Thread: Speculation: Buffalo Trading up in the Draft
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04-12-2013, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Djp View Post
Who was it that compiled data on the past 1st round picks. I think he scored the picks as if he felt they were top6/top 4 players.

Originally Posted by Grind View Post
So i decided to break down the first round of the draft a little more indepthly. I've read a number of studies on the average likelyhood of draft picks succeeding, but i found the studies to either be too broad (using "averaged" probability for entire rounds, or considering 3rd liners/bottom pairing D's "successful") or too narrow (looking only for "elite" talent).

So to get a decent middle grounds I looked at the rate at which each pick in the first round developed into a top 6 or top 4 d man.

criteria for study:

10 years study (99-08 draft) I have excluded previous years due to changing nature of game and change of draft. I would like to revisit this and add more years, but i believe criteria will need to be adjusted for different "era's"

Forwards: Scored at 45 pts/82gp rate in 2 or more season, with at least 35 games played in each season or 1 season if it was last year.

defensemen: ETOI/per game of 19 minutes + in at least 2 or more seasons, with at least 35 games played, or one season if it was last year.

draft table. A 1 designates success where a 0 designates failure (Failure does not mean total bust, just did not meet the criteria laid out).

YEAR123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930TOTALAvg % success

Totals (success count in players and probability)

Total successful players out of 1091087865343465421423553442423304.3
Avg percent chance of success90100807080605030403040605040201040203050503040402040203030043

Probability by 5 pick "blocks"

BlockAvg % 
1 to 584 
6 to 1042 
11 to 1542 
16 to 2030 
21 to 2536 
26 to 3024 

The Low down

Average success in the first round: 42.3%
Average success outside of the top 5: 34.8%
Average success in the bottom 15: 30%
Average amount of players per year: 12

highest rate of success: pick # 2: 100% success rate
Highest rate of success outside of top 5: 6,7,12,13,20,21

top 5: 84% 1st over all 90% #2: 100%, #3: 80%, #4: 70%, #5: 80%. - Obviously the most successful block of 5. Nothing outlandish here. Your top 3 picks are pretty much the only spots your gauraunteed a top 6 player.

6-10: 42% 6: 60%, 7: 50%, 8: 30%, 9: 40%, 10: 30% -As found initially, a very sharp drop off from this and the last category. A pick in the 8, 9, 10 range really is not worth the value it seems to hold.

11-15: 42%11: 40%, 12: 60%, 13: 50%, 14: 40%, 15: 20%-Interesting to noe that outside the top 7, picks 12 and 13 are the best bang for your buck both with suprisingly higher success rates then a number of picks in front of them. If not for the poor success rate of pick # 15, this block would be better then the block before it.

16-20: 30%16: 10%, 17:40%, 18: 20%, 19: 30%, 20: 50% - An interesting block in that it is worse then both the block before it and after it, with it's strongest pick being it's last at number 20. The anomaly of how poorly pick # 16 performs is interesting to note.

21-25: 36% 21: 50%, 22: 30%, 23: 40%, 24: 40%, 25: 20% - Surpising...4 of the 5 picks in this block have the same statistical returns as those in the 6-10 block. Pick 21 is interesting to say the least. That top 10 sure isn't looking that swell anymore...

26-30: 24% 26: 40%, 27: 20%, 28:30%, 29: 30%, 30: 0% - Value sure can still be found for the cup contenders in the tail end of the draft, unfortunately just not for the cup winner. Over the 10 drafts examined not a single 30th overall pick became an impact player.

to sum it up, Whats it All Mean?

We can draw a number of conclusions based off this though its hardly concrete (a much bigger sample size would be ideal).

Conclusion number 1: 1st round picks are overrated

It's true, especially here on HFBoards where the 1st round pick is worth it's weight in gold. In the offseason, when nothings been determined for the following year, that pick has only a 43% chance of being anything more then 3rd pairing or 3rd line grinder. A good third liner that's not on the wrong side of 30 should be considered a decent return for 1st round pick from a top 15(standings) team. As shown above, outside of the top 5 thats a less then 35% chance of being more then a third liner, and a 305 chance in the bottom 15.

