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Habs vs. Leafs draft picks since 2000

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Price with Calder Cup

An NHL Network article, written in the aftermath of the entry draft, caught my attention yesterday with an opening statement seemingly comparing the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs at the draft table in 2007.

Sadly, there was no comparison. Sadder, I spent 10 hours doing one myself.

Straight-jacket, PLEEEASE!

The piece was titled "Leafs Forced To Be Patient At Draft", and begins with the hookline "The Montreal Canadiens had drafted five players before the Toronto Maple Leafs got to the microphone for the first time in this year's NHL entry draft".

"Holy mackerel", I thought to myself, "this ought to be a delicious read!" Not!

I've been hoping for quite some time, to pounce upon a piece comparing the Canadiens and Maple Leafs draft strategies and prowess. The next line in the article killed my enthusiasm for such a thesis, with the most logic defying, brain dead summation I've read in months, namely: "But the Leafs feel it was well worth the wait."

Talk about a spin doctoring conclusion!

1993 Habs Cup banner

As for the hyped hookline with the Habs reference, the disappointing piece never revisits the Canadiens - Leafs draft comparison premise in any way.

I'm guessing that such an angle would, or could, hardly be approached in a CP penned piece. The article has no named author - who'd want to attach their name to such drivel! - and is all too dependent on Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr.'s quotes for content and opinion.

Reading Ferguson's musings and assessments are quite a treat! One can almost feel sorry the teams fans, having to put up with such nonsense and incompetence from their hockey heads year after year. I trust that lame written pieces such as this, spun and doctored by Ferguson contribute to the dumbing down of the Leafs Nation intelligentsia. And I use the last word loosely.

The Leaf scout is like the old Maytag repairman, sitting around waiting for his services to be called upon!

No less than three draft choices were traded away by Toronto this past weekend, in return of a fairly good backup goalie in Vesa Toskala, who has never had the adventure of playing behind anything as porous as the Leafs defence, and a player the Leafs had to take in the deal, Mark Bell, who is a time bomb of personal issues waiting to happen.

In Maple Leafs logic, these were seen as good moves that Ferguson termed "makes the team better".


Ferguson then says that "this is not your typical draft weekend", even though the Leafs had typically traded away their better picks on the day for a pair of players that don't improve the team greatly in any sense. Toskala, soon to be a UFA, will be a happy to leave Toronto UFA goalie in a mere 12 months. Not long after that, the player the Maple Leafs could have drafted, Logan Couture possibly, could be making his NHL debut.


San Jose used the acquired Toronto pick to flip flop choices with St. Louis Blues and move into the ninth slot and snap up Couture. It's a move that will come back to haunt the Leafs again and again.

There's an old saying that goes, "If you do not learn from history, you are bound to repeat it."

In 1990, Toronto was desperate for a puck-moving defenseman to help regenerate their stumbling offence. They started the 1989-90 season 0-5, and panic set in. The tossed their first round pick in the 1991 draft to New Jersey for journeyman rearguard Tom Kurvers. The plan didn't pan out as they finished 19th in the league, giving Jersey the third overall pick in the draft. The Devils happily chose Scott Niedermayer! Kurvers was gone in less than a year, but his addition likely kept the Leafs from finishing dead last and getting the first pick overall. That would have given Toronto Eric Lindros!

Live and learn, except in Leaf land.

Now obviously, there is a large difference in the talent that was available that season compared to what many call slim pickings in 2007. The Leafs were left with choosing six players between rounds three and seven in a watered down draft year.

It's unlikely that the picks will one day add up to much at the NHL level. There may potentially be three AHLers in the six picks.

So naturally, Ferguson will then talk about the Leafs nonexistent scouting and organizational depth!

For the record, while Hamilton was winning the Calder Cup, the Toronto Marlies finished last in their division in the AHL, out of the playoffs, just as the Leafs were.

Ferguson of course, fails to recognize that the Leafs prospects on the farm need winning surroundings to further their development. He high fives the team scouts, who must surely be grinding their teeth at all the confidence shown in them and says, "It was a credit to our scouting staff to have identified in the past few drafts, Justin Pogge, and other players that were not first-round picks but have now progressed to be the equivalent of those."

