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11-17-2012, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ponder View Post
Not sure I agree with that. In 2001 and 2002 we saw lots of Finns go high in the draft (Mikko Koivu and Tuomo Ruutu 6th and 9th overall in 2001; Kari Lehtonen and Joni Pitkanen 2nd and 4th overall in 2002). There haven't been many Finns drafted high since then, but they haven't produced many good prospects since then either. In 2004 we saw Korpikoski, Nokelainen and Tukonen all go in the 11-19 range, and all busted except Korpikoski, but I wouldn't say that this draft turned GMs off Finnish prospects, there just haven't been a lot of strong Finnish prospects since. I mean, GMs are not going to take a weak prospect in the 1st round just to make sure that Finland produces a 1st round pick. Now that Finland has started producing solid prospects again, GMs have started to draft them reasonably high once more (Granlund 9th overall in 2010, Armia 16th overall in 2011, Teravainen and Maata 18th and 22nd overall in 2012, and soon to be Barkov, Ristolainen and Lehkonen in 2013).

I haven't seen Finnish prospects regularly go way lower than you'd expect based on their talent, as is so common with Russian prospects. In the years where Finns have not gone high in the draft, they've generally just not had any good prospects. When they do produce good prospects, they go about as high as they should. If Barkov is talented enough to go in the 2nd-6th overall range (and I think he is), then he'll go somewhere around 2nd-6th. I agree that his shot at 1st overall is quite slim, but only because MacKinnon is such a strong prospect, it'll be tough for anyone to unseat him.
I both agree and disagree.

Tukonen, Nokelainen and Jesse Niinimäki (#15 in 2002, although it was a strong draft for us in general) are the busts that I first thought of. I'm not including the goalies here, because their development seems to be so much harder to predict in general.

It is our own fault that there has been so little talent until these past couple of years, as systematic mistakes were made with player development for about a decade and these mistakes weren't fixed until a few years ago. There could've been talent there, but it was killed by a bad development system.

The Swedes had the same problem, but they fixed their system earlier, and these young guys are products of that improved system. Our top talent is younger than theirs because only in the recent years have they been allowed to really develop. Still, regardless of the improvements in our development system, we (and NHL teams) have yet to see actual proof of it in the form of success in the NHL. Making those mistakes earlier in player development cost us potentially good players and didn't do us any favors in the eyes of NHL teams, either. There's about a 10-year gap between our two youngest most talented classes and it's more than just regular variation in talent.

If I was a GM, I'd feel more comfortable drafting a kid produced by a system I've seen can produce decent NHLers rather than a system that has began to produce solid prospects lately but no NHL regulars as of yet, assuming the talent level was roughly the same. That's my main point, really. I'm not saying less talented guys should or would be drafted early because of their nationality.

Many people were surprised Teräväinen didn't go in the top10 (I never expected him to, but others did) or even top15. The Blackhawks seemed surprised he was still available at #18.

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