Prospect Ramblings – Team performance effect on draft position (July 24 2016)

Hayden Soboleski


Looking at whether the success of a propect's team has an effect on his future draft position in this Sunday Ramblings…


Every year in the Canadian junior hockey leagues there are standout teams and outright dominant ones. These successes are often due to the prescence of elite prospects playing on the team at hand, but also aren't achievable without a solid supporting cast of talent. The question: does this supporting cast get drafted higher because of the squad's dominance as a group? Let's try to find out.


I've broken "Team success" down into tiers. These are "Memorial cup champions", "Memorial Cup Participants", "CHL league playoffs", and "CHL league non-playoffs". This could of course be broken down further, but I think it separates out the teams we are really looking at here – the incredible firepower seen in this season's London Knights representing the top tier, with the powerhouse Red Deer, Brandon, and Rouyn-Noranda in a second tier, followed by teams making their respective playoffs, and then those not making the cut. Below is the draft data on these tiers for the first three rounds of the 2015-16 NHL entry drafts:


Memorial Cup Champions 10.20%
Memorial Cup Participant 14.20%
CHL Playoffs 87.80%
Non-playofffs 12.20%


Note that the top three tiers in the above chart are cumulative – ie. teams counted as champions are also counted as playoff participants. The results are glaring here – almost 88% of CHL players drafted in the 1st to 3rd rounds made playoffs appearances at the very least, while just over 10% came from a single team – the Memorial Cup champions. No other team from any of the leagues had more than 3 players drafted in this range. Considering that the champion team accounts for 1-in-48 playoff teams across all three leagues (2%), having 10% of the drafted players in this group is incredible. Meanwhile, 14.2% coming from Memorialcup teams is also more than its fair share, given that the 4 teams account for just 8.3% of the playoff attendees. I think it is fair to say that yes – draft stocks are raised in the playoffs – which was probably expected given how many times we heard "he's a winner" on draft day this year.


For those who prefer graphs to straight up numbers, here is a breakdown of my data. Tis IS NOT the same as the above chart – here I have left all tiers to themselves, not including the champions in the playoffs portion.


One unintended bonus seen by taking data from ths season: none of the projected top three picks came from the Canadian leagues I looked at. This is good for my data because there is no way a poor playoff showing would've changed someone's opionin of, say, Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine. By containing a solid mix of players from the upper (but not top) tier of Round 1 through to Round 3, I believe my limited sample size is a fair representation for the topic at hand.


There is an obvious flaw in this study (other than only counting Canadian league results due my lack of knowledge of the European formats): and that is the fact that top players tend to be traded from bad ones to good ones at the trade deadline, so it makes sense that there are few players drafted from non-playoff teams. The takeaway from that note – if a player isn't good enough to be picked up at the deadline, their draft day expectations can certainly drop. It should also be noted that not all teams have an equal number of draft-eligible players. This obviously affects the data on a team-to-team basis, but this error is dimished as the tiers grow larger, and luckily was not a factor for the champion team who hd plenty of draft offerings.



As always, thank you for reading and best of luck in your summer drafts!

Hayden Soboleski






Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Timur Mukhanov 8.0 7.0
Alexander Pashin 7.0 2.5
Felix Unger Sörum 7.5 8.5
Charles-Alexis Legault 4 6.5
Alexander Pelevin 3 2
Tyler Tucker 5.0 6.0
Matt Kessel 4.0 7.5
Aatu Räty 8.0 7.0
Jackson Blake 6.0 6.0
Ryan Ufko 7.0 6.0