Sunday, June 24, 2007

Habs Vs Leafs Draft Picks Since 2000

An NHL Network article, written in the aftermath of the entry draft, caught my attention yesterday with an opening statement seemingly comparing the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs at the draft table in 2007.

Sadly, there was no comparison. Sadder, I spent 10 hours doing one myself.

Straightjacket, PLEEEASE!

The piece was titled "Leafs Forced To Be Patient At Draft", and begins with the hookline "The Montreal Canadiens had drafted five players before the Toronto Maple Leafs got to the microphone for the first time in this year's NHL entry draft".

"Holy mackerel", I thought to myself, "this ought to be a delicious read!" Not!

I've been hoping for quite some time, to pounce upon a piece comparing the Canadiens and Maple Leafs draft strategies and prowess. The next line in the article killed my enthusiam for such a thesis, with the most logic defying, brain dead summation I've read in months, namely: "But the Leafs feel it was well worth the wait."

Talk about a spin doctoring conclusion!

As for the hyped hookline with the Habs reference, the disappointing piece never revisits the Canadiens - Leafs draft comparison premise in any way.

I'm guessing that such an angle would, or could, hardly be approached in a CP penned piece. The article has no named author - who'd want to attach their name to such drivel! - and is all too dependant on Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr.'s quotes for content and opinion.

Reading Ferguson's musings and assessments are quite a treat! One can almost feel sorry the teams fans, having to put up with such nonsense and incompetence from their hockey heads year after year. I trust that lame written pieces such as this, spun and doctored by Ferguson contribute to the dumbing down of the Leafs Nation intelligencia. And I use the last word loosely.

The Leaf scout is like the old Maytag repairman, sitting around waiting for his services to be called upon!

No less than 3 draft choices were traded away by Toronto this past weekend, in return of a fairly good backup goalie in Vesa Toskala, who has never had the adventure of playing behind anything as porous as the Leafs defence, and a player the Leafs had to take in the deal, Mark Bell, who is a time bomb of personal issues waiting to happen.

In Maple Leafs logic, these were seen as good moves that Ferguson termed "makes the team better".


Ferguson then says that "this is not your typical draft weekend", even though the Leafs had typically traded away their better picks on the day for a pair of players that don't improve the team greatly in any sense. Toskala, soon to be a UFA, will be a happy to leave Toronto UFA goalie in a mere 12 months. Not long after that, the player the Maple Leafs could have drafted, Logan Couture possibly, could be making his NHL debut.

San Jose used the aquired Toronto pick to flip flop choices with St. Louis Blues and move into the ninth slot and snap up Couture. It's a move that will come back to haunt the Leafs again and again.

There's an old saying that goes, "If you do not learn from history, you are bound to repeat it."

In 1990, Toronto was desperate for a puck moving defenseman to help regenarate their stumbling offence. They started the 1989-90 season 0 and 5, and panic set in. The tossed their 1st round pick in the 1991 draft to New Jersey for journeyman rearguard Tom Kurvers. The plan didn't pan out as they finished 19th in the league, giving Jersey the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The Devils happily chose Scott Neidermayer! Kurvers was gone in less than a year, but his addition likely kept the Leafs from finishing dead last and getting the first pick overall. That would have given Toronto Eric Lindros!

Live and learn, except in Leaf land.

Now obviously, there is a large difference in the talent that was available that season compared to what many call slim pickings in 2007. The Leafs were left with choosing six players between rounds 3 and 7 in a watered down draft year.

It's unlikely that the picks will one day add up to much at the NHL level. There may potentially be three AHL'ers in the six picks.

So naturally, Ferguson will then talk about the Leafs inexistant scouting and organization depth!

For the record, while Hamilton was winning the Calder Cup, the Toronto Marlies finished last in their division in the AHL, out of the playoffs, just as the Leafs were.

Ferguson of course, fails to recognize that the Leafs prospects on the farm need winning surroundings to further their developement. He high fives the team scouts, who must surely be gringing their teeth at all the confidence shown in them and says, "It was a credit to our scouting staff to have identified in the past few drafts, Justin Pogge, and other players that were not first-round picks but have now progressed to be the equivalent of those."

