Joe Thornton

 

Many people believe that there are three correct ways of building a great NHL team, the first is through trading to acquire players that will fit a team’s need. The second is through free agency and signing the missing link during the off season, and the third is through the NHL entry draft. Last week we looked at draft position and how it affected a player’s career NHL production, and with the 2008 NHL entry draft just around the corner we’ll look back at the past to see which teams have been particularly strong in the past at drafting in the first round of the NHL entry drafts and juxtapose them to teams that have been extremely weak. You’ll certainly be surprised to see which team is traditionally the first-round draft loser.
 


The data compiled was taken from www.hockeydb.com and the team stats are based on the original team that drafted the player not the team that the player played for. For example, Marian Hossa was drafted by the Senators all his point totals are under Ottawa. Dany Heatley was drafted by the Thrashers and all his point totals are under Atlanta. I took the numbers just to compare each team’s eye for talent not their ability in trade and recognizing mistakes they may have made when choosing them during the drafts.
 
Below is the average draft position per team since the 1993 NHL entry draft along with the number of picks they have been allocated.

 

 

Team

Avg Draft Pos

# of Draft Picks

Columbus

5.5

8

Carolina

9.727272727

11

Minnesota

9.75

8

Atlanta

10.125

8

Islanders

10.38888889

18

Nashville

10.55555556

9

Anaheim

10.8

15

Florida

11.4375

16

Tampa

11.45454545

11

Chicago

13.23529412

17

San Jose

13.66666667

18

Rangers

13.71428571

14

Edmonton

13.85

20

Vancouver

14.35714286

14

Ottawa

14.9375

16

Montreal

14.94117647

17

Pittsburgh

15

15

LA

15

17

Washington

15.04347826

23

Calgary

15.66666667

15

Buffalo

15.73333333

15

Boston

15.75

16

Phoenix

15.82352941

17

Toronto

17.72727273

11

Philadelphia

18.72727273

11

Colorado

18.94117647

17

St. Louis

19.91666667

12

Dallas

21

12

New Jersey

22.13333333

15

Detroit

24.625

8

 

 

No real major surprises here. Washington and Edmonton have been hording draft picks since 1993, but haven’t had too much to show for it since most of their draft picks never panned out anyways.  Detroit had only 8 first-round picks since 1993, and because of their continued success, they have always ended up with a last 5 pick in their drafts. Kind of hard to find serious talent that late in a draft, but their phenomenal late round drafting certainly has bailed them out numerous times. Columbus, Carolina and Minnesota have a top 10 average draft position since their inception into the NHL. 

Below is a table to show which team has gotten the most mileage out of their draft picks and the average number of games played per pick since 1993.

 

 

Team

Total Games Played

Avg Games Played per Pick

San Jose

5757

319.8333

Ottawa

5334

333.375

Anaheim

5069

337.9333

Islanders

4921

273.3889

Florida

4627

289.1875

Colorado

4392

258.3529

Tampa

4278

388.9091

Boston

4222

263.875

Buffalo

3678

245.2

Toronto

3372

306.5455

Washington

3352

145.7391

Edmonton

3324

166.2

New Jersey

3164

210.9333

Chicago

2995

176.1765

Montreal

2877

169.2353

LA

2859

168.1765

Dallas

2849

237.4167

Philadelphia

2821

256.4545

Carolina

2807

255.1818

Calgary

2748

183.2

Phoenix

2627

154.5294

Pittsburgh

2508

167.2

Vancouver

2224

158.8571

Rangers

2102

150.1429

Nashville

1941

215.6667

Atlanta

1608

201

Minnesota

1401

175.125

Columbus

1375

171.875

Detroit

1278

159.75

St. Louis

1239

103.25

NHL Average

3125

221

 

 

San Jose has gotten the most mileage out of their picks and St. Louis has gotten the least. It’s interesting to see the difference between the earlier expansion teams compared to the more recent ones. San Jose, Ottawa, Anaheim, Tampa Bay and even Florida seems to have displayed an eye for picking talent out of the NHL entry drafts while the more recent expansion teams of Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus have not. Washington and Edmonton are on the opposite end of this table, with their numerous draft picks watering down their talent pool, their players only last on average two full NHL seasons. A St. Louis draftee usually ends up with a 13 month stint in the NHL, probably not the news that Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn or Nikita Filatov want to hear.

