Teams that don't draft well don't win the Stanley Cup. There's no way around that in today's NHL, where the salary cap prevents teams from loading up on established veterans by trading away draft picks for years on end.
Yes, we're looking at you, pre-2005 Detroit Red Wings.
Ten years ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins were in dire straits, and relocation loomed as a real possibility. Mario Lemieux stepped in and helped settle the team down financially, while high picks in 2004 and 2005 allowed the franchise to select Evgeni Malkin ('04) and Sidney Crosby ('05).
Dating back to the 2005 draft, the Penguins have selected 62 players. Some of those guys are obviously better than others, but we were curious: If you break things down year by year, who would be remembered as the best pick from that class, and who would be remembered as the worst?
The closer we get to 2014, the more potential comes into play and the less we know for sure, but it's a fun offseason exercise.
Worth keeping in mind: The "What Could Have Been" section is there for reflection. It's always easy to look back and say, "You should have taken player X instead of Y," but it does illustrate how badly Pittsburgh struggled under Ray Shero when it came to picking players late in the first round.
All draft data and stats appear courtesy of HockeyDB.com.