Drafting Skills: New York Rangers

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

New York Rangers

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – J.T. Miller (C) 15th overall – Miller is coming off another strong campaign for the Rangers, in which he scored 22 goals for the 2nd year in a row, and added 34 assists to pass the 50 points plateau for the first time.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Calgary in a package that brought in Tim Erixon. The pick was used to take Markus Granlund. Even though Granlund hasn’t turned out to be as good as expected, Erixon was worse. Bad trade.

Round 3 – Steven Fogarty (F) 72nd overall – Fogarty played in his first pro-season this past year, in the AHL adding 20 points in 66 games. He played 4 seasons for Notre Dame, never mscoring more than 23 points. He’s already 24 years old, so it’s hard to see him growing into anything more than a minor league player.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Brady Skjei (D) 28th overall – Skej played his first full season in the NHL this year, after appearing in 7 games last year. He finished the year with 39 points in 80 games, and played a very solid defensive game for a team that needs all the help it can get in that area. With many calling for buyouts of either/or both of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, Skjei should see increased ice-time next season. He looks like he’ll be a mainstay in the top-4 for NY for the near future.

Round 2 – Cristoval “Boo” Nieves (C) 59th overall – I have a hard time taking anyone with the nickname “Boo” seriously. Nieves played in 40 games at the AHL level this year, and scored only 18 points. He’s a big centre at 6’3” and 200+ pounds, but I can’t imagine he’ll ever make an impact at the NHL level. He appeared in one game this year, and appears he’ll be nothing more than a depth call-up. To make matters worse, Damon Severson was taken immediately after Nieves and has already eclipsed the 200 games played mark.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Predators who used this pick to take Brendan Leipsic, for a 3rd round pick in 2013 (Tambellini). Both are current AHL players, however Tambellini had 35 points this year in 65 games, while Leipsic had 51 points in 49 games. Leipsic is likely an NHL player as early as next year, Tambellini is not. Bad trade.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded in part of the Rick Nash trade. Nash has been a focal part of the Rangers offence since this trade. While he’s had his struggles, I give this trade a pass, as they also received the 3rd round pick in this draft (Buchnevich).

Round 2 – Pick was traded to San Jose for Ryan Clowe. He put up 8 points in 12 games, and 2 in 5 playoff games. Overall it was a fair trade, as the Rangers were going all-in this year.

Round 3 – Adam Tambellini (C) 65th overall – Tambellini is coming off his 2nd AHL season, which saw him score 35 points in 68 games. He also finished with a -34 rating. While I don’t like that stat, it’s really hard to ignore a -34 rating. There’s no way he makes it to the NHL with play like that.

Round 3 – Pavel Buchnevich (RW) 75th overall – Buchnevich made his NHL debut this year, and didn’t look out of place at all. In his first year in North America, he gave the Rangers 20 points in 41 games. He found himself a healthy scratch at times, but has a great playmaking ability that should make him a mainstay in the NHL for years to come. This is a great find in the 3rd round for the Rangers.

Round 3 – Anthony Duclair (LW) 80th overall – Duclair looked like an absolute steal in his first 2 seasons in the NHL. He was traded to the Coyotes in the package that brought in Keith Yandle. In his first full season in the NHL he had 44 points in 81 games, before crashing down to earth this year with 15 in 58 games before being demoted to the AHL. He then scored 1 goal in 18 AHL games to finish the year. The Coyotes are hoping he will rebound next year. Meanwhile, Yandle played nearly 1.5 seasons in New York, before being shipped to Florida for a 6th round pick in 2015, and a 4th rounder in 2017. He had 58 points in 103 games for the Rangers. This trade worked out well for both sides.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded as part of the big trade that sent out Callahan and brought in Martin St. Louis. This was a big trade for the Rangers. St. Louis had a great end of the year for the Rangers, before being their best player in their long playoff run. He followed that up with 52 points the next year. The downside of this trade is that this pick was used to select Josh Ho-Sang, who looks like a surefire NHL top-6 player.

Round 2 – Brandon Halverson (G) 59th overall – Making his pro debut this year, Halverson had awful numbers. He finished the year with 26 games at the AHL level, posting a GAA of 3.45 and a SV% of 0.887. The King is likely on his last legs, leaving an opening in the next couple of years at the NHL level, but with numbers like those, Halverson will need to drastically improve his play in hopes of ever making it to the tops.

Round 3 – Keegan Iverson (C) 85th overall – Iverson finished his 5th WHL season with 70 points in 55 games. Those numbers are good, but are not that impressive for a 20 year old in junior hockey. He’s a massive size to be skating with teenagers, and his previous high in points was 42 in 67 games back in 2013-2014. It’s tough to say what’s next for Iverson, but it’s not likely a spot on either the AHL or NHL team.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded also as part of the St. Louis/Callahan trade. Another good player was selected here in Anthony Beauvillier.

Round 2 – Ryan Gropp (LW) 41st overall – Gropp just finished his 4th WHL season with 84 points in 66 games. As was the case with Iverson, Gropp is a big kid playing in his 20s with teenagers. 84 points is good, but not a sign of greatness. He has scored at least 30 goals in 3 of his 4 years in junior, so there’s hopes that he can carry that with him as he moves to the next chapter of his career. He will likely get a shot at the AHL level this year, but definitely shouldn’t be on the radar for the NHL squad.

