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Dodging the Draft, Part 3

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After a long, arduous offseason that has gone on for what seems like...days, the NHL Entry Draft is finally here. On Wednesday, I looked at how the Avalanche drafts have fared on a round-by-round basis as well as how they rate against the league. Today, I'm looking at how each team has drafted recently.

First, a couple of notes on methodology. I'm looking at all 13 drafts from 1995 to 2007 based on information from hockey-reference.com. I chose 1995 because that's when the Avalanche moved to Denver. It unfairly penalizes a few teams that weren't around back then, but that's just tough Bettmans. After putting all the numbers together, I realized that I probably shouldn't include the last couple of drafts because it's too soon to evaluate them (only 4 players drafted last summer have played in the NHL), but after messing around with the numbers I found that the impact of dropping the last 2 drafts would have been minor. Also, it would have been more work, and I'm lazy.

Basically, I'm looking at how many drafted players played at least 1 game in the NHL - not exactly a perfect measure of success, but it's still something that just 34% of players drafted since '95 have managed to do. This is really just measuring how well teams are drafting - are the guys they take capable of making it to the NHL - and not how well a team develops players (since, many players will end up getting traded before getting to the bigs).

I knew the Avalanche had a good draft history, but it's even better than I thought.

TEAM DRAFTED NHL % TOP 10 NHL GP /AVG TENURE
COL 127 50 39.4% 0 9072 181.4
BOS 109 49 45.0% 7 7816 159.5
CHI 137 48 35.0% 7 5008 104.3
OTT 113 48 42.5% 4 9049 188.5
BUF 120 47 39.2% 2 7618 162.1
LA 126 47 37.3% 3 7054 150.1
NYI 120 44 36.7% 11 8194 186.2
PIT 119 44 37.0% 5 6622 150.5
EDM 124 43 34.7% 3 6193 144.0
MON 118 42 35.6% 4 6006 143.0
NJ 123 42 34.1% 1 6887 164.0
SJ 106 42 39.6% 6 7761 184.8
FLA 118 40 33.9% 8 7949 198.7
STL 117 39 33.3% 1 5682 145.7
TB 125 39 31.2% 5 5728 146.9
NYR 123 38 30.9% 5 4920 129.5
PHI 111 38 34.2% 2 4824 126.9
PHO 110 37 33.6% 4 5417 146.4
WAS 124 37 29.8% 6 3974 107.4
CAL 119 36 30.3% 5 5812 161.4
DAL 117 36 30.8% 1 5647 156.9
ANA 97 35 36.1% 7 6626 189.3
TOR 110 35 31.8% 1 4761 136.0
CAR 103 34 33.0% 3 5830 171.5
VAN 107 32 29.9% 5 5577 174.3
DET 109 29 26.6% 0 2621 90.4
CBJ 82 28 34.1% 8 2615 93.4
NAS 97 26 26.8% 5 4254 163.6
ATL 82 22 26.8% 6 2962 134.6
MIN 66 21 31.8% 5 2890 137.6








3359 1148 34.2%
175369 152.8

 

The Avs have drafted 50 players who have made it to the NHL. While other teams have a bit better drafting rate (Boston, surprisingly, had the highest sucess rate), no team has seen more of their draft picks since '95 make it to the league. At the other end of the scale (and ignorning the expansion teams), Toronto, Carolina, Vancouver and Detroit have done the worst. Before you start scoffing at the Wings, though, remember that in order to keep up their dyn...er, continued sucess they've traded away all but 4 of their 1st round picks. And, as we've learned, 1st rounders are money.

And, after dissing Mike "Worst GM Ever" Milbury Wednesday, the Islanders actually end up rather high on the list. Keep in mind, though, that the Isles have had ELEVEN top 10 picks in those 13 years. A monkey could have been running those drafts (and it might have worked out better, as a monkey probably wouldn't have traded 9 of those 11 players away).

Another measure of draft success I've been using is how many NHL games your draft picks will manage to see. Avalanche draftees have played a total of 9,072 NHL games and counting, again tops in the league. On average, if a player drafted by Colorado makes it to the NHL, he'll have a career of 181 games - one of the highest averages in the league. Compare that to, say, Chicago who, thanks to having a perennially crappy roster, gets a lot of its picks to the NHL, but they don't stick around (104 game average).

And the most amazing thing about the Avs' success? They've had ZERO Top-10 picks. None. They've shown they can find good players without being parked in the lottery lounge. To be frank, I didn't expect the team to come out so high on the list. And it makes you wonder what we could have done with a couple of lottery picks in the mix.