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Overview Piece On Our Recent Drafting

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Posted (edited)

I realize most people here don't need, or want to be reminded about this - the draft record of this club is well known to most fans - but Yost does make some interesting statistical comparisons between our franchise and one of the benchmark franchises out there - Tampa Bay.  More of a background piece to most of us and perhaps even a cautionary tale. I'm posting this not to judge the Miller trade whatsoever, but more as a background story of how we got to where we are now as a franchise as far as draft history goes.

https://www.tsn.ca/miller-trade-the-result-of-vancouver-s-past-draft-failures-1.1327724

 

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Miller trade the result of Vancouver’s past draft failures

 

The biggest trade of NHL Draft weekend came from the New Jersey Devils, who acquired defender

from the Nashville Predators at a rather reasonable cost on Saturday morning.

The second biggest trade of the weekend probably belonged to the Vancouver Canucks, who bet big on Tampa Bay’s

. To acquire Miller, the Canucks had to package goaltender

, a third-round pick in 2019 and a conditional first-round pick that will come due in either 2020 or 2021.

It’s a big price to pay, but Vancouver is trying to plug holes throughout the lineup. The pressure continues to mount on that front, with a budding superstar like

still on his entry-level contract and a fan base that hasn’t seen playoff hockey since the 2014-15 season.

How did Vancouver get here? It is a long and winding story that spans multiple regimes after carrying one of the league’s best teams at the height of the Sedin Twins era.

One of the underlying themes during this futile run has been a disastrous record when it comes to drafting and developing over the last decade. It was true during the Mike Gillis era (2008-14) when the team usually picked in the lower half of the draft, and it has generally remained true since Jim Benning took over (2014-present). Failing at the draft and failing to develop talent only served to create an environment where a rebuilding front office feels pressure to trade draft picks for established players.

To Benning’s credit, the team has landed a few nifty players during his tenure – the aforementioned Pettersson is at the top of the list – but

(2015 first rounder) and

(2014 first rounder) are also success stories.

The problem during the Benning tenure is that the team has struggled to put other picks around these players. Combine that with Gillis leaving the cupboards relatively bare, and you have a team that’s going to struggle to win games in today’s ultra-competitive NHL.

Consider Vancouver’s draft history from 2007-17, through the Pettersson draft. Seventy-one players were selected over that interval, including 19 players taken within the first 60 selections of their respective draft years. I mention this because it’s not for the lack of opportunity that the Canucks have failed on draft day.

The below table shows, by Wins Over Replacement, the value each class has created individually regardless of where they have ended up playing, and the corresponding rank of that team’s class against their peers around the league. (Note: using more rudimentary measures, like games played or total ice time allocated, show similar findings.)

Embedded Image

In terms of total WAR over 2007-17 by draft team, Vancouver is comfortably dead last. Some of that is because their more promising selections have been very recent (which don’t lend themselves as well to aggregated measures), and some of that is because of some truly poor drafting.

The total WAR table, which is a mere aggregation blind to unitization or expected draft value by pick selection, looks as follows:

Embedded Image

It jumps off the page how poorly Vancouver compares to a team like Tampa Bay, which is an outlier on the other side of the spectrum. Tampa Bay has developed into a juggernaut over the years and a lot of that can be accredited to how well the team has drafted.

To rattle off some of the names that have driven Tampa Bay’s success, consider the following:

(2007), (2008), (2009), (2009), (2010), (2011), (2011), (2011), (2014), and

(2015).

Here are Vancouver’s corresponding picks, by year, for reference:

Embedded Image

Vancouver, to be blunt, was a disaster from 2007-13. It’s hard to float eight bad years of drafting, but Vancouver had so much talent at the NHL level that they were able to smooth over some of those mistakes.

It’s easy to get lost in the laundry list of names Vancouver has grabbed over the years, so let me make this a little bit easier. Now I will show the same exact table, but only for players who have been at least one win better than a replacement-level player over the years. (For reference: Tampa Bay has 15 qualifiers.)

Embedded Image

You can nitpick with the selection criteria – players like

and certainly have been serviceable, and recently drafted players like and

probably just need more time – but the story is still the same. The Canucks, at least until recently, have missed on grabbing impact players with early picks and struggled even more so to find diamonds in the rough later in the draft. It’s a primary reason why Benning’s rebuilding efforts have been so challenging.

