My amateur take on the Byfield draft

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emsomaso

Lurker
Hi everyone!

I got a bit tired of the whole discussion about if Blake did a terrible job drafting Byfield with the 2:nd pick in the 2020 draft or not! So I decided to look thru the top 10 draft picks from 2008 (when we last picked at number 2) up until 2018 (after that it’s get difficult to yet know if a pick was good or not) and sort the selected players in 3 categories (great, acceptable and bad) based on what they did bring to the club that drafted them.

To be counted as 1. a great pick we’re basically talking star player, 2. acceptable is a good player for a long time or maybe he got traded, left early as a FA or didn’t develop exactly as thought/hoped and 3. a bad pick is just what it says…

And remember, this is just my personal opinions and there will for sure be players that should have been placed in another category. But this is just for fun and maybe can be something to discuss, not an exact truth or anything like that! :)

So let’s get started:

2008
1. Great pick = 3 (Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo)
2. Acceptable pick = 1 (Bailey)
3. Bad pick = 6 (Bogosian, L.Schenn, Filatov, Wilson, Boedker, Hodgson)

2009
1. Great pick = 2 (Tavares, Hedman)
2. Acceptable pick = 5 (Duchene, Kane, B.Schenn, Ekman Larsson, Kadri)
3. Bad pick = 3 (Glennie, Cowan, Paajarvi)

2010
1. Great pick = 1 (Hall)
2. Acceptable pick = 4 (Seguin, Johansen, Skinner, Granlund)
3. Bad pick = 5 (Gudbranson, Niederreiter, Connolly, Burmistrov, McIllrath)

2011
1. Great pick = 4 (Landeskog, Huberdeau, Scheifele, Couturier
2. Acceptable pick = 5 (Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, Zibanejad, Hamilton, Brodin)
3. Bad pick = 1 (Strome)

2012
1. Great pick = 1 (Reilly)
2. Acceptable pick = 3 (Lindholm, Dumba, Trouba)
3. Bad pick = 6 (Yakupov, Murray, Reinhart, Galchenyuk, Koekkoek, Pouliot)

2013
1. Great pick = 3 (MacKinnon, Barkov, Horvat)
2. Acceptable pick = 4 (Jones, Lindholm, Monahan, Nurse)
3. Bad pick = 3 (Drouin, Ristolainen, Nichuschkin)

2014
1. Great pick = 3 (Ekblad, Draisaitl, W.Nylander)
2. Acceptable pick = 2 (Reinhart, Ehlers)
3. Bad pick = 5 (Bennett, Dal Colle, Virtanen, Fleury, Ritchie)

2015
1. Great pick = 4 (McDavid, Marner, Meier, Rantanen)
2. Acceptable pick = 4 (Eichel, Hanifin, Provorov, Werenski)
3. Bad pick = 2 (Strome, Zacha)

2016
1. Great pick = 3 (Matthews, Laine, M.Tkachuk)
2. Acceptable pick = 3 (Dubois, Keller, Sergachyov)
3. Bad pick = 4 (Puljujarvi, Juholevi, A.Nylander, Jost)

2017
1. Great pick = 3 (Hischier, Makar, Pettersson)
2. Acceptable pick = 2 (Heiskanen, Rasmussen)
3. Bad pick = 5 (Patrick, Glass, Andersson, Mittelstadt, Tippett)

2018
1. Great pick = 3 (Dahlin, Svechnikov, B.Tkachuk)
2. Acceptable pick = 2 (Hughes, Bouchard)
3. Bad pick = 5 (Kotkaniemi, Hayton, Zadina, Boqvist, Kravtsov)

In total 2008 - 2018
1. Great pick = 30 (27%)
2. Acceptable pick = 35 (32%)
3. Bad pick = 45 (41%)

First, thanks to anyone who hang thrue until the end! :)

Lets then finish of with my amateur conclusion: Did Blake make a mistake drafting Byfield? Pretty easy to answer (or impossible depending on how you look at it…) since there is simply way to early for anyone to tell. Byfield came with a ”will take time to reach his potential” tag attached and this is exactly what it looks like today! Do we all wish he would have shown more by now, of course we do! Is it surprising that he still looks very raw, not the least!

