This is the time of year where every hockey-related media outlet from the national 24-sports TV networks through the NHL beat writers and even most blogs start focusing on the NHL Draft. Topics on the radio these days are either about the Stanley Cup Finals or about the draft now just 3 weeks away.
I guess you can say we're just slightly ahead of the curve on TPS. And by slightly I mean by months.
Usually you can tell by watching, listening to or reading exactly who knows what they are talking about and who is just doing their best to appear like they know. That's not meant as a slight on any one particular person, that's just the reality of it - not everyone has the time, ability or desire to focus on this level of hockey all of the time. You can tell which radio guys have seen maybe two WHL games in person or which newspaper scribe or blogger is faking it because simply admitting they just don't know would be too humbling for them. (If you don't know... just say that you don't know... being able to admit that you don't know everything it isn't a weakness, it's a strength).
If you hear or read someone try and make the case that Jamie Oleksiak is a project prospect because he's still playing high school hockey at Northeastern... you'll recognize that comment comes from someone who just doesn't know what's going on at this level.
The Pipeline Show is now nearing the end of its 6th season on the air. If you're reading this blog, I'm going to assume that you've heard the show before or are at least familiar with what we do. You know that our focus is on the CHL, NCAA and minor pro and we do it all year long. The NHL Entry Draft is the 4th major in our season and it's also the biggest which is why we talk about the draft on just about every edition of the show all season long.
It's also why Dean and I have hosted the TEAM 1260's coverage of the draft for the past few years. I've actually been part of the station's draft coverage every year since 2004 when Bob Stauffer and I hosted together from a local establishment in downtown Edmonton.
The TEAM 1260 is fortunate to have on air personalities like Dustin Nielson and Kyle Chase, the morning duo who have a history with junior hockey, as well as the 9-Midnight slot with Corey Graham (voice of the Oil Kings) and new addition Marlow Weldon who came up from Red Deer where he worked on broadcasts of the Rebels.
But again, what makes TPS unique is that junior, NCAA and minor pro hockey is all we do. We also archive every interview from every show which leads me to the reason behind this post.
On the first show of each season Dean and I talk with the player we feel will go #1 in the draft the next June. Keeping in mind that we're talking about September and we've done pretty darn good (we're 3 for 3 since we started doing this but our streak may come to an end this year...).
We've made the decision that the draft is so important that we dedicate at least one segment in each show to spotlight a player in his draft year. With the exception of a few theme shows (the Memorial Cup and Frozen Four Preview Shows) we've done that. Usually a player but often a scout or coach, we've talked draft so much this past season that we've introduced listeners to about 75 different players while a bunch of others were talked about with other guests in the know.
Rather than list them all here in one gigantic post, over the next few days I'll break it down by the month that they were on the show. I have linked to the page in out media archive where you can find the interview to give it a listen.
Sean Couturier - He got our vote back on September 7th on the first show of Season 6. The big center isn't considered the #1 guy by most outlets any longer but he's still an excellent prospect.
Mark Seidel - The scout who keeps a blog for CBC.ca (link on the right) joined us to talk about the guys he ranked at the top early on as well as some of his personal favorites.
Seth Ambroz - One of the guest bloggers who put down some thoughts for us during the season. Ambroz joined us in September when he was still considered a sure top-10 pick. His stock has dropped considerably over the course of the season but this gives you an appreciation for his mindset at the start of the year.
Scott Harrington - The London Knights blueliner who had high expectations to live up to this season. He was once considered a 1st round pick as well.
Jesse Wallin - The head coach of the Red Deer Rebels spoke to us about the outlook for his team this year including his expectations for one Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Matthew Nieto - The freshman of the Boston University Terriers is pegged as a probable 2nd round pick after an impressive NCAA year.
Guy Boucher - Dean had an exclusive chat with the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lighting and got an outstanding and memorable scouting report on Sean Couturier who he coached in Drummondville a couple of years earlier.
Cam Moon - The voice of the Red Deer Rebels previewed the WHL with us and also gave us his thoughts on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Rocco Grimaldi - The pint-sized offensive dynamo joined us very early on in the season before the hype machine got into full swing.
October's crop will be next.