How Well Have the St. Louis Blues 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 St. Louis Blues 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
C 25 2639 1136
LW 18 1411 709
RW 18 1892 887
D 32 1947 652
G 12 307 8
Unspecified 6 0 0
Total 111 8196 3392
  • 30 of 111 players drafted since 2000 have played 50+ games in the NHL (27%)
  • 22 of 111 players drafted since 2000 have played 100+ games in the NHL (20%)
  • Draftees (incl. goalies) since 2000 have played a total of 8196 games
  • Skaters (excl. goalies) drafted since 2000 have played a total of 7889 games and accumulated 3384 points (0.43 PPG)
  • Draftees since 2000 have an average of 34 points and 74 games played
  • Best draft year: 2005 – T.J. Oshie (24th), Ben Bishop (85th), Ryan Reaves (156th) OR 2010 – Jaden Schwartz (14th), Vladimir Tarasenko (16th)
  • Worst draft year: 2002 – No first round pick. Alexei Shkotov (48th), Andrei Mikhnov (62nd). 9 draft picks combined for 130 NHL GP and 17 points

Best Picks Since 2000

  • Forward: David Backes
  • Defenseman: Alex Pietrangelo
  • Goaltender: Ben Bishop
  • Most Games by a Draftee: Jay McClement (764)
  • Most Points by a Draftee: David Backes (415)

FIRST ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
C 2 543 176
LW 3 1219 678
RW 2 622 445
D 6 1153 474
G 1 6 0
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 14 3543 1773
  • 11 of 14 players drafted in the 1st round have played 100+ games in the NHL (79%)
  • First round picks have played a total of 3543 games and accumulated 1773 points (0.50 PPG)
  • First round picks have an average of 136 points and 253 games played
  • Notable picks: T.J. Oshie (24th, 2005), David Perron (26th, 2007), Patrik Berglund (25th, 2006), Alex Pietrangelo (4th, 2008), Erik Johnson (1st, 2006), Jaden Schwartz (14th, 2010), Vladimir Tarasenko (16th, 2010), Lars Eller (13th, 2007), Jeff Taffe (30th, 2000), Ian Cole (18th, 2007), David Rundblad (17th, 2009)

SECOND ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
C 6 1594 739
LW 3 74 20
RW 5 85 16
D 3 1 0
G 1 52 2
Unspecified 0 0 0
Total 18 1806 777
  • 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 1806 games and accumulated 775 points (0.44 PPG)
  • Second round picks have an average of 46 points and 100 games played
  • Notable picks: David Backes (62nd, 2003), Jay McClement (57nd, 2001), Carl Soderberg (49th, 2004), Jake Allen (34th, 2008)

THIRD ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
C 5 156 63
LW 2 0 0
RW 3 0 0
D 4 5 2
G 4 170 6
Unspecified 1 0 0
Total 19 331 71
  • 1 of 19 players drafted in the 3rd round have played 100+ games in the NHL (5%)
  • Third round picks have played a total of 331 games and accumulated 65 points (0.40 PPG)
  • Third round picks have an average of 45 points and 107 games played
  • Notable picks: Ben Bishop (85th, 2005), Jori Lehtera (65th, 2008)

FOURTH TO NINTH ROUND PICKS

Position Drafted GP PTS
C 12 346 158
LW 10 118 11
RW 8 1185 426
D 19 788 176
G 6 79 0
Unspecified 5 0 0
Total 60 2516 771
  • 7 of 60 players drafted between the 4th and 9th rounds have played 100+ games in the NHL (12%)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have played 2516 games and accumulated 771 points (0.32 PPG)
  • Fourth to ninth round picks have an average of 14 points and 42 games played
  • Notable picks: Lee Stempniak (148th, 2003), Nikita Nikitin (136th, 2004), Ryan Reaves (156th, 2005), Roman Polak (180th, 2004), D.J. King (190th, 2002), Reto Berra (106th, 2006), Petr Cajanek (253rd, 2001)

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 0 74%
11 – 15 2 54%
16 – 20 4 62%
21 – 30 6 58%

Between 2000 and 2012 the Blues had two picks in the top five (2006 & 2008) with the majority being in the latter half of the round. A high number of late round picks resulted in a low expected success range of 61 – 67 percent.

