DRAFTING FOR SUCCESS

Byron Bader
May 09 2014 08:30AM

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-via Dave Shaver

The NHL draft is one of the most important parts of any NHL team’s year. It is a team’s opportunity to pick up players that, down the road, may turn into franchise cornerstones or at least pieces that will them be successful. Unlike free agency or trades, the draft is an opportunity to add pivotal assets at basically no charge, with the added bonus of (likely) having the player through his prime playing years.

Despite the importance of the draft, there is no guarantee a team is going to end up with that elite player they covet or even a player who ends of being an NHL regular. Some have even suggested that teams could pick players ranked similarly at random and have a better success rate than picking the player they think might be the best player available, through scouting, analysis and gut reaction. 

Detroit has long been admired as a team that drafts well and knows how to develop players. The team is regarded as one of the very best at finding hidden gems in the later rounds and turning them into uber-elite talent (e.g., Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Fedorov, etc.). But, over the long-run, how do they compare to other NHL teams and draft success?  Alternatively, how successful is a bottom feeder team (i.e., a team that has done very little over the past decade) at drafting and developing talent compared to the better teams?

Lets take a look...

Team Busts 50+ Games 200 + Games Total 50G % 200G % Playoffs Cup Finals Elite  Elite Players
Anaheim 36 22 9 58 37.9% 15.5% 6 1 2 Getzlaf; Perry
Boston 35 16 11 51 31.4% 21.6% 8 2 3 Bergeron; Kessel; Seguin
Buffalo 36 23 11 59 39.0% 18.6% 4 0 1 Vanek
Calgary 42 13 5 55 23.6% 9.1% 5 1 0  
Carolina 37 16 6 53 30.2% 11.3% 2 1 1 E. Staal
Chicago 51 21 11 72 29.2% 15.3% 6 2 3 Kane; Toews; Keith
Colorado 38 20 9 58 34.5% 15.5% 5 0 3 MacKinnon; Duchene; Landeskog
Columbus 41 25 11 66 37.9% 16.7% 2 0 1 Johansen
Dallas 37 15 8 52 28.8% 15.4% 5 0 1 Benn
Detroit 38 14 7 52 26.9% 13.5% 10 2 0  
Edmonton 31 26 8 57 45.6% 14.0% 1 1 1 Hall
Florida 41 18 9 59 30.5% 15.3% 1 0 0  
Los Angeles 45 21 10 66 31.8% 15.2% 5 1 3 Doughty; Kopitar; Quick
Minnesota 39 17 8 56 30.4% 14.3% 4 0 1 Koivu
Montreal 38 20 14 58 34.5% 24.1% 8 0 3 Pacioretty; Subban; Price
Nashville 41 22 9 63 34.9% 14.3% 7 0 2 Weber; Suter
New Jersey 39 14 4 53 26.4% 7.5% 7 1 1 Parise
NY Islanders 47 20 12 67 29.9% 17.9% 3 0 1 Tavares
NY Rangers 41 19 9 60 31.7% 15.0% 8 0 0  
Ottawa 38 20 10 58 34.5% 17.2% 7 1 1 Karlsson
Philadelphia 42 16 9 58 27.6% 15.5% 8 1 1 Giroux
Phoenix 39 14 9 53 26.4% 17.0% 4 0 1 Ekman-Larsson
Pittsburgh 37 19 10 56 33.9% 17.9% 8 2 3 Crosby; Malkin; Letang
San Jose 37 21 11 58 36.2% 19.0% 10 0 3 Couture; Vlasic; Pavelski
St. Louis 44 20 10 64 31.3% 15.6% 5 0 1 Pietrangelo
Tampa Bay 43 17 4 60 28.3% 6.7% 5 1 1 Stamkos
Toronto 35 13 7 48 27.1% 14.6% 2 0 1 Rask
Vancouver 37 9 7 46 19.6% 15.2% 7 1 1 Kesler
Washington 43 20 10 63 31.7% 15.9% 7 0 2 Backstrom; Ovechkin
Winnipeg 46 11 6 55 20.0% 10.9% 1 0 0  
Average 39.8 18.1 8.8 57.8 31.1% 15.2% 5.4 0.6 1.4  
Stan. Dev. 4.2 4.0 2.3 5.8 5.5% 3.6% 2.6 0.7 1.0  


The table above is a summary of each team’s drafting success rate from 2003 to 2013. If drafted before 2010, success constitutes playing over 50 games; if drafted after 2010, success constitutes playing over 30 games; players drafted from 2010 – 2013 that haven’t played over 30 games yet were completely omitted. List is in alphabetical order.

