This column was supposed to start out very positive and would have planted a lot of hope.
Posted at 1:11 p.m
Here’s how it started: With a first overall pick, a late first-round pick, two second-round picks (including the very first of the round), three third-round picks and three fourth-round picks, the Canadian and his new administration could make smart decisions on Thursday and Freitag ensure the sustainability of the organization.
The Canadian only had one top 26 pick, as I mentioned, but the number of picks in the first four rounds would have allowed him to progress if needed and also multiplied his chances of success.
The 2005 draft Pittsburgh Penguins with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang, the 2004 Washington Capitals with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, brilliant selections by Ducks scouting director Alain Chainey in 2003, the brilliance of the Boston Bruins in the 2006 with Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic or the Dallas Stars with Miro Heiskanen, Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson in 2017 were precedents.
But in the course of the research, one thing became increasingly clear: these spectacular hopeful runs of the last twenty years were rather the exception.
And the cases of failure are much more numerous. Between 2007 and 2019, we saw 12 times an organization hold three first-round picks. Of 27 of those first-round picks, only four became top players, just two of them with their respective teams…
The Florida Panthers held three first-round picks and three second-round picks in 2010. Along with their own pick, the Panthers settled on No. 3 Erik Gudbranson, a tough and durable but very limited defender. Despite a long career, Nick Bjugstad (19e) never became the hoped-for center. He has never reached the 50-point mark in a season. Quinton Howden (25)e) never broke through, as did the three second-round picks, except maybe Alex Petrovic briefly.
In 2017, the Golden Knights drafted three times in the first round, including two top 13 draft picks. They traded these three young players. Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom allowed them to bring in two first-line players, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. Cody Glass reported on Nolan Patrick.
Unearthing two top players in the same vintage is a masterpiece, three stars an extremely rare case. The CH would have succeeded in 2007 if they hadn’t stupidly replaced 12 draft Ryan McDonaghe 1st place ahead of Max Pacioretty (22e) and PK Subban (43e).
But we no longer see clubs wiping out four Impact players on the same day, like the Canadian in 1984 with Patrick Roy, Stéphane Richer, Shayne Corson and Petr Svoboda, or in 1987 with John Leclair, Andrew Cassels, Éric Desjardins and Mathieu Schneider.
Kent Hughes and his crew have their draft done if they can get their hands on two Impact players, meaning attackers for the first two lines or a defender for the first three to confide in Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov and Kaiden Guhle. You will exceed expectations with three.
But it will take another tough year, maybe two, to win back more in hopes of a top 3 pick for the 2023 crop and another top ten pick in 2024. The Canadian already holds a second pick for the 2023 first round in Ben Chiarot’s trade with the Florida Panthers.
After all, it took the Colorado Avalanche six years to regroup Gabriel Landeskog (2011), Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Mikko Rantanen (2015) and Cale Makar (2017) and ten years to win their first Stanley Cup after they Landeskog had moved in second in the overall standings …
A bold prediction!
La Presse columnists were asked to make a bold prediction on the eve of the NHL draft. So here it is: the Canadian will put strong winger Juraj Slafkovsky in the front row on Thursday night and also earn a promising center by winning another top-12 pick of either Noah Östlund, cutter Gauthier Marco Kasper or Jonathan Lekkerimäki (which also can Play Center) subject to everyone’s availability. This second choice is given in return for the choices at the end of the first (26the) or the beginning of the second (33e) round or against Josh Anderson and either of the two above. Slafkovsky could start the season in Montreal, to the left of Nick Suzuki and Caufield, while we’ll be more patient in the middle. Ostlund and Lekkerimäki can stay in Sweden for another season, Gauthier will play in the NCAA at Boston College, while Kasper’s European player status means he can stay in Sweden or join Laval Rocket. Meanwhile, despite trade rumours, Christian Dvorak will fill the void at second centre.
Now here is my colleagues’!
Do not miss
- Relying on statistical analysis, Juraj Slafkovsky would not be the best choice for the Canadian, writes Alexandre Pratt.
- The NHL has become increasingly open over the years. Women get executive positions, and on Tuesday, Mike Grier became the first black general manager in National League history with the San Jose Sharks. Jean-François Téotonio joined the hockey world’s first black professional coach, Quebecer John Paris, for the occasion.
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