How Well Have the Chicago Blackhawks 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:

To make this post I went through all of the Chicago Blackhawks 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) 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.

NEW CONTENT SINCE MY LAST POST

I asked for your opinions in my Carolina post as to whether or not I should exclude recent drafts to make the information more accurate and I received a number of excellent suggestions. The majority of the responses suggested excluding the 2014 and 2013 drafts so that’s exactly what I’ve done. This post and all future posts will include the 2000 to 2013 drafts. I will also be changing the previous posts to exclude all 2013 and 2014 data. Below you can find a chart which compares the raw data before and after the 2013 & 2014 seasons are excluded:

Draft Totals Incl 2013/14 Excl 2013/14 % Change
Players 153 136 11% less players
50+ GP 31 (20%) 31 (23%) 3%
100+ GP 27 (18%) 27 (20%) 2%
1st Round Incl 2013/14 Excl 2013/14 % Change
Expected Success Rate 64 – 70% 65 – 71% N/A
Actual Success Rate 44% 50% 6%
2nd Round Incl 2013/14 Excl 2013/14 % Change
Expected Success Rate 26 – 32% 26 – 32% N/A
Actual Success Rate 29% 30% 1%
3rd Round Incl 2013/14 Excl 2013/14 % Change
Expected Success Rate 21 – 26% 21 – 26% N/A
Actual Success Rate 6% 7% 1%
4+ Rounds Incl 2013/14 Excl 2013/14 % Change
Expected Success Rate 10 – 15% 10 – 15% N/A
Actual Success Rate 12% 13% 1%

As expected the numbers in every category rose a little. The biggest changes were percent of total players playing 100+ games and the success rate of players drafted in the first round.

OTHER CHANGES MADE

I also added the following metrics:

  • Average Points per Player – Previously I only included the PPG stat, however, on its own this number didn’t paint the full picture because it didn’t account for players who failed to make it into the NHL. Points per game (per player) demonstrates how well players who made it to the NHL performed while average points per player will show how well an entire group of players have done. If you’re confused don’t worry, I will do a better job at explaining when I have some numbers to show.
  • Average Games Played – This stat will give a better idea of how successful an entire group of players performed. The total games played stat was often skewed by one or two players who were successful in a specific round when in reality they may not have drafted very well.

TOTAL PICK DISTRIBUTION

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 31 2043 1069
LW 19 815 309
RW 23 2762 1355
D 43 4102 1709
G 15 708 16
Unspecified 5 37 9
Total 136 10467 4467
  • 31 of 136 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (23%)
  • 27 of 136 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (20%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 10467 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 9759 games and accumulated 4451 points (0.46 PPG)
  • Draftees since 2000 have an average of 37 points
  • Best draft year: 2003 – Seabrook (14th), Crawford (52nd), Byfuglien (245th)
  • Worst draft year: 2000 – Yakobov (10th), Vorobiev (11th). 15 picks in the draft and none played more than 60 games in the NHL.

FIRST ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 5 699 563
LW 1 0 0
RW 4 1574 988
D 4 1478 542
G 1 17 1
Unspecified 1 37 9
Total 12 3805 2103
  • 8 of 16 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (50%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 3805 games and accumulated 2102 points (0.55 PPG)
  • First round picks have an average of 140 points
  • Notable picks: P. Kane (1st, 2007), Toews (3rd, 2006), Seabrook (14th, 2003), T. Ruutu (9th, 2001)

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 6 543 261
LW 5 577 262
RW 3 104 8
D 7 821 421
G 2 269 3
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 23 2314 955
  • 7 of 23 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (30%)
  • Second round picks have played a total of 2314 games and accumulated 952 points (0.47 PPG)
  • Second round picks have an average of 45 points
  • Notable picks: Keith (54th, 2002), Crawford (52nd, 2003), Saad (43rd, 2011), Bolland (32nd, 2004), Bickell (41st, 2004)

