Welcome back. If you weren't paying attention yesterday, here are the salient points - 1) James Reimer made 32 saves on 32 shots; 2) Dion Phaneuf and Matt Lombardi scored; 3) David Steckel won 72% of the faceoffs he took; 4) P.K. Subban was -2; 5) XFD MONTREAL SUCKS SHIT; 6) LEAFS 1-0-0 UNDEFEATED FUTURE CUP WINNERS PARADE PLANNING MEETING IS NOW IN SESSION I SAY WE TAKE IT TO MONTREAL AND RUB IN IN THEIR FACES IN THEIR FACE.
Ahem. With that minor attack of childish optimism out of the way - this is one of the few days of the year I allow myself to be optimistic and one of the many, many, many days I am childish in victory - we soldier on. As we collectively concluded last time around, the idea that JFJ has a job that in any way involves assessing talent - which he does, by the way, with San Jose - is nothing short of against nature and while most of us recognise we are simply being armchair GMs, I'd bet good money that at least one of us would have done a better job drafting in 2004 and 2005. Admittedly, that's not high praise. A monkey picking names randomly couldn't have done much worse.
But we soldier on. 2005, as you should remember, was the first draft to be held after the 2004-2005 season was wiped out thanks to the lockout and was also the draft where Pittsburgh lucked into Sidney Crosby and set the stage for Penguins fans who hadn't even realised hockey was that thing played on ice to pretend they'd been fans for years. Remember that guy Lamoo? Wow, he was something. And that time Mick Jagger decided he wanted to play? Priceless. What a mullet. Besides Crosby, this year was notable because it was conducted snake-style, the team with the #1 pick not picking again until #60, in order to make it fairer for the teams that weren't gifted somebody likely to be one of the best players in history. I'm sure Tampa Bay feel fantastic about missing out because they got to pick #30 AND #31!
Round 1, #21 Overall - Tuukka RASK
50 GP - 25-13-12, 0.93 SV%, 2.01 GAA
Starting off auspiciously, as ever. Coming into the draft, Rask was ranked as the top European goaltending prospect and second among all goalies, just behind Carey "0.889" Price (see, it's funny because that's his save percentage this season and it's 0.102 less than Optimus Reim and Carey Price sucks). One of only nine Finnish players drafted in 2005 and by far the most successful, I'm realising there's only so much one can say about Rask before one has to either comment on his appearance - i.e. that he should consider himself lucky Ryan Miller still plays with Buffalo because otherwise he'd be the ugliest player in the Northeast - or the horror that originally sparked off my general hatred of New England. Basically, he looks like an ugly lesbian and looking at his mugshot, I wouldn't be surprised if he genuinely were female and was merely raised as a boy by his daughter-hating family. It is also incredibly easy to imagine him communicating in an alphabet consisting entirely of ‘herp', ‘derp' and combinations thereof. Fuck Tuukka Rask right in his ear.
Verdict: Well, obviously it was a good pick, and I'm surprised none of the teams between us and Montreal were tempted to take him. Presumably they didn't have any pressing goaltending woes. It was, of course, something that has panned out horribly for Toronto and if you'll excuse me I'm off to punch the next person I see wearing any sort of New England-based sporting apparel.
Round 3, #82 Overall - Phil ORESKOVIC
10 GP - 1 + 1 = 2, -2, 21 PIM
Never a high-scoring player, I get the feeling Oreskovic was drafted for the same reason Dominic D'Amour was, to be a shit-disturber - 592 minutes spent in the box over 254 games in the OHL seem to bear that out, which works out as a smidge more than a minor penalty a game. He landed with the Hershey Bears after is contract was not renewed by the Leafs, and he is only 24 so there is a chance he might see some more NHL time, but there's not a lot else to say. I believe at one point the organisation was quite high on him as a prospect, and maybe it was just poor luck that saw him not get a proper break.
Verdict: Bust. His impact here was minimal at best, you can't argue that.
Round 5, #153 Overall - Alex BERRY
Despite the lack of NHL time, there's a chance Berry makes something of himself yet. He was one of the players we dumped on Tampa Bay in exchange for singing sensation Matt Lashoff, but played 75 games last year for the Bolts' AHL affiliate and put up 34 points in doing so, so who knows? Maybe he just had a really, really long development cycle. Or, more likely, he's just a bit rubbish and won't amount to anything more than he already has.
Still On The Board: Besides Wacey Rabbit (154), who I once drafted solely because I love his name such an inordinate amount, very little. Doesn't seem like a draft with a lot of hidden gold.
Verdict: Push, purely because he helped bring Matt Lashoff into the fold.
Round 6, #173 Overall - Johan DAHLBERG
There's a good chance Dahlberg is straight-up out of hockey altogether, since HockeyDB has two seasons of stats for him and neither are for 2004-2005, his draft year. In 44 games with Sundsvall IF, a team that plays in the Swedish second tier, he scored four points. That tells you all you need to know about how effective a player he probably was.
Still On The Board: Matt D'Agostini (190), but as before there was very little to be had.
Round 7, #216 Overall - Anton STRALMAN
212 GP - 11 + 63 = 74, -40, 97 PIM
Stralman is pretty much the only thing saving this draft from a failing grade, and even he got traded twice in one offseason. He showed some promise as a Leaf - playing 83 games and scoring 22 points - and was generally seen as a respectable bottom-pairing guy who could maybe chip in on the powerplay as well before being traded to Calgary in 2009, Wayne Primeau and a second-round pick coming back. That second-rounder did help us get our own second-round pick back from Chicago (I think), which in turn meant we could threaten an offer sheet on Phil Kessel, so you could argue Stralman was directly responsible for our attaining the top goal scorer from his draft class (if you were insane).
Still On The Board: Kyle Cumiskey (222), but even he's a lateral move at best.
Verdict: A very solid win, even if his plus/minus is just terrible.
Round 7, #228 Overall - Chad RAU
Despite the zero, Rau is actually still hanging around and might actually make it to the show one of these days. He was picked out of the USHL and played four years with Colorado College, putting up some pretty respectable numbers for a seventh-round pick, and when he left school he was not signed here and instead picked up by Minnesota, meaning he would probably have played with Robbie Earl at some point. 78 points in two AHL seasons, sadly, makes him one of the better picks from this year...
Still On The Board: Patric Hornqvist (230)
Verdict: A win. He's poised to become a respectable farmhand, and that's not a bad state of affairs for the third-last pick of the draft.
Career Players: Two. Rask doesn't meet the games played requirement, but it's fair to assume he will.
Grade: D. I'm being lenient here, because while only one of these players contributed anything to the Leafs personally, we hit on both seventh-round picks and the first-rounder is poised to become a legitimate #1 option once Tim Thomas fucks off into the sunset. However, between picks #21 and #216, we ended up with the sum total of bugger all, and that's beyond unacceptable. This is the sort of grade that would be labeled ‘must try harder' on a report card.