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12-08-2012, 05:28 PM
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El Diego
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Pre-Lockout Draft Theory (2003 & 2011 Drafts)

So as we all know the 2003 NHL Entry Draft produced a ridiculous number of high quality NHLers. One theory I have read around (including here) is that because of the lockout two years later a lot of guys got extra seasoning in junior/AHL which helped their development. Instead of being in the NHL too early they were allowed to overripen or because of the unique scenario were in a better position to develop.

Let's say this is true. With the lockout this year we can "test" this hypothesis in the future. Of course it will take years to see how good the 2011 Draft class truly is, but if his idea holds true then we should see an inordinate number of impact players from the draft class. From my recollection (and it was only a couple of years ago), 2011 was not considered an especially strong or weak class (we can debate this). I don't remember 2005's hype at the time so maybe you guys can fill me in, but I don't think it was necessarily seen as the best draft class of the decade going in.

This theory rests on the idea that certain players would have been in the NHL but weren't because of the lockout. From the 2011 class we have guys like Huberdeau, Strome, Zibanejad, Scheifle, Hamilton, and Baertschi who would likely be in the NHL were it not for the lockout so their careers will be interesting to watch. Now, they are all high end prospects as it is, but not all high end prospects hit. If they all do then we might have something here. Again, I don't remember who from that 03 draft was supposed to make their team in 04 so if fans of those teams could fill me in we could get a better picture.

So, what do you think? Do you think this idea holds weight or was the 03 class just really good on it's own? Do you think NHL teams bring their stars up too early? Is there something about a lockout year (playing on stacked junior teams, being the go to guy in AHL, staying in Europe an extra year) that specifically helps development?

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