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08-20-2013, 03:24 AM
Blue Suede Shoes
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Originally Posted by Luck 6 View Post
It's silly to draft defensemen in the 1st round if you ask me, I'm glad Gillis employs this same principle (or at least appears to). Defensemen take longer to develop, for this reason it's easier to find gems in the later rounds. With forwards it's much more "what you see is what you get" by their draft year, so to speak. If we can find defensemen with top 4 upside in rounds beyond the 1st, I'd say reserve that pick for a top forward and keep looking for defensemen in the 2nd round and beyond. If you were to look at the top 30 defensemen in the league, I'd guess that maybe only half of them were 1st rounders. Try that same exercise with forwards and I bet the results are dramatically different.

Top-20 Defensemen in terms of scoring

1 P.K. Subban 2 43rd
2 Kris Letang 3 62nd
3 Ryan Suter 1 7th
4 Andrei Markov 6 162nd
5 Keith Yandle 4 105
6 Niklas Kronwall 1 29th
7 Kimmo Timonen 10 250th
8 Cody Franson 3 79th
9 Shea Weber 2 49th
10 Dion Phaneuf 1 9th
11 Dustin Byfuglien 8 245th
12 Brian Campbell 6 156th
13 Justin Schultz 2 43rd
14 Mark Streit 9 262nd
15 Duncan Keith 2 54th
16 Sergei Gonchar 1 14th
17 Alex Goligoski 2 61st
18 Mike Green 1 29th
19 Slava Voynov 2 32nd
20 Francois Beauchemin 3 75th

Average Round: 3
Average Draft Position: 88.3
Total First Rounders: 5

1 Erik Karlsson 1 15th
2 Dustin Byfuglien 8 245th
3 Brian Campbell 6 156th
4 Zdeno Chara 3 56th
5 Alex Pietrangelo 1 4th
6 Shea Weber 2 49th
7 Alex Edler 3 91st
8 Dan Boyle Undrafted
9 Mark Streit 9 262nd
10 Dennis Wideman 8 241st
11 Ryan Suter 1 7th
12 Dion Phaneuf 1 9th
13 Kevin Bieksa 5 151st
14 Keith Yandle 4 105
15 Kevin Shattenkirk 1 14th
16 Kimmo Timonen 10 250th
17 Kris Letang 3 62nd
18 Michael Del Zotto 1 20th
19 Duncan Keith 2 54th
20 Jack Johnson 1 3rd

Average Round: 3
Average Draft Position: 89.7
Total First Rounders: 6

Now obviously just because these are the top-scoring defencemen, it does not mean that they are the best defencemen. But there is a correlation. And if we look at the best of the best, the Norris winners, we see the same pattern.

200506 Nicklas Lidstrom 3rd round
200607 Nicklas Lidstrom 3rd round
200708 Nicklas Lidstrom 3rd round
200809 Zdeno Chara 3rd round
200910 Duncan Keith 2nd round
201011 Nicklas Lidstrom 3rd round
201112 Erik Karlsson 1st round
201213 P.K. Subban 2nd round

Out of the 5 Norris winners since the lockout, only 1 was a first round pick (15th OA). And incidentally, the year Karlsson won the Norris, there was a lot of debate among people who felt Shea Weber should have won that year - And Weber is another 2nd round pick.

If we look at the Art Ross winners since the lockout we see completely the opposite trend.

200506 Joe Thornton 1st overall
200607 Sidney Crosby 1st overall
200708 Alexander Ovechkin 1st overall
200809 Evgeni Malkin 2nd overall
200910 Henrik Sedin 3rd overall
201011 Daniel Sedin 2nd overall
201112 Evgeni Malkin 2nd overall
201213 ** Martin St. Louis Undrafted

Of the 7 Art Ross winners since the lockout, only 1 of them wasn't a first round pick. All the rest were drafted in the first 3 spots of the draft.

This obviously isn't extensive but it does seem to echo the findings of the article Bleach linked earlier. It's probably best to draft forwards in the 1st round, and especially with the first few picks in the first round. Whereas maybe it's best to try to aim for elite defencemen with your 2nd and 3rd round picks? That seems to be where they tend to come from.

At the very least, I'm happy with Gillis' apparent draft strategy, taking forwards in round 1 and looking for the hidden gems of defensemen in the later rounds.

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