Sunday, 27 January 2013

Exuberance vs. Experience

There's a lot to be said for the scouts that uncover amazing talent for NHL teams. Those are the men that should be paid a king's ransom for finding talent amongst the many options available to teams when it comes to picking a player. There are no-brainers - Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Tavares - but some picks don't pan out for a number of reasons. It's hard to build a team around a handful of players who never quite reach that star potential, so I wanted to take a look at how many first-round picks are being dressed for each team. This should, in theory, give us an idea of which teams will be successful.

This idea was brought about by a comment made on Twitter by George C. and retweeted by Comcast Sportsnet's Tim Panaccio. Last night, in the Flyers game versus the Florida Panthers, the Flyers dressed nine first-round picks. George wanted to know if this was the NHL's highest total, so I began the work to find out if the Flyers did have the most players chosen in the first round in their lineup.

To see any of the first-round picks on any of the teams, just click the team name. The players on that roster that were chosen in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft will appear below the team name. Here are the counts as to which teams have the most first-round picks on their rosters.

Anaheim Ducks - 12

Boston Bruins - 5

Buffalo Sabres - 8

Calgary Flames - 6

Carolina Hurricanes - 11

Chicago Blackhawks - 6

Colorado Avalanche - 7

Columbus Blue Jackets - 7

Dallas Stars - 4

Detroit Red Wings - 8

Edmonton Oilers - 13

Florida Panthers - 12

Los Angeles Kings - 9

Minnesota Wild - 9

Montreal Canadiens - 6

Nashville Predators - 5

New Jersey Devils - 10

New York Islanders - 9

New York Rangers - 10

Ottawa Senators - 8

Philadelphia Flyers - 11

Phoenix Coyotes - 11

Pittsburgh Penguins - 7

San Jose Sharks - 9

St. Louis Blues - 12

Tampa Bay Lightning - 7

Toronto Maple Leafs - 9

Vancouver Canucks - 11

Washington Capitals - 10

Winnipeg Jets - 13

So what do all these first-round picks mean in terms of success? Well, not much in terms of an analysis. After all, Edmonton and Winnipeg/Atlanta have the most first-round picks on their rosters, and both have a long history of missing the playoffs in recent memory. On the flip side, Dallas has four first-round picks playing for them this season, and they also haven't had much playoff success as of recent, either.

Here's what I do know from the numbers above:
  • 11 of 30 teams have ten or more first-round starters this season.
  • Southeast Division has 53 first-rounders starting this season.
  • Atlantic Division has 47 first-rounders on their rosters.
  • Northwest Division has 46 first-rounders on their rosters.
  • Pacific Division has 45 first-rounders on their rosters.
  • Central Division has 38 first-rounders on their rosters.
  • Northeast Division has just 36 first-rounders on their rosters.
  • Only Southeast team to have less than ten first-rounders is Tampa Bay.
  • Northeast Division is the only division to have all teams with less than ten first-rounders.
  • Canadian teams feature 66 first-round picks on their rosters.
  • The state of California has 30 first-rounders.
  • The Hartford Whalers still have two first-round picks on rosters.
  • The Quebec Nordiques have no first-round picks on rosters.
  • The last five Stanley Cup winners feature nine or less first-round picks.
  • The Los Angeles Kings feature first-round picks from only Philly and LA.
  • Washington features four players drafted in the first round of 2004 Draft.
  • Philadelphia has no players drafted in the same first-round draft year.
  • San Jose features the #1 and #2 picks of the 1997 Draft.
I thought that was a pretty interesting look. I won't lie when I say that the coding for this exercise took me a while to figure out, but I like the results. Thoughts? Additions? Notice any trends? Let me know!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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