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Tag: NHL Entry Draft (Page 1 of 3)

McPhee’s Lottery Luck

This Saturday the Golden Knights will have a 10.3% chance to win the NHL Draft Lottery and be awarded the first selection in June’s Entry Draft. It’s the first time Vegas will participate in an NHL “competition” against the Original 30, and while we have no clue what kind luck the new franchise will have, we can only hope GM George McPhee’s luck carries over.

McPhee has been a general manger in the NHL for 17 years, six of which is Capitals missed the playoffs and were in the lottery.

YearFinish (to last)Lottery OddsPick NumberDraft Selection
19995th8.1%*7thKris Beech
200212th0%12thSteve Eminger
20043rd14.2%1stAlex Ovechkin
20064th10.7%4thNicklas Backstrom
20074th10.7%5thKarl Alzner
201414th0.5%13thJakub Vrana

*In 1999 the Thrashers joined the league. The Internet struggled back then, so finding exact odds was tough. If anyone finds them, let me know

Hopefully McPhee is partying like it’s 2004. With just a few percentage points more than the Golden Knights will have this year, McPhee hit the lottery and jumped up to get Ovi. 

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Nolan Patrick Draft Stock Continues To Slip

Months ago Brandon Wheat Kings star prospect Nolan Patrick was the near consensus first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Through a season of injuries and a fantastic campaign by the Swiss standout, Nico Hischier is starting to find his way to the top of draft boards.

So what do you do if you have the first pick overall this summer? Patrick’s two-way game and 6-foot-3 frame seemed to make him a safe top pick before the injuries, but Hischier’s hockey IQ and elite offensive skills make him look like another Jonathan Drouin. For me, it’s Hischier right now – and he certainly had to earn the distinction. -Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

Hischier has been stupendous all season long and has continued his excellent run during the QJHML playoffs. Meanwhile, Patrick has been out much of the season and missed the Wheaties playoff series in which they were swept.

Here’s the good news, the Golden Knights didn’t need the 2016-17 season to know who Nolan Patrick is. While many teams were set to take advantage of another pre-draft eligible season for Patrick (he missed the cutoff by four days last year), they weren’t afforded a wealth of ice time due to Patrick’s nagging injuries. The Golden Knights on the other hand have Kelly McCrimmon on their staff. The current owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings and the former coach and GM of Patrick through his first three years in Manitoba.

Of course the lottery balls still have to have their say (still no official date on the lottery yet), but it’s likely that if McCrimmon believes Patrick is the next Anze Kopitar, he and McPhee will do what it takes to make him a Golden Knight. Therefore, the injuries, the rise of Hischier, and the lack of minutes from Patrick could in fact be a blessing in disguise for Vegas.

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Top Defenseman Come From Draft, But Not Necessarily Early

Back in December we examined the success rates of centers and defenseman drafted in the top five. The percentage of accomplished forwards were much higher than blueliners. To the point that we should all be crossing our fingers George McPhee drafts a center first. TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button published his latest rookie mock draft. Not much has changed as centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier remain his top two picks. Button slotted the Golden Knights with the third pick and selected center Gabe Vilardi. The 17 year-old is a brilliantly skilled prospect who plays for the Windsor Spitfires. Vilardi fits that franchise center we can all hope turns into talent like Anze Kopitar. After the Golden Knights select their offensive star in the first round they will have to address the backend.

There are really good players in this draft. There’s gonna be really good players that have a significant impact in the National Hockey League. The problem is, is that the last two drafts with McDavid, Eichel, Matthews, Laine were exceptional. You go back and look at the other players from those draft, they didn’t make it in their first year. It’s gonna take some time. There’s really good players here and you got to find them. I don’t think they’re depth players, I think there are really good players in the draft. -Craig Button, TSN

Button is convinced there are plenty of pro-level prospects beyond Patrick and Hischier. Especially, some under the radar defensive players. On TSN Toronto, Button was asked about teams addressing defensive needs in the offseason. The analyst suggested teams have better luck finding blueline talent in the draft as opposed to free agency.

