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 Philadelphia Flyers 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
- 23 of 99 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (23%)
- 19 of 99 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (19%)
- Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 8587 games
- Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 8372 games and accumulated 4132 points (0.49 PPG)
- Draftees since 2000 have an average of 50 points and 87 games played
- Best draft year: 2003 – Jeff Carter (11th), Mike Richards (24th), Colin Fraser (69th), Alexandre Picard (85th), Ryan Potulny (87th)
- Worst draft year: 2004 – Did not have a first or second round pick. Total of 23 games played and 4 points by 11 draft picks
Best Picks Since 2000
- Forward: Claude Giroux
- Defenseman: Joni Pitkanen
- Goaltender: Roman Cechmanek
- Most Games by a Draftee:Justin Williams (918)
- Most Points by a Draftee: Justin Williams (582)
FIRST ROUND PICKS
- 10 of 11 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (91%)
- First round picks have played a total of 5134 games and accumulated 3002 points (0.58 PPG)
- First round picks have an average of 273 points and 467 games played
- Notable picks: Justin Williams (28th, 2000), Jeff Carter (11th, 2003), Mike Richards (24th, 2003), Claude Giroux (22nd, 2006), Joni Pitkanen (4th, 2002), James Van Riemsdyk (2nd, 2007), Steve Downie (29th, 2005), Sean Couturier (8th, 2011), Luca Sbisa (19th, 2008), Jeff Woywitka (27th, 2001)
- Their only first round pick to not play 100 NHL games is 2012 draftee Scott Laughton who got his first real shot in the NHL last season (31 GP, 6 PTS)
SECOND ROUND PICKS
- 1 of 5 players drafted in the 2nd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (20%)
- Second round picks have played a total of 193 games and accumulated 36 points (0.19 PPG)
- Second round picks have an average of 9 points and 39 games played
- Notable picks: Andreas Nodl (39th, 2006)
THIRD ROUND PICKS
- 4 of 18 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (22%)
- Third round picks have played a total of 1726 games and accumulated 743 points (0.43 PPG)
- Third round picks have an average of 46 points and 96 games played
- Notable picks: Patrick Sharp (95th, 2001), Alexandre Picard (85th, 2003), Colin Fraser (69th, 2003), Ryan Potulny (87th, 2003)
FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS
- 4 of 65 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (6%)
- Fourth to ninth round picks have played 1534 games and accumulated 351 points (0.27 PPG)
- Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 7 points and 24 games played
- Notable picks: Dennis Seidenberg (172nd, 2001), Patrick Maroon (161st, 2007), Zac Rinaldo (178th, 2007), Roman Cechmanek (171st, 2000), Tye McGinn (119th, 2010)
- All four of Philadelphia’s successful picks were selected in the sixth round.
- The Flyers didn’t have a second round pick from 1999 to 2005.
- The Flyers have drafted more goaltenders than any other team studied (17) but only one made it in the NHL (Roman Cechmanek)
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||2||96%|
|6 – 10||1||74%|
|11 – 15||1||54%|
|16 – 20||2||62%|
|21 – 30||5||58%|
Between 2000 and 2012 the Flyers had two top five picks with the majority of their selections being in the latter half of the first round. Their first round pick distribution resulted in an expected success rate of 64 to 70 percent.
|Round||Expected Success Rate||Actual Success Rate|
|1||64 – 70%||91%|
|2||26 – 32%||20%|
|3||21 – 26%||22%|
|4+||10 – 15%||6%|
Since beginning this series we’ve constantly seen teams dethrone the previous best at first round drafting. The Ducks set the bar high early with a success rate of 75 percent and it took 11 teams before the Red Wings finally topped them with an impressive success rate of 80 percent. It took another 7 teams before the Predators managed to set the bar even higher with a whopping 82 percent success rate for their first round picks. Nearing the final 10 teams it seemed like Nashville might finish at the top of the league until the Islanders proved even better with an 86 percent success rate. At this point there was little doubt that the Islanders would keep the title as the best drafting first round team until the Flyers absolutely crushed them with a success rate of 91 percent! To put this into perspective, the average team has an expected first round success rate of only 67 percent.
Let’s break down their first round draft pick success. Despite having 4 less first round picks than the league average they rank first in points with 3002 (nearly 300 more than the next closest team). Their average first round pick has 33 percent more points than the next closest team (273 vs. 205). They also have the highest average games played per player with 26 percent more than the next closest team (467 vs. 372). No matter what stat you look at there’s little doubt that the Flyers are the best drafting first round team over the last 15 years.
With so many successful first round picks you’d expect that they’d carry that success over to the next round, right? While their second round success rate of 20 percent is a huge downgrade from 91 percent in the prior round there is an even more surprising stat: between 2000 and 2012 the Flyers have only had 5 second round picks. In fact, the Flyers didn’t have a second round pick between 1999 and 2005 and again between 2008 and 2011. Because they’ve had so few picks I can’t confidently say whether they’ve drafted well or poorly in the second round.
After impressed and confused me through the first two rounds the Flyers drafted very average in the third round. Their success rate of 22 percent fell right within the expected range and their average points and average games played both rank just above the middle of the pack. Their third round draftee points per game of 0.43 ranks fourth best of all teams but is largely inflated by Patrick Sharp who has 526 points in 745 games (0.71 PPG).
Up to this point the Flyers look like one of the better drafting teams that we’ve seen but they really dropped the ball in the fourth round or later. Their success rate of only 6 percent ranks third worst in the league next to Arizona and Carolina (5%). Their average draftee has only 7 points and 24 games played which both rank among the worst in the league. Even worse is that between 2000 and 2012 the Flyers didn’t draft a single NHL caliber player in the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, or ninth rounds. Despite struggling in the depth rounds they seem to have a knack for sixth round drafting where they’ve found Dennis Seidenberg, Patrick Maroon, Roman Cechmanek, and Zac Rinaldo.
The below table shows how the Flyers have stacked up to the current league average:
|100+ GP (%)||22%||19%||-3%|
The stats above tell two stories about the Flyers drafting. On the one hand they have an overall success rate of 19 percent, which is not only below the league average but is also 6th worst in the league. Looking at that metric alone would have you believe that they’ve drafted poorly. But then you look at the other metrics like their average points per game which is the highest in the league. If there’s anything we’ve learned from this article it’s that the Flyers love playing with extremes.
The reason their numbers fluctuate so much is because they’ve drafted so well in the first round, have virtually no picks in the second round, and drafted poorly in the depth rounds (which is where the majority of draft picks are). Whether or not you believe the Flyers are a successful drafting team is a matter of perspective: would you rather be a team that drafts one great player every year or a team that consistently drafts a few good/average players? Strictly looking at the teams overall numbers the Flyers have performed better than most teams but haven’t been good enough to crack the top five in my final rankings.
TL;DR – The Flyers have had the best first round drafting in the league with a success rate of 91 percent. I was unable to judge how well they’ve drafted in the second round because they only had five second round picks between 2000 and 2012. Philadelphia’s third round drafting was average and their depth drafting has been some of the worst in the league. Overall the Flyers should rank as a top 10 bubble team in my final rankings.