Recently Travis Yost did an article on TSN where he looked at the value of a draft pick using adjusted games played as his methodology. Yost explains it as such:
While adjusted games played are a good starting point for creating a draft pick value chart, it ignores a critical item. That critical item is that games played does not measure the quality of the performance, just the quantity. Therefore, a game played by Sidney Crosby should not be valued the same as a game played by Boyd Gordon. I have done research on the value of forwards based on career average points per game and the forwards selected in the top 90 can be divided into nine different groups (based on all first year draft eligible forwards drafted between 1998 and 2010):
The problem with my expected value chart is that it uses percentage of games played, which is a weaker measurement than the adjusted games played used by Yost or the Value Pick Chart of Michael Schuckers. Schuckers fantastic work on games played provides a value for each of the 210 selections in the draft and by combining his value chart with my research, it will give the best of both worlds.
CREATING THE VALUE CHART
Creating a value chart for forwards is as easy as simply multiplying Schuckers’s Value Pick Chart by the career average PPG from my expected draft value chart. However, I want to also create a value chart for defensemen, which I can compare against the value chart for forwards. The problem is that PPG is not a strong way to measure the value of defenseman and that time on ice is more reflective of the quality of player. In my research, I examined career ATOI and found that the defensemen selected in the top 90 can be divided into 7 separate groups (based on all first year draft eligible defenseman drafted between 1998 and 2010). These are the results:
Therefore, to compare the career average PPG of a forward with the career average ATOI of a defenseman, I created a conversion chart to convert ATOI for defenseman into a PPG measurement. To create the conversion chart, I calculated the average PPG and standard deviation of all forwards to play at least 100 NHL games and the average ATOI and standard deviation of all defensemen to play at least 100 NHL games.
This is a sample of the results of the conversion chart:
I than applied the conversion chart to every defenseman and calculated the average PPG for the seven groups of defenseman. The results are:
Before I can finalize the draft pick value chart, there are two more items to factor in, which is the fact that defensemen play less games in their career than forwards and more forwards are selected than defenseman. In Schuckers’s study, his results for average games played by position are:
Therefore, if a team selects an average forward in each of Rounds 1 through 3, the combined games played is 947. For defenseman, the combined games played is only 765. That means that on average, a defenseman selected in the first three rounds will play 19% less games than if a forward is selected in the same spot. Therefore, when calculating the expected draft value of a defenseman, I will reduce Schuckers’s draft value pick chart by the same factor.
With all this information, I have the data needed to make a draft pick value chart for forwards and a draft pick value chart for defenseman. To combine the two charts into one chart, I need to do a weighted average of the two charts, as more forwards are selected in the draft than defenseman. For the first two selections in the draft, forwards dominate those selections as there are seven forwards selected for every one defenseman. After the top two selections, the amount of defenseman selected increases and if we look at selections 3-90, 1.8 forwards are selected for every one defenseman. Using these ratios, I was able to create a draft pick value chart for first year draft eligible forwards and defenseman. To make it more presentable the data has been adjusted so that a first overall pick is valued at 100.
BLUE BULLET DRAFT PICK VALUE CHART
- It is a generally held believe that forwards provide more value than defenseman at the top end of the draft. This is reflected in my value chart as a 1st or 2nd overall defenseman value lies between that of a 2nd overall and third overall selection. When taking a defenseman at the top end of the draft, teams need to be very diligent in their scouting. The value of a forward exceeds that of a defenseman by 30% with the top four selections but that rate drops to just 10% for selections 5-90.
- Between 19th and 33rd overall, it is best to select forwards as their value exceeds defenseman by 42% in this range.
- After the 33rd selection there is a significant drop-off in the value of a draft pick as the 33rd overall selection is worth 68% more than that of the 34th overall pick.
- On average, a 34th to 60th overall selection is valued at 3.9, which is slightly less than half the value of a late first or early second round selection (7.9-8.8).
POTENTIAL 2016 TRADES
Now for some fun. Using my draft pick value chart, what potential trades are possible for teams drafting in the top five of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft (for selections greater than 90 I have estimated their value).
The only team with enough draft assets in the 2016 draft to move up to first overall is the Winnipeg Jets. Yost suggests that simply the 2nd and the 96th overall pick is fair value for the first overall selection. That is a gross underpayment. If the Leafs were considering moving down from selecting a future star centre in Matthews, asking for the Jets first four selections does not seem unreasonable.
If the Oilers want to move up to select Puljujarvi, my chart suggest they would have to be willing to surrender their early second round selection. This trade occurs only if the Oilers truly coveted Puljujarvi over that of Tkachuk/Dubois and being an Oilers fan, there has been no buzz on this front.
Trades between Edmonton and Calgary are a rare site to behold but could there be a potential deal in play? My chart suggests Edmonton should ask for all three of Calgary’s second round selections. However, I think that could be a tough sell as teams over value their picks on draft day.
Yost believes the 7th and 20th pick is a potential overpay for the first overall pick. Well using my chart, I would love to make deals with Yost all day as he is severely undervaluing the worth of a superstar by using only games played. Therefore, while the 7th and 20th will not get Austin Matthews to Arizona, it could get them Matthew Tkachuk.
There is not much difference between the fifth and sixth overall pick. There is a small deal to be made here where Calgary exchanges an early third round selection for a fifth round selection to move up one spot.
If Arizona wants to move up but retain their selection at 20th overall, they could move their 37th overall to the Canucks to move up two spots. If the Canucks are targeting a defenseman, this would be a trade to take if it is on the table.