Comparing Keith Gretzky’s scouting work to that of the Edmonton Oilers

Keith Gretzky is the new assistant general manager of the
Edmonton Oilers. Prior to signing on in Edmonton, Gretzky was the scouting director
of the Boston Bruins and the Arizona Coyotes. It’s far too early to judge his
work with Boston, but in his time in Arizona he was a contemporary of Kevin
Prendergast and Stu MacGregor of the Edmonton Oilers.

How does Gretzky’s work compare to that of
MacGregor/Prendergast over the same period?

Gretzky ran the Arizona drafts from 2007-11, a five-year
span. That’s the period we’ll consider here.

First Round Picks

14-Eberle-13

These comparisons are the toughest, since they’re heavily
influenced by exact draft position.

Year Pick Player Comments
2007 3 Kyle Turris Career highs: 26 goals, 64 points
2009 6 Oliver Ekman-Larsson Absolute home run. Best pick of Gretzky’s tenure.
2008 8 Mikkel Boedker Career highs: 19 goals, 51 points
2010 13 Brandon Gormley 58 NHL GP
2011 20 Connor Murphy Averaged 20:30 per game as 22-year-old
2010 27 Mark Visentin 1 NHL GP
2008 28 Viktor Tikhonov Career highs: 8 goals, 16 points
2007 30 Nick Ross 0 NHL GP

The Coyotes landed four good players with eight picks,
including one truly great one (Ekman-Larsson). Three of the eight picks have
yet to play 100 games in the NHL.

Year Pick Player Comments
2010 1 Taylor Hall Career highs: 27 goals, 80 points
2011 1 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Career highs: 24 goals, 56 points
2007 6 Sam Gagner Career highs: 18 goals, 49 points
2009 10 Magnus Paajarvi Career highs: 15 goals, 34 points
2007 15 Alex Plante 10 NHL GP
2007 21 Riley Nash Career highs: 9 goals, 25 points
2008 22 Jordan Eberle Career highs: 34 goals, 76 points

The Oilers landed four good players with seven picks (I’m
here excluding Nash and Paajarvi, though both of those players have topped the
100-game mark and are still in the league). Only one of the seven picks has failed
to play at least 100 NHL games.

Looking at the lists, I’m inclined to call Ekman-Larsson the
best pick of the lot, but also to favour Edmonton’s work overall. However, I’d
also suggest that the fairest comparison is further down the draft list.

Second Round Picks

85-Marincin-4

Year Pick Player Comments
2007 32 Brett MacLean 18 NHL GP
2007 36 Joel Gistedt 0 NHL GP
2009 36 Chris Brown 23 NHL GP
2008 49 Jared Staal 2 NHL GP
2011 51 Alexander Ruutu 0 NHL GP
2010 52 Phil Lane 0 NHL GP
2011 56 Lucas Lessio 41 NHL GP
2010 57 Oscar Lindberg Career highs: 13 goals, 28 points

Lindberg has injected some life into a list of Arizona picks
which looked about to go 0-for-8. Three of the eight selections have not played
in the NHL at all, and with the exception of Lindberg and perhaps Lessio it’s
difficult to find a player with much hope of substantially improving his
totals.

Year Pick Player Comments
2010 31 Tyler Pitlick 27 NHL GP
2011 31 David Musil 4 NHL GP
2007 40 Anton Lander Career highs: 6 goals, 20 points
2010 46 Martin Marincin Averaged 16:46 per game as a 23-year-old
2010 48 Curtis Hamilton 1 NHL GP

All of Edmonton’s players have appeared in at least one NHL
game, and only Hamilton would seem to have no chance to improve upon his
numbers.

Marincin would be my choice at this juncture as the best of
these 13 selections, followed by Lindberg. Edmonton has got more out of its
five selections so far than Arizona has out of its eight.

Top 100 Picks

23-Omark-2

Year Pick Player Comments
2008 69 Michael Stone Averaged 22:27 per game as a 25-year-old
2008 76 Mathieu Brodeur 0 NHL GP
2011 84 Harrison Ruopp 0 NHL GP
2009 91 Mike Lee 0 NHL GP
2009 97 Jordan Szwarz 35 NHL GP
2008 99 Colin Long 0 NHL GP

Barring the emergence of Dillon Simpson, which is still possible,
the most significant player on either list is Michael Stone, a homerun
hit by Arizona’s scouting staff. 

