NHL: Worst Trades of the Salary Cap Era

Worst Trades of the Salary Cap Era

The Salary Cap Era began with the 2005-06 season, and so much attention lately has been on some awful trades being made, particularly highlighted by the Oilers and Chiarelli in particular. There have been a lot of trades that have worked out well for both teams and some that have been very one-sided. I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about certain trades on Twitter the last little bit, which made me want to dive into a lot of them and see exactly how they’ve worked out for both teams. I’m excluding any trades that were simply picks for picks, too many of those to sort through. These are not ranked in any specific order of which one is worse, but here we go. I found a great site listing all of the trades I’m talking about here http://www.nhltradetracker.com/user/trade_list_by_season, check it out:

June 24th, 2006 – Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins

Toronto Acquires – Andrew Raycroft – GM was John Ferguson Jr.

Boston Acquires – Rights to Tuukka Rask – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Raycroft won the Calder trophy is his first full year in the NHL in 2003-2004, with 29 wins in 57 games played. He followed that up with a lackluster 8 wins in 30 games played, which for some ridiculous reason tempted Toronto to trade for Raycroft. They had 2 goalie prospects in Justin Pogge and Tukka Rask, and clearly the Leafs valued Pogge more, keeping him and shipping out Rask. Since the trade, Raycroft played 173 games, winning only 70 of them. Pogge played in a total of 7 NHL games, winning 1 game! Rask, on the other hand, has played 395 NHL games, won a Stanley Cup in 2011, and a Vezina Trophy as the top-goaltender in 2014. This could easily be one of the more lopsided trades in Leafs history. This is one of the rare instances where Peter Chiarelli has come out on top in a trade.

Winner: Bruins fans are probably still laughing at this one, while Leafs fans are likely still crying.

Feb 25th, 2007 – Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks

Montreal Acquires – Josh Gorges & 1st round pick in 2007 (Max Pacioretty) – GM was Bob Gainey

San Jose Acquires – Craig Rivet & 5th round pick in 2008 (Julien Demers) – GM was Doug Wilson

Rivet was a much more established defender at that time, but only went on to play 91 games for the Sharks in just over 1 season. The Sharks didn’t make it past the 3rd round of the playoffs that year when they made this trade, but Rivet played well for them. The flip side however is what Montreal acquired from this trade. Gorges played a whopping 457 NHL games for the Canadiens, before they then traded him to Buffalo for a 2nd round pick. The pick San Jose gave to Montreal turned into Max Pacioretty… who’s currently the captain of the team, and has 411 points in 562 games since being drafted. He’s scored over 200 goals, and been the Canadiens go-to player for offensive since 2011. This trade is looking worse and worse as the days go on.

Winner: Montreal, by a mile

June 18th, 2007 – Philadelphia Flyers & Nashville Predators

Philadelphia Acquires – Scott Hartnell & Kimmo Timonen – GM was Paul Holmgren

Nashville Acquires – 2007 1st Round pick (Jonathan Blum) – GM was David Poile

Hartnell is your ideal power-forward – big body, hits & fights, and can score. After coming off of back-to-back 20+ goal seasons, Nashville decided it was time to ship him out of town. To make matters worse, Nashville also added in Kimmo Timonen, who at the time was a top-pairing d-man in his own right. Timonen would go on to play in 8 more NHL season, before injuries derailed his career. Either one of this players would be better than what Nashville ended up with, as the pick turned into Jonathon Blum, who played in a measly 110 NHL games.

Winner: Flyers come out on top in this one

August 11th, 2007 – Phoenix Coyotes & Chicago Blackhawks

Phoenix Acquires – Radim Vrbata – GM was Don Maloney

Chicago Acquires – Kevyn Adams – GM was Dale Tallon

Adams played his final year in the NHL with the Blackhawks after this trade, scoring 2 points in 27 games. On the other side of the trade, Vrbata has played 10 more seasons, scoring 204 goals and 439 points. Vrbata is one of the rare consistent goal scoring wingers in today’s game, who has averaged 24 goals/82 games played since this trade, while Adams had a whopping 8 points in the year prior to be traded. It’s hard to imagine that Tallon couldn’t have gotten more for Vrbata.

Winner: Phoenix wins this one, easily.

