Revisiting Draft Success (2005-10)

Years ago I wrote an article on the relative success in the draft that can be expected as dictated by their successes. It covered 2005-09, the period that embraced the post-Dead Puck era (into the Life Support puck era) and seemed long enough from when I originally wrote it (2015l revised in 2016) that we could safely assess. The reason I’ve returned to this analysis is that I made the somewhat arbitrary choice of calling a ‘win’ any player who had played 200 NHL games (given that there’s no readily accepted iteration of what a ‘success’ is in this circumstance). Years later I think that was overly generous and I believe 400 games (the equivalent of five NHL seasons, with some judgement calls on goaltenders) weeds out the numerous players an org falls in love with then drops out of the league after a few seasons. The other benefit is how much time has passed since then–there are no more mysteries about their careers.

2005 (here; the Crosby draft)
First Round
14 players have played 400+ games, including 9 of the top-10 (Luc Bourdon tragically died); 3 never suited up in the NHL
Second Round
7 players hit the mark, with 11 never hitting the ice
Third Round
5 players hit the mark; 12 never played
Fourth Round
7 players have reached the plateau; 17 never played
Fifth Round
3 players hit the mark; 17 never played
Sixth Round
None qualify (Matt D’Agostini #190 comes closest); 21 players never played
Seventh Round
2 players reached the plateau; 26 players never played

Here’s the success by team:
St. Louis (Pleau): 1st (Oshie), 3rd (Bishop), 5th (Reaves)
Columbus (MacLean): 2nd (McQuaid), 3rd (K. Russell), 4th (Boll)
Pittsburgh (Patrick): 1st (Crosby), 3rd (Letang)
San Jose (Wilson): 1st (Setoguchi), 2nd (Vlasic)
Los Angeles (Taylor): 1st (Kopitar), 3rd (Quick)
Rangers (Sather): 1st (M. Staal), 4th (T. Pyatt)
Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett): 1st (Hanzal), 4th (Yandle)
Toronto (Ferguson): 1st (Rask), 7th (Stralman)
Dallas (Armstrong): 1st (Niskanen), 2nd (Neal)
Detroit (Holland): 2nd (Abdelkader), 5th (Helm)
Nashville (Poile): 3rd (Franson), 7th (Hornqvist)
Buffalo (Regier): 4th (C. Butler), 5th (Gerbe)
Anaheim (Coates/Burke): 1st (Ryan)
Carolina (Rutherford): 1st (J. Johnson)
Minnesota (Risebrough): 1st (Pouliot)
Montreal (Gainey): 1st (Price)
Edmonton (Lowe): 1st (Cogliano)
Philadelphia (Clarke): 1st (Downie)
Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell): 2nd (Pavelec)
Colorado (Lacroix): 2nd (P. Statsny)
Vancouver (Nonis): 2nd (Raymond)
Boston (O’Connell): 4th (Sobotka)
Chicago (Pulford/Tallon): 4th (Hjalmarsson)
Fails (7): Ottawa (Muckler), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Washington (McPhee), New York Islanders (Milbury), Florida (Keenan), Calgary (Sutter), Tampa Bay (Feaster)

2006 (here; the E. Johnson draft)
First Round
18 players hit the plateau, including eight of the top-ten; 3 players never played an NHL game
Second Round
6 players hit the mark; 14 players never played
Third Round
3 players reached the plateau; 14 never hit the ice
Fourth Round
2 players; 22 players never played
Fifth Round
No one hit the mark
Sixth Round
4 players hit the mark; 23 prospects never played
Seventh Round
1 player qualifies; 23 players never played