Round 3 – Robin Kovacs (RW) 62nd overall – Kovacs made his way to North America this year, playing in 72 games in the AHL. In those 72 games, he scored 2 goals and 12 points. Add in a -27 rating, those are disastrous numbers. Could he just need time to adjust to the smaller ice surface? One would have hoped he would have figured that out by mid-season. This looks like a miss for NY.

Round 3 – Sergey Zborovskiy (D) 79th overall – He’s a big guy at 6’4”, and just finished his 3rd WHL season with 40 points in 63 games. Those are great numbers for a d-man. He’s 20 years old, and can play next season in the AHL. I’d slot him in for a spot to start next year to see how he can adapt to playing against men, and to see if he can develop into an NHLer.

Round 3 – Aleksi Saarela (C) 89th overall – He was traded to Carolina as part of the Eric Staal trade. Saarela made his way over from Finland this year and suited up in 9 AHL games, scoring 6 goals. That’s a fantastic start. Eric Staal only scored 3 goals and 6 points in 20 games for the Rangers. To give up a growing prospect like Saarela, along with a 2nd round pick is a lot for someone who flopped that badly.

The Rangers haven’t had a great 5-year span of drafts. There are a couple bright spots in Brady Skjei, JT Miller and Pavel Buchnevich. Other than that, they haven’t gotten much. They’ve been a top team in these years, which has held them to the lower end of each round, and they’ve traded away quite a few of their picks. None of their trades have panned out exactly as they’d hoped, which is another bad sign that there are tough times coming for Rangers fans.

Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

Drafting Skills: Ottawa Senators

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Ottawa Senators

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mika Zibanejad (C) 6th overall – This is the long decent pick by the Sens in round 1. Since being drafted, Zibanejad has put up 188 points in 337 games. There were plenty of better options on the table at this point for Ottawa, especially with Mark Scheifele taken immediately after him. Scheifele is shaping into an elite centre today, while Zibanejad was shipped out for Derrick Brassard, who is at most a #2 centre. Off to a rough start in this draft…

Round 1 – Stefan Noesen (RW) 21st overall – Ottawa got this pick in the Mike Fisher trade, along with the 3rd round pick in 2012 (Maidens). They have since traded Noesen to the Ducks in the Bobby Ryan deal. Noesen has yet to amount to anything in the NHL. He was picked up on waivers earlier this year by the Devils, which isn’t exactly a sign of being a great player. There were plenty of better options available at this point, and Ottawa missed.

Round 1 – Matt Puempel (LW) 24th overall – Ottawa got this pick from Detroit for two 2011 second round picks (one originally from Chicago). Puempel is another pick by the Sens that was claimed off waivers this year, this time by the Rangers. He’s another miss by the Sens in this first round. Overall, having 3 picks in the first round and having none of those players on your team 5 seasons later is not a great sign.

Round 2 – Shane Prince (LW) 61st overall – Yet another player traded by the Sens. Prince now plays for the Islanders, where he plays a bottom-6 role. He has yet to find a scoring touch at the NHL level, and looks like won’t amount to the brilliance he showed in junior.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Columbus for Nikita Filatov. He played in 9 games for Ottawa, recording only 1 point. Filatov is one of the bigger draft busts in recent history, originally being drafted 6th overall in 2008. The pick Ottawa traded didn’t result in much.

Notes: JG Pageau drafted in the 4th round, Ryan Dzingel in the 7th round. Both of these players are making an impact today for Ottawa.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Cody Ceci (D) 15th overall – There are many people that believe Ceci is not a top-4 defender, while there are some that believe he is. He’s got awful possession numbers, especially in recent years. He hasn’t developed into what you expect out of a top-15 pick. He doesn’t put up great enough offensive numbers to make-up for his defensive woes. Overall, this wasn’t a good pick by Ottawa.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Arizona with David Rundblad for Kyle Turris. This was a great trade for Ottawa, as Turris is currently the team’s number 1 centre. Huge steal for the Sens.

Round 3 – Chris Driedger (G) 76th overall – He’s had a whirlwind year, playing at all three levels of pro hockey in the Sens organization. His numbers aren’t great either, with a 0.900 SV% and a GAA of 3.22 in 34 games at the AHL level. I can’t imagine a world where he ends up in the NHL, even at the backup level.

