Why do you think Brad Richards was drafted so low in 1998?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Okay, I have my reasons, because I was there at the time and the 1998 draft turned out to be a pretty good one and even at the time I thought had a lot of interesting names.

    Lecavalier was a lock to be #1. Well, sort of. David Legwand had a remarkable year in the OHL and the idea was that he was close to Lecavalier but I never saw it to be honest. Legwand never impressed me in the OHL or the NHL and I watched him play in junior live. Either way, Lecavalier with 115 points goes 1st overall. His team the Rimouski Oceanic had another centre named Brad Richards who scored 115 points also. In the QMJHL there was also Ramzi Abid who scored 135 points and Mike Ribeiro who scored 125. All in their draft years. Wow, crazy numbers too. Now, I get why Abid didn't cut it and why he dropped to 28th overall in 1998. His skating was awfully bad and even cutting it as an enforcer or a power forward wasn't good enough. Ribeiro was small and played small and while he had a good career this was almost a sin to be small in the 1990s when every GM wanted the next Lindros. So I see why he was drafted at 45th overall.

    But even knowing part of the reasons why Richards went 64th overall in 1998, it still doesn't make sense to me, and didn't then either. Richards was not big. He was at best 6'0" and maybe 190lbs. Not small, but not big. Plus he may have "played small" to the liking of some scouts. It is my understanding that Lecavalier is the one that convinced the Lightning to pick his teammate with their 3rd pick. I just don't know how he lasted so long.

    I can see the factors looking back on it, but it still doesn't add up to slipping to 64th. I am sure they felt Lecavalier was the reason Richards got a lot more room on the ice and could fly under the radar with a superstar teammate taking a lot of the workload and that with him gone he'd be exposed (think Marc Pouliot without Sidney Crosby). But even with that risk, how do you think he ended up so low? The following season he had 130 points but still got snubbed by Canada for the World Juniors, then 186 while eventually leading his team to the Memorial Cup. Then started in the NHL the following year and personally I thought he had the makings of a great playmaker in the NHL and to an extent he was.

    Any other reasons why you think he dropped to 64th with that sort of production?
     
  2. Eisen

    Eisen Registered User

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    I think it was nothing more than that. They believed he was mostly a product of his linemate and he played a bodiless game. At least I read that hefore.
     
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  3. GMR

    GMR Registered User

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    Is this the same draft where Scot Parker was drafted 20th? Sure was.

    GM's in general were "size queens" back then. Just look at the top 10 of that draft. Big players who couldn't skate at all. The one exception would be Rico Fata, but his speed just blinded everyone else as to his limitations.
     
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  4. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    the same team that drafted scott parker in the first round took alex tanguay with its highest pick that year, so we still have no explanation for why b richards was taken so late.

    we have talked about this a lot but i don’t believe anyone has ever definitively demonstrated either way whether brad and vinnie (both centers in the nhl) were linemates in their draft years.
     
  5. GMR

    GMR Registered User

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    Colorado had many picks that year, but they could have drafted somebody more useful than Parker with that pick. They were making a concerted effort at that time to put together a tougher team physically to compliment their skilled players. Parker was supposed to be the next Probert and I cannot remember the last time an enforcer was so hyped coming out of juniors. Still, his numbers in juniors didn't suggest he'd be anything more than a goon. It was a bad pick to make that high in the draft. I only mentioned him because it fits with the theme of teams being mesmerized by a player's size too much.
     
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  6. ShelbyZ

    ShelbyZ Registered User

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    IIRC, Parker was kind of an odd outlier in that draft. He was re-entering after not signing with the Devils who drafted him in 96 and his stock had risen with way more production in junior in his D+1 and D+2 and was ready to jump to the pros where if needed, he could go straight to the NHL to be a heavyweight face puncher.

    The Avs had already drafted at 12, 16 and 19 (Thanks Lindros!), picking up Tanguay, Skoula and Regehr as solid future prospects and figured Parker filled an NHL need for when they went to battle against the rugged Stars or big bad Kirk Maltby in Detroit. Although that's despite having Belak in tow, who I think had a bunch of injuries in his 2nd pro year. But as Parker would tell you, the newly hired Bob Hartley liked to keep his young enforcers on their tows by threatening to make them "smell the chocolate fumes" (#metoo mean coach translation for being demoted to Hershey), so more was probably better anyway...
     
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  7. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Just read the title, sorry.

    A) Resources. Not all teams had the resources and the infrastructure that we have 20 years after the fact. Tampa Bay is actually one of those teams and it worked to their benefit. Because of their lack of scouting resources, they had seen Richards purely because they had seen Lecavalier. Rimouski is a five hour drive north to the middle of nowhere from Montreal and Orono, Maine. If you're not gonna get VL4, there might not be a need to see his linemate.

    B) Skating and size and strength combo. Not a great skater and only about 5'11" or 6 flat I think in his draft year. That combo means that you better be super skilled or something...but not many (or enough) did their homework on Richards to find out that he wasn't just a product of VL4. During the Memorial Cup, crazy ass Mike Danton said that Richards "wouldn't last five games in the OHL..."

    A few teams laughed at the notion of Richards going in the top 100 of the draft and chalked it up to Tampa only going to Rimouski that year...and well...that's life sometimes...
     
  8. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    That the ringleader of that team is now an NHL coach boggles my mind.