Here’s the success by team:
Toronto (Ferguson): 1st (Tlutsy), 2nd (Kulyomin), 4th (Reimer), 6th (Stalberg), 6th (Komarov)
Washington (McPhee): 1st (Backstrom), 1st (Varlamov), 6th (M. Perrault)
Boston (O’Connell/Gorton/Chiarelli): 1st (Kessel), 2nd (Lucic), 3rd (Marchant)
Columbus (MacLean): 1st (Brassard), 3rd (S. Mason), 7th (Dorsett)
Islanders (Milbury/Smith): 1st (Okposo), 6th (A. MacDonald)
Los Angeles (Taylor/Lombardi): 1st (J. Bernier), 1st (T. Lewis)
St. Louis (Pleau): 1st (E. Johnson). 1st (Berglund)
Pittsburgh (Patrick/Shero): 1st (J. Staal)
Chicago (Pulford): 1st (J. Toews)
Florida (Keenan): 1st (Frolik)
Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell): 1st (Little)
Vancouver (Nonis): 1st (Grabner)
Colorado (Lacroix/Giguere): 1st (C. Stewart)
Philadelphia (Clarke): 1st (Giroux)
Ottawa (Muckler): 1st (N. Foligno)
San Jose (Wilson): 2nd (McGinn)
Edmonton (Lowe): 2nd (Petry)
Detroit (Holland): 2nd (Matthias)
Rangers (Sather): 2nd (Anisimov)
Minnesota (Risebrough): 3rd (Clutterbuck)
Anaheim (Burke): 4th (Beleskey)
Fails (9): Buffalo (Regier), Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett/Maloney), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Dallas (Armstrong), Nashville (Poile)

2007 (here; the P. Kane draft)
First Round
18 players hit the mark, including 8 of the top-ten; 5 picks never played a game (Alexei Cherepanov #17 died)
Second Round
3 players reached the plateau; 14 never played a game
Third Round
4 hit the mark; 15 didn’t make it
Fourth Round
2 qualify; 16 never played
Fifth Round
2 players reach the mark; 22 have never played
Sixth Round
4 players qualify; 16 never played
Seventh Round
2 players reached the mark; 24 have never played

Success by team:
Montreal (Gainey): 1st (McDonagh), 1st (Pacioretty), 2nd (P. K. Subban), 3rd (Y. Weber)
Los Angeles (Lombardi): 1st (Hickey), 2nd (Simmonds), 4th (Martinez)
San Jose (Wilson): 1st (Couture), 6th (Bonino), 7th (Braun)
Philadelphia (Holmgren): 1st (Van Riemsdyk), 6th (Maroon)
Edmonton (Lowe): 1st (S. Gagner), 1st (R. Nash)
St. Louis (Pleau): 1st (Eller), 1st (I. Cole), 1st (Perron)
Pittsburgh (Shero): 3rd (Bortuzzo), 5th (Muzzin)
Dallas (Armstrong): 4th (Sceviour), 5th (Benn)
Chicago (Pulford): 1st (P. Kane)
Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney): 1st (Turris)
Washington (McPhee): 1st (Alzner)
Columbus (Howson/MacLean): 1st (Voracek)
Carolina (Rutherford): 1st (B. Sutter)
Colorado (Giguere): 1st (Shattenkirk)
Calgary (Sutter): 1st (Backlund)
Detroit (Holland): 1st (B. Smith)
Nashville (Poile): 2nd (Spaling)
Florida (Martin): 3rd (Dadonov)
Tampa Bay (Feaster): 3rd (Killorn)
Rangers (Sather): 6th (Hagelin)
Buffalo (Regier): 6th (Byron)
Toronto (Ferguson): 7th (Gunnarsson)
Fails (8): New Jersey (Lamoriello), Anaheim (Burke), Ottawa (Br.Murray/Muckler), Boston (Chiarelli), Vancouver (Nonis), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), New York Islanders (Snow), Minnesota (Risebrough)

2008 (here; the Stamkos draft)
First Round
16 players, including 8 of the top-ten; three never played
Second Round
7 players have reached the plateau (including #34 Jake Allen); 8 players have never suited up
Third Round
3 players; 18 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
5 made it; 15 players never suited up
Fifth Round
3 players; 17 prospects never played
Sixth Round
3 players qualify; 19 players never suited up
Seventh Round
1 player makes it; 22 never played

Here’s the success by team:
Islanders (Snow): 1st (Bailey), 2nd (Hamonic), 5th (M. Martin), 6th (Spurgeon)
Ottawa (Br.Murray): 1st (E. Karlsson), 3rd (Z. Smith), 4th (D. Grant), 5th (Borowiecki)
Rangers (Sather): 1st (Del Zotto), 2nd (Stepan), 4th (Weise)
St. Louis (Pleau): 1st (Pietrangelo), 2nd (Allen)
Nashville (Poile): 1st (C. Wilson), 2nd (Josi)
Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney): 1st (Bodker), 3rd (Mi. Stone)
Buffalo (Regier): 1st (Myers), 1st (Ennis)
Anaheim (Burke/Bo.Murray): 1st (Gardiner), 2nd (J. Schultz)
Washington (McPhee): 1st (J. Carlson), 4th (Holtby)
Columbus (Howson): 5th (Calvert), 6th (Atkinson)
San Jose (Wilson): 6th (Wingels), 7th (Demers)
Tampa Bay (Feaster): 1st (Stamkos)
Los Angeles (Lombardi): 1st (Doughty)
Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell): 1st (Bogosian)
Toronto (Ferguson/Burke): 1st (L. Schenn)
Philadelphia (Holmgren): 1st (Sbisa)
Edmonton (Lowe): 1st (Eberle)
Florida (Martin): 2nd (Markstrom)
Minnesota (Risebrough): 2nd (Scandella)
New Jersey (Lamoriello): 3rd (Henrique)
Calgary (Sutter): 4th (Brodie)
Detroit (Holland): 4th (Nyquist)
Fails (8): Vancouver (Nonis/Gillis), Chicago (Pulford), Dallas (Armstrong/Hull-Jackson), Boston (Chiarelli), Colorado (Giguere), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Pittsburgh (Shero)

2009 (here; the Tavares draft)
First Round
17 players have hit the threshold (including 8 of the top-10); one never played
Second Round
9 have (including #46 Robin Lehner); 8 players never made it
Third Round
5 players hit the mark; 13 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
7 reach the threshold; 12 players never suited up
Fifth Round
4 players hit the mark; 19 players never suited up
Sixth Round
2 (including #161 Darcy Kuemper); 16 players didn’t make it
Seventh Round
2 hit the mark; 24 never played

Success by team:
Islanders (Snow): 1st (Tavares), 1st (de Haan), 4th (Cizikas), 6th (A. Lee)
Los Angeles (Lombardi): 1st (B. Schenn), 2nd (Clifford), 3rd (Deslauriers), 7th (Dowd)
Nashville (Poile): 1st (Ellis), 4th (C. Smith), 4th (Ekholm), 5th (Bourque)
Colorado (Giguere/Sherman): 1st (Duchene), 2nd (O’Reilly), 3rd (Barrie)
Buffalo (Regier): 1st (Kassian), 3rd (McNabb), 4th (M. Foligno)
Minnesota (Risebrough): 1st (Leddy), 6th (Kuemper), 7th (Haula)
Washington (McPhee): 1st (M. Johansson), 2nd (Orlov), 3rd (Eakin)
Ottawa (Br.Murray): 2nd (Silfverberg), 2nd (Lehner), 5th (Hoffman)
Tampa Bay (Lawton): 1st (Hedman), 2nd (Panik)
Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell): 1st (E. Kane), 4th (Chiarot)
Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney): 1st (Ekman Larsson)
Columbus (Howson): 1st (J. Moore), 4th (D. Savard)
Anaheim (Bo.Murray): 1st (Palmieri), 4th (Vatanen)
Dallas (Hull-Jackson/Nieuwendyk): 2nd (Chiasson), 3rd (R. Smith)
Detroit (Holland): 2nd (Tatar), 5th (Jensen)
Toronto (Burke): 1st (Kadri)
Edmonton (Tambellini): 1st (Paajarvi)
Florida (Martin/Sexton): 1st (Kulikov)
Rangers (Sather): 1st (Kreider)
Carolina (Rutherford): 2nd (Dumoulin)
Chicago (Pulford): 5th (Kruger)
Fails (8): New Jersey (Lamoriello), Pittsburgh (Shero), Vancouver (Gillis), Boston (Chiarelli), St. Louis (Pleau), Calgary (Sutter), Montreal (Gainey), San Jose (Wilson), and Philadelphia (Holmgren)

2010 (here; the T. Hall draft)
First Round
21 players hit the threshold (including 9 of the top-10); every pick played at least one game
Second Round
9 players (I’m including #31 Tyler Pitlick, who will hit it next season, and Devante Smith-Pelly, who won’t get passed 395, but I think should count); 5 never played
Third Round
3 players; 18 never played
Fourth Round
1 player; 14 never played
Fifth Round
3 players; 16 never played
Sixth Round
2 players; 22 never played
Seventh Round
1 player; 25 never played

Success by team:
Florida (Sexton/Tallon): 1st (Gudbranson), 1st (Bjugstad), 4th (Donskoi), 5th (Hyman)
Carolina (Rutherford): 1st (Skinner), 2nd (Faulk), 7th (F. Andersen)
Minnesota (Fletcher): 1st (M. Granlund), 2nd (J. Larsson), 2nd (Zucker)
Edmonton (Tambellini): 1st (T. Hall), 2nd (Pitlick)
Islanders (Snow): 1st (Niederreiter), 1st (Nelson)
Tampa Bay (Lawton/Kurvers/Yzerman): 1st (B. Connolly), 3rd (Gudas)
Anaheim (Bo. Murray): 1st (Fowler), 2nd (Smith-Pelly)
St. Louis (Pleau): 1st (Schwartz), 1st (Tarasenko)
Los Angeles (Lombardi): 1st (Forbort), 2nd (Toffoli)
Detroit (Holland): 1st (Sheahan), 2nd (Jarnkrok)
Chicago (Bowman): 1st (Hayes), 3rd (Nordstrom)
Dallas (Nieuwendyk): 2nd (Nemeth) 5th (Klingberg)
Boston (Chiarelli): 1st (Seguin)
Columbus (Howson): 1st (R. Johansen)
Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell/Dudley): 1st (Burmistrov)
Nashville (Poile): 1st (Watson)
Buffalo (Regier): 1st (Pysyk)
Washington (McPhee): 1st (Kuznetsov)
San Jose (Wilson): 1st (Coyle)
New Jersey (Lamoriello): 2nd (Merrill)
Pittsburgh (Shero): 3rd (Rust)
Montreal (Gainey/Gauthier): 5th (Gallagher)
Rangers (Sather): 6th (Fast)
Ottawa (Br. Murray): 6th (Ma. Stone)
Fails: Phoenix/Arizona (Maloney), Colorado (Sherman), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Calgary (Sutter), Vancouver (Gillis), and Toronto (Burke)

Round-by-round success rate (with year-by-year in brackets):
First: 14/9, 18/8, 18/8, 16/8, 17/8, 21/9; average 17.33/8.33
Second: 7, 6, 3, 7, 9, 9; avg 6.83
Third: 5, 3, 4, 3, 5, 3; avg 3.83
Fourth: 7, 2, 2, 5, 7, 1; avg 4.0
Fifth: 3, 0, 2, 3, 4, 3; avg 2.5
Sixth: 0, 4, 4, 3, 2, 2; avg 2.5
Seventh: 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1; avg 1.5
Total: 38, 34, 35, 38, 46, 40; avg 38.5

Looking at trends in 2011 (keeping in mind the numbers aren’t completely set), all 10 top-ten picks hit the standard (20 overall in the first); 10 in the 2nd; 4 in the 3rd; 3 in the 4th; 2 in the 5th; 2 in the 6th; and 2 in the 7th. This means there are signs of scouting improving over this period–accuracy of picks declines through the rounds (as opposed to the erratic numbers of a solitary year), albeit the odds of finding an NHL player in the 5th-7th rounds are extremely small. It’s also worth pointing out that almost two-thirds of players (63%) are to be found in the first two rounds (conversely, there still are players who slip through the cracks into the later rounds).

