Maybe this is the Oil fan in me, but I believe the sixth overall pick is cursed. Ever since the Oilers drafted in that spot three straight years back in the mid 90's (and more specifically, inexplicably passed on Shane Doan in favour of Steve Kelly at the '95 draft) the sixth overall pick has been cursed. I don't really know how to explain it. That draft position just keeps churning out flops. Oh you may get a reasonably good NHL player but if your dream is a star, you can kiss that dream goodbye. Since the curse came into effect only Minnesota's 2001 selection of Mikko Koivu at #6 has yielded a star calibre player. Teams expect much more from such high picks so the hype is big. The return, however, has been consistently disappointing.
With that said, I'm more than willing to admit that this may just be coincidental. After all, my Oilers and the perennially inept Blue Jackets have each picked in that spot three times since (and including) the Steve Kelly debacle. It is somewhat faulty to doom every sixth overall draft pick to fail to meet expectations because the teams picking in that spot the most are among the worst in the NHL over that span of time. That sentiment is little consolation for this week's Cage Match contestants as both were selected by those "sixquisitely" doomed franchises. Sam Gagner and Derrick Brassard may both be lucky to find themselves featured on Cage Match but they are both destined for mediocrity (as if you didn't already know that).
If you had not already accepted unexceptional returns from Brassard or Gagner then consider the following. Both Brassard and Gagner made their NHL debuts in the 2007-08 season, which makes this past season their "magical fourth year" and as I'm sure you are well aware that year came to pass without even the slightest bit of magic. Owning either one these past few years has been like going for a long walk down the yellow brick road, making this past season the unveiling of the Wizard Oz.
Granted they are both still young and still boast some upside it's time we once and for all tempered our expectations. Simply clicking your heels while whispering, "There's no place like home," won't rid you of the Tin Man or the Cowardly Lion (I'll let you decide who is who as it is not essential to the metaphor) as they won't be handed a heart or a brain any time soon. It isn't all bad for those of you who own them though. While the trade returns for either one is surely diminishing by the day, they still have value as a decent second line center and as it stands they also remain the top dog on their respective teams, so you cannot rule out a Stephen Weiss-esque awakening.
In the end the upside for both these guys is still an assist heavy 75 points but with Nugent-Hopkins likely on the way for Edmonton and Ryan Johansen coming to Columbus both guys are screwed long term. With that in mind let us do battle with the numbers.