It took three years, but we finally have Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor’s first official bust at the draft table.
History tells us no matter how smart the scouting department, no matter how much due diligence everyone puts in, draft busts happen to everyone. Stu MacGregor has been head scout since the 2008 entry draft, meaning that 32 players have been selected on his watch.
A 2004 study of the 1979-1995 drafts showed that over half (55%) of the players NHL teams select never make the NHL even for one game. That would mean 17.6 of the Oilers selections 2008-11 won’t make it. Here, let me break down the entire study for you:
- 2% turned out to be a elite players (Hall, RNH would make it 6% for MBS)
- 4% turned into impact players (Eberle, MP would make it 6% for this group)
- 15% turned out to be average NHLers (Lander, Hartikainen, Hamilton, Bunz would make it 12.5%)
- 24% played less than 200 games (Motin, Roy, Marincin, Hamilton, Pitlick, Klefbom and Musil seem like solid bets. If they all play 1 NHL game, that would represent 22% of the 32 draft picks)
- 55% never played a game in the NHL (the rest)
Now, we know that Hall and RNH aren’t elite players and that Eberle and Paajarvi aren’t impact players. We also know that the Oilers under MBS have been drafting very high (two #1 overall picks is as high as a kite), so let’s not give so much credit this early that we can’t take it back. None of the things on this list have happened, none of these players is welded to their position above (save for poor Johan Motin; his 1 NHL game may well be all that he gets).
Joe Hesketh needn’t worry: Troy Hesketh is very unlikely to be more famous. News this week from Jim Matheson in the Edmonton Journal puts it all to bed:
- Matty: The Oilers dropped 2009 third-round draft pick defenceman Troy Hesketh (Chicago Steel and Sioux City, United States Hockey League juniors) from their list and he was back in the draft this June, with no takers. He was attending the University of Wisconsin, but now he’s not.
Those we read Coming Down the Pipe! regularly have known about Wisconsin for awhile, but the bit about the Oilers dropping him is a surprise. There had been rumors that Hesketh would head to the Edmonton Oil Kings this fall, but that would appear to be a distant bell at this point and although you should never count out a person this young at any endeavor, it would appear this young man has not taken advantage of a massive opportunity. Whatever the reasons, and I don’t know what they are, the Oilers certainly didn’t think it would end this soon or in such a fashion.
Comments from Stu MacGregor after the draft:
- "Pretty excited about Hesketh. He’s going to play high school again next year. He already has a verbal scholarship to Wisconsin. He’s a player that has some long term potential. He’s a guy that Mike Peluso had extreme passion for, the way he’s a solid defender and smart in his defending skills, his angles in taking away ice on the puck carrier. We think he has a real upside and he will get some significant training in Wisconsin. They’ve done a great job with defencemen."
- "He was a player that after the draft was done, other guys were coming up to us and saying ‘you guys snuck one here!’ New Jersey runs their own scouting combine and we knew that they’d had him in there and a number of other teams were on the radar for him right around that area so we knew we had to step in there and get him if we wanted him. Wisconsin has been recruiting some of the finest defencemen in college hockey over the last number of years now and they are extremely excited about him as a player. His brother and father are both much taller than he is so we think there is still some physical development to come."
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This isn’t a putdown of MacGregor or his staff, after all they ripped up that 2009 draft with MP, Lander, Rajala and Roy. Having said that, "reach picks" are prone to high risk/reward and this one looked a little wobbly leaving the gate. Other MBS picks that haven’t come off the rails but look somewhat doubtful for NHL success include Johan Motin, Phil Cornet, Jordan Bendfeld, Cameron Abney and Kyle Bigos. That’s 6 (with Hesketh) and as we discussed at the top of this post 55% of the kids drafted never play a game. 32 draft picks would mean 17.6 should peak outside the best league in the world.
The Tall Tree from Minnetonka is the first player from the MacGregor draft era to be an official bust. Anyone who has ever hired someone for a job knows you never know about people until you’re working with them. Troy Hesketh didn’t take advantage of a great opportunity in life, and the Edmonton Oilers took a reach pick in the third round (where all reach picks should be taken, after the top 60) and it didn’t work out.
Credit to the organization for makiing a quick cut, and best of luck to Troy Hesketh.