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Odds of NHL success by height - UPDATED WITH SECOND ROUNDERS TOO

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Old
07-08-2011, 05:23 AM
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Beacon
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Odds of NHL success by height - UPDATED WITH SECOND ROUNDERS TOO

I did a statistical analysis of draftees by height.

TIME FRAME: From our Cup in 1994 and until 2002. For prospects drafted very recently, we can't really judge them fully yet because some are late bloomers and others fade away quickly.

CLASSIFICATION: I divided players into three types: short (5'10 or below), average height (5'11 to 6'2) and tall (6'3+). This is relatively subjective, but I had to draw a line somewhere.

METHODOLOGY: I only looked at players who scored over 0.5 points per game over 400 NHL games. We all agreed in another thread that a second liner or even a tweener must score at least 40 points per season, and I would assume it's fair to expect that a true second liner would stay in the league at least 5 years. Anyone who failed to get 200 points over 400 games cannot legitimately be viewed as a consistent top-6 or even tweener.

I looked only at forwards because scoring is not as important to defensemen, especially defensive types.

EXCLUDED PLAYERS: I excluded the top 7 draft picks in every year. Top prospects are usually guys who have both size and skill. If you are drafting very early, you need not compromise. But what I was trying to determine is the success of second-level prospects, those in the first round, but not at the very top of the draft. You can make it top-5 or top-10 instead of top-7 without significantly changing the following results.

SOURCE: I looked at height as it is listed on hockeydb.

ADJUSTMENTS: It's possible that I made a mistake somewhere. Just let me know and don't get hysterical. It was not done on purpose. I didn't need to cheat, the results are pretty overwhelming and missing a player or two by accident won't change anything.


RESULTS:

- 8 players were drafted in the first round (after the top-7) who were 5'10 or below. Of those, 4 became top-6 forwards who scored above 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 50%

- 85 players who are average height were drafted and of those, 22 scored 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 25.9%

- 30 players taller than 6'3 were drafted and only 2 of them scored over 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 6.67%


CONCLUSION:

Players' height is significantly overestimated as an asset because it is easy to tell who is tall/short, but much more difficult to tell who is truly skilled and who is just dominating children in juniors who will never have even a minor league career.

While I didn't count the exact stats inch by inch, it was very clear that the odds of making the NHL went down with every inch of height. Thus, 6'2 was less likely to make it than 6'1 and 6'4 was less likely to make it than 6'3, and so on for every inch of height.

Truly talented big guys almost always get drafted in the top few picks. But after the top half a dozen or so picks, those who are 6'3 develop into top-6 forwards very, very rarely.

In fact, our new 4th liner Michael Rupp (#9 in 1998) is easily one of the most successful big guys drafted outside of the top few picks.


BIG GUYS WHO MADE IT:

One was Antropov, a Russian who went through their system where real skills are taught to everyone regardless of size. Nor was he ever seen as a power forward/goon. He was always more of a skill player who just happens to be big.

The other is Zubrus, who just barely made it with 0.503 points per game. He too was born in the Soviet Union. He too is not viewed as a goon.

None of the North American big guys, so beloved on this forum, who bulldoze over the opposition became anything close to top-6 forwards. None of them.

They become Mike Rupp and Mark Bell... or outright minor leaguers.

The lesson is that if you want a scorer, even a marginal scorer, unless you have a top pick, you either have to go small or European. On occasion, in a tremendous draft such as 2003, you might stumble upon a Getzlaf or a Perry, but even in a legendary draft like that, you were still as likely to stumble onto Jessiman, Boyle or Fehr as on those two.

So in a very, very strong draft, where a #20 is as good as a normal #6, it may make some sense to go for a big North American, but in most drafts, if you do, prepare for the guy to become a 4th liner.

=======================

I just did the math for second rounders using all the above standards.

- 6'3+ players: 41 were drafted in the second round and yet NONE scored 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 0%

- 5'11 to 6'2: 11 of 115 scored 0.5 points per game. (None were 6'2.) SUCCESS RATE: 9.6%

- 5'10 or below: 3 out of 7 scored over 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 42.9%.


The results would have been even more striking had I included players who were 6'2 and above since nobody at 6'2 scored 0.5 per game, and there were 25-30.

Also, combining first and second round midgets we get 7 out of 15 players scoring 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 46.67%

Maybe 15 players isn't definitive, but it can't be totally ignored. For big guys, when only 2 players out of 71 who were drafted in the first rounds become good scorers, the trend is clear.

To the degree that if you are lucky you can score a big guy who can score in the first round, it seems that the odds of doing that in the second round are almost non-existent. Talented big guys just don't last into the second round. This seems definitive based on about 70 second round draftees who were 6'2 or taller.


Last edited by Beacon: 07-08-2011 at 03:10 PM.
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Old
07-08-2011, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerEsq View Post
I did a statistical analysis of draftees by height....
Very interesting analysis. I'd love to see more data by height. We need to find another measuring stick besides PPG, especially for the 3rd and 4th liners.

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07-08-2011, 09:26 AM
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A sample size of 8 players is too way small to make any realistic judgment.

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07-08-2011, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by DubiSnacks17 View Post
A sample size of 8 players is too way small to make any realistic judgment.
This is true. Minimum of 12 needed for any statistics really.

I think you need to look through ~3 rounds and you also cannot discount the top 7 picks, because by the logic that they are bigger players it means you are biasing the results towards smaller players working out better.

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07-08-2011, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Poozer View Post
This is true. Minimum of 12 needed for any statistics really.

I think you need to look through ~3 rounds and you also cannot discount the top 7 picks, because by the logic that they are bigger players it means you are biasing the results towards smaller players working out better.
Exactly. It's basically saying "well the Top 7 guys mess up my theory a bit, so let me just not include that data"

And I'm a guy who defends smaller players a lot...

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07-08-2011, 10:01 AM
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I want to suggest that the heightened success rate of small players may be in part due to the fact that clubs will really only draft an undersized kid if he definitely has the "stuff" to make the NHL.

Ennis, Gerbe, ect had the "stuff"

Audy-Marshessault, Shinnimin all put up draft worthy numbers but were skipped because of size.

So i'd say the reason smaller players have a higher success rate as scoring forwards is

A. Teams are more conservative and

B. Smaller forwards for the most part are make or break top 6's. Very rarely is one drafted for the purpose of being a 3rd line player. also

C. A big guy doesnt need to score 40 points to be effective. See Rupp, Mike or Boyle, Brian.

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07-08-2011, 10:06 AM
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A couple of other points:

The fact that there were only 8 smaller players could also mean that a player's talent must be so far superior to all the others around them in order to even get picked at that size that the odds were skewed in their favor to succeed. So, in most cases, your 25% odds when picking an "average" player are actually more favorable - unless the one small guy remaining when your pick rolls around is clearly an order of magnitude better skill-wise than all the other players left on the board. (EDIT: this is pretty much the same as Fitzy's "stuff" argument.)

I understand your reasons for stopping at 2002, but by the same token, it is a different game post-lockout. While the results are therefore interesting, I doubt they correlate 1-to-1 to current drafts.

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07-08-2011, 10:13 AM
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According to NHL.com height breakdown for all forwards from last year based on height.

1 player 5-5
5 players 5-7
5 players 5-8
13 5-9
45 5-10
68 5-11
442 players 6 foot or taller

137 players under 6 foot, 442 players 6 foot or taller league wide who played in the NHL last year.

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07-08-2011, 10:55 AM
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I don't know how much this may tie in, but smaller players may feel the need to work harder due to the stipulation that it's much harder for them to break in to the NHL. A greater portion of bigger players may coast, if you will, due to the fact they can have roles on size alone without being legitimate scoring threats. As Fitzy pointed out.

I think the data could still be interesting if done on a larger sample size in the future. Especially if you did it post-lockout to a good number of years later, 20 or so.

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07-08-2011, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerEsq View Post
I did a statistical analysis of draftees by height.

TIME FRAME: From our Cup in 1994 and until 2002. For prospects drafted very recently, we can't really judge them fully yet because some are late bloomers and others fade away quickly.

CLASSIFICATION: I divided players into three types: short (5'10 or below), average height (5'11 to 6'2) and tall (6'3+). This is relatively subjective, but I had to draw a line somewhere.

