Coming up with a ranking like this takes a bit of time, and we have a lot of people who think quite a bit differently about the young players in the Canadiens system than others do. The following lists were submitted by our twelve panelists, with some only submitting 25-35 names of 44, while several ranked all the way to the very bottom:
|17||De La Rose||15||28||23||15||13||16||17||9||13||21||19||25|
Decipher what you can from this table about our individual preferences. On a personal note, I'd probably make a couple of tinkers to the list after this whole exercise, particularly with my ranking of Bournival, and I think Chris Boyle made a convincing argument about Leblanc enough for me to bump him up a little, possibly since I overadjusted too much to accommodate some of the younger forwards.
After we started the process, I got to thinking about the emphasis we laid on the question that we asked people to make their rankings by: "Would you trade this guy for...?" With that in mind, I thought about what this list would look like if we simply didn't take the average vote of the panel. We all wouldn't trade Subban for anyone else, but a few of us would trade Galchenyuk for Pacioretty and even one for Eller. If you look at the ranking of Darren Dietz vs. Christian Thomas, for example, more panelists would prefer to have Thomas (8) over Dietz (4), yet the ranking reflects the opposite. So what would our ranking look like if we simply said: "This guy, or this guy?" to the panel in a democratic vote? Well, here you go:
|Player||Trade Rank||Average Rank||Difference|
|Jacob De La Rose||14||17||+3|
As you can see, the notable change is in the muddy middle. Magnus Nygren is actually preferred by the majority of the panel to everyone ranked below him and rises to 12th even though his cumulative total was only the 15th best score. Lehkonen is the next most preferred player, although he's in a dead heat with fellow 2013 2nd round pick De La Rose. De La Rose is actually in a unique position: he has 50/50 splits with not only Lehkonen, but Bournival, McCarron, and Ellis for preference, while being the preference of the majority of the panel for everyone else below him. The other players weren't quite as clear cut above the rest of the fold, so De La Rose gets the bump up the list. Bournival and McCarron are similarly closely regarded. In some ways, the panel basically came up with a tie between De La Rose, Bournival, and McCarron.
Christian Thomas and Zach Fucale get minor bumps as well from this, and even the controversial Connor Crisp gets a little love by this method. I think the panel's majority opinion might be better reflected by this manner rather than treating ranking places as one in the same. I know for me personally, I had distinctions throughout the list as to where people were placed, and the drop from 3 to 4, 6 to 7, and 13 to 14 were a lot bigger than other drops. I think this methodology might be how we finalize the rankings going forward.
As for our current list, it was based on who was in the system as of July 2013. We're already down to just 42 players under the age of 25 in the organization, as Dustin Walsh and Mike Cichy became unrestricted free agents on August 15 as expired collegiate draft picks. I think you can tell what my opinion of any player I ranked below Dustin Walsh (at 38th) was by the fact that I'd rather have kept him than those other guys. Let's just say I'm not too optimistic about those players' professional careers, especially in regards to the timeline of making an impact with the Canadiens.