It is also worth noting that from what I’ve read, pretty much every other team in the league would have drafted Byfield before Stutzle if given the chance. So it is not like this is a new ”going off the board and select Thomas Hickey” pick, like I’ve seen some refer it too…

So if Blake did a mistake, he’s for sure in ”good” company since only 27% of the above players drafted can be seen as great picks, which is what you as a fan wants (demands…) of a top 10 pick! That means that 73% of the 110 players drafted in the top ten during this 11 year span didn’t develop like the most knowledgable people in the game thought they would/should/could…

Even if I narrow it down to just the top 3 selections during this period it shows how difficult it is to hit the jackpot in the draft since basically only half of them can be seen as great picks for the club that drafted them:
1. Great pick = 17/33 or 52% (Stamkos, Doughty, Tavares, Hedman, Hall, Landeskog, Huberdeau, MacKinnon, Barkov, Ekblad, Draisaitl, McDavid, Matthews, Laine, Hischier, Dahlin, Svechnikov)
2. Acceptable pick = 7/33 or 21% (Duchene, Seguin, Nugent-Hopkins, Reinhart, Eichel, Dubois, Heiskanen)
3. Bad pick = 9/33 or 27% (Bogosian, Gudbranson, Yakupov, Murray, Galchenyuk, Drouin, Strome, Patrick, Kotkaniemi)

So hopefully we can all agree that the draft is kind of a crap-shot and I’m glad I’m not the one who has to do these decisions!

As said, this is my personal take and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me… :)
 
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It is also worth noting that from what I’ve read, pretty much every other team in the league would have drafted Byfield before Stutzle if given the chance.

This is something the "armchair" GMs seem to always forget. I remember when everyone ripped Ottawa for taking Alexandre Daigle in 1993. Even though Pronger was taken 2nd I'm pretty most if not all of the 26 teams in the league then would have taken Daigle. They were also criticized for giving him that contract but half the league would have done the same (at that time). Sometimes it does NOT pay to have the higher picks....you are sort of forced to take the "top" player since you'd look stupid if you didn't.

jom
 
You're kind of using bad methodology, though. There's often a big drop off from 1 to 2 to 3 overall picks and an absolute gulf between No. 10 overall and a No. 2 overall. So looking the top 10 is not really illustrative of your point. Misses on pick No. 10 should be a lot more frequent than misses on pick No. 2. You should be really looking at the first and second overall picks only, or better yet, just second. And no one knows how the other teams had Stutzle and Byfield rated, it's all speculation. There was an in-depth story somewhere about the Kings' choice, and it was really close between the two players. I imagine it would have been really close for other teams as well.

I would have picked Stutzle; that said, I haven't given up on Byfield yet. Contrary to what some around here say, he has definitely shown flashes of top-end skill and has made some really heady plays. There are also things about his game I find concerning. We'll know more in a year or two.
 
You're kind of using bad methodology, though. There's often a big drop off from 1 to 2 to 3 overall picks and an absolute gulf between No. 10 overall and a No. 2 overall. So looking the top 10 is not really illustrative of your point. Misses on pick No. 10 should be a lot more frequent than misses on pick No. 2. You should be really looking at the first and second overall picks only, or better yet, just second.

There may for sure be better ways to analyze this, I’ll give you that. But I still think this way has more value than the normal ”Byfield sucks, he a bust that can’t skate/pass/shoot, Blake must be fired, every other GM would have done a better choice” kind of rants I see here all the time…

And yes, there is normally a big difference between pick nr 1-3 and number 10, that’s why I also had this part:

Even if I narrow it down to just the top 3 selections during this period it shows how difficult it is to hit the jackpot in the draft since basically only half of them can be seen as great picks for the club that drafted them:
1. Great pick = 17/33 or 52% (Stamkos, Doughty, Tavares, Hedman, Hall, Landeskog, Huberdeau, MacKinnon, Barkov, Ekblad, Draisaitl, McDavid, Matthews, Laine, Hischier, Dahlin, Svechnikov)
2. Acceptable pick = 7/33 or 21% (Duchene, Seguin, Nugent-Hopkins, Reinhart, Eichel, Dubois, Heiskanen)
3. Bad pick = 9/33 or 27% (Bogosian, Gudbranson, Yakupov, Murray, Galchenyuk, Drouin, Strome, Patrick, Kotkaniemi)
 
You're kind of using bad methodology, though. There's often a big drop off from 1 to 2 to 3 overall picks and an absolute gulf between No. 10 overall and a No. 2 overall. So looking the top 10 is not really illustrative of your point. Misses on pick No. 10 should be a lot more frequent than misses on pick No. 2. You should be really looking at the first and second overall picks only, or better yet, just second. And no one knows how the other teams had Stutzle and Byfield rated, it's all speculation. There was an in-depth story somewhere about the Kings' choice, and it was really close between the two players. I imagine it would have been really close for other teams as well.

