FanPost

Devils Draft Success 2000-2008

The 2014 NHL Draft has come to a close leaving John underwhelmed. In John's recap post there were several comments questioning how successful the Devils scouting department has been. This post attempts to take a look at that question.

To do this I am going to rely heavily on work done over at Copper & Blue.

"Scott Reynolds did a study on the success rate of players drafted from 1997-2005 grouped by their draft slots. He defined success in a draft pick by whether the player drafted became a "top player":

So what constitutes a "top" forward in the NHL in terms of drafting? In my view, it's those forwards that are expensive and the most expensive players tend to be those players that produce consistent offence. Any forward with the "checker" label likely isn't going to be making much money and the type is frequently available for a song in free agency. It's obviously better to draft a Dominic Moore than a total bust but he's not the kind of player that should be particularly difficult to replace via free agency. We know that because he see him sign on the cheap almost every year. As such, I've set the criteria for a "successful pick" in these drafts as any player who has played a minimum of 200 NHL games and has scored a minimum of 0.5 points per game.

Defenders are a bit more complicated. The elite defensive defenders make a lot of scratch so it doesn't seem like points is the best measure of ability especially since the power-play specialist type (think Marc-Andre Bergeron) will rack up points but isn't all that expensive to replace. That said, I think a minimum points requirement is necessary; a player with no offence is surely somewhat detrimental. Thus, a 0.15 points per game minimum standard will be used to accompany the 200 GP threshold. In addition, I've decided to use a TOI minimum of 18:30 per game which should eliminate the guys who are just power play specialists.

What of goaltenders? Honestly, unless you get a clear starter who can perform at a high level, there's nothing there that you couldn't buy cheap. As such, the goaltender must have achieved an above average save percentage (minimum .910 over the career) and must have been the starting goaltender for at least two seasons (min. 40 games played per season). These goalies (sometimes) have value. Anything less than that, not so much.

The results from Scott's study show that NHL teams had the following hit rates from each draft slot grouping:"

Draft Number

Total

Top Players

Percentage

1

9

6

0.667

2-3

18

16

0.889

4-7

36

18

0.500

8-13

54

21

0.389

14-25

108

30

0.278

26-50

225

31

0.138

51-100

448

30

0.067

101-200

877

33

0.038

201+

635

22

0.035

Scott Reynolds examined the years nine years between 1997-2005. I would like to look at more recent history of 2000-2008. Let's assume that for the most part percentages will hold true when the years of 1997-99 are removed and the years of 2006-08 are added. Given that the Devils didn't have any selections in the smaller sample sizes of 1-13, hopefully there wouldn't be a lot of variation between the years.

Using the format Copper & Blue used to compare Ken Holland's draft success (spoiler alert: Holland drafts well), these are the results comparing league average percentages and the Devils from draft info at hockeydb.

Drafter Number

League Pct.

NJ Pct.

NJ Picks

League-exp. Top Players

NJ Top Players

1

0.667

N/A

0

N/A

0

2-3

0.889

N/A

0

N/A

0

4-7

0.5

N/A

0

N/A

0

8-13

0.389

N/A

0

N/A

0

14-25

0.278

0.4

5

1.39

2

26-50

0.138

0

7

0.966

0

51-100

0.067

0.08

25

1.675

2

101-200

0.038

0.04

25

0.95

1

201+

0.035

0

17

0.595

0

The Good:

  • The Devils had a higher than league average percentage in the 14-25 slot by grabbing two top players in Parise and Zajac with only 5 picks. Misses include the likes of Tedenby, Bergfors and Hale.
  • The Devils also had a higher percentage in the 51-100 range by taking Henrique (even though Henrique hasn't played 200 games yet, if the pointless lockout didn't happened, then he probably would have) and Martin.

The Bad:

  • In the 26-50 range the Devils didn't get a single top player despite 7 attempts. Names that include: Teemu Laine, Adrian Foster, Igor Pohanka, Tuomas Pihlman, Petr Vrana, Jeff Frazee and Matt Corrente.

Note: Adding up the League expected values for the 14-100 range of 1.39+0.966+1.675=4.031, the Devils should have gotten 4 top players. Which they did, so the good and the bad appeared to have evened themselves out

  • In the 101-200 range the Devils should have averaged one top player. I considered Fayne to be a top player and that could be debated, but I'll give it to the Devils. Call it the Chico homer bias.
  • In the 201+ range the Devils didn't get a top player. However, it should be noted that after the 2004 draft the NHL eliminated rounds 8 and 9 (thank goodness) so those percentages are not accurate.
  • The Devils have been able to find undrafted players like Greene and Clarkson, but remember this attempts to look at how the team has performed at the Draft.

Conclusions:

It looks like the Devils haven't been awful at drafting between 2000-2008 given the number of picks they have had and where they have drafted. However, they haven't really exceeded league expectations in that time either.

Simply put, it looks like they have been around league average.

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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