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Treliving and the Phoenix Coyotes' draft: 2007-2013

The Flames need to build through the draft. Their new GM has experience in player development. Here, we take a look to see how well the Coyotes drafted while Brad Treliving was there.

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be the Coyotes' best player drafted during Treliving's tenure.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be the Coyotes' best player drafted during Treliving's tenure.
Christian Petersen

So, the Flames have a new GM for the draft. Brad Treliving, who spent the last seven seasons as the Phoenix Coyotes' assistant general manager, worked extensively with the team's prospects, managing the AHL team as well as the team's scouts.

While not solely responsible for the draft itself, Treliving played a large role in player development. Since it's crucial to build your team from the draft, it wouldn't hurt to take a look at how the Coyotes have fared in the draft from 2007-2013 - the years Treliving was there - would it?

[Note: okay, so as Carl Putnam from Five for Howling pointed out, Treliving wasn't hired until after the 2007 draft. The results from 2008-2013 are what to really look at, although you can still look at 2007 as a pre-Treliving comparison.]

The basics

The Coyotes drafted 48 players over that time period: 12 centres, nine left wingers, five right wingers, 15 defencemen (of course, Phoenix), and seven goalies.

Of those 48 players, 19 are still within the Coyotes organization; while six have found homes with other NHL clubs, eight are playing in European leagues, six are in college, eight are still playing in junior (although two spent some time in the AHL this season), and one retired (Brett MacLean, due to a heart condition).

Levels of success

As Mike Futa, co-director of amateur scouting for the LA Kings, said in The Art of Scouting (and thanks to Russian Machine Never Breaks for finding the quote):

"It’s the only job where you can be right 15 percent of the time and be ruled a Hall of Famer for success, You are going to be wrong 85 or 80 percent of the time, and if you hit on 2.5 home runs every Draft, you are par with some of the best scouts ever."

So let's say the goal is to get one NHLer per draft, and anything more than that is gravy.

Ten of the players Phoenix drafted during Treliving's tenure have played at least one NHL game, although not necessarily with Phoenix:

  • Kyle Turris (316: PHX, OTT) (2007 - Treliving not yet there)
  • Brett MacLean (18: PHX, WPG) (2007 - Treliving not yet there)
  • Mikkel Boedker (338: PHX)
  • Jared Staal (2: CAR)
  • Michael Stone (123: PHX)
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson (258: PHX)
  • Chris Brown (17: PHX, WSH)
  • Jordan Szwarz (26: PHX)
  • Brandon Gormley (5: PHX)
  • Mark Visentin (1: PHX)
  • Connor Murphy (30: PHX)
  • Lucas Lessio (3: PHX)
Some of these players, such as Boedkker and Ekman-Larsson, are established NHLers; while others, such as Gormley and Lessio, are younger, and just getting their first taste of NHL action. It remains to be seen whether they'll be successful NHLers.

Let's set the threshold for a regular NHLer at 200 games: about two and a half full seasons. This takes the 2013, 2012, and 2011 drafts out of the equation right away, so we can strike Murphy and Lessio from the list for the moment. They may get there, but it's too early to tell at this point.

Of the 26 players the Coyotes drafted from 2007-2010 (19 from 2008-2010), 10 (eight) have played at least one NHL game. Of those 10 (eight), three (two) are what we could call established NHLers - Turris (2007), Boedker, and Ekman-Larsson - while Stone looks likely to join that group.

If the goal is to get one out of seven picks correct - 14% - and the Coyotes have at least four of 26 (three of 19) picks we could consider successes - 15% (16%) - then with Treliving, the Coyotes appear to have drafted rather well. This still doesn't count players like Gormley and Murphy, who are still just breaking into a tough defence core; and Visentin, who, as a goalie, may get fewer opportunities for games.

Quality of player is exceptionally important as well. Turris, 24, has spent most of his NHL career in Ottawa, and is .51 PPG. Boedker, 24, has been a regular Coyote for about three and a half seasons, and is .43 PPG. Ekman-Larsson, 22, should be viewed as a budding star, and is .43 PPG as a defenceman.

Staying with the team

It's one thing to draft well, but it doesn't necessarily mean a lot if your picks don't stay on your team. The Coyotes in particular have had a rough go of this, as was seen when Kyle Turris demanded a trade.

As said earlier, 19 of the 48 players drafted from 2007-2013 are still with the Coyotes (this doesn't take into account players in college, who cannot sign, and European players who may be under similar restrictions). Here's the year-by-year breakdown:

  • 2007: 0/7
  • 2008: 4/8 (2 NHLers*)
  • 2009: 4/6 (1 NHLer)
  • 2010: 4/5 (2 NHLers)
  • 2011: 3/8 (1 NHLer)
  • 2012: 4/8 (0 NHLers)
  • 2013: 1/6 (0 NHLers)
* Considering someone who has played at least one NHL game as an NHLer.

We can consider 2007 a wash: the team had no control over Turris or MacLean's situations; besides, Treliving was not yet there. Since then, the Coyotes have fared rather consistently, signing most of their draft picks to deals, and getting at least one prospect per draft to play some NHL games (2012 and 2013 remain to be seen, but it's pretty likely someone from those drafts will play an NHL game).

Best case scenario, these players will all remain with the Coyotes and contribute to their success. Worst case, the Coyotes, at the very least, feel these draft picks will have the chance to contribute to their team at some point in the future.

What does this mean?

We don't know how much say Treliving had in the draft, but at least, during his years as an AGM in Phoenix, where he likely had some input, the Coyotes drafted a little better than what should be expected.

Boedker and Ekman-Larsson are the biggest success stories for the Coyotes' drafting, while players like Murphy and Max Domi remain to be seen. You're far more likely to get an impact player in the higher rounds, but Phoenix has still been able to find contributors later in the draft, even if those contributions have yet to truly make an impact.

But: these players are all still very young, and some may end up making a great impact in the near future.

The draft is difficult to predict, and it takes years to analyze what was a good draft. The 2007 draft didn't end up paying any direct dividends for the Coyotes, but they were able to get two established NHLers with eight picks in 2008 for a success rate of 25%. 2009 yielded their greatest success with Ekman-Larsson, and with Szwarz, whose NHL career is just beginning, that's two out of six successful picks: 33%.

Treliving will be responsible for the Flames this draft. Based on Phoenix's draft record while he was there, at the very least, he should be competent enough to get at least one NHLer per draft, with the possibility of additional players.

A lot of this is going to be wait and see, but with Treliving at the helm, the Flames should be able to continue building through the draft: something they're going to need to do to become competitive.