There has been a great amount of news breaking around Thrasherville lately…new schedule released, big trades, coaching hires and all that. But allow me please to steal you away from that for just a moment and direct your attention back to the subject of the NHL entry draft. And not just the one scheduled to take place in Los Angeles this weekend, but one that took place a few years ago.
See, I was listening to NHL Live on XM Radio the other day and Don LaGreca and E.J. Hradek made the suggestion of DVR-ing the draft for future use. Call it a type of “time capsule” in which one can preserve the feelings, projections and emotions during the draft, then review it later in historical context… seeing how certain players lived up to their hype and which one’s exceeded their perceived potential.
As I listened to the pair, I thought about how people might judge last summer’s Thrashers draft class five years down the road. It’s one that most people in these parts seemed to think was a pretty good one with fourth overall pick Evander Kane standing out in that group. He played very well in his rookie season and his future certainly looks bright. I’m sure we’ll still speak of Kane and others in that class…specifically Carl Klingberg…with a smile on our face come the summer of 2014. Hopefully we will be able to do the same in 2015 in regards to this weekend’s draft.
But let’s take this five-year review period concept in the opposite direction, shall we. To do so, we’ll dig out of the soil one of Thrasherville’s own little cyber-time capsule…the one labeled, “The Trade-Down Draft of ‘05”.
I can already hear the moans and groans from the Thrasherville blogosphere…
As you’ll recall, then-GM Don Waddelland the Thrashers came to Ottawa that year with the 8th overall pick…you know, just like they do this summer. But instead of selectinga player with that pick, he traded it away to San Jose… who then took Devin Setoguchi. We got in return the Sharks’ 12thoverall pick and their second rounder. We wound up with San Jose’s 207th overall in the seventh round as well…but I can’t remember if that was a part of this deal too.
Of course, when pick number 12 came around, we learned it had been dealt away to the New York Rangers… who snagged Marc Staal with it. We would now fall to the 16th spot in the first round.
And with that pick, Don Waddell announced to the NHL community that the Atlanta Thrashers selected… Alex Bourret.
That noise you hear is the sound made by thousands of Thrashers fans smacking their hands on their foreheads…
Bourret has since played exactly the same amount of games at the NHL level as I have, you have, heck even as many as my secretary Trixie has…ZERO. He was traded away to the Rangers in February of 2007 for Pascal Dupuis. I’ve heard that Bourret was the player that they were thinkingof takingwith the 16thpick anyway. If that’s true, then they wound up with him and Staal as well. How so very, very nice for them, eh?
Bourret also took with him the Thrashers 3rd round pick in that summer’s draft and New York used it to select Robert Bortuzzo.
After failingto impress at the AHL level with the San Antonio Rampage, Bourret was then released by the Phoenix Coyotes organization in September of 2009. I believe he is currently playing for HC Kometa Brno in the Czech Republic.
Now, as I said earlier… the Thrashers traded Bourret for Dupuisin ’07. He then, along with Marian Hossa, was traded to Pittsburgh in 2008 for Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito and the Penguins first round pick. The Thrashers used that pick to procure Daultan Leveille. Christensen was dealt away for Eric Odell and Army will be a UFA next week, which means the Thrashers have Odell, Esposito and Leveille in their system that can be in some way traced back to the Bourret pick.
On the other hand, and using the clear 20/20 vision of hindsight, had Waddell instead opted to keep the 8th overall in ’05 he could have used it to draft someone like Anze Kopitar, (11th overall L.A.), Marc Staal, (12th overall NYR) or T.J. Oshie, (24th overall St. Louis), just to name a few. Oh, and the player selected just before Oshie… Nic Bergfors who was snagged by the New Jersey Devils.
Tuukka Raskwas still available and was taken by Toronto with the 21st pick. But of course, three years prior the Thrashers had already secured their…ahem… goalie of the future in Kari Lehtonen.
The rest of the draft went this way…
Ondrej Pavelecwas chosen with the 41st overall in the second round. Pavelechas played 61 games in a Thrashers uniform in the past three years and has an overall record of 20-28-7 witha 3.33 GAA and .902 SV%. He should be back with the team this comingfall, though who he will be paired up with is still up in the air. Rick Dudley has stated he has no problem bringing back the same goalie dou of Opieand the Moose, but both will need new contracts.
Johan Hedberg is a UFA and Pavelec is an RFA.
Chad Denny was taken with the 49th overall pick in the second round. Denny has split time between the AHL Wolves and Gladiators of the ECHL since 2007. Last year in Gwinnett he had 9 goals and 15 assists in 56 games.
Now that five years have passed, the 2005 draft for the Thrashers can be discribed as...
Total Voters: 91
Andrew Kozekwas the 53rd overall pick in the second round. He is with the Wolves also and last year scored 12 goals and 10 assists in 69 games finishing a +5.
Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman with the 116th overall in the 4th round. He was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets last November for future considerations.
Tomas Pospisil with the 135th overall in the 5th round. Pospisil played in Gwinnettand Chicago between from ’07 to ’09 and spent time with Trinec Ocelari HC in the Czech Republic last season.
Andrei Zubarev with the 187th in the sixth round and still plays in Russia. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he and Ilya Nikulin meet up every year to watch the NHL draft and share a few brewskis and laughs.
Myles Stoesz with the 207th in the seventhand final round. He was sent to the Devils along with Nic Havelid in 2009. That deal brought to Thrasherville Anssi Salmela, who returned to New Jersey with Ilya Kovalchuk last winter in exchange for Johnny Oduya, Nic Bergfors and prospect Patrice Cormier. The draft picks acquired by Atlanta in that deal were since shipped off to the Chicago BalckhawksWednesday night along with Marty Reasoner, prospect Jeremy Morin in exchange for Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu.
Combined, the eight players picked by the Thrashers in the 2005 draft have a grand total of 65 games played at the NHL level. Pavelec can lay claim to 61 of them. He has that many because he’s been called into duty for the last three seasons because of Kari-Down ’07, Kari-Down-‘08 and Kari-Down ’09.
Screwing back on the time capsule lid…placing it back in the hole
Ya know…it’s times like these that we are reminded that these drafts aren’t exactly a “science”. There are times when a first-rounder turns out to be less than a “sure thing” for some odd reason. Other times a diamond in the rough can be found…say like a player selected with the 210th pick in the seventh round that winds up netting 206 goals, 269 assists and a +131 ratingover his first seven seasons. Such was the case with the Detroit Red Wings and Henrik Zetterberg.
And with that, I now leave it to you to discuss/debate the significance and ramifications of the 2005 Trade-Down Draft of aut-5. Then over the weekend, we’ll prepare the 2010 draft time capsule for the future.