Coming from the much too early department, I introduce the Connor McDavid tracker!
As we watch prospect camps and tournaments from around the league, it’s important to realize that we won’t see a lot of the 2015 Draft picks for a couple years. In fact, since the 2005 draft, only 14% of 1st rounders play more than 20 games the following year.
Earlier this week one of my earlier posts got a lot of love. The feedback I received was great but a lot of people asked about Goalies since they were not included in the original set of analysis. Well here you go…..
Keep in mind this is players drafted only between 1997 and 2010. Although game stats are include from 1998 to the end of the 2013-2014 season. I only had draft data back to 1997 and it did not seem right to include kids that were drafted in the last few years as only a few of them are starting to break in to the NHL.
Drafting goalies seems tough but there is also a reality that there are very few jobs to be had in the NHL.
Here is the draft success by team:
- The Flyers have drafted the most goalies from 1997 to 2010 with 20 different goalies drafted. Antero Niittymaki and Roman Cechmanek were the only goalies to play in the NHL
- Cory Schneider was the only goalie drafted by Vancouver that played in the NHL…that’s one game or more.
- Islanders had the best success with drafting goalies although it was only two goalies that make up most of the average: DiPietro and Luongo.
- Bargain hunters: Ottawa and Montreal drafted the only 9th round goalies to play more than 20 games in the NHL: Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. (Side note, the NHL Entry draft only goes 7 rounds now).
NHL Entry Draft: check.
Here are my quick thoughts on the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Country of Birth
As always, North American Major Junior Hockey dominates the field, particularly the OHL. As you will see in the graph, the OHL is right around their average & had 10 picks in the first round. The WHL also held serve with the 2nd most picks in the draft and 9 out of the first round. The QMJHL only had 17 picks which is the lowest number of players drafted in the last 10 years. It should be pointed out that the WHL has 22 teams where the OHL and QMJHL have 20 and 18 respectively.
The bigger story is the rise of the USHL. They had an all time high of 30 players drafted (with only 16 teams). The USHL is becoming a force but it might be a couple more years before we see how this translates to the NHL.
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.
It should be no surprise to anyone that Major Junior amateur leagues dominate the NHL Entry Draft but there are some other nuggets of information that might not be that obvious.
The below chart shows that OHL, WHL and QMJHL dominate the league compared to other leagues but when you look at the second chart in blue, it showcases a couple interesting stories: 1) The QMJHL under-performs compared to OHL and WHL. 2) On average, players drafted from the CCHA and WCHA do extremely well. (CCHA and WCHA have gone through some realignment over the last few years and can just be considered US Men’s Div 1 College Hockey)