How Well Have the New York Islanders Drafted Since 2000?

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 York Islanders 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.


Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 19 1941 1089
LW 23 2632 952
RW 10 927 422
D 40 2142 606
G 11 403 20
Unspecified 6 0 0
Total 109 8045 3089
  • 26 of 109 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (24%)
  • 23 of 109 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (21%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 8045 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 7642 games and accumulated 3069 points (0.40 PPG)
  • Draftees since 2000 have an average of 31 points and 74 games played
  • Best draft year: 2009 – John Tavares (1st), Calvin de Haan (12th), Casey Cizikas (92nd), Anders Lee (152nd)
  • Worst draft year: 2005 – Ryan O’Marra (15th), Dustin Kohn (46th), Shea Guthrie (76th). 56 NHL games, 11 points total by 8 draftees. No draftee played more than 33 games.

All Time Best Picks

  • Forward: John Tavares
  • Defenseman: Travis Hamonic
  • Goaltender: Rick DiPietro
  • Most Games Played by a Draftee: Raffi Torres (635)
  • Most Points by a Draftee: John Tavares (401)


Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 5 989 662
LW 3 1617 658
RW 3 920 422
D 2 125 29
G 1 318 19
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 14 3969 1790
  • 12 of 14 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (86%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 3969 games and accumulated 1771 points (0.49 PPG)
  • First round picks have an average of 136 points and 284 games played
  • Notable picks: John Tavares (1st, 2009), Kyle Okposo (7th, 2006), Rick DiPietro (1st, 2000), Raffi Torres (5th, 2000), Sean Bergenheim (22nd, 2002), Joshua Bailey (9th, 2008), Nino Niederreiter (5th, 2010), Brock Nelson (30th, 2010), Ryan Strome (5th, 2011), Calvin de Haan (12th, 2009), Petteri Nokelainen (16th, 2004), Robert Nilsson (15th, 2003)


Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 4 68 7
LW 2 612 219
RW 1 0 0
D 5 379 118
G 1 4 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 13 1063 344
  • 3 of 13 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (23%)
  • Second round picks have played a total of 1063 games and accumulated 344 points (0.32 PPG)
  • Second round picks have an average of 29 points and 82 games played
  • Notable picks: Blake Comeau (47th, 2004), Travis Hamonic (53rd, 2008), Jesse Joensuu (60th, 2006)


Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 4 525 297
LW 3 0 0
RW 1 0 0
D 4 11 1
G 1 23 0
Unspecified 1 0 0
Total 14 559 298
  • 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 559 games and accumulated 298 points (0.56 PPG)
  • Third round picks have an average of 23 points and 40 games played
  • Notable picks: Frans Nielsen (87th, 2002)


Position Drafted GP PTS
Center 6 359 123
LW 15 403 75
RW 5 7 0
D 29 1627 458
G 8 58 1
Unspecified 5 0 0
Total 68 2454 657
  • 7 of 68 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (10%)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have played 2454 games and accumulated 656 points (0.27 PPG)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 11 points and 36 games played
  • Notable picks: Andrew McDonald (160th, 2006), Casey Cizikas (92nd, 2009), Matt Martin (148th, 2008), Bruno Gervais (182nd, 2003), Jared Spurgeon (156th, 2008), Anders Lee (152nd, 2009), Chris Campoli (227th, 2004)


  • The Islanders drafted Jonathan Toews younger brother, David Toews, in the third round of the 2008 draft.


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 6 96%
6 – 10 2 74%
11 – 15 3 54%
16 – 20 1 62%
21 – 30 2 58%

Between 2000 and 2012 the Islanders had more picks in the top five than any other team in the league and as a result the expectations for their first round picks are very high. The Islanders success rate of 86 percent not only topped expectations but is also the highest success rate of all teams studied (Nashville is second at 82 percent).

Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 73 – 79% 86%
2 26 – 32% 23%
3 21 – 26% 7%
4+ 10 – 15% 10%

When you think about successful Islanders first round pick John Tavares likely comes to mind. With 401 points in only 432 games played Tavares leads all draftees (since 2000) in points and points per game. Despite his success, Islanders first round picks have only accumulated 1771 points (ranks 11th) and skated in 3969 games (ranks 9th). A closer look at the data revealed that 12 of their 14 picks have played 100+ NHL games but only 6 have 100+ career points.

So what are the numbers saying? On the one hand they imply that the Islanders have been a consistent and excellent at drafting in the first round while other hand suggest they’ve performed fairly poorly considering how many top five picks the Islanders have had. In an attempt to figure out the answer I noticed two things:

  1. Picks prior to 2006 have either been busts (Robert Nilsson [2003], Petteri Nokelainen [2004], Ryan O’Marra [2005]) or become third/fourth line guys where they’ve played a lot of games but aren’t known for their point production (Raffi Torres [2000], Sean Bergenheim [2002]).
  2. Most picks after 2009 have met the 100 games played mark but haven’t been in the league long enough to accomplish anything beyond that (Bailey [2008], Calvin de Haan [2009], Niederreiter [2010], Nelson [2010], Strome [2011]).

What I’ve concluded from the above is that the Islanders didn’t draft particularly well in the first round prior to 2006 but their drafting since then has been excellent every single year.

In the second round the Islanders have performed fairly poorly. Their success rate of 23 percent ranks just under the expected range however their average games played of 82 and average points per player of 29 rank 16th and 13th respectively. Blake Comeau and Travis Hamonic are the only two second round picks with more than 100 career points.

Frans Nielsen is the only pick selected in the third round that has played more than 25 games in the NHL. Their success rate of 7 percent ranks second worst in the league, their average points of 23 ranks seventh and their average games played ranks 12th. There aren’t many positives to take away from the third round.

The Islanders depth round drafting has been on par with the league average, which is a huge improvement over the third round. Their average points per player and average games per player are both the 12th best of the 19 teams studied. The Islanders have drafted a number of bottom six forwards and bottom four defensemen suggesting that they select safer picks who may be more NHL ready with a lower talent ceiling.

The following chart shows how the Islanders have drafted as a whole compared to the league average:

Category League Avg. Islanders Difference
Draftees 106 109 +3
100+ GP 23 23 +0
100+ GP (%) 21% 21% +0%
Total GP 8831 8045 -786
Skater PTS 3412 3069 -343
Skater PPG 0.40 0.40 +0.00
AVG PTS 36 31 -5
AVG GP 83 74 -9

Both the Islanders and the league average have 23 players with at least 100 games of NHL experience andthe same points per game of 0.40. The main difference between the Isles and the league average is the number of games played which has in turn resulted in less total points. Analyzing the first round revealed that the Islanders have drafted much better as of late but their recent draftees haven’t had enough time in the league to improve the teams overall average.

TL;DR – The Islanders have had the most top five picks since 2000 and still beat expectations with the highest first round success rate of all teams (86%). The Islanders have drafted below average in the second round, very poorly in the third round, and just below average in the depth rounds. After drafting poorly in the early 2000’s the Islanders have improved significantly since 2006 and their recent draftees should help improve the teams overall numbers. The Islanders should be positioned below the middle of the pack but well above the bottom five in my final rankings.


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