Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Flogging Ourselves With 20/20 Hindsight

Watching last night's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, one can't help but wonder what might have been had GMGM chosen Ryan Getzlaf instead of Eric Fehr back in 2003 (by the way, how stacked was that draft?).

Sure, it's easy to cherry-pick a single selection that may or may not have missed (let's revisit this in a few years), and I think that GMGM's drafting record often receives an unfair amount of criticism. But considering that Getzlaf was rated 10 spots higher in the Central Scouting Bureau's final rankings, it's hard not to be at least a little bit disappointed that McPhee went with his gut (or his own scouts' evaluations) and not the conventional wisdom on that pick.

10 comments:

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) GMGM deserves critisism for his draft record. Some GM's have had worse records, but when one looks at how many top picks the team has had the last few years they should be better
2) Here's hoping Fehr continues his development and makes the jump next season. Of course the Caps weren't the only team to over look Getzlaf a few years ago

JP said...

Which top picks the last few years should be better? Obviously it's way too early to tell on most of them, but let's take a look:

2006 - Backstrom (#5): Not even worth discussing yet.

2005 - Pokulok (#15), Finley (#27): Again, too early to really talk about, though both picks were widely regarded as "off the reservation" a bit. Ryan Parent or M.-E. Vlasic likely would have been better, in hindsight.

2004 - Ovechkin (#1), Schultz (#27), Green (#29): I don't see anyone in that draft class that right now looks head and shoulders above the guys GMGM took in those spots.

2003 - Fehr (#18): Already discussed.

2002 - Eminger (#12), Semin (#13), Gordon (#17): Maybe you'd rather have Alex Steen or Jarret Stoll than Gordon, but there aren't any no-brainers there.

I really don't see how you can say that GMGM's record should be better given how many top picks the team has had the last few years (and it's not like these "top picks" have been like Pittsburgh's run of top 5 picks - there are two top 10s in that whole lot!).

Rage said...

Getzlaf is sick. The guy is always making something happened.

Yesterday's game was one where the ice looked slanted towards Emery's net. Anaheim was everywhere (and playing every so close to "dirty").

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Agreed on your premise that hind sight is always 20/20, but taking AO and Backstrom were hardly difficult choices to make.

JP said...

So McPhee's record on first round picks should be better (though we're not sure how or where) and the picks he may have gotten right were picks a monkey could have made?

Schultz didn't impress you as a 6'6", 21-year-old rookie defenseman playing in the NHL this year?

Seriously go back and look at those drafts and even with 20/20 hindsight, it's hard to do a hell of a lot better than GMGM has.

false_cause said...

Getzlaf is really good, but he's also surrounded by a lot of top level talent. The same can't always be said about others.

Snktimoniuz said...

1999 Draft
#7 overall (WSH)
Kris Beech C (born 2/5/81)
1st NHL season 00-01 played 4 g
NHL experience to date
(GP) 173 (G) 19 (A) 37 (Pts) 56

#26 overall (OTT)
Martin Havlat LW (born 4/19/81)
1st NHL season 00-01 played 73 g
NHL experience to date
(GP) 354 (G) 130 (A) 162 (Pts) 292

Jamie Lundmark (C) at #9 overall has better numbers than Beech at $100,000 less/year

JP said...

Yeah, that wasn't a great pick, but considering that the Thrashers took Patrik Stefan #1 overall and the Rangers took Pavel Brendl #4 in that same draft, the Beech pick isn't even the worst pick in the top 10 that year.

What a weak draft that was, too.

exwhaler said...

>>"1) Agreed on your premise that hind sight is always 20/20, but taking AO and Backstrom were hardly difficult choices to make."<<<

Backstrom wasn't a no brainer, not with Kessel sitting there for the taking. Backstrom actually was a late riser in that draft, and was considered a dark horse pick.

Also, the biggest problem with McPhee's picks from 1997 up until the firesale year have been the lack of investment in the Caps' scouting department, which is why many of McPhee's early picks came from the WHL. After the firesale, the Caps greatly increased their scouting, to the point that its reportedly one of the largest in the NHL now. Which is why the more recent drafts have yielded many more prospects.

On Beech...it's easy to judge whether a player was a complete failure as a top pick, but that's only if you ignore his developmental process. I think the way Pittsburgh handled Beech pretty much ruined him. If Kris had been developed the same way as Tim Connolly--picked one spot ahead of Beech--it probably would have been a different story.

DMG said...

@ Snktimoniuz:

It's really not fair to go back and say "why oh why did we draft [Player A] when we could have had [Player B]" because if you looked at it, it's very rare that the best player is taken past the top 5 picks. This is true of any pick and any organization. for example, the 20th overall pick:

1997: Mike Brown (Florida). Picked ahead of: Scott Hannan (23), Brendan Morrow (25), Ben Clymer (27), Kristian Huselius (45), Henrik Tallinder (48), Maxim Afinogenov (69), Mike York (136), Brian Campbell (156), Ladislav Nagy (177)

1998: Scott Parker (Colorado). Potential better picks: Simon Gagne (22), Scott Gomez (27), Jonathon Cheechoo (29), Mike Fischer (44), Mike Ribeiro (45), Brad Richards (64), Erik Cole (71), Brian Gionta (82), Shawn Horcoff (99), Pavel Datsyuk (141), Michael Ryder (216).

1999: Barrett Heisten (Buffalo). Better picks: Nick Boynton (21), Martin Havlat (26), Mike Commodore (41), Jordan Leopold (44), Adam Hall (52), Niklas Hagman (70), Niclas Havelid (83), Mike Comrie (91), Martin Erat (191), Henrik Zetterberg (210).

2000: Alexander Frolov (Los Angeles). I picked a number (20th overall) at random and went with it. Honestly I think Frolov was the best player available at this point in the draft.

2001: Marcel Goc (San Jose). Potential better picks: Derek Roy (32), Fedor Tyutin (40), Mike Cammalleri (49), Jason Pominville (55), Tomas Plekanec (71), Jussi Jokinen (192).