Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bookboy007. Show Bookboy007's posts

    Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    I certainly get the impression that they are, and some of the reasons and consequences are getting harder and harder to ignore.  On the reasons side, the NHL has had a rookie salary cap since the 1994-95 lockout, and, now that overall salaries are capped, impact players on EL contracts are one of the key ways a team can raise its talent level within the Cap limit.  Another reason seems to be the changes to the game since the last lockout - the emphasis on speed, skill and positioning has taken a lot of the focus off of size and brawn.  If you're big, you've gotta be able to skate.  If you can skate, you don't have to be big.  In one sentence, this is why Douglas Murray is on his last legs and Johnny Gaudreau may be taking his first steps to a long career.  Lastly, the development systems seem to be producing more high skill players.  In Canada, there was the great hockey summit when the performance of the international teams was in steep decline; in the US, the development program combined with [uhn] the NCAA game has produced more and better American players, and no team can afford to ignore the rest of the world as a potential source of players, so scouting seems improved.


    Consequences - fewer and fewer deadline deals are including first round picks, and even second round picks are at a premium.  That's the big one apart from the obvious influx of impact young talent over the last few years.


    For comparison's sake, have a look at the 1999 draft and compare it to the 2009 draft:


    1999                                                       2009


    Patrick Stefan                                          John Tavares


    D Sedin                                                   Victor Hedman


    H Sedin                                                   Matt Duchene


    Pavel Brendl                                            Evander Kane


    Tim Connolly                                           Brayden Schenn


    Brian Finley                                              Oliver Ekman-Larsson


    Kris Beech                                                Nazem Kadri


    Taylor Pyatt                                              Scott Glennie


    Jamie Lundmark                                       Jared Cowen


    Branislav Mezei                                       Magnus Paajarvi


    Other 1999 notables: Zetterberg, Havlat, Vrbata.  Chris Kelly is the 12th highest scoring player from the draft class.


    Other 2009 notables: Chris Kreider, Tomas Tatar, Ryan O'Reilly, Reilly Smith, Tyson Barrie.


    Now, 1999 was a bad year - Stefan, Brendl, Finley and Beech are almost total whiffs.  The Sedins are among the most skilled players in the game (or were?), and Connolly may have been good but had an eggshell for a skull. Pyatt has had a long if not a notable career, Lundmark was only ever valuable as a trade chip, and Mezei was that rare guy who looked like a player as a rookie and got less and less notable as time went on.


    We're right around the time that 2009 players are starting to move into the time where they move up or shut up.  Kreider looks like he's definitely going to move up.  Tatar, according to shupe, is mini-Datsyuk.  O'Reilly is an issues-baby but a Byng winning issues baby, Smith is a second liner on the best team in the East, and Barrie looked like Subban west until he got smoked in the playoffs.  That just the other notables.  Tavares and Duchene are top of the league type talents - at least offsetting the Sedins.  Hedman and Ekman-Larsson both were in the top ten in Norris voting.  Kane has a 30 goal season and most expect he'll do it again if he gets his head right.  Schenn is starting to take on a larger and larger role in Philly's offense.  Only Glennie has yet to play at least 150 NHL games; that's 9/10 who have played at least two seasons worth of games in the first 5 years after they were drafted.


    I don't think either year is particularly exceptional either; in fact, while there were years pre-lockout that looked like 2009, they were exceptional.  1983, for example, is legendary because it was Lafontaine, Yzerman, Neely, Barasso, Russ Courtnall, Dave Gagner, Bob Probert.  1990 was Nolan, Primeau, Jagr, Brodeur, Sydor, Zhubov, Tkachuk....  But we've seen a lot of years with that kind of hit rate (at least, as far as you can tell when the players are still in their 20s).  Staal, Toews, Backstrom, Kessel, Giroux and Lucic in 2006.  Kane, vanReimsdyk, Voracek, Couture, McDonagh, Pacioretty and Subban in the much maligned 2007 class.  Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Karlsson, Carlson in 2008, and 2010 looks like it could be one of the most impressive drafts in a long time with Hall, Seguin, Johansen, Skinner, Jack Campbell, Cam Fowler, Jaden Schwartz,...


    The only draft since the lockout that I think might break the trend of post-lockout drafts eclipsing all but the best pre-lockout drafts in terms of first and second round successes (esp. high first round success) in drafting is 2012.   It's possible Yakupov, with all his talent, flames out quickly because he refuses to play NHL team hockey.  Ryan Murray may turn into a Chris Phillips (really nice player; not a second overall pick).  Dumba may never be the Subban like player he was in his draft year.  Pouliot may never break through in Pitt or elsewhere.  Trouba's already good, so's Lindholm, and Reilly is okay but part of a very loose Leaf D.  Grigorenko looks like a bust to me.  Cody Ceci is close.  Tom Wilson is stuck in a clown role in Washington (I think he can give them more).  Hertl may end up being the star of the class, or maybe that will be Teravainen.  Lots of time for this class to ramp up, but I think there's a very good chance that, at very least, the back half of the first round that year will outperform the top half.


    That's pretty faint criticism.  When I look at the last 7 or 8 years, I can't help but feel we're seeing the impact of all 30 teams realizing that, in a Cap world, the one place they have to succeed is in identifying young players who can contribute. 


    Right, PC?


