1. Drafting is a crapshoot after the first couple of picks. History tells us that the only thing close to a sure thing is the top few picks, where the likelihood of getting a top flight player is very high. The chances of selecting a top flight player is 50/50 for the next 10 or so picks, and after that the chances of the pick becoming a mere NHL regular is 50% for the rest of the first round, around 30% in the second round and 10% in the remaining rounds. This should shed some perspective on the proverbial third rounder some Isles fans were clamoring for in exchange for Blake Comeau.
2. The Nino Niederreiter and Calvin De Haan picks worry me more than the Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo picks. As a number 10 pick, history tells us that there is only a 40% chance of him become a top flight player. It’s nearly as likely that a player picked at 10 becomes a bust or a bottom 6 role player. While Bailey is still finding his way, I would say that "bottom 6 role player" is his floor, which isn’t a horrible result based on where he was picked. As for Okposo: if he continues to develop into a solid second line player, that would be a solid result based on the history of players picked between 4 and 8. I am more anxious about Nino Niederreiter and Calvin De Haan, both of whom have yet to show the ability to compete at the NHL level (see here and here). Yes, "it’s too early to tell," but as long as they don’t show NHL level ability they remain a question mark (unlike Bailey and Okposo). The law of averages tells us that some top picks are going to become busts but given the Islanders’ heavy reliance on the draft, any bust amongst the top picks are devastating to the progress of the rebuild.
3. Garth seems to do better in the later rounds -- but why? My analysis confirms whaat many of us suspected: Garth Snow seem to do better in the later rounds. While we're still in wait and see mode with respect to Garth's first rounders, Garth has already beaten the averages with his 2nd and later round picks. Why? It's tempting to pin it on the unconventional approach the Isles take to draft, in particular its reliance on psychological testing. Could it be that an "out of the box" approach might uncover some gems in the later rounds but is risky in the "high information" environment of the first round?
4. Is Garth's record good enough? Is Garth's record - ok in the first round and excellent in the later rounds -- good enough for a team that relies as heavily on the draft as the Isles? I don't know. We can see the effects of this as we approach the 2012-2013 season. Ideally, some of the Isles' first rounders should be filtering into the top spots on the roster, allowing the team to slot in Nino into PAP's spot, for example, but aside from Tavares, that's not happening yet. Tavares is the only Snow first round pick that is playing on the Isles' top two lines offensive or defensive lines. On the other hand, the Isles' successful picks in the later rounds are poised to add solid depth, which is just as ciritcal to this team's long term success.