Let me start this off by saying that I really dislike numerical rankings that we all see and nitpick. I think it takes away from the whole point of drafting and developing junior talent. A professional hockey team is a large organization of various small groups of people trying to put the best product on the ice that they can. Coaches, managers and players of all kinds will have effects on the new players acquired, be it through free agency, a trade or the draft. The point, at least to me, is to draft the players you think are at the highest level that you believe can develop into being impact NHL players. Nearly every player ever drafted has required some level of care when it comes to development, and often teams that rush their prospects are the ones that end up paying for it the most, especially outside of the very highest of draft picks. My approach is to group players according to a tier system that I would be happy discussing at any of the picks within that group at a draft. I find that it provides room for much more nuanced discussion about what exactly you're looking for at a given pick.
My whole goal with this project is to help fans and teams to better understand exactly what it is that they're acquiring in a draft pick in a more empirical way, as well as highlight some names I've come across in my >600 players from around the world tracked in real time. Well over 15,000 games of data have been logged with quite a bit of hockey left to play. I've tried to watch as many games as I possibly can to refine the rankings a bit, but obviously all that data pushes things in a bit of a different direction.
A few notes before we get started: