Ottawa Sun columnist Don Brennan has dropped plenty of hot takes over the years, and sports’ entry drafts often produce instant hot takes that turn cold later, so the combination of the two is just delightful. Via Robert Söderlind, here’s a 2008 Brennan column on the Senators’ first-round draft choice, headlined “Karlsson’s ‘a garbage pick'”:
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) July 6, 2017
Yes, that would be current team captain Erik Karlsson, twice (2012 and 2015) awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, and also a four-time NHL all-star and four-time first-team all-star selection. Getting Karlsson 15th overall was an absolute steal, especially in the weak 2008 draft; only two guys ahead of him in that draft (first and second overall picks Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty) have even made an all-star game, with a third (fourth-overall pick Alex Pietrangelo) earning a couple of nods for the league’s second all-star team, and only one player chosen after Karlsson in the first round (Jordan Eberle, taken 22nd overall) has made an all-star game. Oh, and it seems unlikely Karlsson would have lasted to the second round; he’d just been named the best defenseman at the U18 world junior championships, and plenty of teams were interested in him.
It gets even better if you look at the full article, and note who Brennan argues they should have taken instead:
Thing is, we really don’t know how good Karlsson can and will be. The 43rd player ever drafted into the NHL from the Frolunda hockey team in Sweden, he is advertised as a great skating defenceman with a big shot.
But he’s also tiny, listed at 5-foot-10 and 157 lbs.
“I like big strong guys,” said Murray, noting Karlsson has some work to do in the gym. “But I also like high-end skilled people.”
Karlsson won’t play in the NHL for a year or two or three, if he ever does. Real tough to get excited about him now.
He was one of the five players the Senators had on their list, but apparently not the top one still available when it was their turn to pick. So 67’s defenceman Tyler Cuma wound up going to the Minnesota Wild as the 23th player selected
Cuma has played a grand total of one NHL game to date. He spent four seasons mostly in the AHL, and has spent the last three in Europe, where he currently plays with the Vienna Capitals. But yes, Don, the Senators should totally have taken him instead of Karlsson because he played junior for an Ottawa team. Oh, and Brennan wasn’t even really right about how long it would take Karlsson to make the NHL; yes, he spent one more season in Europe in 2008-09, and started the 2009-10 season in the AHL, but was quickly called up and played 60 NHL games that year. For his career, he has 117 goals and 339 assists in 556 NHL regular-season games. That’s just a little better than Cuma’s zero and zero in one.
It should be noted that the “garbage pick” description didn’t actually come from Brennan, but from fan Brian Samuel. But if anything, that’s even more an indictment of this column. You’re a columnist, paid for your own opinions on sports, and you’re going to instead cede the floor to someone whose only listed qualification is “buying tickets”? And then print their napalm-level take and reinforce it with your own bad opinions? Great move there, Don. Fortunately for Senators’ fans, it was Murray making this pick rather than Brennan or Samuel. Their takes have frozen more solidly than the Rideau Canal in December.
[Robert Söderlind on Twitter ]