NHL draft success comes from a combination of preparation, expertise, guesswork, timing and good luck. Some years, the No. 1 pick is Sidney Crosby. Other years, it is Nail Yakupov.
But good teams show consistency in their drafting efforts, particularly in the first round. If we view 200 games played as the minimum required, a little less than two-thirds of first picks become NHL players. In the salary cap era, with parity now part of the game, it has become increasingly important to draft well.
It’s imperative that teams find a high-end player in the first round. With that in mind, we have graded the Red Wings’ first round picks since 2000. For the older draft picks, we offer final grades. But for younger players, the grade is a reflection of progress made combined with potential.