I would have picked Stutzle; that said, I haven't given up on Byfield yet. Contrary to what some around here say, he has definitely shown flashes of top-end skill and has made some really heady plays. There are also things about his game I find concerning. We'll know more in a year or two.

While i agree with what you're saying, it should also be pointed out that pretty much every draft, we see guys taken later, mid 1sts, late 1sts, 2nds, etc... that vastly out perform their draft pick status. So in that respect, i do think it's worth looking at more than just the top 3, because inevitably, guys are taken outside the top three that, in hindsight, should have been taken sooner. It's also worth considering that had we picked 1st, and taken Laf (who was consensus #1 ) we'd still be comparing our pick to Stutzle, because at the end of the day, this stuff never goes exactly as you expect.

Like you, ive seen the high end skill. It's there. QB needs time to play. He's probably playing his longest stretch (i believe) of NHL games, right now... at 23 games. Im definitely looking forward to revisiting things about this time next season.
 
While i agree with what you're saying, it should also be pointed out that pretty much every draft, we see guys taken later, mid 1sts, late 1sts, 2nds, etc... that vastly out perform their draft pick status. So in that respect, i do think it's worth looking at more than just the top 3, because inevitably, guys are taken outside the top three that, in hindsight, should have been taken sooner. It's also worth considering that had we picked 1st, and taken Laf (who was consensus #1 ) we'd still be comparing our pick to Stutzle, because at the end of the day, this stuff never goes exactly as you expect.

Like you, ive seen the high end skill. It's there. QB needs time to play. He's probably playing his longest stretch (i believe) of NHL games, right now... at 23 games. Im definitely looking forward to revisiting things about this time next season.

Agree, the skills are there for sure. Now he ”just” have to display them more often, but hopefully that will come as he becomes more comfortable and gets more confidence.
 
I don't think any of this matters...everyone knows why we chose 55...it has not worked out...period..whether he needs more time in nhl or whatever...but his spot on the top line is absolutely wasted...it's pathetic we just can't look at performance when talking about this..I'm a minority...and if Alex lauded me every night with "wow he had 5 shots on goal last game.." and I got top line minutes..I would work harder...at best he is weak now...we lost in that draft.. but have no shortage of chearleaders and unsold 55 jerseys at crypto..what evs...
 
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Two seasons from now, we will have a better understanding. We all knew it would take time.
 
Blake did not make a bad pick, he did what most Gm’s do and made the safe pick. Unfortunately, there are many top picks that don’t pan out and I think we may have that in this situation. Sure, he is young and he should get more time, but watching him personally I would want to see more skill for a first line player. Effort and experience can come with age but when I watch Villardi or Kaliyev, I see skill, I don’t see the same with Byfield, at least not enough of it to be a future first line player.

He could be a slightly upgraded version of Trevor Lewis, a serviceable NHL player, but he will not be the one to replace Kopitar, which is what I had hoped for when we drafted him.
 
Blake did not make a bad pick, he did what most Gm’s do and made the safe pick.

Not sure i agree with this. Stutzle was more NHL ready, and certainly neck and neck with Byfield for the 2nd overall. In my opinion, Blake gambled here (and im fine with that), because the finished product might be more valuable down the road. Younger. More raw. Longer term expected to develop. Higher Ceiling and impact if everything pans out. That's not safe. It was a gamble that Blake made, in line with the team's strategy to draft deep at center and Defense. And given Vilardi and Turcotte's development at the time, i think it was a smart move.
 
Stutzle looks like the better pick as of now. Better than not only Byfield but Lafrienere as well. But we'll see how it shakes out long term.

The common theme that I have seen is "we are expecting more from a #2 overall pick," as we should.

Go Kings!!
 
For sure, there is no one that would say that Stutzle isn’t the best player from the 2020 draft today! But hopefully that will change in a couple of years. And to be honest, I couldn’t care less about Stutzle as long as Byfield becomes a really good player on his own!

This much is true. For the last draft I paid any attention to - Doughty became impressive before Stamkos. Now I couldn't say which was more valuable to their team, I think it's pretty close and irrelevant :D Will either of these kids reach those levels? I hope so, but prefer it would be Byfield as well :D
 
I haven’t seen a single high-end skill play from Byfield in the NHL. Ever. And I was tearing my hair out hoping Blake would draft Byfield over Stutzle.

From the video, I was convinced he had speed. I never noticed any special stick handling abilities or exceptional shot. It was just a really fast big guy (kind of reminded me of Hall). It appears he doesn’t have speed, which isn’t good.

