What if we had to do the first round of the 2009 NHL draft all over again right now?
Well, we can in a hindsight sort of way thanks to the scouts who helped us assemble the top 75 prospects for Future Watch 2010, now available on newsstands.
Most of the prospects in Future Watch (300 total, 10 for each team) aren’t from the 2009 draft. There’s actually a nice breakdown between 2009, 2008, 2007 and earlier drafts as prospects advance their way through team development systems.
So let’s extract the 2009 picks from the final top 75 tabulation and see how they would have ranked. Our panel of 23 NHL scouts based their opinions on long-term upside – who’s going to be the best NHLers five to 10 years from now.
Not surprisingly, 23 players drafted in 2009 finished among the top 75. For this exercise, we didn’t include the six 2009 draftees who were playing in the NHL at the time. Clearly, they’re NHLers now, not prospects. They are: John Tavares (1st overall, NY Islanders), Victor Hedman (2nd, Tampa Bay), Matt Duchene (3rd, Colorado), Evander Kane (4th, Atlanta), Dmitry Kulikov (14th, Florida) and Ryan O’Reilly (33rd, Colorado).
There would have been an interesting shift in the 2009 draft order according to the progress assessments stemming from the voting results of our scouting panel.
For example, Oliver Ekman-Larsson finished third in Future Watch 2010 while Brayden Schenn finished 10. Yet, Schenn went fifth overall in the draft to Los Angeles and Ekman-Larsson sixth to Phoenix. Would the Kings have taken Ekman-Larsson instead today given the choice? Maybe not because a lot depends upon the team’s needs. But the fact remains, scouts like Ekman-Larsson more than Schenn today.
Finishing 22nd in Future Watch 2010 is center Chris Kreider. He was drafted 19th overall by the New York Rangers. Re-do the draft today and he’d surely move up into a top 12 selection last June.
The biggest mover is goalie Matthew Hackett, taken 77th overall in the third round by the Minnesota Wild in 2009. Among 2009 draftees on the Future Watch top prospect list, Hackett was 23rd. Re-do the draft now and he’d surely go in the first round.
The biggest mover in the wrong direction is Peter Holland, taken 15th overall by Anaheim. By all rights, he should have been the 10th highest ranked 2009 draftee on our Future Watch list. Instead, he’s not among the top 23 selected by scouts. That’s a huge drop.
Here’s a list of the 23 draftees from 2009 who made our Future Watch top 75 prospect list. Information includes the team that drafted him, in which slot last June, his ranking in Future Watch 2010, and the plus/minus direction he’d move if the 2009 draft was re-held today according to the rankings of our 23 scouts.
1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix, 6th overall, 3rd in FW10, plus-1 slot in draft re-do.
2. Brayden Schenn, Los Angeles, 5th overall, 10th in FW10, minus-1 slot in draft re-do.
3. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Edmonton, 10th overall, 11th in FW10, plus-3 slots in draft re-do.
4. Nazem Kadri, Toronto, 7th overall, 13th in FW10, minus-1 slot in draft re-do.
5. Ryan Ellis, Nashville, 11th overall, 19th in FW10, plus-2 slots in draft re-do.
6. Chris Kreider, NY Rangers, 19th overall, 22nd in FW10, plus-8 slots in draft re-do.
7. Scott Glennie, Dallas, 8th overall, 27th in FW10, minus-3 slot in draft re-do.
8. Calvin de Haan, NY Islanders, 12th overall, 28th in FW10, no change in draft re-do.
9. Tim Erixon, Calgary, 23rd overall, 31st in FW10, plus-9 slots in draft re-do.
10. John Moore, Columbus, 21st overall, 32nd in FW10, plus-6 slots in draft re-do.
11. Jacob Josefson, New Jersey, 20th overall, 37th in FW10, plus-4 slots in draft re-do.
12. Jared Cowen, Ottawa, 9th overall, 38th in FW10, minus-7 slots in draft re-do.
13. Louis Leblanc, Montreal, 18th overall, 41st in FW10, no change in draft re-do.
14. Jeremy Morin, Atlanta, 45th overall, 49th in FW10, plus-15 slots in draft re-do.
15. Zack Kassian, Buffalo, 13th overall, 53rd in FW10, minus-6 slots in draft re-do.
16. Tomas Tatar, Detroit, 60th overall, 55th in FW10, plus-38 slots in draft re-do.
17. Jordan Schroeder, Vancouver, 22nd overall, 57th in FW10, no change in draft re-do.
18. Marcus Johansson, Washington, 24th overall, 60th in FW10, plus-1 slot in draft re-do.
19. Jordan Caron, Boston, 25th overall, 62nd in FW10, plus-1 slot in draft re-do.
20. Nick Leddy, Minnesota (traded to Chicago), 16th overall, 64th in FW10, minus-9 slots in draft re-do.
21. Kyle Palmieri, Anaheim, 26th overall, 70th in FW10, no change in draft re-do.
22. Carter Ashton, Tampa Bay, 29th overall, 71st in FW10, plus-2 slots in draft re-do.
23. Matthew Hackett, Minnesota, 77th overall, 74th in FW10, plus-48 slots in draft re-do.
First-rounders from 2009 who weren’t part of our top 75 prospects and would have slipped in a draft re-do are: Peter Holland (15th overall to Anaheim), David Rundblad (17th overall to St. Louis), Philippe Paradis (27th overall to Carolina, traded to Toronto), Dylan Olsen (28th overall to Chicago) and Simon Despres (30th overall to Pittsburgh.)
Keep in mind this list is based on the blended assessments of 23 scouts and doesn’t take in account team needs or drafting philosophies.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can find his blog each weekend.
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