1st Overall to the Pens, Horrible System and an Idea for 2006 Draft

All submitted articles are on delay due to the Entry Draft lottery talks.

We will update this article as the story unfolds today afternoon.

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So the winner is announced, this article is updated and a new level of discussion to be talked about.Alright then, my guess turned out to be correct, as Pittsburgh received the 2nd highest votes from HTR members on here.

What are my thoughts?

First thing I would say is that Crosby ended up in a good city that needed some sort of “Lemieux-potential” (as far as impact) to enlighten things up. I am not at all upset that Pittsburgh ended up with the 1st overall pick, in fact I wish the best of luck as they will have Crosby and Malkin to lead their future top two lines.

The main problem with the Penguins is that they are quite weak on the wings without a real talented young winger. Sure, Recchi is a nice fit, but get Kovalev back in there if they want Crosby to produce. Tro to get Palffy, somebody. The Penguins cannot have Crosby if they will be unable to build a strong team around him.

Major weakness? Absolutely. The Penguins already have financial weaknesses and what could be worse than to have two great centre prospects, but they cannot really afford the right linemates. It’s a big risk.

So, this pretty much cancels out the idea of Crosby as a marketing tool. Yes, the Penguins can be a well known team, but it will not be for years until Crosby and the Pens will get recognized. Crosby may be a great player, he may put up excellent numbers at a young age in the NHL, but if the Penguins will go nowhere for the next few years or so, then this system completely blew it for the NHL’s best chance to market their top-of-the-line young talent to the sports world.

Nothing will happen with Crosby, the NHL, and Pittsburgh until the team reaches the playoffs. And, with an insecurity of financials, even with new investors, and with a weak team…. there is no chance that the Penguins will get close to the playoffs.

Will the salary cap help? Yes, but keep in mind that the teams will still spend money to compete, and if you’re the team that does not have the money to attract enough players, then you’re not going anywhere.

Obviously this means that Mario Lemieux will officially come out on the ice and play one more season. While I believe that having Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury as top prospect will motivate players to join the Penguins, even for a lesser price, the potential of Crosby helping out the NHL marketing is in jeopardy with the Penguins.

I am not upset at all that the Penguins got the 1st overall pick. They got it with luck, fair and square.

But, it is the system that still marks this Entry Draft as the worst in NHL history.

First of all, the Panthers getting 29th overall is beyond pathetic. I would applaud Keenan if he would step up and criticize the system chosen. How does this help the Panthers? It does not. It put the Panthers a few steps back for their road to success.

Is that certain? No, because the 29th pick (whoever that may be) could become a great player. But, it’s downright pathetic. I do not see how any true good hockey fan could look at this draft and not say it is downright pathetic.

Put aside being happy that your team got an undeserved pick in the top ten, (cough cough Canucks Senators Canadiens cough cough). Look at where the teams stand for their picks.

You have the Senators picking 9th overall, and the Panthers picking 29th overall.

How does THAT help the competition in the NHL? It does not.

The Sabres were supposed to get at least a top 6 pick, and they end up 13th. Ridiculous? Yes.

The Rangers were the leading candidates for at least a top 5 pick, yet they end up 16th. Ridiculous? No, far worse than Ridiculous.

A horrible system, it put teams that had success over the years in the high draft pick slots, and teams that needed talent, in the lower slots.

The only team that got their fair share were the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rightfully so, they ended up 30th.

There is nothing to be happy about this draft, and I would gladly applaud it if it turns out to be one of those cursed Entry Drafts, because it served no use.

It was an unreasonable system, sloppy, and it had zero justification. I cannot even BLAME the NHL and Gary Bettman for this. He had to choose a way to make it fair for people who had the reasonable approach that I agreed with, which was to only give the chance to the top 14 teams that performed poorly in the past few seasons, and for the people who wanted to cheat their way in for Crosby and requested that it would all be equal, which is far beyong logical to me.

This Entry Draft, in my opinion, broke all the rules, the tradition, and the meaning of an Entry Draft.

Which brings me to call for a new plan for next year’s draft.

Right now, it is pretty much a crapshoot guess that the Penguins, as I am predicting, will finish in the bottom of the league once again. Remember, no such thing as OT points now.

So, it would only be fair for other teams that got ripped off in this Entry Draft, especially the Panthers and Sabres, that the Penguins will NOT receive a top five overall pick, maybe even top ten, in the 2006 Entry Draft.

You cannot have a team draft in the top 5, or 10, for 3 consecutive years. And, this goes for all teams. I believe this should be a new rule.

It’s quite ridiculous that the Penguins drafted Ryan Whitney (5th 2002), Marc-Andre Fleury (1st 2003), Evegeny Malkin (2nd 2004), and Sidney Crosby (1st 2005)…

…… and with the possibility of a top five overall pick in 2006 if the Penguins remain at the bottom of the league.

That would be FIVE straight years of picking in the top of the drafts. Way too many.

The new rule should state that no NHL team having picked in the top five overall picks for three straight years, can receive, regardless of position in standings, a top five (or ten) overall pick in next year’s entry draft. Also, the team cannot receive a top five/ten overall pick after that year until it makes the playoffs.

I find that rule to be fair and reasonable. If this system got accepted, then this rule should get accepted. It will prevent teams from “tanking” seasons “not purposely”.

The Penguins are actually under pressure right now. With the draft picking they had in the past five years, they better be making the playoffs in the 2006/07 season.

Now, this is another idea, although a bit crazy, I had for the teams that got basically “fairly” cheated in this year’s Entry Draft.

Teams that had three to four lottery balls that did not enter in the top ten overall slots, will be compensated for the 2006 Entry Draft, in the first round, only if missing the playoffs.

In other words, the Florida Panthers, even if they finish 9th in the East, they get a compensation pick in the 1st round, in the top 10 as they should have gotten in the 2005 draft.

It may be a crazy thought, but fair nonetheless. It’s an idea that needs to be evolved, and maybe fixed around, but the main purpose to to get the teams that got cheated in this Entry Draft to get a chance at the top 10 overall in next year’s draft, IF they miss the playoffs.

Ridiculous idea? If it is ridiculous for you, it’s the same for me as to how ridiculous this Entry Draft was.

Still, no time to waste on this Entry Draft as I look forward to seeing many good prospects to be drafted.

For Rangers fans who are very angry, cool down and hope for the best. It’s a 16th overall pick, and three 2nd rounders. It’s a new beginning for the Rangers, somewhat of a fresh start. Prospects are coming in to play, maybe Hugh Jessiman may make it. And, there are many options for the Rangers to take in the off-season.

For Sabres fans, well I think 13th overall is not bad, but definitely not it. A lot of things to be excited about in Buffalo, though, and that’s either Martin Biron, Norronen, or Ryan Miller getting traded.

Panthers fans, I am deeply sorry. It was unfair and unjust that the team received a ridiculous 29th overall pick. Still, there are new opportunities as ownership is willing to spend money now, and Keenan is in the hunt for some interesting free agents. And, a definite inquiry on Joe Thornton.

And for the rest of all you hockey fans, this is a real new beginning. A lot of things to look forward to and get excited about. Lots of happening for the next two months, and so….. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni