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Our Pick From a Year Ago


Derlique

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Larsson is a 19 year-old defenseman. His year has gone exactly as I thought it would. I'd take him #1 overall all day, and wouldn't think twice about it. Wait about 2-3 years and you won't even remember this year. I'm not worried about Larsson at all.

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I remember people saying some of the same things said here about Neidermayer when he was a rookie (soft, poor positionally, etc). Give the kid a break. He's a 19 year old rookie playing in the NHL, and in arguably the strongest division top to bottom in professional hockey. He will improve. Plus, everyone knows it takes defensemen longer to develop than forwards, and goalies longer than anyone else.

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If defensemen take so long to develop, does it make any sense to draft them early? By the time they are really good they are FAs.

When you have a chance to draft a cornerstone, franchise defenseman, you do it and you don't look back. Larsson won't be eligble to be a UFA for 6 years (or thereabouts, correct me if I'm wrong).

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True, but at the fourth pick, I would rather have a center (if the pick wasn't Larsson) who can have much more of an impact on the offensive end. Obviously too early to tell with Courturier that he won't add that dimension to his game, but so far he hasn't.

Beggars can't be choosers, and had Larsson not been there at 4, the Devils could've easily gone with Couturier. He hasn't added an offensive dimension because he doesn't play with offensively gifted players and he doesn't play very often on the power play, but I assure you he will be a 60 point guy in a few years. I'd rather have Couturier than Nugent-Hopkins.

If defensemen take so long to develop, does it make any sense to draft them early? By the time they are really good they are FAs.

If they're as good as Larsson it does.

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Beggars can't be choosers, and had Larsson not been there at 4, the Devils could've easily gone with Couturier. He hasn't added an offensive dimension because he doesn't play with offensively gifted players and he doesn't play very often on the power play, but I assure you he will be a 60 point guy in a few years. I'd rather have Couturier than Nugent-Hopkins.

I couldn't believe the Isles passed on Couturier to get Strome. Maybe Strome does end up the better player, but it seemed like the Isles were getting too cute rather than drafting the huge center with 2 monster seasons because they didn't want a guy who may play too similar to Tavares on the ice.

Then the Flyers got Couturier and I was even less happy with the Isles.

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Another point to add to for Larsson... This is the most amount of games he's every played professionally. He played 49 and 37 games the last 2 years. He's at 64 now.

No excuse!

I expect him to win the Norris next year by breaking Paul Coffey's record of 48 goals next year. Any less and he will be a bust.

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No excuse!

I expect him to win the Norris next year by breaking Paul Coffey's record of 48 goals next year. Any less and he will be a bust.

The sad part is a large portion of this spoiled fanbase actually thinks that way and will be disappointed when he doesn't meet their expectations.

Edited by Chuck the Duck
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The sad part is a large portion of this spoiled fanbase actually thinks that way and will be disappointed when he doesn't meet their expectations.

Yes and no. The thing is, I suspect there are people who look at Hedman's stats and think he's a bust. He isn't, though, and maybe his offense will come, maybe it won't, but he's already a top shutdown defender, and I expect a similar progression for Larsson.

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Yes and no. The thing is, I suspect there are people who look at Hedman's stats and think he's a bust. He isn't, though, and maybe his offense will come, maybe it won't, but he's already a top shutdown defender, and I expect a similar progression for Larsson.

Not a bust, but a lot more was expected of him, especially to be the second pick overall. At number 2, especially in a non-Chris Phillips draft, you want someone like Pronger, Chara, Weber or Ryan Suter. For all we know, Hedman might get there, but he's a ways away right now.

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Not a bust, but a lot more was expected of him, especially to be the second pick overall. At number 2, especially in a non-Chris Phillips draft, you want someone like Pronger, Chara, Weber or Ryan Suter. For all we know, Hedman might get there, but he's a ways away right now.

Pronger and Chara weren't anything special their first few years, either.

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Yes I know, but that's not the point.

That's exactly the point. Name defensemen better than that at that early of an age. It's really difficult. There were guys who were better offensively but didn't have the defensive chops. Hedman is already better than Chris Phillips ever was - although Phillips was pretty good.

All 4 of the guys you mentioned were not great defensemen at 21½. Hell, Suter and Weber was barely even in the NHL.

