DRAFTING FOR SUCCESS (PART 2): SUCCESS BY ROUND

Byron Bader
May 23 2014 08:15AM

Draft

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about drafting between 2003 and 2013 where I looked at which teams were the most successful when it comes to drafting.  The analysis looked at two factors - graduating draftees to NHLers (50+ games played) or graduating draftees to regular NHLers (200+ games).  The follow-up looks at how each team did by round.  Hit the jump for a breakdown of how successful each team was at finding NHLers (50 games+) by round.  

Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 Total Playoffs
Anaheim 10 4 3 3   1   1   22 6
Boston 7 3 1 2 1 1 1     16 8
Buffalo 9 3 4 3 1 2 1     23 4
Calgary 5   3 2   2     1 13 5
Carolina 8 4 1 1 1 1       16 2
Chicago 6 6   1 4 1 1 1 1 21 6
Colorado 6 5 3 1 2   1 1 1 20 5
Columbus 9 3 3 3 1 4 1   1 25 2
Dallas 3 5 2   4 1       15 5
Detroit 3 6 2 2 1         14 10
Edmonton 11 6 3 2   1 2   1 26 1
Florida 11 4 1       1   1 18 1
Los Angeles 9 5 1 2 1 2 1     21 5
Minnesota 7 4 2 3     1     17 4
Montreal 7 3 4   2 1 1   2 20 8
Nashville 7 5 2 2 2 1 2 1   22 7
New Jersey 6 2 4 1 1         14 7
NY Islanders 9 4   2 1 3 1     20 3
NY Rangers 6 5   4 2 1 1     19 8
Ottawa 9 3 4 1     2   1 20 7
Philadelphia 7 1 5 1   2       16 8
Phoenix 8 1 1 2     1   1 14 4
Pittsburgh 7 1 5 2 1 1 1   1 19 8
San Jose 6 4 1 2 1 2 5     21 10
St. Louis 10 3 1 1 3 2       20 5
Tampa Bay 3 4 2 3   2 2   1 17 5
Toronto 5 2   2 1 1 2     13 2
Vancouver 5 1 1   1       1 9 7
Washington 10 3 2 1 1 2 1     20 7
Winnipeg 8 1         1 1   9 1
Successes 217 101 61 49 32 34 30 5 13 540
Total Picks 330 353 335 339 342 332 342 63 64 2500
Success % 65.8% 28.6% 18.2% 14.5% 9.4% 10.2% 8.8% 7.9% 20.3% 21.6%



Obviously, the 1st round is the most prolific area at finding players that will at least get a sniff in the NHL. Over 65% of first round picks go on to play at least 50 games in the show. The numbers drop off a cliff after that as only 29% of 2nd rounders play 50 games; 18% of 3rd rounders; 14.5% of 4th rounders; 9% of 5th rounders and so on and so forth.  

Interestingly, teams that have been no good over the past decade (i.e., made the playoffs two or less times from 2003 to 2013) tend to have more of their first round picks make up their total "successes". Could this be a hint that these teams are rushing their most highly regarded prospects? Perhaps. Alternatively, teams that have been very good over the past decade (i.e., made the playoffs eight or more times from 2003 to 2013) have a more spread out proportion of successes. They have more players from later rounds (3-7) coming in and getting a real taste in the NHL, many of those turning into regular NHLers and not just a flash in the pan. 

San Jose, and not Detroit, appears to be the current god at finding late talent. Over the past decade, the Sharks have been able to find 7 players in rounds 6 and 7 that have gone on to play in the NHL. The successful players they've pulled from the 6-7 rounds over the past decade include: Tommy Wingels, Joe Pavelski, Justin Braun, Frazer McLaren, Nick Bonino and Jason Demers. Not bad. All of those players have hit 200 games or will soon. Frazer McLaren looks like the only player that's donezo and he's property of the lowly Leafs now anyways.  

The league average, over the past decade, for finding talent in the last two rounds was 2.1. The Sharks have been 3.5 times better at finding late talent than the average NHL team. And they've made the playoffs every year since ... 2003. They're not making the playoffs because of their late-round guys (maybe Pavelski) but it certainly doesn't hurt finding pretty legit NHLers in essentially the nothing rounds of the NHL draft.

Those are only a couple of the things that jumped out from the data.  Have a look through the data and see what jumps out to you.

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Byron has always been curious about numbers and stats, especially related to hockey. His background includes schooling heavily-focused on psychology, economics and statistics and a professional background revolving around reseach, segmentation, data mining and statistics. 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 BitGeek
May 23 2014, 08:33AM
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It's interesting that the chart above shows that Calgary is the only team that hasn't developed a 2nd rounder in that time period.

What would also be interesting to know is how many picks per round each team has had compared to the number that has made it to the NHL.