Year Pick Player Comments
2010 61 Ryan Martindale 0 NHL GP
2011 62 Samu Perhonen 0 NHL GP
2009 71 Troy Hesketh 0 NHL GP
2011 74 Travis Ewanyk 0 NHL GP
2009 82 Cameron Abney 0 NHL GP
2010 91 Jeremie Blain 0 NHL GP
2011 92 Dillon Simpson 0 NHL GP
2007 97 Linus Omark 79 NHL GP
2009 99 Kyle Bigos 0 NHL GP

The next-best guy on either list (based on work
so far) is Linus Omark.

Arizona’s work is pretty solid here with a low number of
picks. About Edmonton’s work, the less said the better. Picks like
the Abney and Hesketh selections were hard to defend on the day they were made,
and the overall record for these five years is not good at all.

Outside the Top 100

88-Davidson-4

Year Pick Player Comments
2010 138 Louis Domingue 15-18-4, 0.912 SV% last season
2007 153 Scott Darling 12-8-3, 0.915 SV% last season
2007-11 N/A 10 players 0 NHL GP

Arizona found two players with a dozen picks outside the
top-100 in this five-year span. Darling has been a solid backup for two years
in Chicago (after an absolutely bizarre career path) while Domingue’s ceiling
remains an unknown. For now he’s a backup but may end up as more than that.

Year Pick Player Comments
2008 103 Johan Motin 1 NHL GP
2011 114 Tobias Rieder Career highs: 14 goals, 37 points
2010 121 Tyler Bunz 1 NHL GP
2007 127 Milan Kytnar 1 NHL GP
2008 133 Philippe Cornet 2 NHL GP
2010 162 Brandon Davidson Averaged 19:11 per game as a 24-year-old
2008 163 Teemu Hartikainen 52 NHL GP
2007-11 N/A 9 players 0 NHL GP

Edmonton found seven players with 15 picks, but only three
of significance. Rieder and Davidson are both excellent young players, while
Hartikainen played 50-odd games before chasing after KHL money.

Again, I’d favour the Oilers work overall.

On Balance

It will be up to each reader to judge for himself how to
factor in the number and quality of picks.

There’s a case to be made either way in the first round,
particularly if we ignore the first overalls and place a lot of emphasis on
Oliver Ekman-Larsson. With five picks outside the top-10, however, the Coyotes
landed one player of any real significance, while the Oilers added two NHL’ers
with only three picks.

Outside the first round, the results can be interpreted in
multiple ways. Arizona had a serious advantage in terms of second-round picks,
while the Oilers had more third, fourth and late-round selections.  

The Coyotes landed Michael Stone, easily their best player.
Aside from him, Oscar Lindberg had an impressive rookie season last year in a
depth role, while Louis Domingue and Scott Darling are both at least backup goalies.

Edmonton got Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson and Tobias
Rieder. Mileage may vary (I’m not particularly bullish on either Lindberg or
Domingue), but to my eye that’s three of the four best players found be either
team outside of the first round over this period.

I’d say that the Coyotes under Gretzky were out-drafted by
the Oilers under Prendergast/MacGregor over the same time period. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Bandwagon jumper

    Upon initial inspection, it would seem that both organizations had some major draft issues during that time period. I’m now curious to see how these two comparisons rank with the rest of the teams in the league over that time period.

      • Stranger-danger!

        Well written JW. I pretty much agree with your assessment of Gretzky’s performance in Arizona compared to the oilers in that time period. The one point I would suggest you overlooked was that the ever circling-the-drain coyotes probably didn’t have the resources to give Gretzky that Pendergast had. Unfortunately, this doesn’t ensure that Gretzky will be a success in Edmonton, but his record in Arizona probably isn’t particularly revealing.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      Good point. I’m sure every team misses most of the time, but are there teams that can reliably get 3 NHL players out of a year(this would seem like a huge improvement)?

  • Rob...

    Do you really think comparing NHL games played is appropriate when looking at a team with poor depth and an IR list that merits its own wing of a hospital? Just because they played games for the Oilers doesn’t mean they’d even crack the practice roster of another team.

    • Well, I’ve only listed games played for guys under the 100 games mark.

