Found November 21, 2011 on Blue Seat Blogs:

Eight years ago, the Rangers selected Hugh Jessiman with the 12th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers drafted him over such notables as Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, and Corey Perry. Everyone knows how that turned out, and fans are still complaining about it eight years later. It’s about time to look at what would have happened to the Rangers had they selected someone else in the draft.

Simply put, the Rangers have the roster they have today because of decisions made up to ten years prior. Drafting differently or signing someone else has an impact on the total points in the standings, and it is very evident with the 2003 draft that the Rangers would have been more successful if they had not selected Jessiman.

However, a better Rangers team means that their draft history is altered. The Rangers finished at a certain position in the standings each year, and that would have been effected by the addition of a player from the 2003 draft, either positively or negatively.

For the sake of this post, let’s have everything else remain constant. This means that players drafted in position x, free agent signings, etc all remain constant, while the variable here is the addition of a specific player from the 2003 draft. Let’s also keep everything in the first round, so players drafted in the second round (Shea Weber, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Jimmy Howard) are exempt from this. The reason why these other areas remain constant is to isolate the variable, in this case the Rangers altered points total based on a different selection in the draft.

Also, for the sake of this post, we are only looking at first round picks, but this order definitely would affect the later rounds as well. We are also omitting the 2005 draft, as that was done by lottery. If you want to see how this would have effected the later rounds, apply the difference in standings to the later rounds. For example, if the difference is moving up 3 spots in the standings (down 3 in the draft), it would apply to the later rounds as well.

To read the table below (after the jump):
Player - Player selected after Hugh Jessiman
Year/PVT - Yearly PVT for that season (more on PVT here), leveraged from BTN GVT numbers
Diff in Standings - Seeding difference in the overall standings for that season (rounded down from PVT)
NYR Selection - Player drafted by NYR following that season
Altered Selection - Player selected in the slot that the Rangers would have wound up in when considering the point difference

Player Year PVT Diff In Standings NYR Draft Selection New Selection Brown 05-06 0.77 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Brown 06-07 1.97 From 15th to 14th Alexei Cherepanov Ian Cole Brown 07-08 4.47 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Brown 08-09 2.37 None (12th) Chris Kreider Kreider Brown 09-10** 2.93 From 21st to 15th Dylan McIlrath Derek Forbort Seabrook 05-06 2.20 From 10th to 8th Bobby Sanguinetti Semyon Varlamov* Seabrook 06-07 1.63 None (15th) Alexei Cherepanov Cherepanov Seabrook 07-08 3.40 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Seabrook 08-09 3.10 From 12th to 11th Chris Kreider Jacob Josefson Seabrook 09-10** 3.73 From 21st to 15th Dylan McIlrath Derek Forbort Parise 05-06 1.47 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Parise 06-07 4.40 From 15th to 12th Alexei Cherepanov Angelo Esposito Parise 07-08 4.87 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Parise 08-09 7.83 From 12th to 7th Chris Kreider Marcus Johansson Parise 09-10** 7.27 From 21st to 14th Dylan McIlrath Vladimir Tarasenko Burns 05-06 1.37 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Burns 06-07 3.00 From 15th to 13th Alexei Cherepanov Logan MacMillan Burns 07-08 4.60 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Burns 08-09 1.70 None (12th) Chris Kreider Kreider Burns 09-10** 1.13 None (21st) Dylan McIlrath McIlrath Kesler 05-06 0.70 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Kesler 06-07 0.93 None (15th) Alexei Cherepanov Cherepanov Kesler 07-08 1.63 From 9th to 8th Michael Del Zotto Anton Gustafsson Kesler 08-09 3.60 From 12th to 11th Chris Kreider Marcus Johansson Kesler 09-10** 5.27 From 21st to 14th Dylan McIlrath Vladimir Tarasenko Richards 05-06 1.67 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Richards 06-07 0.60 None (15th) Alexei Cherepanov Cherepanov Richards 07-08 5.53 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Richards 08-09 5.97 From 12th to 7th Chris Kreider Marcus Johansson Richards 09-10** 3.87 From 21st to 15th Dylan McIlrath Derek Forbort Perry 05-06 1.07 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Perry 06-07 2.37 From 15th to 13th Alexei Cherepanov Logan MacMillan Perry 07-08 4.13 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Perry 08-09 5.13 From 12th to 7th Chris Kreider Marcus Johansson Perry 09-10** 4.47 From 21st to 15th Dylan McIlrath Derek Forbort Getzlaf 05-06 1.80 None (10th) Bobby Sanguinetti Sanguinetti Getzlaf 06-07 4.10 From 15th to 13th Alexei Cherepanov Logan MacMillan Getzlaf 07-08 4.67 From 9th to 6th Michael Del Zotto Tyler Cuma Getzlaf 08-09 5.70 From 12th to 8th Chris Kreider Jordan Caron Getzlaf 09-10** 4.73 From 21st to 15th Dylan McIlrath Derek Forbort

*-The Rangers would not have selected Semyon Varlamov in this spot, as they already had Henrik Lundqvist and Al Montoya. The pick after Varlamov was Dennis Persson.
**-The Rangers missed the playoffs in 2009-2010. Any adjustment puts them in the playoffs, and moves them up significantly in the standings, as the 14 teams that miss the playoffs are given the top 14 spots in the draft.

Reading this table, the Rangers are overly unaffected in the 2006 draft, so they likely would still have wound up with Sanguinetti (and later on Jesper Fasth and Tim Erixon). The 2007 draft is a little interesting, if only for the fact that Angelo Esposito was a key factor in the Marian Hossa trade, and it would have been interesting to see if the Penguins would still have traded for him.

But in the “be careful what you wish for” mold, the Rangers 2008, 2009, and 2010 drafts would look completely different, and look to be busts at first glance, had they followed in this draft pattern. I have never really heard of Tyler Cuma or Logan MacMillan.

For all intents and purposes, a Kreider/Marcus Johansson swap or a McIlrath/Forbort swap are washes, same with the Kreider/Jacob Josefon swap. That McIlrath/Tarasenko swap is a bit interesting, Tarasenko was high on my personal draft board for the 2010 draft.

Now the Rangers have not had much success in the first round, but it’s also the later rounds that would have been affected. The 2004 and 2005 drafts (Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal, Mike Sauer) would have been unaffected, but the later drafts (in particular Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan) might not have gone that way.

Sure, there are a lot of “what-ifs” here, but keeping everything constant, the Rangers could have looked significantly different had they not drafted Jessiman. But in the spirit of argument, it was fun to research all this and see what could have been. In my opinion, it’s been eight years, it’s time for everyone to move on. The Rangers are who they are today because of decisions made up to ten years ago. Let’s just enjoy the ride and see where it goes.

THE BACKYARD
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