First he names Pogge, the Leafs best prospect, and suggests he's worthy of a number one pick.

Then he explains why he traded for a goaltender. That's just funny!

Then he credits the scouts he has just refrained from using for the two first rounds, while bragging of organizational force, and ties it all together with - "So that kind of depth allowed us to make a move that really shores up our goaltending."

So in other words, the Leafs are moving forward by adding net depth in the one position already held by their strongest, worthy of having been a top pick, goalie prospect. Along the path, they sacrifice a bonafied top two line center prospect and other picks in order to climb sideways in the standings.

The article writer won't critique this of course - he's still spinning from the spin, like an auger straight into the ground, burrowing down Leaf style.

Some people still believe Ferguson is trying to win a Stanley Cup in this way.

I believe he wants to be a teacher one day!

Since 2000, even before Ferguson's hiring in August of 2003, the Leaf draft pickings have been slim.

In the six drafts between 2000 and 2005, Toronto has chosen exactly 50 players. In that same time span Montreal has chosen 52. In general, Toronto has had more later round picks to speak of.

Toronto has had 4 first round picks in those years, with 2 players from those years currently in the NHL, Carlo Colaiacovo and Alexander Steen. The two who were let go are Brad Boyes (24th, 2000) and Tuuku Rask (21st, 2005). The Leafs last first rounder Jiri Tluslty, still junior aged, made positive steps with the AHL Marlies, seeing action in 6 games.

Montreal has kept all six of it's first round picks, with only Ron Hainsey from 2000 having been cut loose. Four of those first rounders have reached the NHL level, Marcel Hossa (16th, 2000)Mike Komisarek (7th, 2001), Chris Higgins (14th (2002), and Andrei Kostitsyn (10th, 2003). Banging down the door are Kyle Chipchura (18th, 2004) and of course Carey Price (5th, 2005).

I wanted to compare the draft picks by Montreal and Toronto between 2000 and 2005. I thought it would be interseting to see how the players have done since being chosen and what their contributions have been at both the NHL and AHL levels.

My findings were partcularly curious in respect to what has recently happened this past season.

The amount of players from the six drafts I chose to look at, are practically even on both teams, in games played and point totals. I added the totals of all players, including those who have since left the organization. I compared what the players have added to the teams in terms of points and games played since joining the NHL. I also compared what the draft picks brought this season.

Being that the Canadiens and Maple Leafs were but 1 point apart after 82 games in the 2007 standings, the findings here attest to the teams being quite even at present.

There is a trend however that shows the Canadiens draftees are gaining on those of the Leafs at the NHL level. Without spelling it out statistically, player by player, the trend is shown in the difference between 2006-07 points and career points. Simplified, the Canadiens draftees have a bigger percentage of career points scored in 2006-07 than the Leafs players.

This is open to many types of interpretations and analysis.

Further on, I will list all the players from both teams, and show NHL totals for 2006-07, as well as career numbers that include last seasons. Additionally, I will also list all players drafted and their totals at the AHL levels for this past season.

In Toronto, since 2000, 9 drafted players have suited up for the Leafs. They include Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Bell, Jay Harrison, Kyle Wellwood, Maxim Kondratiev, Alexander Steen, Matt Stajan, Ian White, and Karel Pilar. Their career NHL totals are: 822 career games played, 117 goals, 234 assists, and 351 total points. Seven of those players participated in 372 games with the Leafs this season, for totals of 49-115-164.

On the Canadiens, 13 drafted players in the same time span have been uniform. They are Ron Hainsey, Marcel ( I'm definately not Marian) Hossa, Jozef Balej, Alexander Perezhogin, all dearly unmissed, and Mike Komisarek, Duncan Milroy, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn, Mark Streit, Maxim Lapierre, Mikhail Grabovsky, and Guillaume Latendresse. With only Komisarek as a roster player prior to the lockout, they have played in a cummulative 1029 career games. The offensive numbers read: 141-199-340. This past season, the remaining 10 players played a total of 517 man games, adding in 85-124-209 totals.

