Who Does Number 4 Work For?

Unless you’ve been stranded on a desert island for about two months, you no doubt know that the Thrashers own the fourth overall pick in this Friday’s NHL Entry Draft. So, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to go back over the course of the past decade or so and review the players that were selected with the 4th overall pick in the draft.

But before we do…speaking of the draft…an update on the draft party that will be held at TJsFriday night. As we’ve discussed before, there will be $1 draft beers for all to enjoy as well as meeting with some of the former Atlanta Flames. Also, the team will be supplying some prizes to be raffled of…including tickets to games during the upcoming season.

:!: Update :!: Also, you’ll be able to meet new AJC Thrashers beat writer Chris Vivlamore as he’ll be attending the party at TJ’s as well!

So, hopefully we’ll see you there for the fun!

Now, as for the most recent fourth overall picks, we’ll start with the summer of 1999…because that’s the first one that the Thrashers organization participated in.

1999: Just after Don Waddell took PatrikStefan with the first overall pick and Vancouver then selected Sedin x 2, the New York Rangers draft Pavel Brendl of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He’s played in a total of 78 regular season NHL games…with Philadelphia, Carolina and Phoenix…scoring 11 goals and 11 assist. He was held pointless in 2 playoff appearences. Brendl played last season for Topedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL where he netted 35 goals and 15 assists in 56 games.

2000: The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Czech defensman Rostislav Klesla with the first ever draft selection of that franchise. He has appeared in 444 games for the CBJs scoring 36 goals and79 assists to go with his -53 rating. 8 of those goals and 28 of the assists have come on the power play. In last spring’s playoffs, he earned an assists in the 6-5 loss to Detroit that ended Columbus’ brief postseason.

2001: Stephen Weiss was the choice of the Florida Panthers withthe #4 pick. He has played in 401 career games with the Panthers scoring 75 goals and 149 assists in that time. His 61 points led the Panthers in scoring last year. During the lockout season of 2004-05, the centerman played 18 regular season games for the Thrashers’ affiliate Chicago Wolves scoring 7 goals and 9 assists in the regular season as well as 2 goals and 7 assists in 18 playoff games.

2002: Finnish blueliner Joni Pitkänen was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers…just after Nash, Lehtonen and Bouwmeester were taken by Columbus, Atlanta andFlorida. In the 340 total games played with the Flyers, Oliers and Carolina Hurricanes, he has 40 goals, 135 assists andis a +18 in the regular season. He has 5 helpers in the postseason. Last summer he signed a 3-year $12 million contract with the Canes.

2003: Columbus owned the #4 overall pick once again this year and with it the selected Russian forward Nikolai Zherdev. He played in 57 games that year for the Blue Jackets and collected 13 goals and 21 assists. Following the lockout he had a very good year scoring 27 goals and 27 assists in 73 regular season games. However the next season he only accounted for 10 goals and22 assist to go withis -19 rating. In the 2007-08 season he rebounded with 26 goals and35 assists, playing in all 82 games. Last summer he was traded to the New York Rangers along with Dan Fritsche in return for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Bäckman. Last season with the Rangers he scored 23 goals, 35 assists andwas a +6. He’s played in 365 total NHL regular season games with 99 goals, 140 assists and is -46 for his career. He accumulated no points and a -3 in the seven playoff games played last spring.

2004: The Carolina Hurricanes chose forward Andrew Ladd with their 4th overall pick in the summer of 2004. Between 2005 and 2008 he played in 137 games for the Hurricanes scoring 26 goals and 24 assists. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline in 2008. Since that time he’s appeared in 102 regular season games and has netted 20 goals and 41 assists for the Hawks. Last spring he made his first career appearance in the playoffs and was able to score three times in the 17 post-season games and he shipped in on another.

2005: The summer after the season-cancelling lockout, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the lottery draft to be able to select Sidney Crosby. The Minnesota Wild’s logo showed up on a ping-pong ball just three rounds prior andthey were granted the #4 pick during the draft. With it, they selected Benoît Pouliot of the OHL’s SudburyWolves. The left winger has played in 51 total games with the Wild scoring 7 goals and 7 assists. In the one playoff game he appeared in back in 2008, he was held without a point and was a +1 in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Last season he accounted for 5 goals and 6 assists in 37 games… 2 goals and 2 assists came while on the man advantage.

