The draft has concluded with all the magic one expects of these events. Gary Bettman being booed. Gary egging the crowd on. The Sedin twins showing they are not natural actors. And, the hit of the draft, the Stars owner Bob Gaglardi announcing Dallas’ first pick as Harley Thomas. Time for a reality check. Let’s look at 2019 NHL first-round draft picks who may go bust on their teams.
2019 NHL Draft Busts – Potentially
In most cases, everyone feels great about the first pick of their team right about now, but should they? History tells us roughly half or more of these kids will become nothing much and a few will be unholy busts. GMs no doubt have nightmares about a 2012 draft scenario where the first four picks resulted in no stars and two players who are no longer even in the league. Yes, the four prospects of the apocalypse.
- Nail Yakupov
- Ryan Murray
- Alex Galchenyuk
- Griffin Reinhart
So, who makes teams nervous in the 2019 NHL Draft? The Deke shall provide.
3. Kirby Dach, Blackhawks
When it comes to 2019 NHL Draft first-round picks who may go bust, Kirby Dach stands front and center. Dach is a kid with all the traits you want in a center. Big, good hands, good enough skating, and vision. So, what’s the concern? Kirby ain’t always engaged. Some games he looks like Mark Scheifele. Some games like Patrick Stephan [1999 bust of busts.]. The Kirbster doesn’t always play hard, shies away from physical battles, and does an excellent Houdini imitation for games on end. The Kirbsta barely led his WHL team in points per game when he should’ve dominated. Only 24th in the league in points per game. For comparison, Cozens was 13th. While Dach might have size like Getzlaf, he doesn’t have anywhere near the same compete level. The hope is he matures into a player who consistently plays hard, but if you can’t bring the “A” Game in a year when you know everyone is watching you…
For a floor, Dach is at least a 3C in a Jordan Stall mode, but you hope for more at pick 3.
Read More On The Draft: 2019 NHL Mock Draft – Mocked
Read More On The Draft: 2019 NHL Draft – Winners At First Glance
4. Bowen Byram, Avs
Three concerns exist with Byram. First, this was a weak year for defensemen, so was he being propped up a bit by a lack of inventory? Second, he’s average at best in the defensive zone – not a guy you put on the other team’s best player – and often exercises poor gap control. Third, many of his goals in juniors come off pinch plays that will not work in the NHL where forwards are quick to rush out to the point and will blow by him for 2 on 1s.
For a floor, Byram is at least a second pair defenseman, which isn’t the end of the world when Makar looks like a stud.
5. Alex Turcotte, LA Kings
Lo’ the year was 20 and 17. And lo’ did the Kings pick a center who has yet to play for them. Why? Gabe Vilardi apparently has a back situation that sends chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons running for their lives. Given this, should there be any concern that Turcotte missed half of the past season with a major hip injury? The only franchise in worse shape than the Kings at the moment is the Senators, and they are trying to suck. Rob Blake needs to hit on first-round picks. If Turcotte is fine, this pick is a home run. If the hip becomes an issue, the end will be nigh for Blake.
The ceiling is a first-line center who leads you to cups. The floor is as an actor in those commercials for seniors who need scooters to get around.
6. Mortiz Seider, Red Wings
When we are considering 2019 NHL Draft first-round potential busts, do I really need to explain this selection? Stevie Y has some big cajones. As in elephant big. As in King Kong big.
Floor is a stay-at-home defenseman in the second pairing for the next 15 years. Not so bad.
13. Spencer Knight, Panthers
Goalies. You already know the argument. The thing about Spencer that many people haven’t discussed is the USNDT was so loaded with talent that he rarely saw much action. What happens when he starts seeing 35 shots a night on a Florida team that has Keith “yikes” Yandal playing in the top two pairs? Remember, Al Montoya was once thought to be such a hot prospect that he was picked 6th overall. Yeah. Regrettable.
Knight could be the next Carey Price or his floor could be asking if you want fries with that?
20. Ville Heinola, Jets
I must admit that I don’t get the interest in this kid. He’s not bad at anything, but he’s not great at anything either. While he is smooth, he has skating issues and is a small 5’11. Small and skating problems do not usually make for a successful NHL career, particularly on a team like the Jets where being big and powerful is the style.
Heinola’s floor is three years in the AHL before heading back to Europe or the KHL.
27. Nolan Foote, Tampa
An overreaction to a playoff loss? Perhaps. Foote is a power forward who peaked a couple of years back in his development. While he’ll create a physical presence in the offensive zone, he’ll need five minutes to get there. Foote skates like he only has one foot with below-average speed, which makes this an odd pick considering the Lightning are a team that favors speed and creativity. One really can’t complain about a pick at 27, but this Foote projects as a fourth-liner or AHL veteran.
Foote’s floor is a ten-year AHL career.
There you have it. The 2019 NHL Draft first-round picks who may go bust. React!