Grading Teams on Their Draft Picks (A-B)

Reading scouting reports, I realized it could take a long time for me to write about every draft pick chosen. In fact, it is hard to find every scouting report of every player drafted. I only examined the most significant players of the draft, the players judged to be most successful in the future.

Scouting reports came from three sources, so I had a good view about the players. It will be done in alphabetical order team by team. Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Grade: B

Judging by scouting reports, the Ducks drafted players with talent and avoided drafting players by their needed positions. Joffrey Lupul (7th) is a pure talented offensive forward. He has the size to make the NHL and his best skill is his shot. The only negative part of drafting Lupul was his inconsistency. He could become their future franchise player. Tim Brent (37th) was a great pick for the Ducks. He has the potential to be a future second line center. Overall he is good around the ice and he has good work ethic. His problem is just the same as Lupul, he too is inconsistent. Brian Lee (71st) was a decent pick for the 3rd round, though not the best pick to choose. Lee is said to become a 5th defenseman at best.

Overall, the Ducks picked talented players with good skills, but their players are inconsistent.

Atlanta Thrashers

Grade: B-

Atlanta’s draft is pretty interesting. Two first round picks, then two fourth round picks, then a fifth, sixth, and seventh pick, and then three eighth round picks. Kari Lehtonen (2nd) was a great draft pick for the Thrashers. His goalie skills are amazing and he has the potential to even put up the same career numbers as Patrick Roy’s. There is only one problem with Lehtonen. The Thrashers could face a moment of impatience with the Finnish goaltender. Scandinavian goalies have a history of taking a long time adapting to the NHL. Lehtonen will either surprise the NHL by making the team in the next two seasons, or he will take a few seasons to make the NHL. Jim Slater (30th) was a decent pick but not the best choice for the first round. Although he is talented, it could take Slater a while to make the NHL. He might be a bust and could turn out to be a 3rd line checker the most. The Thrashers also went with size from their drafted players. Lane Manson (124th) is listed at 6’8 and 225 lbs.

Overall the Thrashers’ best pick was Kari Lehtonen, out of 10 draft picks.

Boston Bruins

Grade: B-

The Bruins did not make such a big hit in the draft. They drafted a need in the goaltending department. Drafting Hannu Toivonen (29th) was a decent move, though he was ranked 3rd for European goalies, the Bruins didn’t draft the better rated goaltender, Jeff Desleauriers. Toivonen has good skills but his days of being an NHL goaltender could be four or five years away. He could be the future goalie for the Bruins, and definitely an NHL starter. The only question is whether or not he is able to make the NHL. The Bruins could have picked Jeff Desleauriers who could adapt to the NHL quicker than Toivonen, and Toivonen wasn’t the best player available. Vladislav Esveev (56th) was a very good pick for the Bruins. He has the potential to develop into a solid power forward. Though injury might affect his future career, Esveev is said to be the type of player to annoy the GM of his team. It is not definite if he could become a headache for the Bruins, but it is definite that he will become a strong power forward. Jan Kubista (130th) is a coin toss. He will become either good or not that good. He has a lot of areas to work on, like his skating and defensive areas, but he can put up numbers.

Overall the Bruins made some decent choices though they could have been better. Look for Esveev to be the most popular player of the Bruins draft picks.

Buffalo Sabres

Grade: A-

Sabres fans might not be in a good mood now, since their team was about to go bankrupt and could lose players. But, believe it or not the Sabres were one of the best teams to have the best picks. Keith Ballard (11th) was an excellent pick. He is the type of player who you’d want on your team. Ballard is a defenseman who stands 5’11 and weighs around the 195-200 lbs range. He is small for a defenseman, but he has strength and best of all, he is a nasty player. I can imagine him as a Kasparaitis type of nasty player, though not such a big hitter. Ballard shows class in his skating and he is a perfect power play quarterback. Great pick by the Sabres. Another great pick for the Sabres is Dan Paille (20th). Paille was the safe and smart pick for the Sabres. They didn’t take any chances of picking a risky player, they drafted a player who is aggressive yet can put up a show in every game. On the ice he will be very affective, but people foresee him as a “once, or a couple of times, in a while 30 goal scorer”. There is only one attribute that Paille lacks, and that is work ethic. John Adams (82nd) was a very good pick as well. He is a pure physical defenseman who punishes and plays solid. Scouting reports say he will make the NHL without a doubt (and is a perfect fit for the Sabres), but it could take him a few years. Maxim Sheviev (178th) was another great pick, especially in the 6th round, for the Sabres. He is noted as a defensive forward but if he can elevate his skills he could also become a decent scorer. He will be the perfect defensive forward the Sabres will need three of four seasons from now.

Overall the Sabres had an excellent draft. Ballard was such a great pick, and the players mentioned should all make the NHL without a problem. The Sabres had a very complete draft.