2006: Nicklas Bäckström of Sweden was the fourth overall draft pick and was selected by the Washington Capitals. As such, he became 4th-highest drafted Swede, after Mats Sundin (1st), Daniel Sedin (2nd) and Henrik Sedin (3rd). In 2006 he andteam Sweden were the winners of the World Champions. In the summer of 2006 he announced that he was turning down Washington’s offer to play in the NHL, opting instead to play one more season with Sweden’s BrynäsIF. Then on May 31, 2007 he signed a 3-year entry-level contract with the Capitals to begin play the following season. In both seasons played in Washington he has appeared in all 82 games and has scored 36 goals and 121 assists. He is a +29 for his career in the regular season. During this past postseason he accounted for 3 goals and 12 assists and was a +3. The season prior he netted 4 goals and 2 assist andwas a +3 in the seven-game opening round loss to the Flyers.

2007: The Los Angeles Kings procured defenseman Thomas Hickey of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds with their #4 overall of the 2007 draft. On July 17 of that year he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Kings and is yet to appear in an NHL game. In 262 games in a Thunderbird jersey, Hickey has 29 goals and 138 assists. He has won gold medals in 2008 and2009 with Team Canada during the World Junior Championships. He’s yet to see action at the NHL level.

2008: Last summer…just after the Thrashers selected Zach Bogosian and just before the Maple Leafs took Luke Schenn…the St. Louis Blues chose defenseman Alex Pietrangelo with the #4 overall pick. For the past three seasons he has played for the IceDogs of the OHL, (the last two years they have played in Niagara, before that Mississauga). In 155 games with the IceDogs he’s netted 28 goals and 106 assists. Last April he was promoted to the Blues top minor league affiliate team…the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL. At the beginning of last season, Pietrangelo played in eight games for the Blues, picking up his first and only NHL points in a 5-4 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. It was a secondary assist on the game’s opening goal score by Kieth Tkachuk.

And that now brings us to Friday night in Montreal where Gary Bettman…after he has done so for the Islanders, Lightning and Avalanche… will take to the podium and announce, “With the fourth overall selection in this year’s draft, the Atlanta Thrashers have selected…”

Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait ’til then, won’t we?

76 comments Add your comment

Hockeyfan

June 21st, 2009
7:50 pm

OFFICIAL draft party at Jillian’s in Duluth. Not sure why anyone would have a competing event

World Be Free

June 21st, 2009
8:14 pm

Evander Kane is the logical choice, since Hedman (my choice), Tavaras and Duchene (my 2nd choice) will be gone. He may not play right away, but Kane seems to have the tools to be a very good NHL center in the near future.

Please do not trade this choice, to move down or look for a short term fix.

Ice Meister

June 21st, 2009
8:25 pm

Here’s a name that was rumored coming back to the NHL (from the KHL)- Alexei Yashin? Another possible (but unlikely) Russian linemate for Kovy.

Is he still with Carol Alt? If so, I betcha she would like Atlanta compared to living in Siberia!

Just a thought.

Rawhide

June 21st, 2009
8:31 pm

Hockeyfan – “Competeing” event? Are you serious? Whose “competeing”?

Everyone knows where the team’s “official” draft party is being held…and I’m sure it’ll be a good time. But Tim Ecclestone asked me if I wanted to do something at his place as well and I agreed to it. So…what’s the rub?

World Be Free – I agree with you with your pecking order. And I would be very suprised if Waddell traded it away.

Midfield

June 21st, 2009
8:35 pm

Yashin has just signed with SKA St. Petersburg – that would be St. Petersburg, Russia.

R. Stroz

June 21st, 2009
8:39 pm

Hockeyfan – The two parties are competing? Some would refer to two parties as options, especially based on the size of the Atlanta area.

Is no one allowed to go to UNoffical draft parties? Am I allowed to organize a draft party at my house or should all such parties only be permitted at Jillians?

Let people do what they want without demeaning other options.

Hockey Biltong

June 21st, 2009
8:43 pm

I’m thinking of roasting a pig and having an official hockey party, wait, no I can’t, can I ???
Alan,thanks for the correction, mange takk. I only phonetically spell Norwegian.
And don’t forget Nikulin…..we can project for hours on him….

Glovesave29

June 21st, 2009
8:59 pm

Hockeyfan – uh, TECHNICALLY, the official party is in Montreal at the Bell Centre. How dare you compete and have a party at Jillians.

Hmmmmm….hang with Tim Ecclestone, Eric Vail and Willi Plett, or Don Waddell and the ASG weasels…that IS ONE TOUGH CHOICE.

World Be Free

June 21st, 2009
9:23 pm

Thanks Midfield, just a thought. Not much difference between St. Pete-Russia and Siberia, except the abundence of cheap vodka.

I wish Duchene would fall to us, but I guess we will take “The Real Ice Deal” instead.

LAC

June 21st, 2009
9:41 pm

Right Glovesave… Would be great at TJ’s who cares about the other place… I’d rather have a GREAT time than have it shoved down my throat !!!

