Just days before
"How do their bloodhounds sniff 'em out better than anyone else?," I wondered.
"They don't," he said. "They've just stumbled across a couple while feeling around in the dark. It's all dumb luck."
Sour grapes from a rival? Hardly. He was just pointing out the obvious. When it comes to the draft, there are no guarantees, even if you're holding the No. 1 pick. You think Atlanta would like a do-over on
There's no science to determining the full-grown potential of 17-year-old boys. You do your homework, compare notes with the other guys on your staff, point to a name and hope for the best. Every now and then, the hockey gods smile on you and the kid pulls on your jersey for something other than a draft day photo shoot.
No one on the Wings staff will suggest otherwise when it comes to the selection of Zetterberg. They certainly weren't sitting on their hands at that 1999 draft table, giggling, waiting to see how long they could wait to pull the trigger on their super-secret sleeper pick while mocking the weak and puny scouting methods of their opponents. Truth is that they had no idea what they were getting when they nabbed Zetterberg 210th overall.
In fact, if the Wings truly were omniscient,
Today, it's hard to imagine how every NHL team could have turned up their noses so often on the player who has emerged as the best in his draft class. Check the contemporary scouting notes, though, and there were plenty of reasons why 209 others were deemed more desirable. Too small. Not strong enough on the puck. Inconsistent effort from game to game.
But by the time the seventh round rolls around, every choice is a flyer, an amalgam of flaws with maybe one redeeming quality. Red Wings European scout
It was the same situation a year earlier when the Wings pegged their hopes on
Those two late-rounders-turned-first-line-superstars, along with mid-round gems like
Just goes to show the draft is a total crapshoot once you get past the first few picks. Even for the Red Wings.
Looking for a couple names that might be worth remembering in case your team grabs them later on? Here are eight players who should get to slip on a sweater sometime later on Saturday and have something to their games that has made a scout or two take notice. Odds are they're more likely to be this year's Maximenko or Tolsa than