As I re-watched this classic flick (including in the lovely Garneau Theatre and when you still where allowed to throw rice/toast and bring waterguns), I have come to appreciate the loveliness of Columbia, or Nell Campbell, a in a deep and disturbing way. It is not just the star of the show which should be keeping our attention, but the supporting cast that makes a decent bit of eye-candy a truly frame by frame kinda of event (for you young'ens: pay attention to Columbia during the 'Floor Show'- it is worth it). Seriously, you have to be some kinda of square to prefer Janet to Columbia!
In my opinion, Columbia is like our second round pick: fantastic in their own right, but will always be thought of as the after thought, or a 'groupie'. That is until time passes and we re-watch the movie or see the player develop. So in this blog, I am going to look at who might be available when the Oilers walk up to the podium with the 31st pick overall.
First lets look at how the Oilers draft by position since 2000 in the first three rounds:
2009: 1st-LW, 2nd-C, 3rd-D/RW
2008: 1st-C, no 2nd or 3rd round picks (but they did pick a D in the 4th)
2006: 2rd-D, 3rd-D
2005: 1st-C, 2nd-D, 3rd-D/C
2004: 1st-G/C, 2nd-D/LW
2003: 1st-C, 2nd-RW/LW, 3rd-C/C
2002: 1st-C/G, 2nd-C/D, 3rd-LW
2001: 1st-RW, 2nd-D/LW, 3rd-D
2000: 1st-LW, 2nd-LW, 3rd-D
Well there is no obvious pattern that smacks you with a 2x4, but I think we can gleam some information. Discounting goalie picks, the Oilers have picked a defenseman immediately after picked a forward 5 out of 10 time (08, 07, 05, 04 and 01). In all but two drafts (06 and 03), the Oilers have picked at least one forward and one defenseman in the first two rounds. I was thinking that the Oilers were almost a lock to pick a defenseman with the 31st pick, but according to recent history that seems only 50% likely, and they would still have two (maybe three more picks, depending on Calgary) to find a Dman in the top three rounds.
Assuming I am wrong, and the Oilers are going to pick a Dman with the number 31 pick, who would be on their radar*:
Jonanthon Merril (USA U-18), ranked 21st NA Skaters
6'3" 198 lbs. (commited to Univ. of Michigan)
22 GP, 1 G, 8A, 9Pts, 12 PiM (0.409 Pts/G)
Alex Petrovic (Red Deer WHL), ranked 29th NA Skaters
6'4" 193 lbs.
57 GP 8 G, 19A, 27Pts. 87PiM (0.474 Pts/G)
Stephens John (USA U-18), ranked 35th NA Skaters
6'3" 215 lbs
23 Gp, 1G, 7A, 8Pts, 29PiM (0.348 Pts/G)
Patrik Nemeth (AIK jr.), ranked 11th Euro Skaters
6'3" 201 lbs.
AIK J20: 38GP, 1G, 19A, 20Pts, 120PiM (0.526Pts/G)
AIK (Sweden-2): 16GP, 0G, 3A, 3Pts, 8PiM (0.188Pts/G)
Alexei Marchenko (CSKA 2), ranked 12th Euro Skaters
6'2" 170 lbs.
CSKA 2: 43GP, 11G, 23A, 34Pts, 59PiM (0.790 Pts/G)
CSKA (KHL): 10GP, 0Pts, 0 PiM
Nikita Zaytev (Novosibirsk) ranked 13th Euro Skater
6'1" 176 lbs
KHL: 40 GP. 0G, 1A, 1Pts, 8PiM
Now, I am no expert (really I wrote this just to put the picture of Columbia on my blog), but if I was a betting man (which I would be if I had a job that paid above the poverty line) I would be looking at the Oilers to eyeing either Jonanthon Merril or Patrik Nemeth.
- The Oil like the tall and a bit lanky America Dmen, ala Gilbert/Whitney variety, so Merril is in the mix. Merril's offensive numbers (pts/g) is a little lower then the others, but he plays only a small number of games in the USA U-18 system and will have three years (most likely) to work on this at University of Michagin (another place the Oilers like to have their prospects).
- Nemeth has some interesting things going for him: a) he is not Russia, like the other two Euro Skaters I have singled out, b) his Junior numbers are great (0.526 pts) and he has more consistency playing then men then Marchenko, c) he is big (6'3" 201 lbs), but also has a mean streak (120 PiMs), strange for a Euro.
- The two Russians have a real possibility of falling to the Nashville 2nd round pick that we got for the Acid Eater. Neither of them will ever be as good as him: yes, I said that and I will stand by that. Zatyev does interest me though (and I mean that I am really interested): seriously, why is this kid playing 40 games against men with only one point. He must bring something to the table, and I want to see what this is: maybe a shutdown defender???
* I am only using Central Scouting's report since they are the only one I can find the 30th and above ranked players for free.