Oilers draft pick value chart


I have no idea who made that chart, but it would be awesome if anyone came close to scoring 140 points in an NHL season. Maybe a supreme optimist made that chart, but regardless of what this chart was supposed to track most of us love looking at charts. They can give us a look into the past, present and often they try to project the future. The latter is extremely difficult, but this Friday, all 30 NHL teams will do their best to project which draft eligible players will become NHL players in the future.

It isn’t easy, in fact it is extremely difficult, especially once you get past the first round. Last week, I posted an article about the Columbus Blue Jackets and their draft pick value chart. Scott Howson was the GM in Columbus in 2009 when they came up with their chart, so I wanted to know if the Oilers have a similar chart.

Most NHL teams have their own draft value chart, but unfortunately they won’t show it publicly. Of course, I understand why they wouldn’t, but Howson was willing to share some aspects of the Oilers draft pick value chart and what role it will play this Friday.trade-value-chart

Gregor: How does your value draft chart differ to the NFL one above?

Howson: The first value chart came out in
the NFL I think in 1990. I think that Dallas
came out with it, Jimmy Johnson I believe, but that was just based on what
picks had gotten in trades before that. And we had the idea in Columbus that we were going to try to look at
each pick and the cluster of players that were picked 12 or 3 or 44 and see
what the success rate was and then end up with a value chart.

Since I’ve come into Edmonton we’ve done our own work, and looked
at the different leagues and the histories of players coming out of those
leagues. The information we can get now to be quite frank, we get better
information out of the leagues like the Western Hockey League than we would say
the Swedish Junior League.

So you have to have more confidence maybe
with kids from the Canadian Hockey Leagues. So, it’s all based on predicting
what a pick is worth and that’s based on the history that we have on players
that have been picked that way, right in that specific spot.

The NFL is a different animal. They are drafting for today’s team. You find that they are drafting for need. If you have a great left offensive tackle signed for five years, no matter which left tackle is available in the draft, you will go by him because you don’t need him.

In the NHL, I remember going back to when I was the assistant GM here and we had some small centres in Mike Comrie and Todd Marchant, so we kind of shied away from small centres, but three of four years later we had no small centres anymore. It taught me a lesson, be careful of what you have here and try to analyze it, because the draft picks are so far away from playing and the NHL keeps changing.

When you are looking at what a pick is worth, do you also take into account
that other teams might not take him so you think that you can get him five
spots later. Does that factor in when you are contemplating moving down five
spots for example?

Howson: That factors into every draft. You
don’t need a value chart or an analytics analysis to do that. You’re always
playing your draft; you think you might have a guy that is hidden. You might
like him in second to third round, but you know that he’s probably going to be
a fourth or fifth round pick and you can wait. And that’s the gamble that
you’re going to take, you might lose him and you might end up with a really
good fourth or fifth round pick and your scouts are right.

Gregor: A few years I examined 10 years of drafts, 1996 to 2005, and under my rating
system there was a 23.7% chance of getting a good NHL player in the second
round, 15% in the third and the fourth to seventh rounds were pretty even
between 7-9%. Looking at those numbers, would that be similar with your chart
and the value of picks? Historically did you find the success rates after the 4th
round is pretty even?

Howson: Yeah, that’s probably right from
the information we get. It depends on who you talk to, but I think that the
difference between a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick is not as great as
people would think. And certainly the success rate of getting a good NHL player
is, there is not much difference between a fourth and sixth, or a five and
seven or five and six, so once you get past probably the third round, the rates
become very similar.

The first pick on the NFL chart had a value of 3000 and the last pick in the
seventh round had a value of two. What number do you start with at number one
and how do you come up with that number?

Howson: Yeah, I prefer not to get into that
but the number doesn’t matter, so long as it’s proportionate. The only thing
that I would say to you is that the picks, no matter what analysis you use, I
think that you’ll will find that picks, especially in the top three picks, are
really, really valuable. If you look at the history of the league there are not
a lot of misses in those picks and you are almost certainly going to get a good
NHL player. You may not get a star and career forward, but you’re almost 100%
going to get an NHL player. So that’s why those picks are so valuable.

So whichever rating system that you use,
whatever numbers you want to use, as long as they are proportionate I think
that it works. I think that the reason you have such high numbers at the top is
to make the low numbers work.



There is way more time, energy and money put into scouting and drafting in the
last five years than there was even ten years ago. So how far back do you go to
make it accurate to today’s draft?

