As one of the games most recognizable and respected media members, Pierre McGuire's word holds a lot of weight in the hockey world. For years, McGuire has been called upon to analyze all facets of the sport, from game-to-game observations to commenting on free agent acquisitions.
McGuire has also been on countless draft broadcasts and analysis shows, giving his two cents prior, during, or after the yearly NHL Draft.
One thing no one can fault McGuire for is his knowledge of each and every individual player in the hockey world - and that's not an exagerration. While most of us struggle to remember the number of a particular player, McGuire can rattle off stats, abilities, former teams, parents middle names and a prospect's dog's preferred brand of dog food as if he was constantly reading off a Wikipedia page. Widely considered hockey's walking encyclopedia, McGuire is a bottomless pit of information that is second to none.
One thing we can fault McGuire for is his tendency to overreact, one way or the other, when it comes to particular players. Whether its lauding a player or tearing down a team for what he considered to be a poor selection, McGuire's gusto and high-energy style of broadcasting has often resulted in him overestimating a marginal prospect or scoffing at the possibility of a "project" player blossoming into a star. It happens to everyone, but because it's Pierre...well, you know the rest.
15 Adam Larsson
This entry has more to do with the fact that McGuire was wrong about a player's initial ranking and the feel on him around the NHL, rather than the player not actually turning out to be very good. In the 2011 TSN Mock Draft, not only did McGuire take Larsson ahead of where he ended up going in real life (4th to New Jersey), he took the Swedish defenseman over surefire offensive talent Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, citing the Oilers lack of organizational depth on defense.
While the Oilers absolutely needed (and still need) help on the back-end, there's no need to pass on an arguably close-to-generational talent like "The Nuge" for a guy who's been nothing more than steady (for the most part) in New Jersey.
14 David Musil
In the same 2011 Mock Draft, McGuire decided to appease TSN's west coast viewers by "giving" the Canucks hometown boy David Musil at the number 29 pick in the draft. He didn't end up being that far off, as Musil went 31st to Edmonton, but he's only suited for four NHL games since being drafted that high four-plus years ago. Canucks fans are likely much happier that the team went with Nicklas Jensen, who is shaping up to be an effective player for the 'Nucks.
13 Griffin Reinhart
Griffin Reinhart has taken the long way to NHL relevancy and he's still looking to solidify his reputation as a bonafide top-end NHL rearguard with the potential to blossom into the player he was projected to become back in 2012. McGuire's analysis of Reinhart in the 2012 TSN Mock Draft was sketchy at best, where he noted that "the 6'4" blueliner can take games over with his size. Has the NHL in his bloodlines with his father Paul and his brother Max."
So far, Reinhart hasn't taken over much of anything with his size, let alone an NHL game - and McGuire's only justification for the player was that some of his close relatives played in the NHL as well. Pretty weak argument, that to this point has not been justified in the slightest.
12 Brayden Schenn
This may seem like a bit of a reach here, as the younger Schenn is by no means a bad player. As he is prone to do, though, McGuire decided to overestimate and oversell the young man before the 2009 NHL Entry Draft based on a solid performance at the World Juniors. While McGuire was on with his assessment that Schenn would bring smashmouth style to the rink, he also cited Schenn as a top-end talent who doesn't lose battles along the boards and would essentially be one of, if not the missing piece to push L.A. over the top and towards a championship. As it turned out, Schenn has been neither - he could barely crack to Kings roster and was shipped off the Philly to play with his brother, where he hasn't exactly been tearing it up, either.
11 Brandon Gormley
Up to this point, Gormley has been a bust in every sense of the word. He'll try to resurrect his career in Colorado this year, but if his past is any indication that seems unlikely. While many viewed Gormley as a top-end talent, McGuire took his analysis one step further during TSN's 2010 Mock Draft, stating that Gormley should be considered one of the most consistent players in the draft. In the pros, though, Gormley has been anything but - his numbers have taken a roller coaster ride through the years and that probably won't change five years after the fact.
10 Zack Phillips
After a remarkable run to the Memorial Cup, several members of the champion Saint John Sea Dogs were rising up draft boards after solid playoff performances. Two of them - Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu - have already established themselves as legitimate, productive and effective NHLers. One has not.
That one is Zack Phillips, who was considered the "under the radar" offensive stud who was hidden by Huberdeau's shadow, but would ultimately end up being as good, if not better, than his junior teammate. McGuire certainly thought Phillips could become a dynamic centreman, calling him a great playmaking centre who would be able to lead his team in big moments.
Not only was McGuire 15 picks off on his projection (he had Phillips going 13 to Calgary - he was selected 28th by Minnesota), he's been proven wrong in general, as Phillips has been incapable of making a significant impact at the AHL level, which has resulted in him being one of the few 2011 first-rounders yet to suit up for an NHL game.
9 Taylor Hall
Let's get one thing clear: Taylor Hall is a fantastic player and deserved to be selected first overall in 2010. He was a surefire pick. McGuire agreed with that, as everyone else did. However, McGuire was a bit off on a couple of things. For starters, he touted Hall as "a combination of Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson in terms of offense." Hall hasn't come close to touching either of those two Oiler legends - let alone being a combination of the two - but there's still plenty of time for the 23-year old. He also touted Hall as a defensive zone maestro - and while Hall has been on a brutal Oilers roster since he broke into the league, he's still put up less that stellar plus/minus numbers (he's only been a plus once in his career).
