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 New Jersey Devils, and their track record since the year 2000.
FIRST ROUND SUCCESS:
The Devils have selected 10 players in the first round of the draft, with 7 of them making some impact in the NHL, for a success rate of 70%.
SECOND ROUND SUCCESS:
In the second round, 2 of the 19 players they selected have gone on to play a significant amount of time, resulting in a 11% success rate.
The Devils had 12 New Jersey-drafted players play games with them this past season.
SUCCESSES – Zach Parise (17th) and Travis Zajac (20th) were the Devils first round picks in back to back seasons, 2003 and 2004 respectively. As for true impact players, that is about it lately although there is still time for the likes of Adam Larsson and Stefan Matteau to develop into good NHLers.
FAILURES – Adrian Foster (28th in 2001) never played a game, while Matthew Corrente (34 games) and Nicklas Bergfors (173 games) were also first round picks that had little more than a cup of coffee in the NHL. .
STEALS – The Devils haven’t had a late pick (past 160) pan out since they drafted Deryk Engelland 194th overall in 2000.
OVERALL SCORE: 71.0%*
NHL RANK: 19th – For a team that was once heralded as the blueprint franchise, their drafting record has been brutal when it counts
* 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.