Media Puck-Up's: Grading the Draft

The draft is done. Every team picked based on their own philosophy. And now it’s time to evaluate. Who got players that can help now? Who will help down the road.  Which GM’s are brilliant, which are morons? Any late round guys that are destined to be stars? There are pieces like this one all over, some focusing on specific teams rather than the entire landscape. I have one question for everyone that’s already judging this draft: How do you know?

So many guys turn into busts, and so many nobodies turn into pleasant surprises. You can’t tell the future at all. Success at the lower levels does not guarantee success in the NHL. Last year, there was a ton of debate between whether Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall should be the first pick. Each one was sure thing, the experts said. Well, neither one made a ton of noise in their first season. Hall went first to Edmonton, and they didn’t exactly turn the franchise around yet. He might become a star, but it’s too early to tell.

Victor Hedman was highly rated prospect, and went 2nd overall to Tampa in 2009. Two season later, he’s never talked about among the elite young players in the league. But at the time, Tampa was praised for getting him to shore up their defense. Each of his two seasons, the Lightning were in the bottom 10 in goals against. That’s not to say he’s a bust or completely responsible for all of that. But once again, it’s still a bit too early to judge.

My point is, all of these rankings and reviews are completely useless.  You can’t judge how well a team did just by looking at their needs and then examining the stat sheet of the players they drafted. Wait until the player gets steady playing time and gets a few chances to contribute. Then judge the team on how well they did. Look at Columbus over the past few seasons.  They had high picks, and used them on offensive players to add some scoring depth and help out Rick Nash. Of course people thought they were going to get better. Instead, they just unloaded Jakub Voracek (7th overall, 2007) and Nikita Filatov (6th overall, 2008) because they just weren’t working out. It just goes to show, you just never know.

What makes it even harder is that so many players are drafted a few seasons before they are ready to make the jump. Guys get drafted, then spend a few more seasons in college, juniors, or the minors. So it may take 4-5 years to really evaluate how well a team did. But judging right away is just plain stupid.

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Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets Draft Reviews Edmonton Oilers Jakub Voracek Nikita Filatov Rick Nash Tampa Bay Lightning Taylor Hall Tyler Seguin Victor Hedman

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