Let’s put this in ratings terms. Rather than working with names of individual players, let’s use the ratings to talk about what we’d like to see happen at the draft. We have 8 of the top 99 picks at the moment. The organization has lots and lots of 7s at the moment, and 6s and below are easy to acquire (some projected 7s will slip to 6s anyway).
Here is a first pass at what I think is reasonable to expect from these picks. I could be off, certainly. And the Jarmo factor comes heavily into play. At 24 two years ago he grabbed Oshie who is now listed at 8.0C (could be a first-line mainstay, should be a top-six and at worst would fall to the third line).
Our D looks like it’ll eventually have a 9 (EJ, for hopefully 15+ years), an 8 (Jax, for hopefully 10+ years), and just a ton of young 7s with more always in the pipeline. That’s strong. The pipeline can be the engine for trades.
In goal, Schwarz is an 8.0B. Teams can win Cups with 8.0 goalies but almost never with worse. 9.0-10.0s like Brodeur and Roy are how you get dynasties.
After adding EJ, the gaping hole in the franchise is the lack of 8.0s and 9.0s at forward. We’re hoping we have two 8s in Oshie and Berglund. But that’ll take awhile to play out. Either players in the system have to stretch past their expected potential (ala Stempniak) or we have to acquire guys through trade/UFA (or suck so bad next year we get Tavares, which seems unlikely).
Down the road, I’d like to see something like this:
If the above is a model, we still need to find a 9.0, an 8.5 and an 8.0 on the forward lines, IMO. Drury is a playoff 8.5 IMO, which is good enough.
So if we could somehow get him via UFA and pray (I am totally sold) that Couture falls to 9th, I think we could be just one 9.0 forward away from having a Cup champion franchise, once all these guys emerge 3-4 years from now. EJ, Oshie, Schwarz, our top pick this year and Berglund are all 3-4 years from establishing themselves, around which time the Stempniaks, Backeses, Boyeses, Polaks, Woywitkas will all be contributing with only one or two ready to hit UFA.
"Just one" 9.0 forward is MUCH easier said than done, obviously. Those are very hard to acquire in trades. Thorntons can get traded (9.0 regular season, 5.5 playoffs) for a self-evident reason (hint: it's in the previous parentheses). But 9.0 playoff guys almost never come free on the market.
And so that it's clear - I am thinking of these in playoff terms. [Tkachuk is an 8.0 regular season forward but contributes like a 5.0 at best in the clutch moments of the playoffs.] The reason for this distinction is if a guy is a 7.0 all regular season but a 8.0 and above playoff beast (like Fedotenko) then he counts as an 8.0 in my Cup-building model. The reason is that the playoff 8s and 9s are not 6s in the regular season so that the playoffs aren't even attained. I've always rejected the argument that if you build a team for the playoffs whose regular season performances are mediocre you run the risk of missing the playoffs. It's a false fear.
10 = generational player
9 = perennial All-Star
8 = occasional All-Star and clear first-line forward/#2D
7 = top-six forward/second-pairing D
6 = third liner/third-pairing D
5 = fourth liner/#7 D
Half-points mean potential probably lies somewhere in between
A means mortal lock;
B means probable to reach potential, could drop 1 full number
C means could drop 2 full numbers
D means could drop 3 full numbers
For some perspective, in the current Top 50 prospects list there is only one 9.0 player - EJ.
There are also:
four 8.5 forwards (Backstrom, Kessel, O'Sullivan and Ryan), one 8.5 Dman (JJ) and one 8.5 goalie (Montoya).
eleven 8.0 forwards, five 8.0 Dmen and seven 8.0 goalies
ten 7.5 forwards, four 7.5 Dmen and two 7.5 goalies
Some updates need to be made, obviously, because they also have two 7.0 forwards in their top 50 as well as one 6.5C forward (Pavelski, #45) and one 6.5C Dman (Russell, #34).
For some further comparison, Berglund and Soderberg are listed at 7.5B and 7.5C respectively. We also have a bunch of 7.0Bs and Cs.
For further note, if we net six more 7.0Cs or better in this year’s draft, that gives the organization 18 players rated by HF as 7.0C or better. Eighteen.
That doesn’t include either Woywitka OR Polak, who they have as a 6.0C (last pairing Dman, at worst a minor leaguer) and 6.5B (a 4/5 Dman, at worst a 6/7 Dman) respectively.
It doesn’t include 7.0Ds like Linglet, Barulin, Aaltonen, Drazenovic, Alexandrov and Shishkanov. Nor does it include 6.5Cs Junland and Stastny. I don't know how they'd rank Wagner but it doesn't include him either.
So much for their number one criticism of our prospect pool, general lack of depth.