Criticizing a general manager for not getting a high enough draft pick when dealing an NHLer is all too common. And debating whether player A is worth a 1 or a 2 makes for great Monday morning quaterbacking. The question always on my mind is, how do we know how much more valuable a 2 is then a 3, or a 4 is then a 5 or even a 4 is then a 7.
In order to answer this question, I compiled the total number of games played for every player drafted in rounds 1-7 from the 2000 through 2003 drafts. I started with 2000 as that is when the league expanded to 30 teams and cut if off at 2003 in order to give each player enough opportunity to work their way into the NHL. I normalized the data across the years by making games played a percentage of possible games played. So any player drafted in the 2000 season would have had an opportunity to play 10 seasons of 82 games (minus the 30 yet to played this year), a player drafted in 2001 nine seasons and so on.
I also broke the rounds up into thirds to provide context within the rounds themselves, as it is reasonable to assume where an acquired draft pick will be within each round. Just a note, the last third of each round has more total number of picks as it also contains the compensatory picks. If anyone has a better idea of how to incorporate that data pass it along.
The most obvious conclusion is that 4th rounders are no more valuable then 7th rounders in terms of extracting NHL talent from the draft. And more often times than not, when a specific tier of a round has an outlier percentage of games played it is usually because of just one drafted player becoming a bonafide NHLer.
Two last notes: 1) It is really painful going back through the drafts of those years and seeing the players the Islanders passed over. And 2) In no way do I believe this to be a fool proof evaluation method, just something to move the conversation forward and contextualize draft pick compensation. I'm really interested to see what everyone here has to say about the data and if we can find ways to make it more revealing.
On to the Data:
|Round||GP 2000 Picks||Pick Numbers||% of Games Played||GP 2001 Picks||Pick Numbers||% of Games Played||GP 2002 Picks||Pick Numbers||% of Games Played||GP 2003 Picks||Pick Numbers||% of Games Played||Avg % of GP by Round||Avg % of GP Within Each Round|