The 20/20 Hindsight Panther Draft History Analysis

By Mark Fischel

It’s always fun to go back and look at a team’s drafts and see if they glaringly over-looked a player or made the right choice.

By no means is this ever a total indictment upon a teams scouting department, since most of the time teams will draft for specific needs, and having a near perfect 20/20 hindsight is another disservice to the pressures of being on the clock during the draft.

Below is an analysis of the Panthers history at the draft table, to see how the team could have been different if the scouts had the amazing clarity that time affords. To keep things somewhat realistic, the analysis will be limited to the 5 picks after the original pick. A player like Adam Deadmarsh went 14th overall in ’93, and if the draft was redone with the hindsight, he probably would have gone in the top 5, but in 93, 13 teams passed over him since he wasn’t rated that high back then.

In this exercise for entertainment purposes only, comment are only made on a pick if it turned out a better player could be had. Another thing to consider is that a passed over player might not have developed unless he was in the right situation as well. There will be instances where the pick was exactly dead-on correct. Again, this is for entertainment purposes mainly and is the total benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

1993 Draft

5th – Robbie Neidermayer

Players taken in the next 5 spots are as follows: Kozlov, Arnott, Sundstrom, Harvey and Thibault. While Robbie hasn’t lived up to his expectations to be a scorer, he is a physical and defensive minded presence with speed, but that still isn’t as good as passing over players like Kozlov or Arnott. Granted, the Panthers now have Kozlov on the team and Arnott is a major cog in the Devils. The Panthers would have been better off with either of those players, and it could be argued that Harvey or Thibault would have served better than Neidermayer.

47th – Chris Armstrong

Passed over Winger Ville Peltonen, who was taken at the next pick by the Sharks.

78th – Steve Washburn

Could have selected Bill McCauley, who was taken 5 picks later…..by the Florida Panthers.

109th – Todd MacDonald

Seeing Miroslav Satan go two picks later to the Oilers has got to hurt!

135th – Alain Nasreddine

Per Svartvadet going 4 picks later is noticed…..feel free to debate.

161st – Trevor Doyle

Todd Marchant to the Rangers 3 picks later…… his speed would have been nice.

187th – Briane Thompson

Manny Legace going to Hartford with the next pick seems a mis-fire.

213th – Chad Cabana

Mike Grier went 6 picks later to the Blues…..

1994 Draft

1st – Ed Jovonovski

Some good players were taken after him in the next 5, but Eddie is still the best player among Tverdovsky, Bonk and Ryan Smyth.

27th – Rhett Warrener

Right pick, but they could have taken Jason Podollan…….wait, they did take him 4 picks later.

31st – Jason Podollan

Solid scoring minor leaguer, but they could have taken Ryan Johnson……wait, they did take him 5 picks later.

84th – David Nemirovski

Milan Hejduk and Vaclav Verada, 3 and 5 picks later respectively, would have been better to have then the lazy Nemirovski, much much better.

105th – David Geris

Pavel Trnka, Nils Ekman, and Craig Mills, taken right after Geris, would have at least played in the NHL!

157th – Matt O’Dette

4 picks later, Serge Aubin was selected by the Penguins.

1995 Draft

10th – Radek Dvorak

Probably a matter of personal choice if you really like Jarome Iginla, who was taken with the next pick. J.S. Giguere and Jay McKee went 4 and 5 picks later as well.

36th – Aaron MacDonald

Christian Dube and Chris McAllister went 3 and 4 picks later and have played in the NHL, while Aaron, well, he has not.

62nd – Mike O’Grady

Take your pick….Petr Buzek, Peter Schaefer, or Brad Isbister? I know what most of you would answer……..

88th – Daniel Tjarnqvist

Marc Savard 3 picks later looks bad, but Daniel Tjarnqvist was the best d-man in the SEL this season as well.

114th – Francois Cloutier

Miikka Kiprusoff 2 picks later? Sigh…….

