Western Leaders at All-Star Break (Leaders at break in 2018-2019)

 

Goals – 30 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado (29 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton, Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary, Patrick Kane – Chicago, Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado)

Assists – 49 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton (52 – Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg)

Points – 76 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton (74 – Mikko Rantanen – Colorado)

PPP – 34 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton (28 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado)

Shots on Goal – 229 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado (217 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado)

PIM – 95 – Evander Kane – San Jose (112 – Antoine Roussel – Vancouver)

Best plus/minus – plus 34 – Ryan Graves – Colorado (plus 29 – Mark Giordano – Calgary)

Worst plus/minus – minus 35 – Andreas Athanasiou – Detroit, Valtteri Filppula – Detroit (minus 20 – Erik Gudbranson – Vancouver)

Hits – 218 – Ryan Reaves – Vegas (219 – William Carrier – Vegas)

Blocked shots – 148 – Oscar Klefbom – Edmonton (133 – Ian Cole – Colorado)

FOW – 612 – Ryan O'Reilly – St. Louis (666 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver)

FOL – 477 – Mark Scheifele – Winnipeg (592 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver)

Giveaways – 64 – Drew Doughty – Los Angeles (76 – Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary)

Takeaways – 66 – Mark Stone – Vegas (76 – Mark Stone – Vegas)

Drawn penalties – 25 – Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg (27 – Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado)

5 on 5 SH% (min 20 GP) – 12.4 – Ryan Graves – Colorado (12.3 – Elias Pettersson – Vancouver)

Highest CF% (min 20 GP) – 58.1 – Max Pacioretty – Vegas (59.4 – Joe Thornton – San Jose, Erik Karlsson – San Jose)

Lowest CF% (min 20 GP) – 29.9 – David Gustafsson – Winnipeg (39.8 – Jay Beagle – Vancouver, Brandon Sutter – Vancouver)

Highest PDO (min 20 GP) – 106.4 – Robert Bortuzzo – St. Louis (106.7 – Colton Sissons – Nashville, Nick Bonino – Nashville)

Lowest PDO (min 20 GP) – 90.6 – Andreas Athanasiou – Detroit (92.5 – Brandon Manning – Chicago/Edmonton)

Goalie wins – 22 – Jordan Binnington – St. Louis (23 – Martin Jones – San Jose)

Save percentage (min 20 GP) – 92.9 – Darcy Kuemper – Arizona (92.3 – Anton Khudobin – Dallas)

Quality starts – 23 – Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg, Jordan Binnington – St. Louis (25 – Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota)

 

We will look at the draft history since 1999 of all of the Western Conference teams (except Vegas) over the next few months. I’ve charted each year with the team’s point total (blue), the NHL average point total (green), the average number of NHL games the team’s draft picks have played in the NHL (brown), and the NHL average games played per pick (yellow). There is no perfect measurement of success in a draft, but games played does indicate a certain degree of success if you have a draft pick who plays over 400 games in the NHL compared to a draft pick who plays 100 games.

 

Let’s start with the first five teams (alphabetically) in the West for Part one.

 

Anaheim

 

 

The Ducks have usually been above the league average in points from 2005 on and this season is the first year they have dipped below since 2012. They averaged 7.09 picks per season from 1999 to 2019, whereas the league sits at about 7.83 for this period. Looking at the chart, they have four years that were notably above the league average: 1999 (Pierre Gauthier), 2003 (Bryan Murray), 2010, 2011, and 2014 (Bob Murray), which speaks well to their scouting department. They appear to only have the one year in 2007 (Brian Burke) where they whiffed on the draft.

 

Notable hits:

2003 – 1st round 19th pick – Ryan Getzlaf (1,030 NHL games) – Brian Murray, GM

2003 – 1st round 28th pick – Corey Perry (1,024) – Brian Murray

 

Notable misses:

2000 – 1st round 12th pick – Alexei Smirnov (52) –Pierre Gauthier

2006 – 1st round 19th pick – Mark Mitera (0) – Brian Burke

2007 – 1st round 19th pick – Logan MacMillan (0) –Brian Burke

 

Arizona

 

 

For a franchise that has only had one season above 100 points (2010) since being in Phoenix, their drafting has been fairly disappointing, other than 2004, 2005, and perhaps trending that way in 2016. The club has averaged 7.90 picks per year, which is a little above average but has not produced that superstar player or players who can carry a franchise, like Anaheim before them with Getzlaf and Perry.

