Welcome to the newest series on the 4th Line! This is a series where I will be looking at the top 5 draft steals. Now these won’t always just be the 6th and 7th rounders of a draft. My aim here is to find some of the best players of the draft that weren’t taken where they should have been. This means there may be late first rounders, or second rounders included. With this in mind let’s start our first draft, 2010!
Honourable Mention – Petr Mrazek, Round 5, 141st Overall:
I am giving Petr Mrazek an honourable mention here because finding a possible starter in round 5 is a steal. Now he has fallen off in both this year and last years performances. However, he is still 25 and may eventually take the net back from Howard. He posted a .921 and a .918 season 3 and 4 years ago. He just hasn’t been able to find long term success. I will still pen him down here though, because I believe he may still be of value to the Wings in the future. Now let’s get on with the list!
#5 – Brendan Gallagher, Round 5, 147th Overall:
Coming in at number 5 on this list is Brendan Gallagher. Now he was an easy choice to both have on the list, but also not have high on the list. He doesn’t have the talent of the next 4 players, but finding a guy who is a complete pest and an important part of your team in round 5 is huge. At the time of writing, Gallagher has played 367 NHL games. He has 103G, 105A, for 208P. These are amazing numbers, and something anyone would love out of a whole career from a 5th rounder. Factor in that Gallagher is only 25 years old, and that he still has at least 10 years of NHL left in him, and you have one darn good pick. It goes beyond the points too. I’m not one who believes much in “Grit”, or puts too much faith into locker room “Characters”. However, Gallagher is that special kind of pest player that goes and does the dirty things. Seemingly always in front of the net, and infuriating other players, Gallagher is a great asset to the Montreal Canadiens. He is a true role player, who can play in a bottom or top 6 role, and it was a real easy choice to have him on this list.
#4 – Tyler Toffoli, Round 2, 47th Overall:
Tyler Toffoli is one of the picks that wasn’t found super deep in the draft, but his talent is that of an early first rounder. If doing a redraft today it’d be pretty hard not to have Toffoli in the top 20, maybe top 15 of this draft. He has 205 points in 336 career games. What’s more, is how important he was to the Kings cup run in 2014. With 14 points in 26 games, Toffoli made up one third of the “That 70’s line” with Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter. That line was huge in providing a spark, and scoring key goals when needed. They really complimented the Kopitar line well, and gave the Kings a dual threat. Toffoli’s production took a dip last season. However, almost every Kings player’s production dropped in what was just a truly awful season. This season he is back on pace for 57 points, one off his career high. Toffoli is an amazing player, and picking him up mid 2nd round is a steal for the LA Kings.
#3 – Justin Faulk, 2nd Round, 37th Overall
Justin Faulk is another player on this list who wasn’t taken super late, but should have been taken earlier. Another player who should have been taken in the top 20 at least, Faulk has been a solid part of the Carolina blue line for years. Now that they have so much young talent he will end up playing less, and may even be moved. However, Carolina has sure gotten good use out of him. Faulk has already played 446 games, the 6th most in his draft class. He has 206 points in that span, and for a Dman that is very good. Looking at Faulk’s hero chart you can see where he excels and struggles.
Faulk is a well above average offensive Dman, who struggles a bit on the defensive side. However, I’m sure the Hurricanes are not complaining that they found a border line elite offensive dman in round 2. Those are the type of things that you only wish for, and when it happens you take advantage of it. The Canes can still get value back on Faulk if he is traded, which still helps them out. 37th is not super low, but it’s low enough to be considered a steal.
#2 – Mark Stone, 6th Round, 178th Overall
I almost put Mark Stone at one here, and I think you could. It’s close, but what is for sure is that the Ottawa Senators got a steal in Mark Stone. Stone is currently a top 5, maybe top 3 winger in this league. He has 229 points in 291 games, good for 0.79 points per game. This is the kind of production you ask out of your top 10 pick, not a guy in the 6th round!
Stone is one of, if not the best defensive winger in the game as well today. His 2-way game is so unique and amazing. He leads the league in takeaways all the time, and it’s no wonder watching him. He can bat the puck right out of the air and go the other way with it. Stone is an amazing player, and if the draft was redone would be a top 10 pick. picking him in the 6th round is nuts.
#1 – John Klingberg, 5th Round, 131st Overall
Here he is, Mr #1. Again, I think you could swap Stone and John Klingberg if you wanted too, but I think it’s amazing they pulled a legit #1D in round 5. Klingberg has played just 4 seasons in the NHL. In those 4 seasons he has played 266 games, and had 188 points. For a few years he looked like he may just be the type where he is elite offensively but struggles in his own end of the ice. However, this season Klingberg has emerged as a true #1 Dman.
This has done wonders for the Dallas Stars who find themselves back in a playoff spot after missing last season. Klingberg is being trusted pretty much everywhere on the ice, and is really playing some heavy minutes for the Stars. Telling people he was picked in the 5th round may get some crazy looks. It is so hard to find a #1D, and to have one fall all the way down to round 5 is insane. It shows how poor NHL scouting was in Europe, and how easy it was and sometimes still is to “beat the system”. Dallas sure isn’t complaining though: they have their #1D for the foreseeable future. Making this the steal of the draft.