Monday, 26 May 2014

NHL Entry Draft - Drafting Goalies in the Late Rounds

With the NHL Entry Draft right around the corner its always great to speculate and ponder the upcoming prospects. I've recently stumbled upon two draft related posts that got me interested in thinking about how we evaluate these up and comers (check out this awesome post that pits the Vancouver Canucks scouting department versus a potato and this post that looks at the high success of offensive defencemen).

I am slowly growing my database of NHL Draft data (if someone reading this has their own database of prospect stats and wouldn't mind sharing, please contact me). I decided to look at goalies selections in the NHL draft, mostly because I haven't seen much done on the subject.

Below is a chart I created of goalies drafted between 1997 and 2006 (I chose this time frame in hopes to keep the sample relatively modern while still giving them ample time to crack an NHL roster).

I define success as the goalie having played at least 100 NHL games as of the end of the 2014 season. The tier's section sorts the goalies by what round they were drafted:
  • Top - Rounds 1-3
  • Middle - Rounds 4-6 (pre-lockout) Rounds 4-5 (post-lockout)
  • Bottom - Rounds 7-9 (pre-lockout) Rounds 6-7 (post-lockout)

I highlighted the most striking observation in that chart. (Sorry if the formatting is confusing).

TierLeaguePlayersSuccessBustsSuccess Rate
Not CHL41132831.71%
Not CHL555509.09%
Not CHL6195214.75%

No goalie who played their draft eligible season in the CHL (OHL, WHL, QMJHL) between 1997 and 2006 and was drafted in the later rounds of the draft has ever managed to play 100 NHL games.

The 2 Non-CHL goalies were Brian Elliott (Ajax-OPJHL) and Scott Clemmensen (Des Moines).

The other 7 were all Europeans: Henrik Lundqvist, Pasi Nurminen, Cristobal Huet, Martin Gerber, Fredrik Norrena, Jaroslav Halak, Pekka Rinne.

Why is this the case? I really don't know. Maybe all of the CHL prospects are so highly scouted and scrutinized it's harder to steal a future contributor in the later rounds. If I am running a draft table however, I am definitely leaning towards taking a European goalie with those late round picks. 

If you have any theories let me know, I will be looking into more NHL draft material in the upcoming weeks.

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