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Why is it so much harder to draft defensemen?

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07-27-2011, 04:14 PM
  #1
DAChampion
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Why is it so much harder to draft defensemen?

Whenever people say the Habs need an offensive star, people respond you need a top-3 draft pick for an offensive star, and that is true in recent history.

However, it's not true of defensive all stars.

Shea Weber was drafted 49th overall in the 2003 NHL draft.
John Carleson, 27th overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft.
PK Subban (local favorite example to support Trevor Timmins), 43rd overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft
Keith Yandle, 105th overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft
Tyler Myers, 12th overall in thr 2008 NHL entry draft

That's a lot of young talent, and I'm pretty sure one doesn't find comparable levels of young talent among forwards drafted at those positions.

Questions:

1) Is this a genuine effect, or a statistical fluke, or no effect at all?
2) Should teams adjust their drafting strategy, i.e. draft disproportionately dmen in the later rounds?

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07-27-2011, 04:21 PM
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Em Ancien
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While a lot of top end forwads come from top picks, there's also a ton that aren't.

Just check last year's top scorers, amongst them : Perry, St-Louis, Zetterberg, Richards, Giroux, Getzlaf, Kesler, Eriksson, Kopitar, Sharp, Ribeiro, Brière, Carter, etc. weren't top 5 picks.

So that argument is complete bogus.

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07-27-2011, 04:31 PM
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DAChampion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
While a lot of top end forwads come from top picks, there's also a ton that aren't.

Just check last year's top scorers, amongst them : Perry, St-Louis, Zetterberg, Richards, Giroux, Getzlaf, Kesler, Eriksson, Kopitar, Sharp, Ribeiro, Brière, Carter, etc. weren't top 5 picks.

So that argument is complete bogus.
1) I'm not including players drafted/developed in the 1990s. So forget St-Louis, Briere, Zetterberg, Brad Richards, and Ribeiro. My post was about the current drafting era, not previous drafting era.

FYI Mark Messier was drafted in the 3rd round. Why didn't you use that example?

2)
Corey Perry, 28th overall
Claude Giroux, 22nd overall
Ryan Getzlaf, 19th overall
Anze Kopitar, 11th overall
Jeff Carter, 11th overall
Ryan Kessler, 23rd overall
Patrick Sharp, 95th overall.
Louis Ericsson, 33rd overall

You have two examples that were drafted late, and there are ~2x as many forwards in the league as there are dmen.

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07-27-2011, 04:40 PM
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Em Ancien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
1) I'm not including players drafted/developed in the 1990s. So forget St-Louis, Briere, Zetterberg, Brad Richards, and Ribeiro. My post was about the current drafting era, not previous drafting era.

FYI Mark Messier was drafted in the 3rd round. Why didn't you use that example?

2)
Corey Perry, 28th overall
Claude Giroux, 22nd overall
Ryan Getzlaf, 19th overall
Anze Kopitar, 11th overall
Jeff Carter, 11th overall
Ryan Kessler, 23rd overall
Patrick Sharp, 95th overall.
Louis Ericsson, 33rd overall

You have two examples that were drafted late, and there are ~2x as many forwards in the league as there are dmen.
I also could've said Datsuk and put all the 30-60 players, because there's a ton from the 2nd and on.

Are you really arguing this? As I said, it's easy to see that you're looking at want you to see. There's no real basis for your thread.

And what's with the 90's discrimination? I just don't get how it affects your argument except for the fact it's further proof against it. 'Current drafting era' is ********. If you're going to have a cutoff point, why not make it the last time the draft rules changed (i.e. the new CBA)?

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07-27-2011, 04:41 PM
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shutehinside
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
Whenever people say the Habs need an offensive star, people respond you need a top-3 draft pick for an offensive star, and that is true in recent history.

However, it's not true of defensive all stars.

Shea Weber was drafted 49th overall in the 2003 NHL draft.
John Carleson, 27th overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft.
PK Subban (local favorite example to support Trevor Timmins), 43rd overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft
Keith Yandle, 105th overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft
Tyler Myers, 12th overall in thr 2008 NHL entry draft

That's a lot of young talent, and I'm pretty sure one doesn't find comparable levels of young talent among forwards drafted at those positions.

