During the season, NHL.com's draft experts poured through their deep list of contacts, relied on their expertise -- and when all else failed, threw darts at a board.
The result made for good fun and lots of fodder for discussion leading into the first round of the 2009 Entry Draft.
Now, though, it's time to go back and see just how smart the experts were. And the record shows that maybe those guys actually knew what they were doing, after all.
Staff writer Brad Holland was correct on 26 of the 30 first-round selections, one better than colleagues Adam Kimelman and Shawn P. Roarke. The four players Holland had going in the first round who didn't make the cut were Cape Breton goalie Olivier Roy
, Swedish goalie Robin Lehner
, Saskatoon defenseman Stefan Elliott
and Minnesota high school forward Zach Budish
Roarke and Kimelman missed on the same five players -- Lehner, Elliott, Budish, U.S. National Team forward Drew Shore
and Swedish forward Carl Klingberg
Kimelman, though, had the most players going in the correct spot they were taken -- eight. Roarke was next with six, while Holland had four.
Of the three, only Kimelman had the top four picks going exactly as they went on draft night -- London center John Tavares
first to the New York Islanders
, Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman
second to the Tampa Bay Lightning
, Brampton center Matt Duchene
third to the Colorado Avalanche
and Vancouver center Evander Kane
fourth to the Atlanta Thrashers
Kimelman also correctly predicted Spokane defenseman Jared Cowen
going ninth to Ottawa; Swedish center Jacob Josefson
going 20th; Swedish defenseman Tim Erixon
going 23rd; and U.S. National Team forward Kyle Palmieri
going No. 26.
Roarke pegged Tavares and Hedman going 1-2, and also nailed Brandon center Brayden Schenn
going fifth to Los Angeles; Swedish defenseman David Rundblad
going 17th to St. Louis; and Omaha forward Louis Leblanc
at No. 18 to Montreal.
Holland had the first three picks of the draft in the right order, and also was right at No. 23, with Erixon.
The three experts also were close with a few picks. The mock drafts were graded on a point system, with five points awarded for picking right on the money, and two points going if the player was within five points of his correct draft spot. In that competition, Kimelman and Roarke tied with 50 points, while Holland tallied 44 points.
In all, Holland and Roarke had 16 of the 30 selections right on or within five spots of their actual draft spot, while Kimelman had 13 of 30.