Draft by Numbers

This is Jean Francois Jacques. He was drafted 68th overall in 2003 by the Edmonton Oilers. Jacques was ranked 88th among North American skaters by Central Scouting that year, and 118th overall by Redline report. Based on both scouting services, he would have been a mid-4th round pick.

I think the Central Scouting Bureau numbers are the least credible and most often quoted of the major scouting services available to hockey fans. International Scouting Services has the widest appeal and the best scouting reports and Redline Report is the hardest marker.

The Hockey News is much improved this season but has been poor in the 05-07 editions. Bob McKenzie’s top 30 is the most accurate piece of business each season and in fact he routinely knocks out about 25 of the 30 every year.

It’s interesting to go back and see how each of the publications have faired since 2003. Did some of them predict Andrew Cogliano’s talents? Did some suggest Marc Pouliot was less than a consensus first round pick.

Let’s have a look:

2003
  1. Marc Pouliot: Ranked #13NA by Central Scouting, #13 by Bob McKenzie, #40 by Redline Report and #14 by the Hockey News.
  2. Colin McDonald: Ranked #58NA by Central Scouting, #57 by Redline Report.
  3. JF Jacques: Ranked #88NA by Central Scouting, #118 by Redline Report.
  4. Michal Joukov: Ranked #33E by Central Scouting, #62 by Redline Report.
  5. Zack Stortini: Ranked #146NA by Central Scouting, #194 by Redline Report.
  6. Kyle Brodziak: Ranked #114NA by Central Scouting, #185 by Redline Report.

Interesting to note that Pouliot, McDonald and Joukov were all rated between 40-62 by Redline. Pouliot was ranked very high by Bob McKenzie and quite low by Redline. A re-draft of that season would likely put Pouliot in Redline’s district. Kyle Brodziak has outperformed every estimate. A minor note: the Oilers picked Josef Hrabel after everyone went home but he was rated #30E by Central Scouting.

2004

  1. Devan Dubnyk: Ranked #2NA G by Central Scouting, #24 by ISS, #27 by McKeen’s, #21 by Redline Report.
  2. Rob Schremp: Ranked #10NA by Central Scouting, #5 by ISS, #13 by McKeen’s, #19 by Redline Report.
  3. Roman Tesliuk: Ranked #26NA by Central Scouting, #74 by ISS.
  4. Bryan Young: Ranked #57NA by Central Scouting, #99 by ISS.
  5. Max Gordichuk: Ranked #70NA by Central Scouting, #136 by ISS.
  6. Geoff Paukovich: Ranked #80NA by Central Scouting, #126 by ISS.
  7. Liam Reddox: Ranked #102NA by Central Scouting, #162 by ISS.

Redline did a nice job here too with both Dubnyk and Schremp. ISS and CBS missed on Reddox and I don’t know where Redline had him but do know they liked him.

2005

  1. Andrew Cogliano: Ranked #63NA by Central Scouting, #21 by ISS.
  2. Slava Trukhno: Ranked #27NA by Central Scouting, #89 by ISS.
  3. Taylor Chorney: Ranked #45NA by Central Scouting, #87 by ISS.
  4. Robby Dee: Ranked #60NA by Central Scouting, not rated by ISS.
  5. Danny Syvret: Ranked #72NA by Central Scouting, #47 by ISS.
  6. Chris Vande Velde: Ranked #59NA by Central Scouting, #156 by ISS.

In this group there are all kinds of interesting things. Cogliano didn’t impress Central Scouting but ISS nailed it. However, Central Scouting identified Trukhno as a quality pick, with ISS and the NHL teams ranking him much lower.

2006

  1. Jeff Petry: Ranked #36NA by Central Scouting, #109 by ISS.
  2. Theo Peckham: Ranked #65NA by Central Scouting, #82 by ISS.
  3. Cody Wild: Ranked #134NA by Central Scouting, not ranked by ISS.

All over the place for three defensemen who actually look like they’ll have careers. I think Peckham is probably the best overall prospect of the three but he is behind Petry by both services quoted here.

2007

  1. Sam Gagner: Ranked #6NA by Central Scouting, #7 by ISS, #5 by Redline Report, #7 by tsn, #9 by McKeen’s, #6 by the Hockey News.
  2. Riley Nash: Ranked #64NA by Central Scouting, #37 by ISS, #24 by Redline Report, #33 by tsn, #46 by McKeen’s, #94 by the Hockey News.
  3. Alex Plante: Ranked #72NA by Central Scouting, #28 by ISS, #19 by Redline Report, #32 by tsn, #50 by McKeen’s, #16 by the Hockey News.
  • Gagner: Central Scouting’s #6 North American rating is the lowest by any of the services, since that works out to about 9-10 by the time you factor in the Europeans. Either way, they had Gagner surrounded.
  • Central Scouting had Plante #72NA skater, which would work out to about 120 overall in a typical season. McKeen’s had him 50th overall, TSN an early second rounder, ISS a late first rounder and the Hockey News pegged it. The point here is that the ONLY rating system that has him outside the first two rounds is CSS. This is often the case.
  • Central Scouting’s number would put Nash somewhere near 100th overall, so with Nash they have agreement with The Hockey News. ISS and McKeen’s are pretty close, TSN liking him a hair better than that. Redline Report loved the kid, had him in the mid-teens in their mock draft.

Gare Joyce mentioned in his excellent book that scouts don’t even pay attention to the final list by Central Scouting. Each organization obviously pays attention to the early one and the mid-season edition so as the ensure no one has been missed, but the final CSB rankings are often out of time with the actual draft in June.

So, if you’re a follower of the NHL draft, I suggest you closely follow Redline and ISS, and when Bob McKenzie publishes his top 30 on tsn print it off and follow the first round with that list as your template.

Leave Central Scouting’s list where it belongs. January.

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One Response to "Draft by Numbers"

  1. Jonathan says:

    Are you following TSN’s coverage of the scouting combine? I think it’s a really nice complement to Joyce’s book, given what we know about what goes on (with one team, anyway).

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