IIHF study critical of NHL drafting of Europeans

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by LadyStanley, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley Elasmobranchology-go

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    http://www.globesports.com/servlet/...Hockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20061025.wspteuro25

    IIHF study critical of NHL drafting Europeans, looking at the 2000-2006 drafts.

     
  2. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Still on hiatus

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    I'm curious how anyone makes an accurate judgment of the 2003-2006 drafts at this point in time ... even passing judgment on 2002 can be considered iffy.
     
  3. discostu

    discostu Registered User

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    That's what jumped out at me immediately.

    The claim of 62.5% is the most odd, as, there can't possibly be that many of the drafted players that have come over from Europe.
     
  4. stv11

    stv11 Global Moderator

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    It is not about players drafted from 2000 to 2006, it is about players who actually played in the NHL during those years.

    Here's a link to the full study :

    http://hockeyfans.ch/upload/IIHF_Study.pdf

    Good read, some interesting points are made
     
  5. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    That does indeed seem to be a baffling strike against the study, doesn't it?

    However, it's definitely an interesting topic for a study. If there is indeed a problem with too many players coming over too early, then it's only going to get worse with the new retention limits for European draftees. Even more of those fringe guys will be signed and brought over here to develop. Although of course, one may presume that fewer overall will even be drafted, so perhaps it balances out.

    The other side of it that's worth including in the study is the impact of having junior-aged players come over to play in the CHL. That seems to be more of a concern for Czech and Slovak players than for Scandinavians. But if the CHL does indeed reduce the import quota from 2 players per team to 1, then that should help a little bit.

    But then you come to the structure of the payments in the new transfer agreement, and it seems like the IIHF has indeed tried to build in some protection against late round picks coming over to toil in the minors with some extra payouts there. So it's not like anybody is being blindsided by this.

    And then finally, there's the question of how many players are now going the other way. It seems to me that there are lots more experienced minor pro North Americans heading overseas now, and not just to the usual destinations in the DEL and Swiss leagues. Those leagues may be overrun with imports, but there are increasing numbers of players going elsewhere too, such that I don't think there is an issue really with the overall calibre of the leagues being diluted by NHL draft pillaging. The issue might be one of wishing there was more local flavour vs. the imports, but then, that's the same issue that factions here have been complaining about for a couple of decades now.

    Interesting topic to be sure, definitely lots to be looked at that isn't really available in that article.
     
  6. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    Thx, that helps clear some things up nicely! :handclap:
     
  7. discostu

    discostu Registered User

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    Here's the quote directly from the study:

    Here is the definition of grades that they use:

    So, the 62.5% refers to guy that are not on the level of Hossa or Ohlund. That means that 37.5% are. That can't be right.

    This study is highly questionable. They make conclusions that NHL teams don't need to bring over so many players, because a lot of them don't stick. What they don't address is, that there is no way of knowing which ones will have great careers, and which will be non-impact players. If teams knew which players are going to be impact players, then, we wouldn't have late round gems.

    EDIT: It's clear they are splitting up the 3 section into 3+ and 3-. They don't really give examples of who would be a 3+, and who would be a 3-.
     
  8. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley Elasmobranchology-go

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  9. J17 Vs Proclamation

    J17 Vs Proclamation Registered User

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    Well considering they class Mezei a marginal player/healthy scratch and Denis Shvidki that as well, their basic knowledge sucks. Shvidki can't even crack an AHL team, he should be rated a 1, and Mezei without injuries will be a solid top 4 Dman in the NHL.
     
  10. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    I dunno... that's 233 players? 233 star-quality European NHLers on NHL teams or in NHL systems between 2000 and 2006... that's basically 7-8 per NHL team. It sounds too high, but I guess you'd have to see the official list of grades to be sure. Right now, my team could reel off 7 or 8 names this season: Koivu, Markov, Kovalev, Samsonov, Huet, Aebischer, Bonk, Niinimaa... but you'd really have to wonder how the last 5 on that list were rated that highly. It gets kind of confusing because past Page 1, they subsequently break down the 621 players and say that only 117 were graded 3+ and above, which is certainly a much easier number to immediately imagine.

    Generally speaking, I don't think it would be productive to nitpick one or two rankings, as J17vs.P proves above. I've done draft studies using exactly this same subjective 1-5 scaling myself, and you really have to give up on the nitpicking as long as the overall trends can be supported. And unless we see the full data on that, we'll never really know, but...

    I think there's a legitimate question here about a) the motive, and b) the conclusions of this study. (I love the idea of the study regardless of those factors, however!)

    Motive:
    What is the driving purpose behind the study? Is it premised on wanting to keep Europeans at home longer and trying to find statistical support for that argument? Or is it premised on trying to find the optimal methods of developing hockey players, period? (Or both, or neither, or also on other factors?). Or is it a "truly neutral" scientific study, based only on a desire to find out as much about the situation as possible, independent from what the results show? It's a little bit hard to discern which is the case, because the presentation at times suggests a preconceived pro-European motive, while it may nevertheless be that the author had no such motive, and the data (of which we only see summaries) truly leads to the inescapable conclusions that the report arrives at.

    Conclusions:
    Generally speaking, I think most NHL fans would support the idea of reducing the split from 70/30 to 80/20. And it definitely looks like the data would conclusively support the arguments against not signing/drafting as many Europeans and/or allowing them to develop at home as opposed to playing in the minors or the CHL. But I think it needs to be presented better, with better graphics, if you really wanted to use it as a sales pitch to NHL GMs and their staffs. I think there would be an increasingly sympathetic support base for these ideas in NHL circles, if you could tip some of them over the old school edge long enough for it to take hold. It looks like Detroit and Dallas, for example, would be ready to lead a progressive charge there with regards to letting European countries retain and develop their players longer at home.

    And with the new 2-year retention rights on European draftees, I think it does become imperative to actively try to kickstart such a progression throughout the NHL as much as possible, because the danger of teams taking the easy way out and just signing and bringing their European draftees over to the minors here certainly exists. There's quite a balancing act to consider, particularly in the new CBA era when we don't yet know all the ramifications of the interrelated effects of the 2-year rights, the 7 round draft, the quota limitations and payments in the transfer agreement, the potential for new trends arising in terms of cap-conscious teams "filling out rosters" with veteran Europeans willing to come over as free agents, etc.

    And while the author eventually tries to make a point about the value of countries preserving their own styles with regards to the interest level of international tournaments... I think that kind of goes against the grain of where this issue should be going. Instead, I'd say hockey styles are converging globally moreso than ever before... and that it would therefore be easier than ever before to take advantage of that by encouraging international partnerships between the NHL and European teams.

    There's a lot of information and thought, both subjective and objective, that has gone into this report. And whether or not it initially arose with ulterior motives, I think it could be readily honed into a convincing argument for making better use of European leagues for the development of NHL players, while also being mutually beneficial to the European leagues in terms of player retention. The idea has a lot going for it. Work in some financial angles, weed out a few mixed messages, add better graphics, and I'd be sold on it as a GM.
    :handclap:
     
  11. discostu

    discostu Registered User

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    This report started out with such biased intentions, and pretty hastily made conclusions, that, I don't see much value in it. The rough research is valuable, but nothing special. There's so much missing from the analysis, and so much distorted. For one, I think draft position should play a large role in this type of analysis.

    The section on the CHL is remarkably misleading. They use the group of retired European players as the basis of much of their conclusions of why the CHL is bad for player development. They never stop to mention that this practice is still pretty new, and, that most of the CHL success stories of European players, are still playing in the NHL.

    The raw data might be interesting, but anything written in this report is pretty bad. Honestly, the fact that the IIHF has endorsed this makes them pretty suspect in my mind.
     
