Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NHL Entry Draft 2012: Should the Leafs Trade Up to #1?

Buzz Aldrin was, by all accounts, a good man.  He graduated 3rd in his class from West Point, with a bachelors of science majoring in mechanical engineering. He went on to work in the U.S Military and, ultimately, at NASA. He was one of the only 2nd graders who told everyone he wanted to be an astronaut, and actually grew up to be one.

The sad thing about Buzz is that despite all his professional and personal accolades, almost everyone on the planet, and likely the majority of history books, will remember him as the quintessential runner-up. As the 2nd man to ever walk on the moon (behind some guy named Neil who evidently took “small steps”), he has been forever labeled as an 'also-attended'. The correct answer to many trivia games and butt to any and all comedians' jokes revolving around a guy coming oh-so-close to finishing first. 

As the NHL draft approaches, I always find myself thinking of Mr. Aldrin, or the 3rd person to climb Mount Everest, or the 2nd explorer to land in America after Columbus. The draft makes me fearful that the Leafs will end up with a player who is doomed to be forgotten in NHL history books. The team's uninspiring draft record (outside of Wendel Clark) is littered with disappointments, and in desperate need of a strong showing this year.

As fans, we're excited at the prospect of landing a top-5 player -- assuming Burke doesn’t trade down to increase his assest base (let’s collectively pray that doesn’t happen). While this draft is certainly deeper than years past, there is still a clear and distinct drop off after the presumptive number-1 pick, Nail Yakupov.

The question that has been uttered consistently around Toronto water coolers is this: Should the Leafs trade up on Draft Day, and select Yakupov 1st overall?

Monday, May 21, 2012

NHL Entry Draft Rankings: On Biases and Ranking Discrepancies

With the Leafs out of the playoffs and the draft still a little over a month away, content has been a little sparse here at BCP.  I've already given a glimpse into my draft day targets for the first two rounds and we'll definitely be providing more Entry Draft opinion as June 22nd draws near so be sure to stop by.

Today, I thought that I'd take the opportunity to talk about Entry Draft rankings and why some of the pre-draft prospect rankings that you'll see have such disparate views on where certain players fall in the pecking order.

Last week, TSN Analyst Craig Button released his list of the top-60 draft eligible players and there were a few surprises.  Button gets knocked around a fair bit as an 'expert' due in large part to some pretty bad decisions while GM of the Flames most notably, waiving Martin St.Louis.  Prior to his time as GM of the Flames, Button was the Director of Scouting for the Stars organisation from 1992-1998 and his draft record may surprise some of you.