Why You’re Putting Too Much Stock Into The Draft

Congratulations!

If you’re one of the 15 teams who participated in the NHL Draft Lottery Saturday, you’re in luck! Your talent-lacking roster may be receiving a much-needed boost from a prospect when the Draft launches on June 23rd in Chicago.

Congratulations!

If you’re one of the teams who landed a top 5 pick in the Lottery (Vancouver, Colorado, Dallas, Philadelphia, New Jersey), you probably are leaning on the possibility of taking a contributing member, star, or (if you’re lucky) a cornerstone for your franchise. You need it.

Congratulations!

If you’re the Philadelphia Flyers or the New Jersey Devils (2nd and 1st pick respectively), everyone is looking at you. Centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are the sure top two picks and considered to be almost equal in skill with small differences. The projections are in favor of you getting a possible star to jump into the playoff race in the 2017-18 season.

Congratulations! Everything I just said, doesn’t mean squat. You’re putting way too much faith in your team’s draft. And here’s why:

The purpose of the draft, in every sport, is pretty clear. No need to research, the draft is meant to turn bad teams, good. The worse you fair in the season, the better pick you get, the better you are during the season, the lower pick you’ll get (if the system works, *wink wink* Flyers). A talent equalizer, if you will.

 

2017 NHL Draft Order

But this is a fatal flaw with the NHL (and NBA) Draft; the lottery skews things in favor of some and shapes things negatively for others. Reform needed? Possibly, but that’s not even my main point. My main point is that regardless of a team’s position in the draft, there’s no guarantee that the star desired will be the first pick, in the top ten, in the first round, or even DRAFTED. Over 385 undrafted players have gone on to play at least 100 games professionally which might lead one to believe they’re fulfilling a contract and possibly getting inked for more years due to stellar performance. But amongst the 385 who have played, there are many more who have actually excelled above the rest professionally despite teams passing over them.

Undrafted HOF’s:

  • Ed Belfour
  • Dino Ciccarelli
  • Joe Mullen
  • Adam Oates
  • Borje Salming
  • Peter Stastny

Undrafted All-Stars

  • Martin St. Louis
  • Mark Tinordi
  • Peter Stastny
  • Marian Stastny
  • Doug Smail
  • John Scott
  • Borje Salming
  • Dwayne Roloson
  • Mike Ridley
  • Matt Read
  • Glenn Resch
  • Brian Rafalski
  • Pekka Rautakallio
  • Dave Poulin
  • Adam Oates
  • Bob J. Murdoch
  • Joe Mullen
  • Andy McDonald
  • Lars Lindgren
  • Kelly Kisio
  • Tim Kerr
  • Curtis Joseph
  • Jonas Hiller
  • Tyler Johnson
  • Anders Hedburg
  • Dan Girardi
  • Mark Giordano
  • Robbie Ftorek
  • Michel Dion
  • Steve Duchesne
  • Jon Casey
  • Dino Ciccarelli
  • Dan Boyle
  • Sergei Bobrovsky
  • Jason Blake
  • Ed Belfour
  • Niklas Backstrom
  • Greg D. Adams

Convinced? Of course, you aren’t. Crosby, Lemiuex, Kane, Thorton, Lafleur, Ovechkin, Lindros, and many more all-time greats were number 1 picks. It’s just the facts.

But what about the busts? DiPietro got inked to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract and had countless injuries, eventually being bought out. The first ever American drafted number 1 overall, Brian Lawton, wasn’t awful but compared to guys like Steve Yzerman and Pat Lafontaine who he was drafted in front of, his performance was pretty dismal.

How about 1999 first overall gem Patrick Stefan who just…. did this to summarize his career:


My withstanding point, stop hanging your hat on the draft. Yeah, there’s some fantastic players this year, but we won’t truly know whether they translate to the next level for a few years. So sit down, be patient, examine your team’s CONCRETE talent, and don’t make the assumption that Patrick, Hiescher, or any of the other guys in 2017 are going to become Jonathan Toews or Eric Staal in a heartbeat.

At the end of the day, even though some players are projected to have much better careers than others, we’ve all just got a horseshoe’s chance of getting that special talent.


 

Drew Bishop is the “Hockey America” columnist for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can contact him on his email: abishop@huronstudents.com.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *