I’ve been on the record many, many, many times stating that we like where the team stands and the direction the front office has taken to get here. That said, I thought this would be a fun exercise, and it doesn’t change my opinion of the front office moves or draft choices. This post is meant to be satirical, don’t take it seriously.


Best Dustin Brown picture ever.


During my normal internet time-sucks, I stumbled upon this post from Canucks Army, talking about the Canucks drafting problem, which is pretty rough following the 1999 draft. So they performed an exercise by taking the Vancouver draft history and pitting it against a potato. The idea was piggy-backed from Pension Plan Puppets and their running “Can the Leafs out-GM a potato” gag. So basically I’m piggy-backing off the piggy-backed post.

The phrase out-GM a potato made me laugh uncontrollably. I still giggle like a little school girl when I hear the phrase. You can imagine how long it took me to write these first two paragraphs.

Anyway, since the potato is a non-sentient starch product incapable of progressive thinking, there are set rules for said potato. The potato does not have access to game video, analytics, has never seen a game, and has never spoken to a scout, ever. After all, it’s a potato (or the Isles front office from 1995-2001, either one). It will draft following this set of rules (1-6 are the same rules followed at Canucks Army):

  1. All players selected will be from the Canadian Hockey League.
  2. Goalies are voodoo, they will not be selected at any time.
  3. Defensemen are voodoo, they will not be selected at any time.
  4. The selection will be the player still on the draft board that scored the most points in their 17 year old CHL season that was legitimately taken between New York’s selection and New York’s subsequent selection.
  5. No other information other than the total number of points a player had in his 17-year old season (his first year of draft eligibility) is considered. This information was freely available at the time each draft was held.
  6. Ties are broken on the basis of points per game.
  7. There were some rare cases where I had to make the selection process (#4) inclusive of the next pick made by Slats. I did this because there were no CHL players selected, and the “potato exploded” joke got old fast.

Why are goalies and defense voodoo? Simple: They are very hard to predict future success. No one is saying you shouldn’t draft goalies or defensemen, but look at how forward predictability compares to goalie predictability. Basically you know what you’re getting in the early rounds with skaters, but not so much with goalies. You can grab an elite goalie in the late rounds (Henrik Lundqvist) just as easily as grabbing a bust in the first round (Al Montoya).

Let’s start with the 2000 draft, because the 1999 draft was a tire fire for any team that didn’t land a Sedin. Well, that and the 2000 draft is the first draft in the Glen Sather regime, so it makes perfectly logical sense to start here. Hooray, logic!


2000 draft potato

The prize of Slats’ draft here is Lundqvist, whom the potato didn’t select because of his isolationist policies, and not knowing that Sweden is actually pretty good at this hockey thing. The potato gets more total NHL games out of his picks, most notably with Travis Moen, although Slats may win that with Dominic Moore. I’d give 2000 to Slats.

Side note: Simon Gamache followed up his 17 year old season in the QMJHL with seasons of 135 (!) and 184 (!!) points. But yet, 48 games played in the NHL. Oof.


2001 draft potato

It’s unfortunate how injuries ended Dan Blackburn’s career, but Slats did well in landing Fedor Tyutin and Marek Zidlicky, before trading them both away. As for the potato, he gets Ales Hemsky and Jason Pominville with his first two picks. Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos provided some good center depth, and P.A. Parenteau is the late-round steal that didn’t blossom until his late-twenties. Svatos and Wellwood will be on their way out in future drafts…

Although the potato did very well, the potassium-rich non-sentient being also botched picks 176 and 206. Charlie Stephens was a re-draft from 1999 that had already fallen four rounds (second round pick in 1999). Garrett Bembridge was also a re-draft from 1999…he was a pick that the Rangers passed on. But the potato, incapable of knowing that his own team passed on him once, re-drafted him with the 206th pick. Hey, it’s a frickin potato.

Even with those two blunders, the potato wins 2001 easily with Hemsky, Pominville, Parenteau, Svatos, and Wellwood.


draft potato 2002

Slats and company didn’t take a single player from the CHL in this draft, but they landed Petr Prucha in the eighth round as their best pick in the draft. Meanwhile, the potato has grown into his role, nabbing Matt Stajan in the second round, Max Talbot in the seventh, and a few games of Ryan Craig in the eighth. On paper, the potato wins 2002, but without Prucha, we would have never seen the wondrous Tom Renney Line Generator. That alone gives the draft to Slats. Oh how much fun we had with the line generator. The potato couldn’t see the hilarity that would ensue, thus missed out on the diminutive Czech.


draft potato 2003

Oh how I love discussing the 2003 draft. Slats again turned away from the CHL, and the best pick landed was Nigel Dawes in the fifth round. The potato has a much better draft, but still whiffs in a sense on Steve Bernier in the first round. But he did land Brad Richardson and Nate Thompson as well, so those are some nice depth players.