THE NUMBERS

Teams, on average, have 31% of their players play at least 50 games and only 15% (so far) go on to play at least 250 games. In other words, in order to be treading water, a team should expect that two of their seven draft picks should at least play in the NHL at some point, and one of the seven should go on to be an impact player that plays at least 2.5 seasons.

Furthermore, the average team drafted 1 elite player between 2003 – 2013 (one a decade). A number of teams have drafted 2 and a select few have drafted 3 or 4 star players over that time. Not surprisingly, the clubs that have drafted the most elite talent over the past decade also tend to be very good. Alternatively, a team that hasn’t been able to draft an elite talent in the past 10 years, especially an org that has been consistently drafting in the top-10 (e.g., Edmonton, Winnipeg/Atlanta, Florida), should be making some significant adjustments in how they evaluate and/or develop their draft picks.

Now let’s have a look at some specific teams and their drafting success rates. I’ve chosen four that jumped out at me: Detroit, Edmonton, Boston and Calgary.

DETROIT

Detroit has made the playoffs every single year for the past 23 seasons. However, that was mostly due to two elite cores that were running together for a decade (the Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, Lidstrom era and the Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom era). The Wings have actually only graduated 27% of its draftees to the NHL since 2003, slightly below the league average.

While Detroit certainly has a reputation for developing players the right way, they also are much more selective about who gets a real shot in the NHL. They have been so good for so long that it has been nearly impossible for a newly Detroit-drafted player to get a long look in the NHL. Interestingly, Detroit has actually not developed an elite player through drafting since they picked Zetterberg and Datsyuk in the late 1990’s. Johan Franzen (2004) and Nik Kronwall (2000) might be the only skaters close to that distinction. 

So while the Red Wings franchise is known for their ability to find elite talent late in the draft, they haven't done it for about 14 years. However, 50% of the players (7 in total) that have come up to play at least 50 games have gone on to play at least 200 games. This supports the notion that Detroit likes to let prospects ripen on the vine. When players do come up, they are ready to produce and stay in the bigs. 

EDMONTON

Edmonton has actually graduated the most draftees to NHL players since 2003. The team has been in rebuild mode for the better part of a decade and has only made the playoffs once since 2003.

Yet, here they are at the top of the heap in terms of bringing players through the system to become NHLers.  Given Edmonton’s success, or lack thereof, does this mean that Edmonton is rushing their draft picks into the league?

I would say it most certainly does. While the Oilers lead the league in converting draftees to NHLers, only 30% of those players (8 in total) have gone on to play 200+ games in the NHL so far, by far the biggest drop off between 50-game players and 200-game players. Edmonton will likely have Nugent-Hopkins and Yakopov crossing the 200-game barrier in the near future, but the drop off between 50 to 200 game players is still substantial.   

BOSTON

Boston is an intriguing case and perhaps even the class of the league when it comes to drafting. They have drafted 3 elite players in the past 10 years where most teams have drafted 1. They’ve traded away 2 of those players, but have made the playoffs 8 times in the past decade and will likely be a top-tier team for the next 5 years.

The Bruins have turned 22% of their players into regular NHLers with 200+ games under their belt.  Essentially, Boston is converting three players every two years into useful big leaguers. They, along with the Canadiens, lead the league in converting draftees to this level of 200+ game guys. 

Also, while they didn’t draft Rask, they acquired him for nothing very early into his professional career when Toronto decided he was expendable. They have groomed Rask into one of the best goalies in the league. It’s unclear whether Boston is using a different drafting strategy to analyze the upcoming talent or implementing a unique way to develop the players they draft or both.

What is clear is that what they are doing seems to be working.

CALGARY

Since 2003, Calgary has been one of the very worst drafting teams in the entire league. They convert draftees to NHLers or regular NHLers far less than the league average (23.9%). Additionally, they are one of only five teams that have not drafted one elite player in the past ten years. In addition, they are the only team in the entire NHL that hasn’t had a 2nd rounder (a top 31 – 60 pick) play 50 games or more since 2003 - in part, no doubt, because Darryl Sutter's favourite bargaining chip seemed to be second round picks. 