192nd – Filip Kuba

Ryan Kraft 2 picks would have been good just to keep him from killing the Louisville Panther squad in the AHL.

218th – David Lemanowicz

Just making the cut was Danil Markov 5 picks later to the Leafs.

1996 Draft

20th – Marcus Nilson

If you wanted, you could have Marco Sturm with the next pick or Daniel Briere 4 picks later.

60th – Chris Allen

If a heavyweight is your bag, baby. Than Scott Parker 3 picks later could have been had. 5 picks later, Florida could have had………

65th – Oleg Kvasha

No Kvasha = no Luongo. So Jon Sim 5 picks later will be ignored in this excruciating process.

129th – Andrew Long

4 picks later, Florida could have had the schmuck player who on-ice assaulted Andrew….if only to prevent that incident from ever happening.

236th – Russell Smith

A seemingly large amount of teams forgot who Sami Salo was, or is, or still do, or are reminded all the time. If he went 2 picks later, he would have been the last player drafted!

1997 Draft

20th – Mike Brown

Mika Noronen, Scott Hannan, and Brendan Morrow all were picked within 5 of Mike Brown…..but no Mike Brown = no Brad Ference!

47th – Kristian Huselius

Better than the likes of Henrik Tallinder and Yuri Butsayev.

56th – Vratislav Cech

Next two selections…..Jeff Farkas and Jani Hurme.

74th – Nick Smith

Ville Nieminen seems to be playing well for the Avs this year, doesn’t he? And Sykora to the Red Wings seems…..wait….wrong Sykora.

127th – Pat Parthenais

Kyle Calder going 3 picks later got my sagging attention span.

155th – Keith Delaney

Bryan Campbell seems to have developed pretty nicely, especially for being selected 1 pick after Keith.

211th – Doug Schueller

Kamil Piros going with the next pick, and he is as least worth Donald Audette!

1998 Draft

30th – Kyle Rossiter

Petr Svoboda 5 picks later, it is still amazing to me that the Leafs drafted a 39 year old defenseman from the Czech Republic………

61st – Joe Dipenta

Could have taken Brad Richards who went one pick after Lance Ward, or they could have taken Lance Ward with this pick and selected Brad Richards with the original Lance Ward pick……

63rd – Lance Ward

See above…….

89th – Ryan Jardine

If anything, taking Vasicek or Westlund, taken 3 and 5 picks later, would have least kept Carolina from getting those guys…..

148th – Chris Ovington

If we had selected Paul Cabana, who was selected next, the minor league team could play him on the same line with Chad Cabana and have had the “Cabana Boys”.

1999 Draft

12th – Denis Shvidki

Jeff Jillson would have been nice to have as well.

40th – Alex Auld

Great pick…unfortunately they couldn’t sign him. Leopold at #44 is a talented defenseman the Panthers could have used.

70th – Niklas Hagman

Could end up by one of the steals of the draft.

80th – JF Laniel

Passing up Havelid at #83 and Peter Smrek at #85 might have been a better choice.

227th – Jonathon Charron

Radek Martinek, Petr Tenkrat and Alexander Khavanov all could have been had by the entire NHL, including the Panthers, late in the 8th round.

2000 Draft

77th – Robert Fried

With the next pick, Josef Balej seems to be one of the more talented WHL players around, while 4 picks later Alexendre Kharitonov saw NHL time right away.

82nd – Sean O’Connor

If salary negotiations weren’t such a problem, Ramzi Abid was taken 3 picks later.

115th – Chris Eade

Calder Candidate Lubomir Visnovsky at #118 has got to hurt. Levente Szuper went right after Eade, but picking him would probably mean no………

120th – Davis Parley

Dead-on pick so far, one of the better WHL goalies this year.

As with any NHL team, many great players are passed over for a multitude of reasons.
This exercise shows just how much an in-exact science the NHL draft can be, and should hardly be used as an indictment on each teams drafting abilities. For every great player passed over, there is usually a great player picked. If all teams had this drafting down to an exact science, then they would be the Devils.