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Lessons from the draft

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Old
08-14-2009, 05:38 AM
  #1
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Lessons from the draft

What have you learned over the years from watching drafts and with the benefit of hindsight?

Here are some of my observations:

1) Organizational scouting is far superior to that of any neutral service

2) "The Russian factor" should not be considered in the top-20 of a draft - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the top-20 of a draft year, he will most likely try to get into the NHL (this rule is magnified if said player is in a North American developmental league)

3) Try to avoid drafting goalies high, unless you have a guy like MA-Fleury available and it's a desperate team need

4) Make sure your prospective draftee actually wants to play hockey (*ahem* Daigle)

5) Don't get too wrapped up in drafting potential instead of NHL-transferability. For every project that works and ends up being a super star, there are 3 projects that crash and burn

6) Character issues like Kyle Beach are fine - you can work with them at least. Character issues like AJ Thelen and Nikolai Zherdev are not fine.

7) Drafting for size is a stupid practice that has hopefully been expunged by the lockout.

8) A kid that is physically mature and bull his way through the competition at the junior level will not be able to do that at the NHL level. No exceptions. The difference between power forwards at the NHL level (Iginla, Brown, Getzlaf) and power forwards at the AHL level (Picard, Brule) is the willingness to work hard and possessing loads of skill and hockey intelligence.

9) Rule # 7 has some exceptions - if the potential draftee is pretty small, he better have BOTH talent and the capacity to work hard if you don't want to waste a pick.

10) Remember, these people you are drafting are just kids. Kids make mistakes, kids grow (physically and especially mentally), kids learn. Remember that. But at the same time, do not lull yourself into a trap of thinking that said prospect will outgrow something. There is a very fine line between trusting your prospects to grow and being naive enough to let them develop bad habits.

11) ???

12) Profit! (You now have a viable prospect pool)

No but, come up with your own.

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Old
08-14-2009, 08:17 AM
  #2
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My general rule is that there are no rules.

Or, perhaps: go with whatever combination of gut and observation makes you like a player, don't let outside influences in, no matter how tempting it might be. You're going to win some and lose some anyway, so the losses might as well be on players you really believed in because then the memories 10 years later are at least still fond ones, even of the ones who busted. It's no fun to pick a player you had reservations about then have that player proceed to bust and confirm your reservations.

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Old
08-14-2009, 10:54 AM
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no 7 has been enforced by the leafs

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08-14-2009, 11:14 AM
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SK13
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Quote:
1) Organizational scouting is far superior to that of any neutral service
Actually, I find that quite untrue. At least in the first round. Far too many off the board picks are failures and a lot of fallers who were actually ranked high in draft day turned into good players.

I think it CAN be superior but too many do not resist the urge to draft by need.

Quote:
2) "The Russian factor" should not be considered in the top-20 of a draft - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the top-20 of a draft year, he will most likely try to get into the NHL (this rule is magnified if said player is in a North American developmental league)
Too soon for that call.

The "Russian Factor" as it is now has really only been applied to the last few drafts. There are a few really great looking picks from that time, but almost no actual NHL talent.

Quote:
3) Try to avoid drafting goalies high, unless you have a guy like MA-Fleury available and it's a desperate team need
I'll agree whole heartedly with this.

Goaltenders are almost always long term projects, and they have many more hurdles to jump than defenseman and especially forwards. Their development progression is very seldom linear and late round picks turn out quite as often as first round picks.

I would go so far as to avoid them entirely in the first couple of rounds.

Quote:
7) Drafting for size is a stupid practice that has hopefully been expunged by the lockout.
Taking a flier on a 6-foot-something player who can skate is not a bad practice, I find - especially later in the draft.

Far more likely they can develop the necessary aspects of their game than a 5'10 player. Near as I can tell, if you can get a decent bottom sixer out of the late rounds - you did good.

Quote:
10) Remember, these people you are drafting are just kids. Kids make mistakes, kids grow (physically and especially mentally), kids learn. Remember that. But at the same time, do not lull yourself into a trap of thinking that said prospect will outgrow something. There is a very fine line between trusting your prospects to grow and being naive enough to let them develop bad habits.
I'm only 23 and even I fall into the bad habit of thinking that their naive kids who will outgrow something.

I was not an idiot at 18. I was smart enough to know right from wrong and how to treat people. They are more grown up than I think most of the 30-somethings on this board remember being and people need to stop assuming that they'll grow out of things or into a new person at that age.

