Grading the Draft

Every so often, Scott Cullen at TSN comes up with a gem, and today he wrote a great article explaining the value of draft picks and just how little that value really is. He makes some interesting conclusions:

  • There is not much difference between picking in the middle of the fourth round and the eighth or anywhere in between.
  • First round picks are the only ones likely to make it to the NHL (though he does mention they get more opportunity, I think he undervalues this).
  • The drafts in 1995 and 1998 offered the best return
After breezing through the article, I have come up with some of my own thoughts regarding this:
  • Of the players who do turn out in the later rounds a majority appear to be defenceman. It is generally regarded that they take longer to reach potential and peak in later years which is probably a likely explanation.
  • The top 5 is generally a safe bet but picking in the 20's has provided some solid results. It would be interesting to learn about scouting department's philosophies depending on the spot their picking from. I think this plays a role in why 6-10 shows a decline.
  • You have to think that the 2003 draft will provide outstanding results and probably out do the 95 and 98 drafts. They have been given 14 and 11 years to yield where as the 03 draft only 6. Late blooming NHLers still have time to gain traction from the 03 draft.
  • Don't draft goalies with your high picks!
So the article provides solid evidence that draft picks can be over valued by some, specifically outside the 2nd round. Basically the draft is a crap shoot outside the top 5 picks, and some teams spend money to improve drafting, but all your doing is improving your odds. They're still bad odds.

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