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Obi-Wan

Evaluating Rutherford's number one picks

12 posts in this topic

Just for fun, I've gone back and taken a look at the Whalers/Hurricanes first overall picks since JR became GM in 1994, and who we got and how it panned out, as well as who went later (discounting first rounders by other teams) that would've been better.

1994: Jeff O'Neill (5th overall): 821 GP, 496 P

He was a jerk, but he was our jerk, and in his prime a good player. Call it a win.

Could've had: Patrik Elias (51st overall), Chris Drury (72nd overall), Milan Hedjuk (87th overall), Daniel Alfredsson (133rd overall), Tim Thomas (217th overall), Evgeni Nabokov (219th overall), Tomas Vokoun (226th overall)

1995: J.S. Giguere (13th overall): 492 GP, 220 W, Conn Smythe (2003), Stanley Cup (2007)

Hard to call his career a bust, but it's one for us because he played just 8 games in Hartford.

Could've had: Marc Savard (91st overall), Miika Kiprusoff (116th overall)

--We took Sami Kapanen at 87th

1996: Trevor Wasyluk (34th overall): 0 GP, 0 P

Epic fail. Barely even made the AHL for a week. Total bust.

Could've had: Matt Cullen (35th overall), Zdeno Chara (56th overall), Tomas Kaberle (204th overall)

1997: Nikos Tselios (22nd overall); 2 GP, 0 P

This is easy...clearly, a bust.

Could've had: Kristian Huselius (43rd overall), Joe Corvo (83rd overall), Brian Campbell (156th overall)

1998: Jeff Heerema (11th overall); 10 GP, 3 P

Also an easy one to call a bust.

Could've had: Brad Richards (64th overall), Pavel Datysuk (171st overall)

1999: David Tanabe (16th overall); 449 GP, 114 P

A little harder to call it this because he actually stuck for awhile, but another bust.

Could've had: Ryan Miller (138th overall), Henrik Zetterberg (210th overall)

2000: Thomas Kurka (32nd overall); 17 GP, 5 P

Sensing a pattern yet? Busted.

Could've had: Henrik Lundqvist (205th overall),

2001: Igor Knyazev (15th overall); 0 GP, 0 P

The most obvious bust yet.

Could've had: Patrick Sharp (95th overall),

2002: Cam Ward (25th overall); 272 GP, 138 W (entering 2010-11), Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy in 2006

Finally...JR makes up for the last five fails with this win.

Could've had: None better, but Duncan Keith was 54th.

2003: Eric Staal (2nd overall): 479 GP, 428 P, member of the Triple Gold Club (entering 2010-11)

Another win, big time.

Could've had: Again, none better, but Tobias Enstrom was 239th and Dustin Byfuglien was 245th, so we could've had them too.

2004: Andrew Ladd (4th overall): 321 GP, 149 P entering 2010-11, 2x Stanley Cup (CAR 2006, CHI 2010)

Not as strong as the last two, but a great player, and trading him got us Ruutu, so another win.

Could've had: Mark Streit (262nd overall)

2005: Jack Johnson (5th overall): Nothing for us, traded for Tim Gleason

Even weaker than the last, will be a good player, and got us Gleason. I'll call it a wash.

Could've had: Kris Letang (62nd overall), Keith Yandle (105th overall)

2006: Jamie McBain (63rd overall): 14 GP, 10 P (entering 2010-11)

The book's still out on this one.

Could've had: None better...the late rounds of this draft were weak.

2007: Brandon Sutter (11th overall): 122 GP, 46 P (entering 2010-11)

He's become a solid two-way player. I'll call it a win.

Could've had: PK Subban (43rd overall),

2008: Zach Boychuk (14th overall): 31 GP, 9 P (entering 2010-11)

Another one the book's still out on.

Could've had: Derek Stepan (51st overall),

2009: Phillipe Paradis (27th overall): Nothing for us (or anyone else yet), traded for Jiri Tlusty.

Tlusty may yet evolve into a decent player, but until then this is a bust.

Could've had: Too early to tell who'll be better than Tlusty.

2010: Jeff Skinner (7th overall): 57 GP, 41 P, NHL All-Star

The pick of the draft, the soon-to-be-Rookie-of-the-Year. Epic win so far, hopefully will be in the Ward/Staal class.

