Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who Drafts Goalies Well (1990-1994)

After another long break between posts in a series about team success in drafting and developing goaltenders. Over the next few days I will try to churn out a few more posts along these lines before the entry draft on June 26th (Jonathan Willis has done some great work leading up to the draft for those interested). The first two installments looked at who did a good job of drafting goaltenders in the five year periods from 2000 to 2004 and then 1995 to 1999. This post will look at team success from 1990 to 1994 using the following criteria to determine 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

Of course, not all picks are equal. A goalie taken first overall is expected to do better than one who was taken in the third round who is himself expected to do better than a goalie chosen in the seventh round. As such, each pick was given an expectation as well:

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)

When I decided on this criteria I thought that the expectations were pretty reasonable. From 2000-2004 most teams had a negative score because the higher picks did not yet have time to accumulate points. In the period from 1995-1999 all but 4 teams had a score between 10 and -10 with two outliers on each side of the ledger. That's pretty much what I was expecting. In the comments section of my last post in this series Bruce had said that a perfect system would hopefully be a zero-sum game... he may end up somewhat skeptical of the method after seeing the results 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. It seems like it might be a bit too easy for teams to achieve points but I think that's partly a function of expansion. From 1990-1994 there are only 26 teams drafting and the goalies that were drafted at this time ended up playing in a 30 team league. Still, even the 1995-1999 group is in a net positive position and they aren't close to done accumulating points. Still, the 1995-1999 group continued to benefit from expansion as well as a lower number of goaltenders drafted in that time period. There were a total of 118 from 1995-1999 compared to 139 from 1990-1994 and 160 from 2000-2004.
2. The 1990-1994 group had only 7 goaltenders taken in the first round compared to 13 from 1995-1999 and 14 from 2000-2004. Notes one and two taken together make it likely that the 2000-2004 group will not perform as well as the other two even with time. There is no more expansion, there are more goalies available and more that can miss expectations by a large margin.

3. Tampa Bay and Colorado/Quebec are the only two teams to have a positive result in all three segments. However, the Lightning actually do quite poorly on a relative basis in this segment. Further, games played is really the only evaluative criteria being used which benefits a team with poor goaltending like Tampa Bay. Quebec on the other hand drafted three significant goaltenders in this period which is impressive... except that one of them was Tim Thomas. How much credit should they get for drafting him? The only organization where Thomas found success was Boston many (many) years after he was drafted. Currently Colorado/Quebec receives a +13 score for this pick and Boston receives nothing. That may need tweaking.

4. The Oilers were one of only five teams not to develop an NHL goalie over this time period. The highest pick the Oilers used on a goalie was 34th overall for Andrew Verner. Their most successful pick was Joaquin Gage who did in fact play a few NHL games with the Oilers. Both players have videos on YouTube and Gage was
the MVP of the British Ice Hockey Super League (Tony Hand!) in 2001-02.

5. The value of first-round picks will be the subject of my next post and I expect to take a pretty negative stance on picking galies in the first round. Here's a spoiler as to the reason why: Jocelyn Thibault, Eric Fichaud, Martin Brodeur, Dan Cloutier, Jamie Storr, Evgeny Ryabchikov and Trevor Kidd.


Coach pb9617 said...

I tried to do this once just by looking at who actually spent development time on them. This is good stuff sir.

Scott said...

Thanks Coach. Did you publish that information anywhere or is it in process?

Kent W. said...

Sounds like you're on the same path that led me to believe goalies aren't worth choosing - especially in the first round.

Coach pb9617 said...

Scott - it was in an LT comments discussion.

Coach pb9617 said...

It's in this post

Scott said...

Coach - Thanks for the link. There really aren't very many organizations that are able to consistently bring goaltenders along. From what I've done so far, I'd say the top organizations at developing goaltenders since 1990 are Dallas, Montreal, Colorado and Anaheim while the worst are probably Chicago, Vancouver, St. Louis and (sigh) Edmonton.

Kent - You and I are definitely on the same page with regard to drafting goalies in the first round. You're article really pushed me in that direction (although if you read my post above you'll know that already).