These dire circumstances appear to be changing given the apparent depth of their current prospect pool.  Many up and coming players will likely play at least 50 games in the NHL, with several of those potentially crossing over the 200 mark.  As well, with any luck, there is 1 or 2 elite players in the system or soon to join it since the club is picking 4th in the upcoming draft. When we look back in five years, if the players are developed right, the Flames’ drafting over the 2010’s might turn out to be very good. It can’t get much worse than their drafting in the 2000’s, that’s for sure.

SUM IT UP

The draft is the one of the most important aspects of an organization's quest for success. Whether you’re drafting to become good in a few years or drafting for impact right now, you have to go about it the right way. GMs that can hit on 2-3 draft picks out of 7 year after year will likely develop a good team that can last for years, as it constantly infuses ample new and ready talent to the mix. 

Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins certainly seem to be doing everything right. You want a model for how to build a winner without tanking for a slew of top- 5 draft picks, follow the recipe of the President’s trophy winner. Learning what they look for when drafting, how they look for it and how they develop their draftees may be the best thing any bottom-feeder team could do to accelerate their team’s drive to become a great team that stands the test of time.  

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Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
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#1 Bean-counting cowboy
May 09 2014, 10:45AM
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hmmmm... Boston has good drafting eh. Feaster recognizes this, hires Wiesbrod from Boston... Flames drafting improves. What does Burke do... fires Weisbrod. I get the risk of Jankowski pick, but I think Weisbrod should have stayed. Fire Feaster, sure.

Great article by the way.

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#2 Kent Wilson
May 09 2014, 03:23PM
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Not related to the article, but...Johnny Gaudreau.

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#3 Erik
May 09 2014, 11:53AM
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Didn't we just fire the guy who was helping Boston make it's picks?

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#4 prendrefeu
May 09 2014, 09:36AM
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Thanks for putting the data together and posting this, Byron.

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#5 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 02:08PM
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Gaudreau going beast mode on Belarus almost makes up for Sven's injury. almost.

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#6 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 10:29AM
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@They're $hittie

Landeskog, Johansson (1 good season), Vlasic,

You're wrong about Vlasic. He's definitely elite.

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#7 The Discreet Charm of Charlie Bourgeois
May 09 2014, 10:34AM
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Some good info here....but completely unfair in many ways. How many of these elite players were top 10 picks? almost all of them...how many top 10 picks has Calgary had in that time frame? Phaneuf (#9), and Monahan (too recent to really analyze properly). how many 2nd rd picks did we actually have (almost zero). I think the Flames have been labelled a poor drafting team very unfairly under this period. I would say they were about average for the actual picks they made at the time they made them. You can certainly blame the team for trading away the picks they had, etc....but hard to blame the draft results when you are picking 23rd every year and don't have a 2nd rounder.

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#8 PrairieStew
May 09 2014, 09:54AM
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Is it about drafting or about development ? One could argue that what happens after a guy is drafted is more critical to his potential success than who you actually pick.

Edmonton's "success" might also be influenced by the fact that they haven't been very good. Easier to make that team than Detroit over the past 10 years.

For all the money teams spend on scouting I wonder what the result would be if they just went with Central scoutings rankings and then spent more effort on developing the guys they draft.

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#9 They're $hittie
May 09 2014, 10:17AM
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Pretty loose definition of elite on the following players,

Landeskog, Johansson (1 good season), Vlasic,

Even Kesler,Duchene, Pavalski are boderline, all good players but not consistantly elite.

Mackinnon is going to be but one year in come on. RNH rookie season was just as good and he is not on th elist but Mackkinon and Landeskog are. Who is to say mackinnon doesnt fall of the next two years. Those two and RNH have no shown the consistancy of Hall or Tavares yet.

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#10 beloch
May 09 2014, 01:13PM
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@beloch

One thing that still stands out in my mind from the first was watching Gaudreau stick-handle inside the wheel-house of a 6'6" defender. The big guy was trying to get the puck but he just couldn't get the angle on the puck because of his giant stick! You'd think he'd just swat Gaudreau, but the little guy is evasive!

Also note: Monahan got just 3 minutes of TOI vs France. I haven't found any live-updated timesheets for the USA game, but Gaudreau has easily gotten more than that in each of the first two periods. Goal aside, it's simply outstanding for any rookie with just one game of NHL experience to be playing significant minutes for team USA. This isn't the juniors. This team is stacked with quality NHL'ers and Gaudreau is doing more than just fitting in.

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#11 beloch
May 09 2014, 02:26PM
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@beloch

Update: Now they're showing it. Gaudreau got 1 goal and 2 assists. His TOI was 17:28, which lead all other U.S. forwards[1].