Howson: I think you need to go back as far
as you can. And you’re right, it’s more sophisticated now and that may change
things, but the problem with that is that to look at a draft even three or four
or five years ago, well these players haven’t all established themselves and
you can’t predict what that player is going to be. Some of them you do know,
but most you don’t even four or five years later. We know where Taylor Hall is
and where he’s going, but the fifth round pick might still be playing in the
AHL and five years from now he might be an NHL player. So it’s hard to analyze
without going back. I think you need to go back and use all the data available
from previous drafts.

 Once you draft players, then it’s all on
player development. When you guys were going over your chart, do you put a
value on certain organizations that have had more success with draft picks? Do
you think that they have a better development plan and then how do you portray
the development with scouting, how do you combine that or is that even part of the

Howson: No, but one thing that I was quite
excited about when I came here was the development department that we have
here. I think we’re going to see the fruits of that. It does take time because
as you know the players that we pick Friday, after the first round pick, are
probably not going to be here for another four or five years. So what’s
happening in between draft day and four or five years is really crucial. And
you know there are organizations that have done it very well, and everyone
points to Detroit and I think San Jose does a very good job as well; LA is
starting to do that too.

I tend to focus on what we’re doing and
what we can do better. I really think that we have a terrific development
coaching staff in Oklahoma City
and the players get lots of attention when they are in the CHL or College or
wherever they are. So I think that we have to just keep working at that, and
keep focusing on development.

It’s not always about winning every game in
Oklahoma City.
You want to win, you want to have a good competitive environment for your
players down there, and you want a winning atmosphere, but the young guys have
to be given a chance to play and I think we’re making strides in that area.

I spoke to Joe McDonnell from the Dallas Stars, their new Director of Scouting who came over with Jim Nill after scouting for Detroit
since ’95. He admitted that the big advantage Detroit had regarding prospects was they
could be patient with them because they had a good NHL team. They could keep guys in the
minors for an extra 30 or 40 games or even an extra season and it really paid

Oilers haven’t had much success recently, but despite that is your organization
ready to say, ‘we just have to bite the bullet, find a few more fringe NHLers
if necessary so we can be patient with our young guys’?

Howson: Yeah I think that we’re trying to
do that more here. Once you get the top picks, I think that they are in a
category of their own because some of them would have great benefit to be up in
the NHL.

I think of a player like Ryan Johansen or
Ales Hemsky, Ryan Johansen we had in Columbus
and we took some criticism. I think we took some criticism here with Ales,
keeping him as a 19 year old, keeping Johansen in Columbus as a 19 year
old. But you know in retrospect as you look back a few years later, that was
probably the best thing for those players.

I think for the other kids, the picks after
the first round, we can keep them in the AHL and learning because it’s such a
big transition from junior hockey, or even College hockey to the AHL, not to
mention the lifestyle. People underestimate the transition off of the ice,
where you’re not responsible for taking care of yourself and it sounds easy to
us, but there can be transitions especially for Europeans.

So I think that we are trying to focus on
letting those players play and you know, you used the word ‘overripe’ which
Detroit has done with their prospects, they are almost overripe when they come
up. We’d like to get to that situation, a lot harder to do when your team is
not having success in the NHL.


I’m always interested in how teams are changing or evolving how they look at drafting or development. It is refreshing to hear that the Oilers plan on being more patient with prospects. In 2011, Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale would have been better off staying in junior rather than playing limited minutes in the AHL and ECHL. The organization has to learn from that and ensure if they do send kids to the AHL, then they have to play them.

I’d love to see a copy of the Oilers value chart and see specific values on the 40th, 70th, 100th and 150th pick. How much different are they compared to the 50th, 80th, 110th and 160th. Every team will likely have a slightly different number, and that is why trades will be made.

The other factor is how much a team likes a specific player. Teams will overpay, and some will undervalue their pick and move down, often because of how they view the players still available. I think we will see a lot of that in this draft.

I’m sure we will see many players between the 20th-60th pick that will go well ahead or much later than many of the draft publications projected them to go. The aftermath of the draft will be awesome, because many will speculate who had a good or bad draft.

Only time will tell who was more accurate, and that is why the draft will always be intriguing to fans and media.

I can’t wait until Friday and Saturday to see how it unfolds.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

    • vetinari

      @ RexHolez: Don’t need one– take Salary Cap in Year X divided by $6M/per season and you have the total.

      As for the article, I would love to see their weighted pick chart. Frankly, if all the teams have one and most teams only have a pick or two per round, you’re not really pulling one over the other teams, are you, by keeping it secret? You want my #18 pick overall and you pick #27– then I also want your #57. You either want the pick or you don’t.

    • vetinari

      Is there a chart that shows the intellectual level of your posts? Most are negative, and rarely with substance. Try writing something positive or at the very least worthwhile.

      • Zarny

        None of us have to watch the oilers struggle to play hockey this month. That’s a positive. Maybe go sing kumbaya in church if your looking for positivity. Not gonna get much at a fan site of the worst run team in all professional sports. And I apologize if my posts don’t live up to you’re Mensa level of intellect. But I hear Poe has alot of substance in his writings if that’s the type of reading you’re looking for

  • Spydyr

    Charts are pretty to look at but until you can chart:



    3)the will to win and the hatred of losing



    6)how difficult you are to play against

    and many other intangibles they are not a true measure of a hockey player.

  • A-Mc

    If you built a chart based on your %’s Gregor, you would likely need to break things down a little more closely for the 1st round, but for the 2nd,3rd-7th, it should be pretty straight forward points wise.

    your top spots in the 1st round would be at or near 100% (or 100pts). Scale the rest down to meet at 24pts #30/31. Round 2 would linear scale from 24 to 15pts, 3rd from 15pts to 7pts, 4-7 remain 7pts.

    Spread in Pts each round:
    Round 1: 100pts – 24pts
    Round 2: 24pts – 15pts
    Round 3: 15pts – 8pts
    Round 4: 8pts – 7pts
    Round 5-7: 7pts

  • Craig1981

    I don’t think there is a generic chart for every NHL team either. A team like Detroit in the 2000s with great scouting would have their later picks much more valuable compared to Edmonton’s picks that had a hard time finding talent in the 1st and only found 2 players outside the 2nd round, one of them being Stortini (which barely counts) compared to Detroits

  • Zarny

    Very interesting. I’d love to see a value chart for the NHL.

    I would expect the value of each successive pick to drop a little more in the NHL because there are far fewer positions.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I can see how all these numbers are becoming more and more valuable to teams. Once you remove all the personal elements (passion/desire/compete levels), all you’re left with is the data from how effective your system is. Whose systems robots performed the best on any given night.

    The system has become far more valuable than the players. Like the league has had to dumb it down because of the lack of talent spread over too many teams.


      Dumb it down? Lack of talent?

      Seriously, do you watch hockey at all?

      Systems and stats are more important now because the level of talent available is consistently so much HIGHER. Today’s hockey players are ‘bred’ for the game. Diet plans, physical training, development programs.. the kids coming into the game now are beasts too. They’re all being groomed and conditioned to be pro athletes.

      When you have such a consistent level of talent, you NEED analytics to stay competitive. You NEED superior systems.

      Usually, the intangibles like heart and desire translate directly to stats. If you try harder, you usually see more success. If you don’t have the inherent desire to commit to the game at this level, you won’t be here for long. Which is why it’s also important to have coaches capable of keeping players motivated, because the differences between a good team and a bad team could be as simple as a state of mind.

      Look what Colorado did last year.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        All these mathletes working their way into todays game. It’s all really just a front, a make work project, started by Revenue Canada. Probably to keep some hockey fans off of welfare, no?

        Have you watched any Oilers hockey at all, these last 5 years? Jesse Joensuu is all this and more? I’d wager the Oil Kings could give these guys a run for their money. Honestly, does any of what you mentioned apply to our local team here?

  • Tikkanese

    You would think the late round steals like Datsyuk or even Luc Robitaille back in the day would make that particular draft number ranked higher than the surrounding numbers.

    There can’t be a steal at every draft number can there? I wonder if there is a draft number that has never had a player play a game in the NHL or at the least has the lowest percentage by far. I.E. the cursed draft pick number.

    • Zarny

      No, a value chart doesn’t work like that. The 170th pick is still worth more than the 171st Detroit used to select Datsyuk because he was available at 170.

      Just like you would never simply trade away the 157h pick if no player drafted 157th had ever played an NHL game. The pick still has more value than every pick afterwards.

      Value charts don’t come into play when you actually get down to selecting a player. They are a tool primarily used to evaluate trade value.

