Over the next couple of weeks I will look at each team in the NHL, and see how they have performed at the NHL draft. There are basically 3 really important areas to determine the level of success at one of the most inexact sciences in the game – selecting 17 and 18 year old kids and projecting what they will be like over the next 10 or 15 years.
Those three areas are: 1) Success in the first round; 2) Success in the second round and 3) The number of drafted players playing on a team’s roster. I limit it to the first 2 rounds because that is where a majority of the impact players come from, and also where mistakes in judgement are magnified. Players that come after the second round for the most part are fortunate picks and if they work out it is a bonus. Henrik Zetterberg, for example, was a 7th round pick, and although you could claim Detroit was skilled in unearthing a prospect at that point in the draft, if they had known he was going to be as good as he turned out to be, they wouldn’t have waited that long. There is as much good luck as good management for a player like that, and that is factored in in the 3rd area of success.
Now we turn our attention to the Detroit Red Wings, and their track record since the year 2000.
FIRST ROUND SUCCESS:
The Red Wings have selected 6 players in the first round, with 4 of them making some impact in the NHL, for a success rate of 66.7%.
SECOND ROUND SUCCESS:
In the second round, 9 of the 18 players they selected have gone on to play a significant amount of time, resulting in a 50% success rate.
The Wings had an astounding 24 Detroit-drafted players play games with them this past season, a year that their depth was tested with injuries to key players.
SUCCESSES – The Red Wings haven’t hung onto their first round pick very much in the 2000’s, but they did get Niklas Kronwall in the first round in 2000, and recently have nabbed Brendan Smith (2007), Riley Sheahan (2010) and Anthony Mantha (2013). Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco are a pair of second round picks that have emerged as a big part of the future of Detroit. The Wings show legendary patience even with their top prospects and those players are finally getting the opportunity at the NHL level.
FAILURES – Thomas MacCollum was a first round pick in 2008, and hasn’t made much headway in the goaltending depth chart on the Wings, getting passed by Petr Mrazek and soon Jake Paterson.
STEALS – Jonathan Ericsson was selected 291st in 2002 and has become a mainstay on the Wings blue line. The biggest steals came just before the 2000 draft, with the Wings unearthing Zetterbeg (1999) and Pavel Datsyuk (1998) with incredibly late picks.
OVERALL SCORE: 99.6%*
NHL RANK: 2nd
* Score is determined by a formula that encompasses all three aspects listed above and graded on a curve with the highest ranking team awarded a perfect score and 100% rating and the remainder of the clubs given a percentage of that score.