The Contrarian – Wear a Blue Jacket and Tie

Thomas Drance

2014-06-22

Ryan Murray draft


A second look at how the Columbus Blue Jackets evaluate draft eligible prospects.

A few days ago an article was posted by fellow Dobber columnist Glen Hoos about fantasy league trophies, it was titled "And the winner is". Before you think I am going to criticize it, I in fact like it. My league has several. By far the most enjoyable and entertaining are the ones that celebrate the very good or the very bad.

 

The ones that celebrate the very good are obvious but one of the bad ones is a bit quirky. The Spare Change award, a coffee container with a slot notched out of the lid to accept donations, goes to the owner who was the closest to winning a prize without actually winning one. Owners are encouraged to drop some spare change or Canadian Tire money in it as a token gift for the owner who tried so hard but ended up getting the same as the guy who came in last… nothing.

 

So where am I going with all this cause I could have just replied to his article? Please be patient with me for a little bit longer.

 

Also on the same day and article was published by Rob Mixer of BlueJackets.com called "Analytics, 'value chart' bring new dynamic to Jackets' draft strategy".

The article describes how the Blue Jackets created a draft pick chart trying to evaluate what each pick was actually worth. Their director of hockey administration, Josh Flynn, describes it.

 

"The system is designed to show what picks are intrinsically worth, and helps us weigh draft positions against each other in terms of value. The chart is based on what we think each pick will produce, and it's backed up by a dozen years of information."

 

He goes on to explain, "What I ended up doing was grading the players based on what they became at their peak, and tweaked it based on how long they sustained that level of play."

 

The article gives an example of a theoretical trade offer where the Jacket's would trade down from the 64th spot to the 71st and 105th if the chart deemed it historically worthy.

I think it is good that tried to quantify the value of the pick and when they make pick(s) for pick(s) deals this makes some sense. Are they giving up too much or are they getting enough back?

 

Where I differ with them is the evaluation part.

 

Flynn says, "Basically, if pick 65 in 2006 produces a player who never played an NHL game, that pick is going to get a zero. On the flip side, you can figure out that the No. 1 overall pick is generally going to get higher rankings on the value chart because it has always produced an NHL player."

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They are, however, relying on the evaluations of other team's and their development of those same picks. As always in cases like this people look to the Detroit Red Wings and see that they have done an excellent job in this regard. Late round picks like Henrik Zetterberg (210th in 1999) and Pavel Datsyuk (171