This is Zach Parise. Holy hell is he a good hockey player. A lot of teams passed on him at the 2003 entry draft, but it seems as though only the Islanders and Oilers have been tagged with making a huge error. The Islanders because Pierre Maguire made such a huge point about their selecting Robert Nilsson ahead of Parise and the Oilers because they traded down to get an extra pick. This allowed the Devils (with a giggling Lou Lamoriello) to race up to the podium and announce the name of Jean-Paul Parise’s son.
The Devils were patient with Parise, having him play one full NCAA season after he was drafted and then a full AHL season at age 20 during the NHL lockout. By the time he arrived as a rookie in the show the kid had all of his arrows pointing in the right direction.
Last season Parise scored 31 goals at even-strength. The last Oiler to do that was Petr Klima (32) in 1990-91. As I understand the Oilers thinking on that draft day, they liked about three guys about the same (Pouliot, Fehr and another player I’ve never seen identified) but didn’t have Parise (or Getzlaf, or Richards, or Perry) as high on their list.
The guy the Oilers really wanted was: Robert Nilsson.
There’s a tremendous amount of luck involved in an entry draft. The Oilers bet the wrong horse in the 2003 entry draft with injuries having a major impact on Pouliot’s development. Since 2000, the number of prospects who have been impacted by injury as prospects is mind boggling.
- 2001: Doug Lynch (wrist injury), Dan Baum (concussions)
- 2002: Jesse Niinimaki (shoulder), JF Dufort (concussion)
- 2003: Marc Pouliot (everything), Mikhal Zoukov (serious but unnamed injury 04-05)
- 2004: Rob Schremp (knee injury mid-decade)
The top 2 prospects for this season’s entry draft are in a terrific race for the OHL scoring championship. Tyler Seguin (60gp, 47-58-105) has opened up a lead on Taylor Hall (55gp, 38-62-100) but the Desjardins NHLE’s are still neck and neck (Seguin per 82gp: 19-24-43 and Hall per 82gp: 17-28-45).
Here’s hoping Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor is having a long look at the injury history on each player. It’s a huge consideration. One final note: it looks like Seguin is emerging as the #1 prospect for this season, but I think the Oilers will pick Hall given the choice. An organization that has been shopping for a “first shot scorer” forever will have a hard time passing up on Hall.