Conclusion Number 2: Trading up is a bad idea

Given the cost often associated with trading up, GM's are certainly almost always better off sitting tight. In fact, it can be argued that if your sitting just inside the top 10 (8th-10th) you should be burning up the phone lines trying to find that gm with the 2 first rounders in the bottom 13 for you. Even in the final 5, if your not sitting 30th, it hardly seems worth moving any additional assets for 10% increase in probability of landing something meaningful. On the flipside, the Stanley cup champ should always move his first rounder.

Of course, GM's will always trust their scouts and trade to get "their guy" but in a non-specific situation, it doesn't seem worth it.

Conclusion Number 3: Go Easy on Your Prospects

It definitely seems that the idea is every first round pick is almost guaranteed to be a top 6 player, and has a good shot at being a "first liner"- that is simply not the case. The average success rate of becoming a top 6, through the whole draft EDIT: First Round, is only 42%.

Outside of the top 5, it drops to 34.8%.

so outside of the top 5, you less then a 35% chance of drafting a top 6 or top 4 player, meaning the vast majority of your coveted first round prospects or those even given the title of "blue chipper" are quite far from a sure bet.

Final thoughts:

Hopefully this helps highlight a more accurate and realistic sense of worth for First round picks. Correcting for the high success rate in the top 5 is integral to not only properly understanding the likelihood of your prospect developing, but understanding what really is "a good deal". This is be no means a completed study as a much larger sample size would be ideal, but I think it does do a good job of adding a little perspective to the much ballyhoo'd First Day of the Draft.

Comments/Criticisms Encouraged. If any more advanced statheads would like to work on doing something similar with "better" criteria, i'd be all for that.

EDIT: Below is a reposting of the more indepth look by DaveG on Page two. See his post for the attached data.

so breaking it down farther:

top 5:
8 of 44 forwards didn't pan out (.181)
5 of 21 dmen didn't pan out (.238)
all 5 goalies panned out... shockingly. People can argue semantics with DP, but he was a starter for the Isles for a while and a pretty solid one at that.
overall 13 of 70 picks in that span were busts (.186)

6 through 10:
here it starts to get dicey
20 of 46 forwards didn't pan out (.465)
9 of 18 dmen didn't pan out (.500)
all 6 goalies did not pan out
overall, selecting in this zone over the 1994-07 time frame meant batting .500

11 through 15:
24 of 46 forwards selected didn't pan out (.522)
7 of 18 dmen selected didn't pan out (.389)
3 of 6 goalies selected didn't pan out (.500)
34 of 70 picks in this range over that time didn't pan out (.486)
#15 overall pick was particularly a death sentence spot, as only 2 weren't complete misses and one of those two was Radulov.

16 through 20:
34 of 46 forwards didn't pan out (.739)
8 of 21 dmen didn't pan out (.381)
2 of 3 goalies didn't pan out (.667)
44 of 70 players selected in this range did not pan out (.629) basically leaving teams slightly better then 1 in 3 chance of selecting a solid contributor to their team here.

21 through 25:
17 of 37 forwards didn't pan out (.459)
14 of 23 dmen didn't pan out (.609)
5 of 10 goalies didn't pan out (.500)
36 of 70 picks in this draft range didn't pan out (.514), though the question is why it's so much better then the 16-20 zone. Great place to pick a goalie if you're taking one in the first round.

26 through 30:
20 of 30 forwards didn't pan out (.667)
22 of 32 dmen didn't pan out (.688)
5 of 8 goalies didn't pan out (.625)
overall 47 of 70 (.671) selected in this range did not pan out.
#30 is the only draft position worse then #15, with all but 1 being a total bust, and that one (Daron Quint) wasn't a star by any stretch.

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