Sunday, June 27, 2004


Thoughts on the Draft and its Aftermath

Although the draft was quiet and void of much excitement, it certainly provided its share of surprises and deals. Now that all 9 rounds are completed, here are the thoughts floating through my NyQuil-sloshed head.

Slovakia: - As I expected, the Slovaks ended up with 10 prospects taken, 2 of which went in the first round.

10 - Atlanta - Boris Valabik, D
23 - Ottawa - Andrej Meszaros, D
71 - Buffalo - Andrej Sekera, D
78 - Minnesota - Peter Olvecky, W
103 - Phoenix - Roman Tomanek, RW
113 - Toronto - Roman Kukumberg, RW
130 - Pittsburgh - Michal Sersen, D
142 - Atlanta - Juraj Gracik, RW
145 - Buffalo - Michal Valent, G
170 - Philly - Ladislav Scurko, C

* It was nice to see one of the overagers (Kukumberg) taken, even if it was the Laffs. Still, I can't believe one NHL team couldn't spend a pick on Domin Granak. With all of the talk of salary structures and finding cheaper and younger replacements, why couldn't one team draft a 20-year old kid who has proven himself against the world's best competition?

* Poor Jaro Markovic and Stanislav Lascek went undrafted. Lascek, especially, was the hard luck case. I hope he can invest some money in some skating lessons, and prove his naysayers wrong.
As for Markovic, I'll have more on his case some time in the future.

* I knew the draft wouldn't go in order of my rankings, or anyone else's rankings, but the one name that really sticks out is Peter Olvecky of Trencin. I had him ranked about 12th for Slovak prospects, and CSS ranked him 67th among European skaters. Yet, he went 78th to the Minnesota Wild.
I honestly do not know a great deal about this guy, other than he had a solid pro debut with the Trencin senior squad, and put up decent numbers in juniors. Olvecky didn't play at the recent WJC18, and he hasn't really been regarded in the same tier as Tomanek and Gracik. If the Wild were scouting Trencin (where a great deal of good players are produced), they must see something in Olvecky that they liked a great deal. I'll have to find out more about this kid.

28 - Dallas - Marc Fistric, D
286 - Philly - Tristan Grant, LW

So, 2 Giants were indeed selected, but it was Tristan Grant and not Mitch Bartley that went late in the draft.

Grant has basically been the Giants' enforcer during his tenure here. While not quite the fighter and marketing tool that Robin BigSnake was, Grant is at least a decent skater and role player. I have no doubt that Bartley will earn himself a free agent contract when his tenure in the WHL is done, but it would have been nice to see him selected.

As for Fistric, as I alluded to yesterday, people simply want to look at what he doesn't do well (Offense, shooting), rather than he does well (Hit, defend).
When you take a prospect after the first 20, you aren't likely to get a player that is very well rounded (except Andrej Meszaros...the Sens really lucked out). As Brian Burke would say, 'These kids have warts!'

So, instead of drafting a prospect who is 'decent' in many or all areas, why not take a prospect that is excellent or very good in some areas, and poor at others. I believe the prospect with excellent/very good attributes on 1-2 categories is more likely to succeed than a prospect who is just 'decent' at everything. Look at the 1-dimensional goons (Oliwa) and speedsters (Shean Donovan, Phil Bourque) that have managed to carve out a successful NHL career.
The fact is, Fistric has excellent size and strength (there isn't a heavier player in the draft), and is a mobile skater, so he could develop into a good and tough defensive defenseman. Sure, he's a vacuum offensively, but a good defensive defenseman is more valuable to his team (Think Richard Matvichuk) than a defenseman who isn't good at any one area (think Nolan Baumgartner).


Now that we have some real deals, I can do some trade analysis. We didn't see any blockbusters, but some significant deals nonetheless.

#1 - "Why thank you, kind sir!"

To St. Louis - Patrick Lalime
To Ottawa - Condition 4th rounder in 2005.

Analysis: One man's garbage is Larry Pleau's treasure. Unlike the table scraps (Derek King, Brian Savage) that Pleau has acquired in the past, Lalime represents a significant upgrade at a position of need, and for almost nothing (except $$ for salary) at all!

I know the Senators are set to sign UFA Domin Hasek, but it's amazing that they basically gave Lalime up for nothing. This is clearly a good move for the Blues, as they can now count on havingconsistentlytly good #1 goalie. Chris Osbad is just not going to cut it.

The Senators are taking a big gamble on Hasek, although his base salary will apparently be around $2mil a year, which is less than what they would have to pay Lalime. If you believe Hasek is better than Lalime (At this point, I don't), then the Sens got what they wanted. They gave up on Lalime though, so Muckler basically traded Lalime for Hasek. We'll see if Hasek can recover his form.

The only thing that pisses me off about this deal is that the Canucks were nowhere to be found. Instead of qualifying the never-will-be Dan Cloutier at 2+ million a year, why not let Cloutier go and get Lalime instead? Lalime may not be the 'money' goalie that the Canucks are looking for, but he certainly would be an improvement.

#2 - BONKED on the head

To the Kings: Radek Bonk
To the Senators: 77th overall pick

and then...

To the Kings: Mathieu Garon, 95th overall pick
To the Canadiens: Radek Bonk, Cristobal Huet

This, my pretties, is a classic trade that helps all teams involved.

For the Sens: With Jason Spezza ready to assume a big role, the patsy playoff-zero Bonk was expandible. Bonk required a qualifying offer of $3.5 million, far too much for a guy coming off of a 44-point season. The Sens were just happy to get rid of his salary, and get something in exchange.

For the Kings: If Roman Cechmanek can't overcome his injuries and return to fine form, then Garon will finally get his shot at a #1 job and he's got a good chance at becoming a very good #1 goalie for the Kings. Garon has been a top prospect for years now, but has been buried behind Theodore in Montreal. In any event, the tandem of Cecho/Garon is very good.

For the Habs: Huet is a good soldier and should do well as a cheaper backup than Garon. Although Bonk is a patsy, he does give the Habs some size up front, which they need quite badly. The Habs have a very shrimpy bunch of forwards, so Bonk gives them an element that they didn't have before.

I know the Senators basically gave away two talented players for almost nothing, but they save some money, open up space for Spezza (and maybe Prusek/Emery down the road), and cut some fat off of the steak. Let's face it, Bonk wasn't really helping the Senators all that much when the chips were down, and if Hasek falters at all, Prusek (my favourite NHL backup) could step in and surprise everyone.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?