      The other thing you have to remember is that Arizona was awfully bad over this time period, too – and unlike the Oilers, the Coyotes didn’t really have the money to bring in free agents to compete with their young talent. So it’s a more level playing field than it would be with almost any other NHL team in terms of opportunity.

      • Rob...

        Arizona was bad, true. But you can be bad for the season with the same lineup you had since game 10, or you can be bad with frequent callups because your players are dislocating shoulders while tripping over the blue-line, or getting suplex’ed by linesmen. I honestly don’t know if the yotes qualify there, or if seasons where they traded away useful players to tank allowed a similar number of call-ups. I don’t envy you for the sports analytics gig. Too many variables.

          • Rob...

            It involved the systematic analysis of data. The question was: “How does Gretzky’s work compare to that of MacGregor/Prendergast over the same period?”

            Even if it was a simple look at games played in the NHL, it involved a direct comparison of data that, on the surface, assumes that more games played by one of the two groups indicates superior drafting.

  • fran huckzky

    The Oiler picks in 2007 made me upchuck at the time and having made me look at them again could be considered a form of torture. This was the beginning of the fall into the abyss.

  • freelancer

    Some good picks and some bad ones the same as any team. While I’m not wild at his record with second round picks I like the success with some of the later 1st round picks.

    Also with these draft comparisons I always find using 1st overall picks skews the numbers a bit in Edmonton’s favor. I would like to go back 10 years and see how Edmonton fairs against the rest of the NHL from picks 10-30.

  • The Dave

    I’m not sure about this method of draft analysis. The Oilers 1st round picks had a depth of 11th on average compared to Arizona’s average depth of 17th, and there are similar problems comparing other rounds.

    Others have also brought up that some players are artificially getting their NHL GP inflated by injuries in the majors or bad pro-scouting. Tyler Pitlick is a bubble player that would not have many GP if not for injuries (although his career was derailed by them as well). Meanwhile Arizona was smart enough to steal Tobias Rieder from us before he was an NHL player – so that goes to their amateur scouting department’s credit.

    I wonder about other things too, like the number of scouts employed, or how many picks that deviated from the McKenzie list (or RLR or whatever publication you want to stand by) played out. Brandon Gormley was a dud, but he was regarded very highly at the time and I think most scouting departments would have lauded that pick at 13 (as it turned out almost all of the first round defencemen from that draft were busts). I know the point is to see how good they are at projecting, but the Hall at 1 vs Gormley at 13 comparison isn’t a good way of determining quality of scouting. We might as well compare McDavid to Werenski in 5 years and then say “The Oilers scouts were better than Blue Jackets”, when taking a D in the mid first round is inherently higher risk and more difficult than picking a scoring forward with the first overall pick.

  • Lyxdeslic

    I know there is nothing going on in the summer, but I find we often over analyze the impact of certain people within the organization. Now I’m not saying Gretzky won’t have a significant role with the team/draft moving forward, however I will say his impact won’t be the be all, end all. I remember when we hired Craig Ramsey as an experienced assistant coach. There were very few people critical of the decision and numerous media outlets spoke highly of his power play. The result? We still ended up bottom of the league with a lousy power play and he was shipped out of town not even 2 years later. Now i’m not saying Ramsay is a poor coach, I still am a fan of him, but it just shows how some personal changes don’t make a world of a difference.

    Drafting is one step, but I’d argue development has just as big of an impact. Brandon Gormley is a perfect example. Arizona slow played him and 4 years after he was drafted, he scored 36 points in 54 AHL games and was looking like a fine prospect. They graduated him into NHL the following season and he lost his confidence. This year he scored 6 points in 39 AHL games, spending partial time in the AHL and NHL. I don’t claim to know why his play has dropped off so significantly but I’d argue that some of it has to do with development at the NHL level.

    • daryl

      Here’s the thing this is not a great move we need a true first class scouting dept and this is not a good first step. Look I love Wayne but his brother got the job in AZ because of him we really need to be smarter here have to put this move right there with Reinhart.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I would argue that development is the single most important issue the Oilers have. Often players are treated differently based on who daddy is, personality conflicts or ?. I think one glaring example of management shafting a player was the whole mess with Souray and the loss of Smyth for 100,000$ If you want to win as a GM check your ego at the door. Take care of people well and they will work their tails off for you. There have been numerous players here who stayed up from the minors even though there were players on the farm who had better numbers at the same position.