Round 3 – Jarrod Maidens (C) 82nd overall – Maidens suffered a career-ending concussion in 2011. This is a sad story for anyone, especially at such a young age. He was off to a good start, with 23 points in 28 games in the OHL. Tough break for the young man.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Curtis Lazar (C) 17th overall – There are many that believe Lazar was rushed into the NHL. Some believe he’s not a true NHLer. He was traded this year to Calgary for Jyrki Jokipakka and a 2nd round pick. In 180 NHL games, he has 13 goals. Yikes. Huge miss here by the Sens.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to St. Louis for Ben Bishop. This was a great trade for the Sens, as they only gave up a 2nd round pick to get a goaltender, who in today’s NHL is a clear cut #1. The problem? The Sens then traded Bishop for Cory Conacher…

Round 3 – Marcus Hogberg (G) 78th overall – Hogberg had great numbers this year in the Swedish League. In 33 games, he had a GAA of 1.89 and a SV% of 0.931. Those are amazing numbers for a young goalie. He’s made the transition to North America, so we will see how he fares on the smaller ice surface next year.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Anaheim with Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen, for Bobby Ryan. This is a bad trade for Ottawa. Ryan is overpaid, and the Sens gave up Silfverberg and this pick (Nick Ritchie) for him. Ryan had 25 points in 62 games this year, and is paid $7 million per year. Silfverberg had 49 points in 79 games, while Ritchie had 28 in 77 games. This is a tough pill to swallow for Sens fans.

Round 2 – Andreas Englund (D) 40th overall – Englund plays a very good shutdown role. He will never be a top point producer, but projects as a nice addition to a bottom-2 pairing role. That being said, in 69 games this year he finished with a -18 rating. While I’m a firm believe that the +/- stat is misleading, one would expect a better numbers from a guy known for his defensive ability. He’s likely a year away from a shot at making the team, so he will get another season in the AHL to get used to the smaller ice surface.

Round 3 – Miles Gendron (D) 70th overall – He’s not expected to make his professional debut for another year, as he just finished his second season at the University of Connecticut. When drafted, he was projected as a good puck-moving d-man who can chip in offensively. In his 2nd year at Connecticut, he put up only 11 points in 36 games. The Sens will likely want to see more out of him in his 3rd year.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Thomas Chabot (D) 18th overall – Chabot won pretty much every award possible this year. The World Juniors were a coming out party for the smooth skating d-man. He played more than half the game for Canada in the finals, and was named MVP of the tournament. He made the game look easy at multiple times this year in the QMJHL, and is a lock to be on the team starting next season. Many fans are foaming at the mouth picturing him playing with Karlsson. This looks like a steal for the Sens at 18th overall.

Round 1 – Colin White (C) 21st overall – White finished up his 2nd year in the NCAA, with 33 points in 35 games. He played in 3 AHL games (3 points), and 3 in the NHL (zero points). He should be a lock to make the team out of camp next year, and the Sens could use his goal scoring touch. With the amount of great players to come out of the 2015 draft, White seems to fit in quite well.

Round 2 – Gabriel Gagne (RW) 36th overall – Gagne made his pro debut this year, playing 41 games in the AHL (6 points), and 19 in the ECHL (11 points). There’s no rush for Gagne, but one would like to see him stick in the AHL if it were to give any indication on what kind of player he can be. He’s a big body at 6’5”, but will need to fill out more as he weighs in under 190 pounds. Overall it doesn’t look like a great pick by Ottawa, especially with Brandon Carlo taken right after – who played in all 82 NHL games this year.

Round 2 – Filip Chlapik (C) 48th overall – A highly-skilled offensive threat, Chlapik just finished his 3rd junior season with 91 points in 54 games. He’s done all he can at the junior level, and will make his pro-debut next season likely in the AHL. He improved big time in production after being drafted, going from 54 to 91 points. The Sens are hoping he can adapt well the pro game, and make an impact at the NHL in the near future.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Edmonton for Ales Hemsky. He didn’t add much to Ottawa, but they didn’t give up much either. Overall, this is an even trade for both sides.

 

Out of all of these drafts, only 2015 can be looked upon as successful. Outside of that, the Sens have been awful. They’ve had many, many misses in early rounds, and some god-awful trades. There’s no wonder that they’re a team that relies far too heavily on a couple individuals to lead their team to success (Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson). Fans are surely hoping they can continue the success they had in 2015 and 2016 (Logan Brown looks like a good pick) into 2017. The bad trades continue however, as they only hold their 1st round selection in 2017, after trading both their 2nd and 3rd rounders away.

 

Sources: http://www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/c/cecico01-advanced-5on5close.html; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

Drafting Skills: Philadelphia Flyers

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Philadelphia Flyers

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sean Couturier (C) 8th overall – Couturier is a big-body centre who has played over 400 games for the Flyers, and plays a physical and defensive game. He has never rounded out the offensive game he had in junior (back to back 96 point years). He’s played the second most games out of this draft, but ranks 9th in points. Overall, a pretty good pick at 8th overall for what they’ve gotten out of him.

Round 2 – Pick was traded for Dan Carcillo, along with Scottie Upshall. Carcillo didn’t do much for Philly, and has since retired. Upshall is still playing today. Nikita Kucherov was still available when the Coyotes made this selection as well.

Round 3 – Nick Cousins (C) 68th overall – Just finished his first full season in the NHL, Cousins is nothing more than a 4th line/depth centre. That’s not a knock against him, or the Flyers, as he was selected in the 3rd round. He passed the 100 game played mark this year, which ranks 51st amongst members of that draft year. Fairly solid for a 3rd round pick.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Scott Laughton (C) 20th overall – This wasn’t a great pick by the Flyers. Laughton has bounced back and forth from the AHL to NHL since being drafted; only playing 1 full season in the NHL. He’s sitting at 27 points in 109 NHL games played. There were plenty of much better players taken after Laughton, including their 3rd round selection. This was a miss by the Flyers.

