The other day I was at the local hockey bar talking with a buddy about the upcoming draft. The discussion centered around this year's draft class and the words "depth", "skill" and "potential" were getting tossed around at rather dangerous levels. While it's fun to talk about how good this class could be, my mind started drifting toward things we could actually quantify. I tend to do that.
Right away the draft from 2003 came to mind. Rightfully so, 2003 is the year that gave the NHL the next wave of super-stud talent. The first round alone had 16 players make at least one All-Star game. Names like E Staal, Vanek, Carter, Parise, Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, Richards, Seabrook, D Brown, Horton, Michalek, Suter, B Burns, Phaneuf.
Now that's a draft class where a GM really can't miss on a player. Well, unless you draft Nikolai Zherdev I suppose.
Curiosity got the best of me and my new obsession was to find a way to visualize how the different draft classes have performed. I started coding, web scraping and building visuals and after a couple of hours, I came up with this chart. Now while this visual satisfied my craving, it was thrown together really quickly and there are quite a few things to point out prior to you consuming.
- Goalies aren't going to be very high on here. Sorry goalies, your value will be measured some other way, but not here
- Defensive player abilities are unfairly represented on this. This chart looks at point production only. So the heavy shot from the point on a Power Play may bump you up, but that solid shut-down guy won't find glory in this
- This starts in the year 2000. I'm sure there were some amazing draft classes before then, but I had to start somewhere in the last 15 years, right?
- In the interest of time, I calculated "points per year since drafted" and not "points per year active in the NHL". I wish I had a better excuse for this, but it boils down to a lot more work to get to that level and I play for "Team Lazy".
- Using points per year unfairly penalizes a player that misses a significant number of games due to injury. Let's all subscribe to the fact that they live in a galaxy far, far away and move on.
- Hey look, Rick Nash is a pretty good player from his draft class. That Doug MacLean is a genius!