|from DBJ at http://fanmonster.com/?author=15|
The second overall pick is an important piece for this organization. Probably even more important than the Nash trade (I take it for granted that we will get a good to great return on this). But the prospect pool that Howson is most likely going to be faced with at #2 will be varied. The past few years, the #2 slot has been a relative no-brainer, as we saw in Taylor vs. Tyler, RNH-Landeskog and Tavares-Hedman. Those drafts had one clear front-runner for the first overall pick and a guy who was close enough to merit conversation as a possible #1 but no realistic shot, so who to pick at the #2 position was a relative no-brainer.
Howson is in a bit of a pickle here and his ability to make the right decision will be crucial for his career. He's skating on thin ice as it is and really can't afford to have a bust on the only redeeming part of last year's disaster. If there's a point of no return for Howson in Columbus and we haven't hit it yet, this will be that point. One more Filatov and the house will definitely be cleaned.
The #1 prospect in this year's pool is Nail Yakupov. Should the CBJ get a chance to draft him, this would be the easiest decision. But that chance is very slim, so here are the guys being considered as possible at #2:
There have been some great articles written about these guys and you can find most of what you need to know over at TSN or http://www.hockeybuzz.com/team/Columbus-Blue-Jackets so I won't re-hash it in entirety. In my view, here is one sentence about each guy with a risk rating out of five filatov heads (1=low risk, 5=Zherdev) image source: Dispatch.com
Galchenyuk: May be the most purely talented offensive forward in the draft and seems OK in the dressing room but had a season ending knee injury last year so due to sample size he's a bit of a mystery box.
Forsberg: High level talent in all areas but nothing standout, good to great leadership qualities, could end up being the best offensive forward in the draft but will spend next 1-2 years developing in Sweden. 2 Filatov Heads
Murray: Best defenceman in the draft both on and off the ice but doesn't project to be a Drew Doughty/Chris Pronger type of game breaker (which is what you would hope for at #2) and he's ready to step into the NHL now. 1 Filatov Head
Grigorenko: As with Galchenyuk, he may be the most pure talent but had a bout with mono during the playoffs this year and it looked like he was completely ineffective and there are serious questions about his work ethic. 5 Filatov Heads.
The choice Howson will make should only depend on one thing: advice. From his scouts and Craig Patrick. Howson has interviewed most of these guys and can get a sense of whether or not they're total bombs from a personality point of view but I'm sure we all know somebody who interviewed well for a job and turned out to be batshit insane. His scouts should have watched a large body of work from each of these guys against several levels of competition and have a sense of what their ceiling is and how likely they are to reach it. How much of an expert Tyler Wright is at projecting players is anyone's guess. And all of the scouting staff is supposedly without a contract for next year, so who knows how much effect that could have on the advice they give him? Hopefully it's a motivating factor to give good advice based on good data. Craig Patrick will also be a great resource, as this isn't exactly his first rodeo. He should be able to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each guy to figure out who to put the money on.
My money would be on Howson choosing one of the safer options, unless he has excellent information from trusted resources to get rid of some of those filatov heads on Grigorenko and Galchenyuk. He will have to weigh the potential for Forsberg to not be contributing to the team for the next year or two against the potential for Murray to step into an immediate position on an already crowded defense. He can't afford to draft guys with big questions about their work ethic or attitude anymore, so I think that Grigorenko should be effectively off the table so long as he's viewed that way.
From where I'm standing, I think there are nearly equal chances for Galchenyuk, Forsberg and Murray to be selected at #2 and I'd be ecstatic to hear any of their names called. But as armchair GM, I have to say I'm leaning toward Forsberg. All three guys seem to provide some promise and a few questions. But Forsberg seems like he will be an effective top line forward no matter what happens, and probably be great to have in the room. Waiting a year or two for him to step in shouldn't really weigh into the decision. Galchenyuk seems like too much of a risk and Murray seems like his ceiling might not be high enough in the long-run.
What do you guys think? Hit me up on twitter at @gris_ducktrance