Strength in Numbers: Draft Pick Trade Winners

    Let’s take a look at the trades that happened in the 2016 NHL Draft. I used Michael Schucker’s 2016 draft pick value chart to establish an estimated value for each pick that was traded in order to evaluate the winners and losers of these trades. Schuckers refined his previous work and updated his draft value chart for 2016. In this draft value chart, Schuckers’ draft value chart assigns a value for each pick based on expected games played, based on historical draft pick performance.

    These analyses don’t take into account which players the draft picks were used on – just the value the picks had at the time of the trade. Future pick values are evaluated using the assumption that teams finish in the same position in future seasons.

    1. Ottawa receives pick 11 from New Jersey in exchange for picks 12 and 80

    Ottawa receives New Jersey receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    11 397 12 377
    80 76
    Total 397 Total 453



    Ottawa pays a really steep price to trade up a single pick here (they used it to select Logan Brown). New Jersey wins this trade in terms of value by a good margin.

    2. Arizona receives pick 16 and Pavel Datsyuk from Detroit in exchange for picks 20 and 53, and Joe Vitale

    Arizona receives Detroit receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    16 324 20 265
    53 121
    Total 324 Total 386



    Detroit really cleaned Arizona out on this one. They added a huge amount of value by trading down, and still managed to get the Coyotes to take on all of Datsyuk’s cap hit! Even without the moving Datsyuk’s contract, this would have been a big win for Detroit. The Red Wings smartly took advantage of John Chayka’s desire to move up and get Jakob Chychrun after his slip out of the top 10.

    3. Winnipeg receives picks 18 and 79 from Philadelphia in exchange for picks 22 and 36

    Winnipeg receives Philadelphia receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    18 296 22 227
    79 77 36 152
    Total 373 Total 379



    Winnipeg traded up to get pick 18 and select the towering Logan Stanley, and did so at nearly fair value. This trade is essentially a wash in terms of pick value, with both Winnipeg and Philadelphia getting approximately equal value out of the trade.

    4. St. Louis receives pick 26 from Washington in exchange for picks 28 and 87

    St. Louis receives Washington receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    26 169 28 157
    87 71
    Total 169 Total 228



    This looks like a major coup for Washington – St. Louis paid a steep price for a very marginal increase in value from the 28th pick to the 26th. Washington significantly increased their total value for only a small drop in the first round.

    5. New York Islanders receive pick 95 from Chicago in exchange for pick 110 and New York’s 2017 6th round pick

    New York receives Chicago receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    95 68 110 65
    2017 Round 6 42
    Total 68 Total 107



    Chicago did a good job of getting some extra value from New York here. They picked up an extra lottery ticket for the 2017 draft in exchange for a three-position drop in the 2016 draft.

    6. New York Islanders receive pick 120 from Philadelphia in exchange for New York’s 2017 4th round pick

    New York receives Philadelphia receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    120 54 2017 Round 4 58
    Total 54 Total 58



    This trade is essentially a wash – Philadelphia stands to move up slightly in value unless the Islanders win the Stanley Cup next year, but picks in the 4th round don’t have a huge range in value.

    7. St. Louis receives pick 144 from Chicago in exchange for St. Louis’ 2017 5th round pick

    St. Louis receives Chicago receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    144 47 2017 Round 5 45
    Total 47 Total 45



    Another wash here – Chicago and St. Louis exchange essentially equal value in this swap.

    8. Montreal receives pick 187 from Winnipeg in exchange for Winnipeg’s 2017 7th round pick

    St. Louis receives Chicago receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    187 38 2017 Round 7 34
    Total 38 Total 34



    Another equal swap.

    9. Florida receives pick 195 from Boston in exchange for Florida’s 2017 7th round pick

    St. Louis receives Chicago receives
    Pick Value Pick Value
    195 36 2017 Round 7 34
    Total 36 Total 34



    And one more. There’s really no winner and loser in swapping 7th round picks in subsequent years.


    Overall, teams trading up in the first four rounds in this year’s draft overpaid, losing value on the late picks they gave up. Teams trading up in the last few rounds tended not to lose any value, because the probability of success for picks in later rounds tend to be nearly equal. The Red Wings look like they made one of the best moves of the draft, simultaneously increasing their pick value AND offloading Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, freeing up essential cap space. Only time will tell whether any of these moves to pick certain players will pay off in the long run; however, based on the current market value, trading down seems to be a smart choice in the NHL draft.