November 26 2012 05:16PM
By Cipriansjr [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the last month or so, I have looked at where most NCAA draft picks come from and how often those picks turn into NHL-ers. From this, it was determined that most NHL draft picks come from schools out of the WCHA or CCHA conferences with Minnesota, North Dakota and Michigan leading the way. We know which schools most of the picks are coming from, but a way to expand this study is to see which rounds in the draft these picks are coming from and which schools are being targeted earlier than others.
If you look at some of the recent draft classes, one thing you may notice is that most of the earlier picks come from the major-junior ranks or a European league rather than the NCAA. This year, there were six NCAA committed players selected in the first round and only two the year before. It is understandable to see why there aren’t many NCAA players selected earlier in the draft because their commitment prevents them from making the NHL sooner than a junior hockey star who could possibly have a shot of making the NHL out of training camp. Most prospects aren’t ready at such an early age so this may not be as big of a factor but I’m sure it crosses some team’s minds.
How often are NCAA prospects taken in the first round? Are certain schools targeted earlier than others? How often do picks from the NCAA develop into regular NHL-ers? We will look at all of these issues after the jump.
November 09 2012 02:48PM
Ivanmakarov at en.wikipedia from Wikimedia Commons
Ever since the last lockout, the San Jose Sharks have always seemed to have a lot of big names in their defense corps. Over the last half-decade, the Sharks blue-line corps has seen players such as Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Brent Burns, Rob Blake and Brian Campbell play big minutes, and with a cast like that, there are bound to be some players who get overlooked. On the Sharks, that player is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This isn’t to say that Vlasic is completely overlooked because most hockey fans know that he is a solid player, but what might get overlooked is just how good he is.
November 05 2012 04:06PM
By Wendy (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, I looked at undrafted NCAA players and discussed how they can be a resource to teams looking for cheap organizational depth. I also looked at what schools these players came from and pointed out that there wasn’t one school superior at producing talent in that area, as the top school, Boston College, produced a total of six UDFA’s who blossomed into NHL players. However, something I did notice was that most of the UDFA players from the NCAA were coming from the WCHA conference and most of those who turned into NHL players came from either there or the CCHA.
What about NHL players in general, though? Is there one school (or group of schools) that is superior at generating NHL talent compared to their peers? One would assume so because there are more kids playing hockey in states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, so we would expect there to be more draft picks and NHL talent generated from schools in those states. That assumption can be very misleading, though as there are many successful hockey programs out east that have also produced NHL talent.
To see which schools have produced the most NHL-ers, I looked at every NCAA player who was either drafted by an NHL team (entry & supplemental) or signed as a free agent out of college.
October 24 2012 01:27PM
By Resolute (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
At the end of the NCAA hockey season, there always seems to be at least a few teams in a rush to sign one of the many players who do not have any NHL rights. These are players who teams passed over in the draft during previous years because they were either not impressive enough at a younger age, were off many teams radars or decided not to enter the draft due to school or other factors. Despite that, most GMs and scouting staffs keep an eye on these players throughout college and attempt to sign them once they are close to graduating because they can improve an organization’s depth and possibly give you NHL-ready talent for a low cost.
There is no doubt that you can find a lot of useful players in the NCAA free agent pool and there have even been some hidden gems over the years in Martin St. Louis and Adam Oates, but how often do undrafted college free agents end up turning into a player who can make an impact? If you go through some of the names over the years, you’ll see plenty of players who went onto have good careers like Dan Boyle, Chris Kunitz, Brian Rafalski and Greg Adams and you’ll even find a few guys like Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and Joe Mullen who had Hall of Fame caliber careers despite not being drafted. There are also some younger players such as Matt Read, Teddy Purcell and Curtis Glencross who have made a decent impact in the NHL after going undrafted. Although, it's worth noting that over half of the UDFAs who played in 100 or more NHL games came from either the WCHA or CCHA.
Just how often do teams manage to find these hidden NCAA gems, though?
October 08 2012 09:46AM
By somegeekintn [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
When it came to the top of teams who “lucked their way to success” last season, the topic that was most scrutinized by the hockey stats community was the Minnesota Wild’s hot start. However, there was another team who probably fit that category a little better and that team was the Nashville Predators.