    
Below is a table that displays the total number of points scored for the draft picks for a team since 1993.

 

 

Team

Points Scored Total

Ottawa

2954

San Jose

2812

Anaheim

2338

Islanders

2309

Tampa

2216

Florida

2114

Edmonton

1971

Boston

1847

Toronto

1732

New Jersey

1693

Philadelphia

1558

Dallas

1545

Carolina

1530

Washington

1507

Colorado

1378

Phoenix

1358

Pittsburgh

1219

Atlanta

1193

LA

1188

Montreal

1159

Chicago

1144

Buffalo

1003

Nashville

930

Calgary

919

Minnesota

864

Vancouver

679

Rangers

614

Columbus

598

St. Louis

405

Detroit

322

NHL Average

1437

 

 

Nothing shocking here, it’s very similar to the table prior which would make logical sense, the more games played is often equal to the more overall number of points scored. Ottawa and San Jose has received nearly twice the amount of production from their draft picks than the average NHL team has, which might help explain the recent success that those clubs have enjoyed in the past two seasons. Edmonton’s stats are a bit skewed because of the success of Jason Arnott and Ryan Smyth, most of their other first round picks have been major NHL busts. The Islanders are a surprising bunch too, they tend to be above average in all of the draft categories, but their bonehead trade decisions of dealing young talent for aging veterans have set them back a few years.  LA’s numbers are a bit skewed as well, if you take away Olli Jokinen’s 461 points that would rank LA in the bottom three in the league.  Boston without Joe Thornton’s production would be very middle of the pack as well.     

 

 

Team

Avg Point Per Game Played

Avg Point Per Pick for Career

Atlanta

0.74191542

149.125

Minnesota

0.61670236

108

Edmonton

0.59296029

98.55

Ottawa

0.55380577

184.625

Philadelphia

0.55228642

141.6364

Carolina

0.54506591

139.0909

Dallas

0.54229554

128.75

New Jersey

0.53508217

112.8667

Tampa

0.51799906

201.4545

Phoenix

0.51693947

79.88235

Toronto

0.51364176

157.4545

San Jose

0.48844884

156.2222

Pittsburgh

0.48604466

81.26667

Nashville

0.47913447

103.3333

Islanders

0.46921357

128.2778

Anaheim

0.46123496

155.8667

Florida

0.45688351

132.125

Washington

0.44958234

65.52174

Boston

0.43747039

115.4375

Columbus

0.43490909

74.75

LA

0.41552991

69.88235

Montreal

0.40285019

68.17647

Chicago

0.38196995

67.29412

Calgary

0.33442504

61.26667

St. Louis

0.32687651

33.75

Colorado

0.31375228

81.05882

Vancouver

0.30530576

48.5

Rangers

0.29210276

43.85714

Buffalo

0.27270256

66.86667

Detroit

0.25195618

40.25

NHL Average

0.4563029

103.1713

 

 

 This table produced some interesting results, Atlanta tops the list of the most productive first round selections. The down side is that only Ilya Kovalchuk plays for them, all of those productive first rounders have been playing for other teams. Pittsburgh, Washington, Phoenix, Columbus and Chicago will probably see a marked improvement if we were to compare next year’s stats to this year. Tampa Bay has received great production from their draft picks in which their first round draft picks have averaged nearly double of the NHL average at just over 200 points for their NHL careers. This should bode well for Steve Stamkos during the upcoming draft. TB’s last first overall selection was Vinny Lecavalier and looked how well he’s turned out.  The Blues are the worst in receiving only a paltry career average of 34 points per pick.  Detroit and Rangers round out the bottom three in the NHL.

 

Tip to the scouting team of the Blues: visit www.dobberhockey.com and purchase the 2008 Prospects Report for $12.95 and don’t blow another pick!

 

Well that does it for our NHL entry draft coverage. Now we’ll have to wait for June 20 to see how each team made out of the draft. Do you have any comments as to why the Blues have been so horrible at drafting first round talent? Or why San Jose and Anaheim is so good at theirs? Comment on them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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