Round Expected Success Rate Actual Success Rate
1 61 – 67% 79%
2 26 – 32% 17%
3 21 – 26% 5%
4+ 10 – 15% 12%

From the above I instantly noticed two things: 1) the Blues absolutely crushed expectations in the first round and 2) their drafting in the second and third round was very concerning.

In the first round the Blues exceeded expectations by 12 percent, the fourth highest differential between expected and actual success league wide. With the exception of 2004 pick Marek Schwarz, every St. Louis draftee selected between 1st and 20th overall has played at least 100 NHL games. The average draftee has 136 points and 253 games played which rank 17th and 19th league wide.

Another thing I noticed was that St. Louis has a lot of big name draftees in the first round but as a whole they don’t have a lot of points or games played. After doing some digging I found that the Blues only had one pick with more than 100 games played prior to 2005; their 2003 and 2004 picks (Shawn Belle & Marek Schwarz) didn’t pan out, they didn’t have first round picks in 2001 or 2002, and 2000 pick Jeff Taffe capped out at 180 games. Since 2004 though they’ve drafted exceptionally well picking Oshie (2005), E. Johnson (2006), Berglund (2006), Perron (2007), Eller (2007), I. Cole (2007), Pietrangelo (2008), Rundblad (2009), Schwartz (2010), and Tarasenko (2010). While their total points and games played currently rank in the bottom half of the league I expect them to become a top 10 first round team in a few years.

Between 2000 and 2012 the Blues had a whopping 18 second round picks (4th most of all teams). Unfortunately, lady luck hasn’t been on their side with only three draftees playing more than 100 games; their success rate of 17 percent ranks 25th in the league. The Blues are on a long losing streak with second round picks, their last successful selection being Carl Soderberg who was picked all the way back in 2004.

Similar to the Sharks, the Blues have struggled mightily in the third round. The biggest difference between the two teams is that the Sharks only had 7 third round picks while the Blues had a league leading 19. St. Louis’ success rate of 5 percent ranks second lowest in the league with Ben Bishop being the only draftee to exceed the 100 GP mark. The Blues rank bottom five in both points and games played league wide.

Despite going 4 for 37 (~11%) in the second and third round combined the Blues improved their drafting in the depth rounds. With 7 of their 60 depth picks playing 100+ NHL games the Blues success rate is right on par with the league average. They haven’t found any real hidden gems late in the draft (Lee Stempniak has half of their total points) but they have picked a number of depth players and defensemen who have play key roles and have stood the test of time in the league. Their average draftee has 14 points and 42 games played which rank 12th and 14th in the league. Their depth drafting isn’t impressive by any means but is a huge improvement over the second and third round.

The table below shows how the Blues have performed as a whole compared to the league average:

Category League Avg. St. Louis Difference
Draftees 105 111 +6
100+ GP 22 22 +0
100+ GP (%) 23% 20% -3%
Total GP 8679 8196 -483
Skater PTS 3427 3384 -43
Skater PPG 0.41 0.43 +0.02
AVG PTS 37 34 -3
AVG GP 83 74 -9

After drafting successfully with 11 of 14 picks in the first round the Blues only made 11 good selections with their other 97 pick between the 2nd and 9th rounds. Despite having six more picks than the league average the Blues fell just short in most stat categories. St. Louis had the 8th most draft picks between 2000 and 2012 but their total points and games played rank 18th and 20th in the league. St. Louis should rank just below the middle of the pack in my final analysis.

Note: The conclusions I made above are solely based off the drafting data I have presented. If you’re a fan of St. Louis or have knowledge about the team that would provide context to my article please feel free to comment.

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