    I think it's pretty much been laid out. Richards didn't have any noteworthy physical attributes at a time when physical attributes had tremendous value placed on them. He was smallish, not a good skater, and he didn't catch your attention by compensating with physicality. Gare Joyce's book talks about how Tampa did have Quebec scout who was high on Richards, but obviously he was getting attention from that scout because they were scouting Lecavalier. Big numbers also weren't going to blow people away when it was the QMJHL and you had a star in Lecavalier on the same team and line fairly often.
     
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  9. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    after i read smell the chocolate fumes then hashtag metoo, i expected something far worse and more disgusting than being sent to the minors. relieved by the time i finished the sentence.
     
  10. brucejohnjennerlawso

    brucejohnjennerlawso Registered User

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    Who exactly is that? Youre talking about the 2000 Barrie Colts, right?
     
  11. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    Keefe.
     
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  12. Regal

    Regal Registered User

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    I always thought they were but then Richards proved himself after Vinny left. I have a hockey forecaster from 00-01 that lists Richards in the prospects section of Tampa's profile that mentions them "possibly being reunited" and listing him at LW, then the following year, after his rookie year the same publication mentions him playing center as a rookie but that his numbers could shoot up even more if he reunites on LeCavalier's wing.
     
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  13. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    they also played together in notre dame, before going to Q. maybe they were linemates there and that's what the second reunites refers to?
     
  14. 86Habs

    86Habs Registered User

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    Any idea why Richards finished 4th in Selke voting in his rookie year (2000-2001)? Not only do rookies rarely finish high in Selke voting, Richards was never seen as an elite defensive player in his career (next highest finish was 14th, a decade later). He finished directly ahead of Yzerman (who won the Selke in the previous year, but only played 54 games in 2001), Lehtinen (who had won the Selke two times previously), and then Bonk and Elias, who were both legitimately good defensive players.

    It seems very strange to me. He was -10 as a rookie on a very poor team.
     
  15. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    google turned this up.

    "We're like brothers," says Lecavalier. "To play on the same line at Notre Dame, to be on the same junior team in Rimouski, to both be drafted by the Lightning, it's very special.

    https://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/lecavalier-richards-are-lightning-in-a-bottle-1.197655

    lecavalier's quote suggests that they weren't regular linemates in rimouski right?
     
  16. tony d

    tony d HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

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    Not really sure why. It can be argued he ended up being better than Lecavalier.
     
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  17. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    but in retrospect, even if he was scrawny and not a particularly impressive skater, i'm still surprised that the avs didn't take richards.

    they had seven chances at richards before TB took him. they'd apparently amassed that crazy stockpile of picks in hopes of trading up for the lecavalier pick. presumably, if they so much of lecavalier that they went to all those lengths to accumulate assets to get him, they probably saw plenty of richards too.

    tanguay, abid, and sauve were all QMJHL guys and lacroix loved QMJHL guys. tanguay was half a year older than richards, they played at about the same size in the NHL, very similar skillsets as passy non-physical centers who got by on being smart and shifty and had really good wrist shots when they chose to use it.

    tanguay's draft year with halifax: 85 points in 51 games. richards in rimouski: 115 points in 68 games, though tanguay played in the WJC and i'm guessing was probably more physically developed at the time (dowbiggin's book calls the draft year richards "scrawny").

    abid, iirc a big daze-like guy with good hands, had 135 points in 68 games for chicoutimi to lead the Q in scoring.

    sauve, lecavalier and richards' teammate in rimouski, was a second generation NHL goalie with an in—his dad took over lacroix's agency when lacroix became avs GM and iirc was patrick roy's agent at the time (and, i think, also lecavalier's agent?) all that aside though, if they watched so much rimouski that they talked themselves into sauve, they really should have also talked themselves into richards, i.e., the guy who looked like a young joe sakic.

    maybe the avs planned to take richards in the middle rounds but TB beat them to it? from everything we know no one expected richards to go that early.
     
  18. MS

    MS 1%er

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    There have been a litany of not-that-big, not-that-fast big junior scorers who had their production driven by an elite linemate.

    Scouts assumed that this was just another case of a guy who was really a 70-point type 3rd-4th rounder being inflated to 115 points because he played with the #1 overall pick. Then when Lecavalier went to the NHL the next year, it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that that wasn't the case.
     
  19. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    Are you saying that it is undeserved, or that it is a surprising turnaround considering where he came from?
     
  20. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    I'm saying that it is very surprising given where he was in 2000.
     
  21. Eisen

    Eisen Registered User

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    Martin " Puck Poise" Škoula.
     
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  22. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    It also makes me wonder a bit why there hasn't been any questions to Keefe about such things like "Oh, by the way, do you still have regular contact with David Frost and Mike Danton?"

    All I can say about that is this. He was -10 but that wasn't bad on the Lightning that year. Plus he's a 20 year old rookie leading his team in scoring. I don't know, maybe the voters saw something? I double checked to see if that was a typo, and the strange thing is he got some 1st place votes. What is the story there though? I just don't see it and is there some kind of glitch where his name is supposed to be someone else's? I don't know.
     
  23. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Those questions have long been asked. That time is over now. He resurrected himself from the ground up basically.
     
  24. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Keefe or Richards are we talking about here?
     
  25. Nick Hansen

    Nick Hansen Registered User

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    It is bizarre. Surprise rookie on a ****ty team who outscored Lecavalier whilst being 'only' -10 and having 14 PIMS?

    It's kind of comical that he finished ahead of Elias who had perhaps the best season in his career in 00/01.
     

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