Friday, 6 April 2012

Draft day musings

An interesting point raised by some fans is that all NHL draft choices are superstars in junior, so you can’t expect all your prospects to continue on this trajectory and to become All-Stars in the NHL, but there is variability.

Some players are drafted based on their body type, and the hunch that they’ll grow into these big bodies and become effective to great NHL’ers, despite lackluster production in junior. This low production may in fact be caused by a late growth spurt that causes the player to be uncoordinated. This is especially true of the present day, when teams are asked to draft eighteen year olds, they’re still growing kids in most cases.

Now sometimes this approach pans out, as for example in the case of Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic, who turned out even better than projected, and as we hope it continues to do so in the case of Jared Tinordi. In this case, almost like horse trainers can sometimes determine a foal is a future champion by the sweep of the back or the thickness of the hindquarters, picking a player strictly based on their physical attributes instead of their play works out.

In some other cases though, like with Terry Ryan and Lindsay Vallis and Hugh Jessiman, picking a player based on his body type fails the team miserably.

On the other hand, good players who kill it in junior but have a limited stature, guys like Theo Fleury or Jean-François Sauvé or David Desharnais are overlooked and displaced by their bigger colleagues, and have extra hurdles to overcome to make it in the bigs.

So there is an exception to the rule, big bodies that make scouts drool will be picked by scouts despite the fact that they’re not stars, in the hope that they’ll fulfill their physical promise.

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