Calgarypuck Draft Coverage

Swapping Picks Who wins?

June 23rd, 2003

Aaron McCracken



9th overall - Dion Phaneuf
Phaneuf Profile

39th overall - Tim Ramholt
Ramholt Profile

97th overall - Ryan Donally
Donally Profile

112th overall - Jamie Tardif
Tardif Profile

143rd overall - Greg Moore
Moore Profile

173rd overall - Tyler Johnson
Johnson Profile

206th overall - Thomas Bellemare
Bellemare Profile

240th overall - Cam Cunning
Cunning Profile

270th overall - Kevin Harvey
Harvey 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 each of the picks involved in the swap. 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 or Marty Turco, which I didn't).

Draft Pick

Chance of becoming a NHL Player

Chance of becoming an impact player






















Although the sample size is small, there is a clear pattern here. The 2nd round pick is more likely to bring you a better player. But after that, there is not a major difference between a 3rd round pick and a 6th round pick, especially when you look at finding impact players.

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 45% chance of getting at least one NHL player, and a slightly higher chance (17%) of picking an impact player. The Leafs also appear to have "won" their trade with the Wild, with their two later picks having a higher chance of producing a player than the Wild's lone earlier pick.

Drafting Team

Chance finding at least one NHL player

Chance of finding at least one impact player













Of course, time will tell whether any team gained significantly from the trade. The draft still remains a crapshoot, and there's a 20% chance that none of these seven picks will play regularly in the NHL, and a 56% chance that no one will ever become an impact player. But isn't the uncertainty the reason why we like the draft so much?

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


  Back to
Read other Stories
Talk About it!