Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coming To N.America: NHL Drafting European Hockey Players

If an NHL team drafts a player from Europe, what is the likelihood that the player will go on to play professional hockey in North America (ECHL, AHL, or NHL)? I have compiled a database of draft picks from 1995 - 2003 and painstakingly looked up and inputted the information required for each player (goaltenders not included). A high percentage of German and Swiss draft picks came to N.America, but that was a very small sample size and thus those two countries were left off the rankings below. You could make a strong case that more players should be drafted from Germany, but I'll save that for another post. There is very likely a strong inverse correlation between average salary in said European league and the probability a player leaves that league for N.America.

Willingness To Come To N.America: Percentage of European draft picks who advance to N.American professional hockey.

1) Slovakia, 77%
2) Czech Republic, 61%
3) Finland, 60%
4) Sweden, 55%
5) Russia, 45%

Expected NHL GP Upon Arrival In North America: For those players who come to N.America, who averages the most NHL games played once they are here.

1) Czech Republic
2) Finland
3) Sweden
4) Slovakia
5) Russia

*Sorry that I did not include my metric in the above ranking, but it is based on my calculation of what I call "slugging percentage" and requires a lengthy explanation about how it was calculated. You can't just use total career GP because a player drafted in 1995 and compare to a player from 2003 because one has had 8 more seasons to accumulate GPs.

*European players who were drafted from the Canadian junior leagues do not count as players drafted from Europe. That is a separate class of player who made the decision to come to N.America to play hockey before they were even chosen to play professionally.

1 comment:

  1. There are very few players under the age of 22 in the German Elite League, and none of them are high scoring. This might be a league where you have to wait for breakout youngsters because they come along very rarely. The Swiss are far more efficient at producing goaltenders than position players.