  • The Dave wrote:

    Meanwhile Arizona was smart enough to steal Tobias Rieder from us before he was an NHL player – so that goes to their amateur scouting department’s credit.

    Of course, they could have just drafted him. Instead, they picked Kale Kessy three selections earlier. Obviously, there was a change of heart inside the organization, but I would suggest the real credit for that deal should go to Steve Tambellini and Don Maloney. It was Tambellini’s poor decision-making that allowed Maloney to correct his scouts’ original choice.

    • The Dave

      Well GMs are operating on their scouts advice (I believe the Griffin Reinhart trade and Bob Green’s employment would be a good and more recent example). I have no idea why anyone drafted Kale Kessey at all, so I don’t know why Arizona took him, but they definitely corrected it well enough.

      Also, do you think there is significant variance in how much meddling happens to team’s scouting departments? The Oilers taking Yak when the scouts allegedly wanted Murray, and the reported decision to take Hall when Stu preferred Seguin come to mind. How often do scouts get overruled?

      • Butters

        I wonder about the meddling too. JW had some interesting points on Gretzky’s draft record with Boston on Lowetides show.

        I wonder how much influence Sweeney and Neely had on the picks. Those two seem determined to run the Bruins into the ground.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        as much as i constantly bash Stu on a regular basis for his crappy drafting after the 1st round, him wanting Murray and not Nail, even when we stole the 1st overall from the Jackets, as well as wanting Seguin over Hall should be a feather in his cap.

        • pkam

          Eberle at 22nd and Klefbom at 19th are pretty good picks, especially if you compare the players drafted near them in that year.

          Then Pitlick, Marincin, Hartikainen, Rieder, Davidson in the later rounds are not too shabby.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            right, picks like Rieder, Davidson and Marincin are all good NHLers and another feather in his cap. he just needed to do more since 2007 when he came on as head scout and he didn’t.

          • pkam

            This is what I consider good pick by MacGregor after round 1 since 2008:

            2008: We don’t have a pick in 2nd and 3rd round, Hartikainen is drafted in 6th round.

            2009: Lander and Rajala seem to be pretty good pick. Lander has been really good in the minors but unable to deliver at NHL unless under coach Nelson. Rajala had a very successful rookie season in minors. Who knows what may happen if he choose to stay in NA.

            2010: The best season with Pitlick (the only problem being health), Marincin, Davidson.

            2011: Other than Reider, Musil and Simpson still have a chance. And Klefbom at 19th is a great pick if you compare him to the rest of the 1st round picks that year.

            2012: Erik Gustafsson in round 4 already played a season in Chicago. Khaira and Laleggia look pretty good at round 3 and 5.

            Picks in 2013 and later are too soon to judge. So overall I think is not too shabby.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            i suppose i can agree on the not too shabby part, but for me it just wasn’t enough. i do realize that not every or even most picks turn out, but i got the feeling Stu quite often got a little too cute with his suggested picks, too often going for too many boom or bust or guys from fringe leagues that ended up in college for 3 or 4 years when really the Oilers during a long rebuild needed players that could show up on the NHL roster a whole lot sooner than that !

    • GCW

      If the issue was as rumored, over bonus money, then that smacks of Lowe. Tambo made the trade, but I would bet good money it’s Lowe that wouldn’t pay Reider what he wanted that forced the trade.

  • knee deep in it

    The Dave briefly touches on a point that I think is very important. If you are going to compare two management groups, you have to be sure that they have the same resources and the same direction from their bosses.

    The Oilers are one of the richest teams and should have used an unlimited management / scouting budget to give them a major advantage. It is a crime that our drafting wasn’t a lot better.

    The other issue is money available for development. Again, the Oilers should have unlimited resources to coach and develop players while the Yotes would be amongst the lowest spenders.

  • Shredder

    I’d say there’s some bias here – we all follow our own guys and see hope/potential. Then there are other teams that have a bunch of random names, and even those that made the NHL, I’m like, wha??? I dunno, I’m not too worried about it. I don’t believe anyone commenting is going to be able to say one scout is better than the other. Chiarelli is comfortable with him, he will live and die on that sword.

  • Nugent-Bagkins93

    Huge add to our team. This guy apparently is as good a manager as his brother was a hockey player. Should help us avoid trading our stars for a slow 6-7 Dman in the future!

