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Do You Really Build Through The Draft?

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

My examination of all 30 team rosters this past week found that only some 13.5 percent of players, a total of 89 individuals, were drafted by their current clubs and began this season with a minimum of 300 regular-season games (a tick below the 328 that would equal four full seasons). Actually, that number would drop to 85 if we eliminate Alex Burrows (Vancouver), Chad Larose (Carolina), Dan Girardi (Rangers), and Jeff Halpern (Washington), none of whom was drafted, but joined their teams as amateur or minor-pro free agents. (See chart at left for team-by-team breakdown.)

Granted, numbers can be dry as stale toast (apologies here to Moneyball geeks), but such a low number of veteran “home-growns’’ has changed the dynamics and look of the league.

Consider, just in Boston’s case, the Bruins today have only one roster player, Patrice Bergeron, who meets the parameters. He was drafted by the Bruins, remains with the club, and entered the season with a minimum of 300 games (456).


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink



I think it is safe to say that in recent years the Wings have largely built through the draft. The Wings currently have 15/23 = 65% homegrown players on their roster.

Draft picks on the current roster (not including Mursak):
Hudler (granted, he did leave and come back)

Posted by Seaner on 10/16/11 at 08:57 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

300 games is an arbitrary threshold. I understand the purpose, but you could adjust that number downward and see the percentages increase.

The point is, free agency and player movement is accelerated in the current NHL. The parity in the league has provided a template for a quick rebuild through trade deadline fire sales and high draft picks (see Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh). So teams that are out of the race have more incentive than ever to trade assets at the deadline to pull back multiple picks/prospects. Add to that the lower UFA requirements and you have way more incentive on both sides for movement to happen. Players have more chances to get their big pay day, and clubs have more chances to hit the reset button and flip it on a short cycle.

And one last big factor that amplifies everything—the ceiling and floor. These things force player movement, even if the previously mentioned points (parity, lowered UFA requirements) weren’t true. Detroit had a one-year window with Marian Hossa. Then he left due to cap constraints and went to Chicago. Chicago then had a window with all their young core, took advantage, and then had to purge. And they found a perfect partner in Florida, who needed to load up on players to get to the floor. This is just one example of a chain reaction that resulted in a lot of players moving that pre-cap, probably wouldn’t have moved. Pre-cap, Detroit could’ve paid both Franzen and Hossa, no problem. Chicago then would’ve been able to keep Buff, Ladd, and the handful of other very good role players they had to let leave the last couple seasons.

Anyways, let’s bring it back to the original point. Does this mean you don’t build through the draft? I don’t think so. Increased movement (and thus, a lower percentage of players on teams they were drafted by) is a separate phenomenon. The cornerstone of a lot of the player movement that happens is still based on quality drafting. Deadline day deals are centered on teams in powerful positions having good prospects to trade in exchange for the veteran they need ASAP. And the lowering of UFA requirements and the existence of the ceiling/floor, if anything, stresses the need to build from within, because teams have less control over keeping their developed players than ever before. So, better to cast a wide net and hope you will develop a couple NHLers per draft, and then hope that one of the two will be a long-time member of your club.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/17/11 at 11:26 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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