However, Potato Sr. met his demise in the sixth round, when there were no available CHL forwards selected between picks 179 and 180. The Rangers had both picks. The potato, unable to calculate who he should take, exploded like an egg in a microwave. Luckily, no one was hurt in the aforementioned explosion, and the potato’s son, Potato Jr., was able to make the remaining picks. Yes, this potato had a kid.


draft potato 2004 copy

The potato and Slats/Clark agreed on selecting Brandon Dubinsky, but the potato did it nine picks sooner. Both parties also agreed on Dane Byers and his 14 NHL games. The potato passed on a then glaring organizational need by taking Kyle Chipchura instead of Al Montoya, but it was the Rob Schremp over Lauri Korpikoski decision that haunts his dreams the same as a manual potato masher. Throw in passing on Ryan Callahan, and the potato had a rough draft. Slats wins this with three guys who have played 400+ NHL games.


draft potato 2005 copy

The goal of any draft is to find one player that becomes a steady NHLer, and Slats/Clark got their man in Marc Staal. Injuries aside, Staal is a top-four defender. If not for concussions, Mike Sauer would still  be on the third pairing, and the Rangers blue line may look a bit different. The potato passed on Staal to grab the gifted Marek Zagrapan and his zero NHL games, but nabbed Guillaume Latendresse and Matt D’Agostini to again help the depth.

Halfway through this exercise, and the potato has put together some solid forward depth, although he lacks top line skill. Pominville and Hemsky are the only top-line guys so far, but that will change real soon. Meanwhile, Slats has a franchise goalie, two top-four defensemen, and decent forward depth. I’d call it even through the halfway point.


draft potato 2006




2007 draft potato

The 2007 draft is rough, as we will never know what could have been with Alexei Cherepanov. I’ll call Carl Hagelin/David Perron a wash as well. Let’s move on.


draft potato 2008

The 2008 draft was by far the most successful draft for Slats and company, landing three players that have seen significant NHL time, including the current 1C in Derek Stepan. However the potato, already with Claude Giroux, nabs his future winger in Jordan Eberle. He also grabs a 2C in Adam Henrique. Up front, the potato has drafted Giroux, Eberle, Pominville, Parenteau, Hemsky, Henrique, Dubinsky, Marchand, Perron, Talbot, Richardson, Perreault, and Thompson. That doesn’t include Bernier, O’Sullivan, Latendresse, D’Agostini, Wellwood, and Svatos, who have seen their roles on the team replaced by better players..


draft potato 2009

The potato keeps hitting home runs, this time with Ryan O’Reilly. Slats and Clark didn’t do so poorly either, but had to wait a bit to reap the rewards of Chris Kreider. The potato gets the edge at the moment because Kreider has just 89 NHL games. But that could change. The potato also grabbed Linden Vey, who looks to be cracking LA’s roster after a bit of time to develop.

In the past four drafts, the potato has picked up ROR, Giroux, Eberle, Perron, Marchand, Perreault, and Henrique. Yikes.


draft potato 2010

We are getting into “too soon to tell” territory here. Very few of the players drafted from 2010 and on have had a significant impact in the NHL. That said, the potato hit yet another home run with Brendan Gallagher in the fourth round, and has Joey Hishon (GP are in the playoffs) and Freddie Hamilton knocking on the door. Jordan Weal is a scoring machine in the AHL as well, and will likely get a shot this year. Meanwhile, Slats/Clark have their hopes on Dylan McIlrath and Jesper Fast making a significant impact this year (Fast) and next (McIlrath). Passing on Gallagher twice is rough though.


draft potato 2011

The potato agreed with Slats and company on both Michael St. Croix (ECHL for now) and Shane McColgan (never signed), and it’s too soon to tell with the selections in the first two rounds. But the potato made another home run pick, landing Ondrej Palat in the sixth round. The potato is stockpiling young, top-six forwards, grabbing Palat, Gallagher, and ROR to go with that ridiculous set of forwards from previous drafts. This just isn’t fair anymore.


2012 draft potato copy

At this point, we are 100% in the “too early to tell” area of draft results. Brady Skjei and Boo Nieves remain unsigned, but that’s because they are in the NCAA, and can’t sign until they are ready to turn pro. The Rangers passed on Thomas Spelling, but Calgary passed on Coda Gordon, so that’s a wash.


2013 draft potato copy

The potato and Slats/Clark agreed on Anthony Duclair, albeit at different times in the draft. But because the potato is still unsure of those crafty enigmatic enigmas from Russia, he passed on Pavel Buchnevich. However, the potato did draft two kids who I took in my own NHL video games: Jimmy Lodge and Chris Clapperton, who would have the best alliteration ever if he ever came down with chlamydia.


2014 draft potato copy

The 2014 draft was a rough one for the potato. The Rangers had a two sets of selections within four picks of each other, and neither set had a CHL forward taken in between picks. Luckily by this point, the Rangers noticed that the potato was pretty solid at this whole drafting thing, and decided they would keep a sack of them around just in case. The original potato (well, the second potato) drafted Chase De Leo over Keegan Iverson, which would have been cool because I liked De Leo.

Over 15 drafts, the potato managed to draft these lines:

  • Hemsky-Giroux-Eberle
  • Palat-ROR-Pominville
  • Parenteau-Dubinsky-Gallagher
  • Marchand-Perreault-Perron

Oh, and he has guys like Henrique, Richardson, Thompson, Talbot, and Stajan for depth. The potato should get a job with an organization. He may be a starchy non-sentient being rich in potassium and great with butter and bacon, but he’s a damn fine drafter.

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