NHL Teams with the Best Draft Records Since 2006
With the 2016 NHL draft only a month away, it's worthwhile to spotlight several clubs that have successfully used the draft to build their rosters. Tampa Bay Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat are just a couple of notable draft selections to blossom into stars.
Producing a number of picks who become long-term NHL players is just part of the equation. Individual skills and contributions to team success must also be taken into account.
Drafting and developing prospects into quality NHL players isn't easy, but the teams on this list have had the most success over the past decade. All have selected players who went on to help their respective clubs achieve varying degrees of success.
Here's a look at the NHL teams with the best draft records since 2006. Feel free to voice your opinion on this topic in the comments section below.
Other key selections: Defenseman Cody Ceci (2012) and center Zack Smith (2008).
Notable selections no longer with the team: Left wing Nick Foligno (2006), right wing Jakob Silfverberg and goaltender Robin Lehner (both selected in 2009).
Analysis: For some time, the Senators have been a budget team. They've used the draft to find and develop their own stars.
Karlsson is among the league's elite talents. He's won two James Norris Memorial Trophies and is a finalist for the award this season.
Stone is one of the better two-way forwards in the league. Zibanejad turned into a good second-line player. Over the past two seasons, Hoffman was the team's leading goal scorer.
New York Islanders
Other key selections: Defenseman Calvin de Haan (2009) and forwards Josh Bailey (2008), Matt Martin (2008), Casey Cizikas (2009), Brock Nelson (2010) and Ryan Strome (2011).
Notable selections no longer with the team: Defenseman Andrew MacDonald (2006), blueliner Jared Spurgeon (2008) and right wing Nino Niederreiter (2010).
Analysis: A solid draft record has played a big part in the Islanders' rise in recent years from league doormat to perennial playoff team.
Tavares is the franchise foundation and one of the league's biggest stars. Okposo turned into a 50-plus-point winger.
Hamonic is an invaluable member of the blue line. Lee, Nelson and Strome have shown some promise as potential stars.
Los Angeles Kings
Other key selections: The Kings have picked up a number of depth forwards in Trevor Lewis (2006), Dwight King (2007), Kyle Clifford (2009), Jordan Nolan (2009) and Tanner Pearson (2012).
Notable selections no longer with the team: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier (2006), defenseman Slava Voynov (2008) and forwards Wayne Simmonds (2007) and Brayden Schenn (2009).
Analysis: The Kings have done well over the past decade. Several of their selections went on to play key roles in their two Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014.
Doughty is a blue-line superstar. Martinez turned into a quality rearguard. Before departing to the KHL, Voynov played a significant part in their championship years.
Toffoli is among the league's best two-way forwards. Lewis, King, Clifford, Nolan and Pearson are worthwhile role players.
Prominent first-round picks: In the 2010 NHL draft, the Anaheim Ducks took defenseman Cam Fowler with the 12th overall pick. With the sixth pick in the 2012 draft, they selected blueliner Hampus Lindholm.
Other key selections: Center Rickard Rakell was selected with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft.
Notable selections no longer with the team: Forwards Matt Beleskey (2006), Kyle Palmieri (2009) and Devante Smith-Pelly (2010) and defensemen Jake Gardiner (2008) and Justin Schultz (2008).
Analysis: Over the past decade, the Anaheim Ducks have had a knack for landing quality defensemen in the opening round. That's been a key reason why they've topped the Pacific Division over the past four seasons.
Gibson and Andersen provided the Ducks with a solid goaltending tandem this season. With each year, Vatanen, Fowler and Lindholm keep improving.
The Ducks also have promising blueliner Shea Theodore (2013) waiting in the wings. That could result in one of their other defenders being dealt to create room for him.
Prominent first-round picks: The Florida Panthers made defenseman Aaron Ekblad the top pick in the 2014 NHL draft. Left wing Jonathan Huberdeau was the third overall selection in 2011, and center Aleksander Barkov was the second pick of the 2013 draft.
Late-round finds: The Panthers selected center Vincent Trocheck with the 64th overall selection in the third round of the 2011 draft.
