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.
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)
Los Angeles (7)
New Jersey (9)
NY Islanders (4)
NY Rangers (8)
San Jose (13)
St. Louis (9)
Tampa Bay (6)