Friday, May 25, 2012

GM Draft Review: Pacific Division

GM Draft review is a record and indication of how each current general manager has fared strictly in a drafting sense. It takes into account their entire tenure as GM on the team that they currently manage and nothing else. Past draft jobs with other teams aren't taken into account because they simply aren't important anymore when it comes to measuring their current success. For example, Brian Burke drafted the Sedin's in Vancouver with a very different scouting staff than the one he currently has with him in Toronto, thus the Toronto staff is what's important right now when evaluating Burke's drafting tenure. When deciding whether a player was an "NHLer" or not I tried to use 200 games as my objective cutoff but I was subjective when necessary. For example, Travis Hamonic was drafted outside of three years and has yet to play 200 games, but I consider him an NHLer and a guy who will be one for a long time, so he counts. These numbers aren't exact science and should not be treated as such, they are simply a rough indication of how each GM has done. The embedded link for each GM directs you to the HockeyDB draft results of that team so you can look for yourself. Ask me any questions on Twitter here

Unless otherwise stated, all quotes are taken from the book Behind The Moves by Jason Farris.


Anaheim Ducks
GM: Bob Murray
Tenure Began: 2008 

Number of Drafts: 3
NHL Players drafted outside of three years: Not Applicable
NHL Players drafted in the last three years: 2
Promising players drafted in the last three years: 11
First round pick success: It's honestly too early to tell here. Murray drafted five players in the first round so far: Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri, Cam Fowler, Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell, and truthfully, they all look promising.
Notable players drafted: Cam Fowler, Devante Smith-Pelley, Sami Vatanen, Emerson Etem, Igor Bobkov, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland, Emerson Etem, John Gibson, Rickard Rakell.

Comments: Bob Murray has rather quietly been stockpiling talent via the draft. He's had five first rounders in three years which is already a pretty big deal. He stole Cam Fowler at #12 for his first NHLer and already found another NHLer in Devante Smith-Pelley.

On top of that, he's drafted two other guys in the first round -Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri- who are on the verge of becoming NHLers so already in three drafts he's almost already looking at four NHLers. Then he has two other first round picks in Emerson Etem, who had 51 goals in 50 games this season, and Rickard Rakell who had a good year for Plymouth.

He's also drafted two promising goalies in John Gibson and Igor Bobkov along with a few other promising players such as Sami Vatanen. Five years from now we could possibly be looking at Murray's first three drafts in Anaheim saying he drafted two top four defencemen, three top six forwards, two additional top nine forwards and a starting goalie. That's a heck of a three year haul, and it doesn't even take into account potential surprises. 

Murray has been a GM before -in Chicago for nearly three years- and worked as a professional scout for Brian Burke in Vancouver from 1999-2005. He did an alright job of drafting at that time -Dan Cleary, Mark Bell, Kyle Calder, to name a few- but it appears he's learned from that experience and has taken it to a new level in Anaheim.

For the Ducks sake you sort of hope that they can re-sign Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry as well as come to terms with potential UFA Justin Schultz, because they could be looking at quite the roster in a few years if they keep their current core together and these young kids all start cracking the team. 

Oh, and they draft sixth overall this year. 

Dallas Stars
GM: Joe Nieuwendyk 
Tenure Began: 2009 

Number of Drafts: 3
NHL Players drafted outside of three years: Not Applicable
NHL Players drafted in the last three years: 1
Promising players drafted in the last three years: 5
First round pick success: Again, too early to tell here. Nieuwendyk has overseen the selections of Scott Glennie, Jack Campbell and Jamie Oleksiak so far. More on that below in the comments section.
Notable players drafted: Reilly Smith, Jack Campbell, Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak, Scott Glennie.

Comments: As the story goes, Joe Nieuwendyk arrived at Traverse -where the Stars were participating in their summer rookie tournament- he saw how bad Jack Campbell, Jamie Oleksiak and Scott Glennie were (the teams three first rounders under Nieuwendyk) and fired the head scout immediately in front of everyone right on the spot. 

