“I was also fortunate in one other area. Today’s system of drafting 18-year olds wasn’t around in 1973. I was 22 years old before my pro career began to blossom and if I’d been drafted at 18, I don’t think I’d be in a position to write this book today.”
Let me ask you a question: How many players drafted by Edmonton since 2006 proceeded along a traditional developmental timeline before becoming NHL players. How many established themselves as being bona fide at one level, were elevated and then clicked in and rolled on down the line? Here’s my list:
- Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham (2006 draft)
- Riley Nash and Linus Omark (2007 draft)
- Jordan Eberle (2008 draft)
- Taylor Hall and Martin Marincin* (2010 draft)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom* (2011 draft)
- Nail Yakupov (2012 draft)
*not yet established but trending in that direction.
Does that look fair? I think it does. You might argue RNH wasn’t ready, but he impacted the power play in a big way and despite his youth played an ever increasing role (when healthy) with the team.
Now, how many of these draft picks since 2006 were elevated, and at some point could have used some junior or AHL time? Here’s my list:
- Sam Gagner (2007 draft)
- Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander (2009 draft)
These three players may have benefited from a more traditional developmental timeline. That’s my opinion, but it’s also true two of these men are in new NHL cities and the other one has not yet established himself in the NHL five years after he was drafted.
- Dallas Eakins: “He’s just a very, very young player and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to the weight of the market, or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.” Source
Yes. Yes indeed. Let’s all remember this in September. Agreed?