It doesn't happen often.

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08-14-2009, 11:32 AM
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If a player who may lack ideal size and/or an elite skill set wants to be a player then more often than not he'll will himself into being one (Mark Recchi, Kris Versteeg, etc.). You can't measure heart before a draft, but if a guy's intensity and willingness to go through a wall/do what it takes are consistently there, then he's probably worth a shot.


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08-14-2009, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iwishihadacup View Post
no 7 has been enforced by the leafs
we drafted 4 players that were 6'01 or under, and only three that were over 6'01.

We didn't draft THAT big....

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08-14-2009, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SK13 View Post
Actually, I find that quite untrue. At least in the first round. Far too many off the board picks are failures and a lot of fallers who were actually ranked high in draft day turned into good players.

I think it CAN be superior but too many do not resist the urge to draft by need.
I firmly believe that the neutral organizations rank by the best player available, but in no way do they rank the best prospects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK13 View Post

Too soon for that call.

The "Russian Factor" as it is now has really only been applied to the last few drafts. There are a few really great looking picks from that time, but almost no actual NHL talent.
I understand, but I seriously doubt that Kulikov or Filatov will return to their country before they are at least given their fair shot or two. I think the same applies for any prospect drafted in the 1st round

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK13 View Post


Taking a flier on a 6-foot-something player who can skate is not a bad practice, I find - especially later in the draft.

Far more likely they can develop the necessary aspects of their game than a 5'10 player. Near as I can tell, if you can get a decent bottom sixer out of the late rounds - you did good.
You make a good point with this, but I firmly believe that guys like Azevedo and Kozun, small players that GM's are afraid to draft, can be potentially effective NHL'ers (or at least incredibly good farm hands) who can at least be as effective as any

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK13 View Post

I'm only 23 and even I fall into the bad habit of thinking that their naive kids who will outgrow something.

I was not an idiot at 18. I was smart enough to know right from wrong and how to treat people. They are more grown up than I think most of the 30-somethings on this board remember being and people need to stop assuming that they'll grow out of things or into a new person at that age.

It doesn't happen often.
As someone who is in the age group that is up for the draft, I can safely say that they still lack maturity and have a ways to go and grow before they are adults. Although obviously it depends on the person. In fact, growth never really stops i think. But it is especially faster during these younger years

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Old
08-14-2009, 03:14 PM
  #8
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2) "The Russian factor" should not be considered in the top-20 of a draft - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the top-20 of a draft year, he will most likely try to get into the NHL (this rule is magnified if said player is in a North American developmental league)
So is the risk. Russian players in North American developmental leagues historically have an absolutely abysmal record - much worse than NA players, and vastly worse than Russian players who develop at home.

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08-14-2009, 03:19 PM
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My #1 thing isn't really a lesson, since people on HF never really "learn" it. That'd be that saying "so-and-so is a lock for top 15" or some other interval of selection is pure humor from my standpoint. I'll forever cackle behind my computer screen every time I read some misguided kid on here suggesting this.

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08-14-2009, 03:24 PM
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Winners and Losers posted the day after the draft (unless teams traded for actual proven NHL talent as part of their grade) are mostly based on Central and independent rankings and therefore must always be taken with a grain of salt. The real grades won't come until about 5 years later.

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Old
08-14-2009, 03:35 PM
  #11
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Take a 6'6 goalie with the last pick in the draft = smart, you traded your 7th for the next year for it, but still.

Taking a 6'8 goalie in the 4th ahead of the likes of Mike Murphy and Dustin Tokarski is not smart.

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08-14-2009, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doughty Number 8 View Post
2) "The Russian factor" should not be considered in the top-20 of a draft - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the top-20 of a draft year, he will most likely try to get into the NHL (this rule is magnified if said player is in a North American developmental league)
Not true. In the past 3 drafts and the next draft the "premier" Russian prospects have been

2007: Alexei Cherepanov (R.I.P.)
2008: Nikita Filatov
2009: Dmitri Kulikov
2010: Kirill Kabanov

Now...

In 2007 Alexei Cherepanov was touted as going anywhere from #1 to #6 overall. He slid to #17 overall. Talent was there but the NHL still didn't know if Avangard Omsk would let go of Cherepanov.