[1]http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/387/IHM387B03_74_3_0.pdf

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#13 Michael
May 09 2014, 09:43AM
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This team has stuggled at the draft since the early 1990's, things are looking better lately, but honestly, the number of first round picks that actually pan out is truly dismal.

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#14 beloch
May 09 2014, 11:09AM
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PrairieStew wrote:

Is it about drafting or about development ? One could argue that what happens after a guy is drafted is more critical to his potential success than who you actually pick.

Edmonton's "success" might also be influenced by the fact that they haven't been very good. Easier to make that team than Detroit over the past 10 years.

For all the money teams spend on scouting I wonder what the result would be if they just went with Central scoutings rankings and then spent more effort on developing the guys they draft.

Edmonton definitely has issues with developing players. Lottery picks almost always have pretty complete games in junior, but how many of the Oilers' lottery picks have developed into acceptable two-way players? The org is being run with an out-dated 80's "scoring lots fixes all" philosophy. What's especially depressing about the Oilers is that they're not scoring lots in spite of this.

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#15 Dave
May 09 2014, 03:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Not related to the article, but...Johnny Gaudreau.

I think you mean Johnny Hockey!

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#16 Lordmork
May 09 2014, 09:13AM
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Really interesting post. Is there any way to account for draft ranking in this kind of analysis? Presumably, it's easier to get an elite talent if you're picking #1, though by no means a sure thing.

It's a little discouraging to see how bad Calgary is at this, but it's certainly my hope that the team has improved their drafting significantly since the Sutter era. I guess we'll see over the next few years if that's the case.

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#17 beloch
May 09 2014, 01:09PM
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Baerstchi injured. Canada loses to France. But...

GOAAALLLLL!!!

Gaudreau just scored a beauty in his first mens world cup appearance. He started the game looking a little tentative and making a lot of turnovers, but he was getting regular shifts and played a really good powerplay early in the second. Now he's finally notched one. It seems like he's getting more and more ice time as the game goes on too.

It's a very good sign that the Flames have a rookie who can get things done at the Men's World Cup level.

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#18 beloch
May 09 2014, 02:00PM
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beloch wrote:

They put the Gaudreau line out first on this powerplay, and it didn't take them long to score. Gaudreau stole the puck off the face-off, got it to the defender, who lost it. Gaudreau got it back, reentered the zone, and quarterbacked some sustained pressure that led to the goal, which he assisted on.

And a minute later... Another powerplay. Another start for the Gaudreau line. Another assist for Gaudreau.

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#19 Will
May 09 2014, 02:37PM
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This is a great article. It has some neet data that is hardly ever compiled and analyzed, and it is able to be disseminated in different ways by different people leading to good debate.

As an Oiler fan, I think you hit the nail on the head in that they love rushing players to the NHL. And that they're success is actually a mark of failure in terms of development. The Pendergast era was terrible. Had they drafted better back then, that talent would be developing as we speak and be ready to take some serious spots on the big club to help the top end talent.

I think there is a metric you are missing here which explains Chicago's draft success. Sure they have the 3 elite, but they also got Seabrook, Bickel, Versteeg, Saad, Shaw, Hjalmarsson, Smith, and Crawford.

That is 8 players on top of Toews, Kane, and Keith that are all huge parts of that team. I would even argue Seabrook and Crawford are elite players, with Bickle, Versteeg, and Hjalmarsson being important to the team's success.

As you say Boston is a good model for drafting, and Detroit is a good model for development, but I don't think any team touches Chicago's ability to basically build a potential dynasty almost strictly through the draft. The only players that stick out as important acquisitions are Hossa and Oduya.

Oh and PS, Buflygn was also drafted by Chicago. That is simply tremendous scouting.

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#20 SeanCharles
May 09 2014, 10:56AM
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There is no denying it our drafting was terrible until the Backlund's and Brodie's were drafted after a shift seemed to occur.

2011, 2013 and 2014 will end up being big drafts for us and change the general opinion of the Flames drafting/developing.

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#21 ChinookArch
May 09 2014, 01:20PM
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Detroit and Boston deserve the accolades, but how about a closer look at The Sharks. They've been a mostly top 10 team for the better part of a decade and still are above average drafting with 3 elite players to boot. That's impressive.

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#22 Parallex
May 09 2014, 12:37PM
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In other depressing news Sven got hurt at the WC today... had to be taken to hospital. Swiss coach says it does not look good. And it's ye ol' "Upper Body" which is the desription I hate the most.

