The Detroit Red Wings benefited from the addition of Steve Yzerman in the last draft. Hitting Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond and most likely Simon Edvinsson will speed Detroit out of the rebuild even further.
That’s not even taking into account the later-round picks he made, many of which shined on the world stage at World Juniors.
But were the results similar to Tampa? Also, has Yzerman replicated his writing tendencies in Tampa? Pivot? Or completely change course?
The fourth piece in the Anatomy of the Yzerplan series goes in this direction. Specifically:
- A look at every round of the draft since his first draft in 2010
- A percentage split by position and how it correlates to his drafts in Detroit
- A league split percentage and how it correlates to his Detroit drafts
- Final analysis
Everyone knows Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy stand out in Yzerman’s picks. But do the results hold up the more you look at all of his work?
Round-by-round analysis of Yzerman’s work in Tampa
Yzerman took control of Tampa Bay in May 2010. When he finally took the stage in the 2010 NHL Draft, it was strange for many Red Wings fans to see him represent another team. His first choice? Brett Connelly.
So how else does it break down in the first round during his tenure from 2010 to 2018?
So here is the interesting part. Only a player is an international selection and it is Vasilevskiy, who was in the same league as recent Red Wings draft pick Dimitri Buchelnikov. Contrary to the clip of 80% of players Yzerman drafted in the first round with Detroit, 87.5% of Yzerman’s Tampa picks were Canadian junior players.
His draft in Detroit is a 180-degree turn from his time in Tampa, where Yzerman spent high picks only on players from international leagues.
And the second round? Well, it’s not the same thing anymore. Of Yzerman’s 10 picks, 60% came from the CHL. Kucherov also hails from the MHL and was a home run pick that played a huge role in success in Tampa.
A few names sound familiar but don’t exactly scream round two. But the selections by league remain quite stable in the third round.
Gudas, Point, and Cirelli stand out immediately, with Point being the absolute heist of the round picks. Once again, Canadian juniors reign supreme, with 78% of the picks. Yzerman returns to the Russian junior league. More importantly, in the first three draft rounds, Yzerman didn’t take a single player from the Swedish leagues.
It’s a little less, yet the CHL still holds the majority of round-robin selections with four. Yzerman is more diverse with his selections, taking players from high school, the NCAA and overseas. The USHL is also represented, a league from which he did not hesitate to take players with Detroit. Paquette, Joseph and Colton are all north of the 99 games played metric thanks to Dobber’s outlook.
Round five is therefore the first time Yzerman has taken on a Swedish junior while drafting international prospects at a 60% clip here. The Russian junior league reappears, accounting for 40% of the picks in the round. Nesterov is the only one to exceed the 99-game threshold.
Round six is a massive haul in terms of lead count. It’s almost exclusively a North American draft, with the exception of Sosunov, who comes from the MHL. Even 40% of the picks came from the USHL and CHL. Dotchin is the only one to have passed the 99 game mark.
Again, Yzerman went heavy in the seventh round as he did in the sixth, racking up 12 picks and snatching playoff clutch Ondrej Palat in the process. Many of the players he took have played in the NHL four of 12. 33% of Yzerman’s picks have gone to the NHL. Only Palat has exceeded 99 games while Gusev has played 97.
Data correlations with Red Wings draft by position
In the nine drafts led by Yzerman, he made 63 selections. That number could have been higher if the Lightning hadn’t been in winning mode now since 2015. Below is a look at how Yzerman has picked in Tampa compared to his time in Detroit so far.
A few comments :
- Yzerman made 40 caps in Detroit to 63 in Tampa. The percentages show that with both organisations, he valued defenders more than any other position. Detroit’s need was more pressing when he took on the role, but it’s still indicative of his philosophy that more than a third of his picks in Tampa were on the blue line.
- In Tampa, Yzerman chased centers to a much higher clip. The gap between that and his defense picks is narrower as opposed to Detroit’s nearly 20% gap.
- Goalkeepers and right wingers were close in both organisations. Yzerman also took a goalkeeper in the first round with both teams.
Data correlations with Red Wings draft by league
This is where a seismic shift appears in Yzerman’s approach.
To note :
- Only a the selection during Yzerman’s time in Tampa was from the SHL or one of its junior leagues. Conversely, almost a third of his picks in Detroit come from Sweden.
- A whopping 54 percent of his picks came from Canadian juniors while at the helm in Tampa Bay. In Detroit, he selected a player from the OHL, WHL or QMJHL 34% less often.
- He also picked twice as many players proportionally from the USHL in Detroit as he did in Tampa.
After spending nearly a decade in Tampa where the Lightning would spend the second half of the decade in the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals, Yzerman turned the script on his arrival in Detroit in terms of drafting. Instead of throwing himself heavily into the junior leagues north of the border, he continued to choose international talent.
Now, there could be a number of reasons for this. Early in his career as a manager, Yzerman was heavily involved with the Canadian national team, winning gold medals in 2010 and 2014. Seeing this talent up close may have led to confirmation bias that the best talent to develop was still to come. From Canada.
Second, the scope of how he built in Tampa was different than in Detroit. With the Red Wings, he was basically starting over. Of the building blocks he had in Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, Yzerman really only had this elite player in Dylan Larkin. The other “core” members were contributors, but hardly the fundamental pieces like Stamkos or Hedman.
Finally, Yzerman ended up trading or not re-signing many of the players he drafted from the Canadian junior leagues. Drouin first comes to mind, which he treated for Mikhail Sergachev. While Sergachev was drafted by Windsor in the CHL Import Draft, his career began in the MHL, a league Yzerman often picked in with the Lightning and Red Wings.
How is it correlated? Of course it won’t last all player he chooses. But in the Red Wings’ first two rounds, where hitting is crucial, Yzerman practically changed his draft strategy. If you look below, his first-round pick is pretty much the reverse with the Red Wings to what he did with the Lightning.
The second round is quite similar. Although lower percentages, it remains virtually clear of the three leagues.
As Yzerman’s tenure continues in Detroit, it will be fascinating to see if there is any shift from that strategy as the team continues to improve. It will prove even more interesting if the success is as crazy as Tampa’s or if it surpasses it.
Anyway, Detroit’s Yzerplan looks very different from Tampa Bay’s.
Previous pieces from The Anatomy of the Yzerplan series
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