The pessimist sees a laundry list of names that never materialized. The optimist sees that Vancouver has hit on a few players more recently, all through their premium picks. That might be what gives the Canucks hope for their 2018 and 2019 draft classes. First-round pick

(2018) isn’t far away. Nor is 2019 first-round pick Vasily Podkolzin or second-round pick Nils Hoglander, for that matter. Vancouver sorely needs these players to develop and integrate into the lineup long-term, and perhaps hit on a couple of their mid or late-round picks with a stroke of luck.

We haven’t seen that for close to a decade in Vancouver. But nothing lasts forever. Perhaps we will start to see the tides turn.

 

Sorry if some of the copy/pasted story is missing, if someone is able to re-post the article in it's entirety (I couldn't for some reason) I'd appreciate that - I fixed the link to go to the original however. 

On an unrelated note, if every new thread requires tags why are there no tags that make any sense for something that isn't either a GDT, PGT, or official? 

Edited by Fanuck
Link not working, but fixed
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It’s an interesting piece but uses a lot of old data.  We are trending positively and should make a strong playoff push next season.  It also reinforces a lot of the east coast bias that tanking is the only path to rebuilding.  Our round 1 and 2 picks look like players.  Based on the number of guys under contract we should see some of the surplus converted to draft picks which the eastern media should get a major Chubb over.

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What a depressing table that final one is - 3 successes and 2 maybes !!

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Pretty much stating the obvious. Vancouver's drafting sucked under Nonis and Gillis and is now showing signs of significant improvements.

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Like Fanuck mentioned, we maybe don't want to be reminded of the obvious, but we're CDC'ers and never above more punishment, right? 

 

One thing I found interesting is that the article somewhat suggests that when JB hits a pick they hit big-time and when they miss they miss pretty good (risk/reward, I know). 

Also suggested is that JB hasn't done well with drafting the 'supporting' guys to complement the EP/Huges/BB players which is something I sort of agree with and is backed up by JB seeking out guys like Pearson, Miller, Vanek, Gags, Beagle, Roussel, even Bear to some degree. 

 

One thing is clear is that Gillis left virtually nothing to work with and it's taken JB a lot of time/experience to rebuild.  Things are looking way better moving forward imo though. 

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22 minutes ago, flat land fish said:

It’s an interesting piece but uses a lot of old data.  We are trending positively and should make a strong playoff push next season.  It also reinforces a lot of the east coast bias that tanking is the only path to rebuilding.  Our round 1 and 2 picks look like players.  Based on the number of guys under contract we should see some of the surplus converted to draft picks which the eastern media should get a major Chubb over.

Really? What surplus of any value? Guys with big contracts that either don’t play for crap like Eriksson, or guys too injury prone to have value like Tanev or do you mean guys like Spooner that can’t even make our paper thin lineup -you think they will harvest a bushel of draft picks? Which round two players look like picks - Dahlen ( that gleaned precious little ) Lind? Gadjovich? Or do you mean the second rounders we gave away for Vey, Dorsett, etc?

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The drafting of the Canucks over  the last few years would have improved even more if we didn't have the unprecedented turn of event that saw us four years in a row go the wrong way at the lotto draft.

Some definite luck is required to be successful at the lotto draft,like Edmonton or New Jersey,it would be nice if we could get a 1,2or3 pick soon.our last was 1999.

The Canucks have not had many 1,2or3 picks at the draft since coming into the league,in fact we have only had 8 in almost fifty years

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I'm pretty sure the current management were not in the slightest bit influenced to make the Miller trade based upon the drafting record of Dave Nonis and Mike Gillis.  Let me summarize the piece:

Dave Nonis sucked when drafting for the Canucks

Mike Gillis sucked while drafting for the Canucks

Jim Benning has drafted quite well

therefore the Jim Benning traded for Miller because of the failures of people a long time ago.

The author is making connections that don't exist.  He does draw pretty graphs though.

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I wonder if having 0 of the top 4 picks in the past 19 drafts has anything to do with the bad drafting history :rolleyes:

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I see Connaughton's name on the list that Gillis traded with a 2013 second rounder for a rental player who's game was clearly heading south in Derek Roy.

 

We spent time developing Connaughton a late bloomer who now looks very good in Arizona. Good for Kevin!

