Following five years of draft dominance over their rival from another isle, the Rangers have gone nearly as cold as the ice at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers' drafts of 2004-08 produced players such as RW Ryan Callahan, D Marc Staal, LW Carl Hagelin, D Michael Del Zotto and C Derek Stepan. From 2009 to 2013, the Rangers have selected just two players with at least 20 career points: C Chris Kreider (68) in 2009 and C J.T. Miller (20) in 2011.
The Islanders' most notable names from 2004 to 2008: D Andrew MacDonald and RW Kyle Okposo in 2006 and LW Matt Martin, D Travis Hamonic and C Josh Bailey in 2008. John Tavares, selected first overall in 2009, is the most high-profile name from the 2009-2013 drafts, but the Islanders excelled at selecting players who could play solid supporting roles, selecting seven players in that time span who have produced at least 20 career points: C Anders Lee (27), C Casey Cizikas (47), D Calvin de Haan (28) and C Tavares (366) in 2009, C Brock Nelson (58) and RW Nino Niederreiter (64) in 2010 and C Ryan Strome (52) in 2011.
Here's the complete breakdown for each team from 2004 to 2013:
The Rangers drafted 70 players, 32 of whom (45.7 percent) have played in the NHL. The 18 of those players that debuted with the Rangers combined for a +198 plus/minus rating in New York. The Rangers have averaged 20.3 points per skater drafted. Eight of the Rangers' draftees from this period played for the team this season.
The Islanders drafted 83 players, 37 of whom (44.5 percent) went on to play in the NHL. The 34 that debuted with the Islanders combined for a -339 plus/minus rating while playing for New York. The Islanders have averaged 21.6 points per skater drafted during that span. Of the Islanders' draftees from this period, 13 played for the team this season.
But focusing on the second half of that time period tells a far different story. From 2009 to 2013:
The Rangers drafted 28 players, seven of whom have played in the NHL. The six who debuted with the Rangers combined for a +7 plus/minus rating while in New York. The Rangers averaged 4 points per skater drafted.
The Islanders drafted 35 players, 14 of whom went on to play in the NHL. Those players, all of whom debuted for the Isles, generated a -83 plus/minus rating with the Islanders. The Islanders have averaged 19.8 points per skater drafted during that span.
But there's good news for the Rangers. Though the team has produced subpar draft results of late, the problem appears to be one of circumstance more than selection.
From 2009 to 2013, the Rangers had just 12 total picks in the first three rounds. The Islanders had 18 during the same period.
Why? The NHL draft affords higher picks to the worst teams in the league. From 2008 to 2012, the Rangers made the playoffs four times. In that same time span, the Islanders made the playoffs once and ha .393 winning percentage.
From 2003 to 2007, the Rangers had a .482 overall winning percentage. During those drafts (technically the drafts from 2004 to 2008), they received 22 total picks in the first three rounds, including eight in the first three rounds of the 2004 draft alone. The Rangers went 27-40-7-8 during the 2003-04 season. The Islanders (.470 winning percentage) had 18 total picks during the same five-year timeframe.
Each team selected seven players in 2014. Will the Islanders' recent success in the draft continue or will the Rangers rebound?