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#23 beloch
May 09 2014, 01:57PM
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They put the Gaudreau line out first on this powerplay, and it didn't take them long to score. Gaudreau stole the puck off the face-off, got it to the defender, who lost it. Gaudreau got it back, reentered the zone, and quarterbacked some sustained pressure that led to the goal, which he assisted on.

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#24 beloch
May 09 2014, 02:20PM
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@BobbyO

Suggested method A:
1. Find pawn-shop.
2. Throw brick through window.
3. Defeat guard dog.
4. Grab T.V..
5. Run.

Suggested method B:
1. Go to pub for lunch with mates.
2. "Hey look guys, Hockey!"
3. Stay there.

Suggested method C:
1. Give up on work.
2. Find hockey stream.

One last note from the hockey game: I swear Gaudreau assisted on the Gardiner goal, but the score-sheets aren't showing it. There was also an additional powerplay after the Gardiner goal and Gaudreau started on that one too. He was looking pretty gassed and the shift didn't amount to much unfortunately. Seriously, team USA just played Gaudreau enough to get him gassed in his men's WHC debut!

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#25 Chambers
May 09 2014, 03:58PM
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@coachedpotatoe

What information do you have that may suggest Draistl is not a good choice and the Flames may draft someone else??

What specifically about him concerns you and the basis for this?

Genuine question as I do not know much about him other than he has size, skill, strength and high scoring numbers may suggest he is for real? Also a Centre.

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#26 Jeff In Lethbridge
May 09 2014, 05:32PM
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when can we start calling Johnny G. elite? do I have to wait?

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#27 Sean Bennett
May 09 2014, 09:11PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Ok, so there are a couple of things worth talking about here;

- while it is true that Cs are in high demand (justifiably) at the draft, taking D-men with high picks is an absolute heart-breaker more often than not. The list of first round failures is heavily tilted towards D-men taken way too early.

- it may not be popular to say it out loud, but if the talent level is considered equal and the Flames have to look at 'need', Dal Colle is the pick over Draisatl. We have a nice group of young C's coming up the pipe, but other than Poirier and (cough) Hanowski, there aren't any RW in the system.

- I have exactly zero problem with the Flames taking Draisatl. None whatsoever. The only knocks on him are that his skating is only average, and that like many bigger guys, he doesn't seem to be making the same level of effort as other smaller players do (a result of longer strides, and edge work). Mario had silimar 'issues' with his skating, but he seemed to turn out ok.

- 'Truculence' isn't something Draisatl has in abundance. He's a pretty slick/skill player rather than a bang-crash kind of guy. Dal Colle however, is the rough and tumble type that Burke professes to love.

- Edmonton desperately needs a crap ton of things; 4 defensemen (4!!!), a #2C, a #2 LW who won't get pushed around in his own end, and a legit #1G. None of those are getting solved by parsing the difference between Bennett and Draisatl.

Dal Colle is a LW. He has never played RW. Also, Dal Colle is not -repeat not- a crasher or banger. He is softer than a baby`s bum. I have absolutely no clue where you are getting this info, lol. Dal Colle`s got great vision, an elite shot, and tremendous passing skills. But if you ever watched him play or read a scouting report from a recognized scouting institution like Mckeens, Redliune Report, or ISS you would know that he is big, but does not play a physical style or consistently muck it out in the tough areas of the ice. In fact, if he had that grit, any scouting agency would tell you that he would be the first pick overall, as no other player in the draft compares to the combination of size, speed, and skill he brings.

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#28 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 12:59PM
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@Parallex

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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#29 McRib
May 09 2014, 01:33PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Pretty loose definition of elite on the following players,

Landeskog, Johansson (1 good season), Vlasic,

Even Kesler,Duchene, Pavalski are boderline, all good players but not consistantly elite.

Mackinnon is going to be but one year in come on. RNH rookie season was just as good and he is not on th elist but Mackkinon and Landeskog are. Who is to say mackinnon doesnt fall of the next two years. Those two and RNH have no shown the consistancy of Hall or Tavares yet.

Agree, Especially with Ryan Kesler who is absolutely not elite in any sense of the word he had 2 good seasons. He has only scored more than 26 goals once and has only broken 60 points twice. Honestly he is an average second liner for me considering how soft he is and his "temper tantrums" as well,

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#30 Primo
May 09 2014, 02:01PM
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Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

hmmmm... Boston has good drafting eh. Feaster recognizes this, hires Wiesbrod from Boston... Flames drafting improves. What does Burke do... fires Weisbrod. I get the risk of Jankowski pick, but I think Weisbrod should have stayed. Fire Feaster, sure.