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#2 piscera.infada
May 23 2014, 08:40AM
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@BitGeek

2nd round picks were Sutter's prime trade fodder, so it's not overly surprising. In fact since 2002 the second round picks have been Tim Ramholt (2003), Mitch Wahl (2008), Granlund/Wotherspoon (2011), Seiloff (2012). That's two (!) 2nd round picks between 2003 and 2010 (and 5 in the last 11 years).

Looking at the draft history in that time period, it's not overly surprising that the Flames drafting was considered so horrible. The team essentially lived in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds. I hope if this team ever does become legitimately competitive, they still treat their draft picks with care.

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#3 Clay
May 23 2014, 08:42AM
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We should stockpile 9th round picks.

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#4 Baalzamon
May 23 2014, 09:00AM
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Looking down the list I was like "Yeesh this is embarassing. Calgary sucks!"

Then I saw Vancouver.

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#5 Craig
May 23 2014, 09:12AM
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Who's our 9th rounder?

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#6 piscera.infada
May 23 2014, 09:14AM
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@Craig

Adam Cracknell (2004)? Played a whopping 65 games (all for St. Louis).

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#8 BitGeek
May 23 2014, 09:47AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

2nd round picks were Sutter's prime trade fodder, so it's not overly surprising. In fact since 2002 the second round picks have been Tim Ramholt (2003), Mitch Wahl (2008), Granlund/Wotherspoon (2011), Seiloff (2012). That's two (!) 2nd round picks between 2003 and 2010 (and 5 in the last 11 years).

Looking at the draft history in that time period, it's not overly surprising that the Flames drafting was considered so horrible. The team essentially lived in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds. I hope if this team ever does become legitimately competitive, they still treat their draft picks with care.

Yeah I was thinking that was probably the case. Just a lack of picks to actually develop.

I guess that's why I asked the second question. How many picks did we have in each round? That might reveal some interesting trends too. For instance: What percentage of each teams picks are turned into NHL players?

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#9 mattyc
May 23 2014, 09:52AM
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@Byron Bader

I wish you'd broken the table down as fractions instead of # of successes, since the interesting part isn't how many successes they've drafted, but how many chances they need to draft a success.

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#10 Baalzamon
May 23 2014, 09:59AM
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Lol so I just noticed that Dallas is better in the 5th round than the 1st. Weird.

I guess it makes a kind of sense in a way. I mean, they did take Jamie Benn in the 5th, and he's better than anyone they've taken in the 1st recently.

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#11 McRib
May 23 2014, 11:04AM
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@Baalzamon

Oh Mike Gillies was horrendous on draft day!!! They took multiple BCHLers during his tenure in the draft that had a hard time even playing in the NCAA. I remember when they took Alexandre Mallet in the second round who was a second or third time eligible and most teams had him going in the 6 or 7 round. I was at the draft and you could hear the laughter.

The weirdest thing with Gillies was until they drafted Hunter Shinkaruk they had not taken a WHLer in four years.... Choosing to take six QMJHLers none of which panned out. You would think you would take a hometown kid once and awhile especially considering the WHL is the second best feeder league in the world outside of the OHL. For a couple years most scouts joked that Vancouver didn't even have any scouts in Vancouver. You know a team is desperate for young players after signing Anton Cederholm, Portlands 7th defender!!!

There are a few NHL scouting departments that would improve scouting by threefold if they just drafted off of the best player available based solely on NHLE, Vancouver would be one of them it will be interesting to see how drafting improves under Jim Benning. People always blame head scouts, but I think it has more to do with the GMs final say.

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#12 McRib
May 23 2014, 11:09AM
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@Baalzamon

If Jamie Benn isn't already the biggest steal of the past decade the fact that they also got his brother Jordie Benn for nothing puts it over the top. Who needs the NCAA when Jordie Benn is going from the BCHL to the NHL, Hahaha.

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#13 Baalzamon
May 23 2014, 11:25AM
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@McRib

People always blame head scouts, but I think it has more to do with the GMs final say.

This has come up a lot over the last few days. It seems to me that the Head Scout is more about compiling and aggregating information than strictly speaking "evaluating" it. Not that he doesn't do any evaluating of course, but it's the regional scouts who see these players most often; I feel like those are the guys who do most of the evaluation of players' skills and such.

Maybe this is why Tod Button has lasted so long with the organization. This is what he does. He coordinates the scouts, aggregates the information (rankings and draft lists and such), weights the other scouts' evaluations based on organizational mandates, and presents this to the GM. In other words, they like his researching and administrative capabilities.

The GM is where the mandates about what to look for and how to weight it come from.