Whether that speaks more to Nieuwendyk's impatience or the inability of the scouting staff is beyond me. It's probably a bit of both. Beyond questioning why Nieuwendyk didn't 1) Have a better understand of who exactly he was drafting 2) Seemingly didn't know what exactly his scouting staff was doing, we have to look with where it's left them.

Now it's only been three years so we really wont know the full extent of these three drafts for ten years (yes it truly takes that long to evaluate a draft), but based on promise and potential to help the Dallas Stars NHL roster anytime soon, there's really only a few players that are options and most of them are kind of limited. 

Nieuwendyk's first draft could actually be pretty fruitful, though. The jury is still out on Scott Glennie, but Alex Chiasson and Reilly Smith both bare promise well Tomas Vincour has an NHL season under his belt already. If he gets four NHLers out of only five draft picks in his first ever draft as GM, that's pretty incredible. 

The following draft he also had only five picks and he started that by taking Jack Campbell 11th overall. Again, the jury is still largely out on that pick and that's where Nieuwendyk likely directed his ire to his scouting staff -- their first round picks have been questionable. 

In the last two years a few of their picks after the first round such as Brett Ritchie and Patrick Nemeth show promise, but history has generally shown us if you aren't hitting on your first round picks at least semi-regularly, chances are your organization is going to be in big trouble. 

Considering their picks at #8, #11 and #14 have been iffy, it will be interesting to see what they do at #15 this year.

Los Angeles Kings
GM: Dean Lombardi
Tenure Began: 2006 

Number of Drafts: 6
NHL Players drafted outside of three years: 8/28= 28.5% or 2.7 players per draft 
NHL Players drafted in the last three years: 3
Promising players drafted in the last three years: 8
First round pick success: 4/6 with the Derek Forbert selection being unaccounted for. Colton Teubert and Thomas Hickey are considered the misses, but either/or could still become NHLers.
Notable players drafted: Drew Doughty, Jonathon Bernier, Vyacheslav Voynov, Wayne Simmonds, Alec Martinez, Brayden Schenn, Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan.

Comments: Dean Lombardi is really seeing the fruits of his draft labours begin to payoff now. This should go to show people how long it truly takes to develop a deep and consistent program, because a lot of fans called for Lombardi's head at one point or another in his tenure as Kings GM.

Not only has Lombardi drafted immediate core pieces such as Drew Doughty or Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn who brought in Mike Richards, but he's also drafted solid depth guys in Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Alec Martinez, to name a few. 

Looking at Lombardi's draft picks, and overall makeup of his team, there's a clear mandate for size, grit and scoring ability. On top of some of the big players drafted above, Lombardi's also selected Kyle Clifford, as well as players like Colton Teubert and Derek Forbert. On top of skill such as Vyacheslav Voynov and Andrei Loktionov.

In his first three years on the draft, Lombardi stocked up his draft pick numbers selecting a staggering 28 times in three years- almost 10 times a year. His following three years he's picked a much more modest 21 times. Those first three years allowed him to stockpile talent that's directly helped the team and still is, or has been promising enough to trade for other players. 

He employs a tactical method of letting his prospects develop while signing veterans to fill the open roster spots. Lombardi's tactics have let most of his prospects earn their roster spots through playing in the AHL. He preaches patience and it's finally paying off.

This should be a lesson to all the fans of teams who always want their GM's to make rash decisions and trade away youth for experience. Lombardi stayed patient. And now look.

Phoenix Coyotes
GM: Don Maloney
Tenure Began: 2007 

Number of Drafts: 5
NHL Players drafted outside of three years: 2/15=13%, or 1 player per draft
NHL Players drafted in the last three years: 1
Promising players drafted in the last three years: 6
First round pick success: 3/5, with Brandon Gormley, Mark Visentin and Connor Murphy as recent first round picks who will change that number in time.
Notable players drafted: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker, Brandon Gormley, Lucas Lessio, Connor Murphy, Mark Visentin. 

