Tag: Kris Letang

2015 NHL Combine

Get to know a draft pick — Oliver Kylington

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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Oliver Kylington (D)

Height: 6’0 Weight: 185 Shoots: Left

Team: AIK IF (Allsvenskan)

Country: Sweden

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 among International Skaters

What kind of player is he?

A two-way, puck moving defender blessed with good skill and skating ability, Kylington is high on talent but played to mixed reviews this season. After struggling at the start of the year with SHL club Farjestad, the 18-year-old was loaned out to second-tier club AIK for the remainder of the campaign.

In January, an injury kept him from representing Team Sweden at the 2015 World Juniors.

Despite those setbacks, scouts remain high on Kylington heading into the draft. His speed and playmaking skills figure to translate well to the current NHL, where there’s a premium on blueliners that can move pucks quickly out of the defensive zone.

Seidel says:

“Kylington has been on the radar of NHL scouts for a couple years because of his exceptional skating and offensive skills. Unfortunately, he went through inconsistent stretches this season that caused concern among some teams. His calling card in the NHL will be offense, and he’ll use his foot speed to support and occasionally lead the rush.

“His overall effectiveness will be determined by whether he can become a little more committed in the defensive end — but we feel confident that, as he gets older and stronger, Kylington will become a solid contributor.”

NHL comparable: Erik Karlsson/Kris Letang

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

Oil change continued: Edmonton fires top scouts

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

The Edmonton Oilers have radically revamped their front office this offseason, and those changes now include a makeover for their scouting departments.

The Oilers fired head of amateur scouting (Stu MacGregor) and head of professional scouting (Morey Gare) on Saturday, according to HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Bob McKenzie. McKenzie also mentions that two other amateur scouts were dismissed.

As the Edmonton Journal remarks, the timing might seem a touch unexpected since the 2015 NHL Draft takes place next week, but it otherwise makes sense.

When sports fans root for “tank jobs,” they picture a powerhouse club being built off the backs of blue chip prospects. One must not forget that top-five no-brainers need to be supplemented with gems found outside the first round (Duncan Keith went 54th overall in 2002, for example).

Read more about Edmonton’s draft failures here.

From the pro scout perspective, the Oilers have seen their fair share of free agent disasters; Nikita Nikitin’s disastrous season is merely the latest in an almost uninterrupted stream of gaffes.

Even development paths have been clunky, which could come down to wider failures. Burning the first year of Leon Draisaitl’s rookie deal looked more foolish with each passing day.

Change really does seem in the air for the Oilers now – finally – so it’s not too shocking to see a changing of the guard in Edmonton’s under-performing scouting departments.

Rutherford: Pens need a better ‘supporting cast’ for core

2014 NHL Draft - Round 2-7

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is more than comfortable with the core of his roster.

And no, he has no plans to trade Evgeni Malkin, despite the speculation.

It’s the “supporting cast” — beyond Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — that Rutherford is taking it upon himself to improve.

For good reason, he sees Chicago as the blueprint for success in the salary-cap era.

“The Blackhawks’ core group have risen to the occasion over the span of these last three Cups,” Rutherford told the Post-Gazette. “Clearly Kane and Toews and Crawford and Keith and some others have been really key players, but all three times they’ve had a different supporting cast.

“The conclusion I draw from that is that 1, we have the core guys to win a championship and 2, it’s my job and the job of everyone in hockey [operations] to try to get the right supporting cast so that we can build enough balance, speed and youth to have a complementary group that allows us to make the same run.”

One of the areas where the Penguins have fallen short is player development. Case in point, Rutherford admitted at the end of the season that Beau Bennett hasn’t been brought along properly.

Bennett was the Penguins’ first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2010.

That was also the year Los Angeles took Tyler Toffoli, one of the leading scorers for the Kings in their second Cup run, with the 47th overall pick.

The next year, the Blackhawks drafted Brandon Saad in the second round and Andrew Shaw in the fifth.

To stay competitive in the salary-cap era, teams need that constant “support from the bottom.”

The Penguins haven’t received that. We mentioned Bennett’s failure to develop into an impact player. Well, at least he’s still with the organization. Pittsburgh traded the first-round picks that came before and after him. Simon Despres (2009) went to the Ducks to get Ben Lovejoy; Joe Morrow (2011) went to Dallas to get Brenden Morrow.

The Pens do have some good prospects in Derrick Pouliot, Kasperi Kapanen and a few others. The key for Rutherford will be to develop those prospects properly, while also acquiring the right veterans, for the right price, to fill out the rest of the roster.

Related: Rutherford insists Pittsburgh is ‘very appealing’ for free agents, even with ownership situation