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Remembering the draft prospect who told us to take a hike

It's only natural for some prospects to take exception to where we have them ranked in Draft Preview. Most keep the complaint private. In one case, 27 years ago, one prospect told former THN editor-in-chief Bob McKenzie he was out to lunch.

A couple weeks ago when Draft Preview with Connor McDavid on the cover came out, an older hockey fan asked me if we ever get prospects who go Chris Govedaris on us. If you actually get that reference, you’re part of the small minority. It came about 27 years ago in our Draft Preview 1988. Govedaris was a top prospect with Toronto in the Ontario League. There were projections early in the season that he’d probably go in the top five with the likes of Mike Modano, Trevor Linden, Curtis Leschyshyn and Martin Gelinas. Govedaris was a scrappy winger who finished his draft year with 42 goals, 80 points and 118 penalty minutes in 62 OHL games. In doing his research for our rankings, former THN editor-in-chief Bob McKenzie got mixed reviews on Govedaris. Some scouts liked him because of his skill and moxie. Other scouts questioned his work ethic, defensive play and mental toughness. On our final list, Govedaris came in at No. 14, behind names like Teemu Selanne, Jeremy Roenick and Rod Brind’Amour, among others. When the issue came out and Govedaris heard where he was ranked, let’s just say he wasn’t happy. To be charitable, he made some public non-complimentary comments towards McKenzie, well before the dawn of social media, or even the Internet.

McKenzie took the high road, saying he was just passing along opinions offered to him by scouts, and that nothing in his assessment of Govedaris was personal. Govedaris ended up getting drafted higher than 14

th, going 11

th overall to the Hartford Whalers that year. It didn’t turn out well for both parties though. Govedaris managed just 45 games in the NHL, but had six solid seasons in the AHL and IHL, and another five years in the German League.

The Hockey News

Chris Govedaris with Eisbaeren Berlin

You might find it surprising to know we almost never hear complaints from prospects about where we rank them in our Draft Preview issues. At least we don’t hear about them publicly. Sure, there are times when we have a prospect ranked low (or not at all) and he ends up going fairly high. Some classic examples are Blake Wheeler, not ranked in our DP04. He was taken fifth overall by Phoenix and is having an excellent career so far. In DP11, we had Mark Scheifele ranked 41

st. He went seventh to Winnipeg and is a bright part of the Jets future as a teammate of Wheeler. Perhaps they’re saying bad things about us to one another. So maybe that’s the message to prospects ranked outside our first round in Draft Preview 2015, but expected to go much high June 26 in Florida. Prove us wrong on the ice. Just know from our end, however, it’s nothing personal. It’s just the opinions we’re getting from a panel of scouts. Here are 25 other prospects we had ranked outside the first round that ended up going in the top 20 since the 2000 NHL draft. Some have indeed proved us wrong. Others, the scouts we were talking to had concerns that proved valid. 2000 draft,

Artem Kryukov taken 15

th by Buffalo. We had him ranked 60

th. 2001 draft,

Shayne Morrisonn taken 19

th by Boston. We had him ranked 47

th. 2001 draft,

Marcel Goc taken 20

th by San Jose. We had him ranked 41st. 2002 draft,

Jesse Ninnimaki taken 15

th by Edmonton. We had him ranked 84

th. 2002 draft,

Boyd Gordon taken 17

th by Washington. We had him ranked 34

th. 2003 draft,

Brent Burns taken 20

th by Minnesota. We had him unranked. 2004 draft,

Blake Wheeler taken 5

th by Phoenix. We had him unranked. 2005 draft,

Sasha Pokulok taken 14

th by Washington. We had him ranked 31st. 2006 draft,

Riku Helenius taken 15

th by Tampa Bay. We had him unranked. 2006 draft,

Trevor Lewis taken 17

th by Los Angeles. We had him unranked. 2007 draft,

Lars Eller taken 13

th by St. Louis. We had him ranked 35

th. 2007 draft,

Ian Cole taken 18

th by St. Louis. We had him unranked. 2007 draft,

Logan MacMillan taken 19

th by Anaheim. We had him ranked 38

th. 2008 draft,

Erik Karlsson taken 15

th by Ottawa. We had him ranked 71st. 2008 draft,

Jake Gardiner taken 17

th by Anaheim. We had him ranked 39

th. 2008 draft,

Chet Pickard taken 18

th by Nashville. We had him ranked 32nd. 2010 draft,

Joey Hishon taken 17

th by Colorado. We had him ranked 39

th. 2010 draft,

Beau Bennett taken 20

th by Pittsburgh. We had him ranked 35

th. 2011 draft,

Mark Scheifele taken 7

th by Winnipeg. We had him ranked 41st. 2011 draft,

J.T. Miller taken 15

th by N.Y. Rangers. We had him ranked 59th. 2011 draft,

Oscar Klefbom taken 19

th by Edmonton. We had him ranked 37th. 2011 draft,

Connor Murphy taken 20

th by Phoenix. We had him ranked 55th. 2012 draft,

Scott Laughton taken 20

th by Philadelphia. We had him ranked 42nd. 2014 draft,

Anthony DeAngelo taken 19

th by Tampa Bay. We had him ranked 50th. 2014 draft,

Nick Schmaltz taken 20

th by Chicago. We had him ranked 31st.

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN



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