Friday, May 18, 2012

Two outstanding draft classes- Quality vs Quantity

After a quick back and forth about the 2003 and 2005 drafts with my cousin, and Anze Kopitar enthusiast, I decided to compare the two drafts which are loaded with talent.

The 2003 draft boasts a ton of talent:

1st Round:

The Stars and high end support players:
Eric Staal
M-A Fleury
Ryan Suter
Zach Parise
Ryan Getzlaf
Cory Perry
Jeff Carter
Mike Richards
Dustin Brown
Ryan Kesler
Brent Seabrooke
Tomas Vanek
Dion Phaneuf
Nathan Horton
Brent Burns
Brayden Coburn
Milan Michalek
Andrei Kostitsyn

The Role Players
Steve Bernier
Eric Fehr
Robert Nilsson
Mark Stuart
M-A Pouliot
Anthony Stewart
Brian Boyle
Jeff Tambellini
Patrick Eaves

The absolute Busts:
Shawn Belle, only 20 NHL games to his name.
Hugh Jessiman, only 2 games played in the show.

*Not listed is Nikolai Zherdev. He was taken in this draft, and I almost wanna list him as a bust, although talent-wise that wouldn't be accurate. He could've been in the Kostitsyn/Michalek range if he didn't go back to Russia. He was a 3 time 20+ goal scorer in 4 NHL seasons.

Now let's take a look at the first round of the 2005 draft, which is also ridiculous. However, being a couple years younger, you should use discretion with certain players who may be late bloomers.

1st Round:

The Stars and high end support players:
Sidney Crosby
Anze Kopitar
Bobby Ryan
Jack Johnson
T.J. Oshie
Carey Price
Tuuka Rask
Marc Staal
Devin Setogucchi
Andrew Cogliano
Martin Hanzal
Matt Niskanen
Steve Downie

The Role Players:
Benoit Pouliot
Gilbert Brule (The Blue Jackets always seem to get it wrong)
Jack Skille (could be a late bloomer, could move into "high end support player" role)
Brian Lee
Ryan Parent
Jakub Kindl
Niclas Bergfors
Matt Lashoff (between bust and role player)

The absolute Busts:
Marek Zagrapan
Sasha Pokulok
Ryan O'Marra (could become a role player)
Kendal McArdle (ditto)
Alex Bourret
Matt Pelech
Joe Finley
Vladimir Michalek

Not listed is Luc Bourdon, RIP.

Okay, so its pretty clear that the 2003 draft had a way better first round. Crosby and Kopitar aside, the first round of the 2005 draft was pretty below average, overall. However, its the supposed depth of the 2005 draft that's so impressive. So I'm going to keep digging. I'm not going to list busts for the 2nd round on.

2003 2nd Round:

Stars/high end support:
Shea Weber
Louie Eriksson
Patrice Bergeron
David Backes
Matt Carle
Jimmy Howard

Notable Role players:
Kevin Klein
Cory Crawford
BJ Crombeen
Patrick O'Sullivan
Maxim Lapierre

Not bad, with 4 legit stars, a quality d-man and a legit starting goalie, along with a handful of useful role players.

2005 2nd Round:

Stars/high end support:
James Neal
Paul Stastny
Ondrej Pavelec
M-A Vlasic

Notable Role players:
Justin Abdelkader
Mason Raymond
Guillaume Latendresse
Adam McQuiad
*Matt Kassian (only 28 career games so far, but looks like a bit of a late bloomer)

Okay, so the 2nd round in '05 is solid, but doesn't quite stack up against the '03 class. Which is looking more and more obvious as the best draft class of a generation. Let's take a look at rounds 3-7

2003 later rounds

Stars/high end support:
Joe Pavelski (*7th round)
Kyle Quincey
Lee Stempniak ("high end support" is maybe a stretch?)
Clarke MacArthur

Notable Role players:
Dan Carcillo
Drew Miller
Ryan O'Byrne
Nate Thompson
Alexandre Picard
Zach Stortini
Kyle Brodziak
Jan Hejda
Nathan Paetsch
Johnny Mitchell
Brad Richardson
Mark Methot
Bruno Gervais
Paul Bissonette
Jay Rosehill

Decent draft from the 3rd round on, but the only player resembling a star in there is Joe Pavelski. The super stars drafted in the first couple rounds of this draft are undeniable, but let's see if the '05 draft can make it up in the later rounds:

2005 later rounds:

Stars/high end support:
Kris Letang
Jonathan Quick
Keith Yandle
Niclas Hjalmersson
Sergei Kostitsyn
Patric Hornqvist (*last pick of the draft! )

Notable Role players:
Darren Helm
Nathan Gerbe
Kris Russell
Cody Franson
M-A Gragnani
Anton Stralman
TJ Hensick
Mark Fayne
Matt D'Agostini
Jarred Boll
Kyle Cumiskey
Vladimir Sobotka
Oscar Bartulis
Tom Pyatt
Tim Kennedy
Colin Greening
Chris Butler
Tom Wandell
*Ben Bishop (potential to be a good goalie)

Well, not a lot to suggest that the '05 draft is in any way better than the '03 draft, except that it has produced a few more NHL'ers. The '05 players would all be about 24-25 years old right now, so there is still a chance that a few of the "notable role players" could make the leap in to the "high end" category, where as we have a better handle on the '03 players who are all 26-27.

Either way, my conclusion is that the '03 draft class is the draft of the generation, although the '05 depth is fairly impressive.

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