Home > I look like a moron > Measuring Flames Drafting Futility

Measuring Flames Drafting Futility

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I’m sure you can imagine from previous posts, I’m not a fan of Darryl Sutter and where he’s taken the Flames.  It seems to me that he has mismanaged our cap, prospects, draft picks, and generally treated players poorly.  He has made poor trades, signed players on a significant decline, and will eventually run our lovely franchise into the ground.

Right now, I want to look at our drafting abilities though.  Sutter has consistently drafted players in the first round who appear more and more unlikely to make the big league in the forseeable future.  You have the obvious busts, Chucko and Irving (who’s been sent down to the ECHL), the guy looking unlikely to pan out in Pelech, and some unknown quantities in Nemisz, Erixon, and Backlund.  Oh, and there’s Phaneuf, who I actually have no complaints about as he’s brought us Hagman, Stajan, and White.  Mayers doesn’t count.

To be fair, Backlund has been called up to the big Flames, and I don’t see him going back down.  But two picks since 2003 (and one from the top 10, no less) is hardly successful.  I’m not saying every 1st rounder needs to pan out as a superstar, or even an NHLer.  But a majority should make the NHL, if at least on a part-time basis.  How many games have our first round picks that aren’t Phaneuf played?  Let’s look:

Chucko: 2

Irving: 0

Pelech: 5

Backlund: 10

Nemisz: 0

Erixon: 0

That’s 17 NHL games from 6 first round draft picks.  So what’s the problem?  Is it poor scouting?  Poor development?  Here, I’ll give it some context:

In the 3 NHL drafts from 2004-2006, the Flames had 3 first round picks, Chuck, Irving, and Pelech.  I figure 3 years is enough time to at least make the big leagues on a semi-regular basis.  Combined, those three have played 7 games, 5 by Pelech, 2 by Chucko.  Now, goalies can be slow to develop, and I’d understand Irving not having played any NHL games if he was in the AHL lighting it up (or rather, not letting it get lit up).  Instead, he’s in the ECHL with a .903 SV%.  Quality pick right there.

So how do those seven games measure up against the rest of the NHL?  Only 1 team is worse: Detroit- and they only had 1 first rounder in that time, Jakub Kindl, who has played 3 games (all this year).  The average games per pick over those three years is 114.34.  The average total games played by all picks of a single team is 342.  On the GP/Pick front, we’re rocking a differential of 112.  On the average total games played it’s a horrifying differential of 335. 

Now admittedly, we’ve had some late round picks who’ve panned out better than these guys, but how much of that is luck?  We shouldn’t have more success in the 6th round than the first, it’s not right.  Moss and Boyd may have made the big club full-time, but they’re hardly stars, and I don’t think having 6th rounders when you can’t even develop a first is something to be proud of.

However, I feel like the real question is not “Why do we suck at drafting?”  Because as much as I’ve argued that we do, prospects like Mitch Wahl, the aforementioned Backlund, and Ryan Howse give me hope.  No, the real question, is development versus drafting.  As in, are we drafting players who will never develop, or are we drafting players who could develop and they’re just not getting the right experience in the AHL or wherever they are?

Right now, I don’t have an answer, but maybe someone does.

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Categories: I look like a moron
  1. Hayley
    February 25, 2010 at 1:59 am

    I was going to write a post similar to this, but I got too depressed when looking at our draft history and the players we could have drafted. Well done!

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