Draft Picks on Current Rosters

I am a believer that most people over-rate the draft as a tool to building a successful team. This is not to say that I don’t think it is an important tool, but rather that it isn’t the only tool and probably not the most important tool. Successful teams, even in the post-lockout NHL, can and have been built significantly through trades and free agent signings.

I looked at every teams current rosters and added up how many players on the roster was drafted by that team. For forwards and defensemen the player must have played 20 games this year in the NHL and for goalies they must have played 10 games. Some exceptions have been made for significant players who have not met the games played requirements due to injury as I think the team deserves credit for these players too. Joe Sakic is an example. Lesser established players such as Carlo Colaiacovo was not counted even though he likely would have played 20 games had he been healthy.

Based on those requirements here are how each team fared.


13-San Jose



9-New Jersey
9-St. Louis

8-NY Rangers

7-Los Angeles

6-Tampa Bay


4-NY Islanders


At the top of the list you find a lot of pretty good teams though the team at the very top, Buffalo, currently sits near the bottom of the eastern conference standings. At the bottom of the list you will find many bad or mediocre teams such as the NY Islanders, Carolina, Phoenix, Tampa and Atlanta but at the very bottom of the list you will find two pretty good teams, including last years Stanley Cup winner, who have largely built their teams through trades and free agent signings. In Philadelphia’s case the team was almost completely rebuilt in the past year. Also in the lower part of the list is Calgary who are a pretty good team but whose only draft picks that are playing a significant role on the team are Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi.

Is smart drafting important? Sure. Is it the be all and end all in building a successful team? Definitely not.

Click more for a list of each teams draft picks currently playing on their roster. If I have missed anyone post a comment.

Forwards and Defensemen – Minimum 20 games played this year or a significant player that doesn’t qualify due to injury
Goalies – Minimum 10 games played this year
Must have been with the team since drafted (i.e. not traded away and reacquired)

Anaheim (3)
Ryan Getzlaf
Corey Perry
Drew Miller

Atlanta (6)
Ilya Kovalchuk
Tobias Enstrom
Bryan Little
Jim Slater
Garnet Exelby
Kari Lehtonen

Boston (7)
Phil Kessel
P.J. Axelsson
Milan Lucic
Patrice Bergeron
David Krejci
Andrew Alberts
Mark Stuart

Buffalo (16)
Jason Pominville
Derek Roy
Brian Campbell
Thomas Vanek
Ales Kotalik
Paul Gaustad
Daniel Paille
Drew Stafford
Maxim Afinogenov
Clarke MacArthur
Nathan Paetsch
Henrik Tallinder
Dmitri Kalinin
Andrej Sekera
Andrew Peters
Ryan Miller

Calgary (5)
Dion Phaneuf
Matthew Lombardi
David Moss
Dustin Boyd
Eric Nystrom

Carolina (5)
Eric Staal
Erik Cole
Andrew Ladd
Niclas Wallin
Cam Ward

Chicago (8)
Patrick Kane
Jonathan Toews
Dustin Byfuglien
Tuomo Ruutu
Duncan Keith
Brent Seabrook
Jame Wisniewski
Adam Burish

Colorado (10)
Joe Sakic
Paul Stastny
Milan Hejduk
Woytek Wolski
Marek Svatos
John-Michael Liles
Jeff Finger
Kyle Cumiskey
Cody McCormick
Peter Budaj

Columbus (9)
Rick Nash
Nikolai Zherdev
Dan Fritsche
Rostislav Klesla
Kris Russell
Jared Boll
Gilbert Brule
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen
Pascal Leclaire

Dallas (12)
Brenden Morrow
Mike Modano
Antti Miettinen
Jussi Jokinen
Jere Lehtinen
Matt Niskanen
Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott
Trevor Daley
Joel Lundqvist
Marty Turco
Mike Smith

Detroit (9)
Henrik Zetterberg
Pavel Datsyuk
Niklas Lidstrom
Tomas Holmstrom
Jiri Hudler
Valterri Filppula
Niklas Kronwall
Johan Franzen
Tomas Kopecky

Edmonton (8)
Shawn Horcoff
Ales Hemsky
Andrew Cogliano
Sam Gagner
Jarret Stoll
Kyle Brodziak
Fernando Pisani
Zach Stortini

Florida (9)
Nathan Horton
Stephen Weiss
David Booth
Jay Bouwmeester
Rostislav Olesz
Kamil Kreps
Gregory Campbell
Tanner Glass
Anthony Stewart

Los Angeles (7)
Anze Kopitar
Dustin Brown
Alexander Frolov
Michael Cammalleri
Lubomir Visnovsky
Jack Johnson
Jeff Guiliano

Minnesota (10)
Marian Gaborik
Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Brent Burns
Mikko Koivu
James Sheppard
Matt Foy
Stephanne Veilleux
Nick Shultz
Derek Boogaard
Josh Harding

Montreal (13)
Tomas Plekanec
Saku Koivu
Andrei Markov
Chris Higgins
Mark Streit
Andrei Kostitsyn
Guillaume Latendresse
Michael Ryder
Mike Komisarek
Kyle Chipchura
Sergei Kostitsyn
Maxim Lapierre
Carey Price

Nashville (7)
Martin Erat
David Legwand
Alexander Radulov
Ryan Suter
Dan Hamhuis
Jordan Tootoo
Shea Weber

New Jersey (9)
Zach Parise
Brian Gionta
Patrik Elias
Travis Zajac
Paul Martin
Jay Pandolfo
Sergei Brylin
Colin White
Martin Brodeur

NY Islanders (4)
Chris Campoli
Bruno Gervais
Sean Bergenheim
Rick DiPietro

NY Rangers (8)
Brandon Dubinsky
Petr Prucha
Fedor Tyutin
Nigel Dawes
Marc Staal
Ryan Hollweg
Ryan Callahan
Henrik Lundqvist

Ottawa (12)
Daniel Alfredsson
Jason Spezza
Mike Fisher
Antoine Vermette
Chris Kelly
Andrej Meszaros
Christoph Schubert
Chris Neil
Chris Phillips
Patrick Eaves
Anton Volchenkov
Nick Foligno

Philadelphia (4)
Mike Richards
Jeff Carter
Simon Gagne
Antero Niittymaki

Phoenix (6)
Shane Doan
Peter Meuller
Martin Hanzal
Fredrik Sjostrom
Daniel Winnick
Matt Jones

Pittsburgh (13)
Sidney Crosby
Evgeni Malkin
Ryan Malone
Ryan Whitney
Colby Armstrong
Erik Christensen
Jordan Staal
Tyler Kennedy
Maxime Talbot
Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik
Rob Scuderi
Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose (13)
Milan Michalek
Patrick Marleau
Steve Bernier
Joe Pavelski
Christian Ehrhoff
Torrey Mitchell
Jonathan Cheechoo
Matt Carle
Devin Setoguchi
Doug Murray
Marcel Goc
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Evgeni Nabokov

St. Louis (9)
Lee Stempniak
David Perron
Erik Johnson
Jamal Mayers
David Backes
Jay McClement
Christian Backman
Barrett Jackman
D.J. King

Tampa Bay (6)
Vincent Lecavalier
Brad Richards
Paul Ranger
Nick Tarnasky
Mike Lundin
Karri Ramo

Toronto (9)
Nik Antropov
Tomas Kaberle
Alexander Steen
Alexei Ponikarovsky
Matt Stajan
Ian White
Kyle Wellwood
Jiri Tlusty
Anton Stralman

Vancouver (8)
Henrik Sedin
Daniel Sedin
Ryan Kesler
Mattias Ohlund
Matt Cooke
Mason Raymond
Alexander Edler
Kevin Bieksa

