The Arizona Coyotes’ Recent Draft History; How Does It Stack Against The Competition?

Published On November 16, 2015 | By Jason Harrison | Stats

As an Arizona Coyotes fan, perhaps you have wondered how the Yotes stack up against the hated Kings or the floundering Oilers when it comes to roster construction as well as correctly identifying productive NHL talent. Maybe not. Regardless, you’re about to get infographic’d and useless stat-ed to death!

Let’s take a look at how the NHL entry drafts since 2010 have panned out for the Oilers, Coyotes, and Kings.

On this arbitrary Howls It Going? scale, we’re going to give two points for every player who played 10 or more NHL games for the team that drafted them, one point for every player who has played 10 or more games in the NHL period (ie: not with the team that drafted them), and five points for any players who played more than 60 games in one NHL season for an NHL team. Finally, the name of the game is scoring goals so with that in mind we will give 10 points for any player who has scored 20+ goals in one season or reached the 40+ point plateau.

With that in mind, here’s how it shakes out:

As we can deduce from the table…wait, what? The Oilers have gotten the most value out of their recent draft picks?! This doesn’t fit my narrative! These numbers are preposterous! Or are they?

It would make sense that as a bottom feeding team for some time now the Edmonton Oilers have both (A) played more of their rookies at a younger age as well as (B) gotten better quality rookies due to their high draft slot year after year. It hasn’t translated into wins because they can’t make the pieces fit, but it’s still a lot of talent. Included in their total are all four of the first overall picks, with two of those four (Hall and Nugent-Hopkins) already notching marks of 20+ goals and 40+ points (multiples if I were to count them). You expect that production from forwards who are first overall picks so it is really no surprise.

The LA Kings can only boast one 20+ goal and 40+ point scorer and that is their emerging young star Tyler Toffoli.

The Coyotes? Eh…do we have to talk about it? It ain’t pretty. They’ve only had one draft pick since 2010 play more than 60 games in one season and that is defenseman Connor Murphy. Jordan Martinook and Max Domi will theoretically add to that total this season, with Domi having a very good chance at 20+ goals and 40+ points at his current pace. You could also throw the Oilers’ Connor McDavid in there for the point total so long as he returns from his broken collarbone on time.

It’s also worth noting the LA Kings number of draft picks who have played 10+ games for them is about to jump up in the next few weeks due to the bodies they currently have on their roster (assuming they stay with the big club).

Beyond all that business, have you ever wondered how the three teams shake out when it comes to the average draft position of the players on their roster? Well, good news, I have that right here:


Voila. As we can see above someone figured out how to use MS Paint.

Beyond that, we can also deduce a lot of other interesting and perhaps semi-relevant observations about these three Pacific division rivals.

  • When you take a look at the number of draft picks on each team’s current NHL roster, you see the Kings sitting far, far ahead of their counterparts. While these youngster have not played as much as some of the ones on Edmonton’s roster, the fact that they are still around and currently producing for a Stanley Cup caliber team is…of note, don’t you think? The Kings dress more than twice as many homegrown players as the Coyotes and five more than the Oilers. My suspicion is that after this trade deadline or the coming offseason they will have an even larger edge on Edmonton, as yet another year of futility is bound to force Peter Chiarelli to unload one or more of the Hall/Eberle/Nugent-Hopkins/Yakupov group of pearls that they have previously clutched so tightly.
  • Drafting goalies really is a crapshoot. None of these teams possess a starting goalie drafted before the 3rd round. There may be a weird, wild future day in the NHL where general managers and scouts can properly analyze goalies and project them, but until then the diamond in the rough goalies like the Jonathan Quick’s, Henrik Lundqvist’s, and Pekka Rinne’s will rule the nets…if their respective NHL teams develop them and give them the shot.
  • Despite having four (how NHL?! HOW?!) 1st overall picks on their roster, the sum of the Edmonton Oilers forwards and defensemen’s average draft position is actually lower than either the Coyotes and Kings. This is due in part to the fact that they have so many undrafted players on their roster (five in total, four of them forwards). With the last pick in the most recent NHL draft being pick number 211, I slotted all of the undrafted picks on each team as pick number 212 for my averages. That was enough to knock the Oilers total down quite a bit on the offensive end.
  • The highest average among draft picks for any position or any team is found within the LA Kings’ forward group. With an average selection of 59th overall coupled with eleven of the fourteen forwards on the roster being players selected by the Kings, the success and depth of the LA club is a sort of testament to general manager Dean Lombardi and how much he’s outperformed Don Maloney and former Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish in the last few seasons both via the draft and in free agency.
  • Of all draft picks taken in the first half of the first round, the Edmonton Oilers lead the charge with eight such picks. The Coyotes possess four total, while the Kings roster has five. If you extend that to search for all picks in the entire first round that are on the active rosters, the Kings and Coyotes are tied at eight first rounders while the Oilers naturally house 11 total first round picks due in large part to their recent ineptitude.

Though the real meat of the article is above, the relevant part to our favorite hockey club is that it appears Don Maloney is fairly miserable at assessing NHL caliber talent. Some will claim they have said this all along. To others it may be a surprise.

With only six draft picks even having a cup of coffee the NHL in the last five years (and two of those – Oscar Lindberg (NYR) and Brandom Gormley (COL) – not even with the team anymore), Maloney’s record at the draft speaks for itself.

On the one hand, GMDM has sniffed out the likes of Kyle Turris (3rd overall, 2007 – though it took a trade to another team to unlock his potential), Mikkel Boedker (8th overall, 2008 – whom could really go either way based on statistics, though he clearly has it on talent), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6th overall, 2009), Max Domi (12th overall, 2013), and presumably Dylan Strome (3rd overall, 2015). Connor Murphy (20th overall, 2011) would appear to be at minimum a serviceable NHL defender at this point as well which is a plus for the defense starved Coyotes. With those names taken into account, Mr. Maloney has also whiffed hard on Nick Ross (30th overall, 2007), Brandon Gormley (13th overall, 2010), and Mark Visentin (27th overall, 2010), with the verdict still out on Henrik Samuelsson (27th overall, 2013) and Brendan Perlini (12th overall, 2014).

Unfortunately, those are just the first round picks. The depth that the roster lacks is found in the later rounds and the Coyotes have just been unable to dig up even fool’s gold, let alone a real piece of precious metal. Their counterparts in Los Angeles are finding them or trading what they find for proven depth, and if the Yotes want to reach that level that’s the model they need to follow.