    • Jason Gregor

      Here is list of 171st overall picks for 20 years from 1992 to 2009. I didn’t use last three years since those players taken at that spot

      1992: Ryan Smith 0 GP

      1993: Martin Woods 0 GP

      1994: Dan Reja 0 GP

      1995: Merek Melenovsky 0 GP

      1996: Greg Kuznik 1 GP

      1997: Rod Leroux 0 GP

      1998: Datsyuk

      1999: Chris Legg 0 GP (Oiler pick)

      2000: Roman Cechmanek 200 GP

      2001: Erik Himelfarb 0 GP

      2002: Bobby Goepfert 0 GP

      2003: Denis Stasyuk 0 GP

      2004: Frederik Cabana 0 GP

      2005: Nick Drazenovi 12 GP

      2006: Brian Day 0 GP

      2007: Dustin Jeffrey 124 GP

      2008: MItch Gaulton 0 GP

      2009: Joni Ortio 9 GP

      2010: Brooks Macek 0 GP

      2011: Max McCormick 0 GP

      In twenty years, you had one long time NHL player, Datsyuk. So a 5% chance that pick becomes a regular NHL player, and a 10% chance that pick becomes a 200+ game player.

      One successful pick late in the draft, usually won’t impact the overall value of a pick. I’d safely say Datsyuk was an incredibly lucky pick at that spot.

      • Tikkanese

        I meant more as in a late round superstar pick like a Datsyuk affecting the value of that particular pick as opposed to the Cechmanek’s who play around the 200 game mark. But I guess there is not much point into digging that deep into the value of late picks.

        • Jason Gregor

          Out of that 20-year period he was the only pick who became a solid NHLer for a long time.

          The rest of his picks did nothing, outside of Cechmanek, so the odds of getting a great player are still extremely low.

          The value of that pick wouldn’t change that much…In my study 6th round picks had a 9.1% of being decent player (so 171st pick fit right in at 10%) and the 6th round had a 2.4% chance of getting a very good player. So Datsyuk made 171st a big higher, but odds are very low over the next 20 years that the 171st pick will produce a great player like him.

          He would raise the value a bit, but only a few % points.

  • Zarny

    I think that part of the discussion regarding Detroit’s over-rippening of players and drafting players based upon your needs down the road vs now, are tied together.

    If you can draft to fill your prospect cupboard with the right proportions of positions and develop these guys until they are over-ready, when it comes time to fill your NHL roster needs, you should have everything you need right there.

    Detroit has a stable management and leadership system that has been in place for years. That’s another element that other teams are missing. There’s pressure on GMs and coaches to fill holes now. How many GMs out there have 5-6 years to develop the system that Detroit currently has?

  • Tikkanese

    A broken down chart of different leagues chances of late round picks of becoming a superstar may be fun. As in is it more likely to get a gem picking from Europe vs CHL in rounds 4-7.

    I would venture to guess that Europe would be more likely as they are not heavily as scouted as North American players are.

  • Spydyr

    Michael Schmucher @ St. lawrance UNIV.

    A chart was already published in 2011.
    looked at 200 game players.


    Peoples expectations for drafting are delusional at best.

    Our draft is already a huge success.

    #10 2010 (MP) 56.5% + #33 2014 23.7% 80.2%
    got us 220games of top 40 Goal scorer

    #63 2014 17.5% got us a top 3 inside 20ft (box or chance area) Save % goalie.

    Pretty good start to this years draft!

  • Spydyr

    Colorado: had consistent growth of points the years before last season and were on pace for the playoffs when injury hit. Wrecked their short season.
    basically a fringe playoff team that benefited from a short season. If it is a full season. there players return and they are out of the lottery.
    Then they win the lottery and Get #1.

    Colorado already had

    then they added #1.

    there point growth was consistent for the last 4 years.
    except a 25 game stretch affected by injury the fell in a short season and let a strong team get Nathan M.


    Would be an interesting chart to take the last 20 years and tabulate your Goals, Assist, Points, and any other stat like pims from each pick over the years, average out the actual stats and determine where you’re better off getting certain stastical categories, and then if you want, take it one step further by taking what the kids did in their junior stats as well to see what the earned value comparsion would be

    Ie average pts in the nhl was 20, and the average pts in junior for that same pick was 50, could be an interesting way to break down stats and forecasts and what those picks would be worth as well by gambling on the odds with trade value