As a fun NHL Draft exercise, I decided to go through each NHL team and re-configure their rosters, only allowing teams to include players that were drafted by the team. In order to keep the roster numbers up, those that were undrafted free agents were included with the teams for which they played their first NHL games.
Take it easy, agents. This isn't about removing trades or free agency -- those are some of my favourite parts of the game too -- but it's about how teams identify and secure talent and which teams have done these things more effectively.
As you can see, by looking through these hypoethetical depth charts, there are teams that have provided a disproportionate number of the players throughout the league. Certainly, some teams have had and used more draft picks than other teams, so that's part of the reason why they bring so much more talent into the league, but there's probably a lesson to be gleaned from that as well.
Take the defence picks of the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators, for example. The Canadiens could, theoretically, have a defence that includes Ryan McDonagh, Francois Beauchemin, Mark Streit, Stephane Robidas and Ron Hainsey in addition to the guys they kept -- P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin (could have included Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek, too).
Nashville has done very well on the blueline, drafting Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Cody Franson, Kevin Klein and Ryan Ellis (as well as Mattias Ekholm and signing Victor Bartley).
On the other hand, there are teams that have had a hard time bringing in defencemen, like the Philadelphia Flyers, who have preferred (or been forced) to acquire their defencemen through other means. Dennis Seidenberg and Joni Pitkanen are the two best active NHL defencemen that the Flyers have drafted and Pitkanen missed all of last season due to injury while Seidenberg missed half the year. Of course, the Flyers have had brought in (and subsequently let go) some serious talent up front, including Patrick Sharp, Justin Williams, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, among others, but their hypoethetical forward depth chart is impressive.
Sometimes, circumstances have made it that a team doesn't need to draft at a position. Think of the Boston Bruins' goaltending situation recently, carried by Tuukka Rask (acquired in trade) and, before him, Tim Thomas (a Quebec Nordiques draft pick!), so -- at least prior to drafting Malcolm Subban in the first round -- the Bruins haven't brought in a lot of blue-chippers in net.
By contrast, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had Rask, James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, or the Washington Capitals, who have had Semyon Varlamov, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth through their system.
A few quick observations:
- Some lean resuls in Columbus, where they barely have an NHL centre aside from Ryan Johansen and Derick Brassard.
- Tons of depth with Detroit, particularly after making call-ups this year. Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening, who played regularly for the Wings this year, didn't crack the five-deep depth chart.
- Crazy depth in Ottawa too, where so many forwards -- Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, Brooks Laich, Jakob Silfverberg -- have moved on to other teams.
- A few other rules of this "what if?" game: I allowed players that were drafted twice to be used by both organizations, so look out for Jarret Stoll playing both sides in the Battle of Alberta!
- The Edmonton Oilers come by their defensive woes honestly. They've drafted four active NHL defencemen, including Martin Marincin and Oskar Klefbom, rookies they called up last season.
- Using the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets franchise doesn't yield much up front, especially with Ilya Kovalchuk gone to Russia. Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele, then who was the fourth-best forward in 2013-2014 that was drafted by this franchise? Patrick Dwyer? Dany Heatley? The story is better on defence and in net.
Using only players that played in the NHL in the 2013-2014 season, I came up with rosters (Maple Leafs' example below) that you can see by clicking here.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.