For my last and final NHL Entry Draft post I take a look at Place of Birth for draftees to evaluate any trends.
Obviously, Canadians dominate the draft (and the league) but what is interesting is that they haven’t seen growth as a % since the reductions in Russian and Czechoslovakia draftees.
Let’s first look at the draft history by Country of Birth. I’ve highlighted the “pipeline counties” to make it more readable and showcase the story. Since 2001 we have seen reductions in Russian and Czechoslovakia draft picks due to the rise of the KHL which provides an attractive option for Eastern Europeans. The reduction of RUS and CZE have created opportunities for Sweden & US.
Now on the surface it looks like Canada had moderate growth as well but when you go to the numbers the story changes a bit. Comparing 5 year periods you can see Canadian Gains have been modest where US and Sweden growth has been impressive. This is not to say that Canadian hockey is in danger or anything like that but what is interesting to see is that there is a lot of growth coming from Sweden and US. I should point out that I filtered on Rounds 1 – 7 because the NHL reduced the number rounds in 2005 so to show an accurate comparison, I did not use rounds 8 and 9 for years 2001-2004.
This is all well and great but I decided to look at who is playing in the NHL and we see a similar story. Gains for the US and Sweden while Canada is flat…but still represent over 50% of the league.