Team Performance (this is quantitative, not qualitative)
St. Louis (Pleaux6): 3, 2, 3, 2, 0, 2=12
Columbus (MacLeanx2; MacLean/Howson; Howsonx3): 3, 3, 1, 2, 2, 1=12
Los Angeles (Taylor; Taylor/Lombardi; Lombardix4): 2, 2, 3, 1, 4, 2=12
Islanders (Milbury; Milbury/Smith; Snowx4): 0, 2, 0, 4, 4, 2=12
Washington (McPheex6): 0, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1=10
Nashville (Poilex6): 2, 0, 1, 2, 4, 1=10
San Jose (Wilsonx6): 2, 1, 3, 2, 0, 1=9
Toronto (Fergusonx3; Ferguson/Burke; Burkex2): 2, 5, 1, 1, 0=9
Minnesota (Risebroughx5; Fletcher): 1, 1, 0, 1, 3, 3=9
Rangers (Satherx6): 2, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1=9
Detroit (Hollandx6): 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2=9
Buffalo (Regierx6): 2, 0, 1, 2, 3, 1=9
Ottawa (Mucklerx2; Muckler/Br. Murray; Br. Murrayx3): 0, 1, 0, 4, 3, 1=9
Edmonton (Lowex4; Tambellinix2): 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2=8
Florida (Keenanx2; Martinx2; Martin/Sexton; Sexton/Tallon): 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 4=8
Anaheim (Coates/Burke; Burke; Burke/Bo. Murray; Bo. Murrayx2): 1, 1, 0, 2, 2, 2=8
Dallas (Armstrongx3; Armstrong/Hull-Jackson; Hull-Jackson/Nieuwendyk; Nieuwendyk): 2, 0, 2, 0, 2, 2=8
Pittsburgh (Patrick; Patrick/Shero; Sherox4): 2, 1, 2, 0, 0, 1=6
Montreal (Gaineyx5, Gainey/Gauthier): 1, 0, 4, 0, 0, 1=6
Colorado (Lacroix; Lacroix/Giguere; Giguerex2; Giguere/Sherman; Sherman): 1, 1, 1, 0, 3, 0=6
Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett; Barnett/Maloney; Maloneyx4): 2, 0, 1, 2, 1, 0=6
Carolina (Rutherfordx6): 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 3=6
Chicago (Tallon/Pulford; Pulfordx4; Bowman): 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 2=6
Tampa Bay (Feasterx4; Lawton; Lawton/Kurvers/Yzerman): 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2=6
Philadelphia (Clarkex2; Holmgrenx4): 1, 1, 2, 1, 0, 0=5
Boston (O’Connell; O’Connell/Gorton/Chiarelli; Chiarellix4): 1, 3, 0, 0, 0, 1=5
Winnipeg/Atlanta (Waddellx5; Waddell/Dudley): 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1=5
Vancouver (Nonisx3; Nonis/Gillis; Gillis): 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0=2
New Jersey (Lamoriellox6): 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1=2
Calgary (Sutterx6): 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0=2

In terms of ranges through the six drafts:
4 teams had 12 successes
2 teams had 10
7 teams had 9
4 teams had 8
7 teams had 6
3 teams had 5
3 teams had 2

The majority of teams (80%) managed to find at least one NHL player per draft, while the best teams (13%) were able to find two. Most (76%) were between those ranges, but with management changes it’s not always easy to pin down where organizational flaws or successes were (except for bottom feeders like Calgary and New Jersey). There’s also a prejudice against teams that had extra first-round picks since those are more likely to work out. This leaves plenty of room to assess GM’s independent of their teams (ten teams had the same management in place), but I think that warrants a separate discussion. All of this just scratches the surface, but it sheds some interesting light on the draft in the current era.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)