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04-28-2009, 09:03 PM
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Well, you have to suck in the right years. You're not going to be able to build a franchise around David Legwand, or even Roman Hamrlik, so if you tank in the wrong year, you may end up with a guy who's a good player but not a superstar. That's mostly a matter of luck.

Then again, you can draft a guy in the middle who turns into a star, like Getzlaf, or even in the latter rounds. That's also, mostly, a matter of luck, given the imprecise nature of scouting. It's rarer than if you have a higher draft pick, but it happens often enough that you don't need to blow the team up if your drafting is good. If you pick quality players in the first round for several years, eventually you'll get that home run. It's not something a scout can predict effectively, however -- all a high pick buys you is a higher success percentage, barring supreme talents a la Malkin/Ovechkin. Heck, Montreal drafted their own superstar, Andrei Markov, as a center in the low rounds.

Third option is to be able to be in the right place at the right time and acquire your gamebreaker through a trade. That's also a matter of luck; you need to have a GM stupid enough to trade Luongo or Thornton, have them contact you, and happen to have the pieces they want to return it. These days, you have to be careful -- a guy like Lecavalier might be available, but the team that acquires him may find themselves hamstrung in the long term.

The bottom line? Getting a superstar requires a fair bit of luck. Drafting high helps, but it is no guarantee of success. And even drafting superstars with high draft picks, like Atlanta has done, does not guarantee success either.

I'm against blowing up a good team for five years just to pin its hopes on a high draft pick or "elite prospect" that may very well not pan out. There's no binary state between "Stanley Cup contender" and "lottery team".. A team that genuinely sucks will suck for several years as it slowly recovers; it won't happen overnight. And frankly, given the hit-or-miss nature of drafting, even with very high picks, sucking for several years is the only way to make it work.

Occasionally a team will take a one-year nosedive due to circumstances (like the Flyers did) and that may be the time to draft that high pick.

With the terrible fans, media, taxes, weather et cetera this team is saddled with, you're faced with a different problem -- a not inconsiderable chance the savior will demand to be traded when he fails to elevate a sucky team (as a team that tanked for a high pick would get) and gets reamed by the medias and fans for it.

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