2020 Draft

What John Davidson said about the draft

John Davidson was on MSG and said the following:

  • On the #1 overall pick, “We are excited, really excited. It seems like we’ve gone through, it seems like, 100 Zooms during the pause, talking to all the kids. We have 10 picks, the first round is on Tuesday and Wednesday will be the rest of the rounds, 2-7. There has been a lot of work put into this, it will all be virtually done this time around, at the training center in our conference room. There is a real air of excitement here. We’ve done a lot of work on the top players, the player we are going to pick, we’ve pretty much decided as a group, is someone that is very exciting. I don’t want to get into it more than that, other than we are ecstatic as a group. We got lucky and will take advantage of it, it’s a big one for us.”
  • Is there anything that has stood out with the player you are going to take, “Character and maturity, two big ones for sure. When you talk to the kids, you can separate them a little bit through the maturity level, they are all good players, our #22 pick, we are going to get a good player. This is a pretty deep draft. When you talk to all the young guys, through the pause, and we’ve been lucky, there are some games being played in Europe and some of these draftable kids have been playing and we’ve been able to watch those and build more of a book, probably like everybody else. With the top pick, the maturity level, the confidence, just open-minded, not being overwhelmed. There are a lot of good things here that come with the package. There are always growing pains, you look around the league at great players, look at Nathan MacKinnon, how long it took him to be the Nathan Mackinnon we know today, it takes time. Sometimes you get young players and they actually go back a little bit before they go forward because they are overwhelmed, or any different reason. It seems to me that the young man we are picking, all of those boxes are checked already, which is a good sign.”
  • On the #22 and whether it’s best player or a need, “I think it’s best player available, generally. Obviously there is a shortage of centers around, things like that, could be a PP defenseman, could be anything along those lines, you are always looking. But you have to remember, when you are drafting a person on Tuesday or Wednesday, that player might be 2-3 years away and you have to get your projections involved in your thinking a little bit. The other thing to remember is that Jeff and Dru, they’ve worked at getting a lot of picks the last few years. Not everybody is going to have room, not everybody is going to play but as you move along in a rebuild or build you accumulate assets and someone may need something you have a lot of and you may need something they have a lot of so you can get yourself involved in a deal. The assets you acquire, and if you go through the development of the player and you do it right, whether it’s strength and conditioning or the mental aspect or building the body, all this stuff, if you do your job you are going to end up with a lot of pretty good players and then we have some more tough decisions to make, which ones to be here, which ones to maybe move along and help them have a career and get something back that is going to help us, whether it be picks or somebody that is a need at a certain position, it’s a big, big cycle, a big think tank but it’s exciting. I’ll tell you what is exciting about it, if you are an organization that doesn’t have those opportunities or options, it’s bleak. But if you have these assets and picks that you worked so hard to acquire, but patience, patience has to be part of it.”
  • How deep is the draft, “This draft is a draft that has a lot of high-end players, when you go to the next level down, which is just a hair, there are a lot of them, that makes it harder to make these decisions, but at least you have the opportunity to be involved and make hard decisions. It’s not, once you get past the first, in some years, 12-14 players it gets pretty thin and some will play but how good are they going to be. This one seems to be a draft that has the high-end and then the next level just has a good number of really good young players that are going to be good players at the NHL level, for sure. That is why scouts stay up late and watch tape, make decisions. What is interesting with this one, this draft should have been over in June, now it’s in October, these scouts have had time to re-evaluate and look at the list and maybe change this or that, it’s been quite a ride for these guys.”