This is Sam Gagner in (I believe) the uniform of the Sioux City Musketeers. It isn’t a great uniform (or a great name for a team, good grief there probably aren’t 11 hockey fans alive who could identify a musket and that assumes Charlton Heston is a hockey fan) but it is unique and I hadn’t seen it before so that’s why I’m posting it. There is a slight chance it is the uniform of the Milton Icehawks but I googled Gilll Hardware, Sioux City and came up with an address so without going all MATLOCK on this question we’ll go with the Musketeers. I will only add there appear to be 4,000 Home Hardware stores near Milton.
The Edmonton Oilers don’t own their first, second or third round picks in the upcoming draft. I would guess these selections will be (approx) #4, #34 and #70 because there are picks given out for a few reasons after some of the early rounds (not signing your first round pick I believe, also it seems like the Southleast division gets a few extra picks every year so Bettman may just award them pell-mell, willy-nilly).
The Oilers do own the Anaheim pick. I believe the NHL is staying with that rule that says your draft pick depends on where you finish in the playoffs as opposed to the clubs outside the second season. Can someone confirm that for me? Was I dreaming last spring? The NHL just makes stuff up as they roll along and it’s honestly hard to keep track.
The Oilers will probably draft in the 25-30 range, so for the sake of our conversation here today let’s say it is #27. Good? Good. The deepest draft in recent years was 2003 and I’ve read many (some learned, some like me) say that the 2008 Entry Draft is top drawer as well, so let’s use the 2003 draft as a comparable and once and for all put the Dustin Penner deal on a straight line:
- The Edmonton Oilers traded (using picks above, didn’t look before I lept) F Nikolai Zherdev, D Mike Egener and F Jonathan Filewich for Dustin Penner.
Those are the three players in the slots listed above (my guesses as to the ANA picks from EDM). Just to finish the thought, the Oilers would get a Jeff Tambellini at #27.
I think that an NHL team drafting outside the top 10 should probably try to get as many top 100 picks as possible. Why? After the top 10 (and there’s even a tier above that, the top 5 or 6 most seasons) the chances of getting a top quality NHL player becomes more hit and miss. Fewer Hemsky’s, more Niinimaki’s. That’s why I was never able to work up the anger others felt over the Parise Vs. Pouliot debate. The Oilers were drafting in the middle of the first round, the guy they targeted (Robert Nilsson) was selected and they dealt down to get another pick in the top 100.
Hell I’d do that every year just based on the math. Tell me I’m wrong. Seriously.
Let’s approach it a different way. If I said to you that Sam Gagner needed to play in 700 NHL games in his career to “cover the bet”, would you agree with me? The 6th overall pick in 2003 was Milan Michalek, do you believe he’ll play 700 NHL games? He’s at 254 now and he was drafted 4.5 years ago (plus he’s 23 right now) so he’ll certainly make it. The #6 pick from the previous year was Scottie Upshall who sits at 130 right now and I’d say he’s a fair bet to do it. We’ll use 700 NHL games for a top 6 pick but you may be more comfortable with a different number and I don’t want to get bogged down in minutiae so if you want it to be 1,000 NHL games for the line in the sand we’ll got with it.
Now, when we get to the next set of players, say 11-25, the odds of them playing 1,000 NHL games is not great. Is 700 a stretch? Let’s look at the the 2001 draft to see who is on track and who isn’t. These players would have turned 20 around 2003 and should be in the NHL by now if they’re going to do anything. I would suggest that our line in the sand for career GP (11-25) should be 700 games. Let’s say a player turning 20 in 2003 has a 10-year window beginning the fall he turns 20 in order to cover 500 of the 700 game bet. If we take the lockout year from the mix, and average the 500 games over 10 years, any player making the grade currently from the 2001 draft would need to have played in 200 NHL games by the end of this season (4 seasons times 50 games). That sounds steep. How many are on track:
- #11: Fredrik Sjostrom 251 (check)
- #12: Dan Hamhuis 295 (check)
- #13: Ales Hemsky 322 (check)
- #14: Chuck Kobasew 271 (check)
- #15: Igor Knyazev 0
- #16: RJ Umberger 202 (check)
- #17: Carol Colaiacovo 80
- #18: Jens Karlsson 0
- #19: Shaone Morrisonn 250 (check)
- #20: Marcel Goc 188
- #21: Colby Armstrong 169
- #22: Jiri Novotny 127
- #23: Tim Gleason 236 (check)
- #24: Lukas Krajicek 207 (check)
- #25: Alexander Perezhogin 128
A few things to note. First of all, as a group the NHL scouting fraternity does a wonderful job at picking the best players. Remember, they are evaluating 17-year olds and projecting them forward and these numbers show just how good they are. I don’t know what happened to Knyazev and Karlsson but maybe they were injured (like Colaiacovo), and there are several players here who are behind the curve but should catch up. I would list Armstrong, Novotny and Perezhogin among that group and the one player I’m worried about is Goc who looks like his offense is completely gone. We may be more than halfway through his NHL career at this time.
I know there are weak years and strong years so let’s nick the second tier and say 2001 was freakishly strong for a draft. Would you agree that we can handicap the top 25 like this:
- Picks one through six: 1,000 games
- Picks seven through ten: 700 games
- Picks eleven through twenty-five: 500 games
Is that fair? If Sam Gagner doesn’t play in 1000 games his career will be a disappointment? Well let’s not get silly, if he finishes at 888 but the Oilers win the Stanley then it will be a good career but does it make sense as a general rule? It strikes me as being a little harsh but I’m fine with that since most fanbased stuff like this is giddy the other way.
Okay, let’s say that the Oilers draft #27 and the draft is deep enough for them to select someone with similar value to the 11-25 group in 2001.
My question to you is this: in a deep draft year when you’re selecting 27th and the St. Louis Blues call you and offer #42 and #67 do you take it?
I think you do. More in the next installment.