You have to draft a defenseman that you think could be a top three guy. Number one defenseman are rare. They’re like true number one centers. And just go back and look where they are, they’re right at the top of the draft.” -Craig Button, TSN

If you look around the league, number one defenseman are mainstays. Top D-men will either stay with the team that drafted them or sign a monster free agent deal. I can’t imagine The Creator agreeing to the contract the Wild’s Ryan Suter made. Luckily, that deal was signed under the previous CBA. Although stay tuned, in 2019, players would like to throw out the term limits.

Having an elite defenseman can also determine how successful a club will be. The only issue is their availability, great blueliners are hard to come by, and for a reason. It’s why some teams like Chicago, LA and Pittsburgh have had monumental, continued, success. All three Cup winners drafted their top defenseman. And it continues from there. Check out the last ten teams that won the Stanley Cup. Half were led by homegrown talent and only two were drafted in the first round.

TeamPlayerAcquired 
Penguins (2016, 2009)Kris Letang2005 3rd Round (62nd Overall)
Blackhawks (2015, 2013, 2010)Duncan Keith2002 2nd Round (54th Overall)
Kings (2014, 2012)Drew Doughty2008 1st Round (2nd Overall)
Bruins (2011)Zdeno CharaFree Agent, 20065yr/$37.5 mil
Red Wings (2008, 2002)Nicklas Lidstrom1989 3rd Round (53rd Overall)
Ducks (2007)Scott NiedermayerFree Agent, 20054yr/$27 mil
Hurricanes (2006)Aaron WardTraded from Bostonfor Patrick Eaves and 4th Round Pick
Lightning (2004)Dan BoyleTraded from Floridafor 5th Round Pick
Devils (2003)Scott Niedermayer1991 1st Round (3rd Overall)
Avalanche (2001)Rob BlakeTraded from Los Angelesfor two 1st Round Picks

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Golden Knights Aren’t The Reason To Avoid Tanking

The addition of the 31st franchise in the NHL has changed the layout of the 2017 NHL Draft. Since 1995 the league has used a lottery system to determine the order of selection in the first round for all non-playoff teams. It’s an effort to make it less appealing to give up at the end of the season in hopes of getting a higher pick in the draft.

The lottery has done just that. Sometimes teams keep the top overall pick, sometimes a team jumps up a slot or two to the front of the line, and even the team that finished closest to the playoffs has the slimmest chance to find itself selecting in the top three. (The NHL conducts three lotteries using the same odds to determine the top thee picks. Then teams are slotted in from 4-15 based on record)

There’s no debating the lottery’s effectiveness on curbing tanking. But there is a debate on this nugget from TSN.

The one problem for the Devils – or any other team interested in improving their odds – is that tanking has been slightly disincentivized this year with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights. –Frank Seravalli, TSN

Exact odds have not been released yet for the 2017 lottery including Vegas, but the projections take the word slightly literally.

In 2016 the last place team, Toronto, had a 20% shot of winning the lottery and getting Auston Matthews. It happened. The second to last place team, Edmonton, came in at 13.5% with Vancouver behind them at 11.5%.

The Expansion Rules indicate that Vegas will have an equal chance in the lottery as the third worst team. Last year that would have meant 11.5%, but in adding a team the odds must change a bit. Again, the numbers have not been released yet, so these are just speculation, but the guess is the worst team will have a 17.9% chance, with 2nd worst 12.1% and Vegas/3rd worst tied at 10.3%.

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If Nolan Patrick’s A Golden Knight, It’ll Be For Good Reason

Since the signing of Reid Duke, the entire Golden Knights fan base have been playing make-believe GM. The dream transaction almost every armchair general manager (including myself) wants to make, is drafting top rated prospect Nolan Patrick. By now, we’re all aware Nolan and Duke play together in Brandon, Manitoba. Patrick is currently projected first or second in most analysts mock drafts. Duke, who becomes the Golden Knights first signed player could also become the team’s first player ambassador.

Of course, we can’t expect Kelly McCrimmon to exchange all of his Brandon currency for Vegas gold but his influence could help. If he believes Patrick is worth trading future assets for, I’m sure his boss will listen. George McPhee wouldn’t just trade up for a splash, but we have to imagine McCrimmon’s opinion is heavily valued by the GM. Conspiracy nuts like myself and Alex Jones expect lottery shenanigans leading to Vegas magically getting the first pick, but the possibility of drafting four to six is real if the odds are legit.

