Monday, June 28, 2010

Drafts of Dudley's Past

I've made it reasonably well known (well known if you read this blog or the occasional comment in the AJC blogs) that I'm no fan of Rick Dudley. Many 'round these parts think the man can do no wrong and couldn't be happier to have him at the wheel. Can't say I could blame you after what this franchise has been through over the last 10 seasons.

My problem is, I remember the other teams that he was in charge of. I'm not sure many of you are quite aware of what went on there. Many of you know him from the Rick Dudley is not Don Waddell fame. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and look primarily at the NHL Drafts Dudley was in charge of from Tampa to Florida. I will try and do this as fair and balanced as I can. Feel free to debate. We won't look at Ottawa in '98 as he took the GM spot one day after the draft. And we won't look at Chicago because, you know, he wasn't the GM. Dale Tallon was, of the Dale Tallon Florida Panthers fame.

Tampa Bay - 1999

Dudley traded down from the #1 spot to the #4 spot in this very weak draft class. He then traded the #4 pick out of the 1st round entirely. In the process he picked up Dan Cloutier, Shawn Burr, Andrei Zyuzin and a 1st in 2000. Four guys that he drafted in '99 played in the NHL totaling 261 games played and scoring 15 goals.

Tampa Bay - 2000

Dudley traded the #5 overall pick to the Islanders for Kevin Weekes, Kristian Kurdroc and the 31st overall pick (kind of hard to get screwed by Mike Milbury, but I think Duds pulled it off). He had the #8 overall pick from the trade the previous year and selected Nikita Alexeev. Wow, taking a skilled Russian at #8 overall, imagine that! Nikita played 107 games in the NHL scoring 14 goals and 15 assists. Other than Nikita, only two players picked by Dudley in this draft ever played in the NHL.

Tampa Bay - 2001

With the #3 overall pick in the draft Dudley chose Alexandr Svitov (hey, another skilled Russian!). Alex played in 179 NHL games scoring 13 goals and 24 assists. The only other player of note drafted by Dudley that year was some guy named Evgeny Artyukhin. Who, by the way, as of last year was the only player still playing in the NHL that Dudley drafted for the Lightning, making Artyukhin by far the best player Dudley drafted in his three years with Tampa Bay.

Now, in the effort to be fair Dudley did some nice things as GM that helped Tampa win a Cup after he left. He acquired Dan Boyle, traded for the Bulin Wall and I believe also picked up Marty St. Louis. Though the purpose of this post is to look at his drafting skills. Also it should be pointed out that Dudley left the Lightning after he tried to trade away some guy named Vinny Lecavalier, who keep in mind, also was kind of instrumental in the Bolts winning it all. Now then. On to the Panthers...

Florida - 2002

Dudley traded down from #1 to #3 and selected Jay Bouwmeester. All in all a pretty good pick I'd have to say. He did pass on Eric Staal at #2, but we won't be picky. He also had the #9 overall pick and selected Petr Taticek. Petr played a total of 3 NHL games. No one of note was selected the in the remaining rounds.

Florida - 2003

With the #3 pick Dudley selected Nathan Horton. A fine selection indeed. He also had another first rounder with the #25 pick and Anthony Stewart was chosen (46 NHL games played, 2 goals). No one panned out from the remaining rounds.

Clearly Dudley did much better drafting with the Panthers than with the Lightning. Unfortunately for them, he didn't do quite as well with the other moves like bringing in a Dan Boyle or anything like that.

By my count, Dudley traded three top 5 picks outright, and received very little in return. He also had five top 10 picks that he used, and totally whiffed on three of them.

I'm not trying to be over the top negative. I just wanted some of you that may not know where my criticism is coming from and why I wish we had chosen a different GM. You know after 10 years of losing when you finally make a change I would have thought that would be the perfect opportunity to see what was out there in the GM world of the NHL instead of letting the guy that put you in that spot for 10 years hand pick his replacement.

Dudley is hailed around these parts as the best talent evaluator in the NHL. Take a look at the draft history above. What do you think? Now, every ounce of me hopes I'm a complete fool and everything works out for the best and Dudley wins us a Cup. I just don't think so. I can't understand passing up on guys like Fowler, Gormley, or Campbell. I can't understand trading a 1st and 2nd rounder, Morin, and Reasoner and the main guy coming back has yet to top 40 points for the season. Clearly Byfuglien has talents and he should continue to improve. I just think we gave up way too much and got caught up in the playoff heroics, which can be a dangerous thing to do. I can't understand hiring another coach that has not been an NHL head coach for a full season.

