I am disgusted every time I hear about another team's rookies finding success in the NHL. Although we got Tavares the year he was drafted, I want to vomit every time I have to listen to hockey analysts raving about Chris Kreider.
Given we haven't finished above eighth place in 10 years I took a look back at the last 12 years to figure out who we've been drafting and who we could have had to roughly gauge the quality of our scouts. This list of "coulda hads" is as follows:
Conclusion: Our scouts suck.
Obviously hindsight is 20/20 but if you are undergoing a rebuild and don't want to spend any money, strong scouting is a prerequisite for success and from reviewing the historical first round draft list, I seriously question our scouting ability. Passing on Parise, Getzlaf and Perry in 2003 was a complete sin, and not spotting Skinner, Karlson or Giroux in '10, '08 and '06 also speaks to a lack of an eye for talent. I believe this is a lingering problem because these latter misses can not be blamed on Milbury (a.k.a. "Dinglebury").
I hope Nino, Bailey and Okposo prove me wrong but, as many of you have continually pointed out, this organization needs a complete management overhaul before we can reasonably expect to see a quality product on the ice. No surprise we've been leaving talent on the table.
2011: Strome...jury is still out on this one but looks like he's doing pretty well
2010: Nino's 1 goal...we could have had Jeff Skinner
2009: Picked JT...good move (that's 1 solid pick out of 12 I will list here = Jim Abbot's batting average)
2008: Picked Bailey...we could have had Michael Del Zotto (a top 4 d-man), Erik Karlson (a top 4 d-man who scored 19G & 59A) Tyler Myers (a 6'8" top 4 d-man), John Carlson (a....seeing a pattern here?)
2007: Isles finished 14th the year before and we traded away our pick for a Crying Oiler named Ryan Smyth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=desNNUzLjZg)...Kevin Shatenkirk went 14th but actually not a bad year to waste your pick
....heading toward the Mike "Dinglebury" years, here's where it gets good
2006: Picked Okposo...could've had Claude Giroux (nice!)
2005: Picked Ryan O'Marra (aka Ryan O'Who?)...could've had Hanzal, Kindl, Oshie, Downie, instead we got nobody
2001: We traded our first round pick and Chara for Yashin...could have had Spezza (in all fairness to Dinglebury, that trade did get us to a comfortable 5th in the east playoff spot)
2000: If the Islanders move one day, I think we can call this draft year "the beginning of the end"...WE PICKED RICK DIPIETRO...we could have had Heatly, Gaborik or Hartnell