Monday, February 8, 2016

The End of the Season Surge

Alex Wennberg
This post has been kind of simmering for awhile, under a different name, but recent conversation has been on the subject of tanking, so I thought I would restyle the title a bit.  One other notable end of the season surge was in 2013, when there was a very deep top end of a very deep draft.  Indeed, in only his second year in the NHL, our top pick from that draft, Alexander Wennberg is doing quite well.  As I recall Nathan 'quit winnin for' Mackinnon was the top prospect of the draft, and he went to Colorado, who won the lottery.

In 2010, in what many considered a lesser draft, the assumption was that the CBJ would take Cam Fowler in the fourth spot, but Howson took a gamble on Ryan 'baby moose legs' Johansen, who would turn into a 30 goal scorer in the NHL.  While one might argue that the organization would have been better with Fowler, I would argue right back that the organization is far better off with Seth Jones.  For you see, in the Johansen-Jones trade, Jarmo effectively traded up to the 4th spot in the 2013 draft.  Better yet, this pick was seasoned in an organization steeped in defensive attitude compared to, well, our organization.  Joey perhaps had a better opportunity to spread his wings with the CBJ, so I think that is a fair trade in seasoning and experience as well.

So now we have Jones, Wennberg, Rychel, and the departed Dano from the 2013 draft.  That, my friends, is a really solid draft class.  And from an organizational perspective it is a draft that will serve us well for many years to come.  And it is a little early to be writing Alex Wennberg off as a number 1 center.  First things first, you have to play well enough defensively to stay on the ice.  Johansen took two full years to get that down. Next year we may see that offensive push from Wennberg, and we'll get a better feel for what his top end might be, though it may be a couple years until that is fully expressed.  I expect Karlsson to essentially mimic this track, though there may be some differences.  When you talk about a core to build around, the 2013 draft is not a bad way to start.

So my point is that how we end up the season, and where we draft in a particular draft is not that critical.  We are not having a good year.  We are going to have a relatively high draft pick, and we are going to get good players in the draft, to restock the system.  That's what really matters at this point.  And you absolutely want our players out of the 2013 draft focused on winning hockey games, versus our draft position.  At the end of the day, if our position in this draft is that critical to the organization we can try to adjust the position at a later date, like we did in the 2013 draft.

So Jarmo, in case you had really wanted to hear it, the 2013 version of Gary Bettman says:  We have a trade to announce!


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