Where were the best players in the NHL drafted?

Photo credit:© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
3 months ago
The Calgary Flames are set to embark on what they describe as a “re-tool on the fly.” The idea behind that is to accumulate young assets, that being draft picks, prospects and young NHL players, in exchange for veteran players who aren’t going to sign with your team long term.
The plan for the Flames during this time period is to take a small step back, get young players in the lineup, but also try to remain competitive at the same time. This is not a full scale, tear it down to the studs rebuild that the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks are doing.
Trying to stay competitive and push for a playoff spot is likely going to keep the Flames in the mushy middle. Not good enough to make the playoffs. And not bad enough to get high picks in the first round of the NHL draft.
What the Flames are missing in their organization right now are multiple superstar calibre players to build their team around. The Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makars. The Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkins.
You need elite talent to build around if you want to have long term success.
How do you acquire those elite players? It’s nearly entirely through the NHL Draft.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at where these elite players in the NHL were drafted.
I found 45 players who I think are foundational pieces to build your team around if you want to be considered a Stanley Cup contender. Let’s see where those players were selected.
Out of the 45 players listed above, 28 of them were drafted in the top 10 (62%).
33 of them were drafted in the first round (73%).
Only one went undrafted, Artemi Panarin.
This is why it is so important for the Flames to be picking in the top 10 multiple times over the next 3-4 seasons.
In order to give your team the best chance to acquire foundational pieces you can win a Stanley Cup with, you almost have to pick in the top ten. It’s rare for a team to select someone outside the top ten and get a superstar level player.
Hopefully Flames management embraces the idea of picking in the top 10 for a few years. It’s still on the head coach and the players to work their tails off and be as competitive as possible on the ice. But the management team should continue to keep thinking about the long term future of the team and not get caught up in the short term trying to sneak into a wild card spot only for it to be a waste of eight days.
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