It's tough to gather confidence and a timely moment on ice during an NHL game where playoff pressure is on to show off your skill. It seems he's not that kind of flashy guy (like Durzi) who would take (big) risks to show off his skills. He's playing it safe and it's most likely as per the coach's instructions. Maybe it's partly also a confidence issue. There's literally no other explanation. He always had the skill. Why else would people compare him to effin' MALKIN?

People, stop being so pessimistic. He HAS been visibily improving since turning pro, he HAD quite a few bad breaks with injuries and he most likely plays more safely to develop the fundamentals as per the coach's instructions.

Seriously, watch this video of his 2nd Ontario season:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2j8OWi2XeQ

He has all the tools to be a dominant, franchise cornerstone type of a center. He just needs time and proper development. We all knew he's a project - why so impatient all of a sudden?

Remember- Kopitar came into the league and was immediately given the reigns to become the key offensive force, to do whatever it takes to make offense happen. No responsibility, no pressure of making playoffs. No two-way game.


You think Byfield was or should be given the same freedom?! Absolutely not. They intend to make him useful for playoffs, meaning a reliable and responsible physical presence that the Kings NEED, not a berserk forward looking at the goal only. It took Kopitar years to learn how to be a two-way player - but we don't have the luxury of time to give Byfield the chance to be a one dimensional player first, not if the intention is to do damage in the playoffs. The Kings (for a change) have enough offensively gifted forwards to take this approach with QB.

I think that's also the reason he's playing with Kopitar. I doubt they see him as a winger long-term...but what else is the best way to learn the Captain's game other than to play with him, talk with him, make him guide you on ice? And what else is the best way to learn to play against the best out there - other than play against the best out there, with a player that's been doing it successfuly almost his entire career?

The way QB plays speaks volumes that he's very coachable and a responsible hockey player. Which is a key if we want to develop him into "next Kopitar".

The Kings are *good enough* to make the playoffs with QB on top line and learning to play against the best by not being a driver on the offense. By being a passenger. Yes, he's a passenger because he's focusing on learning from the ground up, not on being a flashy offensive player.


You may not like this approach, but I assure you he's not going to just forget his skills from the juniors and Ontario and he WILL get the freedom to show them off eventually.
 
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it's tough to gather confidence and a timely moment on ice during an nhl game where playoff pressure is on to show off your skill. It seems he's not that kind of flashy guy (like durzi) who would take (big) risks to show off his skills. He's playing it safe and it's most likely as per the coach's instructions. Maybe it's partly also a confidence issue. There's literally no other explanation. He always had the skill. Why else would people compare him to effin' malkin?

People, stop being so pessimistic. He has been visibily improving since turning pro, he had quite a few bad breaks with injuries and he most likely plays more safely to develop the fundamentals as per the coach's instructions.

Seriously, watch this video of his 2nd ontario season:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2j8owi2xeq

he has all the tools to be a dominant, franchise cornerstone type of a center. He just needs time and proper development. We all knew he's a project - why so impatient all of a sudden?

remember- kopitar came into the league and was immediately given the reigns to become the key offensive force, to do whatever it takes to make offense happen. No responsibility, no pressure of making playoffs. No two-way game.


you think byfield was or should be given the same freedom?! absolutely not. They intend to make him useful for playoffs, meaning a reliable and responsible physical presence that the kings need, not a berserk forward looking at the goal only. It took kopitar years to learn how to be a two-way player - but we don't have the luxury of time to give byfield the chance to be a one dimensional player first, not if the intention is to do damage in the playoffs. The kings (for a change) have enough offensively gifted forwards to take this approach with qb.

i think that's also the reason he's playing with kopitar. I doubt they see him as a winger long-term...but what else is the best way to learn the captain's game other than to play with him, talk with him, make him guide you on ice? And what else is the best way to learn to play against the best out there - other than play against the best out there, with a player that's been doing it successfuly almost his entire career?

The way qb plays speaks volumes that he's very coachable and a responsible hockey player. Which is a key if we want to develop him into "next kopitar".

The kings are *good enough* to make the playoffs with qb on top line and learning to play against the best by not being a driver on the offense. By being a passenger. Yes, he's a passenger because he's focusing on learning from the ground up, not on being a flashy offensive player.


You may not like this approach, but i assure you he's not going to just forget his skills from the juniors and ontario and he will get the freedom to show them off eventually.

This!!!
 
PM me when Byfield scores a goal this nice (On a HoFer no less)

 
My heart says Byfield was the right pick but my brain says Stutzle was the better pick and that Quinton might be a bust
 
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