Odds not great for NHL draft picks

by Paul Osborne, Guelph Tribune National Hockey League general managers like the Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke is working the phones and debriefing his scouts in order to secure players that will help his organization for many years to come.

The truth is that very few players taken in the NHL draft this weekend will ever play in the NHL. In order to get an accurate read of how many drafted players played at least 200 games in the NHL, a study by looked at the drafts between 1990 and 1999. Of the 2,600 hundred players drafted just 494 or 19% played in at least 200 contests. 63% of first round picks played but less than 25% of second round picks survived and only 12% of third rounder selections. Former NHL general manager Doug MacLean said his math over the last decade showed that only 15% of second round picks ever become impact players.

You wouldn’t want to be going to Vegas with those odds, yet the teams do what they can to ensure they find the best players possible.

Centre Peter Holland is expected to be the highest Storm player drafted this weekend. Early rankings had him as a clear first-round pick but he slipped during the second half and may still go late in the first or early in the second. Michael Latta and Taylor Beck will likely go in the third round with defenceman Ben Chiarot going around the fifth or sixth. Matt Kennedy, Tim Campbell and Evgeny Molotilov would be considered long shots to be drafted.

While the NHL teams hope to eventually reap the benefits, OHL clubs also see some positives and negatives.

If Holland goes in the first round, the Storm will receive $30,000. For second round selections teams get $27,000, third round $24,000 and so on, so it can be a lucrative day financially.

“Every player that comes to our league is striving to hear their name called at the draft” said Storm coach and GM Jason Brooks who admits the draft can have a negative effect on a player.

“Players put so much pressure on themselves to get drafted and they’re scrutinized and picked apart” said Brooks who celebrated Father’s Day and a birthday on Sunday. “After being drafted some players feel less pressure and play well. Michael Caruso is a good example of that. He was drafted by Florida and they counselled him well and he came back and just excelled.”

Others come back with what is commonly called the “NHL hangover” where they are a little too big for their low slung, saggy pants.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get them back into a team focus” admits Brooks, “but the good thing about this group is that they want to win a championship together. They come into my office and talk about that all the time and realize they have a much better chance of winning as a team, than as individuals.”

Last year Drew Doughty went second overall to Los Angeles but this year’s crop of Storm draft eligible players is much deeper.

From the Land of Oz….Brooks continues to scour the market in an effort to make the team better. He has said all along he’d like to add at least one veteran defenceman and possibly a goaltender…Forward Denis Hollenstein will not be back with the Storm next season. He has signed to play professionally in his home country of Switzerland. This means the Storm will have an opening for a European player this coming season. They will pick 33rd in this year Euro draft.