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Edmonton Oilers 1st Round Pick, 2005

Andrew Cogliano, 25th overall
The 2005 NHL Entry Draft was the draft immediately following the lockout, and it was notable for two things: draft order and Sidney Crosby. Because no NHL hockey had been played in 2004-05, draft order was determined by a weighted lottery involving all 30 teams, a lottery made richer because the prize was a franchise player, a player who, in his second season, won the Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson and Hart trophies and was a First Team All-Star.

The Oilers, however, never even came close to the first overall slot. Jubilation at Calgary’s consignment to the 26th spot was replaced with disappointment as they were slotted 25th.

Given that Cogliano was the player selected, I’m going to focus mostly on North American skaters, except to make one point- Montreal selected Carey Price 5th overall, in a move that was panned by virtually everyone, from Pierre McGuire to James Mirtle (incidentally, I love Mirtle’s blog- I think it’s the best general hockey blog out there; I’m just trying to get across how many people disliked this). McGuire called it "off the reservation", which, given Price’s background, was an interesting choice of words. Anyhow, despite his recent struggles, is there any real question whether it was good choice to take Price over Brule?

The other reason I bring this up is an interesting Kevin Prendergast quote from Hockey’s Futures’ draft preview, which goes as follows:
Goaltending appears to be a position the Oilers may not need to address this year, but don’t be surprised if Edmonton still selects a keeper.
"I don’t think we’re going to get a goalie that’s going to displace the two guys we’ve got right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we take a goalie," confirmed 12-year scout McCarthy, "We try to take a goalie each year; sometimes we don’t but you can never have enough assets."
Best Player Available is still the mantra, but fans won’t see another goalie selection in the first round even if the top rated keeper is still available when the Oilers pick at 25.
"We would go off that (policy) then," admitted Prendergast. "As much as I love Carey Price, it just wouldn’t serve our purpose to take him."
And, as much as I love the work the Oilers’ scouting department has done over the last half-decade, that’s just a silly mindset.
Anyways, back to Cogliano. These are the final rankings of North American skaters, courtesy of the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. Cogliano is ranked sixty-third, which, even given his size and the fact that he played OPJRA in his draft year, is unbelievable. Don’t think it’s that remarkable? Robby Dee was ranked 60th.
Although there were some other good players available when Cogliano was drafted (Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Paul Stastny, Guillaume Latendresse), of the players ahead of him it’s necessary to go up 14 spots to find a player (Anze Kopitar) with more GP than him. To date, out of all the players selected in the 2005 draft, Cogliano sits 5th in goals (18) and points (45) and 7th in GP (82) after a stunning rookie season.

As far as late first round picks go, they don’t come much better than Andrew Cogliano.