  • Oiler Al

    Well at least the Yotes make the play offs
    in 09,10, and 11. Can’t say that for the Oil.!!
    {09 was Tippets first year,after brother Wayne left the bench in Arizona.

  • TKB2677

    I’m curious why Willis chose to use Arizona’s drafting stats where based in an ESPN article he was just a scout. He then in 2011 went to Boston where he was a scout but then promoted to director of amateur scouting in 2013. So why isn’t his Boston employment being used as well? Until the Sweeneytook over as
    GM, I thought the Bruins did decent at drafting.

    I’m curious, if his last name was anything but a name tied to the Oilers, would there be as much scrutiny? My guess is no but I doubt anyone doing all the scrutinizing would admit that.

    • Keith Gretzky started out as a scout in Phoenix but was promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting in July 2006. He remained in that position until 2011, which is why we’ve considered the 2007-11 drafting period.

      The Boston work needs to be considered more carefully, since it’s far too early to judge most of the players selected under his watch (2014-16) there.

  • Serious Gord

    Here is the thing that appears to be most damning thing about KG’s career in PHX:

    His brother becomes part owner in 2000. KG gets hired in 2001.

    Wayne’s contract ends in 2011. KG is out in 2011.

    Looks like nepotism through and through and JW’s analysis above seems to confirm it.

    And the OG hire looks like cronyism on the face of it.

  • Serious Gord

    My question to you Jonathan is the same one i always ask when it comes to the hiring of personnel:

    Was KG the best option available? IOW was this an honest-to-God BPA (Best Person Available) hiring or were there other non-hockey related factors that influenced or prevented the BPA from being hired?

    The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests the latter, but I don’t know the Assistant GM market at all. Perhaps you do and could offer up some of the other options that Chia may have had.

    • Ed in Edmonton 1

      A lot of the AGMs in the league have come up through ranks of scouting and personnel development. There are outliers like Chia (who went from a player’s agent to AGM in Ottawa) and Bill Guerin in Pittsburgh (who went from player to skills coach to AGM in 3 years). So I’m guessing other scouting director types would be likely candidates I would guess.

      Hiring people that you have worked with, and have a positive impression of, is one of the biggest ins for hiring. Why take a chance on a person who you know only by reputation or in an interview process. Chia hiring a person he worked with before is hardly surprising.

    • pkam

      How do you know KG is not the best option available for Chia?

      Who promoted KG to the director of amateur scouting in Boston? Wasn’t it Chia? If Chia didn’t think KG is the best option available to him then, why would he do that in Boston? Are you suggesting Wayne Gretzky has connection to the Bruins too?

      If Chia believed KG was his best option then, what makes you think today’s hire will be any different?

      It is the same as TMac brought Jay Woodcroft and Jim Johnson from San Jose to be his assistant here. The only difference is their last name has nothing to do with the Oilers history. If they do, I am sure you will here questioning about best available option.

    • fran huckzky

      Gord, who you think may be the best man available is of no consequence and asking Janathan who he thinks is an asinine question. The fact is, Chia was doing the hiring and he picked the person who he felt was the best fit. Don’t be trying to put spin on this that doesn’t exist except in your mind.

      • Serious Gord

        So if we had a list of who was available like we do in drafts we can judge but if we don’t we can’t.

        That’s what in part I’m saying. And asking if JW who might have been on the ‘list’ – someone who follows the NHL for a living – is a legitimate query.

    • The AGM position is a tough one to figure, because it’s difficult to know which people in other organizations might accept a post.

      For example: Would it be a promotion or demotion if Montreal’s Trevor Timmins (VP, Player Personnel; Director of Amateur Scouting) were to be offered the job? Does his contract allow him to switch organizations if he takes a promotion?

      There are a lot of good hockey people out there.

      • Serious Gord

        Thanks for the reply.

        It seems miraculous that with very few exceptions over these many years going back to the nineties that with very very few exceptions the management hires in the oilers org have all had nepotistic or friendly connections with the org prior to being hired. That the KG hiring does not break with that horrible habit is cause for serious doubt that any real search for the best person available was made.

        That many in the fanbase and media are scoffing at such concern after all that has transpired is evidence that the oiler version of the Stockholm syndrome is a very hardy perennial.

  • TKB2677

    People can complain and point the finger at a scout like Gretzky but if their boss decides not to take their recommendation, who’s fault is it? By all accounts the Oilers entire scouting staff voted against taking Yakupov, yet Yakupov is an Oiler. So how do you blame the scout?