June 24th, 2008 – Boston Bruins & Colorado Avalanche

Boston Acquires – Johnny Boychuk – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Colorado Acquires – Matt Hendricks – GM was Francois Giguere

This was back when Chiarelli appeared to know what he was doing, as he traded career-4th-liner Matt Hendricks for Johnny Boychuk, who played in the top-4 for Boston for 5 seasons. Hendricks has never been more than a 4th line player in his career, and has actually been outscored by Boychuk throughout his career.

Winner: Rare Chiarelli win for Boston

June 30th, 2009 – Montreal Canadiens & New York Rangers

Montreal Acquires – Tom Pyatt, Scott Gomez, Michael Busto – GM was Bob Gainey

Rangers Acquire – Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Doug Janik, Chris Higgins

It’s hard to imagine what Bob Gainey was thinking when you look back on this trade, as yes Gomez was coming off a 58 point campaign, but that was for a much better New York Ranger team. To say he struggled in Montreal would be a vast understatement, as after one good season, he fell off a cliff in terms of production, never scoring more than 7 goals in a season for the remainder of his career. Meanwhile, Busto never played an NHL game and Pyatt is nothing more than a bottom-6 depth forward. For New York, they received future captain and top defender Ryan McDonagh. Janik and Valentenko did not pan out as hoped, but Higgins played in 711 NHL games after being traded, and was more productive than Gomez alone. This could be one of the worst trades in this article.

Winner: There once was a website tracking how long it had been since Gomez scored a goal, which eclipsed a year. So yeah, New York is the clear-cut winner here.

July 21st, 2009 – Arizona Coyotes & Tampa Bay Lightning

Arizona Acquires – Radim Vrbata – GM was Don Maloney

Tampa Bay Acquires – Todd Fedoruk & David Hale – GM was Brian Lawton

Another trade for Vrbata heading to Arizona/Phoenix that is a solid win for that organization. I’ve already spoken about his scoring prowess over his career, and he definitely is much better that the combined two players he was traded for. Fedoruk played one last season after being traded, scoring 6 points in 50 games. Hale played in two more NHL season, only totaling 64 games over those two years, and 9 points.

Winner: Vrbata again the best part of a trade to Arizona.

June 25th, 2010 – St. Louis Blues & Ottawa Senators

St. Louis Acquires – 2010 1st rounder (16th overall – Vladimir Tarasenko)

Ottawa Acquires – David Rundblad – GM was Bryan Murray

Ottawa decided they wanted to go after a young, recently drafted player in Rundblad, after he had 13 points in 47 games in the SEL. Rundblad did not develop into an everyday NHL player, topping out at a career-high 49 NHL games in 2014-2015. The pick the Sens gave up turned into one of the most feared goal-scorers in today’s game – Vladimir Tarasenko. One goal shy of back-to-back 40 goal seasons, Tarasenko has scored 70+ points in 3 straight seasons, and looks like he has no plan to stop. At only 25 years old, Tarasenko will be a dominant force in the NHL for years to come.

Winner: Tarasenko is arguably the second-best scoring winger in today’s NHL. Sorry Sens fans.

February 9th, 2011 – Toronto Maple Leafs & Anaheim Ducks

Toronto Acquires – Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, conditional 4th rounder – GM was Brian Burke

Anaheim Acquires – Francois Beauchemin – GM was Bob Murray

Beauchemin was a good defender for Anaheim, as he played in the better part of 4 seasons for Colorado, scoring 20 points 3 times. Lupul had two good seasons for the Leafs after being traded, but has since succumbed to injuries. The kicker in my opinion is giving up Jake Gardiner, as he has developed into a great puck-moving defenseman. He played more than any other defender for the Leafs in their playoff appearance this year, and looked great while doing so. Anaheim was a team trying to win now, and didn’t want to wait on Lupul and Gardiner, but looking back they should have been able to get more had they waited on Gardiner just a little while longer.

Winner: Leafs, as Murray was trying to win a Cup when bringing in Beauchemin, but he gave up a little too much to do so.

