With this weekend’s upcoming draft in mind, I have been and will continue to look at each team in the NHL, and see how they have performed at the NHL draft over the past 15 years. 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 Nashville Predators, and their track record since the year 2000.
FIRST ROUND SUCCESS:
The Preds have selected 12 players in the first round of the draft, with 9 of them making some impact in the NHL, for a success rate of 75%.
SECOND ROUND SUCCESS:
In the second round, 4 of the 16 players they selected have gone on to play a significant amount of time, resulting in a 25% success rate.
The Predators had 15 Nashville-drafted players play games with them this past season.
SUCCESSES – The Predators built their team, and most notably its defense, at the draft. Dan Hamuis was an early 2001 pick, with Ryan Ellis and Seth Jones being more recent picks. The ultimate draft for the Predators was 2003, when they had 4 picks in the first 50 selections and came away with Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein and Shea Weber. They also picked up Scott Hartnell in 2000, and Scottie Upshall in 2002.
FAILURES – The Preds don’t have a standout bust on their record, but Ryan Parent really hasn’t met expectations in the league, and Alexander Radulov was good but his jump to the KHL twice has to be disappointing.
STEALS – Pekka Rinne, 2004 (258th overall) and Patrik Hornqvist (2005, 230th overall) were great late-round finds for the Predators.
OVERALL SCORE: 87.8%*
NHL RANK: 7th
* 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.