    • This is a legitimate point, and my assumption has been that Gretzky had control of his draft board.

      However, I would suggest that interference is far more likely to come early – i.e. Turris, Ekman-Larsson and Boedker – than it is to come late. It’s easy to imagine the GM finding the time to have a firm opinion on the first round, but would he feel so strongly about Joel Gistedt? Harrison Ruopp?

      If there was interference in the early picks, Gretzky’s record arguably looks even worse.

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        I’m not sure why you are comparing Gretzky to the past drafts and past heads of amature scouting?

        If Gretzky was hired to be head of amature scouting then I’d think the article would be relevant.

        Gretzky job will have very little to do with the amature side of things now, his main area of focus will be Bakersfield and the ECHL, a little input of both pro and amature but not to the extent we should be analyzing Gretzky drafting as if it has future ramifications.

        Now, if Bob Green gets axed then that’s when I think it would be a good idea to look into Gretzkys record of drafting.

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            Yes, in the AHL and ECHL, with some input to the amature and pro sides. Not to the extent he was as head of amature scouting. It’s not what he was hired for, so how much CHL talent evaluation will he input into next years draft? Very little at all..Full stop.

          • So despite the fact that amateur scouting has been his only hockey job since 2001 we should not look at his scouting record because he won’t be scouting anymore?

            1. Why did they hire him exactly if he won’t be doing anything related to the work he’s done for the last 15 years?

            2. How exactly are people concluding that he is a “smart hockey guy” if not based on his scouting work?

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            Have at it, look all you want.

            I’m saying, that looking at his past draft record as if it has some type of ramifications going forward for the Oilers or in the future of amature drafting is really a waste

            It’s not his job…

            1) Because, he’s a hockey man with over 15 years experience in scouting and a few more coaching that’s why.
            There’s a huge connection between the GM and Gretzky, when the GM is surrounded by 5 or 6 guys that made up the old group it’s a really good idea to have someone you can trust in the room.
            He’s also very familiar with Bakersfield

            2) He’s also coached at the amature level too. The guys know his hockey, I’m not disputing that, nor am I disputing he was a scout.

            I’m saying it’s not his job any longer, the majority of his time will be spent making sure the Condors are running right, the ECHL team is running right and the pro side, he’ll have a voice in both amature and pro scouts but it will be just a voice.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          with Green’s input, the Oilers have now had 2 very good drafts in my opinion. i’m not concerned that Green is going to go anywhere else anytime soon.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    I don’t see a material difference between what the Oil did vs the Yotes during this period. Draft position determines results more than anything else.

  • madjam

    In a recent article Oilers rated poorly at 27th for GM ‘s out of 31 (Vegas included). Rated 15th for coach out of 30 , and 7th best for farm club . Mind you , the worst clubs rated the best for farm clubs . Sounds like Keith more in tune with Chia than Scott was . However , Scott is also not gone for sure unless he can find another assignment elsewhere . Otherwise , it sounds like they will bring him back in another capacity .

  • hootoil

    The Oiler hiring of an Assistant GM with a famous last name may not be the issue.It seems that Peter Chiareli believes in top heavy management. The larger the Management does not equate to ice success.Hire enough Management to do the Job — not so many to allow everyone stumbling on each other.
    The fans are being out managed.

    Technology can and should assist in reducing Management.

  • fasteddy

    I’m potentially making a huge assumption here, but my gut feeling is that almost all teams would look similar by draft comparison; some hits, some misses, generally speaking impact players picked early. There’s always room for improvement on every team as it relates to drafting and developing. The real issue is what do teams have in place for veterans and coaches at a given time, which will be indicative of a team’s performance for a few years following any draft year used as a barometer. Turning fifth rounders into superstars is luck, not good drafting/development.

  • Reg Dunlop

    It seems like this comparison would be valid if Gretzky was appointed Head of Amatuer Scouting. Assistant GM has many duties that don’t involve the draft such as contract negotiations and fiscal planning so, even though it is the dog-days of August, I fail to see the relevance. Otherwise, GOOD ARTICLE, JON.

  • Petrolero

    Isn’t the assistant GM more about contracts, salary cap and things like that rather than amateur drafting? If that’s the case the drafting history is less relevant