NHL Entry Draft: check.
Free Agent Frenzy: check.
What’s next while I count down the days until opening night?
I started to notice a surprising amount of undrafted players in the playoffs. Tyler Johnson, Mats Zuccarello, Dan Girardi and of course the poster children of the undrafted: Dan Boyle & Martin St. Louis all came to mind. I was not sure if this was a new phenomenon or consistent with the historical trends so decided to look into it.
As you can see, anyway you slice it, undrafted players are becoming more and more prevalent in the NHL.
Note that I included the Supplementary draft players. The Supplementary Draft was discontinued in 1995 as part of the collective bargaining agreement. One would argue that the elimination of the supplementary draft, sweetens the undrafted market but as you can tell, even if you include them, it doesn’t account for the increase in undrafted players in the NHL.
As a bonus graph, I wanted to check if the Gladwell effect was in play for undrafted players. In one of my draft posts, I looked into the birth month of the 2014 NHL Drafted Players. As Malcom Gladwell wrote in Outliers, there is a disproportionate # of NHL players that are born in the first quarter of the calendar year vs. the last quarter. My theory with the undrafted is that the same bias that exists in the Entry draft, does not exist since the skaters have a chance to mature vs. getting compared to players that could be 9 months older than them.
This is not scientific but it does imply that NHL teams might be a little biased to birthdays when evaluating talent for the draft.
FYI: There is 98 days until opening night…but who is counting?