Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why Colorado said "No thanks" to a 3-for-1

Elliott Friedman created quite a stir around Calgary on Saturday night when he reported during the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of game two between Chicago and Boston that Flames General Manager Jay Feaster had offered all three of Calgary's first round picks (No. 6, 22, 28) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft to Colorado in exchange for the No. 1 pick -- and that the Avs had rejected the offer.

Despite the operative word in there of "rejected", the idea nonetheless sparked immediate debate on Twitter of whether or not that was even a smart offer by Feaster. Many were of the mindset that for sure, you do quality over quantity in a heartbeat. However, also well represented was the opposing view that in this very deep draft and with the Flames cupboards needing a lot of re-stocking, that giving up three first round picks for one -- even if it is No. 1, is a terrible idea.

Rather than speculate at the three players Calgary would have been potentially giving up to get Nathan MacKinnon -- who surely would be their target (not Seth Jones) if they got top pick, and then guessing at the long term impact those players along with MacKinnon might end up having in their NHL careers, I decided to look the other direction and let history decide.

Going back to 2000 when the first round grew to 30 selections, I looked at each of the 13 drafts and asked the question, 'Is 1 truly greater than the sum of 6+22+28?'  What I learned is a resounding yes -- unless you make the mistake of using that No. 1 selection on a goalie or a defenceman. Ten of the past 13 years including the last six drafts, you do what Colorado General Manager Greg Sherman did (okay, what Patrick Roy did) and say 'Thanks, but no thanks' to the 6-22-28 package, end of story. But, nice try Calgary.

Which is Better? Pick No. 1 or No. 6, 22, 28?


1 - RW Nail Yakupov Edm (48 gm, 17 g, 14 a, 31 pts)
6 - D Hampus Lindholm Ana
22 - D Olli Maatta Pit
28 - D Brady Skjei NYR

My Thoughts: Yakupov's dynamic game and personality certainly makes this one an easy call, at least for now. Obviously, three defencemen is not a realistic portrayal of how the other three picks would have gone had one team held all of them but regardless of that, Yakupov looks like the choice here.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1 , for sure


1 - C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edm (102 gm, 22 g, 54 a, 76 pts)
6 - C Mika Zibanejad Ott (51 gm, 7 g, 14 a, 21 pts)
22 - RW Tyler Biggs Tor
28 - C Zack Phillips Min

My Thoughts: Zibanejad has shown flashes and he'll need to be superb, and at least one of Biggs or Phillips must pan out for this package to end up as the preferred choice. The best of Nugent-Hopkins is very much still to come. 
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, for now


1 - LW Taylor Hall Edm (171 gm, 65 g, 80 a, 145 pts)
6 - RW Brett Connolly TB (73 gm, 5 g, 11 a, 16 pts)
22 - D Jarred Tinordi Mtl (8 gm, 0 g, 2 a, 2 pts)
28 - RW Charlie Coyle Min (36 gm, 8 g, 6 a, 14 pts)

My Thoughts: Hall can do it all and could very well end up being the best of the batch of Oilers No. 1 picks -- should he stay healthy.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, no brainer


1 - C John Tavares NYI (291 gm, 112 g, 137 a, 249 pts)
6 - D Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phx (178, 17 g, 50 a, 67 pts)
22 - C Jordan Schroeder Van (31 gm, 3 g, 6 a, 9 pts)
28 - D Dylan Olsen Chi (28 gm, 0 a, 1 a, 1 pt)

My Thoughts: Ekman-Larsson is a really nice player but he's not a face-of-a-franchise type of player like Tavares is. With the Islanders relevant again, expect Tavares to really put himself on the map in the years to come as one of the NHL's best.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, for sure


1 - C Steven Stamkos TB (373 gm, 208 g, 178 a, 386 pts)
6 - LW Nikita Filatov Clb (53 gm, 6 g, 8 a, 14 pts)
22 - C Jordan Eberle Edm (195 gm, 68 g, 88 a, 156 pts)
28 - LW Viktor Tikhonov Phx (61 gm, 8 g, 8 a, 16 pts)

My Thoughts: Despite Stamkos' ridiculously lethal goal-scoring prowess, this one could have been close thanks to Eberle and his upside, if pick 6 had turned into the player you should be getting in that spot. Filatov sure didn't. With that, welcome to the inherent uncertainty of picking outside the top 5.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, for sure


1 - RW Patrick Kane Chi (446 gm, 149 g, 275 a, 424 pts)
6 - C Sam Gagner  Edm (414 gm, 91 g, 167 a, 258 pts)
22 - LW Max Pacioretty Mtl (246 gm, 68 g, 85 a, 153 pts)
28 - D Nick Petrecki SJ (1 gm, 0 g, 0 a, 0 pts)

My Thoughts: Is two top six forwards better than one? This one's a great debate as Kane's the better player, for sure, but Gagner and Pacioretty together, that's two very nice pieces. Not to be overlooked is the relatively poor quality of this particular year's first round on the whole. I flip-flopped back and forth on which way to go several times and in the end, Kane's clutch performance in the NHL playoffs over his career is what was the distinguishing factor. But, keep an eye on this one, it could still end up ultimately being the two-man combo that prevail in the end.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, slightly


