How important are 2nd and 3rd round draft picks?

A quick perusal (having done that in the past discussing the success of Shero's drafts) leads me to believe that in general, the Top 10-15 picks in the 1st round are almost always going to turn out to be NHL level talent and often big time difference makers on their teams. By the time you get to the later picks, especially 20+, you're just about as likely to find a gem there as you are to pick one up in the 2nd or 3rd round. Also, keep in mind that previous research has shown that in general it takes a good 6-7 years to determine whether or not a player is likely to develop into an NHL calibre player, so the drafts after 2006/2007 will be a lot less representative of actual draft success.

So let's see who from the 2nd and 3rd rounds made the cut over the years and are currently still on an NHL roster. These are all the picks from that are at the moment listed as being on the roster of their NHL club. I may have missed 1 or 2 that got sent to Europe or got reassigned within the past 24 hours or so... but also going through the list there were a handful of players that previously had been regular NHL roster players but are now in Europe or the AHL, possibly due to the lockout effect on free agents. And quite a few of the upper tier AHL players (or those in Europe) may still turn out to have bright NHL futures within the next few years.

2004 Draft - 10F, 6D, 2G
#32 Chicago Blackhawks Dave Bolland (C) 7 seasons 321gp
#38 Carolina Hurricanes Justin Peters (G) 4 seasons 33gp
#41 Chicago Blackhawks Bryan Bickell (LW/RW) 6 seasons 202gp
#47 New York Islanders Blake Comeau (LW/RW) 7 seasons 348gp
#53 Florida Panthers David Booth (LW) 7 seasons 377gp
#56 Dallas Stars Nicklas Grossmann (D) 7 seasons 385gp
#60 New York Rangers Brandon Dubinsky (LW/C) 7 seasons 412gp
#61 Pittsburgh Penguins Alex Goligoski (D) 6 seasons 301gp
#63 Boston Bruins David Krejci (C) 7 seasons 406gp
#70 Calgary Flames Brandon Prust (RW/LW) 6 seasons 304gp
#71 Buffalo Sabres Andrej Sekera (D) 7 seasons 324gp
#75 Anaheim Ducks Tim Brent (C/RW) 7 seasons 197gp
#79 Minnesota Wild Clayton Stoner (D) 4 seasons 146gp
#84 Montréal Canadiens Alexei Emelin (D) 2 seasons 98gp
#87 Ottawa Senators Peter Regin (C) 5 seasons 174gp
#91 Vancouver Canucks Alexander Edler (D) 7 seasons 416gp
#94 San Jose Sharks Thomas Greiss (G) 4 seasons 42gp
#97 Detroit Red Wings Johan Franzén (LW) 8 seasons 497gp

2005 Draft - 8F, 7D, 3G
#33 Dallas Stars James Neal (LW/RW) 5 seasons 347gp
#35 San Jose Sharks Marc-Édouard Vlasic (D) 7 seasons 501gp
#40 New York Rangers Michael Sauer (D) 4 seasons 98gp
#41 Atlanta Thrashers Ondrej Pavelec (G) 6 seasons 216gp
#42 Detroit Red Wings Justin Abdelkader (C/W) 6 seasons 241gp
#43 Chicago Blackhawks Mike Blunden (RW) 6 seasons 92gp
#44 Colorado Avalanche Paul Stastny (C) 7 seasons 458gp
#45 Montréal Canadiens Guillaume Latendresse (LW/RW) 7 seasons 327gp
#51 Vancouver Canucks Mason Raymond (LW/RW) 6 seasons 360gp
#55 Columbus Blue Jackets Adam McQuaid (D) 4 seasons 183gp
#57 Minnesota Wild Matt Kassian (RW) 3 seasons 33gp
#62 Pittsburgh Penguins Kris Letang (D) 7 seasons 377gp
#67 Columbus Blue Jackets Kris Russell (D) 6 seasons 358gp
#71 Dallas Stars Rich Clune (LW) 2 season 45gp
#72 Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick (G) 6 seasons 273gp
#79 Nashville Predators Cody Franson (D) 4 seasons 227gp
#84 New Jersey Devils Mark Fraser (D) 5 seasons 127gp
#85 St. Louis Blues Ben Bishop (G) 4 seasons 33gp