McPhee will be having very serious conversations with all 30 GMs in the near future so he’ll know (he might already) what the price of moving up will be. Analysts like Craig Button and Bob McKenzie are both down on this year’s draft but that doesn’t mean a team will make trade-swapping easy on Vegas.

Now that we know the situation, we have to ask the obvious question, is trading up for Nolan Patrick is even worth it? The projected number one pick’s numbers are silly over the past three plus seasons in Brandon. In 28 games this season, the right-handed center has 42 points. Last year he posted 102 points in 72 games with a rating of +51. Out of Patrick’s 18 goals this season only a few are assisted by Duke. While both centers play many shifts on separate lines, they continuously show up together on Brandon’s lethal power play unit. The Wheat Kings are in the top half of the WHL, scoring 64 PP goals this season. Teaming up on special teams in Vegas could be one reason to reunite Duke and Patrick. 

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McPhee Believes The NHL Did Him A Favor In The Entry Draft

When the lottery rolls around in April the Vegas Golden Knights will have an equal opportunity to win the first overall pick as the third worst team in the NHL this season. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll have the chance to move up to second or third with a little ping pong luck. (We’ve got a huge piece coming on all of the odds and probabilities of the lottery, it’ll all make sense before the day comes, trust me.)

But even if the balls don’t bounce in the Golden Knights favor the worst they can select their first player in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be sixth. Early picks in the NHL are obviously massive pieces in the building of a winning franchise, but the GM in Vegas believe the simple knowledge of having that pick might be as valuable as the pick itself.

The real nice thing is when you know what area you are picking in it it really helps I think it’s an advantage. We’ve known since September that we are picking in the top 6. So when you put your list together you can really concentrate on that one area. -George McPhee, GM

He makes an interesting point. On June 22nd, four months before the NHL season even began, Vegas knew it would be selecting somewhere between first and sixth. By the time the NHL season got underway, Vegas had it’s general manager and a scouting staff nearly 20 deep. 

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First Two Picks In This Entry Draft A Clear Cut Above

Number One Nolan or Nico the Knight? It’s a question that some lucky NHL general managers and scouts will answer before June. TSN’s Craig Button consistently projects Nolan Patrick as his number one overall pick. Also, Button continues to be impressed by Swiss skater Nico Hischier. Button believes two teams will be happy to select one of the top prospects. After that though… not so much.

I’m not so sure there’s a difference between the 3rd and the 15th pick… The top two guys, Patrick and Hischier have separated themselves. They’re a cut above. –Craig Button, TSN’s Director of Scouting

Patrick has gone bananas in his return from injury. The Brandon Wheat King center has five goals and 13 points in seven games since his return. Including four helpers in last night’s Wheat King 6-3 victory. Wow, right? Most analysts say it’s easy scouting Patrick. He was on the outside cusp of last year’s draft, so they’re very aware of his talent.

It definitely is a two-player field for the top [North America] ranking and Nolan Patrick was the frontrunner going into the season for the 2017 draft and remains the top candidate for NHL Central Scouting. It’s unfortunate [Patrick] had to miss so much time but it was necessary for him to be able to return at 100 percent. He’s been well known to NHL scouts for the past three years; his game continues to show he’s a top prospect. –Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting

Patrick may not be deemed a “generational” talent like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews but has the size and skill to be an NHL All-Star.

There’s no franchise-type player in this draft and even the No. 1 consensus pick, Nolan Patrick, had the injury factor so there are still questions. That said, Patrick is a big, strong center and can skate well. It’s just a matter of his development and getting more experience and strength. But he has all the pro attributes that you’re looking for. –Joe McDonnell, Dallas Stars Director of Amateur Scouting

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2017 Prospect Spotlight – Martin Necas

TSN’s Craig Button came out with his latest draft prospect power rankings. Leading the board was the expected number one overall pick Nolan Patrick. The Brandon Wheat King is expected to return to after a long lay off recovering from a sports hernia. Ouch. We profiled Patrick way back in 2015, and discussed him as a potential franchise player. Even after missed time, Button still ranks the 17-year old center above any other amateur. However, if Vegas misses out on Patrick there are other potential star prospects.