Comments: Don Maloney started his tenure in Phoenix rushing a few of his prospects in Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker and Vikhtor Tikhonov straight to the NHL. Since then he has been much more patient. He had Turris playing in the AHL for awhile, so did Boedker (both after logging NHL seasons), Oliver Ekman-Larsson had to work his way up to the roster, well recent high picks in Brandon Gormley and Connor Murphy figure to take the long route to the NHL now. 

That patience is beginning to payoff with Boedker and Ekman-Larsson both being key contributors in Phoenix's playoff run this year. 

Well Maloney should be commended for the job he's done with the NHL team, his drafts are still a rather large question mark. His attempt at an immediate return from his picks obviously backfired, but Maloney and his staff deserve huge credit for the Ekman-Larsson pick as he's a stud, well Boedker is really starting to come into his own. The whole Kyle Turris fiasco was obviously unfortunate but he's turning into a solid NHLer so for the Coyotes scouting department that would be labelled a win if he becomes the player they identified. The picks directly after Kyle Turris were Thomas Hickey, Karl Alzner and Sam Gagner, so it's not as if Phoenix is missing out on much. 

On the whole Phoenix has been stockpiling defencemen. Ekman-Larsson, Gormley and Connor Murphy could be a heck of a defensive trio in a few years. Plus they of course traded for David Rundblad. Lucas Lessio has talent, Phil Lane and Oscar Lindberg are intriguing, well Boedker's already well on his way. Plus they drafted their apparent goalie of the future in Mark Visentin. 

What you'd like from Phoenix is to draft some high end offensive-upside. Clearly that was supposed to be Kyle Turris and it didn't work out.

The good news is that as a whole, the Coyotes organization seems to have stopped rushing their prospects and has put back more time into proper development and patience. That should eventually payoff. Plus, their NHL team has been good for a few years now, so there's no need to speed up the process.

San Jose Sharks
GM: Doug Wilson
Tenure Began: 2003 

Number of Drafts: 9
NHL Players drafted outside of three years: 14/50= 28% or 2.35 players per draft
NHL Players drafted in the last three years: 0
Promising players drafted in the last three years: 5
First round pick success: 4/6 with the traded Charlie Coyle as the only other first round pick who can change that number. Even if they did trade him.
Notable players drafted: Milan Michalek, Matt Carle, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, Marc-Eduard Vlasic, Devon Setoguchi, Jason Demers.

Comments: Doug Wilson has technically done a really good job as GM, he just hasn't won a Cup. He's brought in some quality players such Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Marc-Eduard Vlasic, as well as drafted other legitimate NHLers that he's turned into other assets like Milan Michalek, Matt Carle and Devin Setoguchi. 

Some interesting draft tendencies are that he takes majority North Americans, a high number of Germans, as well as taking players higher than they are ranked and an incredible amount of goalies. Some of the goalies Wilson has drafted that show potential are Thomas Greiss, Alex Stalock, Tyson Sexsmith, Timo Pielmeier and Harri Sateri. The Sharks love drafting goalies and then peddling them off for assets. They traded Vesa Toskala to the Leafs then packaged the first and second round pick they got in return for him to move up in the 2007 draft and select Logan Couture. 

Wilson has also done a nice job of peddling off upside players who didn't amount to much for NHL all-stars. Notably, he packaged Carle (who is a good NHLer) and Ty Wishart, for Dan Boyle. As well as trading Steve Bernier in a package that saw the Sharks get Brian Campbell back.  

That said, in recent years the Sharks have only drafted once in the first round -and look at their success rate, they should be drafting much more often in the first round with that in mind- and they actually traded the one guy they did draft, Charlie Coyle, for Brett Burns. So in the last three years the Sharks have no first round picks to note of, plus an aging core in Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle and even Ryan Clowe. They also didn't draft in the first round in 2008 either. 

So what are we saying here? That the Sharks have been going all-in in recent years and they haven't won. And now their system is notably on the weaker side. They have a few interesting players in the pipeline such as Taylor Doherty, Freddie Hamilton and Justin Sefton, but we could feasibly see the Sharks start to trade their aging veterans for a plethora of high draft picks and prospects. 

The Sharks have been a solid team draft-wise, they just unfortunately haven't been drafting with high percentage picks (first rounders) anytime lately. 

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