The Peerless was fiddling around with some numbers looking at players picked fifth in the NHL entry draft. We looked at #5 picks going back to 1991. Since then, in 16 drafts, 15 skaters were taken (Carey Price being the only goaltender). We looked at those players two different ways. First, we broke the 15 into the 1991-2000 group to identify players that have an established identify and record in the NHL. The other five we set aside as players to watch.
In the first group there are five defensemen and five forwards. Given the concentration of forwards at the top of the 2007 draft rankings, it seems that would be the place to focus. If you look at a “composite” of those five forwards, given their careers so far, a composite average season for the #5 pick as a forward is 18-26-44, -5. And, these five players took, on average, an additional season before playing at least 40 games in an NHL season.
What is curious is the “players to watch” category. There are four forwards among the five skaters in that group. Only three have NHL experience, and their “composite” 82-game season line is 19-24-43, +1. These are players at the dawn of their careers, and yet they look a lot like #5 picks from 5-15 years ago. The Peerless wouldn’t read too much into it though…the numbers are skewed by those put up thus far by Thomas Vanek (68-64-132 in 163 games).
Any way one looks at it, you’re looking at a year or so until the #5 pick actually arrives, and when he does, another two or three years before he’s a solid citizen. But chances are, a solid citizen he will be.
Oh, and here’s the dark cloud . . . of those ten skaters taken at #5 from 1991-2000? Know how many are with the team that drafted them?
. . . none.