In the end, they are still prospects until they prove otherwise. The only draft picks/acquisitions/developed players that seem to have definately made it are Simmonds and Quick. The others, including Johnson, still have question marks.
at the draft party a couple of years ago, and under a considerable haze, i heard Birdman yell out the following (about 4 or 5 times, i think) - "don't marry yourselves to players!" he went on to reiterate that idea more than once on the boards, and i believe it to be absolutely sage.
so apparently Waddell is at the Philly - Isles game today?
As of right now...yes...Atlanta is in the playoff hunt, but it's not in the same way as the Kings are and that should be obvious. The Kings have sucked pretty bad over the last few seasons, but have been building from the bottom up. There has been improvement every season, the youth has been getting better and playing tighter together, there is still a pretty good prospect pool here, we are regularly beating the better teams in the league (San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington, , etc...). Atlanta is in the playoff hunt still because...lets face it...the East sucks. Apart from a few great teams, it is a VERY weak Confrence, not to mention that Atlanta's Division is probably the WORST in the NHL. Hell, they have 56 points and are in 6th place. In the West, that would put them tied for 13th. Then when you actually look at it, even in the East they are 2 points out of 13th.
Atlanta is reaping the benefits of playing in a weak confrence, and Kovy HAS to know that. There is no bright future there, but Los Angeles has nothing but upside at this point. If you are looking strictly at numbers, such as the ones you posted, there is little difference. But if THAT is ALL you are looking at, then you will never understand the whole picture.