METHODOLOGY: I only looked at players who scored over 0.5 points per game over 400 NHL games. We all agreed in another thread that a second liner or even a tweener must score at least 40 points per season, and I would assume it's fair to expect that a true second liner would stay in the league at least 5 years. Anyone who failed to get 200 points over 400 games cannot legitimately be viewed as a consistent top-6 or even tweener.

I looked only at forwards because scoring is not as important to defensemen, especially defensive types.

EXCLUDED PLAYERS: I excluded the top 7 draft picks in every year. Top prospects are usually guys who have both size and skill. If you are drafting very early, you need not compromise. But what I was trying to determine is the success of second-level prospects, those in the first round, but not at the very top of the draft. You can make it top-5 or top-10 instead of top-7 without significantly changing the following results.

SOURCE: I looked at height as it is listed on hockeydb.

ADJUSTMENTS: It's possible that I made a mistake somewhere. Just let me know and don't get hysterical. It was not done on purpose. I didn't need to cheat, the results are pretty overwhelming and missing a player or two by accident won't change anything.


RESULTS:

- 8 players were drafted in the first round (after the top-7) who were 5'10 or below. Of those, 4 became top-6 forwards who scored above 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 50%

- 85 players who are average height were drafted and of those, 22 scored 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 25.9%

- 30 players taller than 6'3 were drafted and only 2 of them scored over 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 6.67%


CONCLUSION:

Players' height is significantly overestimated as an asset because it is easy to tell who is tall/short, but much more difficult to tell who is truly skilled and who is just dominating children in juniors who will never have even a minor league career.

While I didn't count the exact stats inch by inch, it was very clear that the odds of making the NHL went down with every inch of height. Thus, 6'2 was less likely to make it than 6'1 and 6'4 was less likely to make it than 6'3, and so on for every inch of height.

Truly talented big guys almost always get drafted in the top few picks. But after the top half a dozen or so picks, those who are 6'3 develop into top-6 forwards very, very rarely.

In fact, our new 4th liner Michael Rupp (#9 in 1998) is easily one of the most successful big guys drafted outside of the top few picks.


BIG GUYS WHO MADE IT:

One was Antropov, a Russian who went through their system where real skills are taught to everyone regardless of size. Nor was he ever seen as a power forward/goon. He was always more of a skill player who just happens to be big.

The other is Zubrus, who just barely made it with 0.503 points per game. He too was born in the Soviet Union. He too is not viewed as a goon.

None of the North American big guys, so beloved on this forum, who bulldoze over the opposition became anything close to top-6 forwards. None of them.

They become Mike Rupp and Mark Bell... or outright minor leaguers.

The lesson is that if you want a scorer, even a marginal scorer, unless you have a top pick, you either have to go small or European. On occasion, in a tremendous draft such as 2003, you might stumble upon a Getzlaf or a Perry, but even in a legendary draft like that, you were still as likely to stumble onto Jessiman, Boyle or Fehr as on those two.

So in a very, very strong draft, where a #20 is as good as a normal #6, it may make some sense to go for a big North American, but in most drafts, if you do, prepare for the guy to become a 4th liner.
Guys with size speed and skill do not equal third/fourth line.

And guys who are undersized do not equal top line talent.

Your still sour about the Miller pick over Grimaldi.

Miller and Kreider will be top six NHL players. Plain and simple.

Miller's odds of being a top six player and star FAR outweigh Grimaldi's.

McColgan will probably never make it, though you believe he was the best pick in the draft.

Your analysis is a nice try and you definitely manipulated things to try to support your cause.

But its not reality.

What you are not acknowledging is that guys like Kreider and Miller not only have the skill of the smaller guys you love, but they also have the size, strength, grit to make it and contribute in a much larger role in the NHL.

Guys like McColgan drop to the 5th round because unless they're scoring at a high-rate, they're utterly useless at the NHL level.

And since its completely unrealistic to expect anyone to score or constantly be a threat every shift for 82+ games per year, the McColgans do not make it on a regular basis. That's the way it is.

Kreiders and Millers make it because they contribute in more then one way.

Its easy to fall in love with flashy highlight reel skill, but that's not how actual hockey is played. Rare occasions someone will wow us. Its just not practical application to the real world.

Kreider and Miller have real world physical tools that apply to Pro hockey.

McColgan does not. He has to rely 100% on his skill and pray that he scores a goal per game, or his presence is useless to an NHL club. And its rare for a player to get by on smarts.

Because a player is versatile doesnt make them 3rd and 4th line material. That's not how it works. Those guys play. One dimensional small guys do not unless they're scoring goals.

The St. Louis and Pat Kanes of the world are exceptions to the rule. Not the rule.

Beside anything else, you say that majority in the 5-11 - 6-2 range make it more then anyone. Clearly the 5-10 and under don't for a reason. Grimaldi is 5-6. McColgan is 5-8.

And typically guys that are in the Chara range can't skate.

There's a great line from "Youngblood": "thank God there's still a sport for middle sized white boy".

Middle size in the Pro game's case is around 6 foot. 5-11 - 6-3.

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Old
07-08-2011, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldStanley View Post
According to NHL.com height breakdown for all forwards from last year based on height.

1 player 5-5
5 players 5-7
5 players 5-8
13 5-9
45 5-10
68 5-11
442 players 6 foot or taller

137 players under 6 foot, 442 players 6 foot or taller league wide who played in the NHL last year.
Thanks.

Game, set, match.

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07-08-2011, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SupersonicMonkey View Post
Thanks.

Game, set, match.
Was not trying to win, but it does indicate that the average player in the NHL is 6 foot or over. It tells nothing of scoring or anything else, One would expect grinders and "tough" guys to be bigger players.

I am too lazy to try to compile more stats that actually show anything beside height. But if anyone is interested they can go to NHL.com show the stats, go to bios, then sort by height and whatnot.

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07-08-2011, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldStanley View Post
According to NHL.com height breakdown for all forwards from last year based on height.

1 player 5-5
5 players 5-7
5 players 5-8
13 5-9
45 5-10
68 5-11
442 players 6 foot or taller

137 players under 6 foot, 442 players 6 foot or taller league wide who played in the NHL last year.
This math is even more compelling if you don't make the arbitrary cut-off at 6'. If you do it at 5'11" or even 5'10" it becomes pretty clear that you have to be a VERY special player to make the league if you are more than just an inch or two below average.

If you are just an inch or two shy, you can get by, especially if you have a frame that can carry enough weight to make up for it. At 5'9" and under, it's REAL hard for any frame to carry enough weight to compete with guys who are 6'1"/6'2" and average weights, much less some of the trucks that you see in the league.

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Old
07-08-2011, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BrooklynRangersFan View Post
This math is even more compelling if you don't make the arbitrary cut-off at 6'.
I was too lazy to count beyond that. There are a lot of players 6 foot and over. Maybe some other day I can look at that and try to see if scoring figures into it as any small player would have to be a scorer as they probably would not be an enforcer or grinder.

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07-08-2011, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SupersonicMonkey View Post
Guys with size speed and skill do not equal third/fourth line.

And guys who are undersized do not equal top line talent.

Your still sour about the Miller pick over Grimaldi.

Miller and Kreider will be top six NHL players. Plain and simple.

Miller's odds of being a top six player and star FAR outweigh Grimaldi's.

McColgan will probably never make it, though you believe he was the best pick in the draft.

Your analysis is a nice try and you definitely manipulated things to try to support your cause.

But its not reality.

What you are not acknowledging is that guys like Kreider and Miller not only have the skill of the smaller guys you love, but they also have the size, strength, grit to make it and contribute in a much larger role in the NHL.

Guys like McColgan drop to the 5th round because unless they're scoring at a high-rate, they're utterly useless at the NHL level.

And since its completely unrealistic to expect anyone to score or constantly be a threat every shift for 82+ games per year, the McColgans do not make it on a regular basis. That's the way it is.

Kreiders and Millers make it because they contribute in more then one way.

Its easy to fall in love with flashy highlight reel skill, but that's not how actual hockey is played. Rare occasions someone will wow us. Its just not practical application to the real world.

Kreider and Miller have real world physical tools that apply to Pro hockey.

