Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What a difference a pick makes...

Trevor Linden could have ended up being the captain of the Dallas PrettyDamnGoods...

Once people get past the fact that hockey is being played in a state dominated by fantastic steak houses, BBQ, country music and oil money (oh, don’t forget the Dallas Cowboys), they actually realize that the Stars have been a fairly successful little hockey franchise.

And if you had to point to one moment that made (or conversely, could have broken) the Stars in Dallas, just look at what the then-North Stars did with their No.1 pick in 1988. After some debate, the Stars rolled the dice with little Mikey Modano instead of the safer pick of Trevor Linden.

This great article inspired such a chilling thought. You at least need to check out the second photo of Modano, who looks like an '80s teen comedy villain (I can almost hear him screaming "Daaarsh!")

Trevor Linden isn’t chopped liver either – he’s more like barbecued chicken to Mike Modano’s Texas T-Bone (boy, that sentence makes me look gay, but damn it I’m sticking by my steak analogy!!).

It’s impossible to imagine the Stars without Mike Modano.

Would they still even be in Texas if the meat-and-potatoes Linden would have been their pick?

Who would be shagging Willa Ford right now?

Could the Vancouver Canucks have been a dynasty riding high on the unfair abilities of a Modano-Bure-Mogilny line while Mark Messier and the New York Rangers still would be left hunting for that elusive Stanley Cup??

Modano is on the short list of the best American hockey players to ever lace up skates alongside Chris Chelios, Mike Richter, Jeremy Roenick and others. And the Stars are easily one of the most successful American hockey teams outside of Canada and the Northeast. There's more to the Stars success than just that draft pick, but I'd argue that only the Penguins would have been more lost without their superstar Mario Lemieux.

I shudder to think of what I would be writing about right now if not for that draft pick. (Current events…Tim RussertPaul Pierce... ugh)

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So, what are the most important draft picks the other (or perhaps I should say, real) Battle of California teams have made?

I’d love to hear some stories of the good times and the regrettable, not-so-good times.

If I had to venture a guess it would be:

Paul Kariya (Anaheim)

Patrick Marleau (San Jose)

Luc Robitaille (LA).

But I’m all ears... Maybe we can even come to a consensus on the biggest draft-day bust of all the Battle of Californ-ee.

13 comments:

k.m.stiles said...

It's unreal how late Robitaille was picked. I think the Kings really shat the bed with Aki-Petteri Berg.

Bulldozer said...

San Jose Sharks.
Most important draft pick was Evgeni Nabokov in the 9th round in 1994.
Worst draft pick was Teemu Riihijarvi 11th overall in 1995 with Andrei Nazarov a close second.

brokeyard said...

I'll never forget how the Ducks traded away young Bobby Orr back in the mid 1960's.

A terrible decision in retrospect.

RudyKelly said...

I don't know if Robitaille was an important pick because he came so late. I'd say Jamie Storr and Aki Berg were our 2 most important picks in '94 and '95; imagine if we drafted Mattias Ohlund and J.S. Giguere instead?

Mike said...

I think Pat Falloon (2nd overall 1991) was the worst. Players we could have gotten: Scott Niedermayer, Peter Forsbeg, Brian Rolston, Alexei Kovalev, Markus Naslund.

His first year was the best- 25-34-59.

Andrei Zyuzin was also 2nd overall, but the 1996 draft wasn't nearly as strong.

Anonymous said...

Sharks -- Vincent Lecav...Oh wait, we traded that pick for Bryan Marchment never mind.

Ian said...

Teemu Riihijarvi was by far the worst pick, worse than Falloon, because it was so pointless. No other team was going to pick him. It was symptomatic of the Sharks drafting that they thought they were geniuses, and they'd draft some superstar-in-waiting that nobody had even heard of.

Chuck Grillo, I think, was the guy responsible for that eras series of draft busts. Lombardi fortunately learned from those mistakes (draft bizarre Estonian unknowns in the late-rounds, stupid!), but you could probably assemble an All-Star team with the picks we passed on in the '90s.

The best? A toss up between Marleau and Nabby.

Morbo said...

Ducks = Chad Kilger.

Ducks used that overrated bum to trade for Teemu.

Doogie said...

And the Stars are easily one of the most successful American hockey teams outside of Canada and the Northeast.

I think you missed something in the editing process, there. =)

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I have no real better alternative than Kariya, but I guess that's what I find so strange about draft-fascination: teams that draft well generally do well, but it's not always that they do well with the kids they draft.

I believe in the cup year, the Ducks featured two players they drafted: Getzlaf and Perry. Everyone else was picked by another team or not picked at all. (That's probably true of next year's Ducks, too, except maybe Bobby Ryan).

So maybe the most important draft picks by the Ducks were Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid, because they became pieces to trade for Pronger, but that's probably outside the scope of this mental exercise.

Kariya it is.

brokeyard said...

I think you missed something in the editing process, there. =)

Haha, nice catch.

Bryan said...

Falloon hands down. That was a pretty amazing draft. It's funny that the Sharks came in that year purposely hoping for a chance to draft Lindros.

I think Getzlaf over Kariya. Getzlaf resulted in a cup win, will become a better player than Kariya, and the way he somehow fell in the Ducks lap was pretty amazing considering how high everyone expected him to go.

And don't forget Oleg, Kilger was nothing without Oleg.

jamestobrien said...

Bah, you got my doogie. I'll leave the mistake up for shits and giggles. At least for now.

Funny enough, I last minute edited a much more egregious mistake by listing Marcel Dionne in Luc Robitaille as the best Kings draftee (before realizing the Red Wings originally drafted Dionne).

So I guess I can live with the mistake that did get in there...