February 18th, 2011 – Boston Bruins & Atlanta Thrashers

Boston Acquires – Rich Peverley, Boris Valabik – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Atlanta Acquires – Mark Stuart, Blake Wheeler – GM was Kevin Cheveldayoff

Blake Wheeler has developed into one of the best wingers in the game today, and one is usually highly under-appreciated by most. He’s hit 60+ points in 4 straight seasons, including 2 at over 70 points. He’s a big-man, and uses that size to dominate possession for the now Winnipeg Jets. Stuart has been a serviceable d-man since the trade, playing parts of 7 straight seasons for Winnipeg. On the other side of the trade, Peverley had his career cut short due to a scary incident in 2014 in which he collapsed on the bench, while Valabik never played another NHL game. Even if it weren’t for the incident with Peverley, this trade would be incredibly lopsided. Wheeler is a top-10 winger in today’s NHL, and the captain of the Jets alone.

Winner: The beginning of the end for Chiarelli in Boston, as this is a brutal trade.

February 21st, 2011 – Pittsburgh Penguins & Dallas Stars

Pittsburgh Acquires – James Neal, Matt Niskanen – GM was Ray Shero

Dallas Acquires – Alex Goligoski – GM was Joe Nieuwendyk

After scoring at least 20 goals in his first 3 NHL season with Dallas, Nieuwendyk decided it was time to trade him to the Stanley Cup hopeful Penguins. He went on to score 40 goals in his first full season there, and has hit at least 20 in every season since. The other piece sent out by the Stars was Matt Niskanen, who has developed into a top-pairing defender. He himself has surpassed Goligoski in terms of value, who is actually older than Niskanen, which makes this trade even more bizarre. Goligoski is by no means a bad defenseman, he’s just not worth either of Neal or Niskanen in terms of trade value, let alone BOTH.

Winner:  Shero gets the best of Nieuwendyk and the Stars

June 23rd, 2012 – Toronto Maple Leafs & Philadelphia Flyers

Toronto Acquires – James Van Riemsdyk – GM was Brian Burke

Philadelphia Acquires – Luke Schenn – GM was Paul Holmgren

What on earth was Holmgren thinking?! Luke Schenn was rushed into the NHL, likely hurting his development, but he was NEVER an offensive d-man. He was drafted too high back in 2008, but the fact that Brian Burke was able to trade him straight-up for James Van Riemsdyk is mind-boggling. JVR is hands-down the better player in this trade, and it’s not even close. Schenn was barely a 3rd pairing player in Arizona this year, one of the worst teams in the league, meanwhile JVR is a key piece of a strong, young Toronto team.

Winner: Brian Burke pulls of magic for the Leafs.

April 3rd, 2013 – Tampa Bay Lightning & Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Acquires – Ben Bishop – GM was Steve Yzerman

Ottawa Acquires – Cory Conacher – GM was Bryan Murray

Conacher scored 24 points in 35 NHL games in his rookie year, prompting Bryan Murray to jump ALLLLL over him, trading out one of the best goalies in today’s NHL in a one-for-one deal. Since the trade, Conacher has fallen all the way to the AHL, over to Switzerland, and back to the AHL before suiting up in 11 NHL games this year, for the team that traded him back in 2013. Bishop, since being traded, has won 133 NHL games, with 17 shutouts. Ottawa had Craig Anderson in the fold at the time, but should have gotten much more for a goalie like Ben Bishop.

Winner: Another loss for Bryan Murray and the Sens.

April 3rd, 2013 – Washington Capitals & Nashville Predators

Washington Acquires – Michael Latta, Martin Erat – GM was George McPhee

Nashville Acquires – Filip Forsberg – GM was David Poile

This, in my opinion, could be one of the worst trades in recent history. Erat was sitting at 21 points in 36 games when he was traded for, and managed al of 2 goals, 25 points in 62 games for Washington in his 1.5 seasons there. Latta is now playing in the AHL, after putting up even smaller numbers for the Capitals. Forsberg has since developed into an elite winger for the Predators. Trading an 11th overall pick for two players who lack offense is always a risky move, but this turned out to be far worse than expected.

Winner: Poile is likely still laughing at this one, as are Preds fans.

July 4th, 2013 – Boston Bruins & Dallas Stars

Boston Acquires – Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Dallas Acquires – Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Ryan Button – GM was Jim Nill

Chiarelli has had some bad trades on his resume, but this one is the worst for me. In the 4 seasons since being traded, Seguin has scored 306 points. He’s one of the best young centres in today’s NHL, and doesn’t look like he’ll slow down anytime soon. Smith played well in his two years in Boston, but was shipped out for Jimmy Hayes, who was disappointing for Boston. Eriksson had 1 good year for Boston, but still never hit the numbers Seguin did, before they lost him to free agency. Morrow hasn’t established himself as an NHL d-man, playing 65 games stretched over 3 seasons, and has since signed in Montreal. Fraser was waived after playing 28 games for Boston. All of this means, Boston traded away a true number 1 centremen, at the age of 21, and have nothing left to show for it.

