Washington Capitals say Good-Bye to Chandler Stephenson

The Washington Capitals traded Chandler Stephenson to the Vegas Golden Knights. Former General Manager George McPhee is stockpiling Capitals.

The Washington Capitals traded center Chandler Stephenson on Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2021 fifth round draft pick. Former General Manager George McPhee now has three of his former draft picks and undrafted free agent signings from his days as the Caps GM on the Vegas roster.

Vegas chose defenseman Nate Schmidt, a Caps 2013 undrafted free agent signing, and forward Cody Eakin, a Caps 2009 third round pick, in the expansion draft. Now, they have added Stephenson, a Caps 2012 draft pick, to their roster.

NHL trades that involve late round draft picks for established NHL players are a pure salary dump. The chances of a fifth round pick making the NHL squad for meaningful games are very low.

From the 2009 to 2015 drafts, 210 players were drafted in the fifth round. So far, 79 players have played at least one game in the NHL. That is only a 38 percent chance that you will draft a player that will even make a NHL debut.

Only 26 players have played more than 20 percent of their teams games. That is about one in every eight draft picks.

If you are looking to find a player who has played more than 40 percent of their teams games, the number drops to 11 or about five percent.

The Caps 2016 fifth round pick Beck Malenstyn was just sent down to Hershey this week after making his NHL debut against the Rangers on November 20. He has now played three games in the big show.

2014 fifth round pick Shane Gersich has also played three games in the NHL. All of his games were in the 2017-18 season.

2012 fifth round pick Connor Carrick has now played 205 games in the NHL. The Caps traded him with Brooks Laich in a salary cap move at the 2016 trade deadline. He only played 37 games with the Caps before the trade.

The next Caps fifth round pick to play one game in the NHL is Roman Tvrdon. He was picked in the 1999 draft.

So if you are keeping tabs, the Caps have had 43 games played by their fifth round draft picks since the 2000 draft. Only three of the twenty picks have even made a NHL debut.

Drafting is not an exact science. You need to have some luck to find the diamond in the rough. Data science would show that the more chances you have, the better odds you have to find the diamond.

The Capitals have drafted 68 players in the fifth or later rounds since 2000. Only two players, Mathieu Perreault and Johnny Oduya, played more than 400 games in the big league.

Maybe the Caps should have asked the Knights for a bag of practice pucks. Chances are the Capitals would get more use out of them.