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Tag: Gabe Vilardi

McPhee Draft History Shows Positional Preference In First Round

As GM of the Capitals, George McPhee selected prospects in 17 Entry Drafts. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and yes, even Filip Forsberg, were McPhee’s top picks. The GM has a strong draft history which must continue if he’s going to find success in Vegas. With Washington, McPhee was able to collect extra picks and ended up with a total of 20 first round picks over 17 seasons. A strategy almost certainly be used with the Golden Knights.  The question is, will he go the same route positionally as he did in Washington.

YearRoundPick (Overall)PlayerPosition
199719thNick BoyntonD
1998249thJomar CruzG
199917thKris BeechC
2000126thBrian SutherbyC
2001258thNathan PaetschD
2002112thSteve EmingerD
2002113thAlex SeminRW
2002117thBoyd GordonC
2003118thEric FehrRW
200411stAlexander OvechkinLW
2005114thSasha PokulokD
2005127thJoe FinleyD
200514thNicklas BackstromC
2005123rdSemyon VarlamovG
200715thKarl AlznerD
2008121stAnton GustafssonC
2008127thJohn CarlsonD
2009124thMarcus JohanssonC
2010126thEvgeny KuznetsovC
20114117thSteffen SobergG
2012111thFilip ForsbergC
2012116thTom WilsonRW
2013123rdAndre BurakovskyLW

Based off past draft results, McPhee, like most NHL general managers, prefer to select centers (8 of 20 1st round picks) early in the draft. According to most analysts, the first round of this year’s entry draft could feature many young centers.

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Top Defenseman Come From Draft, But Not Necessarily Early

Back in December we examined the success rates of centers and defenseman drafted in the top five. The percentage of accomplished forwards were much higher than blueliners. To the point that we should all be crossing our fingers George McPhee drafts a center first. TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button published his latest rookie mock draft. Not much has changed as centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier remain his top two picks. Button slotted the Golden Knights with the third pick and selected center Gabe Vilardi. The 17 year-old is a brilliantly skilled prospect who plays for the Windsor Spitfires. Vilardi fits that franchise center we can all hope turns into talent like Anze Kopitar. After the Golden Knights select their offensive star in the first round they will have to address the backend.

There are really good players in this draft. There’s gonna be really good players that have a significant impact in the National Hockey League. The problem is, is that the last two drafts with McDavid, Eichel, Matthews, Laine were exceptional. You go back and look at the other players from those draft, they didn’t make it in their first year. It’s gonna take some time. There’s really good players here and you got to find them. I don’t think they’re depth players, I think there are really good players in the draft. -Craig Button, TSN

Button is convinced there are plenty of pro-level prospects beyond Patrick and Hischier. Especially, some under the radar defensive players. On TSN Toronto, Button was asked about teams addressing defensive needs in the offseason. The analyst suggested teams have better luck finding blueline talent in the draft as opposed to free agency.

You have to draft a defenseman that you think could be a top three guy. Number one defenseman are rare. They’re like true number one centers. And just go back and look where they are, they’re right at the top of the draft.” -Craig Button, TSN

If you look around the league, number one defenseman are mainstays. Top D-men will either stay with the team that drafted them or sign a monster free agent deal. I can’t imagine The Creator agreeing to the contract the Wild’s Ryan Suter made. Luckily, that deal was signed under the previous CBA. Although stay tuned, in 2019, players would like to throw out the term limits.

Having an elite defenseman can also determine how successful a club will be. The only issue is their availability, great blueliners are hard to come by, and for a reason. It’s why some teams like Chicago, LA and Pittsburgh have had monumental, continued, success. All three Cup winners drafted their top defenseman. And it continues from there. Check out the last ten teams that won the Stanley Cup. Half were led by homegrown talent and only two were drafted in the first round.

TeamPlayerAcquired 
Penguins (2016, 2009)Kris Letang2005 3rd Round (62nd Overall)
Blackhawks (2015, 2013, 2010)Duncan Keith2002 2nd Round (54th Overall)
Kings (2014, 2012)Drew Doughty2008 1st Round (2nd Overall)
Bruins (2011)Zdeno CharaFree Agent, 20065yr/$37.5 mil
Red Wings (2008, 2002)Nicklas Lidstrom1989 3rd Round (53rd Overall)
Ducks (2007)Scott NiedermayerFree Agent, 20054yr/$27 mil
Hurricanes (2006)Aaron WardTraded from Bostonfor Patrick Eaves and 4th Round Pick
Lightning (2004)Dan BoyleTraded from Floridafor 5th Round Pick
Devils (2003)Scott Niedermayer1991 1st Round (3rd Overall)
Avalanche (2001)Rob BlakeTraded from Los Angelesfor two 1st Round Picks

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