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 Edmonton Oilers, and their track record since the year 2000.
FIRST ROUND SUCCESS:
The Oilers have selected 17 players in the first round, with 10 of them making some impact in the NHL, for a success rate of 67%.
SECOND ROUND SUCCESS:
In the second round, 8 of the 19 players they selected have gone on to play a significant amount of time, resulting in a 42% success rate.
The Oilers had 11 Edmonton-drafted players play games with them this past season.
SUCCESSES – The Oilers have been bad for a number of years and as a result have had some no-brainers. Taylor Hall was a great pickup with the #1 pick, while Jordan Eberle was a really good find at #22 in 2008. Ales Hemsky in 2001 (13th overall) was a long-term Oiler.
FAILURES – Edmonton is in a market where they cannot afford mistakes in drafting. That is what happened in 2000, when they drafted Alexei Mikhnov with the 17th pick, and then whiffed again in 2002 when Jesse Niinimaki was taken at #15.
OVERALL SCORE: 91.8%*
NHL RANK: 5th
* 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.