Draft Rank Factors 


Ranking the NHL draft class is a long process for the Hockey Prophets, and involves multiple iterations and sources of input. In order to help shed some light on why players could higher or lower than expected based on what might be found at other sources, here is an summary of the process.


Step 1: The Players

The Hockey Prophets start collecting data and observing players typically at the U16 tournaments and the CHL drafts. As an example, before the 2016 draft class gets its first official ranking, the 2018s are already being watched. 


Step 2: Collecting Games

As the players progress through the seasons leading up to the draft, games watched will be noted and player files will grow. Certainly, during the draft year itself, players get a lot more visibility via more ice time, multiple tournaments, and publications from scouting services and the like.


Step 3: The Opinions

Preliminary draft rankings from multiple sources are collected as they are published, and the resulting ranks are weighted based on what the Hockey Prophets have observed in the past of the predictive abilities of each source. Some are better than others at identifying talent, other better at identifying NHL selections, and so on. The Hockey Prophets weigh each opinion-maker's rankings and compile them into a weighted opinion rank.


Step 4: The Data

The draft year data for each player is collected, normalized and analyzed. From the player age and production rate, an "A/P Score" is calculated that compares the current players with the entire Draft-Year Database, ranking the production against more than 1,700 players from past drafts. 


Step 5: Player Attributes

Once the draft year is over for a particular class, the Hockey Prophets look again at their player files and the publications, and compile a secondary scoring of a player's hockey intelligence and skating abilities. These scores are again weighted, and subjectively identified on a scale.


Step 6: The Ranks

Once everything is compiled, the hardest work begins. The factors for age and production (A/P), height, weight, intelligence, skating, the weighted opinions from external sources and the actual results from the NHL draft are compared for each player, and the final ranking is completed. This is not simply a number-crunching exercise, although there is a significant amount of data input. Players are ranked based on these factors, but also on subjective factors. When the list is finalized, it should be a ranking of the best probable outcomes of NHL player performance in fantasy hockey leagues. 


A Note on Goaltenders

Goaltenders often do not rank well on the Hockey Prophets draft rankings because of the effects of volatility. Netminders are highly erratic and carry a tremendous amount of future volatility. Because the rankings are risk adjusted, volatility hurts a player's position on the list. The length of time that a goalie must typically develop adds to that, as well, giving them more time to suffer injury, bad luck, disaffection or vast improvement. The already volatile results swing even more wildly, and the goaltenders drop yet further down the list. Starting NHL goaltenders are typically extremely valuable in fantasy hockey, particularly in dynasty leagues. However, given the fact that most goalies take several years to break into the NHL from the time they are drafted, and the inherant randomness of their future values, the Hockey Prophets know only that the future is murky at best, and therefore tend to value draft-age goalies much lower than many, many others.



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Age/Production Score: The Hockey Prophets draft year database is a collection of almost 2,000 players and their draft year statistics. Draft-year production has been normalized using NHLe translations, and standardized across the data set. Each player's age at the draft is also standaradized, and a weighted score is generated. The score itself has been backtested against player performance to determine the relative strength of the score. The score is also sometimes shown as "A/P Score."


Weighted Opinions: Each year, the Hockey Prophets collect multiple draft rankings from a variety of scouting services. The individual rankings are combined into a weighted, pre-draft score that is displayed as "weighted opinions."

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