We’ve come to spot #11 in the Top 25 Under 25. This spot would have belonged to Adam Erne. However, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2020 fourth round pick. We wish him the best of luck, but we obviously can’t include him in the rankings anymore. So instead of trying to shift all the rankings midway through the list, we’re going to replace him with the fourth round pick the Lightning got in exchange for Erne. How can we do that? We’re going to do our best to estimate what that player’s production would look like.
The Lightning have made a total of 22 selections in the fourth round of the draft. Seven of those players have made it to the NHL in their career. If we include all of those players, below is our average Tampa Bay Lightning fourth rounder.
Name: A. Pick IV
Games Played: 60
Assuming our average fourth rounder played a full season, then that’s a sub-replacement fourth line forward or a replacement level third pairing defenseman. Not bad, especially for a fourth round pick.
We could boost the stats of A. Pick IV just a little bit by disregarding recent picks Ross Colton, Alexander Green, and Maxwell Crozier who haven’t had a realistic chance to make it to the NHL. Ross Colton just made it to the AHL last season. Green was selected in 2018 and is playing NCAA hockey and Crozier was a pick in the 2019 draft. If remove those three, our composite player jumps to 70 games played, 6 goals, 8 assists, and 14 points. Still not great.
But let’s get even wilder here. Let’s just take the seven players that made it to the NHL. Let’s assume that Al Murray really knows what he’s doing and gets things right with this pick and he finds an NHLer. Now, A. Pick IV goes up to 189 games played, 16 goals, 21 assists, and 37 points. Still a pretty meh NHL career if we’re being honest. Although, again, not bad at all for a fourth round pick.
There are still a couple of active NHLers in this group. Cedric Paquette is near the top among Lightning fourth rounders in production with 316 games played, 40 goals, 27 assists, and 67 points. He comes in 2nd in games, goals, and points and third in assists. Mathieu Joseph is also likely to push for all of these records as he’s just 70 games into his career with 13 goals, 13 assists, and 26 points. While he is 6th among our seven draft picks in games played, he’s already third in goals, and fourth in assists and points.
What if we go a step further, and we look at all of Al Murray’s fourth round selections? Since he’s been with the Lightning, that’s only seven players and only Paquette and Joseph have made it to the NHL.
But! That’s not his whole history. He was the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings from 1994 to 2007. So that gives us the 1995 through 2007 drafts by the Kings. We’ll assume he wasn’t running the draft in 1994 before he was promoted and we’ll also assume he had an impact on the 2007 draft despite being released by the Kings. With these additions, here’s our new A. Pick IV.
Name: A. Murray Pick IV
Games Played: 197
Wow, that’s quite a jump! And the reason is because Al Murray was pretty darn successful in making fourth round picks with the Kings. The best career among those selections was defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky in 2000 who played 883 career games with 128 goals, 367 assists, and 495 points. Murray also chose 820 game forward Eric Belanger who put up 358 points. Follow that with defenseman Joe Corvo logging 708 games and 310 points. And then another defenseman who’s still active in Alec Martinez with 556 career games and 190 points. He also added two other 300 game players in forwards Dwight King and Brian McGrattan and a 226 game player in defenseman Aaron Rome.
During his time with the Lightning, five of Murray’s fourth round selections have yet to make the NHL. But only six fourth rounders from his full time with Los Angeles failed to make it to the NHL. That’s a nice track record for a round in which the success rate of NHL draft picks is pretty low.
So who knows? Maybe in a few years we’ll look back on this 2020 fourth rounder as another name in Al Murray’s list of successful mid round draft picks.