  12. john g

    john g Registered User

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    The simple fact is - Said European players (whatever the real or fictional values used) choose to come over out of their own free will. Nobody goes over to Europe, grabs players out of their homes and drags them to North America to be a healthy scratch. Both the NHL teams and the players themselves are both gambling that they'll hit success. And in some cases they just go back home (Pivko, Vujtek, Pirnes of recent Pens Euro woes).
     
  13. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley Elasmobranchology-go

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  14. Schitzo

    Schitzo Registered User

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    One other thing to consider is that for the draft years they're considering, how many of these players are considered "marginal" simply because they're getting used to NHL hockey and north american lifestyle?

    On the oilers, for example, take Alexei Mikhnov. First round pick in 2000, spent years in russia, came over not knowing a word of english. Played 4 minutes in a single game this year. Is he a failure? Not by a longshot, he's picking up the language and getting his game up to speed. Why should we be surprised that this is the case?


    edit: and another thought - assume every team drafts 7 players every year, and an NHL player's career averages, say, 12 years. In a 12-year span, a team will draft 84 players to fill 23 spots, which means that approximately 27% of all players drafted will make it to the NHL level. Saying that 37.5% of european draftees become impact players or superstars is actually BETTER than the average result coming out of the draft. Are they sure it's not the north american drafting that needs work?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  15. hdw

    hdw Registered User

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    I think the point they want to make is that youngsters are coming over too early.
    Before they've matured and developed in their home leagues (at least thats what everyone is hollering about over here).

    The argument is that young players develop and mature faster and better in their 'home' leagues than in foreign league in a foreign country. And that this edge is worth more than the eventual adaption to NA hockey style.

    The idea is that we'd all get better hockey players in the end if youngster were allowed to play some years at home before they move over the pond.

    But of course, there's also the fact that 'we' want to keep our nuggets longer, instead of having them slug it out in AHL.
     
  16. hockeydadx2*

    hockeydadx2* Guest

    Fine, then tell those players to make the decisions themselves to not come over. It's not like the NHL is kidnapping these players. The IIHF and its member organizations realize that they are powerless to keep their players at home, simply because their players prefer to come over here, and they want to blame the NHL instead of themselves.

    It's a free world, folks. Deal with it.
     
  17. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    I think it goes beyond that, though. It's not so much a matter of "blaming" the NHL for the players' personal choices, but rather encouraging the NHL to try to take a longer view and not necessarily give those players the choice to begin with in every case. Free world or not, if some of the statistical arguments in the report hold weight upon closer inspection, then it would actually be in the NHL's best interests to decline to give some of the players the option to come over too early.

    But of course, how you convince an NHL GM of that... well... hard to do when many of them are on the hook for their draft decisions and need to show immediate results, and naturally enough want to take as personal a hand as possible in seeing that their decisions bear fruit. Especially when the players and the agents are eager to play along. It takes a GM who either has a lot of freedom or courage to break with the tradition. And if the first guy to embrace it falls flat (even for reasons completely unrelated to his handling of European player development) then it could set the program back.

    Ultimately Daly's take on it will win out... the NHL itself isn't going to get involved, aside from agreeing to a few wrinkles here and there in the Transfer Agreement about extra payments for transfers who don't play in the NHL, or imposing absolute quota limits on the total number of transfers allowed each year. Past that, it's up to NHL teams to blaze their own trails according to their own beliefs. If they want to be old school and believe that getting their kids over to the CHL or AHL ASAP is how they're going to develop best and adapt to the "North American style", well that's up to them. If they want to think about signing guys and letting them keep playing in Europe or even farming out some North American kids to Europe like Dallas is dabbling in, then best of luck to them. Nothing will change quickly, and it will remain open to personal preference, regardless of how convincing the statistical arguments are.

    But I'm pretty much sold... I'd be taking the "progressive" approach that the report is basically promoting for my team. If I was trying to sell the idea to anybody else, for whatever reason, I'd work on tightening up the report, however.
     
