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An Analysis Of Draft Success Beyond The Second Round; The Best, The Worst and the Dallas Stars

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An analysis of every NHL teams' drafting success between the third and seventh rounds, 2005-2014.

The draft floor, how successful are teams at drafting beyond the second round?
The draft floor, how successful are teams at drafting beyond the second round?
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I was considering the plight of the Edmonton Oilers and their 'interesting' management when I first thought about this article. Why were the Oilers not doing so well? My first instinct was to think about their prospect management and development. Following that path, I wondered how successful their drafting was outside of the first two rounds.

One thing led to another and I went through the entire league to analyse their success between the third and seventh rounds, 2005-2014. I judged a successful pick as a player who had played at least 50 games in the NHL. I didn't take into account any trades involving those prospects.

I used Hockeydb's draft history to create these tables.

The results were quite interesting:

2005-2014

Team Draft Selections Number To Reach 50 Games Percentage Success
Anaheim Ducks 43 4 9.30%
Arizona Coyotes 43 3 6.98%
Boston Bruins 43 2 4.65%
Buffalo Sabres 55 6 10.91%
Calgary Flames 49 4 8.16%
Carolina Hurricanes 47 2 4.26%
Chicago Blackhawks 63 4 6.35%
Colorado Avalanche 47 6 12.77%
Columbus Blue Jackets 53 9 16.98%
Dallas Stars 47 7 14.89%
Detroit Red Wings 52 3 5.77%
Edmonton Oilers 53 4 7.55%
Florida Panthers 53 2 3.77%
LA Kings 58 5 8.62%
Minnesota Wild 46 2 4.35%
Montreal Canadiens 48 5 10.42%
Nashville Predators 57 7 12.28%
New Jersey Devils 49 6 12.24%
New York Islanders 59 5 8.47%
New York Rangers 47 4 8.51%
Ottawa Senators 52 5 9.62%
Philadelphia Flyers 50 3 6.00%
Pittsburgh Penguins 46 6 13.04%
San Jose Sharks 52 7 13.46%
St Louis Blues 51 3 5.88%
Tampa Bay Lightning 53 6 11.32%
Toronto Maple Leafs 52 5 9.62%
Vancouver Canucks 44 0 0.00%
Washington Capitals 49 4 8.16%
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers 56 1 1.79%
Average Success

8.47%

Rank Team Percentage Success
1 Columbus Blue Jackets 16.98%
2 Dallas Stars 14.89%
3 San Jose Sharks 13.46%
4 Pittsburgh Penguins 13.04%
5 Colorado Avalanche 12.77%
6 Nashville Predators 12.28%
7 New Jersey Devils 12.24%
8 Tampa Bay Lightning 11.32%
9 Buffalo Sabres 10.91%
10 Montreal Canadiens 10.42%
11 Ottawa Senators 9.62%
11 Toronto Maple Leafs 9.62%
13 Anaheim Ducks 9.30%
14 LA Kings 8.62%
15 New York Rangers 8.51%
16 New York Islanders 8.47%
17 Washington Capitals 8.16%
17 Calgary Flames 8.16%
19 Edmonton Oilers 7.55%
20 Arizona Coyotes 6.98%
21 Chicago Blackhawks 6.35%
22 Philadelphia Flyers 6.00%
23 St Louis Blues 5.88%
24 Detroit Red Wings 5.77%
25 Boston Bruins 4.65%
26 Minnesota Wild 4.35%
27 Carolina Hurricanes 4.26%
28 Florida Panthers 3.77%
29 Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers 1.79%
30 Vancouver Canucks 0.00%

The Columbus Blue Jackets top this list with an impressive 16.98% success ratetwice the league average. Nine out of their 53 picks had reached the 50 game mark.

The Dallas Stars, who have started to develop a reputation for their late round successes, came second with a 14.89% success rate with seven prospects out of 47 picks playing in more than 50 games at the NHL level.

The worst in the league, the Canucks, haven't had a single playerout of 44 picksplay 50 games in the NHL. This will likely increase to one when Kevin Connauton passes the 50 game mark this season.

After my first look, and analysis, of these numbers I realized that the number of picks from recent drafts would make the percentage lower across the board. To take this into account I decided to rerun the numbers but only from 2005-2010. I assumed that a lower round pick would probably take at least two years in their drafted league and two years in the AHL before playing. This limited my range to the six drafts between 2005 and 2010.

By doing this the percentages were obviously going to end up being significantly higher than the previous table. There were some interesting shifts in position as you can see in the tables below.

2005-2010

Team Draft Selections Number To Reach 50 Games Percentage Success
Anaheim Ducks 28 4 14.29%
Arizona Coyotes 22 3 13.64%
Boston Bruins 26 2 7.69%
Buffalo Sabres 34 6 17.95%
Calgary Flames 34 4 11.76%
Carolina Hurricanes 28 2 7.14%
Chicago Blackhawks 36 3 8.33%
Colorado Avalanche 28 6 21.43%
Columbus Blue Jackets 35 9 25.71%
Dallas Stars 26 7 26.92%
Detroit Red Wings 30 3 10.00%
Edmonton Oilers 29 4 13.79%
Florida Panthers 32 2 6.25%
LA Kings 35 5 14.29%
Minnesota Wild 25 2 8.00%
Montreal Canadiens 29 5 17.24%
Nashville Predators 32 7 21.88%
New Jersey Devils 31 6 19.35%
New York Islanders 38 5 13.16%
New York Rangers 29 4 13.79%
Ottawa Senators 30 5 16.67%
Philadelphia Flyers 32 3 9.38%
Pittsburgh Penguins 28 6 21.43%
San Jose Sharks 33 7 21.21%
St Louis Blues 31 3 9.68%
Tampa Bay Lightning 37 5 13.51%
Toronto Maple Leafs 32 5 15.63%
Vancouver Canucks 25 0 0.00%
Washington Capitals 30 4 13.33%
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers 33 1 3.03%
Average Success

13.89%

Rank Team Percentage Success
1 Dallas Stars 26.92%
2 Columbus Blue Jackets 25.71%
3 Nashville Predators 21.88%
4 Colorado Avalanche 21.43%
4 Pittsburgh Penguins 21.43%
6 San Jose Sharks 21.21%
7 New Jersey Devils 19.35%
8 Buffalo Sabres 17.65%
9 Montreal Canadiens 17.24%
10 Ottawa Senators 16.67%
11 Toronto Maple Leafs 15.63%
12 Anaheim Ducks 14.29%
12 LA Kings 14.29%
14 Edmonton Oilers 13.79%
14 New York Rangers 13.79%
16 Arizona Coyotes 13.64%
17 Tampa Bay Lightning 13.51%
18 Washington Capitals 13.33%
19 New York Islanders 13.16%
20 Calgary Flames 11.76%
21 Detroit Red Wings 10.00%
22 St Louis Blues 9.68%
23 Philadelphia Flyers 9.38%
24 Chicago Blackhawks 8.33%
25 Minnesota Wild 8.00%
26 Boston Bruins 7.69%
27 Carolina Hurricanes 7.14%
28 Florida Panthers 6.25%
29 Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers 3.03%
30 Vancouver Canucks 0.00%

Only two players who were drafted after 2010 have reached the 50 game mark: Andrew Shaw (Chicago) and Ondrej Palat (Tampa Bay).

The figures that stick out the most are those top two percentages. The Dallas Stars come on top with 26.92% of its picks after the second round from 2005-2010 playing at least 50 NHL games. The Blue Jackets are a close second at 25.71%. Having over a quarter of those picks be a success is pretty astonishing.

It seems unlikely that Dallas and Columbus will continue having such high percentage success but if they were able to before maybe they could continue. We'll have to see in another five years. In my opinion those numbers are just too high to be sustainable.

Detroit's numbers, despite having a reputation for finding late round successes, are below average in both time frames, and are in the bottom 10 in the league. It seems their reputation is more myth in the past decade than reality.

Vancouver has only had four of all 61 of its draft picks (Including first and second rounders) in the past decade cross that 50 game mark. Thats an incredibly worrying sign for the Canucks. I'm not one to normally quote/paraphrase Shakespeare but there is definitely something rotten with the state of the Canucks drafting/development system.

The Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise just avoided the 0.00% success in late rounds on the back of Paul Postma's 61 games played.

The Minnesota Wild would likely have appeared higher up this list if this had been done closer to the end of the season. They have a few players very close to their 50 games mark.

While a lot of the draft is considered to be luck, there is no real way of being able to predict how a 18-year-old will develop, these numbers are interesting. What are the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets doing that is different from the Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers? The difference in those numbers is substantial.

Why that is, I don't know.

There are flaws in what I've done above. This method doesn't take into account the impact that those individual late round successes have had. For example Luke Gazdic counts as one of those Dallas Stars successes. The games to push him over the 50 game mark came in Edmonton and he hasn't had as big an impact as others, for example Niklas Hjalmarsson. This is based on sheer quantity of players to hit that 50 game mark, not the quality they were when they played in the NHL.

Nevertheless, it is still very interesting to look at how different teams have done when it comes to selected future NHL players in the late rounds of the draft.