Alexander Ovechkin knows how to rip a perfect shot right by a goaltender's ear into the corner of the net, but he doesn't get it every time.
Sidney Crosby is capable of making a perfect tape-to-tape pass without looking at its recipient, but sometimes he's off the mark by a hair or two.
Bob McKenzie is (arguably) the top and most respected analyst in the hockey world and he knows his stuff when it comes to top prospects and the NHL Draft, but sometimes he whiffs on some of his pre-draft rankings.
No one has the perfect formula for figuring out who's going to selected at various points of the draft - in any sport - and it's even harder for the actual teams to make up their minds on the real selections, picks that they must make with legitimate consequences a real possibility for whiffing on a pick.
Over the years, McKenzie has established himself as the lead pundit on the NHL Draft, specifically the first round. He releases his highly sought-after player rankings periodically throughout the season, culminating in an official final ranking that gets realized right before the draft. His rankings isn't a mock draft; player No.4 is not in the fourth slot because McKenzie thinks he's going fourth overall. Rather, they are pure rankings based on talent and whatever other factors McKenzie uses to grade prospects.
Of course, as we mentioned, nobody's perfect - McKenzie is usually pretty accurate, but every once in awhile a guy sneaks into his top 10, or even top 5, that in hindsight didn't even belong in the first round. While it doesn't happen often, even the best of the best miss the mark.
15 Josh Morrissey (2013)
You'll notice going through this list that over the years, it seems like McKenzie has honed his craft even more - making you wonder whether he not he might serve the hockey world better in a hockey operations role of some sort as opposed to being a talking head for a network who's place in the sport is seemingly dwindling with each passing season.
14 Luke Schenn (2008)
McKenzie wasn't the only one that whiffed on Schenn. The Leafs, in hindsight, reached for a player that they shouldn't have touched after a run on defensemen early in the draft got everyone worked up about it being "the year of the defenseman."
13 Guillaume Latendresse (2005)
McKenzie doesn't deserve all the blame here - the Montreal Canadiens ruined Guillaume Latendresse. Injuries also played a role, but the Habs clearly rushed a player into the lineup far too soon, likely speeding up the development process for no other reason that his name and his Quebec roots.
12 Ben Maxwell (2006)
The Canadiens, who you'll find were pretty good at taking the wrong guy during these years, made the mistake of taking Ben Maxwell over Milan Lucic in the second round.
Bob McKenzie made the mistake of giving Maxwell a first round grade.
11 Enver Lisin (2004)
McKenzie had a rough go of it with the top of his 2004 ranking, but the tail-end of it was pretty spot on. Most of the guys he had ranked in the bottom half of that draft ended up getting picked around the same spot McKenzie had them at.
No. 15-24 on his list either made a significant contribution in the NHL or at least made it and had a couple of good season. Only one name sticks out like a sore thumb - Enver Lisin.
10 Angelo Esposito (2007)
Angelo Esposito's hockey story is almost tragic. It's a career that everyone wanted to see get off the ground, but for a multitude of reasons it just never happened.
9 Bob Sanguinetti (2006)
McKenzie was nearly perfect in 2006. He missed on a few names, but most players lived up to his rankings - he may as well have done the real draft for each team and almost every team would have gone home happy.
8 A.J. Thelen (2004)
The top 10 of McKenzie's 2004 ranking is likely the one section of all his rankings that'd love to figuratively burn and forget about forever. The next four entries will justify that claim.
7 Lauri Tukonen (2004)
6 Marek Schwarz (2004)
The 2004 Draft will be remembered as a "goaltending year," but for all the wrong reasons. McKenzie must have thought so too beforehand because he had two goalies in his top six of that year's rankings.
5 Al Montoya (2004)
The second high-ranked keeper on McKenzie's 2004 list was Al Montaya, who has had a decent career as a backup in the NHL. The only problem is that Montaya has been a successful backup and not a top-flight starter: which is what you're expecting when you take a goaltender 6th overall like the Rangers did. McKenzie actually had him ranked higher than that at 4th overall on his list.
4 Jaden Schwartz (2010)
Several teams missed out on a top notch player when they let Jaden Schwartz fall to the St. Louis Blues back in 2010, but like McKenzie, some teams might have underestimated what Schwartz would be able to do at the NHL level.
3 Benoit Pouliot (2005)
The 2005 Draft will always be remembered for one pick: the first one, which Pittsburgh used to pick Sidney Crosby. Rightly so. Dig deeper though and you see the many mistakes made after that pick by general managers and analysts alike.
2 Gilbert Brule (2005)
The Brule Mistake is very similar to the Pouliot one. High scoring junior sensation, likely to be a top pick...until it all goes wrong. Brule was not only unable to replicate his talents at the highest level, he was out of the league fairly quickly for a guy who went sixth overall to Columbus. In his 299 games in the NHL, Brule only managed 43 goals along with a terrible -39 rating.
1 Cam Barker (2004)
Cam Barker was supposed to be the next big thing on the back-end. With Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin as the surefire top two picks, the Hawks were happy to take the Canadian blueliner off the board at number 3 (which is where McKenzie had him ranked). It was a consensus pick, one that almost everyone (including McKenzie) agreed with.
Alas, everyone was wrong on this one. Barker was never able to adapt to the NHL game and bounced around the league (and the minors) his entire career before finally shipping off to Europe - now nothing more than a footnote in NHL Draft Busts history.
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