The best NHL player to date is "offensive black hole" Jarret Stoll.
2001 – Doug Lynch, 43rd & Ed Caron, 52nd overall
21/33 players selected in this round have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL. Buffalo in particular had a strong round, picking Derek Roy, Chris Thorburn and Jason Pominville. Aside from those guys, players like Mike Cammaleri, Fedor Tyutin, Jay McClement and Peter Budaj were selected.
When we talk about injuries affecting developing players, Doug Lynch is a fellow who comes to mind immediately. A tough, physical defenseman, (and Memorial Cup winner) Lynch transition to the AHL was smooth, and he looked like a can’t-miss NHL prospect. In the summer of ’04, after making his NHL debut, Lynch underwent wrist surgery that went poorly and suffered through a difficult 04-05. Following a trade to St. Louis (anybody remember that trade?), Lynch suffered a knee injury. In 2007-08, he had a nice season with Salzburg EC in Austria.
Ed Caron is a different kettle of fish entirely, and after playing one year with the University of New Hampshire, decided to transfer to Yale. Unfortunately, NCAA rules don’t look kindly on this, so when he returned to the ice, it was after a year’s absence, and that proved impossible to make up. He lost half the offense from his 19-yr old season when he returned, and after turning pro in 2004, he played only 54 games in the ECHL before leaving professional hockey.
2002 – Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, 31st, Jarret Stoll, 36th and Matt Greene, 44th overall
16/33 players selected in this round have played in an NHL game (and some of them more than one!) The prominent non-Oilers include Matt Stajan, Trevor Daley, Duncan Keith, Jiri Hudler, Tomas Fleischmann, and Josh Harding.
Jeff Deslauriers was the first of two selections acquired from Buffalo for Jochen Hecht. These days, he’s considered a long-shot to ever have much of an NHL career, but there was a time when he was an extremely good prospect. In my opinion, he’s probably the guy who suffered the most from the amateur hour show that was the Oilers’ development team prior to their affiliation with Springfield. His transition to pro wasn’t terrbly smooth, splitting time between the AHL and the ECHL, but it got worse. In 2005-06 he was the third-stringer on the Hamilton Bulldogs, who were busy developing guys like Yann Danis, Jaroslav Halak and Olivier Michaud, when they weren’t playing conditioning-stint guys like Ty Conklin and Cristobal Huet. He was then reassigned to the ECHL to get playing time, where he promptly blew out his knee. He again split time (this time for Pittsburgh’s farm team) in 2006-07, and finally got a decent season (playing time-wise) in 2007-08. The fact that this guy can still be considered a prospect is a testament to his resilience. I’m pulling for him, even though the safe money says his career ceiling is NHL backup.
Jarret Stoll, who actually re-entered the draft (he was originally a Calgary selection, the heads to Matthew Lombardi’s tails) was an excellent selection, a guy who’s been an NHL regular for 4 seasons now. Unfortunately, it begins to look like injuries have taken a toll on his play. Whatever happens from here on out, he’s been a player.
Matt Greene, whose 1 NHL goal was spectacular (and generated some pretty funny quotes) is the last of the 2002 2nd rounders. He played a depth role for the 05-06 Western Conference Champion team, looking eerily reminiscient of the dear departed Cory Cross (big, slow, and prone to stupid penalties) but has improved since then. He’s been relatively healthy as a player until this last season, where he suffered a very painful looking freak injury. A good selection out of the USHL who went the college route, Greene may yet develop into a Jason Smith-style shutdown defender.
2003 – Colin McDonald, 51st & Jean-Francois Jacques, 68th overall
27/36 players selected have played in the NHL, with the best to date being Patrice Bergeron. If there’s one player who shows the depth of the ’03 draft, it’s him. A prescient selection by Boston, Bergeron played as an 18-yr old and is the leader in all statistical categories for the round, going so far as to have as many goals (72) as the next ranked player (Patrick O’Sullivan) has points.
Colin McDonald was drafted out of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, which I’ve never heard of prior to this moment (disclaimer: this may say more about my level of ignorance than it does about the league’s relevance). It appears to be (surprise!) a junior-level league in the north-east U.S.A. Anyhow, McDonald joined Providence College (a program which, during McDonald’s time there (4 years) boasted one (1!) 34-point scorer, the legendary Torry Gajda. In addition to playing for the worst offensive team since offense was invented, McDonald suffered a knee injury in his sophomore year, which may have affected his development. 2007-08 was McDonald’s first professional season, and the 6’3", 205lb forward played the whole season with Springfield, scoring 23 points. It’s pretty safe to say that if he doesn’t rebound in a major way next season we can pretty much write the guy off as a prospect.
