DRAFT SCHMAFT, Stop talking about it!

Seriously. I'm sick of hearing people talk about the picks we lost and the "dynasty" that we've given the Bruins.

Fact: we didn't give up all that much, and we're still ahead in the trade.

See below for the explanation...

There is this pervasive idea that the only way to have a worthwhile team is to be crap for years and years until you get a great crop of talent that are superstars and the Stanley Cups just fall into your lap.

This is a terrible case of cherry-picking results to meet the opinion you have.


Look over the picks for the 2004-2007 drafts:

NHL Draft

The players with green & bolded names are the elite picks, the game breakers, the players who are among the best in their positions in the NHL. These are the "Key Pieces" for their teams. There are 11 in the above list.

The players with red names are the solid NHLers, the players who seem to have progressed beyond 'up & comer' and role player into top-6/top-4 calibre players. There are 26 of these in the above list.

And now the results.
Out of 120 total 1st rounders in this 4-year stretch, only 11 are elite talent. That gives a 9.17% chance of finding one with a 1st round pick.
26 top line players give a percentage of 21.67% of finding one.
The total of 37 high-level NHL players available (11 + 26), gives an overall 30.83% chance of finding one with a 1st round pick.


So where does that leave us so far with the Kessel trade? For the two 1st round picks we surrendered, we had an expected return of 0.1834 worth of an elite player, and 0.6166 worth of a solid NHLer.

Kessel is an elite player with a value of 1.00, and from the expected return, we are ahead in both areas:
1.00 > 0.1834 and 1.00 > 0.6166

So far Seguin is not a solid NHLer, let alone an elite-level gamebreaker. He may get there, or he may not.


But, you may say, what about the fact that Seguin & the 2011 pick might be Lottery picks?! Well, let's examine that as well:

NHL Draft

The player quality is much denser, but still not above and beyond a Hall of Fame litterbox.

8 elite players out of 20 = 40%
6 more solid NHL players out of 20 = 30%
Total is 14 / 20 = 70%

2 lottery picks gives an expected return of 0.80 elite players and 1.4 total solid NHL players.

Kessel 1.00 > 0.80, which is still a win, but 1.00 < 1.4. This result is not great for Toronto, but you can consider it along the lines of the Hossa for Heatley trade with spare parts on both sides - one team may come out ahead with the side pieces being quality contributors, but not a disaster. Therefore, the rallying cry of "Not Another Lottery Pick" is an apt goal, but not necessarily the CATACLYSMIC DISASTER that many people seem to think it is. They may still end up with Cam Barker or Benoit Pouliot.

The only problem with this deal is if both picks end up being solid NHLers. Then Toronto will have gotten 2-for-1'd, and a 2 for 1 is not something you want to go into blindly.

Erik Johnson & Carey Price for Phil Kessel? You probably don't make the deal.

However, Andrew Ladd & Kyle Turris for Phil Kessel? Well maybe that's a deal that you still make.




Look over that list, and look at the great returns a 4 year stretch can give you. Look at who the best teams are. Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington are among the best in the game because they had the right picks at the right time. There is no guarantee that you end up with those players. If the Leafs "tanked" for a four year stretch, and came in 3rd, 4th, or 5th every year - we would still only have 1 elite player, and maybe 1 or 2 other top level NHLers. Kessel is that elite player, and Schenn is that solid NHLer. Basically par for the course, except we didn't have to wait and see whether or not our top picks were actually going to cut the mustard. Think of the scrutiny that Kadri is under, but then imagine that player is the actual only hope of this franchise. How fun would training camp be under those circumstances?

There are plenty of teams that have no luck with their 1st rounders, no matter how high or low they pick. It comes down to talent evaluation and asset development. Look how many teams have little or nothing to show for their troubles. If the balls don't bounce your way, Toronto could have faced a similar 4 year stretch. Then we'd still have nothing, and still be waiting for something to build behind. Drafting high is no guarantee of success.


Instead, we have Phil Phucking Kessel. We have Luke Schenn. We have some developing prospects and some players playing excellently in the Junior levels. Things look bleak because the pro team sucks right now. But they will get better because Brian Burke is a good GM and is making things happen.


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