The OHL Draft is the most distinguished amateur hockey draft in the world. Some of the greatest players in the history of the NHL were first drafted in the OHL, but the league does not necessarily draft the best players available.
This year’s draft featured over 60 Americans and over 30 NCAA-committed players. Drafting NCAA-committed players is more risky, which factors into the draft analysis.
Neutral Zone analyzed the last 10 years of the OHL Draft and looked at the percentage of American and NCAA-committed players who ended up going to the OHL. Secondly, we looked at how valuable a first round pick is in comparison to later rounds. Thirdly, we compared our independent rankings to the order players were drafted in.
We applied 300 points to the first overall pick, 299 to the next pick and so on until each pick is assigned a points value. We applied a discount to Americans and NCAA-committed players. We also factored in the different positions and where each player was drafted from. All leagues have different success rates, but the only ones that are statistically significant are the Ottawa, NOHA and American leagues.
The team with the highest points had the best draft on paper, even though it will take about two years to fully understand which team had the best draft.
Top 10 Highest Value Drafts
The team with the first overall pick has the best opportunity to draft the top player. If you factor in trades that occur during the year, not every team has the same number of draft picks in each round. To account for this, we assigned values to each pick by using data from the past 10 years. The highest value in our chart above was 21 and the lowest was eight. Each draft value is associated with a multiplier, which is multiplied by the total value in the first chart to come up with the total points. The total points are a more accurate depiction of a team’s success at the draft, because it takes these other factors into consideration
The Draft Position Breakdown
|Rank||Team||1–25||26–50||50–100||101–150||Pick Value||# of Picks|
The data above shows that not every team has the same opportunity to acquire talent. Kingston, for example, had only one pick in the top 50 and only four of their 13 total picks in the top 150. That differs from London, which had 16 picks. Nine of them came within the first 150 picks, and three of them came in the top 25.
Lastly, we took the pick value and assigned the corresponding multiplier to the total points in chart 1 to get a true value of the best draft performance.
Top 10 OHL Draft Combined Value Rankings
According to the raw data, Niagara and Ottawa had the best drafts. This study aimed to objectively evaluate the draft while weighting different factors like nationality, NCAA commitment and current league.
But, it is still difficult to account for all factors. For example, Antonio Stranges was drafted 21st overall. He’s arguably the most dynamic offensive talent in the draft, but he’s American and committed to Michigan. U.S. players committed to NCAA programs prior to the draft have a fairly low chance of signing. But, he lives in Michigan, which is one of two U.S. states with the highest OHL conversion rates in the past 10 years. He was also taken in the top two rounds, which has the highest OHL conversion rates. So his chances of going to London improve to about 50 percent. London choosing Stranges was still a risk, which was factored into his draft score. If London does sign Stranges, they are getting more value than we accounted for in this raw data analysis. Also, Neutral Zone rankings are based on current performance while some players are drafted on upside or potential.
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