2006 Draft - 12F, 6D, 3G
#34 Washington Capitals Michal Neuvirth (G) 5 seasons 118gp
#36 San Jose Sharks Jamie McGinn (LW/RW) 5 seasons 251gp
#41 Detroit Red Wings Cory Emmerton (C) 3 seasons 105gp
#44 Toronto Maple Leafs Nikolai Kulemin (RW/LW) 5 seasons 335gp
#45 Edmonton Oilers Jeff Petry (D) 3 seasons 138gp
#46 Buffalo Sabres Jhonas Enroth (G) 4 seasons 47gp
#47 Detroit Red Wings Shawn Matthias (C/LW) 6 seasons 238gp
#50 Boston Bruins Milan Lucic (LW) 6 seasons 388gp
#54 New York Rangers Artem Anisimov (C) 5 seasons 268gp
#57 Buffalo Sabres Mike Weber (D) 5 seasons 158gp
#60 New York Islanders Jesse Joensuu (LW) 4 seasons 60gp
#63 Carolina Hurricanes Jamie McBain (D) 4 seasons 189gp
#65 Pittsburgh Penguins Brian Strait (D) 3 seasons 27gp
#66 Montréal Canadiens Ryan White (RW) 4 seasons 85gp
#68 Ottawa Senators Eric Gryba (D) 1 season 18gp
#69 Columbus Blue Jackets Steve Mason (G) 5 seasons 231gp
#71 Boston Bruins Brad Marchand (LW) 4 seasons 202gp
#72 Minnesota Wild Cal Clutterbuck (RW/LW) 6 seasons 328gp
#75 Edmonton Oilers Theo Peckham (D) 6 seasons 160gp
#85 Columbus Blue Jackets Tom Sestito (LW) 5 seasons 46gp
#91 Ottawa Senators Kaspars Daugavins (LW/RW) 3 seasons 85gp

2007 Draft - 9F, 4D
#31 Buffalo Sabres T.J. Brennan (D) 2 seasons 26gp
#42 Anaheim Ducks Eric Tangradi (LW/RW) 4 seasons 65gp
#43 Montréal Canadiens P.K. Subban (D) 4 seasons 185gp
#44 St. Louis Blues Aaron Palushaj (RW) 3 seasons 57gp
#47 Tampa Bay Lightning Dana Tyrell (C/LW) 3 seasons 115gp
#55 Colorado Avalanche T.J. Galiardi (C/LW) 5 seasons 203gp
#58 Nashville Predators Nick Spaling (C) 4 seasons 210gp
#61 Los Angeles Kings Wayne Simmonds (RW/LW) 5 seasons 350gp
#72 Carolina Hurricanes Drayson Bowman (LW/RW) 4 seasons 99gp
#73 Montréal Canadiens Yannick Weber (D/RW) 5 seasons 111gp
#77 Tampa Bay Lightning Alex Killorn (C) 1 season 22gp
#78 Pittsburgh Penguins Robert Bortuzzo (D) 2 seasons 17gp
#88 Detroit Red Wings Joakim Andersson (C) 2 seasons 27gp

2008 Draft - 5F, 9D, 2G
#31 Florida Panthers Jacob Markström (G) 3 seasons 18gp
#32 Los Angeles Kings Slava Voynov (D) 2 seasons 85gp
#34 St. Louis Blues Jake Allen (G) 2 seasons 11gp
#38 Nashville Predators Roman Josi (D) 2 seasons 84gp
#42 Ottawa Senators Patrick Wiercioch (D) 2 seasons 36gp
#43 Anaheim Ducks Justin Schultz (D) 1 seasons 30gp
#46 Florida Panthers Colby Robak (D) 2 seasons 17gp
#51 New York Rangers Derek Stepan (C) 3 seasons 195gp
#53 New York Islanders Travis Hamonic (D) 3 seasons 167gp
#54 New Jersey Devils Patrice Cormier (C) 3 seasons 31gp
#60 Toronto Maple Leafs Jimmy Hayes (RW) 2 seasons 35gp
#67 Philadelphia Flyers Marc-André Bourdon (D) 2 seasons 45gp
#69 Phoenix Coyotes Michael Stone (D) 2 seasons 37gp
#79 Ottawa Senators Zack Smith (C/LW) 5 seasons 184gp
#82 New Jersey Devils Adam Henrique (C) 3 seasons 102gp
#90 New York Rangers Tomas Kundratek (D) 2 seasons 30gp

