Thread: Prospect Info: The 2013 NHL Entry Draft
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03-08-2013, 01:08 PM
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I decided to take an in depth look at whether or not it was wise to take a Dman early. Because there are always good players taken later in the draft, and I wanted to eliminate the influence of hindsight, I thought a reasonable starting point was to look at 3 factors - who was the first dman taken in the draft, who was the next forward taken, and who was the next dman taken.

1st Defenseman chosen by Draft Year
Year - Player (Next forward taken) (Next defenseman taken)
2011: #4 Adam Larsson (#5 Ryan Strome) (#9 Dougie Hamilton)
2010: #3 Erik Gudbranson (#4 Ryan Johansen) (#12 Cam Fowler)
2009: #2 Victor Hedman (#3 Matt Duchene) (#6 OEL)
2008: #2 Drew Doughty (#6 Nikita Filatov) (#3 Zach Bogosian)
2007: #4 Thomas Hickey (#6 Sam Gagner) (#5 Karl Alzner)
2006: #1 EJ (#2 Jordan Staal) (#16 Ty Wishart)
2005: #3 Jack Johnson (#4 Benoit Pouliout) (#9 Brian Lee)
2004: #3 Cam Barker (#4 Andrew Ladd) (#9 Ladislav Smid)
2003: #7 Ryan Suter (#Andrei Kostitsyn) (#8 Brayden Coburn)
2002: #3 Jay Bouwmeester (#6 Scottie Upshall) (#4 Joni Pitkanen)
2001: #7 Mike Komisarek (#9 Tuomo Ruutu) (#12 Dan Hamuis)
2000: #4 Rostislav Klesla (#5 Raffi Torres) (#7 Lars Jonsson)

  • Dmen are taken in the top 5 9/11 years
  • Dmen are taken in the top 3 7/11 years
  • The next forward taken is only definitevely better than the dman 4/11 times
  • The next dman taken is better 6/11 times but only once are they subsequent picks (Hickey&Alzner)

Therefore dmen are taken high quite regularly and are more often than not (7/11) better than the next forward taken. That number probably isn't statistically significant.

Next, since players taken in a given spot are generally quite close in ranking to those around them, yet only the players taken after are options, I thought to look at how often a better player was missed in the next 3 picks. I decided arbitrarily that if 3 more teams passed on a better player, that hindsight is 20/20 but that player couldn't have been considered a better pick at the time.

Better Players Taken Within 3 Picks
2011: Too soon to say, possibly none (picks were Strome, Zibanejad, Schiefle)
2010: Too soon to say, possibly none (picks were Johansen, Neiderreiter, Connoly)
2009: Duchene, E. Kane (too soon for Brayden Schenn)
2008: (Pietrangelo?)
2007: Alzner, Gagner, Voracek
2006: Toews, Backstrom
2005: Price
2004: Ladd, Wheeler
2003: None
2002: None
2001: Ruutu
2000: Hartnell

  • A pick is arbitrarily defined as a failure for this purpose if more than 1/3 of the subsequent picks were better. If 1/3 or 0/3 were better, the pick is defined as a success even if the player taken is meh (Komisarek, Klesla)
  • 4/9 picks were failures
  • Too soon to say for 2010/2011 but there's a good chance that Larsson and Gudbranson end up being defined as successful picks (potentially making it 4/11 successes)

In conclusion, Dmen tend to be pretty safe picks where they're taken, and better players are taken with the subsequent 3 picks less often than I had previously expected before looking at the results. However, you have to keep in mind that many of these dmen are compared to forwards taken ahead of them. It's quite possible that teams don't take dmen until they reach a threshold where the talent dropoff after that player is more clear, making these numbers look more favorable than they should be.

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