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30 minutes ago, Ray_Cathode said:

Really? What surplus of any value? Guys with big contracts that either don’t play for crap like Eriksson, or guys too injury prone to have value like Tanev or do you mean guys like Spooner that can’t even make our paper thin lineup -you think they will harvest a bushel of draft picks? Which round two players look like picks - Dahlen ( that gleaned precious little ) Lind? Gadjovich? Or do you mean the second rounders we gave away for Vey, Dorsett, etc?

Baertschi, sutter, Hutton, possibly leivo goldonin if they are patient

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Most GMs only manage to draft and develop players to become NHL regulars  with a less than 20 % success rate.  Any GM that can draft and develop 25% of picks to become NHL regulars is a draft genius.  Nonis and Gillis were terrible, but their failure is mitigated by the fact that they were often drafting late.

Jim Benning, in 5 drafts has selected 8 players that are now regulars (Vitanen, McCann, Demko, Forsling, Boeser, Gaudette, Petey and Hughes) and there are another 6 or 7 (Tryamkin, Brisebois, Juolevi, Lind, DiPietro and Woo) that could go either way.  This puts him as one of the best drafting GMs out there.  Criticize him as much as you like, sure he gets things wrong.  But his drafting record would be the envy of most teams. 

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This article is a terrible example of selection bias. It is also a false equivalency to say that good drafting equals good player performance. There is more than good drafting involved in producing a "better than replacement" player most of the time.

 

As mentioned, it is not controlled for draft position, which is hugely dependant on club performance and trades often associated with trying to bolster a competitive team. It does not take into account development. It is not clear how it evaluates player performance over replacement "no matter where they played", if that is controlled for player opportunities, deployment, etc. It does not seem to control for injuries, or employment decisions. Is Tryamkin a below replacement player? He's not considered to be so in the KHL. His lack of inclusion is reflective of a contract decision (or maybe a deployment dispute), not the quality of drafting. Would Luc Bourdon have been a bad drafting decision? Shame on Nonis for not predicting that freak motorcycle accident. 

 

I hate it when media produce biased stats to back up whatever take they have to drum up interest. I know it's the job, and there is no click-bait in "Canucks drafting has been somewhat below average given a decade of competitive teams and a recent rebuild that can't be effectively measured by my idiosyncratic selection criteria. . ."

 

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DFL

 

Yup

 

I’d like to see a comparison of every pick except the first rounders used to compare the drafting prowess of teams. 

 

Of course the tankers are going to show well in a bell curve of Rebuilding years like Toronto or Vancouver have. Take those out and let’s see where things stack up.

 

At any rate, some of the context here was to reveal the Canucks are having to trade their way out of rebuild hell, which I see Gillis being blamed for, still. Still? 

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1 hour ago, flat land fish said:

Baertschi, sutter, Hutton, possibly leivo goldonin if they are patient

You figure guys that have spent half of each of the past two years hurt (Baertschi, Sutter) have value? Surely you jest. Hutton was chosen by the previous regime. Goldobin, really? He can’t stay in our lineup and and we were what, ninth from worst? I think by patient, you are admitting that at present they don’t have any significant value, which just goes to the establish my point. And I don’t particularly blame Benning except for the fact that he was unwilling to stand up to an ownership unwilling to accept that the team needed to be rebuilt. That premise stopped us from getting higher values from the assets that we once had, and assets that we still have whose value has all but disappeared. There is also a long list of players that we acquired with draft picks that could have secured  more draft picks instead of surrendering them - Vey, Dorsett, etc.

 

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Posted (edited)

What a stupid article. It’s no secret that Nonis and Gillis were terrible at drafting but it fails to mention that we were picking late in those drafts, and it’s a lot harder to get a real impact player that late. It also doesn’t help that we haven’t had a top 4 pick in 19 drafts, and never had a 1st overall pick. Who picked 1st in 2008? Oh yeah, Tampa Bay, the team the writer is fapping to in this article. And who did they get? Stamkos. Basically a can’t miss prospect. They had better luck then we did previously, but won’t deny that they have done well drafting.

 

Canucks drafting has been outstanding the last few years, and it’s a complete stretch to bash JB due to the terrible drafting record of Gillis and Nonis

Edited by BlueDragon23
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How is Gaudette not on the positive side?? I'm sure he's 1 WAR.

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