Could've had: None better, but no one beyond the first round has made the show yet.

So, overall, the first few years bit the dust, but after 2002, JR has really done well with his first pick, except for the hiccup in 2009. Still...to think that we could have had Datysuk, Zetterberg, and Chara...

Edited by Obi-Wan

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Can't agree with each year, especially 2005. I'd call that one a bust. The Canes left several really good players on the board to draft a kid bound for college. Kopitar, Marc Staal, etc.

I mean, if we're using hindsight....it's easy to point out the failures on Rutherford, and most other GMs.

But he has had some really questionable picks.

Edited by TheBigKahuna

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Wow... some of the names left on the board. Who would let Chara fall to 56th nowadays, eh? Hindsight is amazing.

That's the beauty of the draft, there are no guarantees. And each year dozens of teams guess wrong. Detroit has a knack for stealing great players in late rounds.

2003 was one of the richest drafts in recent history. The names of players taken that year is like an All-Star roster.

Obi-Wan left most of the better names off his list, for whatever reason.

2003:

Fleury

Staal

Horton

Zherdev

Vanek

Mikalek

Suter

Coburn

Phaneuf

Kostitsyn

Jeff Carter

Dustin Brown

Seabrook

Bernier

Parise

Getzlaf

Brent Burns

Marc Stuart

Kesler

Mike Richards

Anthony Stewart

Brian Boyle

Tambellini

Corey Perry

Patrick Eaves

That's just the 1st round....there were a few other decent players in later rounds:

Loui Erikkson

Patrice Bergeron

Matt Carle

Shea Weber

BJ Crombeen

Stefan Meyer

Patrick O'Sullivan (well...not quite)

Maxim Lapierre

David Backes

Jimmy Howard

3rd round:

Daniel Carcillo

Alexandre Picard

8th round!

Tobias Enstrom

Dustin Byfuglin

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That's the beauty of the draft, there are no guarantees. And each year dozens of teams guess wrong. Detroit has a knack for stealing great players in late rounds.

2003 was one of the richest drafts in recent history. The names of players taken that year is like an All-Star roster.

Obi-Wan left most of the better names off his list, for whatever reason.

2003:

Fleury

Staal

Horton

Zherdev

Vanek

Mikalek

Suter

Coburn

Phaneuf

Kostitsyn

Jeff Carter

Dustin Brown

Seabrook

Bernier

Parise

Getzlaf

Brent Burns

Marc Stuart

Kesler

Mike Richards

Anthony Stewart

Brian Boyle

Tambellini

Corey Perry

Patrick Eaves

That's just the 1st round....there were a few other decent players in later rounds:

Loui Erikkson

Patrice Bergeron

Matt Carle

Shea Weber

BJ Crombeen

Stefan Meyer

Patrick O'Sullivan (well...not quite)

Maxim Lapierre

David Backes

Jimmy Howard

3rd round:

Daniel Carcillo

Alexandre Picard

8th round!

Tobias Enstrom

Dustin Byfuglin

I intentionally left off first rounders because they're generally (though clearly in our case not always) going to be good, and interchanging one for another is kind of a "duh." I was more looking for the guys that were, in hindsight, better than what we got, not the ones that everyone figured rightly would be. And I mentioned Enstrom and Byfuglien anyway, not that they were better than Staal.

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Johnson was a bust, truth. However a good GM see's a bust before others do and fixes it. He fixed that one. Essentially we drafted Gleason, win in my book.

I also don't fault JR for Tanabe, Tanabe when he was good was decent. JR can't forsee he's going to become a concussion prone player.

Last 10 years we've drafted really well. The 90's however, the scouts need some serious headslaps.

I'm not sure it's even fair to list Kurka on the bust list, he's not a first rounder. I mean once your outta the first round it's almost a game of dice.

Edited by legend-1

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Lets see here: 1997 we could've had Brendan Morrow

1998 we could've had Simon Gange, Alex Tangauy, or Scott Gomez

1999 we could've had Barrett Jackman, or Martin Havlet.