Round 2 – Anthony Stolarz (G) 45th overall – Stolarz saw his first NHL action this season, when the Flyers were dealing with multiple injuries. He played very well, putting up a 0.928 SV% and a GAA of 2.07 behind a depleted Flyers defense. He’ll likely start the year with the big club next year, with Steve Mason likely on his way out. Will he ever grow into the starter? It’s too early to tell, as he’s had decent AHL numbers, but goalies are always tough to predict. We’ll likely get a better idea next year.

Round 3 – Shayne Gostisbehere (D) 78th overall – The Ghost emerged onto the scene in 2015-2016 with 46 points in 64 games. He’s had his fair share of setbacks this year, being a healthy scratch multiple times. He needs to work on his defensive game, but is most definitely an everyday NHL player. Even with his struggles this year, he managed 39 points in 76 games. What a lovely find in the 3rd round for the Flyers.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Samuel Morin (D) 11th overall – A towering defenceman, Morin plays a strong defensive game, and packs a lot of toughness into his 6’6” frame. He has played two full seasons at the AHL level now, amassing over 100 PIMS in each season. The Flyers are hoping Morin is ready to step into the NHL next season, which is well behind many others from his draft. Morin has only played 1 game at the NHL level, while 62 others from that year have played at least 10 games – and 20 have played more than 100. Surely the Flyers were hoping Morin would already be in the NHL making an impact. Surely if he can’t make the NHL next season out of camp, the Flyers would be extremely disappointed.

Round 2 – Robert Hagg (D) 41st overall – Another D-man the Flyers took in this draft that just finished a season at the AHL level, which is Hagg’s third. He improved his defensively play this season, and managed to add in 15 points in 58 games. He will never be a top-4 defender, but has shown growth in recent years. The Flyers will have openings on the blueline next season, with the hopes that MacDonald is gone, along with the departure of Nick Schultz. Can Hagg take a spot in the next year or two? Maybe.

Round 3 –Tyrell Goulbourne (LW) 72nd overall – Goulbourne played the majority of this season in the ECHL, after playing the previous season in the AHL. That’s not usually a good sign. He had 1 point in 24 AHL games this year, while only putting up 19 in 35 ECHL games. He’s likely to never make the jump to the NHL, especially with others the Flyers have in the system.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Travis Sanheim (D) 17th overall – Sanheim is the most likely candidate to take a spot on the blueline for the Flyers next year. He’s coming off his first pro season, in which he impressed with 37 points in 76 AHL games. That’s a great start for a young blueliner. He plays a physical game, one which Flyers fans adore. The Flyers are DEEP at the defensive prospect position, and Sanheim has put himself a the forefront of that.

Round 2 – Nicolas Aube-Kubel (RW) 48th overall – Kubel established himself as a goal-scorer in junior, with back to back 38 goal campaigns after being drafted. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate over to the AHL level, as he scored only 9 goals (18 points) in 71 games this year. He’ll have plenty of time to try and adjust his game, as the Flyers have a good offensive team right now, and are slotted to pick 3rd in this year’s draft.

Round 3 – Mark Friedman (D) – 86th overall – Friedman made his AHL debut this year, picking up 1 assist in 1 game. He finished his 3rd year in the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Assoc. Div 1) with 26 points in 40 games. He’s a smaller, mobile d-man at 5’10”. He’ll likely get the start at the AHL level next year, where we’ll be able to see how he adjusts to playing pro hockey. It will be a step-up from his current competition, however he has excelled at all levels he’s played to this point. This was a smart pick by the Flyers, especially with the size they already possess on the blueline, to go after a smaller more mobile player.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ivan Provorov (D) 7th overall – Provorov starts out what was a stellar round 1 of this draft for the Flyers. He’s a mobile d-man, who plays a very solid two-way game. He had a great rookie season, his first full year in pro hockey, with 30 points playing a full 82 games. We’ll give the Flyers a pass that Zach Werenski was taken immediately after Provorov, as both d-man are projecting to be top pairing guys.

Round 1 – Travis Konecny (RW) 24th overall – This was a steal for the Flyers at 24th overall, as Konecny made the jump to the NHL this season, and showed big flashes of brilliance. He played in 72 games this season, his first as well, putting up 28 points. He’s a smaller guy in today’s NHL of growing speed, but didn’t seem out of place at any point in the year. He has fantastic playmaking ability, and just finished representing Canada at the World Championships. He’s a sure bet to be a top-6 forward for the Flyers for the foreseeable future.

Round 2 – Pick was traded the Islanders in a picks package that brought in Andrew MacDonald. This is an awful trade for the Flyers. MacDonald spent parts of last season in the AHL, and looked out of place multiple times this year on the ice. This pick turned into Brandon Carlo, now playing for the Bruins and much better than MacDonald. The other pick they gave up was used to select Ilya Sorokin, who had an amazing year in the KHL and is widely viewed as one of the best goalie prospects – an area where the Flyers need desperate help.

Round 3 – Felix Sandstrom (G) 70th overall & Matej Tomek (G) 90th overall – The Flyers have struggled in net for many years now. Drafting a couple goalie prospects in the 3rd round is a way to add to the pipeline with a couple young prospects. I’m looping these two together as it’s likely a year or two before we know how these two develop. Goalies are tough to judge, but the bonus for the Flyers is that it doesn’t hurt taking a chance on a couple of netminders late in the 3rd round.

 

Overall, the Flyers have improved their drafting in recent years, but struggled early on in this article. They’ve established a defense-first mentality in recent drafts, which is an area they’ve back lacking in recent years. They hold the 3rd overall pick in this upcoming draft, and if I’m the Flyers I’m trading that pick for an established player. They’re at the point where they’re ready to contend, and are likely only a piece or two away from that. They have enough defense prospects now, so if they hold on to that pick, they should focus on adding some forward prospects.

 

Sources: http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm & http://www.hockeydb.com

Drafting Skills: Pittsburgh Penguins

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Pittsburgh Penguins

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Joe Morrow (D) 23rd overall – The Pens traded Morrow to the Stars along with a 5th round pick that brought in Brenden Morrow and a 3rd round pick in 2013 (more on that below). Morrow has never blossomed into the NHL player many thought he would. He had a great junior career, but has only appeared in 65 NHL games since being drafted in 201, which ranks 61st in games played out of that draft. That’s not good enough for a first round pick.

Round 2 – Scott Harrington (D) 54th overall – Harrington is another player traded from the Pens out of this draft, originally part of the deal to Toronto that brought in Phil Kessel, and then onto Columbus. Harrington has bounced back and forth from the AHL to NHL over the past few years, never really finding his groove at the NHL level. It doesn’t look like he’ll amount to much, as he currently sits under 50 games played at the NHL level.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Flyers for the rights to Dan Hamhuis. He wouldn’t end up signing with the team, so this looks like a lost deal for the Pens.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Derrick Pouliot (D) 8th overall – There are many that still believe Pouliot can be an NHL player, however he’s yet to stay in the NHL for very long. He was drafted 5 years ago this June, and has only suited up for a total of 67 NHL games. The Pens are going through an extremely rough patch with their defenders in these playoffs, and he still isn’t a full-time player for the Pens. This is a pretty good indication on where he sits on their depth chart. Pouliot was a top-10 pick. Jacob Trouba was taken right after him, and has played in 271 games. He would fit in great with today’s Penguins.

Round 1 – Olli Maatta (D) 22nd overall – The second defenseman that the Pens took in the first round has turned out to be all that they hoped. He’s played in over 220 NHL games, and while he’s dealt with injuries over his young career, he’s played very well when in the lineup for the Pens. He’s seeing increased minutes in these playoffs, especially with the Pens decimated blueline. He’s a smooth skating d-man that sees the ice very well. This was a great selection by Pittsburgh.

Round 2 – Teddy Blueger (C) 52nd overall – Blueger played a full 4 years of College hockey before making the jump to the AHL 2 years ago. In his second season, he played a total of 54 games putting up 31 points. These numbers don’t jump out at you. He plays a very solid defensive game. He will likely develop into a bottom-9 centre for the Pens. He also plays a fairly physical game, while not taking an abundance of penalties (20 minutes in 54 games). This is a nice 2nd round selection by the Pens.

Round 3 – Oskar Sundqvist (C) 81st overall – Sundqvist has been working on his consistency at the AHL level, and has improved greatly in his 2nd year. He put up 20 goals and 46 points in 63 games this year. The Pens have an abundance of offensive players, but will likely see some change over the next couple of seasons with Chris Kunitz and others on their way out. He still has the chance to develop into an everyday player.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Calgary in the deal that brought in Jarome Iginla. Everyone wanted this to work out well for Iginla, one of the most likeable players. Sadly, it didn’t end in a Cup win. He was everything they hoped for, but not enough to push them over the top.

Round 2 – Tristan Jarry (G) 44th overall – Jarry put up great numbers in the AHL this year. He had a record of 28-15-1, with a SV% of 0.925 and a GAA of 2.15. This is great for a young goaltender in only his 2nd pro season. With Matt Murray likely the future in Pittsburgh, and the very likely possibility of Marc-Andre Fleury being shipped out this offseason, there’s no reason to think Jarry won’t be the backup as early as next season. Playing being the Pens is a great way to enter the league, and will likely help Jarry in his development.

Round 3 – Jake Guentzel (C) 77th overall – Talk about what looks like a steal. Guentzel started his first full pro season in the AHL this year by putting up 42 points in 33 games, including 21 goals. He got the call halfway through this year, and scored 2 goals in his debut! (check out his family celebrating his first goal, it’s great). He finished the year with 16 goals, and 33 points in 40 games. Through 18 playoff games, he’s got 16 points. What a steal in the third round for the Pens, even if this is a small sample size.  This was a great draft by the Pens.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Kasperi Kapanen (F) 22nd overall – Kapanen was part of the Phil Kessel trade, and is now part of the Leafs organization. He’s dominated at the AHL level, but struggled to find his game at the NHL level until late this season. Overall for his selection in this draft he’s performed well, however with David Pastrnak being taken 3 picks later (123 pts in 172 GP), it’s hard to wonder how even more powerful the Pens would be with the crafty right-hander on Crosby’s wing.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to San Jose in a group of picks for Douglas Murray. Murray played well for the Pens, and this pick hasn’t turned into anything great for the Sharks (Noah Rod).

