Evaluation of 2000 draft — all 30 NHL teams

By Jared Ramsden





2000 Draft Review






The 2000 NHL Entry Draft was the first chance for the
NHL’s two newest clubs, the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, to begin
to build their own home-grown prospects. 
The 2000 draft won’t go down as the draft that saw an abundance of
talented players get chosen, but there have emerged a few exceptional players
who have made their marks as NHL’ers. Not
surprisingly, most of these talented individuals were early first round
selections. In fact, it can be argued that the top six picks of this draft have
turned out to be the best players in this draft class.

 

After New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury
engineered a blockbuster trade that saw Roberto Luongo
end up in South Florida with the Panthers, the
stage was set for history to be made. With the Islanders now in need of a
goaltender, and with college phenom Rick DiPietro available, the Islanders and DiPietro
matched up perfectly. Never before had a goaltender been chosen first overall,
but that changed when the Islanders made DiPietro the
first pick of the 2000 NHL draft. While he has taken longer than expected to
develop, he established himself as a solid No. 1 goaltender for the Islanders.
The next two picks saw the Atlanta Thrashers and expansion Minnesota Wild take
two young scoring studs in Dany Heatley
and Marian Gaborik respectively, who have established
themselves as bona fide NHL superstars. Rounding out the top six, we saw the
Columbus Blue Jackets take mammoth defenseman Rostislav
Klesla, the New York Islanders take Raffi Torres and the Nashville Predators take Scott Hartnell.

 

After those six players were selected, NHL clubs look
to have mostly struck out, but a good number of them remain viable prospects
for NHL teams. With quite a few players on the cusp of cracking the NHL, the
grade for this draft class may improve considerably over the next season or
two.

 

Below is a summary chart of the 2000 NHL
draft, with NHL teams in order by average number of NHL games played by picks
in the draft class (first column). In the second column is the number of
selections each team had. In the third column, is the number of draftees who
are now NHL players. In the fourth column is the
number of draftees who are still considered NHL prospects.
Bolded numbers represent a high in a category, while bolded and italicized
numbers represent a low in a category.

 

 

Teams

Avg. NHL Games Played

Number of Picks

NHL Players

NHL Prospects

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Wild

84

9

3

3

Philadelphia Flyers

62

8

2

1

Los
Angeles
Kings

55

11

3

1

Washington
Capitals

43

6

2

1

Carolina Hurricanes

39

8

1

3

Columbus Blue Jackets

26

11

1

2

Nashville Predators

25

12

1

7

Calgary Flames

24

9

2

2

New Jersey Devils

24

13

4

4

Atlanta Thrashers

24

14

2

3

New York
Islanders

21

9

2

1

Boston Bruins

21

12

0

4

St.
Louis
Blues

20

9

2

3

Colorado Avalanche

20

13

3

5

Phoenix Coyotes

19

8

2

2

Anaheim Mighty Ducks

18

5

0

2

Tampa Bay Lightning

16

10

0

2

Pittsburgh Penguins

15

10

1

4

Ottawa Senators

13

10

2

1

Dallas Stars

12

10

1

2

Montreal Canadiens

10

11

0

7

Edmonton Oilers

8

10

1

5

Chicago Blackhawks

7

15

0

6

Toronto Maple Leafs

3

10

0

3

Vancouver Canucks

2

7

0

2

Detroit Red Wings

2

11

1

3

San
Jose
Sharks

1

7

0

3

Buffalo Sabres

Less than 1

8

0

3

Florida
Panthers

Less than 1

8

0

3

New York Rangers

Less than 1

9

0

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis

 

The then expansion Minnesota Wild, who selected
Marian Gaborik and Nick Schultz, lead the way with an
average of 84 NHL games per pick. They turned nine selections into three NHL’ers and three prospects. Their expansion bretheren, the Columbus Blue Jackets ranked sixth with a
total of 26 games per pick. However only Rostislav Klesla has made the jump to full time NHL’er, and many of the
organization’s inaugural selections have not panned out as hoped as nine of
their 11 choices look to be busts.

 

At the other end of the scale are the San Jose
Sharks, who had seven choices in the draft and got only four NHL games out
their draft class. The New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres,
each have less than one game played per pick.

 

When analyzing the number of selections in
correlation to the number of NHL’ers or NHL
prospects, there really is not a distinguishable pattern. More than half of the
NHL clubs had more than 10 choices, but more picks didn’t necessarily mean more
success at the draft table. However, having more picks does increase the margin
for error. It should be noted though that five of the teams in the top of the
games played per pick category had less than 10 picks. The Blackhawks
had a high of 14 picks, and ranked 23rd in terms of games played per
pick. The Mighty Ducks had a low of five picks, but sit in the middle of the
pack in the game played per pick category at 16th.

 

In terms of NHL’ers, not
surprisingly, the strong drafting New Jersey Devils lead the way with four
players at the NHL level, though one of those players, Mike Danton,
is done playing and currently serving time in jail. Defensemen Paul Martin and
David Hale have one full NHL season under their belts for the Devils and Mike
Rupp established himself with New
Jersey
before being dealt in 2003-04 to the Coyotes
organization.

 

The Wild, Kings and Avalanche are next in line with
three established NHL’ers each.  Naturally, most of the teams in the bottom
third of the games played per pick category have no established NHL’ers out of their draft class. In fact, of the bottom 10
teams, only Matthew Lombardi and Niklas Kronwall have established themselves as NHL’ers,
and both are only coming off their rookie seasons.