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#14 McRib
May 23 2014, 12:29PM
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@Baalzamon

Agree my opinion of Todd Button lately came around in a big way under Jay Feaster. Not to mention he always deserved some slack considering Darryl Sutter traded away almost every second rounder and a first rounder or two. Funnily enough on a related note our draft record in the latter half of Sutter’s regime is starting to look alright as time passes (Backlund, Aulie, Brodie, Bouma, Erixon, Ortio, Reinhart, Arnold, Ferland). So Todd Button has been performing positively now on draft day for five or six seasons as our Head Scout should keep it up with Brad Treliving.

I have even heard rumors that sometimes Owners make the final decision on top picks as well. For example heard from a reputable source that the NYIs wanted to draft Morgan Rielly, but Charles Wang met Griffin Reinhart and really liked the kid so he made the final decision. That’s gotta suck maybe that is why the Detroit's and San Jose's of the world continue to have success the Ownership/GM lets their scouts do their job. Maybe Jim Benning ends up having a hard time drafting under the Aquilinis, similar to Gillies you never know.

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#15 ChinookArchYYC
May 23 2014, 12:47PM
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Looking at Calgary's drafting (or more accurately non-drafting) makes me hate Darrel Sutter.

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#16 mattyc
May 23 2014, 01:23PM
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ChinookArchYYC wrote:

Looking at Calgary's drafting (or more accurately non-drafting) makes me hate Darrel Sutter.

yep... but he's a damn good coach.

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#17 Jordan
May 23 2014, 02:52PM
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Jake virtanen out 4-6months. How much does that affect his draft stock?

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#18 mattyc
May 23 2014, 03:03PM
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Jordan wrote:

Jake virtanen out 4-6months. How much does that affect his draft stock?

Barkov had problems last year (was it shoulder surgery?), and still went 4th, so my guess is not really much at all. Also not sure he's a slam dunk top 10 pick anyways...

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#19 Baalzamon
May 23 2014, 03:20PM
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@mattyc

Barkov had problems last year (was it shoulder surgery?), and still went 4th

2nd, as a matter of fact.

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#21 Stubblejumper
May 24 2014, 11:52AM
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Excellent article Byron. This, along with your prior post, provide a good baseline reference for the relative skill/expertise of each team's scouting/drafting/development process.

Per your prior article, you show that 65% of all 1st rounders appear in 50+ NHL games..essentially meaning all 1st round selections have better-than-average success which is not dependent on team scouting/development.

The real critical skill would appear to be in drafting and developing of 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounders which on average see 20.5% success rate of these draftees appearing in 50+ NHL games. It's been shown that many teams rosters are filled with players drafted in the 2nd-4th rounds, Boston and Chicago being good Cup Contender examples.

In Boston, their current roster features 4 1st rounders (Iggy, Hamilton, Meszaros, Paille), 8 2nds, 5 3rds and 0 4ths. The 13 2nd & 3rd rounders comprise virtually all of their core and key roster players critical to the team's success.

Chicago relies even more heavily on lower drafted players. Their current roster features 4 1st Rnders (Kane, Toews, Hossa, Seabrook), 3 2nds, 2 3rds, 3 4ths, 3 5ths. The 11 2nd-5th rounders represent the critical roster players outside the top core.

With just a 1 in 5 chance to successfully draft and develop 2nd-4th rounders, greater skill/expertise and organizational competency is required.

In your first article you separately showed the number of draftees becoming regular NHLers by playing 200+ NHL games which is even more critical than the "couple cups of coffee" at 50 games.

What stuck out here was Boston was average at 50 games but 2nd best at 200 games, indicating greater success developing longer term regular NHLers.

Perhaps most surprisingly was Montreal was ~7th at 50 games and 1st at 200 games, indicating they were the MOST SUCCESSFUL TEAM in drafting and developing NHL players, and were double the average in developing 3 elite players too.

Of note, PHX was slightly below league average at 50 games and slightly above at 200 games, with 1 elite player developed (Ekman-Larson).

Unfortunately as we know the Flames sucked in all 3 categories, ranking 28th at 50 games, 28th at 200 games, and 0 elite players (tied for league worst with 4 other teams).

The key takeaway from your excellent work and analysis Byron, is that in order to be a successful contending team the greatest emphasis has to be put on scouting/drafting/developing 2nd-4th rounders.

It is in these critical 3 rounds where the expertise and talent of the Flames staff and organization can provide the greatest opportunity to positively impact outcomes, more so than 1st rounders (almost a gimme) or 5th-7th rounders (longshots with

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#22 Stubblejumper
May 24 2014, 12:01PM
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completing last statement (and a reminder to never use the less than symbol)

It is in these critical 3 rounds where the expertise and talent of the Flames staff and organization can provide the greatest opportunity to positively impact outcomes, more so tha 1st rounders (almost a gimme) or 5th-7th rounders (longshots with less than 10% success).

Feaster's, and now Burke/Treliving's legacies will be judged on their ability to successfully develop NHLers drafted in the these rounds. The next 18 months will be critical in establishing the foundation for this success.

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