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12-19-2012, 12:17 PM
TS Quint
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Originally Posted by FissionFire View Post
Here's a quick list of the past few defenseman taken in the top 5 of their draft.....

Adam Larsson (4th, 2011)
Erik Gudbranson (3rd, 2010)
Victor Hedman (2nd, 2009)
Drew Doughty (2nd, 2008)
Zack Bogosian (3rd, 2008)
Alex Pietrangelo (4th, 2008)
Luke Schenn (5th, 2008)
Thomas Hickey (4th, 2007)
Karl Alzner (5th, 2007)
Erik Johnson (1st, 2006)
Jack Johnson (3rd, 2005)

Solid list, but not that great. One of them hasn't even played a game in the NHL yet (Hickey). None of them were really stud players until about 3 years after their draft season, aside from Doughty. Of that list probably only Doughty, Pietrangelo, and maybe Larsson still appear to be top tier #1 D guys or perennial Norris candidates. None of the rest would be worth trading away a franchise center for.

Speaking of that, a glance at centers drafted in the top 5 of those drafts.....

Tyler Seguin (2nd, 2010)
Ryan Johansen (4th, 2010)
John Tavares (1st, 2009)
Matt Duchene (3rd, 2009)
Brayden Schenn (5th, 2009)
Steven Stamkos (1st, 2008)
Kyle Turris (3rd, 2007)
Jordan Staal (2nd, 2006)
Jonathan Toews (3rd, 2006)
Nicklas Backstrom (4th, 2006)
Sidney Crosby (1st, 2005)

By contrast, all but 3 players on this list look like bona-fide #1 centers or better. Schenn and Turris are the exceptions and the jury is still out on Staal. You can even toss in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st, 2011) to this list.

Most important of all may be the simple supply-and-demand dynamics. Like it or not, Norris caliber defenseman are much easier to draft and develop in later rounds than trophy caliber centers. Consider that the last time a center not drafted with a top 5 pick won the Hart was Joe Sakic in 2000-01. Before that? Fedorov in 1993-94. The lowest drafted center to ever win the Richard was taken 1st overall (Crosby, Stamkos, Lecavalier). By contrast the Norris list is a hodge-podge of draft positions. Karlsson was 15th overall. Niedermayer and Pronger were top 3 picks. Lidstrom and Chara were 3rd rounders. Keith was drafted in the 2nd. For ever Ray Bourque drafted in the top 5, you have a Rob Blake taken in the 4th round. Heck, Shea Weber wasn't even a 1st rounder. Stud defenseman routinely pop up later in the draft. Stud centers like a Datsyuk or Zetterberg showing up beyond the top picks is almost unheard of. You take the commodity that is only available up there (franchise center) and you rely on your scouting and development to produce the next wave of stud D with your picks in the 20s and later.
Overall I would rather have a top Dman. I'd rather build my own team like the Preds than the Oilers. But you bring up a really good point of drafting accuracy and to that point I would take MacKinnon.

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