2009 Draft - 7F, 2D, 1G
#33 Colorado Avalanche Ryan O'Reilly (C) 4 seasons 248gp
#35 Los Angeles Kings Kyle Clifford (LW) 3 seasons 188gp
#39 Ottawa Senators Jakob Silfverberg (LW/RW) 2 seasons 32gp
#44 Florida Panthers Drew Shore (C) 1 season 31gp
#46 Ottawa Senators Robin Lehner (G) 3 seasons 21gp
#52 Tampa Bay Lightning Richard Panik (RW) 1 season 11gp
#55 Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov (D) 2 seasons 64gp
#58 Toronto Maple Leafs Jesse Blacker (D) 1 season 0gp
#70 Nashville Predators Taylor Beck (RW) 1 season 3gp
#85 Washington Capitals Cody Eakin (C/LW) 2 seasons 61gp

2010 Draft - 1F, 2D
#37 Carolina Hurricanes Justin Faulk (D) 2 seasons 94gp
#47 Los Angeles Kings Tyler Toffoli (C/RW) 1 season 3gp
#66 Tampa Bay Lightning Radko Gudas (D) 1 season 7gp

2011 Draft - 1F
#43 Chicago Blackhawks Brandon Saad (LW/C) 2 seasons 31gp

The first thing I expect to see is complaints about the 2010 and 2011 (and 2012 I suppose) drafts. But as I mentioned, other than star players drafted in the early first round, most players take a number of years to develop before they are NHL ready. Even looking as far back as the 2009 Draft we see a number of players who are just now entering their rookie seasons. Well then lets focus on those real quick...

Of the 211 players drafted in the 2012 Draft, only 2 are currently on NHL rosters: #1 overall Yakupov and #3 overall Galchenyuk. An additional 4 players had been on an NHL roster at some point this season, Grigorenko, Laughton, and Matteau being sent back to the juniors and Lindholm to the AHL. Of those guys, only #12 Grigorenko and #29 Matteau played in a significant amount of games. So 2 in the Top 10 (specifically Top 3), 3 in the Top 15, only 1 in the Bottom 15. Supports my supposition that there is a steep decline past the Top 10-15 draft picks.

The 2011 Draft class has had more time to acclimate themselves and mature. 8 of the Top 10 picks (all but Strome and Scheifele) are currently in the NHL, as is #15 Miller. None of the remaining Bottom 15 1st round picks are in the NHL, and only two of them (#23 Morrow and #30 Rakell) even got a few games as a roster body. 8 of the Top 10, 9 of the Top 15, and 0 of the Bottom 15 Draft picks. Doesn't make the 1 3rd round pick look that bad.

The 2010 Draft class has 6 of the Top 10 (all but Niederreiter, Connolly, Granlund, and McIlrath) and 8 of the Top 15 (add in #12 Fowler and #14 Schwartz) are currently in the NHL. The Bottom 15 actually has 7 players currently in the NHL, but 3 of those are very recent and have only played in 4 games each. And of the Bottom 15 draftees, the player with the most games played (#29 Etem 22gp) has played in only a quarter of the games as the lowest in the Top 10 (#4 Johansen 91gp) or even the 3rd round #37 Faulk (94gp). Faulk by himself has played more games than the entire Bottom 10 picks combined. So we are still seeing a severe drop off in success rates outside the Top 10-15 draft picks, and we see that we are just as likely to snag a gem in the 2nd and 3rd rounds as we are in the Bottom 15 picks in the 1st round.

So the Pens, usually drafting somewhere between #20 and #30, are not really going to find much difference between their usual 1st round picks and the 3rd they gained from the Morrow trade or the 2 2nd round picks they paid for Murray.

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

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