Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Drafts Goalies Well (1995-1999)

Well it's taken a good long while, but this is actually the second installment in a series of posts about drafting goaltenders. The first took a look at who did a good job of drafting goaltenders between 2000 and 2004. I used the following criteria in determining the number of points that a team received for any particular goaltender:

The goalie plays an AHL game - 2
The goalie plays 40+ AHL or NHL games in a single season - 2
The goalie plays an NHL game - 1
For the team that drafted him - 1
The goalie plays in 50 NHL games over his career - 1
For the team that drafted him - 1
The goalie plays 40+ NHL games in a single season - 4
For the team that drafted him - 3
The goalie plays 40+ NHL games in at least five different seasons - 4
For the team that drafted him - 3
The goalie is nominated for the Vezina trophy - 4
For the team that drafted him - 3


Each pick was given an expectation as well, as follows:

1st to 10th overall - 22 (starting goalie on your team for at least five seasons)
Rest of 1st round - 15 (starting goalie on your team for at least one season)
2nd round - 6 (should at least play in one NHL game for your team)
3rd round - 5 (should at least play in one NHL game for somebody)
4th round - 4 (should manage to be an AHL starter)
5th round - 3 (should have a 50/50 chance at being an AHL starter)
6th round - 2 (should play in at least one AHL game)
7th round + - 1 (should have a 50/50 chance at playing an AHL game)

Those seem like pretty reasonable expectations to me. However, with the sample being taken from 2000-2004 the higher picks haven't really been around long enough to cover their bet. As such, the teams that took goalies in the first round generally received a lower grade. With this earlier sample (1995-1999) we might get a better idea of the value of drafting goalies in the early rounds.

I've presented the findings in the following chart. The first column is the team, the second, any significant goalies (at least 50 NHL games). The next set of columns represent points that the team has accumulated based on their goalie picks: their net points (actual - expected), actual points and expected points based on the criteria outlined above. The final set of columns will isolate what strategy each team uses in the draft (whether they draft a lot of goalies, or only a few, in the first round, or only in the later rounds). These are the number of goalies drafted, number drafted in round one, in rounds two to four and in rounds five and over.


A few notes:

1. Of the 26 goalies drafted in this time period who played 50 NHL games 17 of them played for one of the nine top ranked teams in this system. The two that are probably the best were first round picks on teams who otherwise did a poor job of drafting goaltenders.

2. 13 goalies were drafted in the first round from 1995-1999 compared to 14 between 2000-2004. 118 goalies were drafted from 1995-1999 compared to 157 between 2000-2004. The scores also tended to be closer to 0 in this segment than in the last one.

3. The two teams with a positive score in both time periods are Colorado and Tampa Bay. That's unexpected. This makes me think that the system is somewhat flawed. The importance placed on games played means that teams with weak goaltending will be more willing to try out their draft picks than teams with strong goaltending (why did New Jersey choose two goalies in the first round anyway). Still, Colorado had Roy around for almost this entire time so they don't benefit from that effect so much here.

4. The teams that drafted goalies in the first round didn't fair nearly as poorly because they have had more time to cover the bets made. Still, many of the teams didn't actually get their points from the first rounder working out as much as they did from a late rounder making up for it (Pittsburgh's first rounder was Craig Hillier, without him they would have scored +11, Phoenix took Patrick DesRochers, without him they would have scored +7...). I'll do a separate post on first rounders, but right now, they still look like a pretty bad bet to me.

5. The Oilers were actually okay in terms of drafting goaltenders. Their best over this period was Mike Morrison which isn't great, but they also didn't waste many high round picks on goalies. Their highest pick, Patrick Dovigi, was a complete bust.

6. This segment is where San Jose gets their reputation as a goalie machine from. Both guys were drafted out of Finland in the same year (1995). They picked another goalie ahead of those two in the same year (Scott Roche) who didn't work out as well. I'd say their reputation is overblown.

6 comments:

Coach pb9617 said...

Awesome work.

I've been trying to figure out a method to encompass the next stage of this -- developing goaltenders, not just drafting them.

Scott said...

Thanks Coach. I'm planning on putting up years 1990-1994 and then another post looking at the fifteen year period. This is sort of intended to be an all-encompassing view since teams do get more points if the goalie plays for their team and since I have no idea how to distinguish between good drafting and good development from the information that we have. If you'd like some help or have ideas, let me know. Maybe we can work together.

Bruce said...

Interesting work, Scott.

I did a smell test of summing your total points, and came up with -21 for the 1995-99 group and -105 for the 2000-04 group. Makes sense in that both groups would have all of their sunk costs from the get-go, while the positive points for actual performance are still accruing. The older group should be much closer to showing their value, obviously. The 1990-94 group should be closer still to break even, perhaps even a small positive.

A perfect system of course should be a zero sum game when all of the careers are complete. The monkey wrench in any long-term system is expansion changing the numbers of teams between the time of the drafts and during the careers of the draftees.

Scott said...

I don't know that the 2000-2004 group will catch up Bruce. There were way more goalies drafted in this time than in the previous one so it's pretty inevitable that more of them are going to fail unless of course there's even more expansion, as you already pointed out.

Bruce said...

There were way more goalies drafted in this time than in the previous one so it's pretty inevitable that more of them are going to fail unless of course there's even more expansion, as you already pointed out.

Yeah. Essentialy both groups are graduating into a 30-team NHL (and AHL), so the larger group will have a lower success rate. Interesting though that the number of draft picks is only 1/6 higher in the 2000-04 group, the number of drafted goalies is fully 1/3 higher. As a percentage of all drafted players, goalies were 118/1251 = 9.4% in '95-99, 157/1456 = 10.8% in '00-04.

Scott said...

I think it is really interesting Bruce, especially since it's almost all happening outside of the first round. Way more goalies are being taken but it's not because there are more that are perceived as sure things.