The differences career wise are as follows:

4 more players over the 6 seasons have played for the Canadiens.
207 more career games played by the Canadiens players, which would average out to 50.2 games for the additional 4players on the Habs
24 more goals scored by the Canadiens players.
35 more assists by Leafs players.
11 more points by the Leafs players.

The differences in 2006-07 are:

3 additional drafted players on the Canadiens.
155 more games played by Canadiens draftees.
36 more goals scored by the Habs.
18 more assists for the Habs players.
44 points more by the Canadiens players, which is a 14.7 points per extra Hab Draftee.

Of the 10 Canadiens players, 9 equalled or bettered their previous best total. Perezhogin, who didn't, has undefected of sorts, back to Russia. Of Toronto's 8, five equalled or bettered their previous bests, while 3 slipped back. No large drops either way.

If each teams regulars are looked at seperately from callups, the average Toronto draftee played 58.8 games in 2006-07, compared with 63.6 for Montreal.

Prior to 2006-07, the 7 Canadiens regulars had 409 games of experience in the NHL, compared to 348 for the Leafs players.

It is at the AHL, that the trends greatly exposed themselfs. (sarcastic typo!)

Twenty eight of 52 players drafted by Montreal since 2000 have put in NHL or AHL games this season, as opposed to 18 of 50 for the Leafs. Four players from each team have since left the organizations.

The player totals above include goaltenders, however the invidual player statistics that will follow do not take such numbers into consideration. Suffice to say that Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak`s numbers are greatly superior to those of Marlies goaltenders Mikael Tellqvist, J.F. Racine, Justin Pogge and Todd Ford. The total goalie games played are greatly in the Leafs favor - as this is a comparison of draft picks numbers, Yann Danis' totals lay in the balance.

Seventeen players chosen by the Canadiens in those six draft years were with the championship Bulldogs team this past year.

The Marlies had a record of 34-39-7 for 75 points. They scored 220 goals and allowed 270. Of the 48 players who dressed as Marlies, 11 were Maple Leafs draft choices. They include 3 goalies and 8 forwards and defenseman who played in a total of 332 games in the AHL. The offensive totals combined for the eight players are 46-83-129.

The Bulldogs regular season record was 43-28-9, for 95 points. They scored 243 goals and allowed 208 against. 34 players dressed for the Bulldogs, 17 of which were Canadiens draft picks. Aside from the two Habs drafted goalies, 15 forwards or defenseman combined to appear in 727 man games. They scored 168 goals and added 252 assists for a total of 420 points. In 22 playoff games on the way to the Cup, 13 of 17 players dressed and accounted for 41-67-108 totals in a combined 206 games.

All together, the Bulldogs Canadiens prospects played 933 games, with totals of 209-319-528.

Compared with the Marlies Leafs prospects, the Buldogs got experience in an additional 601 games and outscored the Marlies by a margin of 163-236-399.

An asterisk signifies the player is no longer with the team. The bracket number is the position and year they were drafted. The +, -, and = notations pertain to season point totals rising or falling. The career totals include the 2006-07 season.

Starting with the Maple Leafs draftees.

NHL Toronto 2000-07

Mikael Tellqvist* (70-2000) 41 career games, 16-16-4 record, 1 GP in 2006-07, 0-1-0
Carlo Colaiacovo (17-2001) 73 career games, 10-16-26, 48 GP in 2006-07, 8-9-17+
Karel Pilar* (39-2001) 90 career games, 6-24-30
Brendan Bell* (65-2001) 32 career games, 1-4-5, 31 GP in 2006-07, 1-4-5+
Jay Harrison (82-2001) 13 career games, 0-1-1, 5 GP in 2006-07, 0-0-0-
Kyle Wellwood (134-2001) 130 career games, 23-64-87, 48 GP in 2006-07, 12-30-42-
Maxim Kondratiev* (168-2001) 7 career games, 0-0-0
Alexander Steen (24-2002) 157 career games, 33-47-80, 82 GP in 2006-07, 15-20-35-
Matt Stajan (57-2002) 232 career games, 40-54-94, 82 GP in 2006-06, 10-29-39+
Ian White (191-2002) 88 career games, 4-24-28, 76 GP in 2006-07, 3-23-26+
Staffan Kronwall (285-2002) 34 career games, 0-1-1
Jeremy Williams (220-2003) 2 career games, 2-0-2, 1 GP in 2006-07, 1-0-1=

