Talent Pool by Decade

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Stonefly, Apr 4, 2007.

View Users: View Users
  1. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    84
    It's been mentioned repeatedly in these forums that the talent pool that the NHL draws from has expanded and that the number of very talented players has therefore also grown. I do not dispute this at all. But I was wondering if anyone had any kind of statistics or numbers to show the difference from today to say the 60's. How many were enrolled in minor hockey back then versus today? Anyone?
     
  2. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,032
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Well the NHL consisted of around 90-95% or more Canadians until the 1970's - and even by the mid 1970's there were not that many players from other countries, more and more Americans and a handfull of Swedes and Finns. Like Salming and quite a few WHA stars. But in those days most Europeans who came over were stars or very good players. There were few "role players" coming from Europe.

    For much of NHL History all the players were Canadian or from the Northern US.

    Canada's population:
    1921 8.8 million
    1931 10.4 million
    1941 11.5 million
    1951 13.7 million
    1956 16 million
    1961 18.2 million
    1966 20 million
    1971 21.6 million
    1976 23.5 million
    1981 24.8 million
    2006 32.2 million

    So with a far smaller population Canada had 90%+ proportion of the players. Since the 1970's through today more and more Americans are playing hockey and from areas like Florida and California where they never played hockey previously. The Swedes and Finns began sending over all kinds of players rather than stars beginning in the 1980's through to the last 10 years when ANY role could go to a European not just the role of star or semi-star.
    1989 the Iron Curtain fell and the Russian and Czech players could join the NHL. And in the last 5-10 years you have all kinds of other countries producing top level players. Like the Swiss, Germans, Austrians and of course the former Soviet republics.

    The talent pool has massively increased since the 1960's.
     
  3. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    84
    I keep reading posts that the talent pool is so vast now. It would be nice to see some numbers of the increase and maybe the percentage increase in talent pool versus growth of the NHL. These numbers probably don't exist or would take a great amount of work to come up with but it would be nice to see just how much the ratio of talent pool to number of NHL players has changed.
     
  4. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,651
    Likes Received:
    629
    Trophy Points:
    139
    Notwithstanding eras with competing leagues (WHA, PCHA, etc) or World War Two, the Canadian talent pool has been remarkably similar over time.

    Here's a chart showing regular NHLers as a percentage of Canada population, based on C2SR's numbers.


    The number for 2006 should be doubled since Canadian only make up half the league now. This means that 1 in 112,000 Canadians make the NHL today, which is actually a higher rate than during the Original Six era.

    On the main boards we see people trash Shore because there was "no competition" for the Hart. Considering his era roughly spanned 1931 to 1941, we see that Canadian made the NHL at only a slightly lower rate than they make it today.

    Obviously these are rough estimates, but the numbers make sense. The Canadian talent pool was higher in the Original Six era than it was today; there are more than three times as many jobs to go around today (for Canadians) and the total population has only doubled.

    When people say that there are so many quality NHLers nowadays, they forget that there were literally only 100 jobs available during the 1950s and 1960s. Canadians made the NHL at roughly the same rate then as they do now. The huge amount of talent, good enough for the NHL but not in it due to the lack of jobs available, is also shown by the fact that when the NHL doubled, there were enough NHL-calibre players to build (mostly) healthy, sustainable franchises.

    The overall talent pool is higher today due to non-Canadians in the NHL, but the question is: have the number of new jobs created through expansion outpaced the population growth from all countries? The only was to really estimate this is to look at the percentage of advanced junior/semi-pro hockey players in each country, in proportion to the jobs available today.

    (Two quick technical notes: I'm defining "regular NHLer" as a player that appears in more than half the schedule. Of course, it would be useful to look more specifically at the percentage of Canadians playing hockey. If Canada's population is higher now due to seniors living longer, that doesn't really add to the country's ability to produce NHL players).
     
  5. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    84
    Fantastic work as usual Hockeyoutsider. Thank you.
    I have had a hard time swallowing this larger talent pool theory that keeps being presented as fact but I can't really argue against it as it hasn't been proven one way or the other.

    Here's one thought on it though. If the talent pool is so great and vast why are there so many guys bouncing between the NHL and minors?
     
  6. Philanthropist

    Philanthropist Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    because with the talent pool increasing, mediocre players are having a hard time fitting in.
     
  7. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    84
    What mediocre players? There are no more mediocre players, what with all the talent to choose from.:sarcasm:
     
  8. ck26

    ck26 Alcoholab User

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    11,086
    Likes Received:
    338
    Trophy Points:
    155
    Location:
    Coyotes Bandwagon
    Never seen that percentage-of-populations stat ... thank's HO.
    I think this question hurts your argument. Guys in the O6 era played together for years and really bonded as a team, probably moreso than they do today. Teams would remain almost intact from one year to the next, and a core group of guys would stay together for a decade.

    Stability can be a product of excellence, but more often it's a product of complacency and stagnation. Suppose 100 random Canadian families eat at the same restaraunt every weekend. The families from Toronto or Montreal are probably eating at what is really a great restaraunt, but the families from rural Saskatchewan are probably doing it because there's only one restaraunt in town, not because the place is worth a darn. If teams roll out the same lineup year after year, they're probably suffering from a barren farm system.

    There are many stories of old players either retiring early or simply never turning pro because it wasn't as socially acceptable 100 years ago to play sports as a profession. Dickie Boon was one of the best players of the early 20th century, but he never played professionally because his parents didn't approve. Surely THAT didn't help the overall talent level, especially compared to today, when, especially in the United States, sports are viewed in some demographics as THE way for you and your family to escape a life of poverty.

    There is so much prestige and reward that comes with making it to the NHL guys will try harder and longer to make it, because even a 4th-line role player will be set for life if he sticks on a roster for a couple seasons.

    Factor in that teams stand to gain or lose so much based on results and teams are quicker to pull the plug on someone who isn't producing and replace him with a younger guy who is.

    The sport of hockey has always been cutthroat, but in the modern world, the business of hockey is too.

    It certainly appears that there is more talent, and I'd be inclined to say that there is, but the sport has changed in other ways too, so it's certainly up for debate.
     
  9. Philanthropist

    Philanthropist Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    haha :)

    In any league, there are people on the fringes trying to make it. You can see this at any level of hockey.

    I think the argument here is whether a 4th liner today could have been a 1st liner 70 years ago.

    Well, back 70 years ago the NHL was composed of primarily North Americans, with little diversification of European talent in the league. Along with that, most players had to have a part time job to support themselves, seeing as they weren't provided with today's multi-million dollar contracts.

    In my opinion a greater diversification of players along with a full time focus on their game has greatly increased today's talent pool (not to mention the switch from flat sticks to curved ones :p: ).
     
  10. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Location:
    Mass/formerly Ont
    Cirved sticks have been around a long time. In fact the curves were more pronounced 40 years ago.
     
  11. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    24,415
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    No Bandwagon
    Home Page:
    The question is has the growth of the talent pool exceeded the growth of the league.
     

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"