League-wide 2002 draft evaluation

By Holly Gunning

Five years is considered the appropriate time to look back and judge a draft class. Over the past several weeks, Hockey’s Future has examined the 2002 draft crop, team by team. The hyperlinks in the table below lead to the individual articles.

We have measured success in selecting by using NHL games player, because it is fair to all types of players, flashy goal scorers to defensive defensemen.

Overall, NHL teams have gotten an average of 22.5 NHL games per pick out of the 2002 draft class, which is not far from the averages for 2000 and 2001, each after five years.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten the most value out of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft thus far, averaging 59 NHL games per pick.  They accomplished this despite making their first selection at 24th overall.  The Chicago Blackhawks came in fourth among teams, despite not picking until 21st overall.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected first overall in 2002, came in second with an average of 49.4 games per pick.  The Atlanta Thrashers selected second overall, but having taken a goaltender in the first round, haven’t yet seen the fruits of the pick as much as teams who took skaters. 

The Vancouver Canucks have the lowest average in the league, with just 0.1 NHL games per pick thanks to the one game played by goaltender Rob McVicar.  They had four picks in the top 100 in 2002, starting with the 49th pick.  Four teams began their picks even lower than Vancouver, including Tampa at 60th.

The player taken the highest in the draft who has not played NHL games is Jesse Niinimaki, chosen by Edmonton at No. 15.

The Buffalo Sabres made good selections in 2002 and averaged 35 NHL games per player, but only Daniel Paille out of the four still plays for the team.  First rounder Keith Ballard was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Carolina Hurricanes had the fewest picks with four, and Edmonton had the most picks with 15.  Both have averages near the mean. 

TeamAvg NHL games per pickNo. picksNo. picks to see NHL
Toronto59.095
Columbus49.4137
Florida49.2104
Chicago42.295
Minnesota35.8106
Washington35.2133
Buffalo35.0104
Pittsburgh33.3113
Anaheim31.582
Philadelphia29.471
Tampa Bay26.5134
Atlanta25.5102
Montreal25.062
Carolina22.041
Detroit21.6104
Edmonton20.9153
Calgary18.1122
Phoenix17.6114
NY Rangers17.392
Dallas15.2121
Nashville11.981
Boston11.372
New Jersey10.6113
Ottawa9.082
NY Islanders8.772
St. Louis5.492
Los Angeles4.2114
San Jose2.171
Colorado1.3102
Vancouver0.1111

Best of each round

First round – The jury’s still out on this one. The short list for best in the draft class between Rick Nash (CLB), Kari Lehtonen (ATL), Joni Pitkanen (PHI), and Jay Bouwmeester (FLA), the top four picks in the draft. Bouwmeester was considered the likely No. 1 going into the draft though he went third due to a trade. 

Second round – Center Jarret Stoll, who was taken 36th overall, and had 39 points in 51 games for Edmonton last year.  Stoll was a re-entry from 2000, having originally been a Calgary Flames pick.  Stajan, a good pick at 57th overall, had 39 points in 82 games last year for Toronto. Josh Harding, taken 38th overall by Minnesota, could still take this title in the long run.  He had a 1.16 GAA in seven NHL games last season.

Third round – The best of this round include Calgary’s Matthew Lombardi (90th overall), Florida’s Greg Campbell, and Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula

Fourth round – Not a fruitful round, the best is probably Cam Jansson, a fourth liner for New Jersey taken 117th overall.

Fifth round – Chicago’s James Wisniewski has played 69 NHL games, while Columbus’ Lasse Pirjeta has played 146.

Sixth round – Tampa Bay’s Paul Ranger (183rd overall) has played 148 NHL games, and Toronto’s Ian White (191st overall) has played 88.

Seventh round
– Overage goaltender Fredrik Norrena, a Tampa Bay pick at 213rd overall, has played 55 games for Columbus, while Columbus’ own pick Steve Goertzen (225th overall) has played 46 for the team as well.  Nathan Oystrick (ATL) remains a viable candidate.

Eighth round – Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot, Dennis Wideman, drafted by Buffalo, NY Rangers’ Petr Prucha, and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Craig.

Ninth round – Toronto’s Staffan Kronwall and Chicago’s Adam Burish.

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