How Well Have the Nashville Predators 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 Nashville Predators picks between 2000 and 2012.

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 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.

TOTAL PICK DISTRIBUTION

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 19 1584 575
LW 23 2287 1038
RW 14 1394 567
D 37 4141 1602
G 14 543 12
Unspecified 6 3 2
Total 113 9952 3796
  • 29 of 113 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (26%)
  • 26 of 113 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (23%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 9952 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 9409 games and accumulated 3784 points (0.40 PPG)
  • Draftees since 2000 have an average of 38 points and 88 games played
  • Best draft year: 2003 – Ryan Suter (7th), Kevin Klein (37th), Shea Weber (49th)
  • Worst draft year: 2006 – No first round pick. Blake Geoffrion (56th) is the only pick with NHL experience (55 GP, 13 P)

All Time Best Picks

  • Forward: Scott Hartnell
  • Defenseman: Shea Weber
  • Goaltender: Pekka Rinne
  • Most Games Played by a Draftee: Scott Hartnell (1030)
  • Most Points by a Draftee: Scott Hartnell (598)

FIRST ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 2 374 179
LW 2 1583 832
RW 1 154 102
D 5 1981 743
G 1 0 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 11 4092 1856
  • 9 of 11 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (82%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 4092 games and accumulated 1856 points (0.45 PPG)
  • First round picks have an average of 186 points and 372 games played
  • Notable picks: Scott Hartnell (6th, 2000), Dan Hamhuis (12th, 2001), Ryan Suter (7th, 2003), Scottie Upshall (6th, 2002), Colin Wilson (7th, 2008), Ryan Ellis (11th, 2009), Alexander Radulov (15th, 2004), Jonathan Blum (23rd, 2007), Ryan Parent (18th, 2005)

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 1 0 0
LW 5 458 129
RW 2 17 4
D 5 1436 635
G 2 1 0
Unspecified 1 1 1
Total 16 1913 769
  • 4 of 16 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (25%)
  • Second round picks have played a total of 1913 games and accumulated 769 points (0.40 PPG)
  • Second round picks have an average of 55 points and 120 games played
  • Notable picks: Shea Weber (49th, 2003), Kevin Klein (37th, 2003), Nick Spaling (58th, 2007), Roman Josi (38th, 2008)

THIRD ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 5 70 10
LW 4 1 0
RW 2 86 23
D 6 548 191
G 0 0 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 17 705 224
  • 2 of 17 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (12%)
  • Third round picks have played a total of 705 games and accumulated 224 points (0.32 PPG)
  • Third round picks have an average of 13 points and 41 games played
  • Notable picks: Cody Franson (79th, 2005), Alexander Sulzer (92nd, 2003)

FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 11 1140 386
LW 12 245 77
RW 9 1137 438
D 21 176 33
G 11 542 12
Unspecified 5 2 1
Total 69 3242 947
  • 11 of 69 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (16%)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have played 3242 games and accumulated 935 points (0.35 PPG)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 16 points and 47 games played
  • Notable picks: Pekka Rinne (258th, 2004), Patric Hornqvist (230th, 2005), Matt Hendricks (131st, 2000), Jordin Tootoo (98th, 2004), Craig Smith (98th, 2009), Mattias Ekholm (102nd, 2009), Mike Santorelli (178th, 2004), Anders Lindback (207th, 2008), Brandon Segal (102nd, 2002), Gabriel Bourque (132nd, 2009), Cal O’Reilly (150th, 2005)

FUN FACT

  • Patric Hornqvist was taken with the last pick in the 2005 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 0 96%
6 – 10 4 74%
11 – 15 3 54%
16 – 20 3 62%
21 – 30 1 58%

Since 2000 the Predators have had the sixth overall pick twice and the seventh overall pick once but never selected in the top five. Their pick distribution has been fairly centralized with 6 of 11 picks being between 10th and 20th overall. The Predators absoulutely crushed the expected success range of 61 to 67 percent with 9 of 11 picks (82%) playing 100+ NHL games.

Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 61 – 67% 82%
2 26 – 32% 25%
3 21 – 26% 12%
4+ 10 – 15% 16%

Simply put, in the first round the Nashville Predators have been the best in the league at consistently drafting NHL caliber players. The only team that comes close to Nashville’s success rate of 82 percent is Detroit at 80 percent but they only had five first picks compared to Nashville’s 11. The average Predators first round pick has played 372 NHL games which is the highest of all teams studied. The Predators have shown a preference towards drafting defensemen (5 of 11 picks) and as a result their points per game (0.45) and average points per draftee (186) rank a little lower at 10th and 3rd respectively. All in all the Preds make a strong case for being the best first round drafting team in the league.

Outside of a few solid picks the Predators drafting hasn’t been nearly as impressive in the second round. With 4 of 16 draftees seeing extended time in the NHL their success rate of 25 percent falls just below the expected rate. Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, and Roman Josi (all defensemen) highlight a short list of successful draftees.

Nashville’s third round drafting continues a trend where their drafting success has more than halved each round. Cody Franson accounts for 57 percent of draftees games played despite the Preds having the most third round picks of any team. Their success rate of 12 percent is fourth worst of all teams studied.

After having an average second round and poor third round the Predators have had a ton of success with their depth picks. Their success rate of 16% not only surpasses expectations but also ranks them first in the league (tied with Columbus). Their average points per player of 16 and average games played of 47 both rank 6th league wide. After having the highest success rate in the league there it’s a wonder as to why their average points and games played rank only sixth. There are two reasons for this: 1) Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback are both included in the overall success rate but are excluded from the average points per player calculation; 2) The Predators have drafted a number of players who met the 100 games played threshold but haven’t made it to the 150 games played mark.

Looking at their drafting as a whole Nashville has performed comparable to the current league average:

Category League Avg. Nashville Difference
Draftees 106 113 +7
100+ GP 23 26 +3
100+ GP (%) 22% 23% +1%
Total GP 9014 9952 +938
Skater PTS 3507 3784 +277
Skater PPG 0.41 0.40 -0.01
AVG PTS 37 38 +1
AVG GP 85 88 +3

With seven more picks than the league average the Predators performed on par with the league average. After exceptional first round drafting I expected that Nashville would rank among the leagues best but average second round drafting and very poor third round drafting pulled their overall numbers down to the middle of the pack.

One area where Nashville has excelled is drafting defensemen. Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Klein, Cody Franson, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm produce the longest list of high-caliber NHL defensemen that we’ve seen so far.

Overall, the Predators have drafted exceptionally well, exceptionally average, and exceptionally poor depending on the round under study; they should finish among the middle of the pack in my final rankings.

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