Statistical hockey website Puck Prospectus studied and ranked the best-drafting teams over the period of the 1993 draft to the 2007 draft. Here was the methodology using his metric GVT (Goals Versus Threshold):
I simply summed, using the same methodology I described two weeks ago, each of the 30 NHL teams’ expected GVT, based on the position of their draft picks and the strength of that year’s draft, as well as the discounted GVT of the players drafted. I paid no attention to whether or not the team traded away the player later on or not (the drafting team gets full credit), and I didn’t care how teams obtained their draft picks. Some teams draft higher, or trade to obtain picks; those teams are expected to obtain more player GVT. Players are only judged on GVT accumulated so far in their career, so Washington only gets credit for 80 discounted GVT for Alexander Ovechkin even though he is likely to hit 150 over the course of his career.
He explains his metric GVT:
GVT is very similar to VORP in baseball: it is the value of a player, in goals, above what a replacement player would have contributed. The fact that GVT is measured in goals is crucial: statistics that divide up “Win Shares”, so that the ratings of a team’s players sum to that team’s number of wins, are very erratic and non-linear, since wins don’t increase or decrease linearly with team caliber. While hockey is ultimately about winning or losing, players’ contributions always come down to scoring goals and preventing them. A player cannot “win” a game, even though he may be put in a situation where scoring a goal or making a key save would create or conserve a win. Each player's role, no matter his position, is to try and increase the goal differential in favor of his team. An offensive player who scores a hat trick only to see his teammates allow 4 goals against has nevertheless done his job; a goaltender who stops 39 of 40 shots only to lose 1-0 has likewise performed well. Using this standard, all players can be compared by the same yardstick: how much did they help (or harm) their team's goal differential?
Amazingly, the Canucks two best picks of the last 15 years were taken one right behind the other in the famous 1999 draft where they traded to get the #2 and #3 picks. After a somewhat slow start in the NHL, the Sedin twins have been as good as advertised. Sadly, other than the Sedins and Mattias Ohlund, Vancouver has drafted very few quality NHLers over the years.
The results are pretty good. I think that the list generally follows what most people perceive the rankings to be.
The Wild are a bit high (because their bad picks haven't had time to lose value relative to expectation) and Nashville seems a bit low (probably because they didn't do well with some first round picks early in their history).
EDIT: Also the Blues seem kind of funny in 7th considering their best players drafted are Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jochen Hecht, Mike Grier and Alexander Khavanov.
It covers up to the 2007 Draft. Since players do not usually make the NHL for couple of years the period of 1993-2007 seems logical for this purpose.
It doesn't take into account production from the 2009-10 season. Teams that have draft picks with high performances in the current season won't get credit for that performance - like for example the Art Ross trophy winner. Adding the current season on boost teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington as all their recent successful picks would get another year of production.
Do this again in 5 years and I'd expect we're a lot better. Guys like Raymond, Edler, Grabner, Hodgson, Schroeder, Schneider all look to be pretty significant NHL players (Raymond and Edler already are) if they all come anywhere close to their full potential.