This is Doug Lynch. He was the second draft pick made by Kevin Prendergast after he took over as scouting director (the first was Ales Hemsky). Lynch had a solid junior career and adjusted quickly to pro hockey–playing in the AHL All-Star game as a rookie. Lynch’s future looked bright, but it was dashed by injury.
If you look back over the last dozen drafts, the list of prospects who have suffered possible career-altering injuries is long and depressing. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but gives one an idea about how much injury impacts young players during their development period. They all look like a million bucks on draft day, but the fact is that injuries have an enormous impact on which of these prospects make the grade.
- 2001: Doug Lynch: A wrist injury that was not properly addressed and then a knee injury after being dealt to the Blues organization derailed a promising NHL career. That wrist injury came on the heels of a very impressive AHL season, and washed away his future.
- 2001: Dan Baum: Was a long shot prospect who had an agitator style and fell victim to concussions. Injuries ended career.
- 2002: Jesse Niinimaki: Niinimaki showed a lot of promise until a (Guy Flaming described it as a "devastating injury") severe shoulder injury 10 games into the 2003-04 season ended his year.
- 2002: JF Dufort: Suffered a career ending concussion late in 2002-03. Injuries ended career.
- 2003: Marc Pouliot: He was actually injured before the draft–at the Top Prospects game in 2003 when Dion Phaneuf leveled him with a vicious (and clean) check. In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip) and that had a major impact on his 18-year old season. It also hurt his performance at the Oilers rookie camp just two months after being drafted. In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Q/Russia prospects game and he played on 42 QMJHL games that season, finally having surgery in Montreal in summer 2004 to repair the abdominal tissues. He played 3 weeks with a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season. Mono just before the Stanley run. Possibly a major impact on his career. Pubis thing came later, added to hilarity.
- 2003: JF Jacques: Although fairly healthy during his junior career and early pro seasons, JFJ lost an enormous amount of time and some of his skill set due to (back) injuries.
- 2003: Mikhail Zoukov: Suffered a "serious injury" that wiped out his 04-05 season. Unkown impact on career.
- 2004: Rob Schremp: Suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his second AHL season and required surgery. Unknown impact on career.
- 2005: Taylor Chorney: Sprained knee spring 2008 right at the end of his college career. He also suffered a knee injury in 10-11 while with the Oilers, I don’t know if it was the same knee and of course unknown impact on career.
- 2006: Theo Peckham: Suffered a shoulder injury late in the 09-10 season; suffered concussion one year later.
- 2007: Sam Gagner: missed the last 9 games of the 2009-10 season with a hip injury. Missed the last 14 games of the 2010-11 season with a hand injury. Unknown impact on career.
- 2007: Alex Plante: Suffered back and concussion problems in the year after he was drafted, and has now suffered four documented concussions since turning pro. Likely impact on career.
- 2008: Jordan Eberle: Missed 13 games with a sprained left ankle during rookie NHL season, 2010-11. Missed 4 games with a knee injury, 11-12. Unknown impact on career.
- 2009: Anton Lander: Missed 3 games, 2011-12. Unlikely any impact on career.
- 2009: Kyle Bigos: Suffered a lower body injury, first NCAA game of the 2012-13 season.
- 2010: Taylor Hall: Missed the final 17 games of his rookie season with an ankle injury, 2010-11. Missed 7 games with a shoulder injury, 2010-11. Missed final 11 games of 2011-12 season with a concussion. Would have missed several games at the beginning of 2012-13 NHL season if not for lockout (shoulder surgery). Unknown impact on career.
- 2010: Tyler Pitlick: Out currently with a concussion.
- 2010: Tyler Bunz: Has also had concussion issues.
- 2010: Brandon Davidson: Undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.
- 2010: Drew Czerwonkda: Forced to retire before turning pro due to injuries.
- 2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Missed a total of 20 games during his rookie season due to shoulder injuries. Unknown impact on career.
- 2011: Oscar Klefbom: Thigh infection and concussion problems during 2011-12, and suffered season-ending shoulder injury early into 2012-13 season. Unknown impact on career.
- 2011: David Musil: Suffered wrist injury in 11-12 season. Unknown impact on career.
- 2011: Travis Ewanyk: Suffered devastating shoulder injury that basically cost him a season, 2011-12.
- 2011: Martin Gernat: Suffered devastating shoulder injury that basically cost him half a season and counting, 2012-13.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Injuries have been a part of Oiler fans life seemingly forever. Certainly since the summer of 2006 it seems the entire organization was born under a bad sign. Added to the Souray, the Khabibulin, the Hall, the Nuge injuries have been a bunch of injuries below the NHL that could and will have long term impact.
This fall alone the blueline depth has been impacted greatly (Klefbom, Gernat, Bigos, Davidson). Its something to keep in mind down the line when we suggest the scouting director made a bad call.
Call it the lesson of Doug Lynch. Remember these injuries, they all add up.