8 Tyler Biggs
"Biggs is probably the nastiest guy in this draft. He's a big physical player that's going to punish people once he gets to the NHL level."
That's what McGuire had to say on Tyler Biggs back in the 2011 Draft. McGuire was pretty happy about the Leafs taking Biggs at #22. As we all know, Biggs hasn't come close to panning out up to this point. He could still prove us all wrong, but until he does, Biggs remains a bust and McGuire remains incorrect - again.
7 The Suggested Draft Day Subban Trade
In the the lead-up to the 2012 NHL Draft, McGuire decided to stoke the fire that was already burning quite bright in Montreal. P.K. Subban was heading towards the 2012-2013 season without a contract and McGuire suggested they move Subban while they had the chance. Not only did he suggest it, he proposed the Habs trade Subban to the Oilers, who had the first overall pick, for said pick and "something." What is "something"? McGuire, who said this on Montreal sports talk radio, never clarified what he meant. Keep in mind that the Habs had the 3rd overall pick in that draft.
Fast forward to today. The Oilers first pick, Nail Yakupov, has been just short of being a complete bust, while the Habs first pick - two selections later - Alex Galchenyuk is seemingly poised for a breakout season.
And that Subban guy? He's turned out to be just fine in Montreal.
6 Angelo Esposito
A lot of people liked Angelo Esposito. He seemed like a good guy, from a hard-working family - a seemingly respectful young man with an immense talent that teams would be lucky to have.
If you asked Pierre McGuire about Esposito, he might have talked your ear right off about the endless possibilities for the young man - or his head might have just exploded. McGuire openly criticized several teams for letting Esposito slide past them in the draft, notably the Habs, during the 2007 NHL Draft. The Habs, by the way, took Ryan McDonagh, who's turned out to be a pretty good NHLer. Esposito, meanwhile, never played in a game in the big leagues. Injuries aside, he likely wasn't going to make a huge impact anyway and ultimately it's McGuire who comes out of it looking bad.
5 Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson
For whatever reason, Pierre was ready to tout Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson as the next great Swede during the lead-up to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. This was all fine and well, for the most part - MPS was (and still is) blessed with incredible speed, but he's never been able to achieve the offensive potential Pierre bestowed upon him during the winter and spring months leading up to that June. Pääjärvi-Svensson is now in St. Louis, splitting time between the NHL and AHL, while the real "great Swede" of that Draft, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, is dominating in Arizona - even if he's on a terrible team.
4 Jared Cowen
It seemed like Pierre was off his game more than usual in 2009, as in the same interview with SNY.tv (cited in the Pääjärvi-Svensson entry), McGuire jumped right to the front of the Jared Cowen bandwagon, proclaiming him "the second best defenseman in the draft" after Victor Hedman and saying that he wasn't overly concerned about Cowen's lateral mobility. All this while again ignoring Ekman-Larsson and several other defenseman taken in the same year, notably Ryan Ellis, Dmitri Kulikov and Nick Leddy.
3 Luke Schenn
From the moment Luke Schenn was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was cursed and doomed to fail. Besides the fact that he probably shouldn't have gone that high, or been thrown into the NHL fire as quickly as he was, he was also being haunted by the curse of Pierre McGuire. McGuire had one of his standard "player man crushes" on Schenn and the heat was on full blast on draft day. McGuire started it off by describing Schenn as a "savage physical specimen" and eventually dubbed him "The Human Eraser." These days, Schenn may be best served being just that. A human eraser. He can erase Dave Hakstol's white board drawings with his "savage physical specimen."
2 Dmitry Orlov
If there's a Dmitry Orlov fan club out there, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to assume that Pierre McGuire is the leader of said fan club, running it from the shadows behind a sketchy pseudonym like Rob McKinnsee. Back in 2011, McGuire went on record to say that Orlov could very well be the Sergei Zubov. Zubov is arguably the greatest Russian defenseman of all-time. Orlov, meanwhile, has bounced back and forth between Washington and the AHL since McGuire's prophecy, good for only 119 NHL appearances and 31 points.
1 Carey Price
When the Montreal Canadiens selected Carey Price 5th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, there's no doubt everyone was surprised. The Canadiens were seemingly set between the pipes with Jose Theodore and Mathieu Garon on the active roster - not to mention several prospects in the system. With Anze Kopitar on the board, many seethed at the Canadiens blatant disregard for big centremen, the so-called missing piece that many had been clamoring for for years.
While this thought was expressed by several experts in the moments following the selection, no one went off on the Habs the way McGuire did. Practically yelling into his microphone, McGuire lashed out at Bob Gainey and the Canadiens brass, chastising them for taking a player (whom he did admit would be good) that they didn't need while ignoring a blatant weakness on the team.
In retrospect, McGuire was not wrong - the Canadiens could have used Kopitar during the late 2000s and in theory they didn't need Price during those years. However, Price has developed into arguably the best player in the NHL, and he's done so after coming out of the same draft as one Sidney Crosby. McGuire is Price's biggest fan now, but he certainly wasn't on that fateful night ten years ago.