Winner: Seguin is a core building block for Dallas, an exciting young team. Boston has nothing to show for it. Tough call…

July 8th, 2013 – Ottawa Senators & Anaheim Ducks

Ottawa Acquires – Bobby Ryan – GM was Bryan Murray

Anaheim Acquires – Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, 2014 1st round pick (Nick Ritchie) – GM was Bob Murray

Bob Murray continues his streak of bad trades. Not only is this trade awful for Ottawa, but Murray then signed Ryan to a massive 7 year extension, with an AAV of $7.25 million. He managed “OK” in this first few seasons in Ottawa, in-and-around the 50 point mark, but Silfverberg himself has already established that kind of production, not to mention the remaining pieces they received in Noesen (now in New Jersey), and Ritchie (more points than Ryan this year).

Winner: Ottawa loses another.

July 1st, 2014 – Ottawa Senators & Dallas Stars

Ottawa Acquires – Alex Chiasson, Alexander Guptill, Nicholas Paul, 2015 2nd rounder – GM was Bryan Murray

Dallas Acquires – Jason Spezza, Ludwig Karlsson – GM was Jim Nill

It must seem like I’m picking on the Sens here, but I swear I’m not. Everyone thought the Sens would trade Spezza in this offseason, but the Sens got basically NOTHING for him. Chiasson was a dud, with 30 points totaled over 2 seasons. Guptill has yet to play an NHL game, and Paul has played all of 25 games. The pick was traded to the Devils in an exchange of picks, with no promising prospects coming from them. Spezza has continued to thrive in Dallas, scoring 30 goals in his second year there, while hitting 60+ points twice, and 50 in the other.

Winner: Surprise, surprise – Ottawa loses another trade.

January 14th, 2015 – Minnesota Wild & Arizona Coyotes

Minnesota Acquires – Devan Dubnyk – GM was Chuck Fletcher

Arizona Acquires – 2015 3rd rounder – GM was Don Maloney

I questioned putting this one in, because Dubnyk was struggling at this point in his career. He was coming off a season in which he only played 19 games, with a 9-5-2 record. After the trade however, he put up a record of 27-9-2, with a SV% of 0.936 and a GAA of 1.78. Those are remarkable numbers. He’s become one of the best goalies playing in today’s NHL, and the fact that the Wild were able to get him for a 3rd round pick is phenomenal.

Winner: The Wild win this one

June 26th, 2015 – Edmonton Oilers & New York Islanders

Edmonton Acquires – Griffin Reinhart – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New York Acquires – 2015 1st rounder (Matt Barzal), 2015 2nd rounder (Mitchell Stephens) – GM was Garth Snow

Yes, the Oilers desperately needed NHL defensemen at this point in time. The problem is, they gave up 2 great draft picks for an AHL defenseman. Griffin Reinhart was widely viewed as a bust, after failing to live up to his 4th overall selection in 2012. Whatever prompted Chiarelli to trade a 16th overall pick, plus a 2nd rounder, in what was a deep draft for Reinhart will never make sense to me. The two players who were taken with this picks are likely going to have much better NHL careers than Reinhart. To make this trade look even worse, Reinhart played a total of 37 games for Edmonton and was then claimed by Vegas in the expansion draft.

Winner: The Oilers are still looking for defenders…

June 26th, 2015 – Colorado Avalanche & Buffalo Sabres

Colorado Acquires – Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, JT Compher, 2015 2nd rounder – GM was Joe Sakic

Buffalo Acquires – Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn – GM was Tim Murray

O’Reilly has been a leader on Buffalo since being acquired, and been consistently near the top of their leader board for points. McGinn had a good year for Buffalo in 2015-2016, before being traded for a 3rd round pick. Coloardo has wound up with much less in this trade, with Grigorenko scoring less than 30 points in his two seasons, and has departed for the KHL now. Compher made his NHL debut this year but struggled, while they traded away the 2nd round pick. The lone bright spot is Zadorov, and the jury is still out on him, if he truly is a top-4 defender or not. This is one Sakic would like to take back, and likely while he’s being cautious with trying to trade Duchene.