 

With prospects, there are fair number of teams with
an abundance of prospects who have either just cracked the NHL level, or are on
the brink of making it to the big show. The Nashville Predators lead the way
with seven prospects. While many of them are not considered high-end prospects,
they are still prospects none the less. Interestingly, three of the top 10
teams in NHL games played per pick have only one prospect to speak of, those
teams being the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals.
Another point of interest is that 18 of the 30 teams have three or more
prospects either still in the organization or with another organization,
showing that this draft class may be lagging in terms of player maturity.

 

Who fared well

 

The Minnesota Wild did quite well in landing Gaborik, a feared NHL sniper, and Schultz, who is one of
the top blueliners for the Wild. And with Marc Cavoise
possibly challenging for a checking line role in the near future, the Wild have
to be happy with how their first draft panned out.

 

The Kings fared quite well too, appearing to make
good on their first four choices. Most notably, the Kings No. 1 choice, Russian
winger Alexander Frolov is on the cusp of stardom. It
should be noted that two of the Kings choices were overage Europeans, Andreas Lijla and Lubomir Visnovsky, but just like drafting junior-aged players,
drafting overage Europeans is never a sure thing just because they are further
along in their development. Prospect Yannick Lehoux was on his way to a breakthrough season in the AHL
before breaking his leg, but he should recover and challenge for a spot with
the Kings when the NHL starts up again.

 

The Devils made good use of their 13 picks, with four
established NHL’ers and four good to above average
prospects. Paul Martin and David Hale are two building blocks on the blueline.
Mike Rupp, the Devils 2000 Stanley Cup hero was dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes
for Jan Hrdina, but is a budding power forward. And
who can forget Mike Danton, who had appeared to carve
out a fourth line role with the St. Louis Blues, but now is more infamous for
his involvement in a murder for hire plot that landed him a seven-year jail
sentence. Alexander Suglobov is the most notable of
the four prospects from the 2000 draft class who are still in the Devils
system.

 

Another team that made out decently was the Colorado
Avalanche, though they have not reaped all the benefits of a good 2000 draft
class. They appear to have an offensively gifted blueliner
in John-Michael Liles, who had a solid rookie season, but many of the other
picks are no longer with the organization. Kurt Sauer has bounced around the
league, but now finds himself back in Colorado,
while first rounder Vaclav Nederost was dealt to the
Florida Panthers. Prospects Jared Aulin (Kings) and Sergei Soin (Predators) were
dealt and Darryl Bootland (Red Wings) was signed as a
free agent.

 

Who fared poorly

 

There are quite a few teams who would like to forget
the 2000 draft all together. Some teams are still waiting for some prospects to
come through, so it’s hard to make a final judgement that those particular
teams totally drafted unsuccessfully just yet.

 

The San Jose Sharks may not get any more NHL games
out of their 2000 draft class. Only one player from that class, goaltender
Nolan Schaffer, is currently with a Sharks affiliate and his chances of
cracking a Sharks team deep in goaltending, or any other NHL club for that
matter, is very slim. All the other players the team selected are either
toiling in Europe or with other organizations
in the minor pro leagues.

 

The Panthers and Rangers had sub-par drafts as well.
The Panthers did acquire franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo
on draft day, but their draft class has turned out to be a forgettable one.
More than half of the Panthers picks can be considered busts, and the picks
that are prospects, are marginal prospects at best. In Henrik
Lundqvist and Dominic Moore, the Rangers have a
couple respectable prospects for the future, but other than that the
organization would sooner forget its 2000 draft crop.

 

Considering they had 15 picks, the Blackhawks haven’t really reaped the benefits of having an
abundance of draft choices. While they do have some solid prospects from that
class, including first round forwards Mikhail Yakubov
and Pavel Vorobiev, no
player from that draft class for Chicago
has established himself as a legitimate NHL player.  While there still is time for the likes of Yakubov and Vorobiev to forge NHL
careers, they, along with the other prospects from the 2000 class for Chicago have been slow or
stagnant in developing.

 

Best value selections by round

 

Round 1: Alexander Frolov, 20th overall – Kings, Justin Williams,
28th overall – Flyers

 

Round 2: Nick Schultz, 33rd
overall – Wild, Antoine Vermette, 55th
overall – Senators, Paul Martin, 62nd overall – Devils

 

Round 3: Mike Rupp, 76th
overall – Devils, Kurt Sauer, 88th overall – Avalanche

 

Round 4: Niclas Wallin, 97th overall – Hurricanes, Lubomir Visnovsky, 118th
overall – Kings

 

Round 5: Mike Danton, 135th overall – Devils, John-Michael
Liles, 159th overall – Avalanche

 

Round 6: Roman Cechmanek, 171st overall – Flyers, Darcy Hordichuk, 180th overall – Thrashers

 

Round 7: Matthew Lombardi,
215th overall – Oilers

 

Round 8: Lubomir Sekeras, 232nd
overall – Wild

 

Round 9: Simon Gamache, 290th overall – Thrashers

 

 

It is pretty safe to say when looking back on the
2000 NHL draft, that it was lackluster
compared to other years. The first six choices have been superb, but after
that, it was hit and miss with selections. However,
there appear to be a handful of players from this draft year who still could
make an impact down the road, including first rounders,
Yakubov, Vorobiev, Brent Krahn, Ron Hainsey, Marcel Hossa and Brad Boyes. Second
round picks who could achieve their NHL dreams in the near future include Brad
Winchester, Andy Hilbert, Ilya Bryzgalov,
Aulin and Alexander Suglobov. 

 

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