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01-07-2013, 10:32 PM
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RESEARCH: Odds of a goalie draftee making the NHL

I decided to take a look at the statistical odds of a goalie drafted in the 3 round or later making it in the NHL. We are not in a position right now to draft a goalie in the first two rounds because Lundqvist has another half a dozen to a dozen years left, and we have much bigger holes to plug. Obviously someone drafted in the 3rd round has a better chance of making the NHL than someone drafted in the 7th, but the difference is surprisingly small.

I looked for the latest 10 years, but the last 5 drafts are too early to judge, so I looked from 1998 to 2007, which gave us 217 draftees.

I found that it is most likely completely not worth it to draft goalies. While goalies drafted in the mid to late rounds are more likely to crack the NHL, a large majority (14 out of 19) became either backups or borderline starters, both of which are a dime a dozen every summer as UFAs for very little money.

Goalies have to be stars to be valuable. Skaters do not. Hagelin is very valuable to the Rangers as a third liner, but a similarly talented goalie would be a waste.

We are better off signing guys like Talbot and Miss in hopes that they will be good backups some day, and long-term it's easier to just trade for a goalie like Luongo or else we'll have to draft one in the earlier rounds.

We would have to spend every one of our picks in rounds 3 through 7 for seven years just to have a 50-50 chance of drafting a star goalie. Drafting netminders is like throwing darts blind-folded.

So onto the results.


Star: 1.38%
Solid Starter or Star: 2.30%
NHLer of any kind: 8.76%

1998: 17 drafted. None became quality starters. Jason Labarbera, Andrew Raycroft and Antero Niittymaki became backups.

1999: 23 drafted. Ryan Miller and Craig Anderson became starters. None became quality backups (I'm not counting those who had a few stints, but never stuck in the NHL).

2000: 27 drafted. Roman Cechmanek was a starter for a few years, then left for Europe. Mikael Tellqvist became a backup. I heard that Lundqvist guy is ok too.

2001: 24 drafted. Cristobal Huet became a part-time starter. Martin Gerber, Ray Emery, Jussi Markkanen, Mike Smith became backups; Pasi Nurminen was a starter for a couple of seasons before being forced to retire due to injury during the last lockout; Craig Anderson was re-drafted in the third round.

2002: 24 drafted. Nobody became a long-term NHLer.

2003: 25 drafted. Two players made it and both are now on the Blues: Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.

2004: 26 drafted. Nobody became a long-term NHLer.

2005: 16 drafted. Jonathan Quick became a star, but he was the only one.

2006: 20 drafted. Steve Mason is a starter, James Reimer is a backup.

2007: 16 drafted. Nobody became a long-term NHLer.

TOTAL NHLers: 19 (8.76%)


Stars: 3 (Lundqvist, Miller and Quick)
Starters: 2 (Anderson and Mason)
Borderline: 5 (Chechmanek, Huet, Halak, Elliot, Nurminen)
Backups: 9 (Jason Labarbera, Andrew Raycroft, Antero Niittymaki, Mikael Tellqvist, Martin Gerber, Ray Emery, Jussi Markkanen, Mike Smith, James Reimer)

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