I decided to look at the first rounders who did not go in the top 10. For those who had at least 10 years since their draft, I wanted 5 full seasons (400 games). As we got closer, I reduced the number of games played to reflect that some players did not have the time to run up 400 games yet.
CONCLUSION: In only 2 seasons did the majority of the players chose between 11 and 30 made the NHL as long-time regulars. In all, only 84 out of 200 players (42%) became "real" NHLers. In fact, this number might be inflated because some of the later picks may still be dumped out of the NHL and never reach the 400 games plateau. Note that 400 career games isn't some great achievement. Plenty of guys with very average careers played over 1,000 games (e.g. Jay Wells, Todd Marchant), so 400 games is really the bare minimum.
400+ NHL games:
300+ NHL games:
2003: 14 (12 made it, 2 close)
200+ NHL games:
2005: 8 (7 made it, 1 close and still playing)
2006: 7 (6 made it, 1 close and still playing)
100+ NHL games:
2008: 9 (8 made it, one close and still playing)
As I previously showed, a second rounder has a 20% shot to make the NHL, a third rounder has a 10%, and the rounds below are 3-7%. In all, in an average draft, about 23.5 players make the NHL as long term regular NHLers.
- Guys like Lisin, Mitchell and Woywitka who shuttled back and forth from the minors to the NHL and racked up a couple hundred games.
- Guys like Dan Girardi and Matt Read who were never drafted, but became full-time NHLers.
This also doesn't take into account the fact that someone who has a top 10 pick has better second rounders too. A guy chosen at #32 is seen as a far superior prospect than a guy chose at #58. In fact, that second rounder is close to the late first than to the late second. This is yet another advantage for teams like the Islanders.