Calgarypuck Draft Coverage

Swapping Picks Who wins?

June 23rd, 2003

Aaron McCracken



9th overall - Dion Phaneuf
Phaneuf Profile

39th overall - Tim Ramholt
Ramholt Profile

Last June 30th, the Flames traded a conditional 3rd round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the rights to free-agent-to-be Curtis Joseph. As compensation for "losing" Joseph to the Red Wings, the Flames received a 2nd round pick, 47th overall, in last weekend's 2003 NHL Entry draft. The Flames sent their 3rd round pick, 78th overall, to the Leafs to complete the deal.

It sounds simple enough, but both teams subsequently traded their picks. The Flames sent the #47 pick to San Jose for the #97 pick, #143 pick, and #173 pick; the Leafs sent the 78th pick to Minnesota for the 91st and 125th pick.

Is this a case of swapping quality for quantity? Or did Calgary general manager Daryl Sutter actually make an astute move? Only time will tell (and CalgaryPuck will keep track of this trade as the seasons go by). But past history reveals some interesting information about this deal.

I decided to determine the likelihood of selecting an NHL player with the #47 pick (the 2nd rounder that Calgary traded), as well as with the #97, #143, and #173 picks (which Calgary received from San Jose). I looked at the twelve drafts between 1989 and 2000, and rated the picks in each of those ranges (for example, I looked at the #45 to #49 picks for #47), which gave me a sample of 60 players for each draft slot. I then noted whether the player became a regular NHL player (> 100 games played) and if the player became an impact player (top two-line forward, top four defenseman, or starting goalie). I also made note of any star players, but there were none (unless you count Roman Cechmanek, which I didn't).

The results:

  • A #47 pick has a 35% chance of becoming an NHL player, and a 15% chance of becoming an impact player.
  • A #97 pick has a 25% chance of becoming an NHL player, and an 8% chance of becoming an impact player.
  • A #143 pick has a 10% chance of becoming an NHL player, and a 2% chance of becoming an impact player.
  • A #173 pick has an 18% chance of becoming an NHL player, and an 8% chance of becoming an impact player.

If past history is any indication, then the Flames have indeed "won" this trade. The Sharks, with their lone #47 pick, have about a 35% chance of getting someone who plays, and a 15% chance of getting someone who plays well. The Flames, with their trio of picks, have about a 50% chance of getting an NHL player, and a slightly higher chance (18%) of picking an impact player.

Of course, time will tell whether either team gained significantly from the trade, or whether Minnesota or Toronto, who also factored into the deal, were able to parlay a mid-round pick into a bona fide NHLer. And that's why hindsight is always 20/20.

Here's a summary of draft picks resulting from the original Calgary Toronto deal made on June 30th, 2002.


San Jose



#97 Ryan Donally

#143 Greg Moore

#173 Tyler Johnson

#47 Matthew Carle

#91 Martin Sagat

#125 Konstantin Volkov

#78 Danny Irman


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