Smitty

June 21st, 2009
10:11 pm

Stay with Kane. He has been getting better year after year. He has the grit that we need and a scoring touch.

GaVaHokie

June 21st, 2009
10:35 pm

Glovesave… actually Waddell will be in Montreal. ;)

I’d certianly go to TJ’s if not for the Bogo signing at Jillians… maybe if they have the autograph session right at 6pm, I can scoot out in time to get to TJ’s for $1 beers and the draft… or should I say “drafts”… plural. :)

R. Stroz

June 21st, 2009
10:38 pm

Hockeyfan – if you are the poster who usually posts under that name on the AJC Thrasher blogs, I really don’t understand your stance on the “draft parties.” In the past, your posts have been discussion oriented, without a condesending tone toward other points of view.

So, what gives with multiple draft parties?

Midfield

June 21st, 2009
10:49 pm

World Be Free, guess where Marc Popovic, Darius Kasparaitis, Robert Eshe and Sergey Brylin are playing?

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
12:15 am

Kane is a fine choice at #4. I think there are still good options besides Kane at #4. But, you know my stance. Pick at your draft position, grabbing the best available player. So, that looks like Kane.

If Waddell feels “froggy enough” to jump, I wouldn’t recommend moving back much. Sliding back to #5, that still should leave MPS, Cowen, and Brayden Schenn up on that board. If we’re talking “crazy,” position #7, with Toronto, is as far back as can be done without serious harm being done. If it’s a deal with Toronto, the deal must be noteworthy. At #7, I think Brayden Schenn might still be available.

1. Tavares, NYI
2. Hedman, TB
3. Duchene, COL
4. Kane, ATL/Toronto
5. MPS, Phoenix
6. ?? Cowen, LAK
7. B. Schenn, TOR/ATL

Okay, what about Atlanta’s second rounders? Who’s got the exact draft position numbers? Do you want to (1) trade them or (2) use them to make a selection? If it’s a trade, do you want an unsigned, pending RFA? Or a roster player, with 3-4 years left on his deal? Or use them to move up? Pick #31 might not be too bad, at the cost of one of our two other 2nd rounders, and a 3rd rounder, next year. There’s also a possibility of moving up to #31, then trading it to somebody for a top six forward, who may or may not be a “salary dump” for the other team.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
12:55 am

Per Wikipedia, this is the Draft order list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_NHL_Entry_Draft. You’ll notice something I forgot: As part of the Jason Williams trade to Columbus, that sent Clay Wilson here, Atlanta also acquired a 6th round pick, previously belonging to San Jose. That’s pick #176. We also pick at #154 in the sixth round.

Here’s Atlanta’s picks, for the 2009 draft, by position: 4th, 34th, 45th, (via Anaheim, in the Matthieu Schneider deal with Montreal; as part of that same deal, Atlanta loses pick #65, but gains Montreal’s 3rd rounder in 2010,) 95th, 124th, 154th, 176th, and 184th.

So, anybody want to package picks #34 and #45 to either (1) move up from 4th overall or (2) trade for a quality RFA? Bear in mind, from pick #45 … the Thrashers don’t draft again until pick #95. In Atlanta’s final pick, #184, I bet Waddell picks a defenseman. He found Enstrom, Exelby, and Zach Redmond in the 7th round.

Alan

June 22nd, 2009
2:37 am

Biltong, no problem. I’m still learning, myself. Teaching myself, anyway. I’m sure I make more than my fair share of errors! ;)

Hockeyfan, why would you feel threatened by a draft party being held elsewhere on the same night as the official one? It is not a competing event, it’s an alternate event. Because not everyone wants to go to Jillians.

Sadtoseeitthisway

June 22nd, 2009
4:16 am

A previous writer mentioned one of the competing, “official” draft party locations was serving $1 draft beers? Get the straight scoop on that, and you’ll have my attendance. It’s hot as hell outside , and I’m ready for the first “round” right now.

World Be Free

June 22nd, 2009
7:32 am

I am against moving back – unless, you get a proven body for the move along with the team’s high draft pick. Just getting the high pick and later picks is not good enough.

Our past drop back moves for picks have not worked. There’s enough cap stressed teams out there that NEED to shed talent if they are going to be players July 1. If you are going to look to drop back 1-2-3 slots, get talent NOW, don’t get more picks that will not be here for 3 years.
Kovy will have already become captain somewhere else.

The time to improve and win is now. There are alotta opportunities over the next 3-4 weeks to get well. A great draft, cap stressed players and UFAs that can help this team in 2009-2010.

