The class of 2008 could be called the first full opportunity for management under Garth Snow's tenure to evaluate prospects.
With amateur scout Ryan Jankowski out of Montreal for hockey canada (no announcement on Habs website to date or notice from any former team blogger/employee) and only one listing of Jankowski at all in 2010 here, it's getting closer to a final grade on the class of 2008.
Turned out there were some big misses too.
We all know the people's choice on draft night 2008, Nikita Filatov, did not resign a five year contract with Columbus this week like Josh Bailey, or that a traded pick in this draft translated to Travis Hamonic (drafted after Ness) who was just resigned for seven years. That alone makes for a very strong showing.
Corey Trivino-Turned out to be a bust as a second rounder, but some of that goes on players own personal circumstances after he was drafted. The former second rounder spent 2012-13 in the ECHL with solid numbers, like Mark Streit, many ECHL players made the NHL.
Aaron Ness-Did leave Minnesota, and had a solid statistical season for Bridgeport, what he also has is an enormous task ahead to stand out, and win a roster spot in a system packed with defense/size. His offensive upside/skating is his best asset.
David Toews-Turned out to be a bust for New York, playing for three different ECHL clubs in 2012-13, where he was claimed by one off waivers.
Jyri Niemi-Big kid, Islanders training camp where he played juniors, was traded to Rangers, who did not retain him after signing him, bust for a third round pick.
Kirill Petrov-The saga continues of his coming to sign here, he's again an UFA in 2013-14. Time is running out to even care regardless.
Matt Donovan-The pick that can elevate this draft back to home run status permanently. His numbers cannot be missed out of Bridgeport, but the goals allowed, his very early benching after game one means he's not a lock, but overall his size, offensive ability will likely mean a very look look in camp.
Kevin Poulin-This is the year that tells us if he can break through as an NHL goaltender, despite his numbers on a weak Bridgeport club. This can go either way with a real chance he could perform as a starter at this level. There have been enough short stretches he looked more than capable as a starter here, but not in 2012-13.
Matt Martin-Despite the hit numbers, character player, he has to become the player he was in Sarnia, and start producing. Sure it's an excellent pick regardless, but he has to project out to be better than a fourth line role player with a minus rating.
Jared Spurgeon-Garth Snow's big miss, the prospect unsigned who became what Snow has tried to find in Hickey, Strait, Finley, Martinek II, and many others who flat out were not as versatile. There was no rush of teams competing for Spurgeon when he was not signed, he simply went to Wild camp, it was a perfect fit, and he never looked back.
It was exactly what was needed here for Mark Streit.
Justin DiBenedetto-Islanders did qualify him for 2012-13, but not this time around, so this high-scoring AHL pick, who only had an eight game NHL look (with concussion problems) has to be labeled a bust for them.