Great article by the way.

Agree with your comment!

Politically your suggestion is impossible to implement. Weibrod was Feaster's guy. Burke brings in his own guys regardless of Weisbrod's accomplishments!. At times it does not make sense but it is the dirty politics of the NHL.

I really think Weisbrod hit a home run with Jankowski! Right now the trade does not smell right but this kid is physically growing and has high skill. He is also a Centre and will develop his skill over the next 2 years! Weisbrod and the Flames fans are going to get the last laugh on this transaction!

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#31 Primo
May 09 2014, 05:38PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

when can we start calling Johnny G. elite? do I have to wait?

I already started months ago. His skill set is Sidney Cosbie..ish. He will not get that respect because of his size and until he proves himself.

I have always said he will never see the AHL. He is too talented and is slowly proving that his exceptional skill set and "shiftiness" will enable him to play with the big boys!

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#32 ChinookArch
May 10 2014, 09:10AM
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@coachedpotatoe

"I also think that Trevling is actively pursuing another 1st."

I'm curious, what makes you believe this is true (aside from who isn't looking)?

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#33 BurningSensation
May 09 2014, 03:57PM
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McRib wrote:

Agree, Especially with Ryan Kesler who is absolutely not elite in any sense of the word he had 2 good seasons. He has only scored more than 26 goals once and has only broken 60 points twice. Honestly he is an average second liner for me considering how soft he is and his "temper tantrums" as well,

Have to disagree with you on this, Kesler is definitely an elite #2 C. He's big, fast, physical with his opponents, borderline dirty (which I like), and he can score at a decent clip for a 2nd line C taking on the heavy lifting duties.

It's his injury history (and Tortorella) that has derailed him of late.

If Monahan becomes our version of Kesler (50+ points a year, plays the tough assignments) its pure win.

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#34 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 06:04PM
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All I can say is what I've been saying all along: If the flames draft Dal Colle I will barf.

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#35 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 11:32PM
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@BurningSensation

I have to question why anyone wouldn't like the guy if he is the BPA when we pick.

That's just it, though; with the Flames picking 4th, there's a 100% chance someone better than Dal Colle will still be on the board (You know, unless a quantum singularity pops up somewhere and warps the essence of space time in such a way that 4=5, cats chase dogs, and Bennett and Reinhart are the same person).

How I have seen the draft for quite a while is a very definite top 4 of Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett, and Draisaitl (Draisaitl is 4th). The drop from Draisaitl to Dal Colle is very significant. Almost the steepest drop I've ever seen between two consecutive players ranked that high.

And that right there is the main reason I was so grumpy when it looked like the Flames would pick 5th. There should be at least one player between Draisaitl and Dal Colle, but there really isn't (maybe Nylander? Anyone?).

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#36 JJ
May 10 2014, 02:22PM
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@Baalzamon

"Almost the steepest drop I've ever seen between two consecutive players ranked that high."

I also prefer Draisaitl to Dal Colle, but suggesting the difference is anything close to a Malkin-Barker or Crosby-Johnson/Ryan or Seguin-Gudbranson gap is a little silly

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#37 FeyWest
May 09 2014, 10:16AM
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There are a lot of variables that affect the outcome of draft prospects, but it's a nice trend comparison to give a general idea of drafting success vs. failure. Appreciate this Byron!

Development and team success all play a role into long term prospect success. In regards to Calgary, don't trade away valuable picks (2nd rounders!!) until you have a good foundation on the farm and the big leagues.

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#38 The Discreet Charm of Charlie Bourgeois
May 09 2014, 10:40AM
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It would be very interesting if you could figure out the average conversion % per draft position. I would group them as #1, 2-4, 5-10, 11-20, 21-30, etc. Then find out what the league conversion avg for each group is...then compare how the Flames did when they had one of these picks.. I'm sure it's still bad....but the conversion rate on picking in the 20's has to be much lower than the average you've shown above.

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#39 Parallex
May 09 2014, 12:07PM
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@beloch

Edmonton doesn't so much have issues with developing players... it's more that they didn't even bother.

By that I mean Hall, RNH, Yakupov... all straight to the NHL. Of those three the only one that (IMO) should have made that jump is Hall. The other two have issues that should have been addressed before putting them into the pro ranks. But the Oilers were/are selling hope rather then hockey so that consideration went out the window.