McColgan does not. He has to rely 100% on his skill and pray that he scores a goal per game, or his presence is useless to an NHL club. And its rare for a player to get by on smarts.

Because a player is versatile doesnt make them 3rd and 4th line material. That's not how it works. Those guys play. One dimensional small guys do not unless they're scoring goals.

The St. Louis and Pat Kanes of the world are exceptions to the rule. Not the rule.

Beside anything else, you say that majority in the 5-11 - 6-2 range make it more then anyone. Clearly the 5-10 and under don't for a reason. Grimaldi is 5-6. McColgan is 5-8.

And typically guys that are in the Chara range can't skate.

There's a great line from "Youngblood": "thank God there's still a sport for middle sized white boy".

Middle size in the Pro game's case is around 6 foot. 5-11 - 6-3.
It's great that you are so supportive of Kreider and Miller, but neither one of them has played an NHL game so you can't make definitive statements like "these two will succeed while Grimaldi and McColgan fail miserably and run home crying to their mothers"

Your idea that you have to have this perfect balance of grit and physical skill to make it is ridiculous. You have to be a good hockey player and that's about it.

You also lament over these guys with the "real world physical tools that apply to Pro hockey." Which is pretty much just something you made up. It also defines 3rd line grinders which we have a plethora of.

Oh and I'm not short either so I'm not being defensive, mostly just tired of the same old diatribe from you.


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Thanks.

Game, set, match.
Not to mention your obsession with trying to seem like the smartest poster around, it's not a competition guy relax.

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07-08-2011, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ailurophile View Post
I don't know how much this may tie in, but smaller players may feel the need to work harder due to the stipulation that it's much harder for them to break in to the NHL. A greater portion of bigger players may coast, if you will, due to the fact they can have roles on size alone without being legitimate scoring threats. As Fitzy pointed out.

I think the data could still be interesting if done on a larger sample size in the future. Especially if you did it post-lockout to a good number of years later, 20 or so.
The first part is nothing but added narrative, especially the part about bigger players coasting b/c they know they can have non-top 6 roles. (??????)

However, i think BrooklynRangerFan's post was spot on. The pool of smaller players that do get through may have a higher % chance of "making it" since they had to be that much more proven to get to that spot in the first place.

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07-08-2011, 01:35 PM
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Interesting and informative post, but I don't think this data supports the conclusion that drafting small or European is the best bet in today's NHL.

The fact that only 8 players drafted in this timeframe were 5'10 or under is telling in and of itself. Teams are either passing up on smaller players in the 1st round or are not drafting them at all. And I agree with Fitzy and BRF... a player that small has to have a really special sort of skillset to overcome his size, moreso than the average sized player.

And as BRF mentioned as well, the game has changed a lot since 2002. I am sure teams had a far different approach to drafting back then. Not only due to the rule changes, but the salary cap has placed a premium on good drafting due to the importance of having cheap, homegrown talent (it's no coincidence that the Rangers drafting improved greatly post-lockout). Also, the equipment changes... goalies look huge now compared to the 1990s. It's probably too soon to engage in such an analysis, but I'd love to see how drafting trends have changed from pre-lockout to post-lockout.

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07-08-2011, 01:38 PM
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Exactly. It's basically saying "well the Top 7 guys mess up my theory a bit, so let me just not include that data"

And I'm a guy who defends smaller players a lot...

My theory was never that big guys are worse. Clearly bigger is better, all else being equal. That's why all the big guys with skill go in the top 5-7 picks.

The point I was making was that if you are not tanking to get a top pick in the draft, you won't be able to get someone who has BOTH size and skill. After all, there must be a reason why a prospect falls to #12 or #18 or #28.

That reason could be shortage of skill or small size, as well as injuries, being raw, being uncoachable, etc.

Again, obviously the top few picks must be all-around great. But getting a top pick is probably not in the Rangers future for the foreseeable future. So if the Rangers will be picking in the second half of the draft (15-30), the fact that early picks are both big and talented is irrelevant.

The question is: picking outside of the lottery, what maximizes their odds of getting that scorer that we all agree the Rangers need?

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07-08-2011, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldStanley View Post
According to NHL.com height breakdown for all forwards from last year based on height.