Winner: Buffalo wins this one

July 18th, 2016 – Ottawa Senators & New York Rangers

Ottawa Acquires – Derick Brassard, 2018 7th rounder – GM was Pierre Doiron

New York Acquires – Mika Zibanejad, 2018 2nd rounder – GM was Jeff Gorton

LOL Hi Sens fans! The picks have yet to be made, but let’s look at the two players’ 2016-2017 seasons. Brassard had 14 goals, 39 points in 81 games. Zibanejad had 14 goals, 37 points in 56 games. The fact that the Rangers got the better player, and upgraded a 7th rounder into a 2nd round pick is just hilarious. No clue what Ottawa was doing here, as the two had basically identically points in the previous season. Brassard is 6 years older as well, so not like they upgraded for youth.

Winner: Looks like Doiron really did learn everything he knows from Bryan Murray. Good trade by the Rangers.

July 27th, 2016 – Edmonton Oilers & New Jersey Devils

Edmonton Acquires – Adam Larsson – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New Jersey Acquires – Taylor Hall – GM was Ray Shero

Ohhhhh Chiarelli. How is this man in charge of an NHL team!! Yes, Larsson is an upgrade to what they had on defense, but you gave up Taylor Hall! For Larsson! 1 for 1!! Oilers fans could be the worst in the league, as they have been defending this trade since it happened. How you can possibly do that is beyond me. Hall is one of the best wingers in the NHL, while Larsson isn’t a true number 1 defender. This is bad, really bad.

Winner: Not even close, Devils win by a mile.

June 22nd, 2017 – Edmonton Oilers & New York Islanders

Edmonton Acquires – Ryan Strome – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New York Acquires – Jordan Eberle – GM was Garth Snow.

It might be a little early to have this one in here, but here’s another instance where Chiarelli did not get full value for the player he was trading away. You can’t keep trading away players and not getting full value back and expect it to all work out, even if your team has McDavid. Sure Eberle struggled in the playoffs this year, but he still scored 20 goals in the regular season, which was actually his lowest total since 2012-2013. Strome’s career best is 17, and then he followed that up with 8 the following season. The kicker here is that Edmonton was making this trade to free up cap space, or so they say. What did they do with this cap space? They signed Kris Russell to 4 years at $4 million per…

Winner: Edmonton will continue to hope McDavid saves them from all of these disastrous trades.

 

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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: New York Islanders

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 Islanders

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ryan Strome (C) 5th overall – Strome is a curious case, as he’s had stretches of exceptional play, and also been demoted to the AHL level as recent as the 2015-2016 season. The biggest issue here is that he was drafted top 5, in a draft where he now ranks 18th in scoring. He’s been passed by over a dozen players in terms of current worth, and struggles to find time on the top unit in NY. This looks like a bad pick for the Islanders at this point.

Round 2 – Scott Mayfield (D) 34th overall – Mayfield is another player who has been passed over by players drafted behind him. He’s played in only 36 games at the NHL level, and hasn’t been all that impressive at the AHL level. It’s tough to imagine Mayfield becoming an everyday defenseman.

Round 2 – Johan Sundstrom (C) 50th overall – Sundstrom played a total of 11 games before heading back to Sweden 2 years ago. He’s put up some impressive stats there, but in his last full AHL season he only had 19 points in 72 games. Yet another player in this draft that turned out to be a disappointment for the Islanders. The other bad part is that the Islanders traded away Wisniewski, who played in 266 NHL games after this trade.

Round 3 – Andrey Pedan (D) 63rd overall – Another miss, with only 13 NHL games played. Pedan is now in the Vancouver organization, but will never likely make the jump to the NHL. Bad news? Vincent Trocheck was taken directly after him. Yikes.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Griffin Reinhart (D) 4th overall – Reinhart has been a massive bust. Somehow, the Islanders were able to flip Reinhart to the Oilers (shocker) for a 1st and 2nd in 2015 (Mathew Barzal), and the Islanders flipped the 2nd round pick to get a 2nd 1st rounder (Beauvillier). I will never understand this trade by Edmonton (among many others).

Round 2 – Ville Pokka (D) 34th overall – Pokka has yet to make his NHL debut, despite being drafted 5 years ago. He was traded to Chicago in the package that brought in Nick Leddy, which has turned out to be great for the Islanders, so I’ll give them a pass on this pick. But in reality, it’s a bad pick.

