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Stu in Israel

Drafting

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The Wings are thrilled to have had a number 21 drafting position, so one would think that the #1 pick is a surety for greatness; not so, it's ALL a crapshoot! Yes, I know, there are exceptions, such as Eric Lindros, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lacavalier, Patrick Kane, Steve Stamkos, and perhaps a few others. However, here are the Wings' only #1 choices in the First Round: Claude Gauthier (1964), Dale McCourt (1977), and Joe Murphy (1986).

As Jim Nill has indicated, it's a crapshoot in picking a young guy whom you HOPE will develop into "greatness," or something close. The odds (certainly as far as the Wings are concerned) are better in favor of later picks who are maybe slower developers, but in the end become "late round gems."

By the way, here's a list of the Red Wings recent first picks (not #1 picks): Landon Ferraro #32 (2009), Thomas McCollum, #30 (2008), Brendan Smith #27 (2007), Shawn Matthias #47 (2006) traded to the Panthers for Todd Bertuzzi, none of which have made it to the "big team," yet

However, the start of the third millenium c.e. has been fruitful for the Wings: Kronwall 29th (2000), Grigorenko 62nd (2001), Hudker 58th (2002), Howard 64th (2003), Franzen 97th (2004), and Kindl 19th (2005).

Let's see what late round gems they'll get this year.

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So what's your point? Drafting later is better? Let's just trade down to 5th or 7th round? Both Chicago and Pittsburgh recently proved that first round picks really help winning the Stanley Cup. Both those teams have at least five players drafted in the first round.

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Yeah, we have been good at drafting talent in later rounds, but we have also been too good to really draft early in the first round. We got a #21 pick which, in my estimation, has the potential to be like a Mule or Kesler or Pavelski type player - which if that's the case, we got a great pick. Time will tell. BUT you have to give the kid a chance to show what he can do. Last season he was a 17/18 year old playing against 20-24 year olds in a different league, away from home, with academics in the back of his mind. That's a lot to take in, so I will judge him more on what he does going forward and onto the Griffins in a season or two.

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