SinBin.vegas has already spotlighted two of them in Nico “The Knight” Hischier and top defensive prospect Timothy Liljegren. Both could be more realistic options if Vegas doesn’t pick first. If the Golden Knights get bumped out of the top three, the following top prospects should still get fans excited. We’ve talked about the top three and now it’s time to dig deeper.

Fourth on Button’s big board is Czech center Martin Necas. The 6’0 right-hander plays in the Czech Extra League and is known for his competitive edge, which scouts love.

He refuses to be denied when he’s faced with a challenge, and his game will only become that much better as he matures physically. -Craig Button, TSN

Continued mentions of Necas’s competitiveness is what Vegas scouts should like the most about the young Czech’s scouting report.

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Picking A Goalie High In The Draft Is A Gamble Not Worth Taking

It’s been the week of the goaltender here on SinBin.goalie, so let’s keep it going by trying to answer the age-old question of “when should a team draft a goalie in the Entry Draft?”

Top five, late first round, 150th pick? There’s an example of just about every option for Vegas to examine. Marc-Andre Fleury was chosen first overall, Roberto Loungo fourth, and Carey Price was picked fifth. Cup winner Jonathan Quick made the Kings happy at pick #72. New York famously did well with Henrik Lundqvist at 200th overall. Some Hall of Famers were chosen late first/early second round like the 20th pick Martin Brodeur, or the 51st pick in the 1984 draft, Patrick Roy. Then of course there’s the first #1 overall goalie in NHL history… Rick DiPietro.

There’s not much of an explanation for this uncertainty. Which means most teams are willing to pass early. It’s not worth “wasting” a high pick on a risky position like goaltending. Scouts describe targeting goalies early in the draft as a massive gamble.

Netminders are a volatile commodity at such a young age, so it’s almost impossible to predict who will mature into the best one, five or six years down the road. That’s pretty much the normal incubation time for goalies drafted at age 18 to begin making a mark at the NHL level. Look across the 30-team NHL landscape and count how many netminders age 22-and-under there are in the league; it’s a very short list. -Kyle Woodlief, NHL Scout

Even the best scouts have a hard time predicting how the player will translate to the NHL. So many young stoppers stand out in the NCAA, Juniors and European leagues, but stumble under the bright lights of the NHL. Over a 17-year period only 40% of goaltenders drafted wound up making an NHL experience. Even more evidence, during that same 17-year period most highly selected goaltenders were a disappointment. Just take a look, I broke down each NHL draft with the highest drafted goaltender and best goaltender in the draft. Notice the stunning lack of overlap.

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When It Comes To Draft Risk, Center > Defenseman

Over the last few weeks I’ve highlighted the top defenseman Timothy Liljegren and a top three forward Nico Hischier. Either prospect would be a great start for Vegas. Stud defenseman like Liljegren don’t come around often. In fact, 2012 was the last draft multiple defenseman were selected in the top five. Crazy enough, eight rookie blueliners were picked in the top ten that year. (Ryan Murray, Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Rielly, Hampus Lindholm, Mathew Dumba, Derrick Pouliot, Jacob Trouba, Slater Koekkoek)

All this draft chat had me thinking about McPhee’s strategy. Who would the Golden Knights draft between the highest rated defenseman, or a top three center? SinBin.vegas commenter James made a strong point about a few somewhat recent drafts. Drew Doughty selected second could easily have jumped over Steven Stamkos. Same with the 2009 draft with John Tavares and Victor Hedman. Of course, all four organizations feel incredibly satisfied with their selections. I will always lean towards a top-rated center over a defenseman. As important as goaltending and defense is, NHL offense comes at a premium. However, if a talent like Doughty comes up my decision wouldn’t be tough.

Drafting a center in the Top-5 of the NHL Entry Draft has been almost ridiculously successful for NHL clubs over the past 10-15 years. There will always be a few misses, like Alex Galchenyuk in 2012 or Kyle Turris in 2007, but just about every other one during the past 13 years has had major impact. Take a look at the centers drafted early from 2003-2016.

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