Adam Proteau is on a radical sabbatical, so we’ve again enlisted the help of THN staffers to open up the mailbag in his stead. The man who name sakes this feature’s title returns April 9, so keep those questions coming.
And if you'd like your question answered live by Adam, call into The Hockey News Radio Show Friday for an all-mailbag show between 3-4 p.m. Eastern time (XM's toll free line is 1-877-NHL-ON-XM) or by emailing Adam during that period at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey Adam, I have been waiting for draft day since December (once the Oilers were pretty much out of contention) and I have yet to figure out who the Oilers should draft. If you were Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini, who are you taking come draft day?
Dylan Kelly, Edmonton
It’s a cliché in hockey, but NHL teams generally select the best player available. Unlike pro football or basketball, where teams target positions of need and expect draftees to step in right away, NHL teams have the luxury of being able to keep a draftee in a development league.
However, with the first overall pick, the Oilers surely expect the draftee to step in right away and make a difference next season. Edmonton’s pick will come down to left winger Taylor Hall or center Tyler Seguin. Hall has been the consensus No. 1 in 2010 and virtually all of the past two seasons, while Seguin has come on like gangbusters since November.
There’s no doubt the Oilers will have scouted both of those players 30-plus games this season, mostly down the stretch. I’d say the Oilers will base their decision on who they think has the biggest NHL upside and not on whether they have a greater need for a center or left winger. - BC
Hey Adam, Is there any chance of the NHL getting rid of the point system and implementing a percentage system any time soon? It just seems like it would be easier considering there are no more ties in the NHL.
Adam Cooke, Ottawa
Hey Adam. The current setup is misleading and confusing because of the fact some games are worth two points and some three. At first blush, by simply looking at the wins and losses columns as most sports fans are trained to do, 24 teams are .500 and above.
In order to truly understand a team’s success, you can’t look at its winning percentage, but rather its points percentage (a measure of the number of available points gained).
To avoid this confusion – along with a myriad of other reasons – the NHL should return to a 2-0 points system, a setup favored by the majority of fans, too: In a THN.com poll from early March, 60 percent said they favor a change. – EF
Dear Adam, I've always wondered what happened to Kirill Kabanov. He was once considered the top pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. I mean, sure, he had a bad injury, but he is still over a point per game with Moncton. How come he fell so far down?
Dylan Stiles, Sherwood Park, Alta.
Hey Dylan, When Kabanov returned to Russia recently in preparation for the World Championship, red flags were raised. His Quebec League team, the Moncton Wildcats, let Kabanov leave despite the fact they were in the playoffs, so he could fulfill his dream of representing his country. However, speculation is that Kabanov was unhappy with the limited ice time he was getting in Moncton; he was a healthy scratch in Round 1. If this unhappiness were true that fact, along with the possibility of him staying in Russia to play in the Kontinental League, would have a profound impact on where he’ll go in the draft.
The director of Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire, was recently quoted on NHL.com about Kabanov.
"When he left, that was icing on the cake," McGuire said. "Even before that, there were articles from French scouts who were questioning (Kabanov) in print how he's such high maintenance. Does he want the NHL? All those questions come into play, yet Central Scouting has to err on the side of caution because we don't interview players – we provide them to the NHL teams to be interviewed.
"That said, we don't ignore the fact that a kid could be a troublemaker on the ice or a troublemaker with the coach. Do you drop a guy because he's high maintenance? And, if so, when will the maturity light come on? If it does, you've got a gem and you're probably getting him at a bargain basement price on the day of the draft." - RB
Dear Adam, I am teenager whose love of hockey is unmatched by many peers. My father (who also loves hockey) and I have had a little disagreement over the past couple weeks about the three greatest hockey players of all-time. He has witnessed all three and ranks them 1.) Bobby Orr, 2.) Wayne Gretzky, 3.) Guy Lafleur and I have read numerous books and watched many documentaries, thus forming my opinion stating they should rank as 1.) Wayne Gretzky, 2.) Bobby Orr, 3.) Guy Lafleur. Now we need an arbitrary judge to settle this; please for the peace of our household answer this question!
Bobby Lind, Flin Flon, Man.
Dear Bobby. I must say I'm feeling a little bit of pressure knowing that the peace of your household is on the line here. And Bobby's dad, I don't want you boxing your son's ears over this, but I have to go with Bobby on this one...sort of.
Like you, Bobby, I believe Wayne Gretzky was the greatest player of all-time. His numbers and his performances have been mind-boggling and I never tire of being amazed by the fact he would still be the NHL's all-time leading point-getter if he hadn't scored a single goal. Add in the fact he was the most prolific goal-scorer of all-time, along with the four Cups and that seals the deal for me.
I will say Orr is a very close second, though. And the main reason why is that as spectacular as Gretzky was, the gap between him and the other elite players in the NHL was tiny compared to what it was between Orr and his fellow players. Orr was so much better than anyone else who played during his era it was ridiculous. But, through no fault of his own, he simply didn't have a career that was long enough to merit giving him the mantle of the greatest player of all-time.
As far as No. 3, I would disagree with both of you. For my money, Gordie Howe is No. 3 because of sustained excellence. While brilliant, Lafleur had six mind-boggling seasons sandwiched between two periods of a couple of seasons when he wasn't all that productive. In my mind, in fact, Lafleur isn't even the greatest Montreal Canadien of all-time. That status belongs to Rocket Richard, followed very, very closely by Jean Beliveau.
Hope that helps. Now let there be peace. - KC
Ask Adam appears Fridays on TheHockeyNews.com. Proteau also answers readers' questions in every issue of The Hockey News magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Radio channel 204. To send us your question or comment, click HERE.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.