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Calgary for Lee Stempniak. He never found his groove in Pittsburgh, putting up 7 points in 21 regular season games, and only 3 in 13 playoff games. The Pens were hoping for secondary scoring, and didn’t get it. Luckily, it was only a 3rd rounder that they gave up.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to the Oilers for David Perron. He wasn’t the player the Penguins were hoping for. He played better parts of 2 seasons there, but never scored more than 22 points. This pick ended up being Mathew Barzal, who is projecting as a top-6 forward with high skill (79 points in 41 WHL games this year).

Round 2 – Daniel Sprong (RW) 46th overall – Sprong scored over a goal-per-game in the QMJHL this season, putting up 59 points in 31 games played. He has the offensive talent that should immediately translate to the NHL level, especially on a team like Pittsburgh where he won’t be heavily relied on to perform. He will likely make the team out of camp next season, and will get a shot at top-9 minutes for the Pens. Many are hoping he can find instant chemistry with either Crosby or Malkin, and make an impact immediately.

Round 3 – Pick was traded in a package of picks that brought in Marcel Goc. He only played 12 games that year for the Penguins scoring 2 points. Not a great pickup for the Pens.

 

Overall, the Pens have been average at the Draft. They struggled early on in this article, but have had great success in recent years, despite limited picks. They’ve hit on their 2nd and 3rd round picks way more often than on their first round selections, which is surprising but also lucky for the Pens. It’s easy for them to deal with a mediocre draft score, when they have 2 of the best players playing in today’s NHL in Crosby and Malkin.

Drafting Skills: San Jose Sharks

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

San Jose Sharks

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Minnesota in the package that sent out Charlie Coyle, but brought in Brent Burns. HUGE win for the Sharks. Burns has been a force for the Sharks in recent years. The pick they gave up turned into Zack Phillips who has been a big bust for the Wild, as he hasn’t played an NHL game and spent this season in the Swedish Elite league.

Round 2 – Matthew Nieto (LW) 47th overall – Nieto was put on waivers this season after struggling to adapt to the NHL game, and with the Sharks having already a solid group of forwards. He was claimed by the Avalanche and will receive a shot there, with Colorado being the weakest team in the NHL this season. That being said, Nieto only managed 11 points in 43 games after being claimed. Not what the Sharks were hoping for out of this pick.

Round 3 – Justin Sefton (D) 89th overall –  Sefton is definitely a bust, as he played the last three years in the OUAA, after only ever suiting up for 2 ECHL games.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Tomas Hertl (C) 17th overall – Hertl has shown flashes of brilliance early in his career, but struggles to find consistency. He was injured most of the year, and managed only 22 points in 49 games. Not what you’re hoping for from a top 20 pick. There have been plenty of players taken after Hertl that have performed better for their clubs. He’s gotten plenty of time with some of the games top players as well, with one of the best playmakers ever in Joe Thornton. He’s still only 23, and is by no means a bust, but the Sharks were likely hoping for more from him thus far.

Round 2 – Chris Tierney (C) 55th overall – Tierney made the jump to the NHL fairly quickly, playing half of the season in 2014-2015. He’s played a solid bottom-6 role for San Jose, and has played it well. As a centre, he’s had the unfortunate luck of being behind Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and others in the Sharks lineup all this years, limiting him mostly to 4th line duty. He has performed well in that role, and should get more ice-time in the next couple of years. He scored 89 points in his last OHL season, so he does have a scoring knack that he could potentially unlock at the NHL level.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Panthers in a group of picks that gave them their second round selection in 2011 (Nieto). The pick then moved onto the Flyers, who took Shayne Gostisbehere with this pick. Gostisbehere made his breakout in the NHL last year, putting up 46 points in only 64 games. It’s fun to imagine what he’d be like playing the PP with Burns.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mirco Mueller (D) 18th overall – Not a great pick here by the Sharks. Mueller never scored more than 31 points in his 2 years in the WHL, and only has 6 points in 54 NHL games. Being a d-man is not all about points, however he hasn’t impressed all that much at the AHL level either. He finished the year a -3, and only suited up in 4 NHL games. Tough to see Mueller ever being an impact player at the NHL, unlike fellow d-man Shea Theodore who was taken 8 picks later and looks like he will develop into a top-4 defender in the next year or two.

