Late First Round Draft Picks and Managing Your Draft Expectations

(PhotoCredit: Jeff Curry-USAToday)

I attended the 1996 draft held in St. Louis and watched Marty Reasoner‘s selection. He spent parts of three seasons with the Blues before he was traded to Edmonton for Doug Weight. Marty never scored more than 14 goals and 34 points in a season. He didn’t score 100 career goals, 300 career points or play in 1000 games. And yet, I consider him a successful 1st round pick.

Why? He played nearly 800 NHL games at a competent level.

I mention that because sometimes I find it frustrating when I see fans and forum contributors just rail on Berglund. And so much of that is likely due to 1st round pick baggage (part of it is also an attitude that big guys should all play like David Backes, hitting everything on skates every shift).

Yes, I wish Berglund would throw more checks.
Yes, I wish Berglund would score 20 goals regularly.
Yes, I wish Berglund was a top 6 forward instead of merely a solid 3rd liner.

But at some point, you have to accept a player is who he is.

This is not a defense of Armstrong

Berglund counts 3.85M against the cap and is giving you about what Kyle Brodziak gives you for 800K. That begs the question, why aren’t you finding more Brodziaks instead of giving Bergie an extension? Armstrong has several of these sub-optimal re-signings on his resumé: Jay Bouwmeester, Jori Lehtera, Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund, and Vladimir Sobotka.

Ok, this is a defense of Armstrong

Running an NHL team is hard. Nearly every team has bad contracts. Armstrong, by and large, has avoided the truly crippling long-term contracts that keep a player on your roster till he’s 40. The Blues are in a much better cap position than either Chicago or Detroit, both of whom have been bleeding talent for years.

Draft Picks

Travis Yost and Scott Cullen wrote about expected draft outcomes way better than I could ever hope. Give those a read!

Berglund was drafted #25 overall in 2006

Breaking down the 2006 draft’s 1st round forwards (in order):

Jonathan Toews, Niklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Derick Brassard, Kyle Okposo, Peter Mueller, James Sheppard, Michael Frolik, Bryan Little, Jiri Tlusty, Michael Grabner, Trevor Lewis, Chris Stewart, Claude Giroux, Patrik Berglund and Nick Foligno.

Toews, Backstrom, Kessel, and Giroux are all clearly better; but three of these four were top 5 picks so they should be better.

Mueller, Sheppard, and Tlusty are all clearly worse.

That leaves a big thundering herd of 9 forwards we can parse and nitpick over. My ranking of those remaining would be

1) Little
2) Brassard
3) Grabner
4) Berglund
5) Frolik
6) Okposo
7) Stewart
8) Foligno
9) Lewis

But I wouldn’t get worked up in the least if you dropped #21 to the bottom third.

What’s the point again?

Thomas (20th overall), Kostin (30th overall) and Kyrou (35th overall) are reasons to be optimistic for the future. Paul Stastny was traded for what is currently the 26th pick. But we fans simply do not know what the Blues have yet.


One thought on “Late First Round Draft Picks and Managing Your Draft Expectations”

  1. Solid article overall, but I disagree on your ranking at the end. Foligno and Okposo are too low, Stewart and Frolik are too high.

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