The 2008 NHL Entry Draft boasted one of the strongest groups of high-end defensemen that we’ve seen in a long time. After Steven Stamkos went first overall, the next four picks were defensemen. After that group was picked, there were still defensemen like Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson, Jake Gardiner and John Carlson available in the first round.
The following list shows the top-20 defensemen drafted in 2008. The first number shows where they were picked, overall; the second number is their ranking in THN’s Draft Preview, followed by a select quote.
|2||Drew Doughty||2||"He can play it any way you want to play it."||#1 defenseman, NHL|
|3||Zach Bogosian||3||"This guy is a home run waiting to happen."||Top-four defenseman, NHL|
|4||Alex Pietrangelo||5||"He’s a 6’3" guy who can skate well and handle the puck."||#1 defenseman, NHL|
|5||Luke Schenn||6||"[T]he second coming of Adam Foote…"||Top-six defenseman, NHL|
|12||Tyler Myers||11||"This is going to be a high-risk, high-return guy…"||Top-four defenseman, NHL|
|13||Colten Teubert||13||"He’s not as polished… as Schenn, but he’s meaner than Schenn."||Call-up|
|15||Erik Karlsson||71||No quote – outside THN’s top-60||#1 defenseman, NHL|
|17||Jake Gardiner||39||"He’s a great skater… a bit of a riverboat gambler."||Top-four defenseman, NHL|
|19||Luca Sbisa||17||"He’s a great skater and moves the puck very well."||Top-six defenseman, NHL|
|20||Michael Del Zotto||15||"I don’t think he’s that far off from Doughty."||Top-four defenseman, NHL|
|23||Tyler Cuma||28||"He’s a good, all-round, two-way guy. He does a bit of everything well."||In the system|
|27||John Carlsson||30||"He’s a tough one to call because of the perception the USHL… isn’t that good."||Top-four defenseman, NHL|
|32||Slava Voynov||76||No quote – outside THN’s top-60||Top-six defenseman, NHL|
|37||Cody Goloubef||42||"[A] solid defense prospect who has no discernible weaknesses."||In the system|
|38||Roman Josi||49||"He’s a great skater and he moves the puck really well."||Top-six defenseman, NHL|
|40||Aaron Ness||43||"He’s really good, but he’s tiny and you can’t change that."||Call-up|
|41||Yann Sauve||23||"He’s 6’4", he has skill, and he’s not afraid."||Call-up|
|42||Patrick Wiercioch||NR||No quote – outside THN’s top-60||Call-up|
|43||Justin Schultz||NR||No quote – outside THN’s top-60||Highly-touted prospect|
|46||Colby Robak||18||"If he ever learns to glue it all together, he’ll be a very good player."||Call-up|
When 2011-12 comes to an end, that will mark four full seasons since this draft was conducted. In other words, the comparable season to this year for players picked in the 2012 Entry Draft is 2015-16.
The top five picks in 2008 all yielded useful NHL defensemen, and that figure may rise if Colten Teubert is able to carve out a career for himself on the Oilers’ blue line.
Drew Doughty had a phenomenal rookie season, but these days his point production has dipped noticeably. I’d still take him in a heartbeat, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. In fact, every player on this list has either had a (relatively) slow start to their careers or has had some ups and downs along the way in the NHL. If the Oilers take a guy like Ryan Murray or Matt Dumba, it may be years before we really know who they are as NHL’ers. Many of the best performers immediately after their draft year have since been eclipsed; there are undoubtedly people now who see Karlsson (minus-30 last season) or Pietrangelo (twice returned to junior after <10-game tryouts) as the best players in this group.
- The Value of an NHL Draft Pick – looking at the benefits of picking at certain locations in the draft, and optimal draft strategy.
- Will the Oilers Pick Based on BPA? – it seems that position is likely to be a factor the brass consider when making their selection.
- The Red Menace – Russian players as a whole get a rotten reputation based on the actions of a few.
- The Resurrected Oilers Penalty Kill – despite a late season slump, the underlying numbers look vastly improved.
- The Magic Power Play – percentages appear to be driving the Oilers PP this year; expect a drop-off next season.