 

Notable hits:

2004 – 1st round 5th pick – Blake Wheeler (911) – Mike Barnett

2005 – 4th round 105th pick – Keith Yandle (956) – Mike Barnett

2009 – 1st round 6th pick – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (708) – Don Maloney

 

Notable misses:

1999 – 1st round 15th pick – Scott Kelman (0) – Bobby Smith

2002 – 1st round 19th pick – Jakub Koreis (0) – Mike Barnett/Cliff Fletcher

2003 – had no 1st or 2nd round pick and no NHL games from this draft year – Mike Barnett traded both away

2010 – 1st round 13th pick – Brandon Gormley (58) – Don Maloney

2012 – 1st round 27th pick – Henrik Samuelsson (3) – Don Maloney

 

Calgary

 

 

The Flames have had some very good years of drafting in 2000, 2007, 2011, and then 2014, 2015, and 2016. They had 107 points last year and that was their best regular season since winning the Stanley Cup in 1988-89. Because of their recent drafting and getting some pretty early returns, they should be a competitive team in the next few seasons if they don’t panic and start dealing some of these players they have brought along. The team did have some horrible years of drafting in 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010. They have averaged 7.52 picks per year but only 5.9 in the past six years.

 

Notable hits:

2003 – 1st round 9th pick – Dion Phaneuf (1,048) – Darryl Sutter

2011 – 4th round 104th pick – Johnny Gaudreau (444) – Jay Feaster

 

Notable misses:

2000 – 1st round 9th pick – Brent Krahn (1) – Craig Button

2004 – 1st round 24th pick – Kris Chucko (2) – Darryl Sutter

2005 – 1st round 26th pick – Matt Pelech (13) – Darryl Sutter

2006 – 1st round 26th pick – Leland Irving (13) – Darryl Sutter

2008 – 1st round 25th pick – Greg Nemisz (15) – Darryl Sutter

 

Chicago

 

 

The Blackhawks are the model of an NHL franchise building through the draft and winning through patience and fortunate draft positions. The team did not perform above the league average from 1998 to 2008 except for one year in 2001-2002, and had some pretty high draft picks to show for it, peaking with the first overall pick in 2007 and getting Patrick Kane. The team had already knocked it out of the park in 2002 and 2003, so with picking Jonathan Toews in 2006 and Kane in 2007, it set up their three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015. The interesting stat through the years is that the team averaged 9.52 picks per year, well above the league average of 7.83, which is very unusual for a team with this much success.

 

Notable hits:

2002 – 2nd round 54th pick – Duncan Keith (1,119) – Mike Smith

2003 – 1st round 14th pick – Brent Seabrook (1,114) – Mike Smith

2003 – 8th round 245th pick – Dustin Byfuglien (869) – Mike Smith

2006 – 1st round 3rd pick – Jonathan Toews (924) – Dale Tallon

2007 – 1st round 1st pick – Patrick Kane (954) – Dale Tallon

 

Notable misses:

2000 – 1st round 10th pick – Mikhail Yakubov (53) – Bob Pulford

2000 – 1st round 11th pick – Pavel Vorobiev (57) – Bob Pulford

2001 – 1st round 29th pick – Adam Munro (17) – Mike Smith

2008 – 1st round 11th pick – Kyle Beach (0) – Dale Tallon

2011 – 1st round 18th pick – Mark McNeill (2) – Stan Bowman

 

Colorado

 

 

Colorado has drafted pretty close to the league average in most years except for some stellar years in 1999, 2009, and 2013. It appears that they didn’t do as well in 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. They averaged eight picks per year, right on pace with the league average. Things are looking up in Colorado this year and last as it has been awhile since they were a hundred-point team (not including the anomaly of 2013-2014). Just looking at the graph, you can tell it was a fairly turbulent time from 2007 to 2014.

 

Notable hits:

1999 – 7th round 212th pick – Radim Vrbata (1,057) – Pierre Lacroix

2000 – 5th round 159th pick – John-Michael Liles (836) – Pierre Lacroix

2005 – 2nd round 44th pick – Paul Stastny (926) – Pierre Lacroix

2009 – 2nd round 33rd pick – Ryan O’Reilly (782) – Greg Sherman

 

Notable misses:

1999 – 1st round 25th pick – Mikhail Kuleshov (3) – Pierre Lacroix

2000 – 1st round 14th pick – Vaclav Nedorost (99) – Pierre Lacroix

2002 – 1st round 28th pick – Jonas Johansson (1) – Pierre Lacroix

2010 – 1st round 17th pick – Joey Hishon (13) – Greg Sherman

2014 – 1st round 23rd pick – Conner Bleackley (0)– Patrick Roy

 

In part two, we will look at five more teams and see how they have fared. I also want to clarify, on the misses I have listed, that there are all sorts of factors that come into play as to whether a player makes the NHL or not. These players were (and in some cases are) damn good hockey players. I don’t mean to diminish their accomplishments in any way, as not many of us can state that we were drafted by an NHL team. This is more a reflection on the GMs and scouting departments of the time.

 

If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know below and/or follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.