Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Draft Shmaft

"Some have suggested that Chiarelli wasn't at all pleased with assistant GM Jeff Gorton's selection of Lucic because he was much lower down on Ottawa's prospect list"...
Read the rest here.

Of course, Ottawa weren't the only Ontario team to pass on Milan Lucic at the 2006 NHL draft. The Leafs took two players before Lucic slipped on a black and yellow jersey. Tlusty, in the first round. Kulemin, actually six spots higher than Lucic in the second round. I like Kulemin. I'm scared of Lucic. These things are not always subtle.

I know NHL scouts interview potential draft picks, but is that only limited to potential 1st round picks? What about the next six rounds? One would think that 15 minutes meeting and speaking to a guy like Lucic would tell you all you need to know.

This morning on my way into work I listened to an interview with Cody Hodgson on the Dean Blundell Show. Star at the World Juniors and local kid - on his way to the NHL next year, probably. 10th overall pick. Did the Leafs really have to trade away their first and two 2nd round picks to move up two spots to get Schenn? I love Schenn's game as much as anybody else, but was it the most responsible thing to do when guys like Hodgson were available at #10 and we had #7?

Whenever Burke thinks about trading away a late round pick for a role player he's not just throwing in a 6th rounder - he may be throwing in Chris DiDomenico. I highly recommend he DOES NOT resign Brad May before July 1st handing Anaheim that same draft pick for 2009.

Of course, for every later round success story, there's the narrow misses in the early rounds. In 2005 Ottawa took Brian Lee with the 9th overall pick. Anze Kopitar was taken 2 picks later by LA. Could Ottawa use a super talented +1 pt/game center making $765,000? Probably.

So why are we always talking GM's when really it's the scouts who's job it is to find the best players? Can any of you, without searching for it, name two scouts on your respective favourite team? I can't.

It seems like forever and a day ago the Leafs had the top two goaltending prospects in the world in Justin Pogge and Tuukka Rask. Now we just have Pogge, whose fanfare has been reduced to lukewarm. In saying that, he's never had a decent NHL shot. Until a week from now:
The Leafs intend to call up G Justin Pogge for a few starts after the all-star break. "What we're about here is making sure we take care of the future of the team," said coach Ron Wilson. "We want to make sure Justin Pogge gets his opportunities here."

Maybe they do want to "take care of the future", but I suspect this has more to do with the March 4th trade deadline and a guy named Vesa Toskala.

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