Much of the focus of this upcoming draft is based around what the Hurricanes will do with their first round pick, and rightfully so. The Hurricanes have a top-five pick in what is considered the best draft in years and have a very good chance of landing an elite prospect next month. The hype of adding someone like Jonathan Drouin, Valeri Nichushkin or Aleksander Barkov to your team's system is well justified, so it's going to be very exciting to see what the Canes do with the fifth overall pick. However, there is a lot more to the draft than just the first round and the Hurricanes are going to need to make good use of all of their picks.
Until recent years, the Hurricanes drafting outside of the first round is something I haven't been pleased with because the team hasn't been able to land many full-time NHL-ers and it's led to some depth issues within the organization. Drafting and scouting are obviously only part of the question since player development also plays a big role but whatever the case is, the Hurricanes haven't been able to get a lot out of their draft picks since 2000. Now, this has changed a lot in recent years with the Hurricanes finding gems like Justin Faulk in the second round and adding interesting prospects like Zac Dalpe, Michal Jordan, Danny Biega, Keegan Lowe and Victor Rask to their system, but the jury is out on whether or not they are future NHL-ers.
Either way, the common belief is that you need to build a strong farm system to be a contending team and I would expect this to be even more true in future years with the cap going down. This isn't to say that all of your prospects need to be future stars, but drafting well and having a good farm system can be a cheap way to bolster a team's depth as opposed to bidding for free agents. The Hurricanes have been taking the steps they need to improve this in recent drafts but only time will tell before we know how successful they are.
Going over the Hurricanes recent drafts got me thinking, though. The Canes may have not been able to get much out of their picks outside of the first round, but it wouldn't shock me if other teams had similar issues with drafting outside of the first round. The talent level at the top of the draft is always what is the most scrutinized, but I feel like after the top 50 players or so, the draft itself becomes sort of a grab bag. Think of it, you have a pool of hundreds of players to select from and it's probably difficult for even the best scouts to figure out which players have the best chance of becoming NHL-ers out of such a huge field. By the time you get to the third round, it seems like the difference between the 60th and 70th best player is kind of miniscule and executives will likely draft to their team's needs and let their development staff take over.
Drafting is critical to a team's success but how much of it is based on picks outside of the first round? After the jump, we'll take a look at how some recent playoff teams have constructed their rosters and where in the draft they acquired most of their players.no comments