Why, all things being equal, the odds say you take the older established guy over the kid with upside.
You are in a one year pool. It's your pick and you've narrowed it down to 2 players. Player A is universally acclaimed as a potential sleeper pick due for a breakthrough year. Player B is a veteran whose numbers have hit a plateau and maybe even declined in the last few years. Who do you pick?
Most will take Player A for two reasons.
First, we are culturally conditioned to think that the new is going to overtake the old. You have subconscious reasons to draft younger. Your bias for youthfulness and newness is reinforced every day.
Second, you will have pressure from other people in your pool. The cool picks will be:
– The newly traded player who finds himself farther up the depth chart (Frolik in Winnipeg).
– The average player who lucks out and gets a surprise addition to his line (Anisimov with Gaborik on the wing in Columbus)
– The easily pushed off the puck lightweight who opts to train with Gary Roberts over summer and is in "the best shape of his life" (seemingly half the league).
These are the picks that receive the grunt of affirmation from other 'in the know' poolies or even better, the rewarding, "Who? I didn't even have him on my list!"