Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Monday, June 11, 2007

1982 NHL Draft Evaluation

The 1982 Draft occupies the middle ground of early 1980s drafts. Not as loaded with talent as the 1980 or 1984 but not as weak as 1981 or 1985. This draft features a number of very talented players who had great careers but never won a Stanley Cup championship. Because the Oilers won 5 Cups in a short span of time that reduces the odds for non-Oiler players to get their name on the big silver trophy. It is an unfortunate byproduct of any dynasty era and it is one reason why I don't necessarily hold it against a guy who never won the Cup.

The top teams in terms of drafting players who went on to have valuable NHL careers were the Sabres, Whalers, Rangers, Capitals and Devils. Buffalo finishes at the top because they had two high picks and they made great selections with both landing Phil Housely (#6 overall) and Dave Andreychuk (#16 overall). Throw in journeyman Paul Cyr and it is quite a haul. The Whalers rank second for their selections of Ray Ferraro, Ulf Samuelsson and Kevin Dineen. Samulesson would get a Championship with the Penguins and Ferraro would have a very late career year with the Thrashers during their terrible early years (I still have my Ferraro autographed picture--thanks Ray!)

The teams that participated in the 1982 NHL Draft are ranked in the table below based upon the total career NHL value those draft picks amassed up through the end of the 2006-07 regular season (or the end of their career). The "value" column displays the total adjusted GVT regular season value of all players drafted by that team in that draft. Draftees who went on to play 400 or more games (fewer for goalies) are listed to the right so you can see for yourself the notable picks for each team. The division of those players into "impact" and "role" players is determined by looking at their value to games played ratio. Rather than just using my own opinion I decided to divide the adjusted GVT by game played and use that as a guideline.

Team Value Impact Player Role Players
BUF 1717 P.Housley D.Andreychuk P.Cyr
HAR 1611 R.Ferraro K.Dineen U.Samuelsson R.Gilhen
NYR 1368 T.Sandstrom T.Granato K.Miller
WAS 1157 S.Stevens D.Evason
NJD 1025 P.Verbeek K.Daneyko
PHI 975 RonSutter R.Hextall D.Brown
BOS 889
D.Reid B.Sweeney
MIN 848 B.Bellows B.Rouse
TOR 843 G.Leeman G.Nylund K.Wregget P.Ihnacak
QUE 726
D.Shaw M.Hough P.Gillis
STL 704 D.Gilmour
DET 679 M.Craven
WIN 663 D.Ellett J.Kyte
NYI 555 P.Flatley
PIT 477
Rich Sutter T.Loney
VAN 302
M.Petit
MON 218
D.Maley
EDM 131

CHI 122

CGY 115
M.Lamb
LAK 23






Of course, not every team has the same opportunities in a given draft year because of where they pick in the draft order. In order to take this into account I have calculated a draft opportunity cost average. Think of it as something like a batting average. If you took the best available player at your spot in the draft order your team receives a perfect score of 1.000 for that pick. If you drafted a total bust a score of zero. If you landed a NHL player--but not the best available player--your team score is determined by how close in value your guy was to the most valuable player left on the draft board (for more on this read this post).

Hartford finishes on top of the draft efficiency ranking because they found solid contributors in multiple rounds. In addition so Ferraro, Dineen and Samuelsson they picked up Randy Gilhen and Paul Lawless (awesome hockey name BTW, if only he and Paul Laus had played on the same team!). Likewise the Rangers score well as they scooped up a collection of contributors in Kelly Miller, Tony Granato, Tomas Sandstrom, Corey Millen and Chris Kontos.

The Capitals finish high due to a perfect score for taking Scott Stevens and adding in Dean Evason, but mostly because of Stevens--too bad they lost this franchise building block. Can you imagine how much differently the Capitals might have fared playing against the Penguins if they had kept Stevens on their blueline? The Sabres made two perfect selections early and found Paul Cyr but they had a total of 14 picks in this draft year and they getting almost nothing out of those other 11 picks which lowers their opportunity cost average. Finally we have the Flyers with a decent draft in which they took Ron Hextall, Ron Suter and Dave Brown.

Team Value Impact Player Role Player
HAR .212 1 Pleau
NYR .160 2 C.Patrick
WAS .154 3 Poile
BUF .153 4 Bowman
PHI .131 5 K.Allen
NJD .124 6 MacMillian
QUE .117 7 Fillion
STL .113 8 E.Francis
BOS .106 9 Sinden
MIN .104 10 Nanne
WIN .095 11 Ferguson
DET .082 12 Devellano
TOR .081 13 McNamara
PIT .067 14 Bastien
NYI .062 15 Torrey
VAN .041 16 H.Neale
MON .021 17 Grundman
EDM .016 18 Sather
CHI .014 19 Pulford
CGY .013 20 Fletcher
LAK .003 21 G.Maguire





Summary
This was a tough draft for certain GMs and scouts. There was some decent talent there in hindsight but on draft day there many big mistakes. Just take a look at the first round and count the number of misses. By the way in case you missed it the North Stars GM Lou Nanne was not exactly stellar on draft day. I'm not finished with all of his drafts yet, but so far he has yet to even finish in the top half of the league in a single year. Eventually I'll post something about each GM's individual success rate, it should be interesting since some of these guys are still around today.

3 Comments:

  • While losing Stevens as an RFA was a big blow to the team, they did draft Brendan Witt and Sergei Gonchar - two cornerstone players for a decade or so - with the compensatory picks.

    In fact, that pick continues to this day to be the most effective pick in team history

    By Blogger JP, at 12:35 PM  

  • Good point about the Capitals getting Gonchar and Witt out of the compensatory picks for losing S.Stevens. But in my opinion the franchise would have been better off to match the offer and keep Stevens. I think they would have more playoff games with him in the lineup. Certainly would have been nice to have him in all those Penguins series over the years.

    If we take a look at the GVT values the Blues still ended up with the better player in that deal as Stevens 794 score is greater than the combined 653 for Gonchar 441 + Witt 212. Of course those two are still active players and will accrue more NHL value provided they stay healthy.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 12:49 PM  

  • No question the Caps would have been better off matching the deal - but it could have been "franchise devestating" instead of merely "awful."

    By Blogger JP, at 8:48 PM  

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