    Are you not entertained?!?!

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from shuperman. Show shuperman's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    Good research on that.  Thank you for mentioning TT.  

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from SanDogBrewin. Show SanDogBrewin's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    "in the US, the development program combined with [uhn] the NCAA game has produced more and better American players, and no team can afford to ignore the rest of the world as a potential source of players"

    http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=459243

    It used to be Canada dominating the World Juniors and really only one country a year would challenge. I think the US, Sweden, Czechs and Finland really did a close examination of Canada's youth and development programs. Also more and more NHL clubs have taken the Red Wings approach of looking more at European skaters and spending more resources overseas.

    Now there has been a shift in the World Juniors as to who plays for the Championships. Canada still dominates in players picked every year in the top 50 of the NHL draft. It seems more over the past 5 years more and more European kids want to play in the CHL. I think this represents countries looking at Canada's success developing great CHL skaters.

    In PCs case, I just don't think he believes "take the best player available". I don't know if this is what he decided against in Ottawa or was taught by a mentor. 2007-2009 was disastrous but he might make up for it with some 2010 and 2011 picks this year. 

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from shuperman. Show shuperman's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    In response to SanDogBrewin's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    "in the US, the development program combined with [uhn] the NCAA game has produced more and better American players, and no team can afford to ignore the rest of the world as a potential source of players"

    http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=459243" rel="nofollow">http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=459243

    It used to be Canada dominating the World Juniors and really only one country a year would challenge. I think the US, Sweden, Czechs and Finland really did a close examination of Canada's youth and development programs. Also more and more NHL clubs have taken the Red Wings approach of looking more at European skaters and spending more resources overseas.

    Now there has been a shift in the World Juniors as to who plays for the Championships. Canada still dominates in players picked every year in the top 50 of the NHL draft. It seems more over the past 5 years more and more European kids want to play in the CHL. I think this represents countries looking at Canada's success developing great CHL skaters.

    In PCs case, I just don't think he believes "take the best player available". I don't know if this is what he decided against in Ottawa or was taught by a mentor. 2007-2009 was disastrous but he might make up for it with some 2010 and 2011 picks this year. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I know you realize that Canadas best juniors are that good they make the nhl and arent around for 2-3 kicks at the wjc.  On that note other countries are closing the gap.  Ive been extremely impressed with the US program along with the Cze.

    I also agree with your assessment in terms of taking the best player.  I think Dougie was handed to him personally.   

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from 50belowzero. Show 50belowzero's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    In response to shuperman's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

    I also agree with your assessment in terms of taking the best player.  I think Dougie was handed to him personally.   

    [/QUOTE]


    If the Jets hadn't surprised everybody and taken Schiefele i seriously doubt Dougie would have been still available.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from SanDogBrewin. Show SanDogBrewin's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    In response to shuperman's comment:[QUOTE] I know you realize that Canadas best juniors are that good they make the nhl and arent around for 2-3 kicks at the wjc.  [/QUOTE]

    "Canada still dominates in players picked every year in the top 50 of the NHL draft."

    Apparently you haven't found the "skimmed to fast on my IPad" button.

     

    Name the players n countries that have played multiple years in the WJC.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kelvana33. Show kelvana33's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    Technology and resources available in 2009 were far much better than in 1999, can't help but think that plays a role.




     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not-A-Shot. Show Not-A-Shot's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    Awesome research.

    I agree Kel.  The ability for GMs to watch full games of players (record it, edit it down, send it online) instead of just going on the scout's word is a huge difference.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from islamorada. Show islamorada's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    Nice read Book, per usual.  I like the comment if they are big they better skate....Evander Kane?  

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from islamorada. Show islamorada's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    This is the type of readings I enjoy so I am making sure "Great White Buffalo's" research is seen by all.  Sometimes I don't look down at the front burner threads.  Thus the "Bump". 

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from WalkTheLine. Show WalkTheLine's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    Excellent post, book. I had to go get a snack half way through lol.

    I think your research backs up what many people likely think is the case. Yeah, the draft process has definitely improved. Technology was mentioned and that's a big factor. The development programs have gotten better and more refined and better separates the really good players from the pack which makes life easier for the talent evaluators. Nobody gets through the process without their every flaw being exposed. The elite players were always easy to spot, it's the guys that are a notch below, or haven't quite developed to elite level yet (like OLEG!), that were riskier picks. Not so much these days. The hit/miss rate on the 1st and 2nd rounders of 10-20 years ago probably looks something like the hit/miss rate of 2nd and 3rd rounders these days.

     

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bookboy007. Show Bookboy007's posts

    Re: Are Team Getting Better at the Draft?

    I'm sort of torn on cause and effect for all of this, or proximate vs. distal causes.  Did the teams get better at the draft because they realized that they'd need to be better to manage their cap constraints and field the most competitive teams, or are we seeing better results because the game has changed under the new system that has greatly reduced clutch and grab hockey, and that makes viable prospects of a lot of the more dynamic players who, in the old league, wouldn't have been able to deal with 6'4" 240lb lummoxes sinking a hook into their midsection and waterskiing for 40 seconds at a time.  It also makes size - probably the biggest factor in first round busts - less of an issue (think Valabik, Huge Jessiman, even Jonathan Aitken...).

     

    Are you not entertained?!?!

     
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