Finding the Best NHL Draft Rankings
“Ranking the Rankers” is a 7-piece series that quantifies past NHL draft rankings from various prognosticators based on player performance to date.
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Team Scouts & GMs
- Part 4: Corey Pronman (ESPN Insider)
- Part 5: International Scouting Services (ISS Hockey)
- Part 6: Craig Button (TSN)
- Part 7: Conclusion
Part 3: Bob McKenzie (TSN)
Your favourite hockey team just drafted a teenager. He, presumably, is good at hockey. How can you be sure? Because this set of draft rankings from [insert writer / scout / website here] says so.
This series attempts to determine which set of draft rankings is best at predicting future NHL success (and which one you should hope your team follows on draft day).
Next up, likely the most respected voice in hockey, The Hockey Godfather himself: TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Check out Part 1 for a detailed summary of:
- How player performance is measured (career Point Shares/60 minutes of TOI)
- How draft rankings are gathered (first round only for 2010-2013)
- How scout performance is measured (absolute difference between draft ranking and that player’s career PS/60 rank among their draft class peers)
- Limitations (Point Shares and TOI sample size)
Bob McKenzie’s lists are based on the consensus opinion of a group of scouts that he trusts most.
How to Interpret the Following Charts
Think of “PS/60 Rank” (read: career Point Shares/60 minutes of playing time rank) as how well the player has performed so far compared to his draft class peers. If the bar is small, they have performed relatively well. If it is large, they have performed relatively poor.
Think of “Absolute Difference” as that draft rank being a “hit” or a “miss”. If the absolute difference bar is small, that’s a hit. If it’s large, a miss.
The smaller the total absolute difference for each year, the better that set of draft rankings performed. By comparing each prognosticator’s average performance from 2010-2013 (see Part 7: Conclusion when released), we get an idea of whose NHL draft rankings are best at predicting future NHL success.
Toggle the buttons to switch chart views.
- Other than the obvious Tyler Seguin pick, Jeff Skinner and Nick Bjugstad are hits for McKenzie here. Seguin is second to Vladimir Tarasenko, not Taylor Hall, in PS/60 Rank.
- As in Part 2, Erik Gudbranson and Jack Campbell are notable misses. McKenzie had Campbell at 9. He dropped to 11. Drafting defensemen and goalies early is risky.
- Brandon Gormley near 4, though a miss, was not uncommon. All four sources except the actual draft order had the defenseman in the 3-5 range. His drop to 13 appears warranted.
- John Klingberg, Brendan Gallagher, and Mark Stone (none in the top-30 for any of the sources) are top-10 players on the PS/60 Rank leaderboard for the 2010 NHL Draft.
- Dougie Hamilton at 6 is McKenzie’s biggest hit in 2011.
- Gabriel Landeskog at 4 is a nice hit as well, despite his less-than-stellar OHL stats. Others had him lower.
- Though not a headline-grabbing hit, Sven Baertschi as a mid-first-rounder was appropriate. Others had him going earlier.
- Duncan Siemens, Tyler Biggs, and Mark McNeill are big misses that most of the other sources failed to avoid as well.
- Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau, and Ondrej Palat lead the PS/60 Ranks for the 2011 draft class.
- Bob McKenzie wins the 2012 draft with the lowest “Total Absolute Value” score. Multiple single-digit hits are present, with only one miss in the 40s.
- Filip Forsberg and Alex Galchenyuk are home runs here for McKenzie. The Nashville and Washington picks were correctly identified as first-line centres.
- Matt Dumba and Olli Maatta are big hits as well, despite the trickiness of drafting defensemen early.
- Everyone missed on Nail Yakupov.
- One source managed to avoid Griffin Reinhart early, but it was not McKenzie’s scouts. You’re gonna have a bad time drafting slow-ish defensemen early.
- Calder Trophy nominee Shayne Gostisbehere, the underutilized Andreas Athanasiou, and fancy stat darling Colton Parayko top the PS/60 Ranks for the 2012 NHL Draft.
- Nothing shocking here yet, likely because 2013 is where TOI sample size limitations become apparent.
- Sean Monahan and Max Domi look like hits early.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand and Shea Theodore, who lead the PS/60 ranks for this draft crop right now, look like misses for McKenzie’s scouts.
Notice that draft miss scores decrease as we progress to more recent draft years. I suspect this occurs because later-round picks tend to get their chance to establish themselves later than first-round picks. Top-30 talents that don’t live up to the hype then drop in the PS/60 rankings as they are outperformed by the draft steals.
Part 7 puts the draft miss scores in context so we can compare the talent-identifying abilities of Bob McKenzie’s scouts to those of team scouts and general managers, Corey Pronman, ISS Hockey, and Craig Button.
Links to each “Ranking the Rankers” piece will be hyperlinked below when complete.