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Sports fans love to analyze stats - partly in the hopes of finding that one key insight behind winning teams. Hockey fans are no exception and so we quest to track down the illusive insight.

There are various factors to a teams success - trades, farm team development, scouts and drafting.

Conventional wisdom suggests that an NHL team's success is at least partly based on how well the team does in drafting and cultivating new players.

So it makes sense to look at the players each NHL teams drafted. The following table totals the NHL Points scored by the players each team drafted from 1993-2009:

TeamTotal Points
Ottawa7941
New Jersey6302
Colorado5654
Edmonton5641
San Jose5635
Mtl. Canadiens4793
NY Islanders4750
Florida4572
Tampa Bay4526
Boston4463
Calgary4461
Pittsburgh4357
Los Angeles4316
Washington4189
Anaheim4179
Vancouver4127
Buffalo4099
Philadelphia3821
Toronto3818
NY Rangers3658
Dallas3609
St. Louis3600
Carolina3458
Phoenix3283
Chicago3243
Detroit3032
Nashville2066
Minnesota1868
Atlanta1732
Columbus1218

Notes:

  1. Data accumulated from the draft years of 1993 to 2009
  2. Columbus has not been in the league the full term the stats were collected from
  3. The points include Defencemen - points scored by Defencemen is less useful than forwards
  4. Some teams have moved in that time frame (Quebec Nordiques to Dallas Stars, Minnesota Stars to Dallas Stars, Hartford Whales to Carolina Hurricanes) - and those drafted players were counted as part of the moved team.

Data Analysis:

Some interesting points emerge from this data:

  • 3 of the top 10 teams have won the Cup (New Jersey, Colorado, Tampa Bay)

  • 3 of the bottom 10 teams have won the Cup (Detroit, Carolina, Dallas) - the other 7 can be considered to have relatively little playoff success (Columbus, Atlanta, Minnesota, Nashville, Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis). Note: here "little playoff success" means winning less than 2 or 3 playoff series, as compared to the number of playoff series won by teams such as Detroit, New Jersey, Colorado, Ottawa.

  • 6 of the top 10 teams have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals at least once (Ottawa, New Jersey, Colorado, Edmonton, Florida, Tampa Bay), and 4 did not (San Jose, Montreal Canadiens, NY Islanders, Boston)

  • The bottom 4 teams (Nashville, Minnesota, Atlanta, Columbus) have had miserable playoff success, and excluding Detroit then 6 of the bottom 7 (add Phoenix, Chicago) have had miserable playoff success.

Surprisingly enough are that the Detroit Red Wings finish of 5th last. In this case, the Red Wings actually have drafted players with less totals than the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs! The Red Wings success may largely be attributable to being one of the top salaried team up until the end of the no-salary cap era.

From this data we learn:

  • An indication of each teams drafting and/or farming abilities

  • While drafting abilities is very important, it's not an absolutely necessary (especially in a no-salary cap era)

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