Drafting Skill: Anaheim Ducks

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.

Anaheim Ducks

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Rickard Rakell (C) 30th overall – Traded their own 1st rounder to Toronto for this pick, plus the 39th overall pick. HUGE win for Anaheim, as Rakell and Gibson are both stars of the team now, while Toronto ended up with the awful Tyler Biggs. Rakell has played in 236 games since being drafted, and just scored 30 goals this past season. Absolute steal at 30th overall in the draft here for the Ducks.

Round 2 – John Gibson (G) 39th overall – Gibson has progressed into the start every team hopes for, playing already in 118 games and winning 62 of them. He had another great year, with a SV% of 0.924 and a GAA of 2.22. No better pick for the Ducks here than Gibson.

Round 2 – William Karlsson (C) 53rd overall – Karlsson has played in 183 NHL games, scoring 50 points. Those are low numbers, but for a mid-2nd round pick, it’s fairly good. He was recently claimed by Vegas in the draft and will get a fresh start there. Many teams missed out on Nikita Kucherov in this round, as he was taken 6 picks later than Karlsson.

Round 3 – Joseph Cramarossa (C) 65th overall – Received this pick from the Islanders for James Wisniewski. Cramarossa was claimed by Vancouver off of waivers this year, putting an end to his brief stint in Anaheim. He’s only appeared in 59 NHL games, all coming this season, with only 10 points. Doesn’t look to be an everyday NHL player, other than for depth purposes.

Round 3 – Andrew Welinski (D) 83rd overall – Welinski doesn’t look like he’s an NHL d-man, having yet to skate in a game. Anaheim is loaded on the blueline as well, putting him further down the list of players expected to get a call. Missed opportunity here to add a good prospect, or player, by Anaheim.

Note: Josh Manson 6th round. Manson has played in 181 NHL games to date, and his stock has grown exponentially this season. He’s part of the bright future in Anaheim, and is exactly what every NHL team wants – a right-handed, puck-moving defenseman. Absolute steal by Anaheim down in the 6th round.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Hampus Lindholm (D) 6th overall – Lindholm has developed into a top-pairing d-man, one worthy of his spot at 6th overall. I think this is a great pick by Anaheim, as he’s played over 300 games and scored over 100 points while doing so. He’s got a bright future, one that many would love to have on their team.

Round 2 – Nicolas Kerdiles (LW) 36th overall – Kerdiles hasn’t progressed as expected, playing in only 1 NHL game to date. Looking back, the Ducks had better options at this point in the draft, with a handful of better players taken closely after him in the draft.

Round 3 – Frederik Andersen (G) 87th overall – Andersen battled with Gibson over the years for the starter’s role before being traded last offseason to Toronto for a 1st round pick in 2016 and a 2nd round in 2017. What a steal by Anaheim to find him in the third round, as he’s amassed 110 wins to-date in the NHL.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Shea Theodore (D) 26th overall – Theodore was traded to Vegas this offseason, to keep them from taking someone else from Anaheim. He played in 34 NHL games this year, and looked great while doing so. I firmly believe he’s a future top-pairing d-man, and while Anaheim is packed with d-men already, I think they gave up on him far too early.

Round 2 – Nick Sorensen (RW) 45th overall – Sorensen played the majority of the year at the AHL level, appearing in only 5 NHL games. He looks to be next in line for a regular spot on the roster however, which is a good sign 4 years after being drafted.

Round 3 – Keaton Thompson (D) 87th overall – Played most of the year at the AHL level, but also made a stint in the ECHL. The two picks after him look like they have a much brighter future, in Anton Slepyshev and Oliver Bjorkstrand, therefore I would view this as a poor pick.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nick Ritchie (LW) 10th overall – Received this pick with Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen from Ottawa for Bobby Ryan. The Ducks clearly won that trade, by a mile, especially after trading their own 1st rounder in a package deal including Nick Bonino, to Vancouver for Ryan Kesler. Ritchie has struggled to find his offensive game at the NHL level so far early in his career, but has played in 110 NHL games to date. Anaheim would perhaps want this one back, to be able to take a young scorer like David Pastrnak for example.

Round 2 – Marcus Pettersson (D) 38th overall – Received this pick from Toronto for Peter Holland essentially, plus the 7th round pick used on Ondrej Kase. Petterson played this season in Sweden, scoring 9 points in 47 games. Not great numbers for a young defender, but it’s early to discount the pick yet. The Ducks will likely want him over in North America to get used to the different game sooner than later, and with the depth they have on D, there’s no rush for him to make the jump to the NHL.

Round 2 – Brandon Montour (D) 55th overall – Montour has developed into an NHL defender quicker than most do who are chosen in the 2nd round, playing in 27 NHL games this year, and appearing in all 17 of their playoff games. He’s a lock to make the team next season out of camp, and has a bright future ahead of him. Great pick by Anaheim here in the 2nd round.

Round 3 – Pick was traded as part of the Ryan Kesler deal.

Note: Ondrej Kase drafted in the 7th round. Kase was the 6th last pick of the draft, and appeared in 53 NHL games this year, scoring 15 points. That’s amazing for a 7th round pick, and the Ducks hope he can continue to grow off of this.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Jacob Larsson (D) 27th overall – Another good defense prospect for the Ducks, as they seem keen on building a deep foundation of defenders. They already have one of the best groups in the league, and Larsson will likely add to that in the future. He played in 4 NHL games this year, while also making appearances in the AHL and the Swedish League. He’s got a bright future ahead of him in Anaheim, great pick.