In 2008 Nikita Filatov went #6 overall. This is a perfect case of smooth-Trans-Atlantic movement by a Russian player. He was in his final year of a contract at CSKA Moscow and had every intention of coming to the NHL. Nikita, while he WAS taken top 10, did slip a few spots. He was pegged to go 4 or 5 but instead went 6.

In 2009 Dmitri Kulikov was a Russian taken from a North American league. While this may seem less risky, as mentioned in a different thread there is genuinely nothing stopping these players from going back to Russia. It has been seen before in other European prospects who play NA for a year then return to their home country (Tommi Kivisto, etc). Again the scare factor here is evident, Dmitri Kulikov was projected to go between 8th and 10th overall yet still slid to #14, even though he was drafted from a North American league.

In 2010 Kirill Kabanov's fate will be based upon his transition to the North American game and how he interacts with the NHL and the KHL. His talent level is enough for him to be a case for first overall but the Russian factor is still present. If he is in Moncton next year I could see him being a top 5 pick, but if for some reason Yaroslavl (or whatever KHL team owns him) can in fact lock him up, I don't know if he will go even top 10.

The scary thing that we have began to see with the KHL is they have tightened their loopholes and have even began to "enslave" their players. This was seen with Colorado Prospect, Denis Parshin. They have a system in place that renews a players contract in their "restricted free agency period" which will renew itself continuosly. In this cycle players will never be able to come to the NHL. I feel that the only way a Russian player were to be able to make it these days is to come in through a North American league like Galiev and possibly Kabanov may do next year.

In previous years talents like Orlov and Mayorov were picked in later rounds (even though they were first round talents) because of the Russian factor.

In other words my point is this: just because a player is talented and just because he may play for a North American team on draft day, doesn't mean the KHL is breathing down their backs, and it doesn't mean that the player is wanting to play in the NHL.

The KHL is reminescent of the USSR in their style of propaganda. I read that there are commercials playing with little kids talking about their "dreams of the KHL". At this rate I don't see any Russian players coming over after a few years.

The Cold War of Hockey has begun.

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Old
08-14-2009, 04:18 PM
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that makes me very sad to hear about Russian prospects.

Do you think we will see a substantial increase in players heading over to North America at an early age to remove themselves from the KHL system entirely (if they have a true desire to play in the NHL)?

But I don't see a KHL problem with a guy like Dmitri Kulikov. If a player is good enough and is treated well by the organization, I dont see why he wouldnt try to go into the NHL

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08-14-2009, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doughty Number 8 View Post
What have you learned over the years from watching drafts and with the benefit of hindsight?

Here are some of my observations:

1) Organizational scouting is far superior to that of any neutral service

2) "The Russian factor" should not be considered in the top-20 of a draft - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the top-20 of a draft year, he will most likely try to get into the NHL (this rule is magnified if said player is in a North American developmental league)

3) Try to avoid drafting goalies high, unless you have a guy like MA-Fleury available and it's a desperate team need

4) Make sure your prospective draftee actually wants to play hockey (*ahem* Daigle)

5) Don't get too wrapped up in drafting potential instead of NHL-transferability. For every project that works and ends up being a super star, there are 3 projects that crash and burn

6) Character issues like Kyle Beach are fine - you can work with them at least. Character issues like AJ Thelen and Nikolai Zherdev are not fine.

7) Drafting for size is a stupid practice that has hopefully been expunged by the lockout.

8) A kid that is physically mature and bull his way through the competition at the junior level will not be able to do that at the NHL level. No exceptions. The difference between power forwards at the NHL level (Iginla, Brown, Getzlaf) and power forwards at the AHL level (Picard, Brule) is the willingness to work hard and possessing loads of skill and hockey intelligence.

9) Rule # 7 has some exceptions - if the potential draftee is pretty small, he better have BOTH talent and the capacity to work hard if you don't want to waste a pick.

10) Remember, these people you are drafting are just kids. Kids make mistakes, kids grow (physically and especially mentally), kids learn. Remember that. But at the same time, do not lull yourself into a trap of thinking that said prospect will outgrow something. There is a very fine line between trusting your prospects to grow and being naive enough to let them develop bad habits.

11) ???

12) Profit! (You now have a viable prospect pool)

No but, come up with your own.
You mean like the leafs? Brian Burke is stuck in pre-lockout.

