Behind The Scenes - One-Day Draft vs. Two-Day Draft
The 2012-13 season was delayed by the lockout which therefore pushed the Stanley Cup Final back by a week and then turned the coveted two-day 2013 NHL Entry Draft into a one-day marathon. In prior years, the first round of the draft took place on a Saturday and then the personnel from each NHL team went back to their hotels and prepared their final scenarios for rounds two through seven. On June 30, the personnel for the 30 NHL teams came into the day with a different game plan.
In general, the draft was business as usual.
"I don't notice any difference," explained Kings Co-Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. "It seemed like a normal draft in terms of being at the table. I can speak for Mike (Futa) and I can speak for myself and I can speak for Dean (Lombardi) and our (scouting staff), we get pretty consumed by the day. When it starts, you get pretty consumed, and then it's over. Whether it's one day or two days, I did not notice one difference. I did not notice the length of the day. It just seemed like the draft."
Yes, the General Managers and scouting staffs experienced the seven round draft as they normally do. However, the dynamic of strategizing a team's movement at the draft was unequivocally changed.
"I do think having the draft in one day drastically, drastically changed the dynamic of the draft," continued Yannetti. "A lot of times in the draft, one of the highest valued picks in the draft becomes pick 31. The first round ends and you go back to your hotel. You sit there and you (wonder how certain players are still available). It would have been us. We would have gone back to our suite. We would have run over all the stuff that happened (in the first round); what was surprising and what was not. And we would have said, 'How is Valentin still there? How is player B still there?' Now, there are also 29 other teams going back to their collective suites saying, 'How is this player here? We've got to move up.' Now you have, potentially, 15-20 teams who have had six or seven hours to digest it; determining they need to move up. You create that supply and demand. All of a sudden, you've got, realistically, only two or three chances, two or three teams that would be willing to move up and you've got all these teams crowding in to get there.
"At the draft, you have two minutes; you have five minutes. At the draft, you don't have that time to go back over and say, 'Wow, he's still there'. You don't have four or five hours where you build up into, I don't want to say a frenzy, but the build up now can even, I think, create a higher artificial demand. And especially teams that don't have picks and want to get up there; us for example. I think it changed the dynamic that way. I don't want to say it lessened the value of the pick, from 31-35, but it definitely changed the dynamic of how teams viewed it and the ability to move up and the ability to make that determination. You usually have a night to make that determination."
When looking at this year's draft, there are both positives and negatives to having all seven rounds completed in one day depending on what each team needed. For some teams, it was probably a good thing that they had to make split second decisions on whether to move up or back in the draft. For other teams, they would have likely done better if they had the six or seven hours to continue strategizing.
"I think it depends on your situation," explained Yannetti. "We picked in that spot twice. I view that sweet spot as the 31 to 35 spot. After that, then it gradually declines in value as you get further back. We've taken (Kyle) Clifford and (Slava) Voynov in the 31-35 hole. It would have taken dynamite to get me out of (taking) Voynov to move back. It would have taken dynamite to get Mike out of Kyle Clifford to move back. Either one of us, it's just a certain name here. I'm not sure a team on the draft floor could put together a deal that would get one of those picks from us if we were in that situation. I think it would require a much more complex deal to get those picks. We're at the draft floor, we're trying to get to 31. If you're deciding - ok, do you give up a prospect? Ok, then you have your whole pool of prospects. Who does, I forget who was in the 31 slot, but who do they need? Ok, they're thin on defensive prospects so we give them a pick and we give them defensive prospects. Ok, they're thin on defense up top, maybe we use a roster player. We're a pretty good team; a D-6 or a D-7 for us is a D-4 or D-5 for some teams."
To clarify what D-4 through D-7 means when talking about players, you primarily have six or seven defensemen that play in a game. The lower the "number" a team gives each defenseman, the more versatile and more roles they play in and therefore, the more ice time they are given during the game and the higher they are ranked. In a less complex explanation, each player is ranked by skill and attributes they bring to the team. A lesser ranked player for the Kings may rank higher on another team.
"To get that deal, you need a lot of things in front of you and you need time, I think, to make the type of deal that would entice a team from 31-35," continued Yannetti. "I don't think it's a deal that can be done at the draft table. I think in that sense, if a team really wants to move up, it could be a negative. It could also be a negative because you know you don't have time. 'Well, we'll throw everything at him; we're going to get the pick,' and they don't think it through. I don't think you can say it's a positive or a negative. I could see situations if I had that pick, I think it could lessen the value of the pick having it all in one day. I do think it thins out the amount of teams who will realistically make a play to get those picks."
The Kings were able to trade three picks in order to move up 20 spots in the second round of the draft and select left wing Valentin Zykov at pick No. 37. Would they have made the same deal if they had an evening to run through scenarios? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know, is Los Angeles was able to make a successful move in a short amount of time and pick a player that they highly regarded and who will be a top prospect for the organization.