In the NHL, Drafting Well Matters – But Isn’t a Silver Bullet

One would think that drafting quality players (players with >160 games played in the NHL) would nearly guarantee success in the NHL.  However, while the data shows it certainly leads to a consistently competitive team, it does not guarantee a Stanley Cup or even a trip to the finals.  Pittsburgh is a middle-of-the-pack team when it comes to drafting high quality players (15% of draft picks turn into quality players) and only have had 10 them, yet their success stems from more than just their picks.  At the same time, teams like Anaheim, Los Angeles and Washington are in the top quartile when it comes to consistently picking well and their continued success in fielding playoff-making teams can be traced to their draft and develop capability.