2011 NHL Draft: Historical Significance Of #14

Editor's Note: There have been questions asked about our coverage of the draft this weekend. Just like in years past, we will have open threads during each round and provide immediate analysis and breakdowns of each pick. Or at least try to.

One of the more exciting aspects of this year's draft revolves around the fact that there is the potential for the Dallas Stars to have a number of great options available to them with the #14 pick. We argue over whether Joel Armia is a better option than Mark McNeill, perhaps, but everyone agrees that either player would be a welcome addition to the Stars' organization.

What makes this draft stand out in particular is how some are saying it's a "boring" draft without a lot of great top picks - like Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin - but it's tough to deny the talent throughout the first round is impressive overall. It's a very even draft and after the top eight picks or so, it's a grab bag to determine who the best players remaining might be.

The common consensus is generally, within reason, no matter who the Stars pick we'll be happy with that selection. As everyone knows, however, the draft is far from an exact science no matter how much talent exists in the middle of the first round and history tells us that a decent number of players selected in the first round will never even make it to the NHL.

What does recent history tell us, specifically about the players picked in the #12 to #16 range? Perhaps we're all hopeful that the Stars are facing a very positive situation while ignoring that no matter how much talent presumably exists there's still the great chance that the Stars strike out.

I took a look at all drafts going back to 2000, specifically looking at players drafted between #12 and #16. See what I found after the jump...

What I wanted to do was to see just how successful teams have been in selecting players that not only eventually made it to the NHL but did so with the team that they were drafted by. To do so, I only looked at drafts up until 2007 since players drafted since 2008 haven't exactly had a fair enough amount of time to develop and prove themselves at the NHL level.

There were a total of 40 players drafted between 2000 and 2007 between the #12 and #16 selections. Five for each year.

Of those 40 players, 10 remain with the original team that drafted them and are contributing at the NHL level.

21 have played at least 50 games at the NHL level.

Three players have become All-Stars for their respective conference and teams.

Ales Hemsky, Steve Eminger, Alexander Semin, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Drew Stafford, Devan Dubnyk, Marc Staal, Bryan Litter, and Colton Gillies are still with the team that drafted them.

So what do these numbers tell us?

At first it appears as if - historically speaking - the Stars have just a 30% chance of drafting a player that will end up actually playing with the team long-term. That's not exactly encouraging, but when you look at the players that have stuck it's apparent that there truly can be some great talent available at the middle portion of the first round.

It should be noted, that not all teams selections were total misses. Steve Bernier was drafted in 2004 by the San Jose Sharks and was on his way to being a very successful draft pick. The Sharks, however, traded him away in the deal that sent Brian Campbell to San Jose. While he no longer plays with the team that drafted him, he has become a very successful NHL player.

Lars Eller and Kevin Shattenkirk, both drafted in 2007, were traded by their respective teams and have both started what appear to be promising careers as well. So just because not all players are still with their original teams, it's not necessarily a complete negative.

What really stands out when accessing these drafts historically is that talent certainly comes in bunches.

Between 2001 and 2003, 11 of the 15 players drafted had significant playing time in the NHL and seven have put together very good careers. Only one of the five players drafted in 2007 has yet to appear in the NHL in one is shaping up to be yet another very good draft overall. The 2003 draft in particular stands out as one of the best drafts in recent NHL history, with the middle portion of the first round filled with players who have made significant contributions at the NHL level.

Between 2004 and 2006, however, just four players were drafted that are still with their original teams and playing in the NHL level - and Devan Dubnyk can barely be counted among those four.

So while the overall statistics don't bode well for the Stars at #14, perhaps the feeling that this is a deep draft - especially in the middle of the first round - is right in line with what we've seen historically. Joel Armia, Mika Zibanejab, Mark McNeill, Duncan Siemens and Jamieson Oleksiak all have the potential to be picked right in the middle of the first round, and all have the potential to be significant contributors at the NHL level.

Will the 2011 draft, which is appearing to be more promising the closer we get to the weekend, be another 2002 or 2003 draft when so many great players were found in the middle of the first round? Or will 2011 turn into yet another bust, a la 2006? Whatever happens, we won't know for another four years or so - but it's definitely fun to speculate.

One note I did make to myself was how many of the "busts" from the middle of the first round came from Europe and Russia. I didn't have the time to look at just how many of those busts did in fact come from across the pond, but it was certainly more than I expected. Something to take note of, at least.

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