1 - D Erik Johnson Stl (329 gm, 27 g, 104 a, 131 pts)
6 - C Derick Brasard Clb (322 gm, 63 a, 117 a, 180 pts)
22 - RW Claude Giroux Phi (333 gm, 91 g, 199 a, 290 pts)
28 - LW Nick Foligno Ott (396 gm, 67 g, 100 a, 167 pts)

My Thoughts: With Johnson now with the Avs, this year is a life lesson for Colorado and all NHL teams on what could happen if you take a defenceman first overall. In a brutal draft year for blue-liners, Johnson -- the only one of 12 d-men picked in the first round to play >50 NHL games, looks like Bobby Orr compared to the others. But, he's never developed into the player everyone expected and while he's only 25 and it could still happen, three full-time NHLers in the other package makes this one a rare slam dunk the other way.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 6-22-28, no question


1 - C Sidney Crosby Pit (470 gm, 238 g, 427 a, 665 pts)
6 - C Gilbert Brule Clb (296 gm, 43 g, 52 a, 95 pts)
22 - D Matt Lashoff Bos (74 gm, 1 g, 14 a, 15 pts)
28 - D Matt Niskanen Pit (410 gm, 25 g, 96 a, 121 pts)

My Thoughts: I'll will have to dig into the numbers in much greater detail later but for now, gut feeling, slight edge to Sid. (Is the sarcasm translating okay?)
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, no brainer


1 - LW Alex Ovechkin Wsh (601 gm, 371 g, 364 a, 735 pts)
6 - G Al Montoya NYR (64 gm, 24 w, 3 so, 2.77 GAA)
22 - LW Lukas Kaspar SJ (16 gm, 2 g, 2 a, 4 pts)
28 - D Mark Fistric Dal (282 gm, 3 g, 26 a, 29 pts)

My Thoughts: Wow, trading away 1 for 6, 22 and 28 this year would have not only cost Washington GM George McPhee GM his job, but probably would have cost him his life, too (figuratively speaking of course, he would have had to enter the NHL's version of the witness protection program.)
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, no brainer


1 - G Marc-Andre Fleury Pit (467 gm, 249 w, 23 so, 2.66 GAA)
6 - LW Milan Michalek SJ (549 gm, 170 g, 185 a, 355 pts)
22 - C Marc-Antoine Pouliot Edm (192 gm, 21 g, 36 a, 57 pts)
28 - RW Corey Perry Ana (574 gm, 220 g, 245 a, 465 pts)

My Thoughts: Another life lesson - don't take a goalie either if you have first overall pick. I'm not judging Fleury on the 2013 playoffs, nor on his 2012 playoffs. Okay, maybe a bit. More so, it's about the others and who cares about Pouliot's fizzled NHL career. Perry -- in particular, and Michalek as well makes this an easy decision.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 6-22-28, no question


1 - LW Rick Nash Clb (718 gm, 310 g, 279 a, 589 pts)
6 - LW Scottie Upshall Nsh (414 gm, 92 g, 90 a, 182 pts)
22 - LW Sean Bergenheim NYI (388 gm, 71 g, 61 a, 132 pts)
28 - RW Jonas Johansson Col (1 gm, 0 g, 0 a, 0 pts)

My Thoughts: It feels like Nash should have accomplished much more in his career than he has and perhaps it's still to come. That said, even though Upshall is a decent player and Bergenheim had a nice run with the Isles before returning to Finland last year, there's no question you have to go with the big fella here.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, for sure


1 - LW Ilya Kovalchuk  Atl (816 gm, 417 g, 399 a, 816 pts)
6 - C Mikko Koivu Min (536 gm, 119 g, 279 a, 398 pts)
22 - C Jiri Novotny Buf (189 gm, 20 g, 31 a, 51 pts)
28 - C Adrian Foster NJ

My Thoughts: You won't find someone that likes Koivu better than me, solid all-round player, great leader, outstanding person, so if you would have gotten something at 22 or 28, this could have been close with the enigmatic Kovalchuk, despite his 400-plus goals. But, neither of the other two picks worked out so you have to go with Kovalchuk for now, although it's closer than you think and if last season is any indication, I could easily end up saying Koivu and co. next time the question is asked.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 1, slightly


1 - G Rick DiPietro NYI (318 gm, 130 w, 16 so, 2.87 GAA)
6 - LW Scott Hartnell Nsh (875 gm, 230 g, 256 a, 486 pts)
22 - D David Hale NJ (327 gm, 4 g, 25 a, 29 pts)
28 - RW Justin Williams Phi (755 gm, 190 g, 308 a, 498 pts)

My Thoughts: This was the first time covering the draft for me as it was in Calgary that year and wow was it ever good fun wondering what Mike Milbury's next move was going to be. This is an easy one -- enjoy riding along on the coattails of the other two, Mr. Hale, it's not about you, it's about them.
Pick(s) You'd Rather Have? 6-22-28, no brainer


  1. i wouldn't take McKinnon for Monohan right now. McKinnon may have higher speed and dangleitis but Monny is a great leader already. Boo Feaster.

  2. i wouldn't take McKinnon for Monohan right now. McKinnon may have higher speed and dangleitis but Monny is a great leader already. Boo Feaster.