Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 NHL Draft Part 3--There is quality at #8, dependent upon the class

The 2013 NHL Draft will be upon us soon. The Buffalo Sabres, for the second season in a row, have four picks in first two rounds. They have the #8 and #16 in the first round, #38 and #52 in the second.

Many believe that the team should do anything they can to get into the top-3 this year to land a "franchise player." Sabres GM Darcy Regier is actively trying to move up, but going from 8th into the top-3 is nearly impossible, and as we'll see later, not many picks in the 4th-6th spots get moved.

Chances are the Buffalo Sabres will be drafting somewhere around #8.

The following series looks at past drafts from 1979-2003, bookending what are widely considered the best drafts ever over that 25-year span, and what that might mean for the Sabres in this year's draft.

In Part-2 of this series we looked at five draft classes over the course of a 25-year period that stood out above the rest. Although varying in depth, one common thread running through them all is quality down to the eighth pick.

If the 2013 draft class is as good as many are saying it is, it puts the Sabres in a decent spot with the opportunity to land an upper-eschlon talent with the eighth overall pick.

A deep draft class could make for a strong pick at #8

It takes a solid scouting departement to land an elite player at 8th overall although having a strong, deep draft class to select from tends to make it a bit easier.

The five drafts encapsulated in the previous installment have produced some impressive picks in and around #8. Looking at the 7-9 picks from those five drafts here's what they offered:
  • 1979:  HOF Ray Bourque (8th)
  • 2003:  All-Stars Ryan Suter (7th) and Dion Phaneuf (9th)
  • 1983:  All-Star Russ Courtnall (7th) and HOF Cam Neely (9th)
  • 1988:  All-Star Jeremy Roenick (8th) and probable HOF'er Rod Brind'Amour (9th)
  • 1990:  All-Stars Daryl Sydor (7th) and D Derian Hatcher (8th)
Two HOF'ers in Bourque and Neely, a probable HOF'er in Brind'Amour, two US HHOF'er in Roenick and Hatcher, perenial All-Star Suter, and a multi-Cup winner in Sydor.

Not too shabby a group.

At #8, and with a draft-class this year that's said to be in the mix with some of the deepest in history, the Sabres should be able to do well in that spot. Using the previously mentioned five draft classes, the Sabres have about a 60% chance of landing an impact player in the eighth spot should they not be able to move up.

Take away depth in draft, though, and the odds of landing an impact player drop considerably.

Looking back historically at the other drafts between 1979 and 2003, there were all-out busts in the #7-9 spots three times:  1989, 1992, 2000.

Three other drafts produced at least one serviceable player:  1980 (Mike Bullard,) 1987 (Luke Richardson,) 1999 (Taylor Pyatt.)

Draft classes with at least two serviceable players include: 1982, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1998.

There have been seven classes with one at least one All-Star coming in picks #7-9 including:  1984 (Shayne Corson,) 1993 (Jason Arnott,) 1995 (Shane Doan,) 1996 (Ruslan Salei,) 1997 (Sergei Samsonov, Nick Boynton,) 2001 (Mike Komiserak) 2002 (Joffrey Lupul)

There were two HOF'ers in that 7-9 range, Grant Fuhr (1981,) and Brian Leetch (1986.)

Twenty draft classes, 60 picks, two HOF'ers, eight All-Stars.

The odds of landing an impact player outside of the "top-five" classes used in this series:  6%.

To encapsulate. The odds of landing an impact player in a deep draft with quality stretching down to at least the 9th pick is 60%. In weaker draft classes that percentage drops to 6%.

All-in-all over the course of all 25 drafts from 1979-2003, the 7th-9th slots have produced four HOF'ers and 14 All-Stars--a 24% chance (18/75) of landing an impact player in those spots.

If the perceived depth of this class holds true, the Sabres should be able to find themselves an impact player with the 8th overall pick.

Many are looking at the top six or seven players this year to be in that "elite" classification which makes the odds of landing an impact player in the 4-6 range this year even higher.

The Sabres are said to be interested in trading up in the draft. Moving into the top-3 would be ideal, but perhaps they may only be able to get to the 4-6 range.

Next:  Moving up the ladder, a look at the 4-6 draft slots.

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