Washington (8)
Alexander Ovechkin
Nicklas Backstrom
Mike Green
Alexander Semin
Boyd Gordon
Jeff Shultz
Matt Pettinger
Olaf Kolzig

This article has 16 Comments

  1. I’m only beginning my own analysis but, I personally think development amounts to more than just “drafting”. You’re also neglecting free-agent signings who were undrafted, and players who are traded well before they reach the NHL. For instance, on the Devils, the only forwards who made it to the NHL with other NHL teams without playing for a New Jersey affiliate are Zubrus, Langenbrunner, and Asham. On 4 of their top 6 played for them in the minors, or NJ were their first NHL franchise after free-agency. If you toss in Brodeur, that means the Devils basically developed 14 of the 22 players on their NHL roster, which is almost 2/3rds.

    That’s my initial example. I’m fairly sure in looking at the other top teams I’ll likely find similar results.

    On D, the only one’s would be

  2. On 4 of their top 6, should say “4 of their top 6 D played for them in the minors”… I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I was saying there.

  3. Yes, certainly signing of undrafted free agents has been a success for a few teams (New Jersey and Anaheim have done well there) but that is a separate issue from drafting. If you trade away your draft picks you aren’t affecting your ability to sign undrafted players.

  4. Well, you’ve saved me some time, I was about to do the Sabres picks…

    Yes, they’ve had some sort of rough period, but lets remember the last few years (BTW, a very highly placed source from anotehr team tells me that its Golisano pulling the stings and responsible for Drury, Brier and now Campbell…).

    I think, while fascinating, this whole exercise only tells us one thing

    – sometimes the draft is good, sometimes the draft isn’t
    – some teams draft well, some teams don’t
    – some teams trade well, some teams don’t
    – some teams sign good FA, some teams don’t
    – good teams do a little bit of all three well, and get lucky sometimes and bad teams don’t

  5. This does not take into account where teams have drafted for the past few years. Take the NJ Devils. They have not drafted higher than 15 in a long time. However they have consistently found great gem in free agent signings.Rafalski, Madden, Pelly, Clarkson, Oduya, Greene. I think you have to look at Free agent signings like those and drafting as a package. But that does not work for all teams.

  6. Calgary didn’t draft Marcus Nilson, Florida did in the first round of the 1996 draft.
    Kurt Sauer hasn’t been with the Avalanche since being drafted in 2000 as he spent two seasons with the Ducks before being re-acquired for Martin Skoula.

  7. How come when Detroit built up its team by signing key free agents they were accused of trying to buy a cup, yet when Brian Burke does it in Anaheim he is lauded as a genius and the best GM in the NHL?

  8. i hope anaheim crashes and fails in the first round. even with selanne, i dont see them advancing for some reason. it just seems like they SHOULD win, so because of that they wont. i think giguere will choke come playoff time, and i think theres too many big names on that roster and not enough puck!

  9. jack johnson was not drafted by the kings he was drafted by the hurricanes and then traded to the kings the following year

  10. Steve’s right suggestiing there needs to be exceptions made for players who weren’t drafted by their team but have developed in other organizations. If you look at the Oilers you get Raffi Torres, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid and Denis Grebeshkov in that category. All were drafted by other teams but with the exception of Torres and Grebeshkov, none played games with their original teams.

    As well, Dustin Penner was originally a Mighty Duck. And that forged his early identity in the league when he first became an NHL regular.

    If the question is, how do you build a good team, then James has created a good blue print for what the objectives should be.

    – get a team identity
    – develop a system to adopt to that identity
    – develop players to play that system

    Getting players and developing them is the top priority. Whether you draft, trade, or sign them as free-agents, GMs are trying to forge an identity for their team that doesn’t get built with high priced free agents.

  11. “jack johnson was not drafted by the kings he was drafted by the hurricanes and then traded to the kings the following year”

    In what has to be one of Jimmy Rutherford’s biggest mistakes; trading away a ‘special’ defenseman for an average one for a playoff run that never happens. Yikes!

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