This is Eddie Caron. Although his nickname is not “Make up your fricking mind” it should be, as the young man kept hopping between Yale and New Hampshire and shooting his pro hockey career in the foot while doing it.
Caron was one of several “mountain men” drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the period 2000-20004. In those draft years the club chose seven players between #50 and #94 who could safely fit the title of this post.
I thought it might be a nice idea to go back and list their draft day scouting report, detail their progress and see how many of them are currently playing hockey at a level that mades them NHL prospects.
- 2000-#35-C Brad Winchester, 6’5, 210. Scouting report: “He has good size and skates well. If he plays physically, he’ll have a chance. Some scouts wonder if he’s playing out of position at center. He needs to play as big as he is. Upside: a big, third line forward.” Result: 119 NHL games as a fringe player, he scored a huge goal in the Stanley run for Edmonton in 2006 and the lasting image fans have is of him grabbing an octupus off the ice in Detroit that spring.
- 2001-#52-C Eddie Caron, 6’2, 230. Scouting report: A playmaker, solid passer with good vision. His foot speed is below average, his skills very good but unpolished. Result: When he finally did sign with the Oilers didn’t have much, scoring 10 goals in 54 ECHL games before being sent away.
- 2002-#79-LW Brock Radunske, 6’4, 199. Scouting report: Size and speed in a very attractive package. Consistency a problem. Result: Left college early which may not have been a good idea based on how things have rolled out. He has played most of his pro career in the ECHL, not being able to crack even an AHL lineup (28 games total) most of the time. Currently in Europe.
- 2003-#68-LW JF Jacques, 6’3.5, 217. Scouting report: Looks the part of an emerging power forward. Owns plenty of raw skills, including decent skating ability and hands. Very good straight ahead speed, nickname “Crazy Train.”. Result: 53 NHL games but not the results expected. Jacques seems to be a “tweener” in that his minor league results suggest he’s a player but he can’t make things happen in the show. Injuries are clouding his future, as he didn’t see any action after January 21. In a recent article at HF, Guy Flaming wrote “he bears the scar from a skate to the chin, he suffered a hyper-extended elbow and now a herniated disc has him back in Edmonton.” We haven’t had an update on that back in a long time.
- 2003-#94-RW Zach Stortini, 6’4, 225. Scouting report: Huge, nasty winger. Doesn’t have great hands, so his future may be as an NHL enforcer. Poor skater. Team captain. Result: 95 NHL games and counting, and even more impressive he has played effective hockey when on the ice. The math never liked Stortini but he’s found a role and passed a lot of people on the way to it.
- 2003-#51-RW Colin McDonald, 6’2, 190. Scouting report: Owns projectable size and a nice touch around the net. Will need time to develop. Plus shot. Result: He had an up and down college career with an injury thrown in there to slow the development. His AHL debut this season has been underwhelming and he would have to be considered a long shot for an extended NHL career.
- 2004-#57-C Geoff Paukovich, 6’4, 207. Scouting Report: Oiler scout Brad Davis compares Paukovich to Joel Otto, a big centre who has offensive abilities but is best suited as a two-way checking center. Paukovich has a noteworthy mean streak in him as well as the size to back it up. Result: Average to below average college career was followed by a full season as a role player in the ECHL. He’s just getting started in pro hockey but like McDonald would have to be considered less than a 50/50 bet to make the grade.