On the surface, the New York Islanders' offer to trade all of their draft selections to Columbus for the number two pick sounds insane. (There is some dispute over which player was targeted -- Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray. I believe it was Murray and the fact the Islanders took seven defencemen indicates that's a reasonable assumption.)
That's seven picks (numbers 4, 34, 65, 103, 125, 155 and 185) for one. The New Orleans Saints' decision to trade all of their 1999 choices to snare Ricky Williams got everyone fired within two years. But, if you really break it down, there's a method to this seeming madness.
I went back through every draft from 1990-2008. (Anything closer to 2012 is extremely unfair for evaluating later-taken prospects.) How many times in those 19 drafts has the player taken at two appeared in fewer games than anyone picked in those spots the Islanders offered Columbus?
Five, and a couple of them are really dicey.
The years are 1990 (Mike Ricci and Doug Weight over Petr Nedved); 1991 (Scott Lachance and Bill Lindsay over Pat Falloon); 2001 (Stephen Weiss over Jason Spezza, so far); 2002 (Joni Pitkanen over Kari Lehtonen. A little unfair because it's a goalie and a skater) and 2004 (Andrew Ladd over Evgeni Malkin. I know, I know, but I'm trying to be honest here).
It is extremely rare for a second-overall selection not to have some kind of career. From 1990-99 only three (Falloon, Oleg Tverdovsky and Andrei Zyuzin) did not play the equivalent of 10 NHL seasons, although Tverdovsky is still going in Russia. Zyuzin's 496 was the lowest total and four fourth overall picks didn't even equal that. In fact, three players taken there (Jason Bonsignore, Pavel Brendl and Alexandre Volchkov) didn't even play 82 games.
From 2000-08, there is a lot of value in those draft slots. Most are making an impact. The only player who hasn't yet dressed for a big-league game is Thomas Hickey, number four in 2007.
But, if you're Scott Howson, you need the assurance of getting something else in order to give up your advantageous position. You've already got Murray (or Griffin Reinhart, who the Islanders eventually took, if you want him).
But what else do you get with those picks? Not much, if history is any indication. From 1990-2008, there were 114 players selected in spots numbered 34, 65, 103, 125, 155 and 185. Do you know how many played 400 NHL games?
They are: Weight, Kirk Maltby, Lindsay, Travis Moen, Oleg Kvasha, Shawn Bates and Krzysztof Oliwa. Among the 2000-era selections, the only ones to appear in 100 and still be in the NHL: Moen, Mark Fayne and Michal Neuvirth. Other than that, you'll recognize Ryan Stoa (Colorado), Brian Strait (Pittsburgh), Chad Johnson (Rangers) and Mattias Ritola, who left Tampa to play in Europe.
Now, if you're Columbus and you really like Ryan Murray, is it worth those odds?
Look at the 34th pick, a high second-rounder now. Weight, taken there in 1990, played 1,238 games. The 18 men grabbed there from 1991-2008 combined for 565 and counting. That's unbelievable.
Going to add some quotes later when I finish the entire 30 Thoughts, but people weren't exactly ripping Snow for the idea. This wasn't seen as a great draft, especially for immediate help. And, hockey teams are less than half the size of football teams, so it's not as egregious as the Ricky Williams deal.
The toughest thing about this trade is what it sounds like. But, if you think Ryan Murray is worth it, Garth Snow's offer makes mathematical sense. And it's also smart for Scott Howson to reject it in a soft draft, because the odds say you're not getting the extra value desired for such a move.
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