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Brian Burke-President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames
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09-10-2013, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Originally Posted by
The Oilers at the beginning of their rebuild had a plethora of prospects and draft picks that we swore would turn this team around by the time our top draft picks were at the end of their ELC's. We followed the Chicago and Pittsburgh model, and we had the exact same kind of hope you have right now with your sub-pro prospects.
Let's take a look at who the Oilers drafted, starting with 2005.
That was our prospect pool heading into our first #1 overall selection, in which we selected Taylor Hall in 2009. We also had at the end of 2008-2009 season
Who had graduated to the NHL very recently.
From that point, our 5 year rebuild officially began. That means we had a very healthy and robust pool in our system and a handful of prospects freshly graduated at the time Taylor Hall was drafted:
Along with a very healthy goaltending pool of Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers who were considered the future of our goaltending.
And that's only year 1.
Year 2-4 saw the additions of:
So what does that mean? We must just suck balls at drafting, right? About to laugh at the prospects we had? These weren't just ordinary draft picks. Many of these prospects had the backing of some very reputable scouts and publications that catapulted our prospect pool into some high number, very similar to how the Flames view their own pool.
The biggest problem with assuming that your prospects are enough alone to vault you past 29 other teams who have also been drafting over the last 5 years is that you have no clue as to who is going to make it and who is going to bust.
I look at all these high hopes from Flames fans and I can't help but laugh. Many of them aren't even playing pro yet and you're already expecting them to be major contributors in the coming years. 75% of your top prospect pool won't be ready for when those veterans get moved or sign elsewhere.
There is no "Shorter time frame" for your rebuild. Your scouting is just as good as anybody else's, and that's only because I believe the scouting methods of today's scouts are so archaic they remind me of that movie "Moneyball" where they evaluate players based on their looks.
Expect more than half of your GOOD prospects to fall well short of expectations or bust completely. Then expect much of your long shots to never even make it out of the AHL, and those who do to be unprepared for the task of taking very important roles onto their shoulders. And truth be told, while the #1 overall is almost a sure thing, it too is subject to the trials and tribulations of carrying a franchise on their back. We were lucky Taylor Hall is able to. But Nail Yakupov and RNH don't have the character (IMO) to do what Hall did and not many players do. With a lack of veteran leadership as the prospects graduate, it will add another level of stress to an already stressed team.
And we're not even talking about the severe toll that losing has on a team and a franchise as a whole. Avoiding a losing culture is literally half the battle and is something that the Oilers organization has done very well at.
Food for thought about your supposed all star prospect pool.
You make some pretty good points, especially about the losing culture. I know I went into the Flames rebuild with a lot of apprehension. I look at the draft as purely a numbers game and only a handful will pan out, depending on the opportunities and development provided.
I will say that Feaster and Wiesbrod have made significant changes to the drafting process than what we saw with D. Sutter. We've seen examples of this with Jankowski, Gaudrea, Poirer, and a few other "contentious" picks. The process now involves a best player available rather than those qualitative traits like we saw in moneyball. Our scouts thought Janko had the best raw skill compared to all players still available to draft so they chose him even though its a project.
But who knows right? The example you provided with the Oilers and their high-ranked prospects at the time of a rebuild is proof that rankings aren't everything. I will say that the Oilers were lucky to have an owner that wanted a rebuild. The Flames owners pushed it off and consider it unacceptable as far as we can tell.
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