Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NHL General Manager Draft Rankings

Wouldn't it be great if you could measure how good any given NHL General Manager is at drafting players? I have compiled a database to do exactly that, comparing the 7 drafts from 1997 - 2003. Unfortunately there is not an online database of who ran the drafts, and I only have my Hockey Guide and Record book to tell me who was GM what year. I had to assume that if a GM left a job in 2003 that he unlikely ran the 2003 draft. Most new GMs are in place before that year's draft. I would estimate that I got the right guy 90% of the time, but should warn you that there is a small margin of error.

Basically I use baseball language with batting average, plus minus, and slugging percentage. One measures how often you find an NHL, one compares GP to an expected value, and the other is expected games played per hit. I ranked every GM with at least 4 drafts in the 7 draft window (of which there were 28) by these categories and even broke it down into rounds (round 1, rounds 2-3, and rounds 4 and up). Some GMs are better than others at drafting talent in different rounds. For example, Glen Sather ranked dead last in 1st round picks, but 4th in rounds 2-3 and 5th in rounds 4+. By contrast, Brian Burke ranked #1 in the 1st round by virtue of hitting a couple big home runs, but he ranked 24th and 27th in the other rounds.

The top 5 at first round picks:

1. Brian Burke
2. Bobby Clark
3. Doug Waddel
4. Mike Milbury
5. Doug Riseborough

The worst 5 at first round picks:

1. Glen Sather
2. Bobby Smith
3. Kevin Lowe
4. Pat Quinn
5. Rick Dudley

The top 5 at rounds 2 and 3:

1. Doug Riseborough
2. Pierre Gauthier
3. Darcy Regier
4. Ken Holland
5. Glen Sather

The worst 5 at rounds 2 and 3:

1. George McPhee
2. Doug Waddel
3. Mike Milbury
4. Craig Patrick
5. Brian Burke

The top 5 at rounds 4 and up:

1. Craig Patrick
2. Pierre Lacroix
3. Darcy Regier
4. Glen Sather
5. Dean Lombardi

The worst 5 at rounds 4 and up:

1. Al Coates
2. Brian Burke
3. George McPhee
4. Mike Milbury
5. Bobby Smith

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