As for a party, let’s have one in a month when we can hopefully celebrate a much-improved Thrashers team.

World Be Free

June 22nd, 2009
7:56 am

You all should read this assessment of Rick Dudley – I think it is right on.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/GARTH/HAPPY-FATHERS-DAY/6/21639

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
8:32 am

Brendan… I don’t know… I think there’s good value all the way down to #10 if we wanted to trade with Edmonton… Larssen, Kulikov, Schroeder, Glennie… I think Kadri could be a draft day steal for someone. I also like Kassian to be an impact player in a year or two, much like Milan Lucic. I’m comfortable down to #10.

Here’s an interesting read on TSN…

http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/story/?id=282241

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
9:19 am

Oh, I definitely think there’s good players as far back at 10th position, Hokie, but compared to what’s available at pick #4, is where the assessment begins. Another danger is … the potential for surprises. How so?

Well, let’s say, the night before the draft, Toronto and Atlanta sit down to hammer out a trade for pick #4. And with the 1st overall pick, the Islanders take Tavares. With the 2nd overall pick, the Bolts take Duchene. And with the 3rd overall pick, Colorado takes Kane. But Atlanta has already AGREED to make a trade with Toronto. Scrrreeeech!! No. Take Hedman!!! The bozos ahead of us didn’t, by some “fluke.” Don’t commit to moving that pick until you know what’s been taken off the board. Even if Toronto’s intentions were to select Brayden Schenn at #4, they’d be foolish not to take Hedman with that pick, hypothetically.

None of that will happen. It was presented to illustrate a point. The point is … you must take a long, hard look at the names still on that board … before you agree to move back for what are arguably “throw away” 2nd rounders. Moving from #4 to #5 seems fairly safe, provided that the player you truly covet will still be there and/or that you are satisfied with your pick being MPS or Schenn, instead of Kane.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
9:33 am

World Be Free, that’s definitely an encouraging review of Dudley. That author suggests Dudley will be controlling the draft. I’m not too sure about that one. Waddell’s still the GM until April 2010. I’m sure Dudley will have some “input,” but I don’t know that Dudley will be the one standing at the podium to make the selection. And if he is, that tells me there’s been a change.

Imagine if Atlanta’s Press Conference at the draft would be to announce Dudley as the new, full-time Thrashers GM? And the decisions to sign players like Slater and Kari would be his, not Waddell’s? I know. I know. That’s assuming Dudley had full autonomy, without having to consult or get permission from Waddell, and “the committee.”

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
9:46 am

Brendan… I concur 100%… don’t trade the pick until 1, 2, and 3 are done.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
9:49 am

Brendan… however, the return on your trade goes down after 1, 2, and 3 are off the board… how much is Toronto willing to give up after they already see that Duchene, Tavares and Hedman are gone? That’s how a deal with Luke Schenn involved becomes Ian White instead.

Glovesave29

June 22nd, 2009
9:59 am

GaVa – I’d go to TJ’s and forgo the Bogo signing. I am sure the line will be an hour long. Go to a practice this season at the IceForum…that’s the best time and place to get an autograph.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
10:14 am

Glovesave… going to a practice requires taking time off work, plus I live in Kennesaw, so that’s a long drive. If I take time off work, there are only two places I want to be sitting… on a beach or on my couch.

… actually, at a Black Jack Table too… so three. :)

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
10:16 am

When did Matt Sundin become such a buzz kill?

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=282490

12345

June 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

I bet “hockeyfan” is levenson or one of the sprit goofs trying to salvage what they can, while they can ! Being jealious is nuts, but isn’t asg way beyond crazy ? I’ll be at TJ’s for sure,not the so called “official” location.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
10:21 am

Hokie, I agree with that. Luke Schenn becoming Ian White isn’t a deal that will keep Kovalchuk. The two actually fought last season. But, if the Maple Leafs are still high on Kane, they’ve got to offer something good. Better than Ian White, anyway.

Glovesave29

June 22nd, 2009
10:56 am

GaVa – I work from home, so I get to go to a practice now and again if the desire so grabs me. Last season I went to 3 or 4, but I really like to go when the opposing team is in town. I have a signed puck collection of about 200 (down from a puck collection that once numbered over 3500). If there is one you want during the season, just ask and I can probably grab one for you. I have doubles of Frank Mahovlich, Jacques Lemaire, Phil Esposito and Johnny Bower if you are up for some kind of trade.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
11:14 am

I thought it would be fun to look at picks 30-49, to see how often GM’s find actual talent there. I do so, because Atlanta picks 34th and 45th. They won’t pick again until 95th, after that, barring something unforeseen.