AHL Marlies 2006-07

Robbie Earl (187 - 2004) 67-12-18-30
John Mitchell (158 - 2003) 73-16-20-36
Staffan Kronwall (285 - 2002) 47-3-14-17
Jeremy Williams (220 - 2003) 23-6-9-15
Martin Sagat (91 - 2003) 71-4-11-15
Dominic D'Amour (88 - 2002) 42-2-9-11
Jiri Tlusty (13 - 2006) 6-3-1-4
Phil Oreskovic (82 - 2005) 3-0-1-1
J.F. Racine (90 - 2000) 31-11-14-3 3.33 .889
Todd Ford (74 - 2002) 5-2-1-0 3.27 .869
Mikael Tellqvist (70 -2000) 3-2-1-0 3.95 .882
Justin Pogge (90 - 2004) 48-19-25-2 3.03 .896

NHL Montreal 2000-07

Ron Hainsey* (13-2000) 32 career games 1-1-2
Marcel Hossa* (16-2000) 59 career games 10-9-19
Jozef Balej* (78-2000) 4 career games 0-0-0
Mike Komisarek (7-2001) 220 career games 6-24-30, 82 GP in 2006-06, 4-15-19+
Alexander Perezhogin* (25-2001) 128 career games, 15-19-34, 61 GP in 2006-07, 6-9-15-
Duncan Milroy (37-2001) 5 career games 0-1-1, 5 GP in 2006-07, 0-1-1+
Tomas Plekanec (71-2001) 150 career games, 29-47-76, 81 GP in 2006-07, 20-27-47+
Chris Higgins (14-2002) 143 career games, 45-31-76, 61 GP in 2006-07, 22-16-38=
Andrei Kostitsyn (10-2003) 34 career games, 3-11-14, 22 GP in 2006-07, 1-11-12+
Maxim Lapierre (61-2003) 47 career games, 6-6-12, 46 GP in 2006-07, 6-6-12+
Mikhail Grabovsky (150-2004) 3 career games, 0-0-0, 3 GP in 2006-07, 0-0-0+
Mark Streit ( 262-2004) 124 career games, 12-35-47, 76 GP in 2006-07, 10-26-36+
Guillaume Latendresse (45-2005) 80 career games, 16-13-29, 80 GP in 2006-07, 16-1-29+
Jaroslav Halak (271-2003) 16 career games, 10-6-0 2 2.89 .906, 16 GP in 2006-07, 10-6-0 2.89 .906

AHL Bulldogs 2006-07, playoffs totals in second bracket.

Duncan Milroy (37 - 2001) 64-25-33-58 (22-2-11-13)
Corey Locke (113 - 2003) 80-20-35-55 (22-10-12-22)
Mikhail Grabovski (150 - 2004) 66-17-37-54 (20-4-7-11)
Andrei Kostitsyn (19 - 2003) 50-21-31-52
Matt D'Agnostini (190 - 2005) 63-21-28-49 (22-4-9-13)
Kyle Chipchura (18 - 2004) 80-12-27-39 (22-6-7-13)
Jonathan Ferland (212 - 2002) 78-23-14-39 (22-3-6-9)
Maxim Lapierre (61 - 2003) 37-11-13-24 (22-6-6-12)
Cory Urquhart (40 - 2003) 30-5-12-17 (18-2-2-4)
Michel Lambert (99 - 2002) 49-11-5-16 (14-2-2-4)
Ryan O' Byrne (79 - 2003) 80-0-12-12 (22-2-5-7)
Matthieu Aubin (130 - 2005) 25-2-3-5
Andrew Archer (203 - 2001) 16-0-1-1 (19-0-3-3)
Jon Gleed (212 - 2004) 8-0-1-1
Jimmy Bonneau (241 - 2003) 9-0-0-0
Jaroslav Halak (271 - 2003) 29-16-11-0 6SH 2.00 .932
Carey Price (5 - 2005) 2-1-1-0 0SH 1.53 .949 (15-6-0 2SH 2.06 .939)

Drafts are about the future. Looking back, the comparisons here, even out fair enough.

As for the future, the Canadiens have success written are over their draft picks.


Bryan said...


Joe Pelletier said...

I don't know about the past 7 drafts, but it really is amazing how poorly Montreal has drafted in the 1st round since 1980. Montreal was the kings of the draft until then. Fortunately the Habs found some good gems in later rounds.

Anonymous said...

wut about streit?

Robert L said...

Thank you my nameless friend!

I jumped on it and corrected that oversight minutes after your comments hit the box. All statistical categories and comparisons have now been properly adjusted to include Streits totals.

Sure hope I didn't miss any Leafs, this is getting better!

A note to other readers who come across factual errors - please let me know about them. I appreciate it, and I want to be correct. This reader just did more than a favor to me, he did everyone who reads this a service.

Doogie said...

The Leaf scout is like the old Maytag repairman, sitting around waiting for his services to be called upon!

RIP Gordon Jump

Montreal has kept all six of it's first round picks, with only Ron Hainsey from 2000 having been cut loose.

Wasn't he (along with Francois Beauchemin) lost to Columbus on waivers?

Joe: I saw the article by Boone, but I think Edmonton still wins on botched first rounds. I mean, the only players who were actually part of the team for more than a handful of games from 1984-2002 were Jason Arnott, Ryan Smyth, and Ales Hemsky. During the same time frame, the Habs had Petr Svoboda, Shayne Corson, Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek, and Chris Higgins (toss in Perezhogin, too, if you'd like). That's 5-3 Habs (3-2 if you only go back to 2000, taking out Hemsky, Komisarek, and Higgins), which gives the Oilers the golf-score victory.

Robert L said...


Beauchemin was a managerial booboo by Gainey as to his eligibility.

Hainsey was a different story. He had an attitude issue and it is said the waiver callup was just a way of getting rid of him.

Roke said...

Interesting article. I did, however, find one mistake. When you were listing the first round picks since 2000 you omitted Marcel Hossa, drafted 16th overall in 2000.

PPP said...

Vesa is going to leave for sure? Haven't read that.

The Habs are also theoretically strong in net but they still signed Aebischer.

As for the picks traded, it was a first and second rounder in a draft that was considered the weakest in years AND Logan Couture never made it to 13th so no one should be trying to intimate that the Leafs will be missing him. The other pick was a fourth rounder in 2009. Not exactly giving up proven prospects for an upgrade in net and for the kind of forward that will love crushing the Habs defence this year.

How 'sideways' will the Habs move in the standings be when Souray signs elsewhere and they have to try to learn to play at 5 on 5?

p.s. love that conversation with Gainey and Souray. If only more managers called players on their 'It is not about money' BS as your fictional Gainey. Of course, I hope Souray gets every penny he wants from Montreal ;)

Robert L said...

Aebischer is gone like the wind and won't receive any UFA offers in the NHL.

Toskala is a UFA after this season, and the better he does, the more he's worth. If he stinks, Pogge is next in line. Toskala won't match his San Jose stats with Toronto's defense. He's on his own.

If you haven't read that he's gone next year, then you read it here first. For TO's sake, I'd be happy to eat my words, but I don't see it happening. It was a very risky move in many ways.

My intimation that the Leafs would be missing Couture is based on the fact the Sharks traded the two picks Toronto gave up, to place themselves 9th, in the position of the team that formerly emplyed JFJ.

Couldn't he have done that deal?

The Leafs need to bank prospects, the well is dry and the Marlies are stacked with everybody else's has been's. Only a handful of Leaf draft choices are there. It's not good!

I'm a big fan of Souray's, but I recognize that his loss could be a bonus in a way. With the core of young players improving each year, the habs are destined to get better.

If not for a killer flu virus midseason and having to rely on David Aebischer to save their lives, things wouldn't have ended as they did. There's no sideways in the Habs swing. File 2006-07 under unforeseen accidents. But I hate excuses!

Glad you enjoyed the Gainey-Souray speculative post. That was the second one I did in that manner and they are brutally tough to write. Being neutral with fact and optimistic with perception is no easy task.