AKA – Lets see how good NHL scouts really are…
Follow the break for Norris, Vezina, and Calder numbers.
It’s interesting to see the disparity between positions. Top defencemen are clearly the easiest to spot at a young age. Could it be due to the physical nature of the position and the need for size as well as skill (something much easier to measure with young players)?
Goalies on the other hand are quite a mixed bag (I realize that Hasek single-handedly skews this whole chart, but even disregarding him). It seems like this position is most difficult to judge based on junior-level success.
Note: I realize that Gretzky’s being undrafted is a mere technicality since the NHL would not draft him at such a young age and that he likely would have gone 1st overall. Regardless, he was undrafted and there is no room in this analysis for “might-haves”. You could use the same argument to suggest that many Russian players have been drafted low or not at all for extraneous reasons (Philadelphia considered drafting Bobrovsky, for example, but didn’t due to the difficulty of drafting Russian players).