It’s not hard to predict that the first overall pick will be successful at the NHL level and really make a difference in fantasy pools, but many poolies probably didn’t know that historically speaking the average 24th overall pick has quite a bit of fantasy impact as well. This week we’ll delve a little deeper to see what happened/could be in store for all of the recent 24th overall picks with a specific focus on one special individual from the Western Conference.
Luca Cereda TOR - 1999
Cereda’s story is a bit of a sad one as his professional career was shortened due to a congenital heart defect. He didn’t manage to suit up for a single NHL game but did ended up dressing 161 times for the St. John’s Maple Leafs in the AHL.
Brad Boyes TOR - 2000
The Leafs had back-to-back 24th overall picks over a two-year span and got it right the second time around with Boyes. The only problem is that he never played a single game for the Buds and it was the Bruins and the Blues that really benefitted from the late-round steal. Boyes enters this season with 252 points in 328 career NHL games and really started to set the tone for the recent 24th overall picks.
Lukas Krajicek FLA - 2001
There probably aren’t high expectations for a late first-round drafted defenseman, so what Florida got with Krajicek was pretty much what they paid to get him. Krajicek is still trying to establish himself with a permanent NHL team, as he’s bounced around three different squads in his brief 278-game NHL career. Krajicek once tallied 53 points in 52 contests in the OHL, so he did show flashes of offensive potential early in his career. He’ll be turning 26 this season, which generally is when defenseman start hitting their prime, so his production this season could be turning the corner.
Alex Steen TOR - 2002
Steen has turned out to be your run-of-the-mill late first-round draft pick who has a bit of offensive upside, but isn’t enough to make huge splashes on the fantasy front. In 314 career NHL games, Steen has a decent 150 points. He’ll probably lace up for third/fourth line duties for the Blues this season while tallying right around the 40 point mark.
Mike Richards PHI - 2003
Richards is probably the poster boy for being a late first-round steal. In 290 NHL contests, Richards has 221 points. This past season he surpassed the point-per-game clip for the first time in his career, which has firmly entrenched him as part of the NHL elite. He just had recent surgery on both of his shoulders, which could be a worry, but for long term production, Richards should be gold considering he wasn’t a high draft pick.
Kris Chucko CAL - 2004
Not many people have heard of Chucko, but he could be a known fairly soon. In his draft year, he tallied 87 points, along with 161 PIMs in just 53 contests with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, which demonstrated that he does have some offensive potential. He also put up 51 points in 74 contests with the Quad City Flames last season, which shows that he’s ready to crack the Flames line up fairly soon. I don’t think he’s going to be a dynamic Richard’s type draft pick, but he could be a late-blooming Alex Burrows-type in the near future.
T.J. Oshie STL - 2005
Oshie had a great college career as he picked up 142 points in 129 NCAA contests for the University of North Dakota and has followed a similar path as his team mates Drew Stafford, Travis Zajac and Jonathan Toews in joining the NHL. The highly-touted forward picked up 39 points in 57 contests in his rookie season with the Blues, and is certainly flying the success of the 24th overall pick flag with pride.
Dennis Persson BUF -2006
Persson was an interesting pick by the Sabres in the 2006 draft. From what I can dig up about him, he doesn’t seem to have any offensive upside whatsoever and is only 6’1” and 181 pounds, so he doesn’t possess mind-boggling size to make up for the lack of offensive potential. In 76-career SEL games, he has registered a grand total of seven points. Persson recently crossed the pond to play AHL hockey while registering two points in eight contests with the Portland Pirates last season. I’m not an NHL scout nor have I ever seen him play, so I’m probably not the best source of information on him, but surely the Sabres organization must have saw something in the Swede that 23 other teams didn’t in 2006.
Mikael Backlund CAL - 2007
The main focus of this column is on Backlund. The highly-touted Swede crossed the pond following the 2009 World Junior Championships, where he registered seven points in six contests for Team Sweden, while picking up 30 points in 28 games in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets last season. Backlund really has nothing to prove anymore in minor league hockey, so I guess the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not he’s going to be a Richards-type player, Oshie-type player or a Steen-type player? His brief stint in North America can’t really be indicative of his potential considering he turned 20 this year and the WHL is really a league meant for 17 and 18 year-olds. If you also consider his situation in Calgary, he’ll face competition from Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow, Olli Jokinen, David Moss, Rene Bourque, Nigel Dawes, Dustin Boyd, Eric Nystrom, Craig Conroy and Freddie Sjostrom, so naturally you would have to think that he’ll be hard pressed to crack the Flames line up this season. I know a lot of you Dobberities are high on Backlund, but you probably should tread carefully until you see more evidence from him before diving in head first in keeper leagues.
Mattias Tedenby NJ - 2008
A lot of Dobberities including Dobber himself is quite high on the diminutive winger from Sweden. Dobber has him ranked 18th overall in the recent prospect guide, while Matt Bugg had him ranked 19th. He’s still kicking around with HV-71 in the SEL, which was highlighted with a tremendous nine points in 18 contests in the SEL playoffs this past season. Look for him to play another season in the SEL, while transitioning to North America in 2010-11.
Marcus Johansson WSH - 2009
The 18-year old is the latest member to join the 24 club, as he was just recently drafted by the Caps in the 2009 draft. He’s still relatively unknown, so there’s not much information out there regarding Johansson.
Stuey Mac said this about Johansson on the draft day blog , “Johansson is the first player who was not in the top 30 in any of the mocks or draft previews that I've scanned. Johannson, like Jacobson, is a responsible two-way center who does a lot of things well but isn't spectacular in any one area. ISS has this kid rated at 95! He's played the entire season in the Swedish elite league. His stats are not impressive because he's been playing in the second best pro league in the world. Upside 65 points. He's one or two years away.”
Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below. I’m running a bit dry of ideas before the training camps begin, so if there are suggestions that you would like me to dig up for you guys feel free to post them as well.