1 player 5-5
5 players 5-7
5 players 5-8
13 5-9
45 5-10
68 5-11
442 players 6 foot or taller

137 players under 6 foot, 442 players 6 foot or taller league wide who played in the NHL last year.

1. Almost everyone on the bottom two lines are big and tall. There are a few exceptions, but very few. We all agree that this is not what the Rangers need right now.

2. Almost every big guy on the first line was drafted with one of the top picks that the Rangers won't (hopefully) be seeing for a long time.

If you look at players who might be available at #15-25 where the Rangers will likely be drafting in the future years, most of the scorers are small.

There were almost 4 times as many big guys drafted as small ones, yet small guys produced twice as many scorers, and both big guys who were scorers were products of the Russian system where players are trained to stickhandle and shoot regardless of size.

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07-08-2011, 01:58 PM
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Monkey,

1. I am lying in a hammock in the Caribbean after jet skiing for an hour, so trust me, I'm really, really not bitter or upset right now.

2. If you want me to change my standard, I will be glad to do so. Pick any other set of years (at least half a dozen so that the sample is large enough), any reasonable height cutoff and any reasonable scoring expectation.

The reason I picked 0.5 points per game is that our poll on this forum said that a second liner should get at least 40 points. If you want, I can make it 35 points or 50 points. Same with height. I picked 6'3 as tall because the Tall Men's Society makes that the cutoff. And I picked 5'10 on the other side because that means that the player is in the bottom 50-percentile of all Americana men. I can make it 5'11 and 6'2 or whatever you wish.

3. I will do the same analysis for round 2 later tonight. I don't know this for sure, but my guess is that a short second rounder has a better chance of becoming an NHL scorer than a first round big guy who did not go in the top few lottery picks.

But obviously a big guy is much more likely to become a grinder like Boyle or Rupp than a small guy does. All in all, a big guy has a better shot of making the NHL, but a far, far worse shot of becoming a scorer.

Before Getzlaf in 2003, the last big North American guy drafted #8 to #30 who went on to become a decent scorer was Bertuzzi in 1993. That's 10 years! And along with Bertuzzi there were 5 big guys who were drafted in the first round and then went bust.


Last edited by Beacon: 07-08-2011 at 02:37 PM.
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07-08-2011, 02:01 PM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerEsq View Post
1. Almost everyone on the bottom two lines are big and tall. There are a few exceptions, but very few. We all agree that this is not what the Rangers need right now.

2. Almost every big guy on the first line was drafted with one of the top picks that the Rangers won't (hopefully) be seeing for a long time.

If you look at players who might be available at #15-25 where the Rangers will likely be drafting in the future years, most of the scorers are small.

There were almost 4 times as many big guys drafted as small ones, yet small guys produced twice as many scorers, and both big guys who were scorers were products of the Russian system where players are trained to stickhandle and shoot regardless of size.
I admitted to that in the other post I made, sorry for leaving it out on that one. I was just looking at all the active players based on height and trying to see how many actual small players there were league wide compare to those who were larger.

I think the best way for the Rangers, like any other team, to get a scorer from the draft from pick ten or above is just plain good scouting mixed with some luck.

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07-08-2011, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerEsq View Post
I did a statistical analysis of draftees by height.

TIME FRAME: From our Cup in 1994 and until 2002. For prospects drafted very recently, we can't really judge them fully yet because some are late bloomers and others fade away quickly.

CLASSIFICATION: I divided players into three types: short (5'10 or below), average height (5'11 to 6'2) and tall (6'3+). This is relatively subjective, but I had to draw a line somewhere.

METHODOLOGY: I only looked at players who scored over 0.5 points per game over 400 NHL games. We all agreed in another thread that a second liner or even a tweener must score at least 40 points per season, and I would assume it's fair to expect that a true second liner would stay in the league at least 5 years. Anyone who failed to get 200 points over 400 games cannot legitimately be viewed as a consistent top-6 or even tweener.

I looked only at forwards because scoring is not as important to defensemen, especially defensive types.

EXCLUDED PLAYERS: I excluded the top 7 draft picks in every year. Top prospects are usually guys who have both size and skill. If you are drafting very early, you need not compromise. But what I was trying to determine is the success of second-level prospects, those in the first round, but not at the very top of the draft. You can make it top-5 or top-10 instead of top-7 without significantly changing the following results.

SOURCE: I looked at height as it is listed on hockeydb.

ADJUSTMENTS: It's possible that I made a mistake somewhere. Just let me know and don't get hysterical. It was not done on purpose. I didn't need to cheat, the results are pretty overwhelming and missing a player or two by accident won't change anything.


RESULTS:

- 8 players were drafted in the first round (after the top-7) who were 5'10 or below. Of those, 4 became top-6 forwards who scored above 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 50%

- 85 players who are average height were drafted and of those, 22 scored 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 25.9%

- 30 players taller than 6'3 were drafted and only 2 of them scored over 0.5 points per game. SUCCESS RATE: 6.67%


CONCLUSION:

Players' height is significantly overestimated as an asset because it is easy to tell who is tall/short, but much more difficult to tell who is truly skilled and who is just dominating children in juniors who will never have even a minor league career.

While I didn't count the exact stats inch by inch, it was very clear that the odds of making the NHL went down with every inch of height. Thus, 6'2 was less likely to make it than 6'1 and 6'4 was less likely to make it than 6'3, and so on for every inch of height.

Truly talented big guys almost always get drafted in the top few picks. But after the top half a dozen or so picks, those who are 6'3 develop into top-6 forwards very, very rarely.

In fact, our new 4th liner Michael Rupp (#9 in 1998) is easily one of the most successful big guys drafted outside of the top few picks.


BIG GUYS WHO MADE IT:

One was Antropov, a Russian who went through their system where real skills are taught to everyone regardless of size. Nor was he ever seen as a power forward/goon. He was always more of a skill player who just happens to be big.

The other is Zubrus, who just barely made it with 0.503 points per game. He too was born in the Soviet Union. He too is not viewed as a goon.

None of the North American big guys, so beloved on this forum, who bulldoze over the opposition became anything close to top-6 forwards. None of them.

They become Mike Rupp and Mark Bell... or outright minor leaguers.

The lesson is that if you want a scorer, even a marginal scorer, unless you have a top pick, you either have to go small or European. On occasion, in a tremendous draft such as 2003, you might stumble upon a Getzlaf or a Perry, but even in a legendary draft like that, you were still as likely to stumble onto Jessiman, Boyle or Fehr as on those two.

So in a very, very strong draft, where a #20 is as good as a normal #6, it may make some sense to go for a big North American, but in most drafts, if you do, prepare for the guy to become a 4th liner.
Impressive/surprising... maybe we, Buffalo and Montreal are ahead of the curve!

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07-08-2011, 03:11 PM
  #23
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I just updated the original post with numbers for second round draftees. They are even more striking. Midgets are still rare, but they are still succeeding, whereas big guy scorers totally disappeared.

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07-08-2011, 03:29 PM
  #24
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The ironic part of the post is that there are quite a few players that were 6'2 that made it after the top 8 picks and were really good players for teams top 6 forwards. That one inch IMO doesn't mean that much.

The average forward is 72.93" (6' 1") tall

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/20...weight-and-age

So, a player taller than 6'1 is above average, and someone shorter than is below average. All those guys who were passed up on those drafts that were 6'2 should be applied to this data IMO. If they aren't average height, they are considered short or tall. I always believed 6'2 was the starting point of someone being a tall person in general, nonetheless for a hockey player.

That being said, I could care less if the guy is tall, short, big, or small. If they can produce at the NHL level, and they aren't taking a huge risk on someone not projected to go that high in the draft, I'm all for it. I personally love the McColgan and St. Croix picks, but we'll have to see if they pan out or bust, because there most likely won't be a middle ground.

Hopefully we can add those 2 guys to the smaller players and Kreider to the bigger players lists when they become NHLers.

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07-08-2011, 03:31 PM
  #25
Hockey Team
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There's one big flaw in your analysis.

Scoring isn't everything.

Of course the smaller guys drafted are going to be higher scorers, if they didn't score then they would be worthless to a team.

Bigger guys are useful for other things, like roughing up the other team.

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