Friday, July 3, 2020

Mailbag: Could a team of 20 Zdeno Charas beat a team of 20 Johnny Gaudreaus, and other important questions

Welcome to another edition of the mailbag, in which you ask me very strange questions and I put way too much thought into coming up with the right answer. This week, we’re going to figure out how to trade Jack Eichel, rank the teams that had the most luck picking first overall, induct a placeholder into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and figure out whether a team full of Zdeno Charas could beat a team full of Johnny Gaudreaus. No, I don’t desperately need hockey to come back, why do you ask?

Note: Submitted questions have been edited for clarity.

What franchise has gotten the most value out of the first overall pick in NHL history? It has to be the Penguins, correct? They chose the second-best player ever, the best player of the 2000s, and a goalie that took two teams from worst to first. – Michael O.

Oh yeah, it’s the Penguins for sure. I can’t even come up with a contrarian take here. In fact, you could make a decent case that the two best first overall picks in history both went to the Penguins. Mix in a decent goaltender and the fact we all know they’re getting Lafreniere this year and it’s a no-brainer.

But you got me thinking about who would be next on the list. So let’s rephrase the question as “Which team other than the Penguins got the most value out of the first overall pick?” Here’s my top five:

Not ranked: Montreal Canadiens – They’ve actually had more first overall picks than anyone with five, but only ever hit on one of them. That was Guy Lafleur with the Seals’ pick in 1971, and he was a legend, but the other four guys were Garry Monahan, Michel Plasse, Rejean Houle and Doug Wickenheiser.

Also not ranked: Ottawa Senators – Three first overall picks in four years, and they turned them into a bust (Alexandre Daigle), a guy who refused to play for them (Bryan Berard) and a solid stay-at-home defenseman (Chris Phillips). When the guy who didn’t crack 300 points is easily your top pick, that’s rough.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning/Toronto Maple Leafs (tie) – The Lightning have had the top pick three times and got a solid defenseman in Roman Hamrlik, a guy who looked like a Hall of Famer for the first decade of his career in Vincent Lecavalier, and a legit franchise player in Steven Stamkos. The Leafs have somehow only had it twice, but they used them on Auston Matthews (who’s been one of the most productive young goal scorers in NHL history) and Wendel Clark (who was this guy).

4. Buffalo Sabres – They’ve had three, and they produced one slam dunk Hall of Famer (Gilbert Perrault), one guy who has a borderline case (Pierre Turgeon) and a kid who might be on the way (Rasmus Dahlin).

3. Edmonton Oilers – I thought they’d be higher, but despite four top picks in six years, they didn’t end up with as much as you’d hope. They’ve got the very best player in the world in Connor McDavid, so they have to crack the top three, but other than that they got a future MVP they gave up on too early (Taylor Hall), a solid player who’s never been elite (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and an all-time bust (Nail Yakupov).

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free 90-day trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment