Prospects Rambling – Development based on draft ranking

Hayden Soboleski

2016-03-27

Taking a look at how long you should expect your freshest draft picks to take to become NHL-ready in this Sunday's Ramblings…

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This is me every year: draft day just wrapped up, my team and rival teams just drafted their supposed future of the franchise…and now I wait. Maybe the lucky teams who pick first overall get to see their superstar in just a few months, for for the rest of us non-Oilers fans, how long until we can expect to see our newest big name hit the ice in an NHL jersey?

 

What I’ve done is look at every player taken in the first round of the last 10 drafts (prior to 2015, since its too soon to say for most picks made). For every draft position, I’ve looked at every player and seen how many years after being drafted it takes to make the NHL. As a benchmark for this, I’ve arbitrarily picked 41 games – half the season. I’ve made an exception for the lockout season (using 24 games as half the season). I initially wanted to identify any situations where a player should have reached full-time status sooner but got injured, but since I’m looking at the last 10 years I’ve decided that injuries are an unfortunate fact of life and I’ll let the averages speak for themselves.

 

Showing a table of every single first round pick of the last ten years would be torture for anyone forced to scroll on a mobile device, so I’ll skip to the good stuff. Here are the results from digging through the data:

 Draft  Ranking   Average years until full-  time NHL   % making full-time  NHL   Assumptions made
 1  1  100%  
 2  1.56  100%  
 3  1.78  100%  
 4  3  100%  Reinhart makes NHL
 5  2.25  100%  Dal Colle makes NHL
 6  2  90%  
 7  3.11  100%  
 8  1.67  80% Pouliot makes NHL
 9  2.67  100%  
 10  2.67  80% Koekkoek makes NHL
 11-15  2.93  78%  
 16-20  4  76%  
 21-25  3.59  80%* *many still fringe but possible
 26-30  3.72  70%* *many still fringe but possible

 

There are a few complications when generating these numbers; please take these into consideration when reading:

 

1: Any players drafted recently who have not yet made the NHL could not contribute to the "average years until NHL" value. This is a major factor in the 20-30 range, where many, many players have spent several years in development but in my opinion could still become NHL regulars. The % making the NHL in this range will be less than reported in the table, once time has passed to know for sure.

 

2: Any players who never made the NHL could not contribute to the "average years until NHL" value – so in any row you see a number less than 100%, the "years until NHL" value is only based on the players who did eventually make it

 

3: This is only 10 years' worth of data. Not a terrible sample size for something like this but definitely not a big one either.  Take results with a grain of salt.

 

4: I didn't count goalies. Goalies are unpredictable and voodoo and follow a different development cycle than skaters.

 

Hopefully you find some interest and value in the numbers I've assembled above. It's clear that the top-three picks are generally the top tier of talent, as the "years to NHL" numbers rises significantly after that point. The second half of the draft starts getting much less likely to make the NHL and take a notably longer time to get there if they do. As well, top-ten picks are not a sure thing. There have been a number of busts over the years, so maybe wait and take a look at how your city's newest celebrity plays before jumping on the bandwagon. That being said, there's lots of reason for excitement around draft day, which is only a few months away!

 

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Happy long weekend everybody! I hope everyone got to spend as much time catching up with family as I did over the last few days, and are now settling in getting some last hours of relaxation in. 

 

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih

AE, DobberProspects


 

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