Questions:

1) Is this a genuine effect, or a statistical fluke, or no effect at all?
2) Should teams adjust their drafting strategy, i.e. draft disproportionately dmen in the later rounds?
Defense is a much harder position to play then forward. it's not uncommon for defensmen to take years longer to develop then forwards. Drafting a talent so many years before they develop leaves a much larger window for their development to get stunted.

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07-27-2011, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
I also could've said Datsuk and put all the 30-60 players, because there's a ton from the 2nd and on.

Are you really arguing this? As I said, it's easy to see that you're looking at want you to see. There's no real basis for your thread.

And what's with the 90's discrimination? I just don't get how it affects your argument except for the fact it's further proof against it. 'Current drafting era' is ********. If you're going to have a cutoff point, why not make it the last time the draft rules changed (i.e. the new CBA)?
It was obvious from my opening post that I was talking about recent draftees, not players drafted in the 1990s.

However, if you want play that ridiculous game of including players drafted/developed in previous epochs of drafting and developments, the three finalists for the Norris Trophy were Weber, Chara and Lidstrom. Not one of them was drafted in the first round. I don't think Chara, Lidstrom, and for that matter Markov are at all relevant. Meanwhile, 2 of the the 3 finalists for the Art Ross, and 3 of the 3 for the Rocket Richard trophy, were drafted in the 1st round.

Arguing with your method, of including the irrelevant 1990s, only strengthens my position.

The 2005 rule change would include players drafted in the 2003 draft, and possibly the 2002 draft.

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07-27-2011, 04:55 PM
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Em Ancien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
It was obvious from my opening post that I was talking about recent draftees, not players drafted in the 1990s.

However, if you want play that ridiculous game of including players drafted/developed in previous epochs of drafting and developments, the three finalists for the Norris Trophy were Weber, Chara and Lidstrom. Not one of them was drafted in the first round. I don't think Chara, Lidstrom, and for that matter Markov are at all relevant. Meanwhile, 2 of the the 3 finalists for the Art Ross, and 3 of the 3 for the Rocket Richard trophy, were drafted in the 1st round.

Arguing with your method, of including the irrelevant 1990s, only strengthens my position.

The 2005 rule change would include players drafted in the 2003 draft, and possibly the 2002 draft.
So, the trophies where 3 people are nominated based on a years performance is how you determine this? Jesus Christ.

And you said top 3 pick, now you're expanding to first round? Corey Perry was pretty close to the second round (as in, 29th overall). If a team that was in the Stanley Cup finals can get their hands on the Rocket Richard winner, I don't consider it necessary to tank in order to get an All-Star up front, right? Then again, according to this criteria, Carlson shouldn't be a part of your list either. Neither should Myers.

But then, with that in mind, you tack on guys like Doughty, JJ, Seabrook, EJ, Suter and the other rising high draft picks on D.

Wait, does that make your thread look like bogus? Probably does, huh?

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07-27-2011, 04:56 PM
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My completely uneducated guess would be:

Forwards rely more on intangible skill and instinct, which is something players either have or they don't, whereas defense rely more on reading the play and positioning, which can take more time to learn at each level of competition.

This is not to say that skill/instinct aren't important for defense, and positioning, etc. isn't important for forwards, just that maybe they aren't as important to be successful.

To that end, its easier for scouts to imagine a forward's skill set to translate to higher levels than it is for them to determine whether a defenseman can adapt his positioning.

So yeah, that's my guess...

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07-27-2011, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
1) Is this a genuine effect, or a statistical fluke, or no effect at all?
2) Should teams adjust their drafting strategy, i.e. draft disproportionately dmen in the later rounds?
I think it has more to do with the difficulty of evaluating young defensemen compared to forwards. As someone else said, dmen typically take longer to develop.

So no, it would make no sense to draft dmen disproportionately in the later rounds. What would make sense would be to draft more dmen than it appears necessary (in theory, a team should draft twice the number of forwards than dmen, because a team has 12 forwards and 6 dmen) in order to edge your bet, but teams (at least the habs) are already doing that.

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07-27-2011, 05:37 PM
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Forwards tend to be closer to NHL ready upon being drafted than defensemen. Consequently, it's easier to project potential and a player's ability to transition their game to the NHL.

Upon reading the above: indeed, Goldthorpe, Jakomyte and shutehinside are all correct.

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07-27-2011, 05:40 PM
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DAChampion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
So, the trophies where 3 people are nominated based on a years performance is how you determine this? Jesus Christ.
If you repeat the exercise for each of the past five years you get the same clear pattern overall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
Wait, does that make your thread look like bogus? Probably does, huh?
Pull the stick out of your ass, you're having a bad day obviously and that's ok. Now calm down.

As you can see no one else has a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldthorpe View Post
What would make sense would be to draft more dmen than it appears necessary (in theory, a team should draft twice the number of forwards than dmen, because a team has 12 forwards and 6 dmen) in order to edge your bet, but teams (at least the habs) are already doing that.
I wonder if that's true in general.

Good post.

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07-27-2011, 07:20 PM
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Datsyuk was drafted in the 7th round...

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07-27-2011, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subnordi View Post
Datsyuk was drafted in the 7th round...
Part of the reason I'm excluding previous eras of hockey is that in the case of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, etc they were drafted late because scouting in Eastern Europe was less advanced then compared to now. Great talents were going unnoticed.

This has changed in recent years, and that's why Datsyuk and Zetterberg have not been repeated.

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07-27-2011, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutehinside View Post
Defense is a much harder position to play then forward. it's not uncommon for defensmen to take years longer to develop then forwards. Drafting a talent so many years before they develop leaves a much larger window for their development to get stunted.
Agree with this completely.

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07-27-2011, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
1) I'm not including players drafted/developed in the 1990s. So forget St-Louis, Briere, Zetterberg, Brad Richards, and Ribeiro. My post was about the current drafting era, not previous drafting era.

FYI Mark Messier was drafted in the 3rd round. Why didn't you use that example?

2)
Corey Perry, 28th overall
Claude Giroux, 22nd overall
Ryan Getzlaf, 19th overall
Anze Kopitar, 11th overall
Jeff Carter, 11th overall
Ryan Kessler, 23rd overall
Patrick Sharp, 95th overall.
Louis Ericsson, 33rd overall

You have two examples that were drafted late, and there are ~2x as many forwards in the league as there are dmen.
Luc Robitaille (9th round 171st overall) and Brett Hull (6th round 117 overall) are probably two of the best late picks out there too.

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07-27-2011, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
1) I'm not including players drafted/developed in the 1990s. So forget St-Louis, Briere, Zetterberg, Brad Richards, and Ribeiro. My post was about the current drafting era, not previous drafting era.

FYI Mark Messier was drafted in the 3rd round. Why didn't you use that example?

2)
Corey Perry, 28th overall
Claude Giroux, 22nd overall
Ryan Getzlaf, 19th overall
Anze Kopitar, 11th overall
Jeff Carter, 11th overall
Ryan Kessler, 23rd overall
Patrick Sharp, 95th overall.
Louis Ericsson, 33rd overall

You have two examples that were drafted late, and there are ~2x as many forwards in the league as there are dmen.
IIRC correctly the Messier draft was a unique situation, because it was the year they dropped the draft age down to 18 from, IIRC, 21. Thus there were basically multiple drafts folded into a single year. Messier was 18 or at most 19, thus it's not surprising he was passed over for guys who were both farther along in their development, thus less of a gamble, and also closer to playing in the NHL. I think this had to do with folding in the WHA teams and at the same time adopting their draft age, which had already been upheld by the courts when Gretzky signed with the WHA before he was draft eligible in the NHL.

If anyone's interested. Not to say he wasn't a steal, but it's a more interesting story in context.

EDIT- On the thread topic, I wonder if the gap between accurately drafting star forwards vs. d (assuming there actually is one) got worse when the draft age dropped. Given how much slower D are to develop, I'd expect so.

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07-27-2011, 11:31 PM
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Em Ancien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
Part of the reason I'm excluding previous eras of hockey is that in the case of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, etc they were drafted late because scouting in Eastern Europe was less advanced then compared to now. Great talents were going unnoticed.

This has changed in recent years, and that's why Datsyuk and Zetterberg have not been repeated.
Jamie Benn, Paul Stastny, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Joe Pavelski, Milan Lucic, Ryan Clowe and a slew of other 2nd round+ bonafide top 6 players (if not elite forwards) indicate you're wrong.

If I extended the list to 15+ first-round picks, you could had a good number of other guys. Your criteria seem to vary depending on when you're trying to prove a misconceived point or defending against overwhelming evidence against it, so I'm not going there.

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07-28-2011, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
Jamie Benn, Paul Stastny, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Joe Pavelski, Milan Lucic, Ryan Clowe and a slew of other 2nd round+ bonafide top 6 players (if not elite forwards) indicate you're wrong.

If I extended the list to 15+ first-round picks, you could had a good number of other guys. Your criteria seem to vary depending on when you're trying to prove a misconceived point or defending against overwhelming evidence against it, so I'm not going there.
Even though there are twice as many forwards as dmen, your response to Shea Weber (the best dman in the NHL) is .... David Backes, who probably wouldn't even make the top-6 on the Habs.

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07-28-2011, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RE-HABS View Post
Luc Robitaille (9th round 171st overall) and Brett Hull (6th round 117 overall) are probably two of the best late picks out there too.
Obviously something changed, because we have not had any offensive superstars drafted in the late rounds since ... Datsyuk/Zetterberg in the late 1990s I think.

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07-28-2011, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RE-HABS View Post
Luc Robitaille (9th round 171st overall) and Brett Hull (6th round 117 overall) are probably two of the best late picks out there too.
Robitaille's speed was questioned, and he progressed alot in the Q taking scoring tips from Guy Rouleau (a minor league scoring machine) after practices.

Hull wasn't tall, plus he was very fat and unmotivated during the years leading up to the draft.

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07-28-2011, 08:23 AM
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For kicks, I checked the 2005 NHL entry draft and sorted by games played, a good proxy for success.

Ten most successful forwards: Crosby, Kopitar, Statsny, Cogliano, Latendresse, Boll, Hanzal, Raymond, Setoguchi and Brule. Draft ranks are: 1, 11, 44, 25, 45, 101, 17, 51, 8, and 6. The arithmetic mean draft rank is 30.9, the geometric mean draft rank is 17.2, and the harmonic mean draft rank is 6.42. 6 of the 10 were drafted in the 1st round. Only 1 of the 10 was drafted after the 2nd round.

Ten most suuccessful Dmen: Vlasic, Staal, Letang, Niskanen, Yandle, Johnson, Russell, Stralman, Hjalmarsson, Butler. Draft ranks are 35, 12, 62, 28, 105, 3, 67,216, 108, and 96. The arithmetic mean draft rank is 73.2, the geometric mean draft rank is 45.05, and the harmonic mean draft rank is 18.3. Only 3 of the 10 are 1st rounders. 6 of the 10 were drafted after the second round.

[[[ The reason you don't want to use arithmetic means is that it gives too much weight to the highest draft ranks in each list. The harmonic mean is more robust ]]].

I bet the same is true nearly every single year, whether I take the top 10 or the top 20, whether I sort them by games played or by cap hit or by all star appearances or any other remotely reasonable criteria.


Last edited by DAChampion: 07-28-2011 at 08:31 AM.
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07-28-2011, 08:31 AM
  #22
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Its the same as goalies. They take longer to develop and therefore its not worth drafting them as high because by the time they develop, they are almost leaving your system. I think in terms of difficulty, goalie is the hardest to play, then defence because your job is not to show off how talented you are but stop the extremely talented forwards on the other side. Being able to shut down Crosby effectively is no easy task.

So they take longer to develop into being able to defend adequately.

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07-28-2011, 10:38 AM
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My 2 cents....

Why are people ticketed for speeding more than tailgating? Truth is tailgaiting is more dangerous than speeding, but speeding is easier to prove/quantify.

Same for D's.

It is easier to look at a kid's stats and see goals, than it is to see into the future whether a guy will physically and mentally mature into a guy who can control the play, as a good D has to.

The position has so many fine points that need to be developped, it is not a raw skill position like a scoring forward or goaltender.

Stat sheets are easy to read. The future is not.

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