Ranking the #2 picks (1969-2010)

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by reckoning, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

    Jan 4, 2005
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    There was an earlier thread on here ranking the #1 picks from 1980-present which had a lot of interesting ratings and debates, so I thought I would do the same for the #2 picks. The main difference is that I'm starting at the 1969 draft.

    I've included all 42 picks from 1969 to 2010, but take my rankings of any recent players with a grain of salt. It's kind of like reviewing a book after only reading the first two chapters.

    1) Marcel Dionne: One of the most productive offensive talents the game has ever seen, despite playing most of his career on average-to-below average teams. Over 20 years after his retirement, still ranks as the 5th highest point-getter in NHL history

    2) Chris Pronger: The second-best defenceman of the last 15 years. One of the greatest defensive defencemen ever. Big, talented and dirty. Last defenceman since Orr to win the Hart. It's too bad injuries took away a chunk of his prime, but he's been making up for it since. His playoff performances post-lockout have been remarkable

    3) Brendan Shanahan: One of the top power forwards of the modern era. Remarkable consistency over a long career. One of the pivotal factors that pushed Detroit from contenders to champions. An obvious first ballot Hall of Famer.

    4) Evgeni Malkin: Could end up much higher by the time he's through. His first four seasons rate very favourably compared with many of the all-time greats.

    5) Eric Staal: Has been everything Carolina could've hoped for when they drafted him. Key player on the '06 Cup winners. Will be a staple on Team Canada's roster over the next decade.

    6) Dany Heatley: Many here don't like him, but the bottom line is that he knows how to put the puck in the net. And he's done it exceptionally well year after year.

    7) Brian Bellows: Was expected to go #1 in '82, and probably should've. Finished his career with over 1000 points and just shy of 500 goals. Huge part of Minnesota's improbable run to the Final in '91. Did lots of charity and community work in Minnesota, deserves better than being remembered as the guy heckled by Trottier and Stevens.

    8) Barry Beck: The type of defenceman every team wanted, yet was never enough for Ranger fans. Was under a lot of pressure in New York, where he was unreasonably expected to be everything (including team enforcer). Appreciate him for what he was: one of the best defencemen in the game. Not elite, but not far below it. Career cut short by injuries.

    9) Patrick Marleau: Has really blossomed since the lockout. Has great speed, and knows how to use it. Owns virtually all San Jose career records. Still waiting for that one great playoff run.

    10) Daniel Sedin: This ranking may be a bit low as he's in the midst of an outstanding season, though it's safe to say his brother would be higher. Not very physical, but immensely talented. Will this be the year he makes an impact at playoff time?

    11) Trevor Linden: Most popular Canuck of all-time. Would make an all-star team of players who never won a Cup, but still played extremely well in the playoffs. Never had an elite season, but was a perfect example of hard work and leadership.

    12) Wade Redden: It's sad what has happened to him over the last few years, and I sincerely hope he gets back on track. But that doesn't change how many great seasons he put in for Ottawa in the first half of his career.

    13) Marc Tardif: Where do you rank him? As one of the top offensive talents in WHA history, or as the young player who had trouble becoming the complete, consistent type of player Scotty Bowman wanted? One wonders how much better if could've been if not for the attack by Rick Jodzio.

    14) Ryan Walter: Nothing flashy, but the type of all-around, hard-working depth player all champion teams need. Could play in all situations, was very physical without taking bad penalties. He and Green were under a lot of pressure after the trade, but got the last laugh.

    15) Alexei Yashin: Based on his numbers I can't put him any lower, but to be honest most of the games I saw him play in Ottawa were never that impressive. Non-factor at playoff time. What was Milbury thinking?

    16) Drew Doughty: Yes it's still very early, but I can't remember the last time a 21 year old defenceman had a season as impressive as he did last year. I'm convinced there's a Norris Trophy in his future.

    17) Kirk Muller: Good at lots of stuff, great at nothing. It always seemed that whenever he was poised to make a big step forward to the next level, his tires would spin. Still, a solid, versatile player who played a big role in Montreal's '93 Cup. Had a reputation as a hard worker and well respected teammate.

    18) Dave Babych: Somewhat inconsistent journeyman defenceman who never quite met his potential; but at over 1100 games, 700 points, a trip to the Final and adequate defensively, you could do a lot worse than this guy.

    19) Petr Nedved: Undeniably gifted talent, but could've been so much better. Had a few great seasons. Tried to do too much when he had the puck, was a spectator when he didn't. Could've flourished in the right situation with good coaching and motivation.

    20) Tom Lysiak: Talented, gritty player who was a consistent point-a-game player through most of his career, though he never met the expectations that came from his high-scoring junior days and early NHL seasons in Atlanta. Prone to making bad decisions (i.e. Ron Foyt)

    21) Craig Simpson: Perfect example of high peak/low career value. He was a perfect fit on the Oilers, and took a lot of abuse near the net to score goals. Unfortunately, injuries took their toll on him.

    22) Jordan Staal: Still early, but has earned a reputation as one of the games best young defensive forwards. Untapped offensive potential.

    23) Jason Spezza: More style than substance. Impressive scoring totals, but doesn't offer much beyond that.

    24) Kari Lehtonen: No idea where to rate him; there's no other goalies on the list to compare him to. Looked like he was going to be a star, then looked like he wasn't, and now he's rebounded nicely with a very good season so far in Dallas.