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08-14-2009, 04:39 PM
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I really think the "will he come to NA?" factor is ridiculously overblown for firstrounders. Can anyone name a single Russian (or for that matter, other European) player who got drafted in the first and then didn't go to NA? They have all done so if they were wanted, without exception as far as I can see. The only ones who didn't get signed were the ones who weren't good enough (Jens Karlsson, Teemu Riihijärvi etc). Compared to the other risks and uncertainties present at the draft table, this ought to be a non-factor.

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08-14-2009, 04:42 PM
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Do you think we will see a substantial increase in players heading over to North America at an early age to remove themselves from the KHL system entirely (if they have a true desire to play in the NHL)?
Unfortunately, yes. By all indications, that is going to hurt their development, and badly. But NHL teams seem really jittery about the risk otherwise, so the incentive is going to be very strong for players who want to play in the NHL.

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08-14-2009, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qvist View Post
Unfortunately, yes. By all indications, that is going to hurt their development, and badly. But NHL teams seem really jittery about the risk otherwise, so the incentive is going to be very strong for players who want to play in the NHL.
how will it hurt their development? Is it the problems associated with having a 16-17 year old in a foreign nation/culture? Or situations on-ice based

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08-14-2009, 04:54 PM
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Can anyone name a single Russian (or for that matter, other European) player who got drafted in the first and then didn't go to NA? .
I can think of a Russian first rounder who actually left the NHL in the middle of his rookie contract!

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08-14-2009, 04:54 PM
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how will it hurt their development? Is it the problems associated with having a 16-17 year old in a foreign nation/culture? Or situations on-ice based
See http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=663173 , particularly link at beginning of first post, Euro-NA comparison of top 15 picks further down and the 16-30-drafted analysis on page 2.

Short version: The historical record of european 1RPs who have gone the CHL or AHL routes is beyond brutal. No Russian top 30 selection with 100 games or more in the minors have ever become a high-impact player in the NHL, and of the ten russian 1RPs who have played in the CHL up to 2005, just 1 (Alexander Radulov) became a high-impact player.


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08-14-2009, 05:03 PM
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One thing that can be said about drafting for need is that it lets you focus on fewer players - going BPA route spreads your manpower, reducing accuracy of reports?

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08-14-2009, 05:03 PM
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I can think of a Russian first rounder who actually left the NHL in the middle of his rookie contract!
Granted, which in the end amounts to the same risk, pretty much. He is the only one though.

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08-14-2009, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritSabre View Post
One thing that can be said about drafting for need is that it lets you focus on fewer players - going BPA route spreads your manpower, reducing accuracy of reports?
I think that's actually a really good point. By focusing on a particular position, you can get a "full view" of the player - potential, current skills, personality, work ethic, etc.

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08-14-2009, 05:25 PM
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You mention that drafting Kyle Beach was fine, despite the fact he has not made it to the NHL yet and has not shown that he can overcome some of his "issues" yet. Then you cross compare him (an 08' draftee still in Junior) with a player drafted in 2003 and who has played 5 NHL seasons with 3 50 point campaigns. I don't think this particular point was well argued.

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08-14-2009, 05:42 PM
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Short version: The historical record of european 1RPs who have gone the CHL or AHL routes is beyond brutal. No Russian top 30 selection with 100 games or more in the minors have ever become a high-impact player in the NHL, and of the ten russian 1RPs who have played in the CHL up to 2005, just 1 (Alexander Radulov) became a high-impact player.
i think the reason behind this is that canada develops over masses. it's sort of a natural selection. thousands of good players go into the CHL and the best come out on top. this works pretty well for canada. in other countries you have less talent and therefore you have exceptional players. in order to make them succeed you give them personal training. the younger stars in europe get a personal treatment, they have their own development.
if they go to the CHL they are one of many and could simply be among those who sooner or later get cut.

i recently thought about in the tom kuhnhackl situation. in germany he's a great talent. and everyone is trying to help him to succeed.
if he'd go to the CHL, he'd be one of many.
and it seems that for euros staying in europe is the better choice. at least for super skilled. the 2nd-tier prospects could definately profit from playing CHL and some have in the past.

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08-14-2009, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timw33 View Post
You mention that drafting Kyle Beach was fine, despite the fact he has not made it to the NHL yet and has not shown that he can overcome some of his "issues" yet. Then you cross compare him (an 08' draftee still in Junior) with a player drafted in 2003 and who has played 5 NHL seasons with 3 50 point campaigns. I don't think this particular point was well argued.
I guess Getzlaf would be a better illustration of the point...

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