Draft strategy / two articles in two days?!

That’s right! Two posts in two days! It can only mean one thing: my boss is away at conference.

Anyhoo, interesting article over here. I’m a sucker for anything that goes back and reads the tea leaves of former drafts for trends. This one points out that because the developmental timeline for most defencemen is longer than a forward, it’s more difficult to forecast their ceiling. Because it’s easier to whiff on taking them, it makes less sense to use a valuable first round pick on the back end. This is discussed in the context of the LA Kings, who used several first round picks on defencemen over their horribly long rebuild, and saw few of them become contributors. In the end they signed UFAs like Mitchell or Scuderi, or saw players drafted in later rounds like Voynov become bigger contributors. (Doughty is the elephant-sized exception to this rule.) The same can of course be said of goalies, though for some reason this is common knowledge while the defenceman principle has yet to shine through.

If you have a top five pick it rarely matters: you’re going to get a good player (though not necessarily an elite one). The point sort of being that there are two basic draft assumptions that mid-round drafters like Ottawa can live by:

  1. Never draft a goalie or defenceman in the first round; always a forward. First round picks are too valuable to risk on something so hard to predict.
  2. Draft more defencemen overall than forwards. Because of the difficulty in predicting who will succeed, you need to up your chances of success. Just use later picks.

The interesting thing this year is that so many defencemen are projected to go in the first round. A number of mock drafts have a couple of D going in the first few picks – Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba, Morgan Rielly, maybe Jacob Trouba - but I really wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of these players slip down the board. Murray’s probably going to get picked early, but I can’t see too many teams leaving a Teuvo Teravainen or Sebastian Collberg on the board so they can draft one of many solid-looking D who are still years away from playing.

What this means for Ottawa, perhaps, is that they’ll have a slew of quality defencemen log jamming the mid-round and not a lot of quality forwards available. It puts the team in an interesting spot: do you go with common wisdom, trade down, and simply grab more defencemen later on? Or do you use your pick on one of these spurned defencemen and hope like hell you got the right one?

10 thoughts on “Draft strategy / two articles in two days?!

  1. Very interesting read. Jarick one of the comments in the article you suggested, did a brief analysis of some intersting statistics for each position including: avg draft position, development time etc… You would think Edmonton would take a defensement 1st round someday, but maybe given this analysis it would be better to grab another forward who has a higher probability of success, use him to deal for a defense and more picks. This also brings into question Murray’s “best player available” philosophy. If the best player available were a defensemen, his probability to succeed is exceeded by that of a forward drafted in the same place. Goalies are a huge gamble!! I would never think of drafting one first round!! It’s a crap shoot it seems. Look at Niemi, Halak, and hell even Elliot went on a tear. You are relevant one year, maybe not the next; unless you are Marty Brodeur. Needless to say you will never, ever see a DiPietro contract ever again. That guy must have the biggest blow habit!!

    2 WordPress emails in two days!! It must be…..i dunno….something…..I missed you guys

  2. “No! Don’t turn your 15th overall pick into garbage by wasting it on a little tiny defenseman*!” – Don Brennan, local boob, 2008

    *paraphrase is the new quote!

    • To be fair, Brennan didn’t actually call Karlsson a “garbage pick.” He just quoted one guy from the stands who said it, which is worse, because he didn’t have the courage to say it himself and used a single fan opinion to imply it.

      • That’s Brennan’s MO alright. His informal poll of patio drinkers about whether or not fans wanted to trade Spezza is the stuff of legend around here. (At the WTYKY offices. In Greely.)

        • Youre right, he didnt SAY he was a garbage pick. He just wrote an article titled Karlsson’s ‘a garbage pick,’ quoted only one Sens fan at the draft (that was held in Ottawa) who called Karlsson a “garbage pick” and then questioned if he would even make the NHL and how it was hard to be excited about him…on draft day. Look, I had my doubts about Karlsson back then too but the point is, I think Don Brennan has a lot of really interesting things to say about hair gel and Hawaiian shirts.

    • Kenny Jonsson is dominating for Sweden. He deeitinfly would be a great pickup for a NHL team if he decided to come back. I think he could play on most NHL teams as a #2 or #3 defenseman.I do believe that the bottom teams do improve from playing the top ones. Norway’s run this year was quite impressive. And we’re starting to see teams like Slovenia and Denmark now produce NHL calibre talent.Hungary is a great story… next year will be their first year in the top group for 70 years thanks to some great goaltending by former Calgary prospect Levente Szuper.

  3. Pingback: Senators News: June 16th | eyeonthesens

  4. Pingback: Roundtable of Death – Draft Edition |

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