Coming from the much too early department, I introduce the Connor McDavid tracker!
TSN posted an article yesterday on the fact that Canadians do not make up the majority of NHL players. I’ve been following this trend for a while and thought it might be a fun time to put an interactive visual together to drill into some of the specifics. Enjoy!
As the playoff races hit the home stretch, I looked into the frequency of 3 point games by month to evaluate if teams are playing conservatively in a tie game to preserve the one point on getting into OT.
There is a lot of room for some other analysis but thought I would share some of the preliminary data and some other findings.
And since I have it, here is the % of 3 point games by Season.
NHL attendance continues to be strong in spite of big drops in Carolina and Florida. 2014-15 is on track to be the highest gate attendance ever (2012-13 was a lockout shortened season). Outdoor games were excluded from figures below.
Carolina and Florida
No really changes from last month as the NHL continues strong attendance numbers in spite of steep drop-offs in Florida and Carolina. This is the first month we have seen 2012-2013 numbers. As you might recall, the season did not start until mid-January. The spike was related to pent up demand and opening night sellouts inflating the January average. The NHL’s attendance numbers are extraordinary when you realize that roughly have the league sells out every game.
By team, no real change over last month. Dallas overtook Columbus as the top gainer over last year.
Carolina’s drop was expected based on cutting promotions before the Season started.
It is also hard to blame fans in Carolina right now as the Hurricanes have the longest playoff drought of US teams. I know everyone thinks that teams should support their teams in winning and losing seasons but outside Canada, that doesn’t happen too often.
In spite of steep drop-offs in Carolina and Florida, the NHL Reported Attendance through December is up slightly. Columbus and Dallas are leading the growth with double digit growth in the same period last year.
The Blue Jackets growth over last year is probably most attributable to their exciting playoff series last year where they won their first ever playoff game against the Pittsburgh. If you remember, they started the season very poorly and it wasn’t until the last 15 games that they’ve been playing great hockey. I expect this growth to cool off a bit due to their strong attendance the second half of last season.
As reported before the season, the new ownership group of the Panthers are turning the business around by reducing the amount of promotions and giveaways. December attendance was aided by favorable match-ups with Pittsburgh, Montreal and the Rangers but they are improving the product on the ice as well. If the winning sustains, expect them to get to 2013-14 levels and they will be doing it without the heavy promotions.
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.