Round 2 – Gabryel Boudreau (LW) 49th overall – Another bust for the Sharks. Boudreau is currently playing in the OUAA (Ontario University Athletic Association), after only appearing in 12 ECHL games.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Red Wings, as a package of their 1st round in this draft to move up two spots to take Mueller. The Wings took Tyler Bertuzzi with this pick, who has grown quite a bit since being drafted and had a great year in the AHL this year. The Wings also took Mantha with the Sharks pick in the 1st round, so this is tough to swallow for the Sharks.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nikolay Goldobin (LW) – 27th overall – Goldobin was traded this year to Vancouver to bring in Jannik Hansen. Goldobin has shown big flashes of offensive brilliance early in his career, both in junior and at the AHL level. In his first two seasons in the AHL he put up 85 points in 106 games. He’ll have plenty of shot at making the big club in Vancouver next year, as they look to again be one of the weaker teams in the league. Hansen only scored 2 goals in the 15 games he played for San Jose, before only adding 1 assist in 6 playoff games. This was not what the Sharks were hoping for when bringing him in, as they ultimately fell to the Oilers in round 1.

Round 2 – Julius Bergman (D) – 46th overall – Bergman just finished off his second full season in the AHL. He finished with 30 points in 64 games, which is good for a young d-man. He also added 7 assists in 10 playoff games. There will some room on the blueline in the next few years for San Jose, and if Bergman continues to progress he could be a solid addition. He’ll need to work on his defensive zone play, but seems to be figuring out the offensive side early on in his career.

Round 2 – Noah Rod (F) 53rd overall – Rod played this year again in the Swiss-A league, adding 14 points in 27 games. He doesn’t appear to be a future NHL player, as he only played in 2 AHL games before going back to Switzerland. Ideally, he would stay in North America and get used to the game, but if he can’t stick here now, I’m not sure he ever will.

Round 3 – Alex Schoenborn (RW) 72nd overall – Here is another pick that looks like it will miss for the Sharks. Shoenborn played parts of this season in the AHL, but finished in the ECHL. He only managed 4 points in 29 AHL games, and 2 in 6 ECHL games. Hard to imagine the 21 year old improving enough to make the NHL at this point.

Round 3 – Dylan Sadowy (LW) 81st overall – He was traded to Detroit last offseason for a 3rd round pick in the 2017 draft. Sadowy is another pick who played parts of this season in the AHL and ECHL, with 6 points in 38 AHL games and 4 in 6 ECHL games. Sadowy produced well in junior, scoring 36 points in 28 games in his final season, however pro hockey is a different beast.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Timo Meier (RW) 9th overall – Meier played games both at the NHL and AHL level this season, finishing the year with the big club. He only managed 6 points in 34 NHL games, but he possesses a high skill level that should see him excel in the future. He was picked right before Mikko Rantanen, who managed 20 goals this season in his first full year. There’s no doubt Meier is capable of that as well, especially surrounded by the skill he is on San Jose.

Round 2 – Jeremy Roy (D) 31st overall – Roy only played in 10 QMJHL games this season before being injured. He scored 34 points in 45 games in his previous year, after putting up 40+ in the previous two seasons. He has all the tools of a good offensive defenseman, but will need work in his own end before making the jump. He’ll likely start next season in the AHL, which will give him plenty of time to grow his game. He is likely a future NHL player, once he can round out his defensive game.

Round 3 – Mike Robinson (G) 86th overall – It’s always hard to judge goalies this early on. Robinson had good numbers this year in the North American Hockey League, with a SV% of 0.916 and a GAA of 2.99. He’ll likely need a few more years of development before we can truly see what there is here.

 

Overall, there hasn’t been any ‘WOW’ picks by the Sharks. They’ve missed on a lot of their middle rounders. They’re starting to get a little old, with the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau likely on their last legs. They’ll need to improve on their drafting in the next couple of years in hopes of maintaining their standings positions.

Drafting Skill: St. Louis Blues

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

St. Louis Blues

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Colorado in the deal that sent out Erik Johnson and brought in Kevin Shattenkirk, amongst other pieces. This turned out to be a good trade for both teams, as the top pieces has worked out well for both teams. Shattenkirk was traded this year to the Capitals, while Johnson remains with the Avalanche.

Round 2 – Ty Rattie (RW) 32nd overall – Ty Rattie has the makeup of a great NHL player, but has never found the dominance he had in junior. He’s only played a total of 35 NHL games since being drafted in 2011 – that puts him 73rd in number of games played from that draft. That’s far too little, considering how early he was drafted in round 2. He’s scored at a good pace at the AHL level, so there is still some hope in the Blues organization that he will eventually find his game at the NHL level.

Round 2 – Dmitrij Jaskin (LW) 41st overall – Jaskin doesn’t possess much of a scoring touch, and found himself a healthy scratch for a lot of the time this year, especially in the playoffs. At 24 years old, it’s tough to see Jaskin improving much in any area of his game. The even tougher look of this pick is that the four players taken after Jaskin have blossomed into better NHLers – Brandon Saad, Victor Rask, Brett Ritchie and Markus Granlund.

Round 2 – Joel Edmundson (D) 46th overall – Edmundson is the sole bright spot of the Blues 2011 Draft. He’s currently playing top 4 minutes for the Blues, albeit thanks in large part due to the departure of Shattenkirk. He plays a tough game, and is very responsible in his own end. He lacks some offensive punch, but makes a great first-pass out of his own end. A nice, solid find for the Blues in round 2.

