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1st Overall Pick in 2003

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09-09-2012, 11:16 PM
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Stephen
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1st Overall Pick in 2003

Having the benefit of hindsight, we can safely say that the Pittsburgh Penguins selection of Marc-Andre Fleury first overall in the deepest draft since 1979 and possibly ever was one that worked out for the franchise. Even though they passed on Eric Staal, they got two even better centermen in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. So even if the pick itself didn't yield the best talent, it did give them an integral piece to a contending team and one that one a championship in 2009.

But assuming the Penguins didn't get Malkin and Crosby in subsequent years, how bad would it have looked for Pittsburgh to have traded up to get the first overall pick, only to pass on a big offensively talented franchise center like Eric Staal just to pick a goalie?

Would this move gone down as a Milburyesque miscalculation if things hadn't worked out as beautifully well for them the following two drafts?

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09-10-2012, 01:00 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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it's an interesting draft, in that if you re-did the draft every year, there would be a different first overall pick almost every year since these guys were 20.

leading up to the draft, it was horton. at the draft, and up to the year after the lockout, it was staal. after that, you could have made an argument for phaneuf. then getzlaf, then fleury or maybe parise, then perry, and now probably weber.

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09-10-2012, 06:02 AM
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RabbinsDuck
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I would barf in my mouth if my team ever took a goaltender #1. Ten times more risky than a forward or defenseman.

Imagine if Pittsburgh had drafted Weber.

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09-10-2012, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Having the benefit of hindsight, we can safely say that the Pittsburgh Penguins selection of Marc-Andre Fleury first overall in the deepest draft since 1979 and possibly ever was one that worked out for the franchise. Even though they passed on Eric Staal, they got two even better centermen in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. So even if the pick itself didn't yield the best talent, it did give them an integral piece to a contending team and one that one a championship in 2009.

But assuming the Penguins didn't get Malkin and Crosby in subsequent years, how bad would it have looked for Pittsburgh to have traded up to get the first overall pick, only to pass on a big offensively talented franchise center like Eric Staal just to pick a goalie?

Would this move gone down as a Milburyesque miscalculation if things hadn't worked out as beautifully well for them the following two drafts?
I think they would have benefitted more from picking another player. Not that Fleury was bad but its simply more logical to pick the BPA and get a goalie through a trade or free agency.

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09-10-2012, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Having the benefit of hindsight, we can safely say that the Pittsburgh Penguins selection of Marc-Andre Fleury first overall in the deepest draft since 1979 and possibly ever was one that worked out for the franchise. Even though they passed on Eric Staal, they got two even better centermen in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. So even if the pick itself didn't yield the best talent, it did give them an integral piece to a contending team and one that one a championship in 2009.

But assuming the Penguins didn't get Malkin and Crosby in subsequent years, how bad would it have looked for Pittsburgh to have traded up to get the first overall pick, only to pass on a big offensively talented franchise center like Eric Staal just to pick a goalie?

Would this move gone down as a Milburyesque miscalculation if things hadn't worked out as beautifully well for them the following two drafts?
That's one way to justify one of the worst #1 draft picks ever. The only thing you can credit MAF for is helping to take them to the 08 SCF. He was downright mediocre in the 09 playoffs, and has been below average in every playoff since. So that is +1 for him and -4 (playoffs below .900 SV%). The 09 year is +0.

A goaltender of his caliber could have easily been purchased through the UFA market. Better yet, trade Getzlaf/Staal (who they should have drafted) for a #1 goaltender and another quality player.

And yes, I am a PIT fan.

Just look to the acquisition of Vokoun this year. Pens get the #10 all time SV% goaltender in the NHL for 2mil / 2 years through UFA. They paid half as much (as MAF cost) and got a better goaltender.


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09-10-2012, 08:50 AM
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JackSlater
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Getting Malkin and Crosby in the following drafts made Pittsburgh's error less blatant, but it was still a bad pick at the time. There are several players who should have been picked ahead of Fleury given what we now know, although the best play would have been to trade down.

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09-10-2012, 09:26 AM
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Getting Malkin and Crosby in the following drafts made Pittsburgh's error less blatant, but it was still a bad pick at the time. There are several players who should have been picked ahead of Fleury given what we now know, although the best play would have been to trade down.
PIT traded up to #1 specifically to draft Fleury. I don't remember their original draft position (think it was #3 but I'm not positive off the top of my head). Nobody could have predicted Weber being the best player and, with 20/20 hindsight, the consensus best offensive player (Eric Staal) would be wasted on them with Crosby/Malkin coming in the upcoming drafts. For all Fleury's faults, he played well in the '09 Cup run and was a key part of their win. Even though better players were on the board, I still doubt PIT would use the mythical draft time machine to select someone other than Fleury, for fear of risking their '09 Cup.

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09-10-2012, 10:20 AM
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Mike Farkas
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Having watched Fleury with Cape Breton (QMJHL), his upside looked rather incredible there...his reflexes were off the charts, he made some extra work for himself by being both a goaltender and a third defenseman, but those were things that could have been worked out with maturity.

The Pens were at 3 and it seemed fairly obvious that Carolina and Florida knew where they were going with their picks...Carolina had just used a 1st round pick on Cam Ward the season before and Florida had Roberto Luongo...so both seemed to be relatively set in goal. The Penguins had the upstart Johan Hedberg (who they knew was about to get too expensive for their tastes, as odd as that sounds in retrospect), Sebastien Caron who showed flashes in his rookie year and J.S. Aubin who never quite looked the part and struggled with the mental aspects of giving up just so many goals on those bad teams. Not to mention, when he shared a crease with Barrasso, Barrasso would try to kill him before trying to mentor him...which had to have had some effect.

Anyway, the Penguins desperately needed a chance at a franchise goalie. It seemed like a needless trade even then as Fleury would have probably been available at #3. But for a pick swap and Mikael Samuelsson (a winger that the Pens would turn out to need as soon as 2005-06) they slid up and made it a special occasion.

Fleury was thrown onto one of the worst teams in recent memory as an 18-year-old...how many players on the 2003-04 Pens survived even the ensuing lockout and played in the NHL in 2005-06? Just a small handful. And that includes players that wouldn't have made the team if it wasn't so bad (Ryan Malone was thrust into top-six duty as a rookie, Rob Scuderi saw some minutes when it was thought he was just a minor league farmhand, etc.). Fleury put together a valiant effort and for his troubles the cash-strapped Penguins were playing around with him to make him avoid performance bonuses so they didn't have to pay him any more than they had...

Despite the awful feeling of being jerked around by the team that drafted you 1st overall, the awful feeling of having to face 48 shots (including an Esa Pirnes penalty shot, if memory serves...he made 46 saves in his NHL debut), having only one d-man that would stop cross-crease passes (Scuderi) forcing Fleury to play both d-man and goalie as a youngster which led to a lot of short-side goals even after a couple of years (he's fixed the issue now that he can trust his defense more), despite all that noise he still emerged as a very good goaltender...

He's not going to set the world on fire with statistics because he plays on a very offensive-minded team and pretty much always has (minus Therrien's era when they played well defensively)...he was the best player in the 2007 series against Ottawa, he willed the team to the 2008 Finals, and that game 5 performance vs. Detroit ranks as one of the finest goaltending performances in the last 15 years, had the Pens even forced that to a game 7, Fleury would have been a heavy, heavy favorite to win the Conn Smythe...in 2009 he had one bad series, but was stellar throughout...I know this is an episode of "fun with numbers" but removing the Washington series: 2.43 GAA, .919 save pct. (which would have put him top-5 among goalies that year)...he was instrumental in the win over Philly, the whole team dominated Carolina and against Detroit, well, the Pens don't win without him...he gave one goal in each game in elimination games 6 and 7 vs. a very good Red Wings team...he took 4 out of 5 against them with awesome performances...

I think I saw someone above go "1 playoffs good, 4 playoffs bad" or some nonsense like that...which I'm guessing means that the Cup Winning performance fell into the "bad" or whatever...that's just a product of box score watching of course...

The team was extremely disappointing in 2012 playoffs and a harbinger of their future failure occured in back-to-back games vs. the Islanders late in the season and it seems that Bylsma may have lost team with as much as one month left in the regular season...Fleury had no support, but he also did nothing to back the team up when they needed it...he was dreadful...

But given the circumstances, there's not much to disparage about the pick...the pick was instrumental in two Cup Finals appearances and one Cup win and they'll enter the season coming up here as contenders to go at it again...

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Old
09-10-2012, 11:42 AM
  #9
vadim sharifijanov
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another thing to keep in mind is that the pens were awful and were already looking ahead to the crosby draft. drafting a goalie and letting him get his feet wet while you still suck is a good way to ensure you're still in the basement by the time crosby comes around. whereas someone like eric staal might have meant enough of an improvement to fall out of the crosby sweepstakes.

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09-11-2012, 06:37 PM
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tony d
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It's still pretty risky, if you ask me, to pick a goalie 1st overall. Had the Pens gone with Staal in 2003 they'd be pretty unstoppable at centre with Staal, Malkin and Crosby.

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09-11-2012, 06:53 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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^ and carolina would have no staals.

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09-11-2012, 08:44 PM
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Mike Farkas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony d View Post
It's still pretty risky, if you ask me, to pick a goalie 1st overall. Had the Pens gone with Staal in 2003 they'd be pretty unstoppable at centre with Staal, Malkin and Crosby.
Could they afford all of that after the ELCs expired though? Fans say the same thing when they picked Staal over Toews and Backstrom in 2006...fact is, Staal was an enormous piece to the 2009 Cup winning team and may have single-handedly turned the series with his shorthanded goal...

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