Diamonds in the Rough: Finding Elite Talent Late

Byron Bader
July 11 2016 02:00PM

The later round picks (round three on) in the NHL draft have provided very few true NHLers. From 1980 to 2015, 6,127 selections were taken after the second round. Of those, 815 of the 6,127 have gone on to play in the NHL in a meaningful way (150 games or more) thus far. That's a success rate of roughly 13%. 

As a result, late round picks are not treated as a high commodity by teams. Late round picks are mostly used as filler in larger trades or used to acquire energy players or "room guys." Or GMs take complete gambles on extreme low-probability players with those picks.  

The belief seems to be that finding an NHLer or even an elite NHLer late is a stroke of luck. You pick a player with little upside and a few years down the road, he's turned a switch and turned into something. How can you predict that? 

However, if you look closely at the elite talent, namely forwards, selected late... there's a few things that stand out which suggest it's possible to improve on the extremely low probability (1.6%) of finding great talent later in the NHL draft. 

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Draft pick valuation and the likelihood of goaltenders "making" the NHL

Steve Burtch
July 11 2016 10:24AM

Goaltenders are an uncertain commodity at the best of times. Draft pick valuation has presented a similar challenge to analysis for a variety of reasons, but most obviously due to an inability to agree upon measures of success at the NHL level for skaters. Combining these two issues would seemingly test the projection abilities of any rational approach, but I decided to make a run at it just prior to this year's draft.

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July 10 2016 12:53PM

davidson ferguson

Brandon Davidson (photo by Rob Ferguson) established himself a year ago as a bona fide NHL defender. He did suffer some injuries, and that could impact management's decisions on the fall roster. Along with Oscar Klefbom, injury worries to Davidson mean the lefthanded NHL defenders—a fine group—could remain intact, to make sure there is enough depth for the coming year. Does Peter Chiarelli have an area of strength he can deal from? 

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What do Scheifele and MacKinnon's second contracts mean for Sean Monahan?

Ari Yanover
July 09 2016 08:00AM

Sean Monahan is a 21-year-old centre who has played three seasons in the NHL. Over that time, he's scored 159 points through 237 games. He also just so happens to need a new contract - and, considering what he's accomplished so far, it's probably going to be a big one.

How big? Well, why don't we ask Mark Scheifele (23-year-old centre, three NHL seasons played, 145 points in 227 games) and Nathan MacKinnon (20-year-old centre, three NHL seasons played, 153 points in 218 games played), because they both just got new deals of their own: eight years, $6.125 million AAV and seven years, $6.3 million AAV, respectively.

So probably max (or close to) term and at least $6 million for Monahan. Got it.

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What Does pGPS Say About the Harrington for Rychel Trade?

Shawn Reis
July 08 2016 08:55AM

It's been a couple of weeks now since the Leafs made the draft day trade that sent prospect Scott Harrington and a conditional fifth-rounder to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Kerby Rychel.

In retrospect, that's probably the Leafs' most universally well-liked move of the off-season.

A first-rounder of the 2013 draft, Rychel plays a hard-nosed, well-rounded game. He was a two-time 40 goal-scorer in the OHL, so he has some legitimate skill, too.

Harrington was a second-rounder in the 2011 draft and came over to the Leafs as part of the Phil Kessel trade. He's a stay-at-home defenseman that spent half of his season with the Leafs and half of it with the Marlies before being shut down for the year with injury in February.

Generally speaking, it's not surprising that Leafs fans favor a deal that saw the team move out a defenseman considered to not much offense to give in exchange for someone that people think could total as many as 30-40 points in the NHL in a given season some day.

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