First he names Pogge, the Leafs best prospect, and suggests he's worthy of a number one pick.

Then he explains why he traded for a goaltender. That's just funny!

Then he credits the scouts he has just refrained from using for the two first rounds, while bragging of organizational force, and ties it all together with - "So that kind of depth allowed us to make a move that really shores up our goaltending."

So in other words, the Leafs are moving forward by adding net depth in the one position already held by their strongest, worthy of having been a top pick, goalie prospect. Along the path, they sacrifice a bona fide top two line center prospect and other picks in order to climb sideways in the standings.

The article writer won't critique this of course - he's still spinning from the spin, like an auger straight into the ground, burrowing down Leaf style.

Some people still believe Ferguson is trying to win a Stanley Cup in this way.

I believe he wants to be a teacher one day!


Since 2000, even before Ferguson's hiring in August of 2003, the Leaf draft pickings have been slim.

In the six drafts between 2000 and 2005, Toronto has chosen exactly 50 players. In that same time span Montreal has chosen 52. In general, Toronto has had more later round picks to speak of.

Toronto has had four first round picks in those years, with two players from those years currently in the NHL, Carlo Colaiacovo and Alexander Steen. The two who were let go are Brad Boyes (24th, 2000) and Tuukka Rask (21st, 2005). The Leafs last first rounder Jiri Tlusty, still junior-aged, made positive steps with the AHL Marlies, seeing action in six games.

Montreal has kept all six of it's first round picks, with only Ron Hainsey from 2000 having been cut loose. Four of those first rounders have reached the NHL level, Marcel Hossa (16th, 2000), Mike Komisarek (seventh, 2001), Chris Higgins (14th (2002), and Andrei Kostitsyn (10th, 2003). Banging down the door are Kyle Chipchura (18th, 2004) and of course Carey Price (fifth, 2005).

I wanted to compare the draft picks by Montreal and Toronto between 2000 and 2005. I thought it would be interesting to see how the players have done since being chosen and what their contributions have been at both the NHL and AHL levels.

My findings were particularly curious in respect to what has recently happened this past season.

The amount of players from the six drafts I chose to look at, are practically even on both teams, in games played and point totals. I added the totals of all players, including those who have since left the organization. I compared what the players have added to the teams in terms of points and games played since joining the NHL. I also compared what the draft picks brought this season.

Being that the Canadiens and Maple Leafs were but one point apart after 82 games in the 2007 standings, the findings here attest to the teams being quite even at present.

There is a trend however that shows the Canadiens draftees are gaining on those of the Leafs at the NHL level. Without spelling it out statistically, player by player, the trend is shown in the difference between 2006-07 points and career points. Simplified, the Canadiens draftees have a bigger percentage of career points scored in 2006-07 than the Leafs players.

This is open to many types of interpretations and analysis.

Further on, I will list all the players from both teams, and show NHL totals for 2006-07, as well as career numbers that include last seasons. Additionally, I will also list all players drafted and their totals at the AHL levels for this past season.

In Toronto, since 2000, nine drafted players have suited up for the Leafs. They include Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Bell, Jay Harrison, Kyle Wellwood, Maxim Kondratiev, Alexander Steen, Matt Stajan, Ian White, and Karel Pilar. Their career NHL totals are: 822 career games played, 117 goals, 234 assists, and 351 total points. Seven of those players participated in 372 games with the Leafs this season, for totals of 49-115-164.

On the Canadiens, 13 drafted players in the same time span have been uniform. They are Ron Hainsey, Marcel ( I'm definitely not Marian) Hossa, Jozef Balej, Alexander Perezhogin, all dearly unmissed, and Mike Komisarek, Duncan Milroy, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn, Mark Streit, Maxim Lapierre, Mikhail Grabovsky, and Guillaume Latendresse. With only Komisarek as a roster player prior to the lockout, they have played in a cumulative 1029 career games. The offensive numbers read: 141-199-340. This past season, the remaining 10 players played a total of 517 man games, adding in 85-124-209 totals.


