In the cap era, how important is it to have drafted a "star" player in the second to third round?
Star meaning any player who arguably rose to the heights of a top twenty forward, top ten defender, or goalie in the NHL.
Here is a look at the star players who were selected in the second to third rounds over a twenty year period. From 1998-2017. from 2015-17 it did take a bit of projecting on my part.
I've also noted if they won a cup with the team who drafted them.
What interests me about these players being drafted in the second to third round is that they were likely on the radar of all scouts. Yes, I know that 200 plus players get scouted and drafted, but the guys taken in the top 100 largely received the most attention. With late round gems, not even the team drafting them realizes that they have a potential star on their hands. The gems from rounds two and three are hidden in plain sight. Perhaps they are late bloomers or are overlooked because they are smallish. I give teams a lot of credit for their earliesh-round home runs.
1998: Brad Richards #64: *Stanley Cup (notable Gionta, Fischer)
2001: None (notable: Plekanec, Craig Anderson, Cammalleri, Sharp)
2002: Duncan Keith #54: *Stanley Cup
2003: Patrice Bergeron #45: *stanley cup, Shea Weber #49, Corey Crawford: #52: *Stanley cup. (notable: Backes)
2004: None, (notable: Krejki, Edler)
2005: Christoper Letang #62, *Stanley Cup, Johnathan Quick #72, *Stanley cup,
(notable: Neal, Vlasic, Stastny, Bishop)
2006: Brad Marchand #71, *Stanley Cup, (Notable: Petry, Lucic)
2007: PK Subban #43, (notable: Killorn)
2008: Roman Jossi #38 (finalist),
2009: Ryan O'Reilly #33, (notable: Barrie, Lehner)
2010: John Merrill #38 (no cup due to poor utilization),
(notable: Toffollli: #47 Stanley Cup, Faulk: Cup to be determined)
2011:Nikita Kucherov: #58: Stanley Cup, (notable: Gibson, Victor Rask, Saad: Stanley Cup, Trochek)
2012: None, (notable: Freddy Anderson, Parayko: stanley cup)
2013: None, (notable: Pesce, Guentzal: Stanley Cup)
2014: Brayden Point #79: Stanley Cup,
2015: Sebastian Aho #35,
2016: Alex DeBrincat #39, Adam Fox #66
Even if the evidence is purely anecdotal, I find it interesting that the following cup winners drafted key pieces (and complimentary pieces) in these valuable, earliesh rounds:
Penguins: Letang, Guentzel (Goligoski, Rust)
Black Hawks: Keith, Crawford. (Saad, Bolland and Bickell)
Bruins: Marchand, Bergeron (Krejki)
Kings: Toffollli, Quick (Clifford Voynov, Simmonds)
St. Louis: Parayko (Barbashev, Jaskin, Edmunson, Binnington, Allen, Lehterra)
Tampa: Point, Kucherov, (Killorn, Cirelli)
*Could Carolina continue this trend???
Of all the ingredients for cup building, 1st round super stars, player development, late round surprises, smart trades, and free agency, the earliesh rounds (2-3) seem to be a prominent part of the recipe.
If the habs are to win a cup anytime soon, they may need the help of Romanov, Lehkonen, Harris, Struble, Norlinder, Ylonen, Tuch, Mysak, Brook, and Fairbrother.