@Butters

Apparently the Oiler scouts wanted to pick Ryan Murray but were over ruled by Katz.

What does that tell you?

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#70 @Oilanderp
March 13 2013, 09:17PM
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Yak will rule. If you disagree I will punch you in the internet balls.

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#71 Walter Sobchak
March 13 2013, 09:25PM
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DSF wrote:

Apparently the Oiler scouts wanted to pick Ryan Murray but were over ruled by Katz.

What does that tell you?

Where's you evidence for this?

You have MacGregor, Musil, Hawley and I can’t remember the other one all pick Yakupov. That’s half the scouting staff.

You have Mac-T telling a room full of media people prior to the draft that you need to score goals to win?

Then Katz just walks in the meeting and over rules who exactly? Please.

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#72 Butters
March 13 2013, 09:41PM
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@DSF, On Oil Change, they showed the scouts going around the room and making their recommendations which was YAK, Could have been staged I guess but...

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#73 Hair bag
March 13 2013, 09:56PM
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DSF wrote:

NHL scouts have been wrong many, many times.

Sort of like DAF DSF........wrong many, many times

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#74 StHenriOilBomb
March 13 2013, 10:42PM
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@DSF

You may be right, but that doesn't mean that it was the wrong pick. (is that an oxymoron?)

What I mean is that on draft day there were dozens and dozens of experienced professionals with the tools to analyse player performance. Most of them pegged Yakupov as the top available candidate. Many admitted that Galchenyuk was probably on the same level, but that it is hard to have that kind of confidence in a player who missed so much of such an important development year. Yak was closer to a sure thing. A known entity.

The choice, I imagine, came down to positional need vs. "sure thing". They chose the more proven player. Fine with me. If Yak busts, or Galchenyuk goes super-galactic I'll be annoyed and pissed off, but will try to remember that I, along with most of the hockey world were behind Yak as the first overall pick.

Of all things, this is not one I will choose to fault management for.

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