The day after the ASG is traditionally the quietest day of the hockey season, so I thought it was a good opportunity to look back at the drafting record of GM Doug Risebrough. Now, to be fair, it's a little too early to fully judge him on some of these picks, but I think we can get a good feel on the level of his success. For simplification purposes I will restrict this look at first round picks only.
2000 (3rd overall) Marian Gaborik -- groin aside, this was a great pick. No arguments here. Grade: A.
2001 (6th overall) Mikko Koivu -- again a great pick. Mikko took several years to arrive on the scene, but he has shown tremendous improvement each year and will be a solid, solid player for this team for many years to come. Grade: A-.
2002 (8th overall) Pierre-Marc Bouchard -- another good pick. Bouchard was highly-touted coming out of juniors and has been pretty much as advertised, a great set-up man. Should be on the roster for several years. Grade: A-.
2003 (20th overall) Brent Burns-- it's difficult to find a superstar at #20 overall, so I'll give him some latitude here. Burns stepped into a roster spot right away and eventually was moved to defense. Still young and learning, but I'm happy with his progress. Grade: B+.
2004 (12th overall) A.J. Thelen -- this is Doug's most disappointing pick. I'll cut him a little slack here because Thelen had a great freshman season at Michigan State just prior to the draft and he was a puck-carrying defenseman, but this was not a good pick. Thelen is nowhere near the NHL and may never make the team. Drew Stafford (13th), Alexander Radulov (15th) and Wojtek Wolski (21st) were all picked after.
2005 (4th overall) Benoit Pouliot -- the jury's out on this one, but the 4th overall pick should be a superstar, and I'm not quite sold on Benoit yet. They just missed out on Jack Johnson at No. 3, so I'm not too upset here. We'll have to keep an eye on Carey Price (5th), Jack Skille (7th) and Anze Kopitar (11th).
2006 (9th overall) James Sheppard -- again, they just missed out on who I would've liked, Kyle Okposo (7th). Again, WAY too early to grade this pick.
Overall, he's done a great job drafting, although the recent 3 picks raise some concern; get back to me in 2 years and we'll know more.