The differences, career wise, are as follows:

  • four more players over the six seasons have played for the Canadiens;
  • 207 more career games played by the Canadiens players, which would average out to 50.2 games for the additional four players on the Habs;
  • 24 more goals scored by the Canadiens players;
  • 35 more assists by Leafs players;
  • 11 more points by the Leafs players.

The differences in 2006-07 are:

  • three additional drafted players on the Canadiens;
  • 155 more games played by Canadiens draftees;
  • 36 more goals scored by the Habs;
  • 18 more assists for the Habs players;
  • 44 points more by the Canadiens players, which is a 14.7 points per extra Hab draftee.

Of the 10 Canadiens players, nine equalled or bettered their previous best total. Perezhogin, who didn't, has undefected of sorts, back to Russia. Of Toronto's eight, five equalled or bettered their previous bests, while three slipped back. No large drops either way.

If each teams regulars are looked at separately from call-ups, the average Toronto draftee played 58.8 games in 2006-07, compared with 63.6 for Montreal.

Prior to 2006-07, the seven Canadiens regulars had 409 games of experience in the NHL, compared to 348 for the Leafs players.

It is at the AHL, that the trends greatly exposed themselfs. (sarcastic typo!)

Twenty eight of 52 players drafted by Montreal since 2000 have put in NHL or AHL games this season, as opposed to 18 of 50 for the Leafs. Four players from each team have since left the organizations.

The player totals above include goaltenders, however the individual player statistics that will follow do not take such numbers into consideration. Suffice to say that Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak`s numbers are greatly superior to those of Marlies goaltenders Mikael Tellqvist, J.F. Racine, Justin Pogge and Todd Ford. The total goalie games played are greatly in the Leafs favor - as this is a comparison of draft picks numbers, Yann Danis' totals lay in the balance.

Seventeen players chosen by the Canadiens in those six draft years were with the championship Bulldogs team this past year.

The Marlies had a record of 34-39-7 for 75 points. They scored 220 goals and allowed 270. Of the 48 players who dressed as Marlies, 11 were Maple Leafs draft choices. They include three goalies and eight forwards and defenseman who played in a total of 332 games in the AHL. The offensive totals combined for the eight players are 46-83-129.

The Bulldogs regular season record was 43-28-9, for 95 points. They scored 243 goals and allowed 208 against. 34 players dressed for the Bulldogs, 17 of which were Canadiens draft picks. Aside from the two Habs drafted goalies, 15 forwards or defenseman combined to appear in 727 man games. They scored 168 goals and added 252 assists for a total of 420 points. In 22 playoff games on the way to the Cup, 13 of 17 players dressed and accounted for 41-67-108 totals in a combined 206 games.

All together, the Bulldogs Canadiens prospects played 933 games, with totals of 209-319-528.

Compared with the Marlies Leafs prospects, the Bulldogs got experience in an additional 601 games and outscored the Marlies by a margin of 163-236-399.

Toronto Maple Leafs draftees

An asterisk signifies the player is no longer with the team. The +, -, and = notations pertain to season point totals rising or falling from previous year. Career totals include the 2006-07 season.

NHL Career (2000-07)
Career 2006-07
Skater Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Points Games Points
Carlo Colaiacovo 2001 17th 73 10-16-26 48 8-9-17 (+)
Karel Pilar* 2001 39th 90 6-24-30
Brenden Bell* 2001 65th 32 1-4-5 31 1-4-5 (+)
Jay Harrison 2001 82nd 13 0-1-1 5 0-0-0 (-)
Kyle Wellwood 2001 134th 130 23-64-87 48 12-30-42 (-)
Maxim Kondratiev* 2001 168th 7 0-0-0
Alexander Steen 2002 24th 157 33-47-80 82 15-20-35 (-)
Matt Stajan 2002 57th 232 40-54-94 82 10-29-39 (+)
Ian White 2002 191st 88 4-24-28 76 3-23-26 (+)
Staffan Kronwall 2002 285th 34 0-1-1
Jeremy Williams 2003 220th 2 2-0-2 1 1-0-1 (=)
Career 2006-07
Goaltender Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Record Games Record
Mikael Tellqvist 2000 70th 41 16-16-4 1 0-1-0
AHL (2006-07)
Skater Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Points
Dominic D'Amour 2002 88th 42 2-9-11
Staffan Kronwall 2002 285th 47 3-14-17
Martin Sagat 2003 91st 71 4-11-15
John Mitchell 2003 158th 73 16-20-36
Jeremy Williams 2003 220th 23 6-9-15
Robbie Earl 2004 187th 67 12-18-30
Phil Oreskovic 2005 82nd 3 0-1-1
Jiri Tlusty 2006 13th 6 3-1-4
Goaltender Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Record GAA SV%
Mikael Tellqvist 2000 70th 3 2-1-0 3.95 .882
J.-F. Racine 2000 90th 31 11-14-3 3.33 .889
Todd Ford 2002 74th 5 2-1-0 3.27 .869
Justin Pogge 2004 90th 48 19-25-2 3.03 .896

Montreal Canadiens draftees

NHL Career (2000-07)
Career 2006-07
Skater Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Points Games Points
Ron Hainsey*
2000 13th 32 1-1-2
Marcel Hossa* 2000 16th 59 10-9-19
Josef Balej* 2000 78th 4 0-0-0
Mike Komisarek
2001 7th 220 6-24-30 82 4-15-19 (+)
Alexander Perezhogin*
2001 25th 128 15-19-34 61 6-9-15 (-)
Duncan Milroy
2001 37th 5 0-1-1 5 0-1-1 (+)
Tomas Plekanec
2001 71st
150 29-47-76 81 20-27-47 (+)
Chris Higgins
2002 14th 143 45-31-76 61 22-16-38 (=)
Andrei Kostitsyn
2003 10th 34 3-11-14 22 1-11-12 (+)
Maxim Lapierre
2003 61st
47 6-6-12 46 6-6-12 (+)
Mikhail Grabovski
2004 150th 3 0-0-0 3 0-0-0
Mark Streit
2004 262th 124 12-35-47 76 10-26-36 (+)
Guillaume Latendresse
2005 45th 80 16-13-29 80 16-13-29 (+)
Career 2006-07
Goaltender Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Record Games Record
Jaroslav Halak 2003 271st 16 10-6-0 16 10-6-0
AHL (2006-07)
Regular Season Playoffs
Skater Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Points Games Points
Duncan Milroy 2001 37th 64 25-33-58 22 2-11-13
Andrew Archer 2001 203rd 16 0-1-1 19 0-3-3
Michel Lambert 2002 99th 49 11-5-16 14 2-2-4
Jonathan Ferland 2002 212th 78 23-14-39 22 3-6-9
Andrei Kostitsyn 2003 19th 50 21-31-52
Cory Urquhart 2003 40th 30 5-12-17 18 2-2-4
Maxim Lapierre 2003 61st 37 11-13-24 22 6-6-12
Ryan O'Byrne 2003 79th 80 0-12-12 22 2-5-7
Corey Locke 2003 113th 80 20-35-55 22 10-12-22
Jimmy Bonneau 2003 241st 9 0-0-0
Kyle Chipchura 2004 18th 80 12-27-39 22 6-7-13
Mikhail Grabovski 2004 150th 66 17-37-54 20 4-7-11
Jon Gleed 2004 212th 8 0-1-1
Mathieu Aubin
2005 130th 25 2-3-5
Matt D'Agostini 2005 190th 63 21-28-49 22 4-9-13
Regular Season Playoffs
Goaltender Draft Year Draft Pos. Games Record GAA SV% Games Record GAA SV%
Jaroslav Halak 2003 271st 29 16-11-0 2.00 .932
Carey Price 2005 5th 2 1-1-0 1.53 .949 22 15-6-0 2.06 .939

Drafts are about the future. Looking back, the comparisons here, even out fair enough.

As for the future, the Canadiens have success written are over their draft picks.