Round 2 – Julius Nattinen (C) 59th overall – Nattinen didn’t have a good year in the OHL this year, with only 38 points in 51 games. Those are weak numbers for a 20 year old, especially in a high-offensive league. This is shaping up to be a poor pick by Anaheim, one of their rare misses.

Round 3 – Brent Gates (C) 80th overall – Received this pick from Columbus with James Wisniewski for Rene Bourque, William Karlsson and a 2nd round pick. Gates had a good year in the NCAA, scoring 14 goals in 37 games. He’ll likely stay there next season at the very least, before the Ducks want him to make the jump to the AHL. He looks like a prospect with a bright future, as he improved from 7 points to 21 in comparing his last 2 seasons.

Round 3 – Deven Sideroff (RW) 84th overall – Sideroff had a good final year in the WHL, with 78 points (36 goals) in 67 games. Those are great numbers, especially for a 3rd round pick. He appeared in 3 AHL games this year, and that’s where he’ll start next year. He’s got the tools to make him a great player in the future, and the size to go along with it. Good pick late by Anaheim

Overall, the Ducks have had great success in drafting impact players. They’ve built their solid foundation through the draft, and possess one of the deeper prospect pools, especially on the backend, in all of the NHL. They look like they’ll be a team to watch for many years to come.

 

Sources: Hockeydb.com; http://prosportstransactions.com/hockey/

 

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Drafting Skills: Arizona Coyotes

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.

Arizona Coyotes

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Connor Murphy (D) 20th overall – Murphy has played in 258 NHL games since being drafted, which is good for where he was picked in comparison to some who went before him. He played OK for Arizona, but was flipped this past week to Chicago with Laurent Dauphin for Niklas Hjalmarsson. Great trade for Arizona, as they’ve definitely found an upgrade for their backend.

Round 2 – Alexander Ruuttu (F) 51st overall – Ruuttu has been a bust for the Coyotes, never playing a game in North America. Arizona had so many better options here, with William Karlsson taken 2 picks later who has played 183 NHL games to date. Awful pick by Arizona here.

Round 2 – Lucas Lessio (LW) 56th overall – Traded Daniel Carcillo to the Flyers for Scottie Upshall and this pick. Upshall alone was more productive and effective than Carcillo ever was, however the pick didn’t turn out for Arizona. He was flipped to Montreal in 2015 for Christian Thomas, who again didn’t turn out. Nikita Kucherov was taken 2 picks later, soooooo…

Round 3 – Harrison Ruopp (D) 84th overall – Awful pick by the Coyotes, as he’s fallen down to the ECHL permanently it appears. He was traded to Pittsburgh in 2012 with a couple other pieces for Zbynek Michalek, but in the end the Coyotes would have been better if they had drafted someone else, say JG Pageau or Johnny Gaudreau?

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Henrik Samuelsson (C) 27th overall – Samuelsson looks like a bust, and was traded this year to Edmonton for Mitch Moroz who was drafted in the 2nd round of this same draft. Who was taken after Samuelsson in this draft? In the first round alone were Brady Skjei and Tanner Pearson. Big miss here by Arizona, an all too common theme throughout this.

Round 2 – Jordan Martinook (C) 58th overall – Martinook has played in 166 NHL games since being drafted, putting up only 50 points. Those are pretty good numbers for a 58th overall pick, and I don’t think the Coyotes would undo this one.

Round 3 – James Melindy (D) 88th overall – Bad pick here, as he played most of the past 3 seasons in the ECHL. He’s turned himself into a fighter, putting up over 250 PIMS this past year, and a rock solid -35 rating. Taken immediately after him was Brendan Leipsic, who looks like he’ll have a much better career now with Vegas.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Max Domi (C) 12th overall – Domi plays a much better rounded game than his father ever did, providing some physicality with a lot of offensive upside. He scored 38 points this year in 59 games, cut short due to an injury suffered in a fight. He needs to work on his discipline, as he takes too many penalties, and the Coyotes need him on the ice. He was a great pick at 12th overall by the Coyotes.

Round 2 – Laurent Dauphin (C) 39th overall – Dauphin was traded out of Arizona with Connor Murphy for Niklas Hjalmarsson. Sitting at 4 points in 32 career NHL games, Dauphin isn’t exactly a highly-touted prospect, but there haven’t been a ton of players taken behind him who have blown up the scoresheet either. The fact they were able to use him as a piece to upgrade to Hjalmarsson is great, but they could still have picked better here.

Round 3 – Yan-Pavel Laplante (LW) 62nd overall – Currently playing in the ECHL, Laplante is likely a longshot to make the NHL at any point in his career. The Coyotes don’t have a massive amount of prospects, and the fact he can’t cut it at the AHL level speaks volumes.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Brendan Perlini (LW) 12th overall – Perlini made his NHL debut this year, with 21 points in 57 games. That’s a little low for a 12th overall pick, 2 years after being drafted. His 14 goals are a positive sign that he can score, and may just need to be surrounded by better players. He’s likely at most a 2nd line/3rd line winger at this point, which is lesser than some of the guys drafted after him such as Dylan Larkin and David Pastrnak.

Round 2 – Ryan MacInnis (C) 43rd overall – MacInnis had a weak AHL rookie campaign that saw only 17 points in 68 games. He scored 38 goals in his final year in junior, but will need far better numbers at the AHL level if he ever hopes of cracking an NHL roster. At this point, this looks like a bad pick by Arizona.

