What can you really expect from NHL Draft picks?

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 06: Jamie Hersch of the NHL Network interviews Alexis Lafreniere after his selection in the number one position by the New York Rangers in the 2020 National Hockey League Draft at the NHL Network Studio on October 06, 2020 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

How many of the nine players drafted by the New York Rangers will make it?

The day after the NHL Entry Draft is a great one for most hockey fans.  We pore over the team’s glowing descriptions of the young players drafted and analyze  their statistics.  Hope springs eternal and we have visions of a late round gem like Henrik Lundqvist (#205) or Jesper Fast (#157).  What is the reality?What can the New York Rangers really expect from the NHL Draft?

Here’s a question.  Every year since the 2004-05 lockout there have been seven rounds of the draft with 211-213 players drafted each year.   How many of those 200+ players actually make it to the NHL?   Take a guess at how many players make it to the NHL and appear in a minimum of 50 games.   We’ll have the answer in a bit.

How long it takes

Before we get to the “make the NHL rate” answer, let’s take a look at how long it takes players to make it to the NHL . That’s particularly relevant to New York Ranger fans.   The team has drafted 27 players since they announced the rebuild in February 2018.  That number grows to 34 if you include 2017 when they traded established NHLers Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta for the seventh overall pick in the first round.

Since that 2017 draft, three players have graduated and actually played in the NHL, a combined 276 games.  They were Kaapo Kakko, Lias Anderson and Filip Chytil.   All three have had rocky experiences.  Chytil has been the most successful, Kakko had some rookie problems and Andersson was a complete diasaster.

What’s interesting is that the 276 games Kakko, Andersson and Chytil have played are the second most games played on any team by players drafted since 2017.  The only team that has more games played by their draftees in those three seasons are the New Jersey Devils who have seen four players total 307 NHL games.

As impatient as Ranger fans are, waiting for the likes of Vitali Kravtsov, K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundvist among other to make their Ranger debuts, the Blueshirts have “rushed” their draftees more than any team except the Devils and two of those Devils players (Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes) were first overall picks.

In fact, Minnesota, Nashville and Pittsburgh have not seen a single player drafted in the last three years make it to the NHL.   An additional five teams have seen only one player make it.  Almost a third of the teams in the NHL have not had draft picks play as many as 50 games in the NHL since the 2017 draft.

How many make it?

Here’s the answer to that question.  Fewer than 40% of players drafted make it to the NHL and play at least 50 games.  In some years, that percentage can drop to 33% or one third.   Since the 2006 draft when the league went to a seven round format, the draft class with the most players who have played at least 50 NHL games is 83 in 2008.  The fewest (not counting the last three drafts) was 59 in 2006.

But that’s if we count 50 games in the league as a marker for NHL success.   How many players have played as many as 200 games in the NHL since being drafted?    From 2006 to 2015 there were 2,110 players drafted by NHL teams. 427 of those players have played as many as 200 games in the NHL, only 20%.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse