Monday, May 12, 2008

Sloppy Seconds

[Ed. Note: Despite the title, this post has nothing to do with Dion Phaneuf, Elisha Cuthbert and Sean Avery.]

As you've no doubt heard, this year's NHL Entry Draft is supposedly one of the deepest in a while. As a result, at last year's draft the Caps were happy to stock up on 2008 picks, specifically second-rounders - they've got three of 'em: their own, San Jose's and Philly's (53rd, 56th and probably 57th overall).

On the surface, that sounds like a good thing... but history says otherwise.

Here's a list, by round, of all the skaters who the Caps have drafted after the second round who racked up more points in their NHL careers than the most prolific second round pick in Caps history, Stephen Leach (who had 283 career points):
  • 3rd - Michal Pivonka (599 career points)
  • 3rd - Steve Konowalchuk (396)
  • 3rd - Jason Woolley (314)
  • 4th - Bengt Gustafsson (555)
  • 4th - Trent Klatt (343)
  • 5th - Dean Evason (372)
  • 6th - Dmitri Khristich (596)
  • 7th - Andrew Brunette (549 and counting)
  • 8th - Peter Bondra (892)
  • 10th - Richard Zednik (346 and counting)
That's ten players picked in the third round or later who went on to score more points than the highest-scoring second round pick in franchise history (by ridiculous comparison, the best second round pick in Islanders history had 1,425 points, and no one they drafted in the later rounds had more than that).

On the surface, that might not seem all that noteworthy (though a little anomalous, perhaps). But the point isn't to highlight the Caps' later round gems (did I just call Trent Klatt a gem?) as much as it is to show how collectively mediocre-at-best the organization's second round picks have been. Do you know how many individual 61-plus point seasons there have been in the NHL since the Caps' first draft back in 1974? Try 2,198. Do you know how many of those 2,198 have been by any of the 37 second round draft picks in Caps history? You guessed it - not a single one (Leach's sixty points for the '91-'92 Bruins is tops among D.C. second rounders).

Now, before you start clamoring for GMGM to unload that trio of picks, note that most of the current regime's second round picks still have some time to prove themselves (I hear that Michal Sivek is on the verge of a breakout season... no?). And besides, the Caps have a strong draft record on second round goalies, taking Byron Dafoe in 1989 and future Vezina-winner Jim Carey in 1992, with Michal Neuvirth (Class of '06) a promising prospect (of course, then there are Maxime Daigneault (2002) and Jomar Cruz (1998)).

But should the Caps keep and use any or all of their second round picks, take comfort in the fact that John Druce was a second round pick back in 1985... and every team needs a John Druce come springtime.



1) As GMGM showed with the Huet trade, he's not afarid to use those potential/future assets to improve the current club.
2) At this stage that might be the better use of at least 1-2 of those 2nd rounders.

exwhaler said...

I think when all is said and done, you can look at McPhee's draft history in two eras: pre-firesale and post. And that goes back to the fact that the Capitals apparently invested greatly in their scouting department after the firesale season, to the point where it's supposedly now one of the biggest scouting departments in the NHL.

From 2004 onward, the Capitals seem to have found legit rather than borderline prospects in the later rounds:

2004--Bourque (2nd), Lespito (3rd), A. Gordon (7th)

2005--Thomas (4th), Machesney (5th), Dovgan (7th)

2006--Neuvirth (2nd), Bouchard (2nd), Perreault (6th)

Not to mention some other prospects like Hedman, DeSimone, MacNeill, Osala, and Morin who are still on the radar. Granted, time will only tell if any of these guys is an NHLer, but I can't remember a time in the late Poile era as well as the McPhee era when the system had this much talent.

Elisa said...

Whatever happened to Maxime Daigneault? His 2006-2007 season with Hershey was solid. At least statistically. I never got up to any Bears games that season so I never saw him play.

07-07 Hershey: 23-6-0 GAA 2.64 .910 Save %

exwhaler said...

The Capitals let him go. There were rumors that that they weren't happy with his work ethic, and they had Machesney waiting in the wings.

Maxime's with the Predators organization now. This past season, he spent most of the year in the ECHL, with only 9 games with the Admirals, mostly because of a log jam of goalie prospects.

Anonymous said...

The real problem I have with this, is that GMGM should have taken Petrecki with the 28th pick last year. He played great with BC as a Freshman, helping them win the NCAA championship. Instead we traded for SJ second pick last year(which we traded to Philly for their 2nd this year)and SJ 2nd this year. So we better get 2 good players this year with those picks. I just don't think 2 2nds in the 50's, are as good as grabbing a mid-first round talent who dropped to 28, but we will see.