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Not a bust, but a lot more was expected of him, especially to be the second pick overall. At number 2, especially in a non-Chris Phillips draft, you want someone like Pronger, Chara, Weber or Ryan Suter. For all we know, Hedman might get there, but he's a ways away right now.

2 of the 4 players you named, were picked in the 2nd (Weber) and 3rd (Chara) rounds... Cherry picking much?

Anyways, Weber split time (AHL) his first year and was 28gp 2g, 8a

Suter spent a year in the AHL (lockout), and his first year he posted: 71gp, 1g, 15a his first year...

Chara was a 3rd rounder in 1996, who didn't develop until he reached Ottawa in the Yashin deal in 2001-02

Chris Pronger had a lot of issues in Hartford... but his first two seasons he posted 81gp, 5g, 25a and in the lockout shortened season posted 43gp, 5g, 9a...

So maybe your list should be... he isn't Chris Pronger?

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No, I would of taken Larsson. #1 potential defensemen don't come around often and when they do they are extremely hard to get. We have a pretty good pool of forwards for the future but defense is a bit skimpy so adding Larsson was great.

Plus, defensemen don't enter their prime for quite awhile and he is only 19. Just think for many he would be what? A freshman in college?

On a side not, Taylor Hall isn't looking too good with his injuries. Hopefully he can healthy to help Edmonton.

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2 of the 4 players you named, were picked in the 2nd (Weber) and 3rd (Chara) rounds... Cherry picking much?

Anyways, Weber split time (AHL) his first year and was 28gp 2g, 8a

Suter spent a year in the AHL (lockout), and his first year he posted: 71gp, 1g, 15a his first year...

Chara was a 3rd rounder in 1996, who didn't develop until he reached Ottawa in the Yashin deal in 2001-02

Chris Pronger had a lot of issues in Hartford... but his first two seasons he posted 81gp, 5g, 25a and in the lockout shortened season posted 43gp, 5g, 9a...

So maybe your list should be... he isn't Chris Pronger?

The idea is not to compare him to players taken at the same draft slot, but rather the type of defenseman you want someone drafted that high to turn into. So it would be nonsensical to say: we should hope for Larsson/Hedman to be as good as Wade Redden. Rather, one says, for example, I hope he turns out to be as good as Nik Lidstrom (a third round pick).

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That's exactly the point. Name defensemen better than that at that early of an age. It's really difficult. There were guys who were better offensively but didn't have the defensive chops. Hedman is already better than Chris Phillips ever was - although Phillips was pretty good.

All 4 of the guys you mentioned were not great defensemen at 21½. Hell, Suter and Weber was barely even in the NHL.

I was responding to your point that Hedman is a good "shut down" defenseman. He might be that right now, but you expect that he will turn into more at some point for someone drafted that high. Bryce Salvador has been an excellent shut down defenseman this year. However, we'd be pretty upset if that's what Larsson (or Hedman for Tampa fans) developed into.

And yes, I understand that it's too early to tell with Hedman, but I'm talking about where you would project him to be at some point.

Edited by Daniel
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I was responding to your point that Hedman is a good "shut down" defenseman. He might be that right now, but you expect that he will turn into more at some point for someone drafted that high. Bryce Salvador has been an excellent shut down defenseman this year. However, we'd be pretty upset if that's what Larsson (or Hedman for Tampa fans) developed into.

And yes, I understand that it's too early to tell with Hedman, but I'm talking about where you would project him to be at some point.

I think for clarity, you mean you are looking for an offensive d-man... in which case, I don't think you are going to ever be pleased with Hedman or Larsson for that matter. But both will be stud d-men who should be dominant in the latter part of this decade.

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I think for clarity, you mean you are looking for an offensive d-man... in which case, I don't think you are going to ever be pleased with Hedman or Larsson for that matter. But both will be stud d-men who should be dominant in the latter part of this decade.

Not necessarily. One can call Kurtis Foster an offensive defenseman, but he clearly stinks. But you would hope there should be a lot of offensive skill even if it doesn't always turn up on the stat sheet. After 95-96, Scott Stevens never put up more than 31 points in a season. However, he was much more than a "shut down" defenseman.

Also, I can't speak for Hedman, but one of Larsson's great strengths is supposed to be his vision when making outlet passes from the defensive zone. Even when a goal is scored, he wouldn't have an assist tallied.

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