Other key selections: Center Nick Bjugstad (2010) and defensemen Dmitry Kulikov (2009) and Erik Gudbranson (2010) are former first-round draft picks.
Notable selections no longer with the team: Right wing Michael Frolik (2006) and winger Joonas Donskoi (2010).
Analysis: From 2009 to 2014, the Florida Panthers were among the NHL's worst teams. That's why they struck paydirt so often in the opening round of the NHL draft. Those picks are playing a significant part in the Panthers' ongoing development into a playoff contender.
Ekblad and Huberdeau would both go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. Ekblad is quickly becoming an elite defenseman. Along with the ageless Jaromir Jagr, Huberdeau and Barkov form two-thirds of the Panthers' top forward line.
Kulikov and Gudbranson are solid NHL blueliners. Trocheck and Bjugstad provide the Panthers with skilled depth at center.
St. Louis Blues
Prominent first-round picks: The St. Louis Blues selected left wing Jaden Schwartz and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko 14th and 16th overall, respectively, in the 2010 draft. In 2008, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was picked fourth overall.
Late-round finds: Goaltender Jake Allen was selected in the second round (34th) of the 2008 draft. Defenseman Colton Parayko was a third-round selection (86th) in 2012.
Other key selections: Defenseman Joel Edmundson (2011) and forwards Patrik Berglund (2006), Jori Lehtera (2008) and Robby Fabbri (2014).
Notable selections no longer with the team: Defenseman Erik Johnson (2006). Center Lars Eller, defenseman Ian Cole and left wing David Perron were all selected in the first round of the 2008 draft.
Analysis: A decade of strong drafting, especially in the first round, played a significant role in the Blues becoming a dominant team in the Western Conference. Several of their selections are now invaluable core players.
Over the past two seasons, Tarasenko emerged as a scoring star. Pietrangelo is among the league's best all-around defensemen, while Schwartz is a top-line left wing.
Fabbri, a center converted to left wing, is quickly blossoming into a star. Allen is on the verge of becoming their full-time starting goaltender.
Prominent first-round picks: The Washington Capitals selected center Nicklas Backstrom fourth overall in the 2006 NHL draft. Defenseman Karl Alzner went fifth in 2007, blueliner John Carlson went 27th in 2008 and center Evgeny Kuznetsov went 26th in 2010.
Late-round finds: The Capitals grabbed goaltender Braden Holtby with the 93rd pick in 2008. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov was the 55th selection in 2009.
Other key selections: Forwards Marcus Johansson (2009), Tom Wilson (2012) and Andre Burakovsky (2013) are former first-rounders.
Notable selections no longer with the team: Goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth (2006) and forwards Filip Forsberg (2012), Cody Eakin (2009) and Mathieu Perreault (2006).
Analysis: When a team's top goaltender (Holtby), top two centers (Backstrom and Kuznetsov) and key defensemen (Alzner and Carlson) all come from the draft, it's doing something right. All of them contributed to the Capitals winning the Presidents' Trophy in 2015-16.
Holtby is a finalist this season for the Vezina Trophy. For years, Backstrom's been among the NHL's elite centers.
Carlson and Alzner are invaluable members of the Capitals' defensive corps. Kuznetsov, 24, emerged as a star this season and should continue to improve.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Prominent first-round picks: With the top pick in the 2008 NHL draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected center Steven Stamkos. The following year, they got defenseman Victor Hedman with the second overall pick.
Other key selections: Left wing Jonathan Drouin (2013), goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (2012) and center Vladislav Namestnikov (2011) are former first-round picks.
Notable selections no longer with the team: Right wing Brett Connolly (sixth overall, 2010).
Analysis: From 2000 to 2006, the Lightning had one of the NHL's worst draft records. Since 2007, however, they've improved in that department. As a result, the Lightning are on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year.
Stamkos became a superstar as one of the league's top goal scorers. Hedman has steadily improved into an elite defenseman.
Over the last two seasons, Kucherov and Palat have become stars in their own right. Killorn is a versatile two-way forward, while Drouin shows considerable promise as a playmaking winger.