How Well Have the Buffalo Sabres Drafted Since 2000?

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For those of you who haven’t seen my earlier post(s) I am going through each of the 30 teams and breaking down how they have drafted over the past 15 years. The other teams can be found here:

* Anaheim Ducks

* Arizona Coyotes
* Boston Bruins
* Buffalo Sabres
* Calgary Flames
* Carolina Hurricanes
* Chicago Blackhawks
* Colorado Avalanche
* Columbus Blue Jackets
* Dallas Stars
* Detroit Red Wings
* Edmonton Oilers
* Florida Panthers
* Los Angeles Kings
* Minnesota Wild
* Montreal Canadiens
* Nashville Predators
* New Jersey Devils
* New York Islanders
* New York Rangers
* Ottawa Senators
* Philadelphia Flyers
* Pittsburgh Penguins
* San Jose Sharks
* St. Louis Blues
* Tampa Bay Lightning
* Toronto Maple Leafs
* Vancouver Canucks
* Washington Capitals
* Winnipeg Jets

To make this post I went through all of the Buffalo Sabres picks since the 2000 draft.

Many of these players were drafted but traded to other teams where they played most of their careers. Despite playing most of their careers on other teams I still used their full NHL stats for two reasons:

1) The team drafted players they believed to have potential; whether or not they fulfilled their potential on that team or not doesn’t necessarily matter. The important thing is that the team recognized a players true potential and the players that were selected lived up to it.

2) I was lazy.

You could argue that they wouldn’t turn out to be the same players if they stayed on the team, and you’re probably right, but I decided to do it this way so that I could specifically focus on the teams drafting ability and not the player development.

TOTAL PICK DISTRIBUTION

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 26 2719 1284
LW 12 1306 546
RW 20 3425 1799
D 43 4188 1280
G 13 140 1
Unspecified 10 1 0
Total 124 11779 4910
  • 33 of 124 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (27%)
  • 28 of 124 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (23%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 11779 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 11639 games and accumulated 4909 points (0.42 PPG)
  • Best draft year: 2001 – D. Roy (32nd), Thorburn (50th), Pominville (55th)
  • Worst draft year: 2011 – Armia (16th).

FIRST ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 6 742 330
LW 1 570 172
RW 3 1530 1015
D 6 1242 396
G 0 0 0
Unspecified 2 1 0
Total 18 4085 1913
  • 10 of 18 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (56%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 4085 games and accumulated 1913 points (0.47 PPG)
  • Notable picks: Vanek (5th, 2003), Ballard (11th, 2002), Stafford (13th, 2004), Paille (20th, 2002), Myers (12th, 2008), Ennis (26th, 2008)

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 4 828 550
LW 3 0 0
RW 5 1356 690
D 6 370 63
G 1 131 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 19 2685 1303
  • 5 of 19 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (26%)
  • Second round picks have played a total of 2685 games and accumulated 1303 points (0.51 PPG)
  • Notable picks: Pominville (55th, 2001), D. Roy (32nd, 2001), Thorburn (50th, 2001), M. Weber (57th, 2006), Enroth (46th, 2006)

THIRD ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 3 0 0
LW 2 544 304
RW 2 148 27
D 8 668 209
G 1 0 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 16 1360 540
  • 4 of 16 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (25%)
  • Third round picks have played a total of 1360 games and accumulated 540 points (0.40 PPG)
  • Notable picks: MacArthur (74th, 2003), Sekera (71st, 2004), Tropp (89th, 2007), McNabb (66th, 2009)

FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 13 1149 404
LW 6 192 70
RW 10 391 67
D 23 1908 612
G 11 9 1
Unspecified 8 0 0
Total 71 3649 1154
  • 9 of 71 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (13%)
    Fourth to ninth round picks have played 3649 games and accumulated 1153 points (0.32 PPG)
    Notable picks: Wideman (241st, 2002), Gaustad (220th, 2000), Hejda (106th, 2003), Butler (96th, 2005), Kaleta (176th, 2004), Gerbe (142nd, 2005), M. Foligno (104th, 2009)

WHAT WE LEARNED

/u/Ichibani made a great suggestion in my last post that I should further analyze where in the first round players are drafted since the 1st overall is very different from 30th overall. Based off this TSN article, which estimates a player’s probability of playing 100+ NHL games based off their round selection, I determined how well a team drafted in the first round relative to their pick placement. In other words, I determined if a team drafted well or poorly in the first round by comparing their success rate to the historical league average.

Position # of Picks Probability of Success
1 – 5 2 96%
6 – 10 1 74%
11 – 15 8 54%
16 – 20 3 62%
21 – 30 4 58%
Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 59 – 65% 56%
2 26 – 32% 26%
3 21 – 26% 25%
4+ 10 – 15% 13%

The majority of Buffalo’s first round picks have been in the mid-to-late round resulting in an expected success rate of 59 to 65 percent; Buffalo fell just short of this average with 23 percent of first round picks playing 100+ NHL games.

Of the four teams I have previously analyzed Buffalo is the first to have their draftees exceed the 10,000 games played mark (Anaheim with 9016 is closest). While this may seem impressive it can largely be attributed to how many players they’ve drafted. In fact, Buffalo has averaged one extra pick per draft versus any of the other teams I’ve studied so far.

Looking at the rest of the rounds Buffalo has drafted on par with the expected historical averages. Their second round success can largely be attributed to the 2001 draft where they had three 2nd round picks and selected Pominville, D. Roy and Thorburn. Outside of the 2001 draft they’ve only had 2 of 16 picks play more than 100 games.

Though Buffalo falls within the expected success range for third round draft picks they have picked well compared to other teams we’ve studied so far. Their success rate of 25% is way above the likes of Anaheim (12%), Arizona (14%), and Boston (10%).

The majority of Buffalo’s extra picks come in the 4th to 9th rounds. Since 2000 they’ve have 71 picks in these rounds which is 14 more than Anaheim, 7 more than Arizona, and 6 more than Boston. Their success rate for these rounds has fallen within the historical average with their most successful late round pick being Wideman (241st, 2002).

Conclusion: Buffalo has drafted average but consistently in all rounds.

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