D# Player Team Year
30 Sandis Ozolinsh San Jose 1991
31 Felix Potvin Toronto 1990
32 Derek Roy Buffalo 2001
33 John Leclair Montreal 1987
35 Marc-Edouard Vlasic San Jose 2005
36 Jarret Stoll Edmonton 2002
38 Eric Desjardins Montreal 1987
40 Michael Peca Vancouver 1992
40 Jozef Stumpel Boston 1991
41 Michael Cammalleri Los Angeles 2001
41 Ondrej Pavelec Atlanta 2005
42 Sergei Brylin New Jersey 1992
42 Mike Commodore New Jersey 1999
43 Curtis Brown Buffalo 1994
43 Trevor Daley Dallas 2002
44 Paul Stastny Colorado 2005
44 Matt Greene Edmonton 2002
45 Vyacheslav Kozlov Detroit 1990
45 Guillaume Latendress Montreal 2005
45 Patrice Bergeron Boston 2003
46 Darren McCarty Detroit 1992
47 Matt Carle San Jose 2003
49 Colin White New Jersey 1996
49 Matthew Dandenault Detroit 1994
49 Shea Weber Nashville 2003

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
11:22 am

Here’s a very interesting article from TSN…

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=282346

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
11:43 am

Glovesave… cool, great to know! I appreciate it!

Tony C.

June 22nd, 2009
11:46 am

Again, I’m for the Dudley move. I always felt that I could do just as crappy a job building a team player/personnel – wise as DW.

I’m pretty sure Dudley will do better than either of us.

Toby

June 22nd, 2009
11:57 am

Thanks for the link on Dudley, World. That makes me feel better about the move. The only stuff I heard was that he is a friend of Dub’s and this is “an awful move”.

I think this blog explains more about his past. The article suggests that Dudley will have full control at the draft…Maybe a sign that Dub is FINALLY stepping down???

Toby

June 22nd, 2009
12:02 pm

…or stepping up to “Pres of Hockey Operations”???

World Be Free

June 22nd, 2009
12:11 pm

Well folks, I think we agree on Dudley and that’s a good thing.

I am still not really on board on trading down, unless you get a player today. Note sure if the guys 5-10 are worth passing on Kane. Remember Boris was a #10 and the jury is still locked on him.

Rawhide

June 22nd, 2009
12:17 pm

Alan

June 22nd, 2009
12:22 pm

It’s about damn time, too, Bill! I have to wonder how long they’d let the cat meander around outside the bag before stating exactly that.

World Be Free

June 22nd, 2009
12:23 pm

Time for a cold one

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
12:32 pm

Hopefully he smuggled Cam Barker down here in his suitcase.

Jacques Strapp

June 22nd, 2009
1:04 pm

Don Waddell, meet Rich McKay.

Rich McKay, meet Don Waddell.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
2:15 pm

My goodness! I hope so! But the “official” article still says ASSOCIATE GM. I do hope Dudley will be named GM, in the next 12 months. As I see that as an upgrade to Waddell, a man who had his chance, despite terrible ownership all of the days of his Administration.

I wish Dudley had complete control on Friday. I’m interested in knowing what he’d do, draft/trade-wise, on Friday.

So, Ovechkins cleaned up at the awards show. And the Columbus netminder took “Rookie of the Year.” Probably right. Who won the Jack Adams, Coach of the Year?

Tony C.

June 22nd, 2009
2:18 pm

Dude if we can sign Barker, and get Kane/Duschene/MPS… well, I’d be pretty ok with that. I bet #17 would be too-question is: Does DW/Dudley have the juice to get a top-6 “big body” type guy in here without raping the farm (again)?

Glovesave29

June 22nd, 2009
2:36 pm

Bob Gainey – class act. He fired the entire coaching staff of the AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs…by phone.

Rawhide

June 22nd, 2009
2:55 pm

:!: SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT !! :!:

I’ve just updated the entry above to say this…but I’ll mention it here as well. Thrashers beat writer Chris Vivlamore will be with us at TJ’s Friday night…so those attending will be able to meet in person the one who’ll be keeping us all up-to-date and informed about the team!

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
3:00 pm

Tony… I’d give up the farm for Barker… I’d trade Denny, Lewis or Lehman in a heartbeat for Barker.

… that’s just me.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
3:01 pm

Bob Gainey – class act. He fired the entire coaching staff of the AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs…by phone.

… stay classy, Gainey!

Tony C.

June 22nd, 2009
3:08 pm

Hokie-Agreed, but isn’t he (Barker) a UFA? I was talking about giving up something like Macachek, Holzapfel & Pavelec for Mihalek(from SJ) and a 3rd-round pick. That’d be dumb.