THIRD ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 4 58 6
LW 3 45 16
RW 1 0 0
D 3 25 5
G 2 406 12
Unspecified 1 0 0
Total 14 534 39
  • 1 of 14 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (7%)
  • Third round picks have played a total of 534 games and accumulated 27 points (0.21 PPG)
  • Third round picks have an average of 2 points
  • Notable picks: C. Anderson (73rd, 2001)

FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 16 743 239
LW 10 193 31
RW 15 1084 359
D 29 1778 741
G 10 16 0
Unspecified 3 0 0
Total 83 3814 1370
  • 11 of 83 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (13%)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have played 3814 games and accumulated 1370 points (0.36 PPG)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 19 points
  • Notable picks: Byfuglien (245th, 2003), Hjalmarsson (108th, 2005), Brouwer (214th, 2004), Wisniewski (156th, 2002), Kruger (149th, 2009), Shaw (139th, 2011), B. Smith (169th, 2008), Burish (282, 2002)

FUN FACT

  • Chicago had 17 picks in the 2004 draft

WHAT WE LEARNED

Since the 1st overall is very different from 30th overall I used this TSN article, which estimates a player’s probability of playing 100+ NHL games based off their round selection, to 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.

1st Round Pick Position # of Picks Probability of Success
1 – 5 3 96%
6 – 10 3 74%
11 – 15 3 54%
16 – 20 2 62%
21 – 30 5 58%

Chicago’s first round picks have been evenly distributed between all rounds resulting in an expected success rate of 65 to 71 percent; surprisingly Chicago fell well outside of this range with only 50% of their picks playing 100+ NHL games. Even if we include Kevin Hayes and Teravainen (who are below the 100 game threshold) their success rate still falls short of the expected success rate.

Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 65 – 71% 50%
2 26 – 32% 30%
3 21 – 26% 7%
4+ 10 – 15% 13%

If you include the 2013 and 2014 drafts the Blackhawks had 153 picks since 2000 which is 29 more than the next closest team (Buffalo, 124) and 47 more picks than Boston. Even when you exclude Chicago’s 2013/14 draft years they still have 12 more picks than Buffalo.

What might be equally astounding as their immense number of picks is their lack of success in the draft. Since 2000, 20 percent of Chicago’s picks have gone on to play 100+ NHL games (18% before excluding 2013/14) which falls right in the middle of the pack compared to other teams studied so far. But how can a team with first round picks like Toews, Kane, and Seabrook be labelled an average drafting team? The simple answer is that the players who did succeed in the organization completely overshadow the failures. Accounting for the players who never passed the 100 game mark the average Blackhawk first round pick has 238 games played and 140 points. It’s difficult to give these numbers context at this point but as we’ll see compared to later rounds these numbers imply that Chicago has drafted strongly in the first round.

Chicago’s second round drafting is arguably their strongest area with 30 percent of their picks playing an extended period of time in the NHL. Most of Chicago’s second round draftees haven’t become successful through their point production (average player career points = 44) but selections like Keith, Crawford, Saad, Bolland, and Bickell were instrumental in each of their last three cup wins.

The third round has been the polar opposite and possibly the worst of any team in the league. With a success rate of 7 percent (compared to the expected rate of 21 – 26%) Chicago has only drafted one player to make it in the NHL (Craig Anderson). Outside of Anderson their best third round draft pick is Igor Radulov (not Alexander Radulov) who put up 16 points in the NHL before being demoted to the AHL and eventually moving to Russia. Also, if you missed it in the charts above, the average career points for a Chicago third round pick is 2 (that’s not a typo).

The fourth rounds and higher are a significant improvement for Chicago. The Hawks have actually had twice the success in drafting NHL players in the fourth rounds and higher compared to the third round. Specifically Chicago seems to have a knack for finding offensive defensemen in late rounds where they’ve selected Byfuglien (245th overall), Hjalmarsson (108th overall), and Wisniewski (156th overall). Their late round draftees have produced a respectable PPG of 0.36 which ranks second next only to the Arizona Coyotes (0.37 PPG).

Overall Chicago’s drafting has been fairly average over the years. They have maintained their image of being a strong drafting team by picking more players than any other team and as a result have the second highest number of draftees to play 100+ games in the NHL.

My original post from Reddit with full comments can be found here

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