Round 2 – Christian Dvorak (C) 58th overall – Traded David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois to Chicago for this pick. Dvorak has turned out to be a much better pick than MacInnis out of this second round, as he scored 33 points in 78 NHL games this year. The Coyotes didn’t have a great team this year, and Dvorak will likely increase his point production next year, once he has some better linemates to work with. Good pick here in late round 2 by Arizona, as he looks like a great young player.

Round 3 – Anton Karlsson (LW) 87th overall – Miss here by Arizona, as Karlsson had weak numbers this year in the Swedish league. One notable still on the board at this point were Viktor Arvidsson, who the Coyotes would much rather have right now.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Dylan Strome (C) 3rd overall – I’m not entirely sure Strome will pan out as an NHL star, and being drafted 3rd overall, it’s not looking like they made the right pick. There are plenty of players the Coyotes would have been better off with, and missing out on a true star with the 3rd overall pick is brutal. He’s still young, but hasn’t impressed me with his play to this point.

Round 1 – Nick Merkley (RW) 30th overall – Received this pick from Chicago for Antoine Vermette. Merkley had a good year in junior this year, with 63 points in 63 games, but as a 1st round pick, and playing your 4th season in junior, you’d expect much more out of him. He still has time to develop, but seeing some guys behind him already having good starts to their career is a tough pill to swallow.

Round 2 – Christian Fischer (RW) 32nd overall – Played in 7 NHL games this year scoring 3 goals, while scoring 47 points in 57 AHL games. He looks like he’ll develop into a good power-forward for the Coyotes, and will have a shot at the NHL roster next year in camp. They need the help, and this was a pretty good pick in early round 2. Obviously they’d rather have Aho, who was taken 3 picks later, but so would 29 other teams.

Round 3 – Kyle Capobianco (D) 63rd overall – Finished his junior career strong, with 45 points in 65 games. Needs big time work on his defensive game, with a combined -115 rating for his junior career! That’s massive!

Round 3 – Adin Hill (G) 76th overall – Traded Oliver Kylington to Calgary for this pick, plus the 83rd overall pick. Played 40 games in the AHL this year, with a SV% of 0.906 and a GAA of 3.16. Not crazy numbers by any means, but pretty good for a 20 year old netminder. He’ll have some time to develop, but the Coyotes need a goalie soon, so they’re hoping he can progress quickly.

Round 3 – Brendan Warren (LW) 81st overall – Traded Devan Dubnyk to the Wild for this pick. Could be one of the more lopsided trades in recent history, as Dubnyk went on to win 27 games in his first season in Minnesota. He’s since become one of the top goalies in the league, while Warren has yet to play an NHL game. Rough trade and bad pick.

Round 3 – Jens Looke (RW) 83rd overall – Looks like a bad pick, as he managed only 16 points in 46 games in Sweden this year. Not great, doesn’t look like he’s grown any since being drafted.

Arizona has had a lot of bad picks, which makes sense given their current roster situation. They’ve done well in the past couple drafts, picking up the likes of Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller, but will need a lot more of that if they ever hope to be a constant team pushing for the playoffs year in and year out.

Drafting Skills: Boston Bruins

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.

Boston Bruins

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Dougie Hamilton (D) 9th overall – Received this pick in the Kessel trade from Toronto, and had traded their own 1st rounder for Tomas Kaberle. Hamilton has turned into a top-4 defender in today’s NHL. The Bruins had hoped he would lead their blueline for many years, but shipped him out in 2015 for 3 draft picks. Many argue that the Bruins gave up on him too early, as he’s certainly one of the bright spots from this draft class.

Round 2 – Alexander Khokhlachev (C) 40th overall – It doesn’t look like Khokhlachev will pan out, as he played this year in the KHL, and managed only 10 points in 25 games. Bad pick by the Bruins, as the following 7 players selected have all played in over 100 NHL games, and include the likes of Brandon Saad and Victor Rask.

Round 3 – Anthony Camara (LW) 81st overall – Another poor pick by Boston, as he split time in the AHL/ECHL this season. He was packaged with a few other pieces to Carolina in 2016 for John-Michael Liles, which was ok for the Bruins, but looking at the pick, it was a big miss by the Bruins as he has yet to see NHL action.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Malcolm Subban (G) 24th overall – Subban continues to impress at the AHL level, with fantastic numbers each year. His only two call-ups in the NHL have been atrocious, letting up 6 shots on a total of 62 shots. The problem with any goalie drafted early on in this draft, is that Matt Murray was drafted in the 3rd round, who’s gone on to win 2 Cups already. Subban is stuck behind Rask in Boston, and I was shocked not to see him go to Vegas. If I’m Boston, I’m offering him up to teams, as there’s likely a large market for him, especially if you’re content with Rask for the next 5+ years.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Toronto with Joe Colborne for Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle helped Boston win the Cup in 2011, with 11 assists in 25 games; therefore I think they’d agree this trade was worth it. The pick hasn’t turned into an NHL player, but there were still some available at the time.

Round 3 – Matt Grzelcyk (D) 85th overall – This pick isn’t great, as he’s played only two games, while the two players taken after him were Colton Parayko and Frederik Andersen. Boston missed out on a great opportunity here, missing by mere picks on two players who have played over 150 NHL games each.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Dallas for Jaromir Jagr. The pick didn’t turn into an everyday NHL player as of yet (Jason Dickinson), and Jagr played well for the Bruins. The trade is ok when looked at, but he only lasted that one half-season in Boston, which is not a great amount for giving up a 1st round pick.

Round 2 – Linus Arnesson (D) 60th overall – A miss by the Bruins here, as he’s yet to play an NHL game, and has suffered from injuries in his 3 AHL seasons, playing less than 100 games in the past 3 years. Re-do would be more than welcomed by the Bruins with this one.

Round 3 – Peter Cehlarik (LW) 90th overall – Cehlarik appeared in 11 NHL games this year in a depth role, but was having a great season in the AHL prior to that, with 38 points in 49 games in his first season. He’s at the top of the depth chart for the next available spot, and with a good training camp he’s likely to start in the NHL next year. Great find in the third round by the Bruins.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – David Pastrnak (LW) 25th overall – Pastrnak should be considered the steal of this draft, considering he was picked at 25th overall and is coming off a 70 point season. So many teams would love to have their selections back for a chance to draft the crafty winger, but luckily for Boston he fell to 25th overall.

Round 2 – Ryan Donato (C) 56th overall – Donato had a great year playing for Harvard, with 40 points in only 36 games. If he keeps up that pace, he’ll be a lock for the NHL roster in no-time. He’s looking like a good pick in mid-round 2 for Boston at this point, even if he’s a year or more away from making the big club.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Philadelphia for Andrej Meszaros. The pick hasn’t turned into anything promising, and Meszaros played all of 14 games for Boston. Boston would have been better off keeping their pick, and taking a shot at a young prospect.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Jakub Zboril (D) 13th overall – Traded Milan Lucic to the Kings for Martin Jones, Colin Miller and this pick. Zboril has taken a couple steps back since being drafted, as he didn’t appear to be all that effective this year at the Memorial Cup. He’s been passed by many from this draft in terms of development, and will need to have a good year next season if he hopes to live up to the hype of a top-15 pick.

Round 1 – Jake DeBrusk (LW) 14th overall – Traded Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for this pick, plus two 2nd round picks in this draft. DeBrusk had a great rookie season in the AHL this year, with 49 points in 74 games. He looks like he’ll develop into a top-6 forward for the Bruins, and will have a great shot at making the team out of camp next year. Decent pick for Boston, but there were better options available at this pick as well.

Round 1 – Zachary Senyshyn (RW) 15h overall – 3rd pick in a row in the early 1st round for Boston, and another player who hasn’t yet played a game. Senyshyn had a great final year in junior with 42 goals in 59 games, proving he has elite goal scoring ability. He is more than likely to develop into a dangerous goal scorer at the NHL level, but picking 3 players in a row in the first round of a deep draft like 2015’s was, and not have any play a game within 2 season looks bad for Boston.

Round 2 – Brandon Carlo (D) 37thCarlo has developed quicker than any of the three taken in the 1st round, playing in all 82 games for Boston this year, and playing a large role. The Bruins turned down good trade offers for Carlo this season, showing what kind of confidence they have in the young man. He’s a big, right-handed shot blueliner, who seems to be a core piece for the Bruins. Great pick here in round 2, as they have seemed to find themselves a solid to-4 defender.

Round 2 – Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (C) 45th overall – Pick is from the Calgary trade. Karlsson is playing for Boston University currently, and had a fantastic year. He finished with 33 points in 39 games, after 30 in the previous year as well. He’s showing great promise, especially for a 2nd round pick, and looks like he could turn into a future NHL player for the Bruins.

Round 2 – Jeremy Lauzon (D) 52nd overall – Pick is from the Calgary trade. Lauzon is another big defender, finishing his final year in junior with 28 points in 39 games. He’s got the size to play in the NHL, but will likely need a year or two in the AHL before being considered for the big club. He has the offensive upside so many teams crave, and should fit in well with the Bruins in the near future. Great pick in the middle of round 2 for Boston.

Round 3 – Daniel Vladar (G) 75th overall – Vladar had great numbers in a small sample size in the AHL this year, but struggled in the ECHL. He’s still just 19 years old, but has NHL size at 6’5”. He had great numbers in the USHL, and will have plenty of time to develop, with Tuukka Rask just 30 years old for the Bruins.

Overall, the Bruins have had some great picks, and some bad ones. That’s fairly general with most teams, but the Bruins missed a big opportunity in 2015, with 3 picks in the middle of round 1 to load up on big prospects.

Drafting Skills: Buffalo Sabres

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.

Buffalo Sabres

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Joel Armia (RW) 16th overall – Armia was traded with Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford and Brendan Lemieux, plus the 1st round pick in 2015 for Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf and Evander Kane. Looking at just the pick, Armia has finally developed into an everyday NHL player, scoring 19 points in 57 games this season. He was picked slightly early by Winnipeg, with better forwards taken after him including Phillip Danault, Vladislav Namestnikov and Rickard Rakell all taken later in the 1st round.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to St. Louis for Brad Boyes. The Blues picked Joel Edmundson with this pick, who played a full season again this year, while Boyes has since moved on from the NHL. The Sabres would be much better off with Edmundson in the fold, as their blueline needs help as-is.

Round 3 – Daniel Catenacci (C) 77th overall – Catenacci has only played in 11 NHL games to-date, which happened back in 2015-2016. He’s since been traded for fellow AHLer Mathew Bodie. There were 6 other players taken after Catenacci in that 3rd round who have played more NHL games, 3 of which have played over 100 games. Safe to say the Sabres would like a re-do on this one.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mikhail Grigorenko (C) 12th overall – Grigorenko has not developed into the force they had hoped he would, being taken so early in this draft. He was dealt out as part of the package that brought in Ryan O’Reilly thankfully for Buffalo. He’s sitting at 64 points in 217 NHL games, which is not ideal for an early 1st round pick.

