Edited Sep 10, 2018 at 9:36
If you look all the way back to 2007 when they drafted Subban, McDonagh, and Pacioretty its pretty clear why this team couldn't get over the hump. In the last 10 drafts look at all their picks from the first two rounds:
56th: Danny Kristo (Danny who?)
18th: Louis Leblanc (I remember watching this live and fans went crazy because he was french, how did that turn out?)
22nd: Jarred Tinordi (hasn't played in NHL in two years)
17th: Nathan Beaulieu (another French player, can hardly play in Buffalo)
3rd: Alex Galchenyuk (7 Defenseman went after Galchenyuk. To mention a couple: Reilly, Trouba, Lindholm, Dumba. Can you imagine one of those guys with Subban?)
33rd: Sebastien Collberg (Sebastien who?)
51st: Dalton Thrower: (no comment needed)
25th: Michael McCarron (never worked out)
34th: Jacob De la Rose (19 pts in 119 GP)
36th: Zach Fucale (what happened with him?)
55th: Arturi Lehkonen (not a bad pick)
26th: Nikita Scherbak (kind of TBD, but probably a bad pick)
26th: Noal Juulsen: (also kind of TBD, but probably another bad pick)
9th: Sergachev (probably their best pick of all, but we know how this ended)
25th: Ryan Poehling (TBD)
3rd: Kotkaneimi: (TBD)
Goes to show, if they had hit on even just one or two of these picks, maybe they would have gotten that Center they always needed for Pacioretty or that D-man to play with Subban. Could have been a lot different.
C'mon Hater, you're making this too easy:
2008 -- Kristo: Out of the next 10 picks, only 2 have played games in the NHL. He was a worthwhile gamble who didn't pan out;
2009 -- Leblanc: Yup, horrible pick, especially when Kreider was the very next one available. (FYI, Leblanc was hardly French, coming from the West Island, but, yeah, it's still too bad....)
2010 -- Tinordi: Would have been dynamite if drafted in 2005, but he was picked the very year the NHL changed to rules to stop clutch-and-grab defence. BTW, the scouts did find Brendan Gallagher in the FIFTH round, so that turned out OK;
2011 -- Beaulieu: he had a good career going in Montreal but was traded so that he wouldn't be lost in the expansion draft. Oh, and he's not at all French. He's from Strathroy, ONTARIO, you racist;
2012 -- Galchenyuk is second to Filip Forsberg as best performer from that draft. Meanwhile Nial Yakupov (#1) and Ryan Murray (#2) are pretty forgettable; Collberg was traded for Tomas Vanek, so that was a pretty good save; Thrower never developed the foot speed. Bozon was doing pretty well until he got sick and almost died. And, so far, Hudon looks to be pretty good.
2013 -- McCarron was a gamble. Had his foot speed developed, he would have been fine. Would everyone prefer Shea Theodore? Yup. Still, it was an honest gamble at #25. JDLR, Lehkonen and Andrighetto have all turned out to be pretty good;
2014 -- Scherbak: By age, Scherbak is really more a member of the 2015 draft class, so this year will define the player he should become. Again for a #26 overall, he has been fine
2015 -- Juulsen: a keeper, for sure. Should they have taken Anthony Beauvilier (who went #28)? Maybe, but then you'd say they did it because he's French
2016 -- Sergachev: He is a fine player who netted Drouin, who's also a fine player; Bitten looks promising and Mete looks to be very good;
2017 -- Poehling: One of the top players in the NCAA as a sophomore; Josh Brook and Cale Fleury are both Team Canada prospects; and goalie Cayden Primeau was a first all-star in his first NCAA season.
2018 -- Who knows?