Again, I'm not trying to dump on Dudley just for the sake of being negative. And I'm not trying to say the kid we drafted at #8 this year is going to be a bust. I've just read too many times about how everyone is saying Dudley is the man. He drafts the best talent. Nobody knows more about players than him. I had to say my piece.

Thoughts and comments are a welcome.


After thinking about it, I suppose you could say I believe Dudley's drafts have been barbaric:


Mortimer Peacock said...

How dare the departed Senator insult our great Atlantan athlete? I mean, it's just torturing and killing hounds, for goodness' sake...

TRUE STORY: I once saw Robert Byrd, in person, grilling Paul Wolfowitz about the non-existent postwar planning for Iraq (this was fall of 2003). He spoke in stream of consciousness (lots of stuff about airplanes), seemed very old, and spoke in a dry magnolia croak of a voice. A real Senator, in the literal Latin sense.

Oh, and Dudley. How bout that guy? ODD hair.

Mortimer Peacock said...

P.S. Ted Kennedy was present at that same grilling. MY GOODNESS, what are the odds?! I, and not old age, must be very bad luck.

Big Shooter said...

Wow, you Mortimer are truly barbaric. HEAR ME! Barbaric.

Where are the peoples today? Maybe they didn't actually know about all of this Dudley past and are too afraid to comment?

Mortimer Peacock said...

Historical memory can be a harsh wife.

Anonymous said...

Great idea to dig up all the draft information Shooter, thanks for providing it for us. Pretty discouraging to see it all laid out.

GoPuckYourself said...

As great as all that previous history was and everything, I do believe that Ol' Duds & CCR will work together to make us at least better than we were last year.

And if CCR brings back Anderson's stache in the fall, just go ahead and build a statue for the man.

Mutton Sourdough said...

Wow, that's pretty impressive passion. Reminds me of Young Mr. Grace always shouting "You've all done very well!!" on Are You Being Served?

I still think he's better than DEE-Dub, but I have to agree that I'm less confident in his abilities. I do like that he was able to converse with the scouting department about players beyond the first round or two though. Another thing is that even before your post, Shooter, something didn't quite add up about the 3 main categories by which he has players assessed. That could still be my own misunderstanding, but it's definitely a "hm..." moment for me.

Big Shooter said...

I'm with ya chopps. I don't like his three catagories setup. So if thought Taylor Hall is dumb does that mean he would pass on him? Taylor Hall can flat out play, nothing else matters. For the record I don't think Hall is dumb, just trying to make a point.

And about him being able to converse with the scouts beyond round one, did you notice that out of the five years he ran a draft the only TWO players that ever amounted to anything both came from the first round.

the jointhead said...

This whole GM Dudits situation makes me nervous. Unfortunatly we are stuck for the next ten years unless someone purchases our fine organization.

Jay said...

People learn. Bill Belichick sucked in Cleveland, he's a HOF coach in New England. Even Waddell in the past few years improved greatly in drafting and trades. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt right now. The trade with Chicago is growing on me more. As much as we all like Morin, he could amount to nothing special. Aliu could be awesome. We don't know right now. I'm still drinking the Kool-Aid. For now.

Mutton Sourdough said...

Mr. Shooter, I had not actually put that together until you mentioned it, but you are correct, sir.

But, as Jay points out, people do indeed learn, and I'll at least wait a couple of years before I damn his drafting abilities in my mind. But he must prove himself first. I don't think we should serenade him just because he says he's good.

Big Shooter said...

Mutton - My point exactly. You just used better human words to describe what I'm saying. Dudley came in and said, "Hey, look at me. I'm really good and smart and no one is better. Behold.". And Thrashers fans were all like, "Hey, this guy isn't D-Wadds. He is my new mistress that doesn't nag at me all the time like the old lady.".

All the while without ever actually taking a look at what Dudley did as a GM. You know, when he was actually the one in charge. People point out he was an assistant in CHI, well, to that I say DW was an assistant in DET when they won a Cup.

Mutton Sourdough said...

Oh, now that's disquieting. But it does call to mind all the people saying that Rocky Wirtz (Wertz? I dunno how to spell it) deserved ess-dot-dot-tee tons of the credit for the champeens in Chicago. And when you add the fact that he seems to have... misremembered the Dan Boyle sitchemayshun, and it's certainly pause for thought.

I keep forgetting that DEE-Dubb was ever with an organization that did or does this thing they call "winning"