The final pick of the second round, Jean-Francois Jacques, has played 53 games in the NHL without recording a point. I believe that’s the most games from the start of a career without recording a point; in 1998-99 Tyler Wright played in 61 games with Pittsburgh and went pointless. Jacques is a player who’s done everything at the minor league level- at this point he should be in the NHL, except that whenever he gets called up he looks bad. Now 23 years old, and coming off serious injury, his career is in major trouble. An interesting tidbit from Hockey’s Future:
"Off the ice there has been a learning curve in regards to fitting in with the veterans, knowing that the healthy scratches eat after the players who dressed, etc."
One wonders about his future.
2004 – Roman Tesliuk, 44th & Geoff Paukovich, 57th overall
13/36 players drafted in this round have played in the NHL so far. David Booth and Brandon Dubinsky look like the best bets so far, but there are a few other quality prospects in here. Dave Bolland, Chris Bourque, Blake Comeau, David Krejci, Enver Lisin are some of the names, but there are a few more as well.
Roman Tesliuk (or Teslyuk) spent this season in the second-tier Russian League, posting fairly ugly numbers after a few seasons in North America. He’s one of the few Russians to come over to North America to play, and he spent parts of four seasons in the WHL. In 2006-07 he debuted as a professional at the ECHL level, which is rather confusing, since his WHL numbers were good for a defenseman.
Geoff Paukovich is 6’4", 215lbs, and is described as having a mean streak. There were also concerns about his skating when he was drafted out of the U-18 U.S. National Team. Paukovich joined the University of Denver after his draft, where his first season was excellent but he dropped off significantly after that. In 2007-08 he made his professional debut in the ECHL, scoring 26 points in 70 games. At this point he must be considered a long shot, although he still has time to turn things around.
2005 – Taylor Chorney, 36th overall
So far, just 8 players from this round have seen NHL action, but there are three standouts that have seen a lot of it. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still playing hockey with the Sharks, and for a second year player is really thriving as a shutdown defenseman on a quality team. Paul Stastny is also still playing, this time with Colorado, and is already over 1PPG in his career, now two seasons long. The other guy with a two-season career is the guy I wanted the Oilers to take 36th, Guillaume Latendresse, a big right winger who is taking awhile to develop his scoring touch. Like the other two, Latendresse is in the playoffs, with the Montreal Canadiens. There are lots of other names to note, with plenty of quality prospects still waiting to make the jump.
Despite the quality of other players selected in this round, there are a lot of things to like about Taylor Chorney, who like Chris Vande Velde plays at the University of North Dakota. Hockey’s Future gives us a nice talent analysis:
He is slightly undersized for the defensive position but makes up for it with tremendous hockey sense and puck-moving skills. Chorney is a terrific skater, and is usually a sound positional defender. He plays a very heady game and is mature beyond his years.
Chorney has represented the United States twice at the World Junior level, the second time as captain. He’s been a captain at every level and is considered a "natural leader". In his final game of this season, Chorney suffered a knee injury, according to reports partially tearing his MCL. Chorney is expected to turn pro next season, and if I were a betting man I’d say he spends most of the year in the AHL, but gets at least a cup of coffee with the Oilers.
2006 – Jeff Petry, 45th overall
Of the three players to have played an NHL game so far, Milan Lucic is far and away the most prominent, with 77GP-8-19-27-89PIM in an impressive rookie season with the Boston Bruins. Mike Weber played 16 games with Buffalo, and rounding out the group is Red Wings draft pick Shawn Matthias, who has scored 2 goals in 4 games with the Florida Panthers (he was the prospect traded for Todd Bertuzzi).
Jeff Petry looks like a guy who’s going to be a quality player a little ways down the road. He’s ranked as the Oilers’ top prospect by Hockey’s Future, and is projected as a top pairing defenseman by the Oilers. In his draft year, Petry won a championship with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL and played in the all-star game. In 2006-07 he had a standout statistical season in the USHL, won the USHL hardest shot competition (95MPH), and was named USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year. He is an all-round two-way defenseman who plays with an edge and doesn’t mind the physical game. Hockey’s Future raves about his skill-set, praising his skating, his slap shot, his wrist shot, his choice of shot based on the situation, and his stick-handling. He’s also a player that wasn’t in the top 100 in THN’s Draft Preview.
Petry also plays baseball, winning a state title in 2003, and his father Dan Petry won a MLB championship with Detroit in 1984, so I’m surprised he isn’t mentioned more by other bloggers ;). Nick Lidstrom is his favourite NHL player. In 2007-08 Petry was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team, after finishing second among rookie defensemen in scoring. He was also named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 25. The more I read about him, the more I like him. I’ll finish with a few quotes from a June 2007 Edmonton Journal Story:
"I was more of a hockey fan. I liked the faster pace, the hitting,"
"But I couldn't have done it without my dad. He's helped me so much because he knows what it took for him to get to the next level. He's going to be pushing me, and he's always telling me stories about how he might not have been the best player but that he worked harder than the others."
2007 – None.