Blog Entry

Teams with the most homegrown talent

Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:14 pm
Hgt1By: Adam Gretz

Every team in the NHL says they want to build through the draft, and like any other aspect of the sport, some have done a better job than others, not only based on the number of home-grown players they have on the roster, but also the quality of said players.

It's always been an important part of constructing a roster and has taken on an even greater level of significance in the salary cap era where teams need to get quality production for an affordable price. There are few things more damaging to a team in the cap era than overpaying a free agent and handing out a large contract for a second-or-third tier player.

Looking across the league at every team's opening night roster and you get an idea as to which teams have done the best job at building from within. Here are the three teams with the most homegrown talent on their opening night rosters.

1) Nashville Predators: No team in the NHL has more drafted-and-developed players on its opening night roster than the Predators' 18. Their group ranges from core players like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne, to role players like Jordin Tootoo, to young prospects Craig Smith and Blake Geoffrion.

The farm system has always been the lifeblood of the Predators organization, and it has to be. They don't have the resources to acquire superstars in free agency -- and may struggle to keep their own -- and must rely on their own system to continue to produce talent. The concern has to be whether or not Nashville will ever be able to take the next step as a championship contender, or if the organization has hit its peak with this current strategy.

Other teams across the league are not only able to draft and develop same type of core players, they are also able to re-sign them and keep them long-term once they're eligible for free agency and add complementary pieces from outside the organization.

2) Buffalo Sabres: There's a ton of excitement in Buffalo right now thanks to new owner Terry Pegula. He proved over the summer with his spending that he's committed to utilizing every possible resource he can to make sure the Sabres a contender.

The signings of Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, as well as the trade for Robyn Regehr, made all the headlines, but the Sabres roster is made up of 15 homegrown players. And we're not just talking role players and and roster-filler. Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers, Derek Roy, workout warrior Drew Stafford and their newest captain, Jason Pominville, were all drafted and developed by the Sabres front office.

3) Detroit Red Wings: While teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington, Edmonton and the New York Islanders have collected multiple lottery picks at the top of the draft to rebuild their franchises, the Red Wings have managed to do it by routinely picking near the bottom of the draft, and finding impact players after the first two rounds. Whether or not it's great scouting ability or great player development is a chicken-or-egg debate, but the Red Wings open the season with 15 players they drafted. That list includes Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetteberg and Tomas Holmstrom, taken in the sixth, seventh and tenth rounds respectively, as well as third-rounders Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom.

In the pre-lockout NHL, before the salary cap, some of the Red Wings' best teams were built largely with big-money players from outside the organization, whether it be Brendan Shanahan, Luc Robitaille or Brett Hull. Today, their roster is made up almost entirely of players they brought up themselves, and whatever players they've managed to acquire through trades or free agency are mainly role players (Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller) or players they managed to pick up on the cheap and developed into productive players (Daniel Cleary).

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 4:09 pm
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Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 7:01 pm

Teams with the most homegrown talent

Blackhawks have an amazing amoun of homegrown talent, and an amazing pipeline of talent that is ready to make the jump up.

Since: Feb 17, 2011
Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:46 pm

Teams with the most homegrown talent

The caps should be on this list for the same players Lucky 78 listed plus Alzner, but the way they didn't draft Laich but traded for him after he 1st came up with Ottawa

Since: Oct 9, 2011
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:16 pm

Teams with the most homegrown talent

Great job but judgement day is coming in the spring with Weber and Suter needing big paydays!!

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 12:35 pm

Teams with the most homegrown talent

AES, no doubt the Blackhawks are a prime example of how you build using the draft.  I think that the Red WIngs get so much attention of their drafting is because they draft so well in the later rounds.  It did not take a genuis to draft Kane or Toews but it did to get both Zetterberg and Datsyuk. 
Regardless, both teams got it right and are going to be powerhouses for years to come. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 11:01 am

Teams with the most homegrown talent

I forgot to add Bolland to the list. He was taken 32nd overall and is begging to win a Selke. Ask Thornton or any Flyer how they like playing against Bolland. And if you want to talk to me about players that were picked up on the cheap, talk to me about Patrick Sharp.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:55 am

Teams with the most homegrown talent

Buillding from within does not exclude teams that had a few lotterly picks. And plenty of teams get lottery picks and screw them up. The key is to use them wisely, but that's a story for another day. The Blackhawks, through the draft, have added Toews, Kane, Seabrook (14th overall), Keith (54th overall; Norris, Cup; Gold Medal), Hjalmarsson (108th overall), Crawford (52 overall). For those scoring at home, that's their top two forwards, top three defencemen and their starting goalie through the draft. Oh, and they are flush with young talent like Olsen (28th), Leddy (16th), Saad, McNeil and Lalonde (68th overall) that would play on virtually any other team in the league but are stuck or had been stuck behind other guys (other drafted guys) here in Chicago. If this guy wants to throw more roses in the direction of the Red Wings, fine. It's what I expect. But don't make shit up and present it as evidence to support lazy writing.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:17 am

Teams with the most homegrown talent

categoryis most homegrown talent, Rangers have nice core players, not superstars. Only and ranger/msg announcers tell you otherwise, no other nhl media view them as cup contenders, stating their defense is weak and players need to mesh. We have 1 player in top 50 not in nhl, kreider, while rangers tell you Mcilrath, Fasth, Hagelin, Bourque, Thomas, etc are future superstars. Scenile Sather is done, and Tortorella has the nerve to tell people Christensen is better and brings more to the club than Avery, which in itself makes him a bad judge of talent, as agreed upon by all outside nhl media. Christensen is a shootout weapon, thats all he is, he gets 5 minutes or less a game, while every shift avery throws a hit, forechecks, possesses puck in offensive zone, takes penalties while also drawing them, yes, he doesnt score, but he takes pressure off our defense when we possess puck. Christensen does none of this, so playing for a shootout settling for ties isnt a reason to keep a player, if you compare the 2 its night and day, 1 guy is noticed every shift, and 1 guy isnt seen on ice.this isnt an opinion, its a fact observed by tsn, hockey news, and all experts, but torts personal feelings and benching of avery every time he makes a mistake is ridicukous, look at the turnovers, cally, dubi, boyle, etc make every game. This team has a great goaltender,but for the fans who believe what the rangers tell you every year, enjoy mediocrity, 1 cup after 1940 puts us in that category, changing lines isnt the change we need, and no other tean does it that way, every game, thats what practice is for, its pathetic, its the gm and coach that need to know playing for a shootout win isnt the way to go, win in regulation. ok, i'm done here

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 8:54 am

Teams with the most homegrown talent

Hard to believe <the team that I like> isn't on this list. Sheesh, come on, guys.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 8:36 am

Teams with the most homegrown talent

I disagree with leaving the Capitals off this list.  To say they collected multiple lottery picks to rebuild their franchise is incorrect.  Beyond Ovechkin and Backstrom who else on the roster is a lottery pick?  Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, Mike Green, Semin, Schultz, Carlson, Neuvirth, Holtby all are not lottery picks.  If that doesnt sound like a homegrown core players I dont know what is?

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