This is Alex Plante. The former Oiler defenseman got a mention in a Cult of Hockey article today, as David Staples profiled a Hockey News story about the Oilers drafting over the last decade. This blog got some mention in the article, and I thank David for the shout out. There are a few things that the HN (and by extension, David) either glossed over or didn’t mention at all in the piece.
Although there’s nothing I find outrageous about the article, I felt it was important to add a few additional pieces.
When we discuss a prospect class or drafting period, it’s important to include injury issues. I understand all teams deal with this problem, but there is a randomness to it that is (of course) outside the control of any team or manager. If we discuss players and their lack of success, I’d encourage you to consider injury issues. Bruce McCurdy of the Cult of Hockey wrote an excellent item on Plante here, and concluded the impact on his career at that time was significant.
One of the things that can happen when we evaluate prospects is that we fail to place things in context. Let’s take a portion of David’s article:
2012: Seven question marks-In a redraft Nail Yakupov would likely go behind Alex Galchenyuk and almost certainly behind Jacob Trouba, maybe others as well. Yak has shown some skill and flash, but remains a question mark. How much of that is due to his handling in the NHL is an open issue. Mitch Moroz and Jujhair Khaira are big, physical players who show promise. If one or both make it to the NHL in the next few years, MacGregor’s rep will rise, at least if all his first rounders pan out, too.
It’s a very difficult thing, evaluating players so soon after their draft day. Football has it made, they’re all college kids and you can plug and play them without worry. Nail Yakupov was the consensus number one overall selection at the time of the draft, and (as David mentioned) his handling in the NHL is an issue. I would encourage you not to make a decision on Yakupov until year 5, and to remember he was in fact the consensus number one overall selection.
BACK TO THE EVALUATION
- 2% turn into elite players
- 4% turn into impact players
- 15% turn into average NHL players
- 24% turn into fringe NHL players (less than 200 games)
- 55% never play an NHL game
This is the long ago number set I used in the article David linked to, and it seems about right so let’s run with it. The 2% portion (elite players) I would think gets covered by Hall at some point in time, and he’s definitely (imo) part of the 4% now. Average NHL players? Can we call Eberle and Nuge average NHL players? Let’s assume we can. For the fringe player list, I’d count Paajarvi, Lander, Marincin, Klefbom and let’s throw Nail Yakupov in there for fun. Is that fair? So, with that as the backdrop, and MacGregor having drafted 49 players (WHY couldn’t they have drafted 1 more?) we get:
- 0 elite players
- 2% impact players (Hall)
- 4% average NHL players (Nuge, Eberle)
- 10% fringe players (Nail, Paajarvi, Lander, Marincin, Klefbom)
Now, you can make two arguments:
- MBS was drafting first overall
- The numbers (so far) don’t approach the average levels as listed
I agree that three #1 overall selections are going to skew this number, but the draft picks are made based on standing. I’m not sure we can reasonably deduct points, especially if the players deliver. As for the numbers not approaching average, this goes back to waiting 5 years.
Bottom line: if you’re evaluating the 2007 draft and the Prendergast era, fill your hat and I only ask that you also consider injury to Plante and Doug Lynch and Pouliot and down the line. If you’re evaluating Stu MacGregor, I’d encourage you to wait 5 years after the draft day before making sweeping statements.
Many of you didn’t consider Martin Marincin to be much at all short months ago, and that’s a fact.