They're also pulling a reverse Sutter... they've over-invested in forwards and under-invested in blueliners (Sutter did the reverse). They have some nice young blueliners but they're actually letting some of them mature a bit before thrusting them straight into the limelight (Klefbom, Nurse, Musil).

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#40 beloch
May 09 2014, 01:45PM
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The USA-Belarus game is still going, and well worth tuning in to! The announcers didn't use his name for most of the first, but now the announcers are calling it the "Gaudreau Line". He just put in another amazing powerplay shift. He was all over the place, stole the puck more than once, and set up a near-goal. At the end he stick-handled circles around the entire Belarus team in their own end while the rest of team USA changed.

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#41 beloch
May 09 2014, 03:46PM
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@Byron Bader

Sorry for the hijacking Byron. I got excited.

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#42 Baalzamon
May 10 2014, 10:07AM
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@Sean Bennett

THN has Draisaitl 1st overall. NO ONE has Dal Colle higher than 3rd (and ISS also has Julius Honka outside the top 30, which is hilarious).

Who cares? I was talking about my opinion. Dal Colle's results look fine, until you dig into them even a little bit. Seriously, it isn't close between him and Draisaitl, even considering the age difference.

Draisaitl, Reinhart, and Bennett all had the highest scoring rate on their team--and not by a little bit, either. All of them were at 1.6/game or higher. Dal Colle was at 1.4/game, and he was second on his team (Scott Laughton had 1.6/game).

Dal Colle spent at least half the season centered by Laughton. That sounds like a complementary player to me, especially considering he's a winger.

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#43 Sean Bennett
May 10 2014, 11:42AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

THN has Draisaitl 1st overall. NO ONE has Dal Colle higher than 3rd (and ISS also has Julius Honka outside the top 30, which is hilarious).

Who cares? I was talking about my opinion. Dal Colle's results look fine, until you dig into them even a little bit. Seriously, it isn't close between him and Draisaitl, even considering the age difference.

Draisaitl, Reinhart, and Bennett all had the highest scoring rate on their team--and not by a little bit, either. All of them were at 1.6/game or higher. Dal Colle was at 1.4/game, and he was second on his team (Scott Laughton had 1.6/game).

Dal Colle spent at least half the season centered by Laughton. That sounds like a complementary player to me, especially considering he's a winger.

LOL! Who cares what scouting agencies have to say? And why should we care about your opinion? It would be one thing if you actually referenced a scout or agency, but you just pulled PPG as an evaluating tool for prospects?

So will your fancy PPG stat tell me why Laughton never had more than a PPG of 1.14 before Dal Colle emerged as a stud for Oshawa? Yeah, you might want to check your causality.

Dude, you -like everyone else here, myself included- are an armchair GM that has not watched a majority of these prospects play a majority of their games. In order for constructive dialogue to take place, you might want to base your opinion on more informed opinions -especially since we have no advanced stats that would give us context as to how these points are being produced.

In sum, throwing out PPG as the as the only evaluating tool for prospects is pretty misguided.

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#44 Mantastic
May 09 2014, 10:46AM
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great analysis! really enjoyed the article.

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#45 Baalzamon
May 09 2014, 12:08PM
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Erik wrote:

Didn't we just fire the guy who was helping Boston make it's picks?

I think Jim Benning had more to do with it than Weisbrod. I mean don't get me wrong, I liked Weisbrod, but I think he was just a regional college scout or something with the Bruins.

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#46 BurningSensation
May 09 2014, 04:03PM
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Spaceman Spiff wrote:

This is an excellent piece of analysis. I’ve always felt that Detroit’s draft record, when held up to close scrutiny, wasn’t really as sparkling as we’ve all been led to believe.

Yes, they managed to find four superstars (Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Fedorov) in the mid-to-late rounds, but two of those picks date back to the late 1980s. Four superstars in 25 years ain’t bad… but I’m not sure if makes you the top drafting organization in the entire league.

Or, to put it another way: I’m not convinced that Detroit’s success of the last 22 years has much to do with its drafting.

In my opinion, the Cup-winning Detroit teams weren’t that much different than, say, the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars teams that won Cups in the 1990s. Yes, there was some drafted talent on those teams (and a few of those players were late-round picks), but a lot of their core was made up of players they signed as free agents, traded prospects for or went out and got in a fire-sale. Teams like Detroit, Dallas, and New York all had deep pockets in the Pre-Salary-Cap Era of the 1990s and 2000s and they were able to surround their homegrown talent with pricey imports lured from small-market teams. The fact that none of those teams has been an elite team at all (or for very long) in the Salary Cap Era speaks volumes.

