IC Radio: Craig’s List with Craig Button
The Illegal Curve Hockey Show airs from noon to 3pm on TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg. The following interview is transcribed and paraphrased from the latest episode, available directly at IllegalCurve.com. Alternatively, you can subscribe on iTunes and have the podcast automatically sent to you as soon as it becomes available.
On Saturday’s show TSN Scout and frequent contributor to That’s Hockey 2Nite Craig Button came on to discuss “Craig’s List” his ranking of the top sixty players eligible for June’s NHL Entry Draft.
On the quality of the draft:
“One of the things I always say, what happens with a draft is so much of it, when we talk about the strength of a draft seems to always fall in to how good is the top end of the draft. Does it have a Stamkos, does it have a Crosby, and it goes from there. Does this year’s draft have those players, no it doesn’t. But I think how you can look at this draft, like any other draft, or should I say the vast majority of drafts, there are some drafts in terms of talent that aren’t as deep and certainly don’t have the same quantity of players. But this draft to me has a lot of defensemen, a lot of different types of defensemen in it, whether you want a big strong defenseman, or an offensive defenseman, or a diminutive defenseman that can jump into the play.”
“It’s really wide open, it terms of those defensemen, quite frankly I think there’s a whole bunch of them, that can fit into any particular situation.”
On the possibility of a drop off in talent after pick fifteen:
“I don’t know if there really is. I heard the same thing last year, is there a drop off. What happens over the course of a season when you’re scouting, players get better. There are players that are at different stages maturity at the begging of the year, but come Christmastime they have started to blossom, gain confidence and are more assured in their play. They start to rise up the ranks. I don’t think there is any better example than Mark Scheifele last year.”
“I think there’s a lot of quality players in the top ten of this draft. “
“For example, Matt Dumba who I think is a terrific prospect, one that I think will be a dynamic NHL player. If somebody says we really like Matt Dumba, but we’re going to take Derrick Pouliot, who might be rated after the top ten. It’s not one of those head scratchers. That’s what I mean about the quality of player, I don’t see a significant drop off.”
“I think you could see somebody that someone expects to go top ten, go fifteen, and conversely somebody who you thought would go eleven to twenty, end up in the top ten.”
On Cody Ceci who jumped from spot twenty, to number nine on Craig’s list:
“He’s big, he can skate. This player can just dominate in every area of the game. On the power play, penalty killing, in situations where the team is trying to play with the lead, or trying to get back in the game. He can get the puck out of his own zone, with skating or passing. He can jump into the attack. He uses his body, he’s not a punisher, but he’s a hard player to play against because he knows how to use his body, he knows how to get in there and lean on opponents. What I see with him is that development of a player that understands not only how to play, but how to impact the game.”
On the possibility that Yakupov is not the first pick:
“I think there is. This is where circumstances come into play. There’s a lot of talk that Columbus is going to consider trading that pick. Depending on what team would want to get there, or what player they think might be a better pick for them. I could see that.
I’ve said this before, right now I have Mikhail Grigorenko seventh on my list. But I could make a case for Columbus to draft Mikhail Grigorenko first overall. I would say that I think it could be a really excellent pick. I do not see Mikhail Grigorenko as a top number one elite center, but I see him as an excellent number two centre. The fact is the Columbus Blue Jackets, in my view have that elite number one centre in Ryan Johansen. Centres like Ryan Johansen benefit from players like Mikhail Grigorenko and vice versa”
The Illegal Curve Hockey Show airs Saturdays from noon to 3pm on TSN Radio 1290