Draft Preview: What Can Cup Champs Teach Us About Drafting

What we can learn from Champions of the past?
What we can learn from Champions of the past?

As I watched last nights insomniac game between the Chicago Blackhawks & Boston Bruins, I started looking at all the players on each team and realized how little some of the rosters had changed since each team won their respective championships a few years back. Chicago had a debacle the summer after their Cup win, losing players to free agency because paperwork was not properly filled out, but Chicago stuck to a game plan and with proper drafting and trades the Hawks are back in the finals in a matter of just a few years. Boston has always drafted well and made some good deals to get themselves back in two short years.   What has me excited is what the Islanders are currently doing.If you were to look at the last four Cup teams: the Kings, Bruins, Hawks & Penguins, you’ll notice a very high percentage of players drafted went on to play on their teams for the Cup. For example, 48% of the Hawks currently playing for the Cup were drafted by their team.  Boston has roughly 30% but their percentage was slightly higher when they won the Cup a few years back. The Kings are at 42% (about the same as last year) while the Penguins of this year had roughly 34% but when they won the Cup, that number was also closer to 40%.  So there is a case where drafting and keeping prospects are necessary to win a Cup, or in the cases of the Hawks & Bruins, possibly two.

So where do the Islanders compare to the four former Cup champs? As of this post, 46% of the current players were drafted by the Islanders. When you take in the news of Matt Donovan getting a shot to replace Mark Streit on defense and Brock Nelson getting a shot to replace Keith Aucoin, that’s close to 50% of the team was drafted by the Islanders. That’s a big reason folks why the Islanders gave the Penguins a run for their money & why the Penguins were handing out compliments and giving the Islanders a ton of respect at the end of the first round series. When they compared the Islanders to their 2007 team, it’s a bigger deal than most may realize.

That’s why I was pleased to hear that Garth Snow got a fourth round pick for Mark Streit yesterday, he got something for a player who was not coming back. The fourth round pick may or may not pan out, but the point is this: If you want to win a Cup, you still have to draft often, draft well & develop those players. Coming up tomorrow, I’ll start on my top 10 countdown to the draft with number 10 (least likely to be picked) and working my way up the ranks. The day before the draft and I’ll “predict” who the Islanders take, assuming they don’t trade up or down, which would not surprise me if they did.

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