2001 (this one annoys me since our draftee didn't even make it to the NHL) there was RJ Umberger, Colby Armstrong and Tim Gleason (could've prevented us from drafting JJ in the first place)

I'm glad Staal, Ward, and to a lesser extent Ladd panned out for us, because if it wasn't for them we might as well have been the Detroit Lions of 1st round NHL drafting until '07.

Because we got shafted on drafting 1st round d-men, JR will probably not draft any d-men in the 1st round again, unless we either get two first round choices, or there's one who we just can't pass up, and even this year we had two (but I'm happy with the skinner).

Edited by captain_jack88

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Here's a question for you guys...

Now that we've seen the success Jeff Skinner and Cam Fowler are having at the NHL level, and knowing that Cam Fowler would have filled a huge void on defense for us, who would you have picked if you were JR at that draft?

Base your answer on talent and skill only and try to put aside Skinner's personality and other intangibles we know he's brought to the Canes.

Hope this makes sense.

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Lets see here: 1997 we could've had Brendan Morrow

1998 we could've had Simon Gange, Alex Tangauy, or Scott Gomez

1999 we could've had Barrett Jackman, or Martin Havlet.

2001 (this one annoys me since our draftee didn't even make it to the NHL) there was RJ Umberger, Colby Armstrong and Tim Gleason (could've prevented us from drafting JJ in the first place)

But so could 29 other teams also, you can't really evaluate with the infinite benefit of hindsight.

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Well every year there's lots and lots of interesting misses. Most of those guys we "could have had" could have been had by multiple other GM's who missed them. I wonder if we passed on Skinner how many GM's would have missed on him.

It looks to me like there was a MAJOR improvement in scouting and drafting from 2002 on. Every single pick after that turned into a decent or better player, or is still developing. Not bad.

Also disagree about 2009. Paradis as a player still too early. But this was practically a second round pick and Tlusty is showing some chops. Too early to tell, but it Tlusty finds his game, that would be a huge non bust for a 27th pick.

But in the end Jeff Skinner.

As to Skinner vs. Fowler. No contest. Skinner. This kid might put up 30 goals mostly as an 18 year old. Read that again. Elite scoring talent is even rarer than nice offensive defenseman. Fowler is not a great +/- guy. No. The next Chara, maybe. But Skinner is the real deal. In the next couple of years we'll have 2 of the top 20 offensive players in the league. If nothing else Skinner will sell tickets. He's already worth the price of admission and he's still prom-eligeble.

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Skinner vs. Fowler:

Well, knowing what we know about both right now, where would the Canes be without Skinner's 21g 24a. Not in eighth.

Offensive skill is more of a talent that cannot be taught, so forwards don't take that long to be able to pick up the NHL game. Its just their bodies generally take time to catch up. Look at Staal after the Canes drafted him and how he is physically now. Staal was a tall, lanky young forward who had skill but did not have the physical intangibles to play in the NHL. He was getting pushed off the puck because everyone else was bigger. Fast forward a couple years, Staal fills out and bulks up. With Skinner's size, he's not gonna get too much bigger than he is now. Needs a little more upper body strength.

It does take d-men time to develop, learn their roles and learn the tendencies of their partner. Fowler's progression has been ahead of the curve. Fowler's stats are impressive on the offensive side, 7g 22a. His +/- IMO is what I would expect from a d-man entering the league. Let's look at Eric's brother Marc. When he came into the league, he was not the shutdown d-man he is now. He had the physical side, but not the experience and that took time. Now Marc plays against the other team's #1 lines on a consistent basis.

I would have to say I would have picked Skinner. Its kind of hard to make that decision without being influenced by what that kid has meant to this team, on and off the ice. He has energized a lot of our veterans. Cole has played his best season since his injury and he looks like he is having fun out there and the competitive fire we've seen from him in the past has returned. Also, being one of the elder players on the team, he has taken the reigns of being a leader. Our track record in drafting and developing young defensemen has not been good. I think both teams got the best player to fit their respective systems and have flourished.

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I would still pick Skinner.

I don't think Fowler fills ANY kind of hole on the Canes defense.

The Canes are loaded with puck moving d-men. And while fowler is showing he can put up points (assists) at the NHL level, that really brings nothing of value to the Canes and their list of needs.

All scouting reports on Fowler said the same thing. Great offensive upside, lacking on his own end and plays very soft.

No thanks.

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