June 20, 2012

Full Mental Face-Off: Should the Blue Jackets Try to Trade Up?

Contributor: Rick Gethin

Greetings fellow Blue Jackets fans! After a brief off-season respite, Rick and I are back with another edition of Full Mental Face-Off. It's been a little while, so let's review how this works. Rick and I select a pressing issue pertaining to the Union Blue. We each pick a side and then we debate the issue back and forth, all while trying to maintain a level of decorum that rests somewhere just above the basement steps. You consider both sides and then you vote. The poll is located at the top of the sidebar to the right. Let's get it on.

Should the Blue Jackets try to trade up to get the first pick in the 2012 NHL Entry draft?

Rick: No, and here’s why. The Blue Jackets don’t have the greatest track record on developing players that they draft. Also, is there really a clear-cut number one that is “NHL ready” in this years draft? I think not. The number two pick will be just fine, especially with Craig Patrick at the helm of the S.S. Blue Jacket this year.

Greg: Wow. You’re a barrel of fun. I would argue that the reason the CBJ have done so poorly developing players they have drafted is because they’ve drafted the wrong players. If the two best players in the draft are Nail Yakupov and Ryan Murray, we need to try to draft the right player. Both are (arguably) NHL ready. I like Ryan Murray. A lot. But I don’t think he is the right player. This team needs offensive talent more than it needs another young d-man. Besides, didn’t we Fail for Nail (and do a pretty damn good job of it)? You’re telling me that all along we were just Cryin’ for Ryan?

Greg says bring the Yak Attack to C-Bus. Rick says, "Pass."
Rick: You’re a poet and didn’t know it, Greg. “Cryin’ for Ryan” has a quality all its’ own. Don’t believe the hype in regards to Yakupov. How’s the Blue Jackets track record in regards to Russians? Not so good, as we all know. I would put the chances of Patrick/Howson drafting a Russian player with their first pick (2nd overall this year) at less than 5%. If their only option would be to draft a Russian, I would look for them to trade the pick. I honestly can’t see them taking the chance, once again, on getting burned.

Greg: I had a feeling you were going to bring up the whole Russian thing. The Blue Jacket’s previous forays down the path of Russian prospects have admittedly been fraught with failure and disappointment. But I’m telling you, it’s a trap. Don’t fall into it. To write off Nail Yakupov simply because 1) he is Russian and 2) both Zherdev and Filatov were Russian would be like turning down a date with Kate Upton because Justin Upton went 0 for 4 on your fantasy baseball team last night. Also, Yak is no Zherdev or Filly. He speaks fluent English, has had time to adjust to North America and does not need to be board a secret flight out of Russia to play here. The Yak Attack is the perfect fit for this team, and he would be the no-brainer pick for us if we would have won the draft lottery. We didn’t win the pick, but if I’m Scott Howson I go get it.

Rick: Be that as it may, what they would have to give up to trade up for the first pick is, in my estimation, not worth it. Yakupov is not the “be all, end all” of this draft. Ryan Murray has “quality” written all over him. And if Edmonton selects Murray with their first pick, Yakupov falls into your lap at number two. That being said, I still wouldn’t select him with that pick. As the saying goes, you have to take the “best player available”. Filip Forsberg comes to mind as a worthy selection at number two should Murray go at number one. As TSN scout Craig Button says about Forsberg: he has “high end skill and indomitable will”. If Murray goes first, that would be my pick at number two.

Greg: Dude, are you feeling OK? Pass up on Yakupov if he falls to second? That would be a MacLeanian error.  That just isn’t going to happen. If the Oilers don’t take Yak, the Blue Jackets will. I’m sure the CBJ has inquired about what it would take to swap picks with the Oilers. And I’ll admit that it is starting to look like it isn’t going to happen. The hiring of Craig Hartsburg to the CBJ coaching staff today tells me that if Yak goes first, the Jackets are taking Murray. That’s fine. As I said, I like him a lot. But when you read up on Murray, you see descriptions like “solid, but unspectacular.” That’s what people say about the Honda Accord. You know what words Craig Button uses to describe Yakupov? Speed, quickness, power, flair. That sounds more like a Porsche. We have plenty of Accords. We need some Porches in our garage.

So there you have it. What say you? Cast your vote in the poll located at the top of the sidebar on the right.

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