It's one thing to build a contender from the ground up, which was the challenge for Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson. It requires that you have success high in Round 1, while finding a few pieces in the later rounds. But once you build a contender, it's another thing to maintain it. After all, players age or leave via free agency, and the window of opportunity closes.
Some of these teams recede back into the lottery and are forced to re-build. But others like the Detroit Red Wings and (to an extent) the Nashville Predators, have found a way to stay competitive for long periods of time -- and a huge factor is the draft.
Both Preds GM David Poile and Wings GM Ken Holland have been able to find talent -- high-end talent -- outside of the first round, which is pretty crucial because good teams generally don't land in the lottery. In fact, good teams often don't have first-round picks because they swap them at the trade deadline for immediate help. So proficiency later in the draft becomes fairly important.
And this week, we're heading to the Central, where we run into five GMs in fairly different situations. Before we begin, here's a recap of the ground rules:
1. We're not simply judging the GMs based on the quality of players they have drafted. Because a guy with four top-five picks will always be far better than someone who consistently drafts in the late first-round. So, instead, we're looking at how well they've drafted relative to their draft position.
2. We know some GMs let their scouts make the final calls on draft day, but they are still responsible for the picks.
3. We're looking at drafts from 1990 to 2008. Recent drafts are discounted because the jury is out on the large majority of those picks.
4. Metrics are based on Tom Awad's GVT, which is an advanced stat that encompasses all aspects of the game.
And we're off:
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