Round 3 – Adam Pelech (D) 65th overall – Pelech played the majority of this year at the NHL level. He didn’t have much of an impact on the scoring sheet, and the Isles would likely want to upgrade him going into next year, but he will come into camp next year with the probability of making the team. Not bad for a 3rd round pick.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ryan Pulock (D) 15th overall – Pulock took a step back this year, like a lot of the current Islanders. He played in 1 game at the NHL level, but scored 46 points in 55 AHL games. I can’t imagine a scenario where he’s not on the opening day roster of an NHL team next year.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Anaheim for Lubomir Visnovsky. He never excelled in NY, but played fairly consistently for the Islanders. The pick was used on Nick Sorensen, who just made his pro debut this year (22 pts in 48 AHL games).

Round 3 – Eamon McAdam (G) 70th overall – This pick was brough in as part of the Cal Clutterbuck for Nino Niederreiter. McAdam played parts of this year in the AHL and ECHL, posting better numbers in the ECHL. He’s 22 years old, and likely needs to prove himself at the AHL level for a full season if he ever expects to make the jump to the NHL.

Round 3 – Taylor Cammarata (C) 76th overall – Cammarata just finished his 4th year in the NCAA, but didn’t put up impressive numbers. He scored only 5 goals in 34 games, and only hit double digits goals once in his 4 years there. I can’t imagine Cammarata being a legitimate prospect for the Islanders.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Michael Dal Colle (LW) 5th overall – Dal Colle is shaping up to be a bust just like Reinhart. He has yet to play an NHL game, and only managed 41 points in 75 AHL games. He was taken 5th overall! Taken behind him in the draft: William Nylander, Dylan Larkin, David Pastrnak, Nikolaj Ehlers, Viktor Arvidsson, Robby Fabbri, etc, etc, etc. This is another massive miss for the Islanders.

Round 1 – Josh Ho-Sang (RW) 28th overall – The Isles got this extra pick by trading their 2nd round pick in this draft, and another 2nd round in this draft that they had previously obtained. Ho-sang has been labelled as a prospect with an attitude, but this year he finally made his NHL debut. He put up 10 points in 21 games, and looked more and more comfortable as his time went on. He should be riding shotgun to Tavares next year, and could put up big numbers. This was a nice pick for the Islanders after missing on Dal Colle.

Round 3 – Ilya Sorokin (G) 78th overall – Sorokin is growing into the goaltender of the future for NY. He put on a show in the KHL this year, with 5 shutouts in 39 starts, with a GAA of 1.61 and a SV% of 0.929. In 2015-2016, he had 10 shutouts in 28 games, with a GAA of 1.06 and a SV% of 0.953. He has been a beast. What a steal in the 3rd round!

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mathew Barzal (C) 16th overall – This is comical, the Islanders traded Griffin Reinhart to the Oilers for this pick, and a 2nd round pick that they used to get another 1st round pick. So that’s two picks for a player who didn’t play a single game at the NHL level this year, 4 years after being drafted 4th overall! Meanwhile, Barzal looks to be a steal at 16th overall. He played 2 games before being sent to the WHL, where he put up 79 points in 41 games. He has incredible playmaking ability, and will make the team out of camp next year. He will immediately make an impact for the Islanders.

Round 1 – Anthony Beauvillier (LW) 28th overall – The Islanders actually gave up their own pick to the Sabres in this round in sending out Matt Moulson – which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. They received this pick from the Lightning in giving up a 2nd and 3rd rounder. Beauvillier made his NHL debut this year, suiting up for 66 games. He didn’t light the lamp much (24 points), but showed high-end skill at times. He played minutes with John Tavares on the top line, and played down in the lineup as well. This was a great experience for the youngster, a year after scoring 40 goals in 47 games in the QMJHL. He will likely see an increased role next year, and is an important part of the future in NY.

Round 3 – Mitchell Vande Sompel (D) 82nd overall – He finished up his final junior year, with 16 points in 30 games. He’s a small defenceman at 5’10”, but skates well. He will need a couple years adjusting to playing against men before he has any chance of making the big club.

I would classify the Islanders as a poor drafting team. Other than this past draft, they’ve missed on MANY of their picks. Not to mention their free agency signings, this team needs an overhaul. They’ve had plenty of chances to add quality players and seem to nearly always miss.

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