Now… that said … the emergence of Datsyuk and Zetterberg was what it was – the result of two brilliant late-round picks and some decent prospect development. But, their emergence has really only slowed, but not stopped, Detroit’s decline. The Red Wings’ otherwise-mediocre draft record is starting to catch up with them and the amount of time before they have before starting their rebuild is now just a matter of how much longer Datsyuk and Zetterberg can remain healthy contributors.

The simple reason for why the Red Wings were so good for so long;

Nik Lidstrom

Yzerman doesn't win anything without him on the roster, and neither Zetterberg or Datsyuk would have cups if not for smooth Nik.

Moving forward, the Red Wings have a lot of nice young pieces in place;

Tatar, Nyqvist, Brendan Smith, etc.

And there is still mileage left in the tank for Kronwall, Zetterberg and Datsyuk to mentor the kids.

Now they just have to find the next Nik Lidstrom.

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#47 Chambers
May 09 2014, 05:22PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

He's German, and there is a lingering suspicion that Burke has some xenophobia.

If the board goes;

Reinhart, Ekblad, Bennett (in whatever order), I'd suspect that if it isn't Draisatl, it will be Dal Colle (cuz he ticks off all the boxes; size, speed, hands, position of need, etc., and he's NA born).

I understand what both you and couchpotatoe are saying...as much as I like Dal Colle he is a winger. Historically teams have not built successfully drafting someone other than a Defenseman or Centre.Those are the critical positions of rebuild and the risk of drafting a winger is just as great as drafting a german player, in my view.

I tend to agree the top 3 players (Eckblad, Reinhart, Bennett) are a different class than the others. I am confident the Flames are really doing there homework on Draistl. From what I have seen he exceeds the Flames truculence requirement on size,grit and his toughness on the puck and along the boards. His talent level is exceptional.

My hope is that the Oilers pass up on Bennett as he is of similar mold to RNH, TH and Eberle. Draistl would give them the size they desperately need.

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#48 Sean Bennett
May 09 2014, 11:54PM
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Baalzamon wrote:
I have to question why anyone wouldn't like the guy if he is the BPA when we pick.

That's just it, though; with the Flames picking 4th, there's a 100% chance someone better than Dal Colle will still be on the board (You know, unless a quantum singularity pops up somewhere and warps the essence of space time in such a way that 4=5, cats chase dogs, and Bennett and Reinhart are the same person).

How I have seen the draft for quite a while is a very definite top 4 of Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett, and Draisaitl (Draisaitl is 4th). The drop from Draisaitl to Dal Colle is very significant. Almost the steepest drop I've ever seen between two consecutive players ranked that high.

And that right there is the main reason I was so grumpy when it looked like the Flames would pick 5th. There should be at least one player between Draisaitl and Dal Colle, but there really isn't (maybe Nylander? Anyone?).

The drop-off isn`t that steep. DC`s got a better shot and skating ability. Draisaitl is stronger and is the slightly better passer. Both are insanely creative and have great vision, while lacking the elite two-way ability of Reinhart and Bennet.

Moreover, DC is 8 months younger. He`s got another full season of development time relative to Draisaitl. DC will definitely get bigger, and might end up being 6`3 and 210-20 when all is said and done.

DC just has to elevate his defensive game and show a little more willingness to play in the dirty areas and get his hands dirty.

Moreover, Future Considerations has Dal Colle at fifth, ahead of Draisaitl at sixth. ISS has DC at 3 and Draisaitl at 6. The head scout of Redline recently mentioned in a USA today article that he believes Dal Colle may well turn out to be the best player from the draft in a few years.

In other words, the scouting community is very bullish on Dal Colle, and many consider him to be the superior player over Draisaitl. Either way, I think the Flames are getting a really good player at 4. I just hope they pick Draisaitl as centers are more valuable to a franchise than wingers if all other factors are relatively equal.

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#49 Gored 1970
May 11 2014, 07:55AM
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Forget about Draisaitl and Dal Colle. Burke's going to pound the table and pick Nick Ritchie.

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#50 BobbyO
May 09 2014, 02:03PM
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beloch wrote:

And a minute later... Another powerplay. Another start for the Gaudreau line. Another assist for Gaudreau.

I'm guessing you have a TV?? Where do you obtain one of those things?

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