    25) David Legwand: Never became the top line star some may have hoped for, but still has quietly turned in a solid career with decent offensive numbers and strong defensive play. Nashville's all-time leading scorer.

    26) Wilf Paiement: Strong, physical player with a nice offensive touch. Sounds perfect, but unfortunately he could also play very undisciplined and take poor retaliatory penalties.

    27) Bobby Ryan: Has really developed over the last few years, and will rate much higher in the future if he keeps it up.

    28) Jimmy Carson: This is why it's difficult to rate players early in their career. Started his career with a bang, seemed destined for stardom, then everything faded away. Was the pressure of being traded for Gretzky a factor?

    29) Sylvain Turgeon: Talented, but soft and inconsistent. Had bad luck with injuries throughout his career. Montreal traded Claude Lemieux to acquire him. Two years later, they left him exposed in the expansion draft.

    30) Oleg Tverdovsky: Never came close to being the next Orr or Coffey that he was advertised as, but was a good powerplay performer. His defensive game was extremely lacking. Surprisingly, played on two Cup winners.

    31-33) Tyler Sequin/Victor Hedman/James van Riemsdyk: So far, so good; but still too early to make any judgment on them.

    34) Dale Tallon: Good offence, not-so-good defence. Not sure if he would've been better suited at defence or forward.

    35) Jacques Richard: Broke the 50 goal/100 point plateau one year in Quebec, but fell victim to his personal demons.

    36) Perry Turnbull: Had the tools (shot, skating, toughness) but couldn't put it together with any consistency.

    37) Blair Chapman: His career was more or less finished after a bad back injury when he was 25, but he hadn't accomplished much up to that point.

    38) Andrei Zyuzin: Teams kept giving him a chance because of his potential, but he never really found his groove in the NHL. His disappearance in San Jose didn't help.

    39) Doug Smith: Even most Ottawa 67 fans were surprised when Smith was selected #2 overall in '81. Either L.A. had pulled off a major coup, or a major blunder. As usual for the Kings, it was the latter.

    40) Pat Falloon: Or was it Fat Balloon?

    41) Barry Dean: Only lasted two and a half seasons in the NHL.

    42) Dave Chyzowski: I remember watching him at the World Juniors, thinking he was going to be a star. What happened?

    If anyone has any spots in this list where I may be completely off, I'd love to hear their opinions.
  2. kmad

    kmad riot survivor

    Jun 16, 2003
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    Linden should be 8th, Beck should be a few spots lower. Muller ahead of Yashin/Walter/Paiement as well.
  3. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

    Mar 16, 2006
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    Regina, SK
    The top-10 and bottom-8 are all practically perfect, but after that, there are some changes I would make. Most notably:

    Nedved needs to drop lower; there's no way he brought more to the table than Lysiak, who often was top-20 in points and was gritty and strong defensively.

    Dale Tallon is also significantly better than Oleg Tverdovsky.
  4. overpass

    overpass Registered User

    Jun 7, 2007
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    Good list. Thanks for the comments, it was a good read.

    As a Senators fan, it looks off to see Heatley ten spots ahead of Yashin. Yashin wasn't far behind Heatley as a goal scorer. And Heatley had much better linemates than Yashin to set him up, while Yashin had to be the playmaker and finisher on his line. I think Yashin was the better player.

    Yashin takes a lot of heat for his playoffs, and deserves some of it. His series against the Leafs was pretty bad, but he played pretty well in the other years. He actually increased his shot rate in the playoffs from the regular season, he just had trouble finishing. Heatley's goals per game dropped almost as much as Yashin's in the playoffs, but he had linemates who could create and finish.

    Maybe Yashin's holdouts and poor play with the Islanders are enough to drop him below Heatley, but I'd take prime Yashin over prime Heatley. I'd probably put them both in the 9-12 range.

    Also, it looks funny having that much distance between Heatley and Spezza. Heatley was not clearly the better player while they played together - IMO he was the better player in their first season, but Spezza was better in the '07 playoffs and from that point on. Part of this is that I rate Heatley lower than most, but I'd put Spezza a couple of spots higher than 23. I can see why you'd put him down there, but if he can stay healthy I think he'll make a good case to move up.

    How seriously did you consider Chris Pronger at #1? I think I'd put him there. Injuries did hold him back in a few seasons, but he's just been so good in every situation for almost a decade and a half. One of the very best players of his generation, and I think he had a bigger impact than even Dionne and his high point totals.
  5. MXD

    MXD Original #4

    Oct 27, 2005
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    Pretty much a perfect list. I'd have Lehtonen lower - below Carson - and while I think there's a problem with the huge gap between Ryan Walter and David Legwand, I can't suggest anything to correct that.
  6. Sumoki Dachiba

    Sumoki Dachiba Registered User

    Feb 21, 2008
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    That's a good list but as a Habs fan growing up in BC during the hey day of both Linden and Muller (in fact I've watched Trevor his whole career outside of the years in NYI and Washington) I would put Muller ahead of Linden. Whether that would mean moving Trevor down or Muller up is tough for me to say as I never saw Tardif and am torn on Redden.
    I just feel that due to his stature in Vancouver (a topic for another time) Linden and his leadership gets overrated. And no, I don't often say that out-loud here in Vancouver. Muller was a leader himself in Jersey and Montreal: playing a similar game to Linden but with better offense and a grittier style. Linden obviously has his finer points as well but I think Muller was a better player overall and the seasonal and career stats back that up.

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