Curtis
Schwartzkopf
July 30, 2021

ANALYTICS APPROACH: How each team fared at the 2021 Draft

As with any year, the 2021 NHL Draft was ripe with players who went higher than anticipated, and also those who fell further than expected. 

Using FCHockey’s Final ranking for the 2021 draft as reference, we take a look at which teams fared the best as far as overall value where each player was selected. 

The information below was determined by taking the actual draft position of each prospect vs. the FCHockey Final ranking. The results showed that some teams did very well in getting good value with their picks, while other teams appear to have reached a bit.

RELATED: PICK-BY-PICK SELECTIONS AT THE 2021 NHL DRAFT

Ranking at the top of these rankings was the New York Islanders who averaged a plus-19 position between the FCHockey Final ranking and the actual draft position of the six Islanders selections. While Aatu Raty falling to No. 52 was great value for them, their top value pick came in the sixth round in mobile Finnish defenseman Aleksi Malinen at No. 189.

Rank Team Total Value Average Value per Pick
1 New York Islanders 115 19
2 Vancouver Canucks 96 16
3 Nashville Predators 67 11
4 Florida Panthers 59 10
5 Toronto Maple Leafs -1 0
6 Boston Bruins -70 -10
7 Dallas Stars -133 -13
8 Detroit Red Wings -147 -16
9 Los Angeles Kings -73 -18
10 St. Louis Blues -73 -18
11 Minnesota Wild -136 -23

It’s interesting to note that only five teams in the entire draft had a positive average value per pick by these metrics. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 season created a lot of variance between FCHockey’s Final ranking and those of NHL teams.

Rank Team Total Value Average Value per Pick
12 Seattle Kraken -211 -30
13 Buffalo Sabres -357 -32
14 Tampa Bay Lightning -236 -34
15 Philadelphia Flyers -204 -34
16 Columbus Blue Jackets -324 -36
17 Chicago Blackhawks -310 -39
18 Carolina Hurricanes -557 -40
19 Vegas Golden Knights -202 -40
20 New Jersey Devils -307 -44
21 Montreal Canadiens -488 -49
22 Calgary Flames -392 -49
23 Winnipeg Jets -205 -51
24 Edmonton Oilers -328 -55
25 Pittsburgh Penguins -312 -62
26 San Jose Sharks -571 -63
27 Colorado Avalanche -295 -74
28 Washinton Capitals -458 -76
29 New York Rangers -639 -80
30 Anaheim Ducks -644 -81
31 Arizona Coyotes -803 -101
32 Ottawa Senators -680 -136

At the bottom of the average value ranks were the Senators, who had a negative value on each of their five draft picks. Tyler Boucher going at No. 10 was the most notable reach by Ottawa, as it earned the most attention with Boucher receiving a third-round grade at FCHockey. 

The Senators worst value pick, however, was the right-shot defenseman Benjamin Roger, who did not play a single game in 2020-21 due to the cancellation of the Ontario Hockey League season as a result of COVID-19. Again, it played a factor. Ottawa took Roger, ranked 293rd at FCHockey, at No. 49 overall.

Looking at things from an individual pick perspective, the Oilers taking Matvei Petrov in the sixth round (No. 180) was the best value pick in the entire draft. The Russian forward was ranked 57th by FCHockey and seemed to be generally viewed as a second round pick by most outlets. 

RND PICK TEAM NAME FC Rank Pick Value Pick Value Rank
6 180 EDM Matvei Petrov 57 123 1
6 178 VAN Connor Lockhart 58 120 2
5 153 TOR Ty Voit 43 110 3
6 189 NYI Aleksi Malinen 83 106 4
4 126 TBL Dylan Duke 21 105 5
7 207 DAL Albert Sjoberg 108 99 6
7 213 BOS Andre Gasseau 120 93 7
7 217 BOS Ty Gallagher 129 88 8
5 138 DAL Jack Bar 55 83 9
6 167 SJS Liam Gilmartin 87 80 10

Petrov’s fall was Edmonton’s gain as he looks every bit a prospect who will outperform his draft position in a few years.

The Boston Bruins grabbed two great values in the 7th round of the draft in Ty Gallagher and Andre Gasseau. Both prospects were in FCHockey’s Top 100 ranks when all was said and done, though even the tremendous value from these picks wasn’t enough to bring Boston into a net positive value overall.

RND PICK TEAM NAME FC Rank Pick Value Pick Value Rank
3 76 ANA Tyson Hinds 279 -203 213
4 98 ANA Joshua Lopina 301 -203 213
3 95 BUF Josh Bloom 301 -206 215
3 92 COL Andrei Buyalsky 301 -209 216
3 91 CHI Taige Harding 301 -210 217
3 90 EDM Luca Munzenberger 301 -211 218
3 74 OTT Oliver Johansson 285 -211 218
3 88 BUF Stiven Sardarian 301 -213 220
3 83 CAR Patrik Hamrla 301 -218 221
2 49 OTT Benjamin Roger 293 -244 222

The above table shows the worst value picks with several players being taken who were not in FCHockey’s final ranking, a top-300 offering. The worst value pick was that of Roger, who was selected in the second round but barely crept into the top-300.

It’s not surprising to see Ottawa taking multiple players deemed as having the bottom-10 worst value picks this year as their overall ranking indicated as such. 

What was surprising was that Buffalo actually had two players in Bloom and Sardarian in this ranking, but still managed to have the 13th-best overall average value. Had Buffalo simply taken two players with a third-round value per FCHockey, they would have ended up as the fifth-best team by average draft value and finished with a positive value overall.

While these rankings are merely a report out of what actually transpired versus what FCHockey had ranked, it’s a fun experiment to see which teams reached more or waited and took value. 

It will be many years before anything can truly be evaluated about how any of these teams drafted but it sure is fun to speculate.

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