“Draft Schmaft”…words once uttered by former NHL executive and Hockey Hall of Fame member Cliff Fletcher.
In spite of Mr. Fletcher’s comment I’m sure he would agree that plain and simple the draft is the quintessential building block of an NHL team. While shrewd trades and the periodic waiver wire or free agent signing can provide an important piece to a successful team, it is hard to find Stanley Cup champions and legitimate contenders not consisting of core personal selected through the draft. Accumulating picks gives teams additional opportunities to not only draft a key player but also when the time comes the flexibility to hopefully upgrade your team via trades. You can’t make a deal if you don’t have anything to offer.
Conversely, poor draft day decisions coupled with the willingness to trade away draft picks for aging veterans or depth players without replenishing theses picks can come back to adversely impact a club’s fortunes moving forward.
With that in mind, I decided to look back at the drafting history of the current NHL teams and identify the hits, misses and what if’s. Feel free to agree or disagree! Let me know as your comments are always welcome.
A couple of notes regarding the opinions about a teams draft history.
- Only draft selections up to 2013 have been considered
- With the next pick identifies a player taken in the 1st or 2nd round who was immediately selected by another team with the very next selection. The bypassed player would have been a better choice.
- Shrewd pick refers to a player selected in the 4th round or later who went on to enjoy a reasonably productive professional career.
- Late round bargain identifies a player selected in the last couple of rounds in a draft who has experienced some success at the NHL level.