  18. Respect Your Edler

    Respect Your Edler Thank You 52

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    Ugh. Hockey would be dead without the NHL, I don't see how they can complain. It's not like we know how a player is going to turn out when we draft them. Some players exceed expectations, some bust. Besides, no one forces those European players to stay, they can leave whenever they want and play in Europe. They choose not to.
     
  19. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    Does it really matter when or if these guys are drafted? They aren't forced to sign NHL contracts and come over here just because they were drafted. I'm sure there are some Europeans that get drafted and never sign NHL contracts while remaining content to stay in Europe for their entire careers.
     
  20. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    Not really. You can't walk out on an existing contract with an NHL team and sign with a European club just because you are unhappy. The contract has to expire, or the NHL team at least has to agree with your plan.
     
  21. hdw

    hdw Registered User

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    Well, first of all I fail to see how hockey would be dead without NHL.
    The key to all sports is audience and the great majority of hockey audience over here doesn't care very much about NHL. To most NHL is short clips of some swede scoring and some notes about how the swedes have done in last night's games. Plus possibly some articles about the big wigs.

    And even if every youngster starting to play wants to go and play in the NHL today, it's because they can and it's the best league with the highest paychecks.
    But I don't think the possibility of NHL is make or break for anyone to start with hockey.

    But the problem with the current systems (not just in NA, the problem is just as much on this side) is that teams are basicly forced to draft players very early in development, and as the rules stand they have to sign them equally early.

    So team's act according to 'better safe than sorry' and brings young players over and when they don't make the grade (which most of don't) they end up in AHL 'to mature and develop'.

    This isn't much of a problem for NA youngsters since they stay in the same system while for most euros it means leaving the top national league and start over in a foreign second tier league, with a new country, new culture, new language.

    The end effect is that many doesn't develop they way they could have at home.

    But the problem is over here as well, partly due to the age rules in AHL, there's a surplus of players that 'almost' made it to NHL.
    More and more of those are signed by euro teams, limiting the slots and ice time needed for youngsters to develop.

    So they're kind of effed any way they turn.

    One creative way of trying to solve this has been tried where players are signed by an NHL team and then leased (or loaned) back to their euro team.

    But it's a limited solution, since there is no way to call up a player from the other side of the pond.

    But maybe that would be a solution.
    Some form of agreement where the NHL team could call their signee back, but with some time delay (like you have to announce it one month ahead or so).

    As a side effect it would increase the importance of junior/farm teams in europe, since the euro team have to call someone up to cover.
     
  22. FoppaArGud

    FoppaArGud Registered User

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    Hmmmm ...

    Interesting read although it seems like 2000-2006 is a little premature for grading draftees. I mean 2003-present is VERY iffy.

    Also, the way they grade is in hindsight, what are the percentages on North American players?

    I think this is a move to keep more talent in the Euro leagues for longer and appease them.

    That said, I do think this is an issue in basketball, there are a lot of good NCAA players who get left to play in Europe or in the NBDL (more so Europe) because teams take flyers on Euros and, until this year, high schoolers. That said, I think it's a matter of drafting the WRONG Euros there, there are plenty of good undrafted cats coming outta the European pros, more than there are busts in the first round, I think. They just need a longer draft (used to be much longer) and team-affiliated minor leagues (or send the guys to Europe, get a better agreement with FIBA or whoever governs that).
     
  23. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Still on hiatus

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    Please tell Alexei Shkotov (who's now walked out on the Blues for the 3rd time since being drafted in 2002 because they won't hand him an NHL roster spot) this.
     
  24. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    Does he have a clause in his contract that allows it? Some players had the foresight to get this in there. Kudos to them for thinking ahead. If he is in violation of his contract by not reporting to the minors, if assigned there by St. Louis, they could challenge it when/if he signs a contract with another club. If they choose not to, it means they don't care and tacitly approve of it.
     

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