From his NHL Network performances, I would not say I'm enamored with Craig Button's analysis. Sometimes I can feel it, sometimes I'm left scratching my head. (Rational response: "He was an NHL GM. You're not." Rational counter-response: "He wasn't a GM for long -- he was fooled by Roman Turek (he wasn't the only one) -- and his father's NHL career no doubt helped get him into the ol' club. Just sayin'.")
That doesn't mean I'm above referencing his analysis for discussion purposes. He's a hockey guy with opinions and I respect that they're out there, respect his background. For argument's sake, it's cool that he made picks for the 2009 draft, and now a year later he's reshuffled them based on what we know (or think we know) now. I wish more draft pundits would do this, if only to demonstrate how volatile prospect stock can be. If rankings can change monthly on 17-year-olds, they're sure to change at age 18 and 19, too.
Feel free to discuss any of them, but here is where he puts the top three picks, as well as the Islanders' second pick:
|Prospect||Button's 2009 pick||2010 Re-draft|
|Calvin de Haan||26||27|
Just as I don't get how Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski can list Victor Hedman as a "huge disappointment" in need of a bounce-back year, I don't get how Button can reshuffle the 2009 top three after the year of evidence we had.
On Draft Day people rated Hedman, Tavares and Duchene really closely, and I've seen little reason to change that today. Duchene had a slightly better year, Hedman had a slightly worse year, but none of them hit strong enough extremes to change my thinking about their long-term prospects. In fact, I can't imagine if any of the three affected teams -- even under the influence of a truth serum -- would prefer a different guy today.
Of more interest to me is the de Haan pick. That one was seen as a reach by many on draft day, and at least in Button's mind that hasn't changed. Was another team targeting de Haan to justify Snow trading up twice? We'll never know. We do know Minnesota, who traded down once because (presumably) they were happy to take Leddy, have since traded him to Chicago for the salary dump known as Cam Barker. That's not to say Leddy was a mistake -- Barker is an NHLer after all -- but rather to say things change. Constantly.
De Haan is certainly a nice player who should have at minimum a decent NHL career. (At #12, you better get at least that.) If we're lucky, he'll be something special. But as on Draft Day, it seems like the Islanders are currently higher on De Haan than many others are. The fun will be in finding out over the next decade who was right.
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Not Only But Also
If you haven't been checking the official site, they've been pumping out some decent offseason fodder this month. My favorites: Jack Hillen's offseason workout includes a healthy dose of golf ... A note on Zenon Konopka, Trevor Gillies and J.P. Parentau's shared AHL history, which may be a hint to how Konopka was signed ... Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina on why they like Long Island, and how they see each other coming from opposite sides of the Pens-Caps rivalry.
...If you didn't see this, a nice write-up on Eric Nystrom.
...and finally, this was a great write-up on the experience of watching the late John Kordic fight, and how watching NHL fighting can both draw you in and make you feel like crap. I share a lot of the conflicted sentiments described therein.