It doesn't take advanced analytics to realize that the Blackhawks hit a home run by drafting Jonathan Toews third overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. According to a recent article from The Athletic, advanced analytics not only confirm that the Blackhawks made a great selection in Toews, but say that Chicago made the best top-10 draft pick of the salary cap era from 2005-2016 (2017-2019 were excluded due to a lack of sufficient data).
The Athletic evaluated each draft pick's first seven seasons (based on an advanced metric called Game Score Value Added) and expected value based on draft position to decipher which draft pick from those 12 seasons provided the most value. Toews' wins of total value (similar to baseball's WAR statistic) came in at a whopping 25.6, the third-highest rating for a top-10 pick since 2005 behind only Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby (both at 28.8).
Toews comes out on top of those two as the more valuable draft pick, however, due to the expected value from where each player was picked. The expected wins of total value from the number three selection through the first seven seasons is 10.2, while the expected value for a first overall pick is 17.7. So while McDavid and Crosby may have accounted for "more wins," Toews provides more value given the expectations for a third overall pick vs a first overall pick.
So while Hawks fans don't need fancy stats to tell them Toews was a great pick, it sure is nice to have confirmation of where he stacks up. And it sure is nice to remind Blues fans what they missed by passing on him with the first overall pick.
Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews ranked best Top 10 NHL draft pick of salary cap era originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago