Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Official Oiler Spill Podcast: Episode One

Welcome to the Oiler Spill Podcast!

In this episode I interview Montreal Canadiens' Insider Etai Handman. We discuss leadership, Saku Koivu, Brian Gionta, P.K. Subban, injury woes, and problems on defence.

Hope you enjoy it, my first shot at hosting, leave some comments and tell me what you think.
Episode Two will be coming at you next week.
Email me at if you have any topics you want discussed or hit me up on Twitter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Chosen Podcast Ep. 3

Welcome to episode three. Some of the bigs have been worked out, length etc. Should be an enjoyable listen.

Lawrence Dushenski (@LD10) and I discuss the NHL All Star Game, have a little mock draft for fun, talk Oilers (of course), including a personal response to what I found to be a silly blog posting by one Jonathan Willis and Nabokov! WOWZA!

Post comments, tell me what you like/hate, it's the only way it will get better!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Juice

I love a goalie with some flair that stands up for himself. Well played Jussi, well played.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Chosen Podcast Episode Two

Here it is for your enjoyment, the acclaimed Chosen Podcast.
If you don't listen I fear you won't know what to talk about around the water cooler tomorrow.
In other news, water coolers still exist?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Value of the Draft Pt. 6 The Finale

Welcome to Part Six. The graphs are done, this is all about analysis ladies and gents. That's right, this is the good stuff, you read this part, you can act like you read the whole thing. You can ramble off stats from this project to your buddies in the bar during hockey highlights, but if I find you did without giving me the proper credit there will be hell to pay. You have been warned!

Enjoy Part Six: The Finale!

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Four.

Click here for Part Five.


The analysis of top scoring forwards in the post-lockout NHL had proven that higher drafted forwards have a statistically better chance of performing at an elite level, especially if selected in the first 5 picks of the NHL Entry Draft. The prominence of high draft choices in the presented Tables proves the value of first round picks. Although drafting in the first round may not guarantee a team an elite scoring forward, it is the cheapest and for some teams the most viable option for obtaining one.

First round picks hold an immense amount of value. This is especially true in the case of first overall picks who have led the league in goal scoring or point scoring in each year following the lockout. It is not wise for teams in any situation to trade their first round picks unless of course they receive a player in return who is already an elite level talent. It is likely however that a returning player will not be as economically friendly as a young drafted player due to the contraints put on entry level NHL salaries. The introduction of the salary cap has made finding inexpensive talent a top priority for all NHL teams and the cheapest way to do so is through the draft. The analysis shows that teams are becoming aware of this as well. Since the lockout ended the average draft pick used to produce a top 20 scoring forward had gone from 41.85 for 10.58.

There is another lockout related theory behind the difference in average pick. Teams are capped in the amount they can spend on individual players and their teams as a whole, but the same cannot be said for staff. If correct this would mean that since the lockout, teams have been allocating extra money to scouting and development staff meaning that drafting a low performance player in the first round in less likely, and young players become ready sooner to make the just to the NHL level of play.


The analysis in this project raises new questions and opportunities for  further research. Examining defencemen in a similar way is the next logical step. There are half as many defencemen on a team as forwards so it makes sense to research draft pedigree of the top 10 scoring defencemen for each year.

If a proper quantifiable statistic can be proved, analyzing other positions in a similar matter could also provide interesting results. Positions can include: stay at home defencemen, power forwards, shutdown players, and goaltenders.

Age and salary are other elements which can be expanded upon further. It would be interesting to see who provides the most scoring for the smallest amount of money over a number of years and how that relates to their draft status. NHL teams are now interested in bringing in more young talent because they are the most cost effective but this could negatively affect players' careers. In their twilight years players who are drafted early and play right away may be pushed out of the league for monetary reasons. Also playing elite level hockey at such a young age may effect how long a player can stay in the prime of his career.

Another interesting draft related statistical correlation may exist between Stanley Cup Championship teams and he average draft selection ised to create them. Examining the losing team and comparing them to the winning team could as well point to statistical indicators of why each team fared a certain way. A list of the leading playoff scorers for each of the last five championship teams and where they were drafted would impact the meaningfulness of the draft. A study analyzing Stanley Cup Championship teams would examine similar statistics from a team perspective gauging organizational success rather that just individual.

Well that does it, I hope you enjoyed reading my research. If you plan on using some, part or any of my project for your own work I would appreciate it if you let me know first either via email or twitter. I'm pretty easy going but you gotta give credit where it is due. If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more again let me know via email or twitter. If you are a member of a media outlet (looks like someone thinks quite highly of themselves) etc and want to talk to me about this work email or twitter.

Redundancy rules, peace.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Value of the Draft Pt. 5

Part 5 boys and girls we are getting serious here. This is the year 2006, the first year after the NHL Lockout. The year the Edmonton Oilers made the Stanley Cup Final. The year the Edmonton Oilers lost a defenceman and were never able to fully recover.

Lets do it!

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Four.

Click here for Part Six.

Like he said.

2006 Leading Scorers

2006 was the first year after the NHL lockout and cancelled season of 2004/05. This season signified a change in the way NHL hockey was to be played, and an increase in elite level scoring followed when five players were able to score 50 or more goals compared to the 2003/04 season which featured zero 50 goal scorers. All were first round draft picks except for the leader with 56 goals, Jonathan Cheechoo who was taken early in the second round.

The percentage of first rounders found in Table 9 drops again to 75% and this Table includes players from the obscure fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. Their prominence lowers the average draft pick to 32.35 despite there being four first overall picks and three second overall picks present.

10 of the 15 first round picks were selected in the top 5 with only one of the remaining five being selected outside the top 15.

Jonathan Cheechoo's inclusion on this list is somewhat mysterious when taken at face value. He is the only post lockout player to lead the league in goal scoring without being selected first in this draft year. Though this seems bizarre and there was little to no evidence prediction this occurrence, examining the following table explains how this was possible.

The name at the top of Table 10 explains how Cheechoo was able to lead the league in goals despite not being a first overal pick. Joe Thornton, who led the league in points, played on a line with Cheehoo and was drafted first overall. Clearly based on the 96 assists he accumulated it is safe to say that Thornton is a player who prefers to pass the puck.

Seven players that appear on this table were not drafted in the first round. This is the highest amount of the five years examined. 65% is still high for first round presence but is low in comparison to the 80% and 85% seen earlier. It is not surprising that the average draft pick fell to its lowest at 41.85 entrenching the pick in the second round.

Coming up tomorrow we have the big finale. Conclusions, recommendations, etc. No more graphs people, tomorrow its all about the words, yeeeeeeehaw!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Video: I LOL'd @ The Leafs

I was sent this video by a friend. It parodies that Eminem and Rihanna track that is so addictive I need to hear it three times a day to prevent withdrawal.

Making fun of the Leafs is always in fashion.


The Value of the Draft Pt. 4

Okay you know the drill, this is Part 4.

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Five.

Click here for Part Six.

My groundbreaking interview with the Pope

2007 Leading Scorers

Other than a reduction by one non-first rounder and the inclusion of a new undrafted player, the 2007 leading goal scorer list is statistically similar to 2008.

Once again, Table 7 is dominated by first round draft selections. 80% of the players were drafted in the first round and Jonathan Cheechoo was taken 29th overall which during some draft years would have made him a first rounder as well. 9 of the 16 first rounders were top 5 picks with five of the remaining six first rounders being selected in the first half. The average pick for goal scorers in 2007 was 11.72 which is a much higher draft selection than in 2009. The reason for this is the replacement of low drafted forwards from the sixth and seventh rounds by undrafted players, who must be removed from the calculation due to their unquantifiable status.

Dany Heatley is also just the second 50 goal scorer to not be selected first overall. To be fair though, he was taken using the second pick behind a goaltender so he as the first forward selected in his draft year.

Similar to goal scorers, 80% of the top point scorers in 2007, shown in Table 8, were selected in the first round. This is the first of the analyzed years that contains a 100 point scoring forward that was not a first round pick and two other 100 point scoring forwards that were not top 4 draft picks. St. Louis is the undrafted player and so far the only non-first rounder to crack the 100 point barrier. Marian Hossa and Joe Sakic were drafted in the first round, though not in the top 4. They were selected 12 and 15 respectively.

Even though there are only four non-first rounders in this top 20 as opposed to 2008, the fact that the sixth round is the second most represented round is bizarre. Despite the two sixth round payers, the average pick is 25.89 which remains in the first round. This is likely due to the fact that all but one of the first rounders were selected in the top 15. In addition, the top 20 leading point scorers from 2007 shown in Table 8 included four first overall picks, and three second overall. Over half of the players listed were selected by using the top five picks in their draft years.

Get ready for Part Five coming at you tomorrow!

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Five.

Click here for Part Six.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Chosen Podcast Episode One

Man I got a lot of stuff going on! This is the first episode of my brand new podcast, The Chosen Podcast, with my boy from Brock University and Edmonton Lawrence Dushenski. We talk about the Oilers, some other NHL story lines and even give you a few interesting life stories. Also be forewarned I have been sick, so my voice is not usually as sexy/nasal as it will sound in this podcast.


So how was it? Please leave comments, don't be kind about them.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nice Taylor Hall Vid

Always time to play for Chel with the kids.

In case you didn't know, Taylor Hall is a beauty.

The Value of the Draft Pt. 3

Hey there sports fans, welcome to Part Three. On the off chance that you haven't been following along (yeah right), we are looking at a basic statistical analysis of player performance as it relates to draft pedigree in the NHL from the years 2006 to 2010.

Click here to review Part One.

Click here to review Part Two.

Click here for Part Four.

Click here for Part Five.

Click here for Part Six.

Continue reading to enjoy Part Three!

2008 Leading Scorers

In the preceding year depicted in Table 5, an increase in the number of non-first round draft picks again occurred though this time in the top goal scorers list.

With the inclusion of no undrafted players and two players drafted in later rounds, the average pick jumps to 31.35; for the first time in the analysis the average takes place outside the first round. Again though, it must be stressed that 75% of the players listed in Table 5 were first round picks and a consistent 11 were selected using top 5 picks. The rarity of a sixth or seventh round player performing at an elite level makes them statistically interchangeable with undrafted forwards. Examining the leading point scorers in Table 6 leads to another increase in non-first round players.

Also of note, Jarome Iginla is the first leading goal scorer listed, who scored 50 or more goals in a season but was not a first overall draft pick. This is astonishing and clearly demonstrates the value associated with owning the first pick in any given NHL Entry Draft. While he was not selected first, Iginla was expected to perform at an elite level as he was drafted eleventh overall.

Another 10% drop in first round players brings the total to 65% for point scorers in 2008, as seen in Table 6. Oddly enough the sixth round is the third most represented round with two players, Alfredsson and Datsyuk. More statistical drops are evident in Table 6 with only 10 players selected in the top 5 picks and 12 in the first half of the first round. It is no surprise that the average draft selection drops to 37.2 putting the average solidly in the second round. Table 6 includes fewer first round draft picks an further analysis shows that the age of individual players may be a factor. The 2008 table is populated by many more late-20s early-30s players and less players younger that 25. This is especially prevalent in the non-first rounder outliers.

Seventh rounder Zetterberg was 28, sixth rounders Datsyuk and Alfredsson were 30 and 36 respectively and the undrafted St. Louis was 33 years old. With younger players dominating much of the scoring in 2009 and 2010 it can be said that there is evidence that points to a youth movement in elite forwards in the NHL. Much of this has to do with the lockout and subsequent implementation of a salary cap which will be discussed further in the concluding arguments.

That is it for Part 3 y'all. Hope you enjoyed it, stay tuned for Part Four AKA The year 2007.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Value of the Draft Pt. 2

By Dan Moser

Before we get started here lets do a quick recap. In Part One the actual topic and aims of the project were outlined. The aim is to prove a relationship between on-ice performance and draft pedigree in the NHL. This is done by analyzing the top 20 scorers in each year following the lockout. 2010 was also examined and initial discoveries were made.

Was that recap not good enough? Then click here to check out Part One. I'd recommend clicking it no matter what, it will open in a new window and will make my stats look awesome. This will also take you there.

Part Two is a little heavier on the chart side, you have been warned. HERE. WE. GO!
Let's get ready to rumble!!!
2009 Leading Scorers

Again the analysis will begin with the top 20 goal scorers from the 2009 NHL season. In Table 3, of the 17 first round draftees, 14 were selected in the first half of the first round with 11 of the players drafted in the top 5. Of the top goal scorers that are liste din Table 3, 55% were selected using the first five draft picks. The 85% rate of first rounder to non-first rounder players is consistent with the analysis of 2010.

Similar to 2010, there are three non-first rounders present in the top 20 although all were drafted players. Of the three, Loui Eriksson and Michael Cammallari, were selected in the second round, while Johan Franzen was the lone third rounder. Despite the lack of undrafted players, the average pick used to select a top 20 goal scoring forward was higher in 2009 at 14.5, which would be the midway point in the first round. In total points however there is a slight spike in non-first round picks.

Of the top 20 point scoring forwards listed in Table 4, five were not first round selections. Cammalleri is present again but this time he is joined by second rounder Patrik Elias, fourth rounder Marc Savard, sixth rounder Pavel Datsyuk, and undrafted forward Martin St. Louis. Being drafted so late and having such a large impact, Datsyuk is an anomaly in the NHL. The same can be said for St. Louis who has made his second appearance so far.

The average draft choice for total points is much lower at 24.89 but still in the first round albeit at the bottom. Although this is the average, it is important to note that all 15 first round picks were selected before pick number 25; the average is skewed by the lower picks of Datsyuk and Savard. A higher percentage of first rounders were selected in the top 5 as well at 60%.

Although the percentage of players drafted in the first round drops by 10% to 75% it is still such a large majority of players that it can be said that 2009 is consistant with 2010 in that a significant portion of the top players were drafted in the first round.

That's probably enough for today, lets drag this baby out! Stay tuned for Part Three tomorrow!

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Four.

Click here for Part Five.

Click here for Part Six.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Value of the Draft Pt. 1

By Dan Moser

Hello, Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland. Thanks to the advice from my dentist I've decided to take things in a different direction for a little bit. That's right ninjas I'm going academic up in this bitch. For the next few days I will be posting in parts a paper I recently wrote on the value of the NHL draft from a statistical perspective. I have removed some of the academically required content such as an abstract, summary, and recommendations. These sections, although excellently written, are redundant of themselves and the actual body of the paper.

Don't worry no Corsi numbers or anything like that, we are talking basic stats here like goals and points. Anyway I hope you enjoy part one, and come back for part two.

The Value of the Draft:
A statistical analysis of National Hockey League as it relates to draft pedigree

Each year following the completion of the National Hockey League season, the league executives take part in the annual distribution of young hockey talent provided by the NHL Entry Draft. Players aged 18 - 20 are selected by NHL teams and officially become the playing properties of said teams. Throughout the season, teams have the option of keeping their draft picks or trading them away for talent from other teams they believe will help them succeed in the near future. Typically teams that believe they are close to being championship caliber will trade their picks away and young developing teams accumulate picks in the hopes of finding the next superstar to one day lead them to a championship. This is not an easy decision and in many cases the wrong decision is made.

Through a basic statistical analysis of draft pedigree as it is related to on-ice performance from an individual perspective, this paper will aim to prove that the value of a first round draft pick is too high to trade away. This is especially the case because only one team can be a champion each year.

Analysis will take place ased on tables providing the top 20 goal scoring forwards and top 20 point scoring forwards from each of the seasons following the NHL lockout of 2004/05. Preliminary research indicates that while a first round forward may not be guaranteed to be an elite level player, the majority of top scoring forwards were in fact first round draft picks in their respective draft years. 


2010 Leading Scorers

In its most simplistic form hockey is all about goals. The team with the most goals always wins the game; therefore it is fair to deduce that goals are the most important statistic in hockey. In order to analyze the on-ice performance of individual players the top 20 goal scoring forwards will be examined in Table 1.
At first glance it is quite clear that there is a correlation between draft round and goal scoring ability. The relationship is so strong that over half of the players listed on Table 1 were not only drafted in the first round but in fact in the first five picks of their respective draft years. It appears as though the higher a forward is drafted the more likely they are to become an elite scoring player.

Once the undrafted players are removed (because their draft status cannot be properly quantified) the evidence is even greater. The average draft pick used to select a top goal scoring forward in 2010 is 16.56 which is just over the half way point of the first round of the draft. With the exception of Jussi Jokinen, all of the drafted forwards listed were selected in the first round, with all but two being selected before the half way point of the first round. 

Of the top 20 goal scorers in 2010, only three were not drafted in the first round, Alexandre Burrows, Dustin Penner, and Jussi Jokinen. Burrows and Penner are part of a very small group in today's NHL. Advancements in scouting have made it so very few elite level players are undrafted. Penner was discovered while playing American college hockey for the University of Maine while Burrows had a stranger route as an undrafted Canadian junior hockey player playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The third exception, Jokinen was selected in the 6th round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. He was never expected to make such a large impact but rose in prominence due to his level of success in the newly instituted NHL shootout. 

Although games are won and lost based on goals, to correctly analyze a player's offensive production their total point, the accumulation of goals and assists, must be analyzed. From a team standpoint goals are more important but typically a player is ranked by his points. The 2010 NHL leading point scorers are shown in Table 2.

Including assists in the rankings eliminates all three outliers from the previous Table. However, a similar correlation is evident in Table 2. Again 17 of the top 20 players were drafted in the first round. Of the point leaders, 13 were drafted in the top five of their draft class including the top five point scorers for this season, while 15 were selected in the first half of the first round. In Table 2, the average draft pick used to select a top 20 point scoring forward was 10.58. Essentially the only way to have a top 20 forward in the year 2010 was to have been lucky enough to draft a forward within the first eleven picks of an Entry Draft.

This time other than Martin St. Louis, who was not drafted at all, a second round player, Paul Stastny, and a third round player, Brad Richards, are listed. Given that both player were still drafted high considering the length of the draft, a certain level of offensive output should be expected though perhaps not at this level.

End of Part One. Please check back soon for Part Two so we may continue to explore the NHL Entry Draft and player performance together. Hooray! 

Click here for Part Two.

Click here for Part Three.

Click here for Part Four.

Click here for Part Five.

Click here for Part Six.