What Have the New York Islanders’ Traded Draft Picks Amounted To?
March 7, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Colin Wilson (33) celebrates with Nashville Predators right wing James Neal (18) his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. Neal provided an assist on the goal. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Since Garth Snow took the reigns on the organization in 2006, the New York Islanders have traded 19 draft picks.

At the expansion draft on Wednesday night, Islanders general manager Garth Snow confirmed what most people already knew: that his team is shipping its 2017 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick and Mikhail Grabovski to Vegas for the protection of its most valuable players.

The initial reaction to the trade was one of jubilation, even as the reporter, Newsday’s Arthur Staple, changed his article three times to get it correct.

New York Islanders

Fans reasoned that the move — which is essentially $5 million in cap space for a first-round pick — would allow the team to get better in the short-run. This is sound logic. But it’s also important to look at the other part of the equation. In order to get, one must give. And that’s what Snow did on Wednesday night.

In the NHL, draft picks have immense value. It’s why Golden Knights GM George McPhee made a half-dozen trades. Even in a notably weak draft like the one upcoming, there’s plenty of talent to be had. So what exactly are the Isles giving up?

Garth Snow is no stranger to dealing picks. According to our analysis, he traded 19 of them between 2007 and 2013, including four first rounders and five second rounders. The league average is 14.

The following isn’t a precise statistical analysis, because of a data shortage:

  1. We analyzed a small sample size. The Isles only made 19 trades over this time period, which is statistically insignificant.
  2. We made an inadequate comparison. Trying to compare Snow’s track record of trading draft picks and the rest of the league’s success with drafting players, we utilized Post to Post Hockey’s data from 2000 to 2012.

However, this research was never intended to provide precise numbers, but rather, to paint a big picture. We’re trying to answer a simple question: What exactly are the Islanders losing when they trade the fifteenth overall pick (and later, a second rounder)?

The Data

The following is a list of players selected by one of the league’s other 29 (30, now) teams using an Islanders pick between 2007 and 2013:

Pick, DraftPlayerTeam DraftedStats
15, 2007Alex PlanteEdmonton Oilers10 GP, 2 PTS
46, 2007Theo RuthWashington CapitalsN/A
136, 2007Ondrej RomanDallas StarsN/A
5, 2008Luke SchennToronto Maple Leafs644 GP, 136 PTS
7, 2008Colin WilsonNashville Predators502 GP, 237 PTS
68, 2008Shawn LalondeChicago Blackhawks1 GP, 0 PTS
186, 2008Jason DemersSan Jose Sharks504 GP, 171 PTS
16, 2009Nick LeddyMinnesota Wild498 GP, 216 PTS
37, 2009Mat ClarkAnaheim Ducks9 GP, 1 PTS
56, 2009Kevin LynchColumbus Blue JacketsN/A
91, 2009Mike LeePhoenix CoyotesN/A
35, 2010Ludvig RensfeldtChicago BlackhawksN/A
95, 2010Stephen SilasColorado AvalancheN/A
155, 2010Kendall McFaullAtlanta ThrashersN/A
160, 2010Tanner LaneAtlanta ThrashersN/A
65, 2011Joseph CramarossaAnaheim Ducks59 GP, 10 PTS
155, 2011Andrew FritschPhoenix CoyotesN/A
95, 2012Josh AndersonColumbus Blue Jackets96 GP, 34 PTS
45, 2013Nick SorensenAnaheim Ducks5 GP, 1 PTS
  • 6 of 19 players drafted since 2007 have played 50+ games in the NHL (32%)
  • 4 of 19 players drafted since 2007 have played 100+ games in the NHL (21%)
  • Draftees (including goalies) since 2007 have played a total of 2328 games
  • Draftees since 2007 have an average of 43 points and 123 games played
  • Best draft year: 2008 — Luke Schenn (5th), Colin Wilson (7th), Jason Demers (186th)
  • Worst draft year: 2010 — Ludvig Rensfeldt (35th), Stephen Silas (95th), Kendall McFaull (155th), Tanner Lane (160th)

By Round

RoundNumber of PlayersGPPTSExpected Success RateNYI Success RateOther teams’ Success Rate
  • Despite the second round producing the highest number of draft picks, not one player played in at least 50 games in the NHL
  • 3 of the 4 players drafted in the 1st round since 2007 have played in 50+ games (75%)

This is just the raw data. It isn’t a conclusion, and it isn’t statistically sound. While one can make plenty of observations and continue to analyze the data, one thing is abundantly clear: draft picks do have value, especially first rounders.

We’ll discuss these findings in depth at a later time.

Post to Post Hockey’s data was critical for this analysis. Kudos to their researchers for going above and beyond in their research.

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