MONTREAL – Every year in June, students aren’t the only ones sweating it out writing exams. NHL teams are also put to the test this time of year and they will be once again on June 26 and 27 at the NHL Entry Draft.
However, unlike students, NHL clubs must normally wait a few years before being able to stick their grades onto their refrigerators. When it comes to drafting players, there are no perfect marks, either. It all comes down to one thing: whether or not a chosen player reaches the bright lights of the NHL.
Since the league’s first Entry Draft back in 1963, a total of 9,247 players have been picked by NHL teams. Of those, only 3,830 at some point played in an at least one NHL game, meaning a mere 41 percent of players chosen have gone on to reach the show.
|Ready for the world |
|Here’s a look at the teams who have sent the most of their draft picks to the NHL. |
|Teams ||Players |
| Canadiens |
| Rangers ||185 |
| Maple Leafs ||178 |
| Sabres ||178 |
| Bruins ||177 |
| Penguins ||176 |
With more picks under their belts than any other team with 518, including a record 27 in 1978 alone, the Canadiens have seen 223 of their selections reach the NHL. From winger Garry Monahan, the first player ever picked by Montreal in 1969, to Yannick Weber
, the latest Habs pick to have reached the NHL, the Canadiens are always busy on draft day.
The Habs’ success rate of 43 percent ranks them seventh among the league’s 30 clubs. Top honors belong to the Avalanche/Nordiques at 48 percent, followed closely by the Devils at 47 percent. The bottom feeders are the Thrashers who have converted only 31 percent of their selections into NHLers.
That being said, reaching the NHL is one thing, staying there is another story. Unearthing future bona fide NHLers is where the Habs shine. In addition to no team having populated the NHL with more prospects than the Canadiens, the Habs also tab players with the most staying power. Simply put, 67 percent of players drafted by Montreal having played at least one NHL game, have also gone on to crack the 100-game mark. The Habs’ next closest rival in that category are the Sabres at 61 percent.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Canadiens also boast the most drafted players to have gone on to reach the 1,000 NHL game mark with 18. The Kings and Devils sit well back of the Habs with 11.
So let this be a warning to all prospects: if playing in the NHL for a long time isn’t something they are prepared to do, ending up wearing a Canadiens cap on Draft weekend may not be such a good idea. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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