At Not Your Average Hockey Blog, we’re always been trying to change that a little bit. I like to consider the what-if in several storylines in the NHL. One of the biggest storylines in the NHL right now is how the Ottawa Senators chose to hand over this year’s first round draft pick to Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche instead of last year’s. The Senators supporters have not forgotten this trade at everyone. According to the fine people over at Senspicker, the Senators’ choice has an 18.5% chance of being the 1st overall choice, 16.5% chance of being the 2nd overall choice, 14.4% chance of being the 3rd overall choice and a 50.6% chance of being the 4th overall choice be. With a weighted average, the Senators’ choice was probably rounded 2,971 to the 3rd overall choice. The choice that the senators could have made last year was the 4th overall choice.
Analysis by TSN showed that statistically speaking, the 3rd overall pick will be a top six forward, with a basic guarantee that they will play 100 games in the NHL. The 4th overall pick will statistically be a top nine forward with an 84% chance of playing 100 games in the NHL, and a 24% chance of being a 4th line player or worse. The analysis shows one thing clearly, there is a statistical advantage to choosing third versus choosing fourth. With that said, the analysis does not take into account the strength of the concept class. The 2019 concept is expected to be deep, but not very top heavy. The 2018 concept on the other hand was not very deep, but rather top heavy. The first four picks in the 2018 NHL draft are all regular in the NHL, with the fifth pick Barrett Hayton; is returning to the OHL after being scratched for his first two NHL games. The Ottawa Senators may not have their first choice, but they will have Columbus Blue Jackets’ first-round pick; which is expected to be in the teens. Of course, a top-four pick is far more valuable than a mid-round pick, but what if the trade balance is the 4th overall pick plus the 15th overall pick for the 3rd overall pick and a substitute level player? Suddenly it’s not as bad as it seems!
The next step is to consider the value of the players involved. According to hockeyprospect.com, ISS Hockey, Future Considerations, McKeen’s Hockey, and TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Russian wing Vasili Podkolzin is the projected third overall choice. The comparison to Brady Tkachuk, the Ottawa Senators draft pick, will have its strengths and weaknesses. It is advantageous that they are both wings, and play similar matches, but they play in different leagues and Podkolzin has a relatively small sample size of 29 matches this season. Using NHLe as a way to normalize point values, Podkolzin has an NHLe score of 20.97. (For our readers who are not aware of NHLe, a quick guide is available here.) If you look at Brady Tkachuk’s Hockey East stats in his draft year, he has an NHLe score of 23.5135. What the statistics show us is that Brady Tkachuk offensively had a stronger offensive year in his draft year than Podkolzin had this year. As mentioned before, however, there are factors that NHLe did not take into account in his formula, such as the few games Podkolzkin played this year, and the instability that Podkolzin had this year, with him playing in three teams this season. alone.
My argument here is not that the Ottawa Senators are incredibly managed, and they have a capable owner. If you have a few minutes, go check it out Episode 2 from our Bag of Pucks podcast. I spend forty minutes calling out the Ottawa Senators. My argument here, however, is that the option to transfer the fourth choice instead of possibly the expected third overall choice may not be as big of a deal as it sounds. What do you think? We look forward to hearing from you! Comment below, or tweet me directly here.