A couple of months ago I gave a semi-serious semi-tounge in cheek observation of Poile's drafting record, (Funny thing is the tounge in cheek observation of Poile loves the name "Ryan" came to fruition with the drafting of Ryan Ellis), on the NP.com boards. One of the observations I provided was that Poile tends to over draft in one position in a draft. After looking over the Hockey's News' analysis of the percentage of success for picks in specific draft rounds it got me to thinking again. THN stated that the first round is as close to a lock in finding NHLers and the odds drop down to 30% in the second round.
For a financially strapped team, those odds are important and explain Poile's draft record. In the first round Poile's drafting is very predictable. Even years: forward. Odd years: defense. This is important if you are depending on the youth of your 1st rounders to fill out your NHL roster with young cheap talent. And because of that you can't isolate one part of your roster by just drafting one specific position. If you can fill your top positions with cheap, talented youth, you don't have to spend as much on expensive UFA's. As we all know. UFA's get a hell of a lot of money they usually don't deserve. Where as RFA's sign for relatively cheap. Look at Tootoo and Goc's recent contracts. Tootoo, I believe, got a lot more than he deserves because he was going to his UFA period. Goc signed for a heck of a lot less than he deserved because he was still in his RFA period and the Preds had all the leverage. Even when your top talent get to UFA status you can trade them for picks and continue the cycle.
That's where my second observation comes in. Poile overdrafts at one position with the lower picks. With odds dropping exponetially with the lower picks it's better to over draft a position because the odds will fall into line with what you need. Let's take a look at Poile's record from 2002-2009:
2002: 1st rounder: F Later rounds: 2 forwards, 2 defensemen/Goalies
2003: 1st rounder: D Later rounds: 4 forwards, 8 defensemen/Goalies
2004: 1st rounder: F Later rounds: 4 forwards, 6 defensemen/Goalies
2005: 1st rounder: D Later rounds: 3 forwards, 3 defensemen/Goalies
2006: 1st rounder: N/A Later rounds: 4 forwards, 1 defensemen/Goalies
2007: 1st rounder: D Later rounds: 5 forwards, 3 defensemen/Goalies
2008: 1st rounder: F Later rounds: 3 forwards, 4 defensemen/goalies
2009: 1st rounder: D Later rounds: 7 forwards, 2 defensemen/goalies
In the earlier rounds, Poile was still trying to build up an expansion team but when his system and team have solidified his drafting becomes more rythmic. Draft one position in the first round, overdraft the other position in the later rounds. 2009: 1st round d-man, 7 forwards, 2008: 1st round forward, 4 defensemen and goalies. 2007: D-man, 5 forwards.
At first, I thought Poile had OCD but it's hedging. Like a stock broker buying some stock in an opposing company or industry to hedge another investment, Poile is solidifying his base making sure at least one forward and one defensive player are, statistically, going to be coming from each draft. If you look at Poile's drafting mathamatically, it makes sense.
It may be ramblings but I just had to write this down so I can see if this makes sense on paper.
Last edited by BigFatCat999: 02-08-2010 at 10:11 AM.
Good post bigfatcat. Makes sense. I would imagine he takes it even further and puts some sort of probability numbers on every player too, on several aspects, and depending on who he gets he can adjust his later picks.
He has not been shy to say that this franchise must live on draft picks for cost reasons. Although he says picks are our "bread and butter" and I am always wishing we could eat steak with the higher picks a bit more often. At least on Saturdays.
I often browse football quant/stat strategy forums and often figure odds numbers in my head for plays I see in football. But I've rarely thought about what sort of strategies the gm's use in the drafts depending on their situation. One reason I was going to join a fantasy league this year. I ended up not but maybe next year.
I liked your hedging analogy. Diversifying brings higher returns for similar risk, so it would seem to be a good example. Maybe someone should remind him though that you get about 85% of the mathematical benefit of diversification with relatively small numbers. I think in portfolios it's like 6-8 stocks or something.
It also becomes interesting when it comes to trading picks. If what SLake says is right with last year's draft being a home run, then Poile might be more prone to trade a 1st or a 2nd to get players. In 2003, he drafted a whole boatload of defensemen and they came to roost. In 2009, Poile drafted a whole boatload of forwards.
Next year is a forward draft with an overload of defensemen. I could see Poile move the first because the forwards depth is much better.