The Contrarian – Rookie Mistake

Dobber Sports


Nathan MacKinnon playoffs


A data dump on the utility of rookies when rebuilding in a keeper league.

Last week I created an article about a proposed rebuilding strategy of selecting strictly from the top rookie list. It luckily wasn't published and it gave me time to critique myself and my assumptions of the strategy.


To summarize, an owner in my keeper league told me that he was thinking of drafting from the available rookies on the top rookie list from this past season. He thinks that he could wait out any jinxes or other developmental years and in four years he will have a core for competing against the top owners.


This does not mean that he was going to be picking from the NHL's new Entry Draft crop. Only guys who are in the league and playing right now. Here is a list of the top 60 rookies from last season (ranked by points):


Picture 2


Player names in yellow denote defensemen, Point Per Game (PPG) values that are above 0.50 are in green (The deeper the color the better the value).


My starting assumptions were that:


a) Some of these players are likely to be taken in your keeper leagues because of the information provided in advance of their Entry Draft. Guys like MacKinnon are taken before they even play a game. Of the list provided, 14 players are already gone in my league. I excluded guys like Crosby because they too would likely have been taken before playing a game.


b) Ranking and selecting from the remaining players by using PPG has faults


c) I would analyze the 2005-06 crop of rookies thinking that since it was the first year back from the lockout and under the rules of the C.B.A. rookies had a good chance of playing because they were cheaper to pay.


d) I broke down their performance in categories called, “Next Four Seasons” and “Career Since Rookie”


e) Lastly, that if you pick one of these players, in order to be successful long term the player must improve upon their performance in their rookie year. These players that still generate points but to a lesser extent have put you back because of the opportunity cost of not selecting a veteran in exchange for their potential.


My initial conclusions were that about one third would be successful selections, one third would produce at the same range and the other third would be bad selections. Also that defensemen were erratic to predict.


Here is where I had a problem with my own conclusions:


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