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
*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.