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06-15-2012, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
None of that is really the point. Mono may be unlikely to recur, but my point was that losing a ton of time in his draft year (or playing a bunch at 60%) can mask the fact that a player simply is not that good.

I mentioned Nick Ebert being a top-5 prospect coming into this year. Jordan Schmaltz was another guy who was talked about as a top-10 prospect, and Martin Frk in the top-15 (after two years of being hyped as a possible #1 overall). Neither one of them is on the radar at all right now....Frk is a possible second-rounder, Schmaltz is projected as a late third-rounder at best, and Ebert has been buried so deep that The Hockey News can't even find him. He's the 96th-rated North American skater, which may put him into the 6th round by the time it's all said and done. His fall mirrors Seth Ambroz last year.

My question is how clairvoyant someone is supposed to be when they're drafting or not drafting someone who has missed time or been restricted. And then there's the natural cycle of overanalysis. I did some digging a couple weeks ago and found a treasure trove of old in-season draft previews going back to 2003...somehow I didn't bookmark it or save anything, and I can't find them again. But what I most remember is needing to find out who some of these guys were. And I don't mean that I wanted to find out what they were doing now, I mean that I simply did not remember their careers.

For Galchenyuk, it's important to note two things. The first is that orthopedic science progresses at a staggering rate, and he apparently showed no ill effects during combine testing. The second is that his game wasn't predicated on speed in the first place. If he were Marian Gaborik, it would be another story entirely.

Every year, prospects rise and prospects fall. The fallers, particularly the highly-touted ones, may never have plummeted if they'd simply missed a bunch of time. And that means that some poor schlub would have taken John McFarland in the top-10, or J-P Levasseur, or Cory Emmerton, or Ben Shutron.
You have a tendency to miss the forest for the trees sometimes, so let's focus on four examples:

2005-06 Ottawa 67's OHL 65 25 39 64 6 3 4 7
2006-07 Ottawa 67's OHL 54 26 52 78 5 1 7 8

2010-11 Sarnia Sting OHL 68 31 52 83 0 0 0 0
2011-12 Sarnia Sting OHL 2 0 0 0 6 2 2 4

2010-11 Windsor Spitfires OHL 64 11 30 41 18 1 2 3
2011-12 Windsor Spitfires OHL 66 6 33 39 4 0 2 2

2010-11 Everett Silvertips WHL 70 6 40 46 4 1 2 3
2011-12 Everett Silvertips WHL 46 9 22 31 4 3 2 5

Okay, so the above are the following stats--GP, Goals, Assists, Playoff GP, Goals and Assists for Couture, Galchenyuk, Murray and Ebert for their last two years preceding the draft.

Notice something about Couture? Despite his little bout with mono and the games missed, he actually statistically improved the prior year. Doesn't seem like enough to justify this:

Central Scoutings Final Rankings for 2007 for North American Skaters. Notice where Couture is. Notice where the great Angelo Esposito is.

Meanwhile, if your concern is that injuries or illness may mask developmental problems, well, you may not want to look at Murray or Galchenyuk in the draft. Galchenyuk basically had no stats for this season except the playoffs. Murray also suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for a substantial time period. His pts/game is nearly indistinguishable from his prior season (.66 vs. .67) so, unlike Couture, he didn't exhibit developmental improvement notwithstanding his injury (and his plus/minus was significantly lower, but plus/minus is an even less perfect statistic in juniors).

Mr. Ebert, meanwhile, unlike Couture, regressed both on the aggregate and on a per games basis. Without battling mono. So, I think we have a pretty good idea why he dropped, although, again, if your concern is that injuries can mask issues, I'd again point out that Murray didn't exactly take a giant leap forward this season.

Bottom line, clearly NHL GM's are not as concerned are as you seem to be about injuries masking a player's overall talent. If they were, Murray and Galchenyuk would have suffered a similar tumble in the rankings to what Couture did. I think the only real reason that Couture tumbled as far as he did was because his 78 points in 54 games was far less impressive than Patrick Kane's gaudy 145 points in 58 games (and then there was Sam Gagner, who hasn't translated that into an NHL career of significance).

Don Maloney was asked about these injuries not that long ago and he pointed out that GM's have to do the same thing they do all the time with their players--have doctors do a thorough evaluation and figure out how it effects the player in the short and long term. So, it isn't about being clairvoyant. As is often the case, it is about doing your diligence and being able to see details your competitor misses.

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