18/35 players selected in this round have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL. Thomas Plekanec, Stephane Veilleux and Patrick Sharp have all played over 230 goames, and Panthers backup goaltender Craig Anderson leads all netminders in GP.
Kenny Smith was a guy who it’s difficult to make excuses for. He played four years at Harvard University, but the third-round pick has been an ECHL guy as a professional. In his best season, 2005-06, he played 48 AHL games and 11 ECHL games. I haven’t been able to find any evidence of serious injury, and this honestly seems like a pick where the Oilers’ scouts just missed, and badly.
2002 – Brock Radunske, 79th overall
10/31 players selected in this round have had at least a "cup of coffee" at the NHL level. Calgary Flames forward Matthew Lombardi seems likely to be the best of the lot when all is said and done, but Valtteri Filpulla, Matt Jones, Greg Campbell, Erik Christensen and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen have all played significant time in the NHL.
Brock Radunske was drafted out of Michigan State University as a 19-yr old. Thus far he’s played a total of 28 AHL games and spent 2007-08 in the DEL. He’s a big kid, and looking at his statistics he seems like a lower-league J-F Jacques. In 2006-07 he put up 33! Points in 16 ECHL games, but only managed 2 in 20 in the AHL. Weird stuff. In ’04, Hockey’s Future noted the following:
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Brock Radunske is Brock Radunske. No one in the system is harder for Oiler scouts to get an accurate feel for then the 6’4" left-winger from Michigan State. "Mancini will go in and say ‘man, someone has to talk to this kid’ and then I’ll go in and see the second game on the weekend and say ‘he was the best player on the ice’," laughed Davis. "Three weeks later Mancini will go in again and say ‘Holy cow was Radunske ever awesome!’ and then Kevin & Kevin will go in and he (doesn’t impress). He can never seem to put it together." Radunske had a career high 12-goal outing in his third season with the Spartans but his overall point total dropped. "The biggest problem that he has is that he plays at Michigan State and he’s going to end up having to play there too long," Davis continued. "He’s got nowhere to go now; even if he wants to come out, where are we going to put him?" "(Michigan State’s) system has killed his game," the eight-year Oiler scout surmised. "When I saw him play in New Market in tier II, he lit it up. He was a big tall skinny kid that fought but was also in the top two or three in scoring as a 17-year-old but now he plays for the most boring college team of all time because they play nothing but the trap and defense. It’s really, really hurt his development."
2003 – Mikhail Zhukov, 72nd & Zack Stortini, 94th overall
Just 10/33 players selected have played in the NHL, a low number given how deep this draft was supposed to be. Even more interesting, the GP leader of this group is none other than Zack Stortini, ahead of Alexandre Picard, Stefan Ruzicka, Clarke MacArthur, Daniel Carcillo, and Ryan O’Byrne.
Mikhail Zhukov is the son of a hockey coach, which is how a guy with a Russian surname gets drafted out of Sweden. He scored 11 points for Kazan Ak-Bars this season, up from 9 the year before, and despite seemingly good health, has never really done anything to show NHL potential. Another clear miss.
Zack (or Zach?) Stortini is an interesting player, in more than a narrow pure-enforcer model. He’s effective, and really had a breakout year this last season with Brodziak and Glencross on the 4th line. Taken out of the OHL, Stortini was (surprise, surprise) the Sudbury Wolves Academic Player of the Year twice, in addition to being the team’s captain. There’s lots more here than meets first glance.
2004 – None.
2005 – Danny Syvret, 81st & Robby Dee, 86th overall
So far, just 7 players from this (extremely recent) round have seen NHL action, and Danny Syvret is one of them. More interesting players are Kris’s Letang and Russell, both of whom look like they’ll have careers.
Danny Syvret was drafted as a 20-yr old from the London Knights. In addition to being the team’s captain, he scored 23 goals and 69 points in 62 games, which, looking at his other statistics, seem like an aberration at this point. Quotes about him were mixed; he seemed like the kind of player some liked and some hated. Despite playing in 26 games due to injuries at the NHL level over the last two seasons, Syvret spent the entire 2007-08 season in the minor leagues, during which time he was loaned for the Spengler Cup and then sent to the Hershey Bears. He’s an RFA this season, and the odds are good he’s moving on. They’re also good he won’t come back to haunt us later.
Robby Dee played his first season with the University of Maine this season, scoring 3 points in 24 games as a 20-yr old. Two serious shoulder injuries derailed his 05/06 and 06/07 seasons, and though there’s still some time, he looks like he’s pretty much finished as a prospect.
2006 – Theo Peckham, 75th overall
Only three players taken in this round have played NHL hockey yet. Peckham joins Tom Sestito and Cal Clutterbuck, although his statistics are less "impressive" than Sestito’s. Tom Sestito has played one game, recording zero points and 17PIM.
Described as a smart player, Peckham has the reputation of being a big-time hitter who picks his spots well. Lowetide has some nice quotes on him (http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2008/04/ahl-report-cards-theo-peckham.html) and I have to agree that this guy looks like someone who’s going to get a serious run at an NHL job in the very near future.
2007 – None.