Top Picks Won’t Help Without Good Management
First blog post for a while, but it’s a feeling I have had about Edmonton (and in general) for a little while. The ‘acquisition’ of a third 1st overall pick in three years finally triggered my blogging reflex!
The opportunity to select first again means Edmonton are poised to add another young starlet to an already impressive group of blue chip prospects. Whether they take Ryan Murray to boost their defensive corps or take the ‘best available’ in the form of Sarnia Sting’s Nail Yakupov; Edmonton’s future seems a little brighter after winning the lottery draft.
Problem is all that young talent counts for little if the Oilers brass cannot sign a decent supporting cast.
Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins – all tremendously talented young men. Yakupov or Murray would add further potential and ability to that mix and perhaps set the once mighty franchise up for a great future.
But you don’t win championships with a handful of good players. If we’re honest it might not even be enough to get out of the basement ! Whilst you’d expect the team to improve on its 29th placed finish this year, as the young stars get a year older and wiser, little is guaranteed for a team thin on D and lacking in depth overall.
Steve Tambellini did not inherit a great setup in Alberta, but he needs to ensure any lingering elements of ‘blame the last guy’ are washed away and a new dawn begins in Oil country. These top end picks must be used as the springboard to better things!
Atlanta had numerous top end picks (including 2 x 1st overall picks and 2 x 2nd overall picks) during their time in Georgia – but a lack of quality support to aid young stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley resulted in just one play-off appearance and zero post season victories.
Eventually both left the franchise for pastures new (granted Heatley’s situation was a little different due to *outside* issues), along with a number of other good quality players who didn’t want to waste away their career in the South Eastern US.
Pittsburgh on the other hand got their top tier talent AND great leadership from the top – they are now perennial Cup contenders.
With Rick Nash now angling for a trade from another floundering franchise; and instead of challenging for a Cup, Edmonton fans could be faced with Hall and co wanting out for the same reasons once they become eligible for unrestricted free agency in a few years time. Simply because the franchise failed to pull itself together and make the most of having such incredible young talent in its ranks.
Top end picks are great, but unless a team gets the right guidance and direction from its management, and surrounds its young stars with veteran leadership and depth players wh can help the franchise win, the only competition that franchise will be battling for is the draft lottery – again and again and again.