Round 1 – Zemgus Girgensons (C) 14th overall – Traded the pick 21st overall pick (from Nashville for Paul Gaustad) plus their 2nd round pick to move up to 14th overall. Girgensons hasn’t panned out as they had hoped, as he’s only scored 86 points in 277 games. Girgensons is their second pick of this first round that the Sabres would love to re-do, as there are better players to come after him in the draft.

Round 2 – Jake McCabe (D) 44th overall – Traded Paul Byron, Chris Butler to the Flames for Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik and this pick. McCabe has turned into a serviceable d-man for Buffalo, playing in 76 NHL games this year scoring 20 points. He can play a physical game, and plays well in his own end. He’s a great pick in the middle of round 2 for Buffalo, in what turned out to be a weak draft class.

Round 3 – Justin Kea (C) 73rd overall – Kea won’t develop into an NHLer for Buffalo, as he has yet to play in a game, and is still playing the majority of his time at the ECHL level. Taken right after him was Esa Lindell, who looks like he’ll have a good NHL career. Miss here by Buffalo, as there were 6 other players taken after him who have played at least 25 NHL games, and look like they’ll have good, and some great NHL careers.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Rasmus Ristolainen (D) 8th overall – Ristolainen put up another 40+ point campaign, with 45 in 79 games. He’s the number 1 d-man on Buffalo, and while many question whether he has the skillset to be that player, he’s the best Buffalo currently has. He had a better year this year defensively, as he continues to work on his game. Buffalo wouldn’t change anything about this pick.

Round 1 – Nikita Zadorov (D) 16th overall – Received this pick from Minnesota with other pieces for Jason Pominville and a 4th rounder. I don’t like this trade for Minnesota, especially with losing Pominvile for essentially Zadorov. He was then traded as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade, which turned out great for Buffalo. Looking at just the pick of Zadorov, he was a good pick if you were looking to add a defenseman at this point in the draft.

Round 2 – JT Compher (C) 35th overall – Received this pick in the Sekera trade, along with Jamie McBain. Another pick given up in the O’Reilly deal, and another under-performing player Buffalo shipped out. He hasn’t developed into any sort of everyday NHL player, and could barely produce for the worst team in the league this year. A miss here by Buffalo with an early 2nd round pick.

Round 2 – Connor Hurley (C) 38th overall – Still playing college hockey, Hurley had a good year for Notre Dame with 16 points in 21 games. He’s been consistent in his years there, and could be a future player, depending on how he transitions to the pro-game in the next year or two. He’s a big-body with skill, something all NHL teams covet in a centre.

Round 2 – Justin Bailey (RW) 52nd overall – Traded Jordan Leopold to the Blues for this pick plus a fourth round pick. Bailey has split time recently in the AHL/NHL, putting up good numbers at the AHL level, but next-to-nothing at the NHL level. He’s still only 21 years old, and stands at 6’3” 214 lbs. He’ll likely have a great chance of making the team out of camp, and could be effective in a 4th line role providing physicality. Decent pick late in round 2 for Buffalo.

Round 3 – Nick Baptiste (C) 69th overall – Made his NHL debut this year, with 4 points in 14 games. Those aren’t great numbers, and the Sabres will likely want to replace him with a more effective player for next season. He’s likely a depth call-up ideally, but if he has a strong chance he could be part of the bright future in Buffalo.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sam Reinhart (C) 2nd overall – Reinhart has a ton of skill, but has taken a while to adapt fully to the pro game. He’s small in size, and has struggled to put up points consistently. He’s now paired with one of the best young centres in hockey with Eichel in town, and will need to improve his consistency if he hopes to stick around and be part of the future. The Sabres would likely go a different way with a re-do of this pick with any of Draisaitl, Nylander or Pastrnak providing more offence.

Round 2 – Brendan Lemieux (LW) 31st overall – Part of the Myers/Bogosian trade, Lemieux is a tough customer, but lacks any tangible skills that will make him an NHL player. Bad pick by Buffalo here, taking grit over skill.

Round 2 – Eric Cornel (RW) 44th overall – Traded the 2nd round pick they received from Washington in the Matt Moulson trade for this pick, as well as a 3rd rounder. Played in the AHL this year, putting up a measly 14 points in 67 games, and didn’t put up a crazy amount in junior. Could he develop into an NHL player? Maybe, but doesn’t look likely right now.

Round 2 – Vaclav Karabacek (RW) 49th overall – Received this pick in the Pominville trade. Not a good pick here, and looks even worse considering Pominville is still a very good winger. Karabacek played this season between the AHL/ECHL. In the ECHL, he scored 11 points in 9 games, which are great numbers, but he’ll need to show that kind of poise at the AHL level before he can be considered a legitimate prospect.

Round 3 – Jonas Johansson (G) 61st overall – Johansson had great numbers in Sweden this year, with a GAA of 2.26 and SV% of 0.912. Those are stellar numbers for a young netminder, and while he struggled slightly in his brief stint in the AHL, he has great promise to become a good goaltender. He will start next year in the AHL, where he can work on getting used to the quicker game on the smaller ice surface.

Round 3 – Brycen Martin (D) 74th overall – Received this pick in the trade with Washington. Martin played most of the year in the ECHL, putting up small numbers, but has never been known to put up great offense. He will need a couple years of grooming before he can be viewed as a legit prospect, but looks right now like he’ll at most be a depth call-up.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Jack Eichel (C) 2nd overall – Eichel is basically already seen as the captain of the Sabres, only 2 years into his career. He was by far the best pick available after McDavid. No other explanation needed, great/easy pick by the Sabres.

Round 2 – Brendan Guhle (D) 51st overall – Buffalo traded their own 2nd rounder in the deal that brought in Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn, in exchange for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko and JT Compher. Great trade for Buffalo, as O’Reilly has become one of the best forwards for Buffalo. They received this pick from the Islanders with Matt Moulson for Tomas Vanek. Guhle

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Washington with Jaroslav Halak for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla. The pick eventually went to the Rangers, who took Robin Kovacs who has yet to develop. This trade didn’t work out as the Sabres expected, as Neuvirth only played 29 games for Buffalo before moving on.

Buffalo has missed on most of their first round picks, save Jack Eichel. They need to be better in regards to drafting, as that’s the path most teams are taking now to build championship teams. They’ve got a good foundational core to build around, but need to be better if they hope to keep adding to their core.

Drafting Skills: Calgary Flames

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.

Calgary Flames

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sven Baertschi (LW) 13th overall – He never materialized into an NHL star, or even a top-6 forward for that matter. He struggled to find top-6 minutes on one of the worst teams in the league in Vancouver. Brutal pick by the Flames, with much better

Round 2 – Markus Granlund (C) 45th overall – Calgary traded their own 2nd round pick (used on Brandon Saad), and received this one in a different trade from the Rangers in an exchange of prospects and Tim Erixon going to the Rangers. He was traded out of Calgary to Vancouver, where he’s had better luck, but is likely a 3rd line centre at best. Another weak pick, mind you Calgary would have been better off keeping him in the fold, as he’s better than some of their depth centres.

Round 2 – Tyler Wotherspoon (D) 57th overall – Received this from the Rangers in the same trade as above. Wotherspoon is barely an NHL depth d-man, with rare call-ups throughout his career. The worst part, is Nikita Kucherov was taken right after him… big miss for the Flames.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Edmonton for Steve Staios. Staois was at the tail end of his career, and wasn’t very effective in his parts of 2 seasons there, being injured most of the time. The Flames would have been better to stay away here, and add another prospect.

Note: Johnny Gaudreau in the 4th round. He’s the only true bright spot in this draft for the Flames, and is easily their current best player. Top 5 winger in the game today, nicknamed ‘Johnny Hockey’, solid steal in the 4th round.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mark Jankowski (C) 21st overall – Jankowski has played in exactly 1 NHL game, but had a good year at the AHL level with 56 points in 64 games. It’s now or never for him however, as he’ll have a chance to play his way onto the team at camp next year. The Flames need him in their lineup, and as a former first round pick, he needs to be effective. Olli Maatta was taken right after him, and would have been a much better selection.

Round 2 – Patrick Sieloff (D) 42nd overall – Another miss by Calgary, as he played the season in the AHL for Ottawa’s farm team, after being traded for Alex Chiasson. Chiasson wasn’t much better, with all of 24 points in 81 NHL games.

Round 3 – Jon Gillies (G) 75th overall – It’s believe Gillies is the goalie of the future in Calgary, but they just traded for Mike Smith, so it’s likely another year or more before he gets a shot. Meanwhile, two-time Cup champion goaltender Matt Murray was taken 8 picks later.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sean Monahan (C) 6th overall – Monahan is one of the lone bright-spots of this list, as he’s developed into a true #1 centre for Calgary. He has great chemistry with Johnny Hockey, and hit the 300+ games played mark this year. Great pick here by Calgary.

Round 1 – Emile Poirier (LW) 22nd overall – Received from St. Louis along with Reto Berra, and another prospect for Jay Bouwmeester. Awful trade for Calgary, and awful pick to boot. Poirier had 17 points in 43 AHL games this year, which is brutal. The Capitals picked Andre Burakovsky with the next pick, who is 4 games shy of 200 played. Big miss by Calgary.

Round 1 – Morgan Klimchuk (LW) 28th overall – Received from Pittsburgh for Jarome Iginla. This was a deal that had to be done, as Iginla was sent out in hopes of getting him a Cup. The Flames missed again in round 1 here, as they really had a chance to build a great team with 3 picks in round 1. Klimchuk hasn’t played an NHL game yet, and scored only 43 points in 66 AHL games this year. Not what you expect from a 1st rounder, 4 years after being drafted.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Montreal with Rene Bourque and Patrick Holland for Michael Cammalleri, Kari Ramo and a 2012 5th round pick. Good trade for Calgary, as Cammalleri was great for them in his short time there.

Round 3 – Keegan Kanzig (D) 67th overall – Surprise, another miss. He played this year in the ECHL, and had 5 points in 40 games. Not good numbers, not promising at all.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sam Bennett (C) 4th overall – While Bennett has played a lot of NHL games, I still consider this a bad pick by Calgary. William Nylander was available, as was David Pastrnak, Dylan Larkin, and so many more that are better players today.

Round 2 – Mason McDonald (G) 34th overall – Didn’t put up great numbers in the ECHL in his first year as a pro, but will have plenty of time to grow his game with Mike Smith recently being brought in. It’s always a good bet to take a goalie in the middle rounds, as they take a while to develop and Calgary has been searching for a true #1 for a while now.

Round 2 – Hunter Smith (RW) 54th overall – Received from Colorado for Reto Berra. Doesn’t look like a future NHLer, which is alright when you look at the trade, as Berra couldn’t cut it either. The Ducks took Brandon Montour with the following pick, who looks like a promising young defender, and would have been a much better pick.

Round 3 – Brandon Hickey (D) 64th overall – Hickey was traded to Arizona with Chad Johnson for Mike Smith, which is a strange move as Smith is 35 years old. The Flames are not ready to push for a Cup, so this move makes no sense to me. Hickey is coming off a good 3rd year NCAA season, another reason why I wouldn’t move him for an aging goaltender.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded with others to Boston for Dougie Hamilton, and the pick turned into Zach Senyshyn. While Senyshyn shows great upside, Hamilton is top-pairing D-man on Calgary, and one they needed. I think this trade benefited both sides.

Round 2 – Rasmus Andersson (D) 53rd overall – Received from Vancouver for Sven Baertschi. Andersson had a good year at the AHL level, and got the call for 1 game this year. Good signs that he’s close to being considered for an NHL spot, something which Calgary needs, as their prospect pool doesn’t run very deep.

Round 2 – Oliver Kylington (D) 60th overall – Great season in the AHL, and looks like he’s ready for the NHL level. Should push for a spot on the blueline full-time next year, great pick to close out round 2 for Calgary.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Arizona for their pick used on Kylington, as Calgary had traded their second as well to Boston for Dougie Hamilton.

Overall, the Flames have been bad at drafting quality players. They’ve hit on a couple, but missed on so many. They had a great chance at the 2013 draft to really build their team, and look more and more like they failed. They’ve got to hope to be better soon, as their core is hitting their mid-20’s shortly.

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

Drafting Skills: Carolina Hurricanes

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.

Carolina Hurricanes

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ryan Murphy (D) 12th overall – Murphy is by no-means a bust, but he’s not quite what everyone thought he’d be. He’s quickly becoming expendably for the Hurricanes, and while he’s played 151 games, he’s likely not going to be around for much longer in the NHL. That’s tough to swallow for Carolina, being a 12th overall pick only 6 years ago.

Round 2 – Victor Rask (C) 42nd overall – Rask has developed into a top-line player for Carolina, and had another campaign where he approached 50 points. I think he’s better off on the second line, but I would consider this a much better pick than Murphy.

Round 3 – Keegan Lowe (D) 73rd overall – Lowe was traded to Montreal for a prospect of the same level, and he will likely not play in the NHL. He hasn’t developed as they would have hoped, and the Canes would want this pick back, with plenty of players taken after him who have a brighter future.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded with Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumolin to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal. I don’t like the trade much, as that’s a lot to give up for what I believe is at best a 2nd line centre. Carolina was not in any position to make a push for the Cup, and would have been better off keeping what was the 8th overall pick, especially with the likes of Filip Forsberg, Jacob Trouba, Tomas Hertl and many others still available.

Round 2 – Phil Di Giuseppe (LW) 38th overall – Giuseppe had 7 points in 36 NHL games, and likely won’t grow those production numbers any higher. Disappointing pick early in round 2, as Carolina needs all the help they can get offensively.

Round 2 – Brock McGinn (LW) 47th overall – Received this pick from San Jose for Ian White. Played in 57 NHL games this year, scoring only 16 points, which is disappointing. Carolina is weak up front, and will likely want to upgrade over McGinn if possible. Right now, he’ll need to have a good camp to stick with the team long-term.

Round 3 – Daniel Altshuller (G) 69th overall – Had great numbers this year in the ECHL, and average in the AHL. He’s a big goalie, but will need to have a better year next season if he’s ever hoping to be looked at as a potential NHL goaltender.

Note: Jaccob Slavin drafted 4th round. He has played in 145 games and is in the top-4 on Carolina currently, great young defender.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Elias Lindholm (C) 5th overall – Lindholm had 45 points in 72 NHL games, his 4th year in the league. He made the jump quickly, and has been growing his game each season. Carolina would definitely want to re-do this pick however, with Sean Monahan going after him in the draft. Lindholm is a good young player, but Monahan plays the game better at both ends of the rink.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to the Sabres for Andrej Sekera. The pick hasn’t turned into a great player (JT Compher), while Sekera played the better parts of 2 seasons in Carolina, before being flipped to LA for a 1st round pick in 2016. Great trade for Carolina here, as they benefited in two separate ways.

Round 3 – Brett Pesce (D) 66th overall – Played in all 82 games this year, and appears to be part of the blueline permanently in Carolina. He had a great year, despite playing on a weak Carolina team. Pesce can drive play well from the backend, and is dependable in his own end. Great find in round 3 by the Canes.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Haydn Fleury (D) 7th overall – One of the few players from the first round of this draft who’s yet to play an NHL game, Fleury has become a big disappointment for Carolina. Many better options were available, including William Nylander, Dylan Larkin, David Pastrnak, etc etc.

Round 2 – Alex Nedeljkovic (G) 37th overall – Made his NHL debut this year as an injury call-up, but spent most of the year in the ECHL/AHL. He had solid numbers in the ECHL, but struggled in the AHL. He’s likely a few years away from a legitimate shot, but is trending in the right direction.

Round 3 – Warren Foegele (C) 67th overall – Foegele had a great year in junior, and will start next year in the AHL. He’s not likely on the NHL radar anytime soon, but has been a great offensive player in his junior career, something which Carolina is in need of. Looks like a good pick in the 3rd round, as he has grown well since being drafted.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Noah Hanifin (D) 5th overall – Hanifin has developed into a top-pairing D-man, which the Canes had hoped for. I don’t believe they would change this pick, as he fits their organizational need perfectly currently, and at that time.

