If a no-name falls in the seventh round, does it make a sound?
The seventh round of the NHL Draft is not, uh, well it's not known for producing NHL players.
But it's still possible to find players with decent pedigrees there, and roughly one or two per year might turn into something. Joe Pavelski was selected in the seventh round in 2003 after a nice season in the USHL. The Islanders grabbed Chris Campoli there. And of course, Matt Moulson (2003), P.A. Parenteau (2001) and Jaroslav Halak (2003) were found in the ninth round back when it still existed (not by the Islanders though...that union came later). More recently, Carl Gunnarsson (an overage Euro pick) and Justin Braun (overage, NCAA) were found in the seventh round in 2007.
Then there are the mystery picks. The picks that seem so far out of left field that you swear there is blackmail, nepotism, or a shelter in the Cayman Islands involved.
Earlier this year, at the end of a Chris Botta report about sales talks with the New York Islanders, was a note that reminded me of infamous Isles draft pick:
Brooklyn-born billionaire Nelson Peltz, CEO of asset management firm Trian Partners, has been linked to bids for the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators in the past, and the 71-year-old Peltz is a hockey advocate: He once described after-school life for his children as "gym, ice and homework," and he has a rink inside his Bedford, N.Y., home. His son, Brad, also was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL draft.
Brad Peltz's career stats are, well, not impressive. But his dad was a someone.
They said the same about Rosen, whose career stats are likewise nothing to make you draft home about (even in the seventh round), so rumors stirred from the fact his father was a someone in business.
Neither is quite on the same level of impossibility as Taro Tsujimoto, but they might as well be.
And all that reminds me of a blatantly unhidden nepotist pick, that of Anthony Brodeur by the New Jersey Devils in the 2013 seventh round. The Devils made a big deal of it, securing a final-round pick so that they could let franchise legend Martin call out the drafting of his own son. It was* a little made-for-TV (or video replay, since no one was watching) moment.
*It was also an ironic "payment," considering the Devils already held on to the elder Brodeur as theoretical starter well after his decline was quite clear. If this were a nod to convince a still-good Brodeur to re-sign with the club, it would be worth it. But under the circumstances...awkward.
While the younger Brodeur's stats thus far aren't quite Peltz/Rosen-like, they are still unimpressive and provide no reason to think, "Hey, the Devils might have a gem here." His most likely tops out at a nice draft-day story.
If draft picks are more often than not a crapshoot (the first two rounds have decent odds, but chances drop precipitously after that), then it's tempting to treat the late rounds as a crapshoot, squared. It's the type of long odds that can make a person resort to superstition, or nostalgia ("He's a legend's son!"), or narrative ("If THIS nobody makes it by hard work alone, then...")
Resorting to any of those is still a bad idea, of course. But teams and GMs get away with it with little scrutiny because the odds are so long it feels like the kind of dice you're rolling need divine intervention to make a difference.
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