Predicting Defenseman - Updated

Wishart: Bust, Boom or somewhere in the middle?

As tough as it is to predict how Goalies will do between being drafted and actually making the NHL, defenseman can be even tougher. When Nicklas Lidstrom was selected in the 3rd round in 1989 who would have predicted he would win the Norris Trophy Seven times. Calgary and Chicago both drafted defenseman in the 3rd round who would never make the NHL. At 48th Overall Chicago picked Bob Kellog, who never made it beyond two IHL stints. At 50th Overall Calgary picked Veli-Pekka Kautonen who had a decent career in Liiga but never came to the states.

When drafting defenseman, it's just as much of a wild card. Is there any explanation for why Matieu Biron (21st Overall in 98) doesn't make it but Andrew MacDonald (160th Overall in 2006) looks like a legitimate top 4 defender. The Islanders last season are a pretty good example of defenseman coming from everywhere. Mark Eaton entered the league as an undrafted FA, same as Jack Hillen. Radek Martinek and Milan Jurcina were 8th round picks, Mike Mottau and Dylan Reese were 7th round picks, Bruno Gervais a 6th rounder. You can never tell where a defenseman will bloom from.

So I thought I'd grab two random defenseman from the Islanders history to see how the LHH readers out there would pick...

Up first is Player A. His first season was at 20 years old on a struggling Islanders team after playing limited time in the AHL.He was thrown pretty much into the fire and tended to be partnered with another defenseman with limited NHL experience.

GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Y1 25 0 1 1 50 1
Y2 59 2 6 8 83 -8
Y3 65 2 9 11 57 -27
Y4 82 2 7 9 157 -27

 

In Y2 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, -4, -6, -8, -14, -16, -18 and -19.
In Y3 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, -4, -5, -9, -10, -11, -13 and -15
In Y4 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +5, -4, -5, -12, -18 and -22

Player B spent a bit more time in the minors and started his career with another young defenseman. The Islanders team during his time mostly struggled. For his first NHL season he was 20 years old.

 

GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Y1 27 3 4 7 8 -1
Y2 51 0 6 6 28 -10
Y3 60 0 13 13 34 -5
Y4 69 3 16 19 33 -15
Y5 71 3 14 17 31 -15
Y6 53 0 6 6 30 -14

 

In Y2 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +19, +14, +13, +6, +5, -1, -3 and -10
In Y3 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +6, -1, -6, -8, -9, -14 and -17
In Y4 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +6, -9, -16, -17, -19, -20 and -34
In Y5 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +5, +1, -3, -3, -5 and -18
In Y6 Defenseman who played most of the season with the team finished with the following +/-, +9, +5, +4, -2, -4, -5, -5, -12, -12 and -18

Sorry, no advance stats just because they didn't exist for most of these guys career. So now you are given a choice between Player A and Player B. Which player would you keep around?

I'll update this in 24 hours with who each player is. I ask if you figure it out who each player is, keep it to yourself. Good luck to the budding GM's out there!

Since I won't be around later tonight, and nearly 200 votes is plenty, I'll let you guys know who each player is. Player A is Zdeno Chara. That's why I couldn't give away his height, there aren't a lot of 6'10 defenseman out there who have played for the Islanders. Player B is Bruno Gervais. One day I was looking at their stats and found it interesting that they had somewhat similar early career stats. Obviously Bruno doesn't have the same upside because of his size or the round he was drafted in. It was just some food for thought, and thanks to everyone who played along in the comments and didn't reveal names.

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