Round 2 – Sebastian Aho (LW) 35th overall – Aho has turned into a steal at this pick, as he just turned in an impressive rookie campaign with 49 points in 82 games. If it were not for super rookies Auston Matthews and Patrick Laine, he’d be front and centre for rookie of the year. Great steal in round 2.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Vancouver with a 7th round pick for Eddie Lack. Lack hasn’t been the starter they hoped for, and struggled mightily this season, but they didn’t give up a lot to get him, and needed a better backup than what they had at the time.

Carolina has missed on a few key picks, which could have shaped their organization a lot differently. They need offense and goaltending, and should be able to move some of their defense prospects/players to get some, because they haven’t been as successful as they’d hoped in drafting some.

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

Drafting Skills: Colorado Avalanche

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.

Colorado Avalanche

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Gabriel Landeskog (LW) 2nd overall – Landeskog quickly became the captain of the Avalanche, and a leader on and off the ice. He’s played more games than any other player in that draft class, and ranks first in points. A great player any team would love to build around, great pick by the Avalanche to start off the 2011 draft.

Round 1 – Duncan Siemens (D) 11th overall – Siemens on the other hand, did not pan out. He’s played all of 4 NHL games, after the Avalanche received this pick in trading out Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and their 2nd round pick in this draft to bring in Erik Johnson and Jay McClement. Siemens could barely crack the Colorado lineup this year, and they were by far the worst team in the league. That doesn’t bode well for the d-man, especially with so many better d-men taken after him.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to St. Louis in the Shattenkirk for Johnson package. The pick became Ty Rattie, who hasn’t materialized as of yet. Tough trade, as Shattenkirk is the better d-man today.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to the Islanders in a swap of picks, neither of which became anything. The pick after this turned into Vincent Trocheck… tough break for Colorado.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Washington for Semyon Varlamov, who has been the start in Colorado ever since. The problem is the pick turned into Filip Forsberg, who has become an elite winger in today’s NHL. The Avalanche needed a goaltender, but trading out the 11th overall pick when you’re in the midst of a rebuild wasn’t a smart move, regardless of who you brought in.

Round 2 – Mitchell Heard (C) 41st overall – Heard doesn’t look like he’ll be an NHL player, splitting time in the AHL and ECHL in recent years, and not putting up great numbers in the AHL. Colorado would like this pick back I’m sure.

Round 3 – Troy Bourke (LW) 72nd overall – Another player who has yet to play an NHL game, Bourke only scored 24 points in 74 AHL games. Not likely to see him in the NHL, as the Avalanche are on the cusp of adding better prospects to their cupboards.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nathan MacKinnon (C) 1st overall – MacKinnon is an elite centre, who can drive play. I’m still waiting for a breakout season offensively, and starting to wonder if it will happen. He’s just barely cracked 50 points in each of the past two seasons, which I believe is far below what he can do. He needs more support, but right now my confidence in him is still strong.

Round 2 – Chris Bigras (D) 32nd overall – Bigras split time in the AHL/NHL this year, putting up better numbers in the AHL. He’ll likely have a good shot at the NHL roster full time next year, especially with Colorado buying out Beauchemin. Good pick early in round 2 if he can make and stay with the NHL club this year.

Round 3 – Spencer Martin (G) 63rd overall – Martin had good numbers this year in the AHL, but struggled in his brief time in the NHL. It looks like he’s behind on the depth chart behind at least 2 netminders in Colorado, and could be 3 depending what happens with Vegas. It doesn’t hurt having promising goalies in the system, and Martin still has some upside.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Connor Bleackley (C) 23rd overall – Bleackley was traded to Arizona with Alex Tanguay and Kyle Wood (below) for Mikkel Boedker. He was then traded to Chicago for a 5th round pick, which will tell you everything you need to know about Bleackley. Awful pick by Colorado, when 2 years after the pick he’s being traded for a 5th round pick…

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Calgary for Reto Berra, and the Flames took Hunter Smith. Berra was nothing more than a backup, and Smith hasn’t materialized at all. The Avalanche would have been better off keeping this pick and trying to add to their prospect group.

Round 3 – Kyle Wood (D) 84th overall – Wood was dealt in the Boedker deal, and has yet to play an NHL game. He had good numbers as a first year pro, with 43 points in 68 AHL games so there is some great upside for the youngster.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mikko Rantanen (RW) 10th overall – He played the full year in Colorado this year, scoring 39 points in 75 games. He has tremendous upside, so it’s hard to judge this year based off of how brutal Colorado was. He scored 20 goals, which not many rookies do, therefore I anticipate a great sophomore campaign for him. He looks like a great pick at 10th overall, as he’s likely a big part of the future in Colorado.

Round 2 – AJ Greer (LW) 39th overall – Received this pick from San Jose in a swap of picks, none of which have materialized as of yet. Greer did make his NHL debut this year, which is a good sign he’s close to having a shot at making the team full-time. I expect a lot of changes for Colorado, so he’ll likely have a chance next year.

Round 2 – Nicolas Meloche (D) 40th overall – He finished his junior career, with 47 points (16 goals), in 61 games. Those are great numbers for a d-man, which bodes well for his future. He’ll start in the AHL, but could be quickly moving up the depth chart if he gets off to a good start.

Round 3 – Jean-Christophe Beaudin (RW) 71st overall – Beaudin had 30 goals and 80 points in 65 QMJHL games this year. He’s a big winger who can score with back to back 80 point campaigns in junior. Solid selection in the third round for Colorado, as they add another promising prospect to the cupboards.

Colorado has made great picks over these 5 drafts. They feel like they’re a team that’s not far off from being a playoff team, with help needed on the blueline. They have plenty of prospects and young players that can play, so with a couple smart moves they should be in good shape for a while.

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