Round 3 – Jordan Binnington (G) 88th overall – Binnington is currently grooming in the AHL, however it’s hard to imagine him as more than a backup, especially with Jake Allen currently at the reins in the NHL. He played in 32 AHL games this year, posting a GAA of 2.71, and a SV% of 0.911. Both are solid numbers for an AHL starter, however this wasn’t enough to earn him the starting goalie position in the playoffs. Ville Husso has emerged as the next great thing for the Blues as far as goalie prospects go. Binnington will have to continue to improve to get a shot as even a backup in the NHL.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Jordan Schmaltz (D) 25th overall – Schmaltz has yet to make an impact at the NHL level, and has been quickly passed by fellow 2012 draftee Colton Parayko. Schmaltz put up impressive numbers this season, with 25 points in only 42 AHL games. He’ll have a hard time making the team out of camp next season, as all of the current blueline will be back – barring anyone being plucked by Vegas. He could push the likes of Bortuzzo out of a spot on the 3rd pair if he comes in and has a great camp. The clock is ticking for Scmaltz in St. Louis.

Round 2 – Sam Kurker (RW) 56th overall – Kurker was never signed by the Blues, and appeared in only 1 game for the Albany Devils in the AHL this year. He’s got the make-up of a bust. Not much to see here.

Round 3 – Mackenzie MacEachern (LW) 67th overall – MacEachern had a great final year in the NCAA in 2015-2016, putting up 30 points in 37 games. He followed that up with a disappointing 11 points in 55 AHL games for his first year as a pro. He’ll take some seasoning, but has good skill for a big-bodied left-winger. He still has the potential to make the big club, but he’ll have to adjust the pro game, and quickly.

Round 3 – Colton Parayko (D) 86th overall – Parayko is exactly what you hope for when you’re picking late. He has a big booming shot, and has excelled in his first 2 seasons in the NHL. He put up back to back 30+ point campaigns, and plays in all situations for the Blues. He logs big minutes, and is a towering defender to play against. Look for him to emerge even more, again with the departure of Shattenkirk.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded in the deal that brought in Jay Bouwmeester. This turned out to be a great trade for the Blues. Bouwmeester has been a top pairing d-man for the Blues since coming over. He logs big minutes, and is easily the best player of this trade.

Round 2 – Tommy Vannelli (D) 47th overall – Vanelli hasn’t grown into a worthy prospect. He’s currently playing in the ECHL, and doesn’t look like he’ll make the jump to the NHL at any point in his career.

Round 2 – William Carrier (LW) 57th overall – Carrier made his NHL debut this year, but with Buffalo. He was shipped out in the deal that brought in Ryan Miller. He hasn’t grown into much of a highly-touted prospect, as he managed only 8 points in 41 NHL games this year. No big miss for St. Louis here.

Round 3 – Pick was traded as part of a draft picks package that landed the Blues the other 2nd round pick (William Carrier).

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Robby Fabbri (C) 21st overall – Fabbri has a high skill level, and a work-ethic to match. He looks to be a solid top-6 forward for the foreseeable future. He was injured late in the season, but had managed at that point to put up 27 points in 51 games in his 2nd pro season. He should continue to grow offensively as he becomes more confident.

Round 2 – Ivan Barbashev (C) 33rd overall – Barbashev got his first taste of the NHL this year, putting up 12 points in 30 games. He showed flashes of brilliance, the same that the Blues saw when he scored 45 goals in 57 games in his final year in the QMJHL. He was having a great season in the AHL (37 points in 46 games) before being called up. Look for Barbashev to take an increased role next season, and is a potential candidate to have a breakout year.

Round 2 – Maxin Letunov (F) 52nd overall – Letunov just finished his final season in the NCAA. He managed 27 points in 33 games, which is great for a college player. He’ll get his first taste at pro hockey next season, which will give us more of an idea of what to expect. He’s a big body, standing at 6’4”. If he can adapt well, he could make the jump in the next couple of seasons.

Round 3 – Jake Walman (D) 82nd overall – Another NCAA player for the Blues, who managed 25 points in 39 games this season. He got a small taste with the AHL club at the end of the year, but not enough to really understand what type of player he’ll be.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded as part of the package that brought in Ryan Miller. He was brought in to hopefully push the Blues over the top and win a Cup. That didn’t happen. He played well for St. Louis, but quickly departed after their playoff run.

Round 2 – Vince Dunn (D) 56th overall – Dunn got his first taste of pro hockey this year, and put up great numbers for a first-year defender. He scored 13 goals and 45 points in 72 games. He has the skill that should make him an everyday player in the near future. He doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff either, putting up 71 penalty minutes as a 19/20 year old.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Edmonton in the deal that sent out David Perron, brought in a couple picks and Magnus Paajarvi. Perron has bounced around since being traded, and has made his way back to the Blues where he put up 46 points this year. Paajarvi has bounced between the AHL and NHL in recent years, but with only essentially a 3rd rounder being lost, it’s a small price to pay.

Overall, the Blues haven’t had great luck at the Draft. Some of it comes from being a top seeded team a lot in recent years, but some of it has been poor selections. They’ll again pick low in round 1 of the draft this year, but will have 2 picks with Washington sending over their 1st for Kevin Shattenkirk.

 

(Research mostly done on hockeydb.com and http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm)