28 June 2010
So the draft was this weekend eh? Well I missed most of it, as Friday I was on a plane all day instead of following the draft, so I missed most of it. Don't feel too sorry for me though, I was returning from Waikiki Beach. Ok don't feel sorry for me at all. I was home on Saturday but I chose to spend my day watching an actual sports event (USA vs Ghana) instead of watch the draft.
I'm sorry, but the draft, in any sport, just does very little for me. It's always interesting to see who gets picked and who the Avs pick. And if you're team is awful, like the Avs were last season, the draft is fun because you get to get familiar with a kid who has the potential to change your franchise. But outside the top 3-6 picks remember:
More after the jump
NHL Scouts spends a full year (or years) looking at these players, going to dinky rinks in middle-of-no where Canada/USA with the sole purpose of trying to weed out the uncorrectable flaws in a 17 year old kids' game from the correctable ones. It's an insanely difficult task to do. Even then at the end of 1 or 2 years of scouting, it all comes down to an educated guess, because scouts are still trying to project how well a 17 year old is going to adjust to a whole influence of forces that he has no control over. It's an impossible task.
Now throw in that fans, media and the whatnot likely haven't seen any of these kids play more than about 5 times (except for the small percentage of fans who live in OHL, WHL, or CHL towns and go to more than 5-10 games a season) and really it's impossible to say with any kind of certainty whether one of these kids will be a good player or not. The only ones you can be certain of, well they go in the top 5, and that's why they go in the top five.
Even in saying all that, think of how many young players you've watched at the NHL level and still have no idea what kind of player they will be. I watched Wojtek Wolski play for 60+ games a season for 4 seasons against NHL competition and I still have no idea where he's going to peak. He may have already peaked, he may have a 100-pt season. Nether is outside the realm of possibility. On a less extreme example, I watched Brandon Yip play 32 games last season and I have no idea whether he's a 4th liner playing above his head, or a legitimate 2nd liner. Ryan O'Reilly could be anywhere from Stephane Yelle to Jordan Staal.
So draft day tends to be rather unexciting for me, especially while it's going on. After the draft I do enjoy looking at who the Avs got so I can start following their career and learning about those players better.
That said, I do tend to put some stock into advanced stats projections. It's certainly not fool-proof but a good model based on 1000s of players who have performed similarly and projecting that into a pro career sure seems to be a better metric than some underpaid scout who only gets to see these kids 15-20 times a season. Before the Draft Puck Prospectus ranked the prospects in this draft from North America based on their stats from the various NA leagues. Two of the prospects the Avs ended up with were #1 for goalies, and #1 overall (the awesomely named Pickard) and the #12 skater (Hishon), so in that respect I'm excited about this draft for the Avs.
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