Detroit is at the other end of the spectrum of succesful drafting. They've only had four first round picks the last 10 drafts (1998-2008), Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Fischer being the two NHL tandouts. But of course, their talent has been getting obscure talent later in the draft. Datsyuk Zetterburg, Franzen, Fillipula, Helm, and Quincey are all players Detroit has picked in the third round and on the last 10 years of drafting that we could call legit NHL players. One could argue that Detroit drafting is slowly becoming more of an old myth than practice but it's still great, even though Zetterburg was the last star they drafted late and that was 10 years ago.
So, where in this situation does Edmonton fall into play? Well, that's the problem.
If we start off by looking at first round success, the initial problem is draft placement. Edmonton isn't bad enough on a constant enough level to get the top five picks, but if you look at where the Capitals have grabbed some it's core, it's a little depressing. Semin, Varlamov and Green were all picked in the later half of the first round. Of course if it wasn't for that 1st pick overall turning into Ovechkin, they wouldn't the force they are today, but it wouldn't be hard to argue they still would be a fine team.
Teams that have the inability to draft well early then rely on the ability to find players later in the draft and, let's be honest, get a little lucky. Looking at what the Oilers have drafted in the third round and on the last 10 years, you'll see they haven't done badly. Shawn Horcoff, Mike Comrie, Matthew Lombardi, Jussi Markkanen, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Stortini are all players that the Oilers have taken in the third round or later, and together they've played closed to 2000 games. That's not bad at all. Now, comparing that list of players to what the Wings have amassed is more humbling, but comparing anything to what Detroit has usually is.
So, if we're just looking at late draft success, what can we say is a good way to measure it? Games played? That's a tricky method, because it's not hard to say it's easier for players to make the roster on bad teams and in a sense "boost" up the games played. I'm not sure Stortini would have 170 games played if he was part of the Red Wings system. But for now, let's pretend the best way to equate success late in the draft is just games played.
Here's the list of the top five teams for GP from the third round down from the last 10 drafts from 1998-2008 (including 2007 and 2008 is almost pointless though)
- Colorado - 2917 GP
- Pittsburgh - 2820 GP
- Tampa Bay- 2349 GP
- Edmonton - 2344 GP
- Montreal - 2291 GP
- Washington - 439 GP
- Phoenix - 667 GP
- Minnesota - 1124 GP
- Vancouver - 1171 GP
- New Jersey - 1302 GP
What does this tell us, if anything? Well, that Colorado and Pittsburgh are fantastic at getting players later in the draft, and that Washington and Phoenix need some more prayer before their drafts. What this doesn't do of course, is consider the level of talent being picked and the sort of worth to the team, but what it can do at least is show which teams are able to get NHL players later in the draft, and it seems Edmonton is good at it. It's just not elite talent.