What to expect from Kings' 19th or 20th overall pick

Kings were ninth overall in the league standings, which would appear to put them in the 22nd spot in the first round. However, because of the slightly wacky way the division winners and everyone who gets past the second round of the playoffs are moved down in draft order, the Kings have already moved up to 20, and could end up at 19. (Buffalo won their division, so they will pick after the Kings despite having a worse record, and one of Philly or Boston will make it to the third round, and so will move down also. So that puts us at 20. And if Montreal wins, the Kings move up to 19.

So, what then should I be looking forward to? As a Kings fan, my impression of the value of late 1st round picks is pretty bleak thanks to Scott Barney, Matt Zultek, Jeff Tambellini and Brian Boyle. And someone named Jens. Jens Karlsbad I think.

Other teams have fared a little better. After the jump I will chart every 15th-30th pick in the last twenty years. But first, here's a short list of some prospects teams (mostly not the Kings) picked up in the second half of the first round:

Alexei Kovalev, Markus Naslund, Glen Murray, Martin Rucinsky, Dean McAmmond, Ray Whitney, Ziggy Palffy, Sandis Ozolinsh, Jason Smith, Martin Straka, Boris Mironov, Jason Allison, Saku Koivu, Shean Donovan, Petr Sykora, Brian Boucher, Georges Laraque, Denis Gauthier, Dainius Zubrus, Marco Sturm, Danny Briere, Brenden Morrow, Scott Hannan, Simon Gagne, Scott Gomez, Jiri Fischer, Jonathan Cheechoo, Martin Skoula, Robyn Rigehr, Mike Van Ryn, Martin Havlat, Barret Jackman, Nick Boynton, Alexander Frolov, Brooks Orpik, Anton Volchenkov, Brad Boyes, Justin Williams, Niklas Kronwall, R.J. Umberger, Tim Gleason, Lukas Krajicek, Colby Armstrong, Denis Grebeshkov, Alexander Steen, Zach Parise, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Steve Bernier, Mike Green, Andrej Meszaros, Travis Zajac, Wojtek Wolski, Cory Schneider, Tuukka Rask, T.J. Oshie, Andrew Cogliano, Martin Hanzal, Claude Giroux, Patrik Berglund, Semyon Varlamov, David Perron, Angelo Esposito, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Luca Sbisa.

And roughly seventy-two guys in the first ten years who played fewer than 160 games, about 20 of whom never played a single game.

So, here's the historical record, the 15th-30th picks, along with the top five picks that year (for perspective) going back to 1991:


1991 1-5 picks: Lindros, Falloon, Scott Niedermeyer, Lachance, Ward. I count about eight guys in the bottom half of the round who turned out better than Falloon, Lachance and Ward.


1992 1-5 picks: Roman Hamrlik, Yashin, Rathje, Warriner, Kasparaitis. Straka trumps Warriner, at least. The 7, 8, 11 and 13 picks played fewer than 100 games.


1993 1-5 picks: Alexander Daigle, Chris Pronger, Chris Gratton, Paul Kariya, Rob Niedermayer. Koivu, Bertuzzi and (arguably) Allison are not out of place with at least two of those names.


1994 1-5 picks: Ed Jovanovski, Oleg Tverdovsky, Radek Bonk, Jason Bonsignore, Jeff O'Neill.


1995 1-5: Bryan Berard, Wade Redden, Aki Berg, Chad Kilger, Daymond Langkow. I would have preferred Sykora to a couple of those guys. Sorry, Aki.


1996 1-5: Chris Phillips, Andrei Zyuzin, J.P. Dumont, Alexandre Volchkov, Richard Jackman. Not especially distinguishable from Briere, Sturm, Zubrus, Sarich and pick a name.


1997 1-5: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Olli Jokinen, Roberto Luongo, Eric Brewer. Okay, that's a pretty good top five.


1998 1-5: Vincent Lecavalier, David Legwand, Brad Stuart, Bryan Allen, Vitaly Vishnevsky. Obviously, Gagne and Gomez belong in that group.


1999 1-5: Patrik Stefan, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Pavel Brendl, Tim Connolly. After the Sedins, the next best player is Havlat, at 26.


2000 1-5: Rick DiPietro, Dany Heatley, Marian Gaborik, Rostislav Klesla, Raffi Torres. Heatley and Gaborik are a step ahead of everyone else, but Williams, Kronwall, Ott, Boyes, Volchenkov, Frolov and Orpik are not out of place with the rest of them.


2001 1-5: Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Spezza, Alexandr Svitov, Stephen Weiss, Stanislav Chistov. The first two guys don't suck, but the rest of the round is kind of undewhelming. I love Tim Gleason, though.


2002 1-5: Rick Nash, Kari Lehtonen, Jay Bouwmeester, Joni Pitkanen, Ryan Whitney.


2003 1-5: Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Nikolai Zherdev, Thomas Vanek. Pretty good. But I'd trade them for Parise, Getzlaf, Richards, Kesler and Perry.


2004 1-5: Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Cam Barker, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler. But, hey, Mike Green, also not bad (at 29).


2005 1-5: Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan, Jack Johnson, Benoit Pouliot, Carey Price. That's a great top five. But there are seven guys from 6-14 who haven't stuck in the NHL yet. And the bottom half of the round has Rask, Bergfors, Oshie, Cogliano and Hanzal.


2006 1-5: Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Niklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel.


2007 1-5: Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk, Kyle Turris, Thomas Hickey, Karl Alzner. Well, it's early yet, but so far David Perron has worked out better than Thomas Hickey.


2008 1-5: Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn.


2009 1-5: John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene, Evander Kane, Brayden Schenn.

Obviously, a lot of great players have been picked in the second half of the first round. However, the Kings' record here is not so hot: Trevor Lewis, Jeff Tambellini, Brian Boyle, Denis Grebeshkov, Jens Karlsson (!), David Steckel, Alexander Frolov, Matthew Biron, Scott Barney, Matt Zultek, Josh Green. Only one of those (Lewis) is a Lombardi pick. Frolov is obviously a great pick, Grebeshkov is a good one. Lewis may work out. Steckel has made a decent career for himself. The rest, BLEGH.

And, so, with all that in mind, here is the current ISS top 30, as posted on Hockey's Future.



Yes, Nick Bjugstad is related to Scott Bjugstad. I believe he's his nephew. Jarred Tinordi is Mark Tinordi's son. I'll do my pathetic version of in-depth on some of these kids as we get closer to the draft. But those two, plus Emerson Etem and Jonathan Merrill (who is unlikely to still be around by the time we pick) are the ones that have jumped out at me, to the degree that anything can jump out at you from a two inch box on your computer screen. Just as most of us who watch every Kings game know so much more about the details of our players than do folks who see them once or twice a year, there's absolutely no way for me to have any real insight on the ISS top 30 that isn't just badly parroting some informed person's real insight. So all I'm left with is what I learned, or confirmed, by learning at past drafts: there have been, on average, somewhere around two to four players taken in the bottom half of the first round who will turn out better than some (and in some cases, most) of the 1-10 picks of their draft year. This is encouraging news if you believe your GM has the ability to sniff them out.

Also, there was a much more profound and moving version of the above paragraph, but the SBN editor ate it.

[UPDATE: incidentally, Lombardi has had six picks in the 15-30 range over those twenty years. They were Marco Sturm, Scott Hannan, Marcel Goc, Jonathan Cheechoo and Mike Morris. Morris's career was derailed by PCD (post concussive disorder) before he had a chance to play a game in the NHL. But the other four are solid picks. Oh, and Trevor Lewis...well the jury's still out, but I like him. Maybe he'll be next year's Parse.]