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The top of the 2001 draft was fairly strong. Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza came off the board with the top two picks. Stephen Weiss, Dan Hamhuis and R.J. Umberger also went in the first round of this class.
Four goalies were taken in the first round, but they combined for only 291 games played. Craig Anderson was picked up in the third round as the seventh goalie off the board, and he has played 294 career games. The draft can be a fickle mistress.
In the second round Buffalo drafted Derek Roy and Jason Pominville to build a young forward corps. Pominville is currently has the third most points of the entire draft class, and Roy is fifth on that list. Two points behind Roy is Mike Cammalleri. The second round produced some great talents.
Outside of Patrick Sharp and Thomas Plekanec in the third, the middle rounds were relatively quiet. Things did pick up in the sixth round where Dennis Seidenberg, Marek Zidlickey, Jussi Jokinen and Brooks Laich were drafted.
In the sixth round, five players have played over 400 games and Ryane Clowe is currently sitting at 395. Once Clowe plays five more games, 20 percent of the players selected in the sixth round will have seen significant playing time. That is a pretty great success rate for the bottom portion of the draft.
It is tough to find a true steal in this draft because most of the players drafted late didn’t spend much time on the clubs that drafted them. Jokinen spent three seasons in Dallas, Zidlickey never played for the Rangers, and Seidenberg kept bouncing between the AHL and NHL before his time in Philadelphia was up. That leaves Clowe as the best pick out of that great sixth round.
Overall the talent pool was pretty deep in 2001. If you redo this draft, I imagine players like Jeff Woywitka fall out of the first round while the likes of Jokinen, Pominville and Roy move up. This class gets a strong B.