The Rangers don't have any legitimate defense prospects, so them trading Del Zotto or Girardi would be a nightmare for them. They are already down Sauer and quite possibly Staal
Now you are talking nonsense. A team that drafts consistently in the 10 to 6 range that only has a bunch of players that are "capable of playing in the NHL" to show for it will always be drafting there because that team won't be any good. Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter are capable of playing in the NHL. Even if you don't take into account plausible alternatives, any GM that told you he wasn't disappointed because he got one of those players at number 9 would be considered a clown.
Or how about this, imagine if Lou traded the number 9 pick for, I don't know, Cal Clutterbuck, a perfectly capable NHL player. You can tell me how much he "drives play" all you want, but, if you were being honest at all, you would be screaming that Lou has lost his mind.
Because GMs also don't know how to think probabalistically. Josh Bailey probably represents the 50th percentile or so of 9th overall picks. Here, I'll extend a band between 7 and 11, and go over the drafts since 1998 to 2009:
1998: Malhotra, M. Bell, Rupp, Antropov, Heerema (1 out of 5 became a 'top 6 forward' - Bell was very briefly, maybe)
1999: Beech, Pyatt, Lundmark, Mezei, Saprykin (0 of 5 became a top 6 F/top 4 D)
2000: Jonsson, Alexeev, Krahn, Yakubov, Vorobiev (0 of 5)
2001: Komisarek, Leclaire, Ruutu, Blackburn, Sjostrom (I'll be generous and call this 3 of 5)
2002: Lupul, Bouchard, Taticek, Nystrom, Ballard (Again, generous, 3 of 5)
2003: Suter, Coburn, Phaneuf, Kostitsyn, Carter (5 of 5, again, being generous)
2004: Olesz, Picard, Smid, Valabik, Tukonen (1 of 5, generous)
2005: Skille, Setoguchi, Lee, Bourdon, Kopitar (2 of 5, generous)
2006: Okposo, Mueller, Sheppard, Frolik, Bernier (jury's out on Bernier, I'm calling this 1.5 out of 5)
2007: Voracek, Hamill, Couture, Ellerby, Sutter (2 of 5)
2008: Wilson, Boedker, Bailey, Hodgson, Beach (Generously giving 3.5)
2009: Kadri, Glennie, Cowen, Paajarvi, Ellis (2.5 out of 5)
So that's 24.5 out of 60 players who became top 4 D or top 6 Fs, and I pretty much gave everyone who was marginal a pass. This draft is supposed to be stronger, but again, you really can't go overrating a pick this high, it is by no means a sure thing, and if the Devils come out of it with a 2nd/3rd line player, it's not a disappointment, nor is it a triumph.
Re the Rangers, you could probably pencil in McIlrath as a guy that can be a legitimate NHL defenseman in the next couple of years.
Otherwise, I get it, you can always do worse than a solid NHL player at number 9. You could always do worse at number 1. And if we were talking about last year's draft, which was fairly pedestrian, you could take your lumps if that's all it turns out to be. But as you noted, not all draft classes are created equal, and this one is supposed to be very good. Considering the position the Devils are in, coming away with a third line forward or a second pairing defensemen would be disappointing. We have plenty of those types of players. In fact, virtually every team has those kinds of players. Getting another one doesn't advance the ball very far.
(Btw, there also appears to be a trend of picks in that range getting better, especially when compared to the late 90s, where you probably had less in the way of scouting resources and international play to rate European players, but that's just an off the cuff observation).
But this also brings me back to the original discussion of whether it makes sense to trade to number 5 and at what cost. Lou mentioned, when asked about the Avs noting that they would listen to offers, that they would "probably want our house". Now, you have Carolina evidently saying that they would trade their pick, who will land you someone that is not that much further off from MacKinnon, for a top four defenseman and a pick somewhere in the vicinity of what the Devils have. Playing it safe, will mean the Devils are probably going to be an on again off again playoff team. I could live with that, I suppose. If you trade Greene, the 9 and other things you can live without, the Devils are probably not much worse than that even if whoever you get at 5 fizzles. I mean, it might get worse next year, but as I said, with all of the defensemen that are in the system, you should expect at least one of them to be a decent replacement for Greene. In the meantime, if you end up getting 80 percent of the potential out of the number 5 pick, the Devils are a top seed caliber team on a year in, year out basis.
Frankly, I'm actually starting to not throw up at the idea of taking Fucale at 9. It assumes a lot of things of course, that the forwards available aren't going to be second line caliber, that Fucale is actually better than your typical first round goalie prospect, which some are suggesting he is, and that he won't be around at a later pick the Devils already have or might trade into. We all know that the problem or perceived problem with drafting a goalie is the difficulty of predicting their success. But if you get it right, it does you a whole a lot more good than a second line forward or top four defenseman.
That's what makes this fun I guess
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