New NHL drafting model suggested by GVSU researcher
Patrick Center July 4, 2013 | WGVU
Rapids Griffins are the 2013 American Hockey League Champions.
On the ice a show
of size, speed and desire.
Much of the
roster is stocked with players drafted by its parent club, the Detroit Red
Wings, through the National Hockey League’s annual draft.
“In general, the higher you’re drafted the
more likely you are to succeed in the NHL.”
Robert Deaner took a closer look at the past 26 NHL drafts to discover teams could
do a better job picking future all-stars if they’d make their selections based
on a player’s date of birth.
been there since the 1980’s that the NHL teams have been making this mistake,
this bias we call it, in drafting. They’re over selecting their relatively
older players or under selecting their relatively younger players, whichever
way you want to look at it it’s the same thing.”
recently released study called “Born at the Wrong Time: Selection Bias in the
NHL Draft” focused on Canadian youth hockey and its impacts on player
development and ultimately the draft.
skaters drafted since 1980 there’s a trend Deaner and his colleagues Aaron
Lowen and Stephen Cobley uncovered.
“So Guys born
in the first three months, they are 36 percent of the draftees. Guys born in
the last three months are only about 14 percent. So they’re not being drafted
nearly as much. But those 14 percent they produce as many All-Stars as the 36
percent from the first three months.”
relative age effect and in Canadian hockey it has long-term effects.
that look the best are the ones that are a little bit bigger, a little bit
faster a little bit more developed. And the ones that are typically better like
that are usually the ones that are a little bit older than the ones that are,
you know, 12 years and nine months as opposed to 12 years and one month of
slightly older kids are selected to play on the better teams, receive more ice
time and get more attention in practice while those relatively younger players
don’t and begin to lose confidence.
At a Grand
Rapids Griffin’s practice I asked the team’s Canadian born center if he buys into
Sheahan, 21-years old born on December 7th 1991. I was drafted 21st
overall by the Detroit Red Wings...Obviously
there are statistics to prove that being born earlier in the year helps but I
never knew or really heard of this theory but I guess it makes sense.”
McCollum who was born in December of 1989 and drafted 30th overall
in the 2008 draft says there’s more to it than the cosmic wheel of fate.
“As far as
over the course of a lifetime I feel like there are a lot of other factors that
could affect things rather than when you were born.”
players are born around the calendar year certainly this study I’ll keep it in
mind for the future...I’m Jiri
Fischer, Detroit Redwings Director of Player Development. Born on the last day
of July 1980.”
him a ‘tweener. He was drafted 25th overall by the Red Wings in the
does make certainly some difference in some cases but when you look through the
youth some of the talented players play three years up. And that’s talking about
the Gretzky’s and Jamir Jager’s and then there are the majority of others that
obviously it does make a difference maybe in early years to be a little bit older
When it comes
to return on investment Deaner maintains those players born later in any given
year outperform their peers based on the career milestone of 600 games played.
played that long you’ve probably made an All-Star game or two. You’re a solid
player. I think maybe about 15 percent of guys born in the last few months of a
year make it there, 15 percent of the draft picks. Whereas it’s only about
seven percent of the guys born in the first three months. The relatively
younger guys are always much more likely to make it to the career milestones.”
there’s an underdog effect. The relatively younger players may have a quiet
demeanor but worker harder to achieve greatness.
The study is
a stepping stone to other areas where relative age effect may have long-term
impacts. Deaner and his team are looking into education implications and age
bias in the classroom?