Well it's that time again. With all the uncertainty in the world, we're kinda getting an NHL playoff I suppose, and the draft has been pushed back. In a weird stroke of luck, the extra preparation time has been a huge opportunity to keep refining data and getting a wider and better sample of this draft class. This is the first installment of a full list of 111 players I usually rank, plus a 25 player Watchlist full of guys that check some boxes either analytically and/or with the old-fashioned e y e t e s t. Why 111, you ask? Because it's 1 three times and I make the rules. Thing do get significantly more blenderized in my head beyond 93, but nitpick if you dare.
In my rankings things have changed significantly since November. The gap between the 11-20 range has widened to really encompass my 11-30 range, and you could seriously make an argument to me to take any of those players. I obviously have my preferences and they're ordered as such, but it's a very interesting year to have many picks in the top three rounds. It's a fascinating group of players, and when considering all available factors, it's really hard to nail down specific order of player's I'd select, and frankly I think that's okay. How teams develop and form them into the future role they can fit into is what will separate this class, but there's tons to play around with.
If you're a Patron of the project, you can view my rankings as they change over the year, with the full 111 unlocked at the $25 tier along with my full data sheet of >700 skaters and goaltenders' data.
If you're new here, I generally tend to think of my rankings in "Tiers", which attempts to group players into a pool from which I feel the order could be interchangeable, with the numbers ordering the players as how I might push for them in a draft discussion. I find that it creates much more balanced and nuanced discussion, especially considering these players are so young and may have wildly different potential trajectories that may differ reasonably depending on which NHL organization picks them up.
The data I am including is partially derived from pick224.com, operated by the great Dave MacPherson. Without him, my work would be far less complete and valuable, so give him a follow. If you're unfamiliar, here is a breakdown of the metrics included:
Without further ado, behold an early-final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft, along with explanations of some the decisions made. As always, thank you all for your support, I hope you and yours are safe and well and remain so.
Tier 1 - The Byfrenière Boys
Tier 2 - The Also-Very-Good Ones
Tier 3 - The Dartboard
Tier 4 - The Bigger Dartboard
Tier 5 - The Larry Davids
Tier 6 - The L8ter Boys
That's it. That's the list. I want to note that there's been some discussion recently surrounding length of lists and their usefulness. I've been told that many scouts and teams have lists as small as half the length as mine. I'm still confident in the overall list of players I have ranked, but I completely understand the point of view. My rankings are split into tiers to group players together based on a general feel for talent, and I fully admit that past a certain point, you have to shrug and take your best swing. It's pretty apparent that I value pure, raw talent, regardless of risk. Every pick carries risk, but believing in every player you pick, properly identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and putting them on an achievable trajectory to NHL success is the part that can separate a steal from just another 5th round pick. Give me four lines that can go out, generate offense, suppress defense, and score goals. I don't care as much about how the results are generated, but I do care that the players can do all of those things, especially at 5v5. Even if they have that profile at a lower level, isolating how they're generating those results, and trying to project them is vital to how I value a player. Players have some leeway in this area, but this is the whole reason I evaluate the way that I do. Results based data leads to interesting case studies, data tracking isolates what is happening when the player is playing, and video indicates what might or might not be projectable or going right or wrong.
All this being said, if you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to reach out on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or email. There is a piece coming somewhat soon exploring my general philosophy, so stay tuned for that! More Scouching Reports are on the way as well.
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Be well and stay safe.
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