How Many Prospects "Make It"?

Jarret Stoll was selected by the Edmonton Ice 1st overall in the 1997 WHL Bantam draft. He was selected 46th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 NHL Entry draft and 36th overall by Edmonton Oilers in the 2002 NHL draft.

I remember a story running around the time of the 2002 draft that several teams (including the Leafs) were angry at Edmonton’s management at the time. Why? There’s apparently a “gentleman’s agreement” among teams that no player who re-enters the draft will be selected earlier than his draft number in the original lottery. I’m no lawyer, but if true it might behoove the NHL to stop talking about it. Consdering the money these kids make based on draft number, isn’t that collusion? At the very list, it’s an act of tiny, tiny men if true.

I’m preparing for the winter edition of the Top 20 prospects (end November) and want to lay some groundwork for it. I’d like to start by establishing a “reasonable” number for legit NHL prospects. Not everyone on the top 20 is going to have a career, so it would be nice to have a number in our back pocket.

Below is a list of (my) summer 2003 top 20, and with it the current number of NHL games played (source hockeydb). Those in bold are “established” NHL players.

  1. Jarret Stoll (378)
  2. Jani Rita (66)
  3. MA Pouliot (141)
  4. Raffi Torres (374)
  5. Jesse Niinimaki (zero)
  6. Jeff Drouin Deslauriers (13)
  7. Doug Lynch (2)
  8. Kenny Smith (zero)
  9. Matt Greene (251)
  10. Mikael Joukov (zero)
  11. Ivan Kolstov (zero)
  12. Brock Radunske (zero)
  13. Colin McDonald (zero)
  14. MA Bergeron (350)
  15. Ty Conklin (156)
  16. Fredrik Johansson (zero)
  17. JF Jacques (75)
  18. Dwight Helminen (23)
  19. Tony Salmelainen (70)
  20. Kalle Olsson

I’ve selected 5 (Stoll, Torres, Greene, Bergeron, Conklin) as “established” NHL players. There could be as many as 3 more (Pouliot, Deslauriers, Jacques) who could make it. So, somewhere between 5-7? Is that a fair number?

Also of interest on this list: the number of undrafted players who made it (Bergeron, Conklin) and the number of first round picks who either failed (Rita, Niinimaki) or are in danger (Pouliot) of failing to make the grade.

One question that I have: is this a normal amount of players who are still trying to make the grade? By my count all of Pouliot, Deslauriers, McDonald and Jacques are still trying to climb that hill. Do the Oilers hold on to their prospects longer than other teams?

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8 Responses to "How Many Prospects "Make It"?"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Jarret Stoll was selected by the Edmonton Oilers 1st overall in the 1997 WHL Bantam draft.

    What's that again? I think you're looking for the Edmonton Ice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_Ice

  2. Lowetide says:

    dorito: Damn. Of course you're right.

  3. raventalon40 says:

    Either they hold on longer or flail about for a solution longer.

    Perhaps they need to hire someone who can identify what a prospect needs. Some things are obvious – like skating speed and overall strength.

    Other things like hockey smarts and stuff need to be taught if it doesn't come naturally. Like what Quinn did with Gagner by placing him on the 4th line to start the year – that was magic.

    Little things like that can go a long way with the right (or wrong?) prospect.

  4. Jonathan Willis says:

    For fun comparison, New Jersey's top-20 prospects at the same time (courtesy of Hockey's Future):

    #1. C, Zach Parise
    #2. G, Ari Ahonen
    #3. D, Paul Martin
    #4. LW, Tuomas Pihlman
    #5. D, David Hale
    #6. C, Adrian Foster
    #7. D, Anton Kadeykin
    #8. RW, Alexander Suglobov
    #9. C, Petr Vrana
    #10. LW, Barry Tallackson
    #11. RW, Teemu Laine
    #12. G, Scott Clemmensen
    #13. C, Ivan Khomutov
    #14. D, Matt DeMarchi
    #15. C, Mike Rupp
    #16. RW, James Massen
    #17. LW, Jason Ryznar
    #18. C, Chris Hartsburg
    #19. RW, Ilkka Pikkarainen
    #20. LW, Andrei Posnov

    Players in bold made it (5) players in italics are still Devils property as far as I can tell. Tallackson was allowed to got to STL. AHL team this past summer.

  5. PierreMcGuires Ghost says:

    There's apparently a "gentleman's agreement" among teams that no player who re-enters the draft will be selected earlier than his draft number in the original lottery
    A little off kilter – the alleged transgression is that there were "gentlemen's agreements" made not to pluck a player if the original team was still interested in the prospect but had yet to sign them, or the prospect was just being difficult and making it hard on the team that had selected them. Collusion? Well, if it isn't on paper, as they say…

    The "agreements" couldn't have been that concrete however – the Godless Flames pulled a worse transgression that exact same year, plucking our #215th overall pick from the 2000 Entry Draft at #90 overall in the 2002 Entry Draft, by selecting Matt Lombardi in the 3rd round.

  6. Master Lok says:

    Another interesting note – all five Oiler players who are established are no longer Oilers. Why is that?

    Yet there is a fair amount of players who are not established, who are still Oiler property.

    By comparison with Jonathan Willis' list of Devils, Parise and Martin are still Devils property I believe.

  7. uni says:

    Other things like hockey smarts and stuff need to be taught if it doesn't come naturally. Like what Quinn did with Gagner by placing him on the 4th line to start the year – that was magic.

    While that may have helped, I would think 2 seasons in the NHL under his belt may have also helped Gagner a bit.

    Stoll and Greene were traded for quality so that's forgivable. Stoll himself has had 1 nice season and looks to be having a solid second one but we'll see if he can keep it up. I hope he does.

    And yes, the story with the Oilers just around the lockout has been the apparent inability to cut bait. They basically seem perennially up to the professional contracts cap and not many high end prospects. Then again that's just how it seems to me, and fact may be very different.

  8. Stuart van says:

    I'd say Bergeron was traded for quality, and the Torres trade might pan out too. And you can't fault the Oil for letting Conklin go. Kudo's to him for getting his career back on track.

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