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“It’s all guesswork, our research says nobody is particularly good at making (draft) decisions. There are people who have the reputation of having made great decisions. There’s this myth of Detroit as a great late-round chooser.

“I would tell you it’s a bit of a myth. They do a great job (scouting) in Europe, not so good in North America. But what Detroit is absolutely tremendous at is retaining and developing players.

“At some point, drafting well is useless if you can’t develop and retain (the players), as many teams know.”

-Peter Tingling, business professor at Simon Fraser University on the NHL Draft.  More on this topic from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink



The problem here is that any study of draft ability that doesn’t deal with draft position overall first and foremost is useless.  No, Detroit’s not an exceptional ‘late round’ drafting organization.  What they are, however, is a great late IN THE round drafting organization.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/29/13 at 07:37 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Detroit’s 1983 & 1989 drafts are by themselves better than anything St. Louis, Minnesota/Dallas , Toronto, have done combined in the 30 years since the 83 draft.

Throw in Datsyuk,Zetterberg, with late round picks, and Ericsson with the very last pick in the draft, and I would beg to differ with this “experts” assertion that its all guesswork.

The Wings have had 1 top 20 pick in the last twenty years, and they have still culled more talent with their picks than teams like columbus who have consistently picked in the top 5 or top 10.

The Wings advantage in the draft has been reduced since the NHLwent to a centralized scouting service , so all teams get shared draft info ala the NFL.

The Wings unlike some of the teams I mentioned above spent money and developed outstanding scouting. Thus, they found gems in late rounds.

Now, even the most incompetent organizations (columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis) get the benefit of centralized scouting data.

Long story short, this guy assertion that it’s all “guesswork” is full of beans!!!

Posted by Down River Dan on 06/29/13 at 09:27 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

As the pioneering film producer Samuel Goldwyn said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

The Wings have always acknowledged that there was an element of “luck” in the way their lower rounds draft picks have worked out. But they also have said that they wouldn’t have picked Pav or Z or E52 if it wasn’t for the hard work of their European scouts (primarily Hakan Andersson).

Maybe if the BJ’s scouts had worked harder they would have gotten “luckier” with all of their high-level first-round picks.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/29/13 at 10:37 PM ET

Primis's avatar

DET drafts guys specifically for their “system”.  They get guys they see could play in a puck possession system.  A lot of other teams either A) have no consistent system because they’re changing coaches every 2 seasons, or B) simply draft the mythical Best Available and hope.  This article seems to miss that point.

There’s also just sheer philosophy:  Kenny Holland has less problem trading an abstract “pick”, than an actual prospect kid he’s drafted.  Once DET drafts a guy, it’s been fairly safe he won’t trade him before he develops.  Shawn Matthias and Tomas Fleischmann are the two examples I can think of, and both are guys he may regret to an extent.  This small, minor detail also may play a role in how DET’s developed guys.

And here’s the thing with a Datsyuk as an example… people forget he was benched during a playoff series against Vancouver because he was deemed a “defensive liability”.  Which seems absolutely insane now, but was 100% accurate at the time.  Datsyuk was so very raw.  Truthfully, there were very high hopes for him even then but…. no way any of us saw him becoming the adjective he now is.  It seemed very unlikely.

So I guess it’s entirely possible St. Louis could have got to see and scout him, and drafted Datsyuk (as the legend goes), and…. what?  In truth, the Blues probably would have ruined him at the worst, stunted him at best.  Because the Blues were in a downward spiral and have done a terrible job at player development.  So he’s right, development after scouting matters.

Big.  Fat.  DUUUHHH.

Here’s where this all falls apart for him though:  THN’s own data analysis on the topic from a month or two ago (in an issue they put out every season)  reveals that DET does a fantastic job of pulling NHL Games Played out of prospects despite never picking in the Top 15 (again, analysis that they show year after year in fact).

It also reveals that DET currently has the most home-grown prospects on their roster, more than any of the 29 other franchises.

So while the guy has some points I guess, the overall data and body of work does not back up his main point.  DET “hits” a lot more than the other teams.

It’s also one of the reasons I’m glad to see Blashill preaching a puck possession system in Grand Rapids.  Because previous coaches has just done whatever (sometimes dump & chase, grind it out) and it has done nothing to prepare those kids for Detroit’s system and way.  As nice as the Calder Cup run in GR was, it’s even better the WAY they won it, because they won it the way guys like Tatar are going to play in Detroit.

Posted by Primis on 06/29/13 at 10:43 PM ET

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