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10 best value draft picks of the last 10 years

Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire

Hockey analytics pioneer Rob Vollman is ESPN Insider's armchair GM this season, exploring how modern statistics can inform front-office decisions.

Don't tune out after the first couple of rounds next weekend, because there are plenty of difference-making players still available. After all, Detroit practically built its dynasty with late-round picks such as Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Henrik Zetterberg, while Calgary historically nabbed Brett Hull, Theo Fleury and Gary Suter in the late rounds and Ottawa selected Daniel Alfredsson and Pavol Demitra. Don't credit these teams too much, however -- if they were really that clever, they wouldn't have risked waiting that long to draft them!

For today's piece, we have used a variety of statistics to identify the best late-round steals for the 10 NHL entry drafts since the 2005 lockout. Honorable mentions go to Brendan Gallagher, Wayne Simmonds, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Kris Letang.


1. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

Drafted 5th round, 129th overall, in the 2007 NHL entry draft