How Well Have the New Jersey Devils 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 New Jersey Devils 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 1234 558
LW 18 1456 695
RW 13 984 271
D 36 2476 591
G 6 1 0
Unspecified 12 360 18
Total 104 6511 2133
  • 24 of 104 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (23%)
  • 18 of 104 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (17%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 6511 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 6510 games and accumulated 2133 points (0.33 PPG)
  • Draftees since 2000 have an average of 22 points and 63 games played
  • Best draft year: 2000 – David Hale (22nd), Paul Martin (62nd), Mike Rupp (76th), Deryk Engelland (194th)
  • Worst draft year: 2006 – Matt Corrente (30th). A combined 152 NHL games played and 25 points between 8 draftees

All Time Best Picks

  • Forward: Zach Parise
  • Defenseman:Paul Martin
  • Goaltender: Jeff Frazee
  • Most Games Played by a Draftee: Paul Martin (697)
  • Most Points by a Draftee: Zach Parise (566)

FIRST ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 3 805 384
LW 1 691 566
RW 2 293 113
D 3 553 86
G 0 0 0
Unspecified 1 24 4
Total 10 2366 1153
  • 7 of 10 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (70%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 2366 games and accumulated 1153 points (0.49 PPG)
  • First round picks have an average of 115 points and 237 games played
  • Notable picks: Zach Parise (17th, 2003), Travis Zajac (20th, 2004), David Hale (22nd, 2000), Adam Larsson (4th, 2011), Jacob Josefson (20th, 2009), Nicklas Bergfors (23rd, 2005), Mattias Tedenby (24th, 2008)

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 3 66 6
LW 3 33 7
RW 2 38 3
D 8 988 362
G 1 1 0
Unspecified 1 0 0
Total 18 1126 378
  • 3 of 18 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (17%)
  • Second round picks have played a total of 1126 games and accumulated 378 points (0.34 PPG)
  • Second round picks have an average of 22 points and 63 games played
  • Notable picks: Paul Martin (62nd, 2000), Eric Gelinas (54th, 2009), Jon Merrill (38th, 2010), Damon Severson (60th, 2012)

THIRD ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 3 275 154
LW 4 618 99
RW 3 169 39
D 5 253 26
G 1 0 0
Unspecified 2 0 0
Total 18 1315 318
  • 3 of 18 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (17%)
  • Third round picks have played a total of 1315 games and accumulated 318 points (0.24 PPG)
  • Third round picks have an average of 19 points and 73 games played
  • Notable picks: Mike Rupp (76th, 2000), Adam Henrique (82nd, 2008), Mark Fraser (84th, 2005)

FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 10 88 14
LW 10 114 23
RW 6 484 116
D 20 682 117
G 4 0 0
Unspecified 8 336 14
Total 58 1704 284
  • 5 of 58 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (9%)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have played 1704 games and accumulated 284 points (0.17 PPG)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 5 points and 29 games played
  • Notable picks: Cam Janssen (117th, 2002), Matt Halischuk (117th, 2007), Mark Fayne (155th, 2005), Daryk Engelland (194th, 2000), Aaron Voros (229th, 2001)

FUN FACT

  • Only 4 of 104 New Jersey Devils draftees have more than 100 career points
  • Parise, Zajac, and Henrique are the only New Jersey draftees with a PPG higher than 0.50

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 1 96%
6 – 10 0 74%
11 – 15 0 54%
16 – 20 3 62%
21 – 30 6 58%

With their recent struggles it’s easy to forget how dominant the Devils have been throughout the 21st century. Between 2000 and 2012 they’ve only had a pick in the top 15 once (Adam Larsson, 4th overall). With the majority of their picks being late in the first round they had an expected success range of 60 to 66 percent. The Devils handily surpassed these expectations with 7 of 10 draftees playing 100+ NHL games.

Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 60 – 66% 70%
2 26 – 32% 17%
3 21 – 26% 17%
4+ 10 – 15% 9%

From we above chart we really begin to grasp how much the Devils have struggled outside of their first round picks. After drafting 7 NHL players with 10 picks in the first round the Devils only drafted 6 NHL players with 36 picks in the second and third rounds combined. What makes things even worse is that only two of those six players (Paul Martin and Adam Henrique) have more than 100 career points.

New Jersey deserves credit for their consist drafting of NHL players in the first round, however, outside of a select few (mainly Parise) they haven’t drafted many stand out players that you’d expect to find early in the draft. Their first round draftee points per game of 0.49 ranks seventh 18 teams but their average points per draftee (115) and average games played (237) both rank 13th. The teams high points per game is largely skewed by Zach Parise (0.82 PPG). The Devils average points and games played per player paint a better picture of how their draftees have performed in the first round.

While New Jersey’s depth drafting looks like a minor improvement over the second and third rounds there is a strong argument that they’ve picked just as poorly if not worse. Their nine percent success rate ties them with Calgary and Edmonton for 12th of all teams studied but their average games played (29), average points (5) and points per game (0.17) all rank in the bottom five of the league. Of their 58 picks not a single draftee has more than 75 career points.

At this point it should come as no surprise that New Jersey has performed poorly against the current league average:

Category League Avg. New Jersey Difference
Draftees 106 104 -2
100+ GP 23 18 -5
100+ GP (%) 21% 17% -4%
Total GP 8875 6511 -2364
Skater PTS 3431 2133 -1298
Skater PPG 0.40 0.33 -0.07
AVG PTS 36 22 -14
AVG GP 84 63 -21

While a difference in points per game of 0.07 may seem trivial, when extrapolated for 100+ draftees we see that Devils draftees have 2364 less games played and nearly 1300 less points than the average team. New Jersey’s average points per draftee (22) and points per game (0.33) both rank last in the league with their average games played (63) finishing second lowest.

The biggest positive for the Devils is that they’re rebuilding from the net outward. They have a top five goaltender complimented by a young defensive core that has the potential to turn the Devils back into the competitors they were in the early 2000’s.

TL;DR – The Devils have consistently drafted NHL quality players in the first round but haven’t found many all-star caliber skaters that you’d expect to find early in the draft. Outside of the first round their drafting has been exceptionally poor with only 2 of their 94 picks from the second to ninth rounds scoring more than 100 career points. The Devils will be in or just outside of the bottom five teams in my final rankings.

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