A full time NHL player for a 5th round pick; is it worth it?

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


The news of the day for the San Jose Sharks was their claiming Kyle Wellwood off waivers from the St. Louis Blues and trading a 5th round draft pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ben Eager. Picking a player off of waivers costs nothing but a little cash and salary cap space, but in trades involving players for draft picks the inevitable debate begins about if that player is worth the pick being given up.

The question here is if Eager is worth a 5th round pick. The only way to know that is to take a look at the 5th round of the NHL draft of the past few years and to see how successful players taken in that round have been in the NHL.

So, the 5th round picks from 1998 to 2008 with 100 NHL games played (overall pick number is included):

1998
117. Jaroslav Spacek; Florida, 821 games
131. Tomas Kloucek; NY Rangers, 141 games
134. Rob Scuderi; Pittsburgh, 418 games
135. Andrew Raycroft; Boston, 264 games
145. Mikael Samuelsson; San Jose, 584 games
*Of the 31 players drafted, 18 have not played in the NHL.

1999
138. Ryan Miller; Buffalo, 368 games
155. Niko Dimitrakos; San Jose, 158 games
*Of the 31 players drafted, 24 have not played in the NHL.

2000
131. Matt Hendricks; Nashville, 103 games
133. Petteri Nummelin; Columbus, 139 games
146. David Koci; Pittsburgh, 117 games
155. Travis Moen; Calgary, 488 games
156. Greg Zanon; Ottawa, 356 games
159. John-Michael Liles; Colorado, 492 games
*Of the 37 players drafted, 25 have not played in the NHL.

2001
133. Jussi Markkanen; Edmonton 128 games
134. Kyle Wellwood; Toronto, 338 games
144. Cody McCormick; Colorado, 233 games
151. Kevin Bieksa; Vancouver, 325 games
161. Mike Smith; Dallas, 157 games
*Of the 34 players drafted, 22 have not played in the NHL.

2002
133. Lasse Pirjeta; Columbus, 147 games
156. James Wisniewski; Chicago, 295 games
*Of the 35 players drafted, 28 have not played in the NHL.

2003
148. Lee Stempniak; St. Louis, 420 games
149. Nigel Dawes; NY Rangers, 205 games
151. Lasse Kukkonen; Chicago, 159 games
158. John Mitchell; Toronto, 159 games
163. Brad Richardson; Colorado, 287 games
*Of the 31 players drafted, 21 have not played in the NHL.

2004
134. Kris Versteeg; Boston, 211 games
150. Mikhail Grabovski; Montreal, 207 games
159. Mike Brown; Vancouver, 165 games
*Of the 34 players drafted, 24 have not played in the NHL.

2005
132. Darren Helm; Detroit, 143 games
146. Tom Wandell; Dallas, 107 games
*Of the 37 players drafted, 26 have not played in the NHL.

2006
None
*Of the 30 players drafted, 26 have not played in the NHL.

2007
129. Jamie Benn; Dallas, 125 games
*Of the 30 players drafted, 26 have not played in the NHL.

2008
None
*Of the 30 players drafted, 22 have not played in the NHL.

Seeing as an argument could be made that a player drafted in 2005 or later hasn’t had enough time to develop, just looking at the drafts from 1999 to 2004 of the 233 players drafted 162 (or 69.5%) have not played in the NHL. So while there’s a 30% chance of getting a player in the 5th round to play any games in the NHL, getting a player to play a meaningful number of games is right around 10%.

So it appears trading a 5th round pick for a full time NHL player, even if he is a bottom six type forward, is the move that makes sense.

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