Breaking it down: what OHL draft data tells us about the 2016 picks

Sports Apr 15, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

If you were drafted to the Ontario Hockey League this year, there's a decent chance you are around six feet tall, from Toronto and your name is Jack.

Oh, and you're probably a centre.

In the wake of last weekend's priority selection, The Spectator examined data for all 301 draftees — 292 of which were born in 2000. The analysis uncovered a wealth of facts, such as the most common month of birth (January), the most drafted minor midget team (the Mississauga Rebels) and the most prevalent feeder system (the Greater Toronto Hockey League).

It also showed that middle men dominated this year's draft, with 86 centres — around 29 per cent — selected. The picks were tall yet comparatively small, with the average player tipping the scales at slightly less than 170 pounds. That makes it the second-lightest draft class in a decade.

Joe Birch, the OHL's senior director of hockey development and special events, wasn't shocked by the findings, except for the fact that a disproportionate number of players were named Jack or Tyler — that wasn't really on the league's radar. The other trends, such as feeder teams or players by position, tend to move in cycles, he explained, and fluctuate with coaching changes or the depth of a particular age group.

Take the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.

In 2015, when the squad finished second-last in its league, only a single player — Liam Stevens — was selected. Ten players, by contrast, were chosen this year when the Jr. Bulldogs made it to the heavily-scouted OMHA final and OHL Cup.

Draft picks, by top 11 development teams

"One thing you always hear from hockey people is team success first and foremost will lead to individual success," Birch said. "No doubt about that."

In Hamilton, the Bulldogs' selections generally aligned with OHL norms. Half their picks were centres, for instance, and most played minor hockey in Hamilton, Mississauga or Whitby. They were, however, slightly shorter than the league average and a little bit heavier. A quarter of them were born in February, the OHL's third-most common month of birth.

Draft picks, by playing position

Draft picks, by birth month

When asked about whether or not the team looks at these types of statistics, associate coach and assistant general manager Troy Smith said "sure" — no surprise considering he's an outspoken fan of analytics.

"I think information is power and the more information you have, the more tools you have to improve your hockey club," he said. "Information like this is always important and always valuable."

It also has limitations. Since fewer than half the players drafted in any given year ever go on to play in the OHL, the trends tell little about league demographics.

The OHL doesn't dig too deep into the draft data, Birch admits, although it does help the league better understand where players come from and where it needs to beef up support.

"If we're seeing as a big trend good hockey players coming out of the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, for example, we want to make sure we have a presence in Windsor and make sure we're working with those families from an information, education and development standpoint."

MORE DRAFT DATA

Most common hometowns

Toronto: 20 (7% of draft picks)

Mississauga: 13 (4%)

Oakville: 7 (2%)

Gloucester: 5 (2%)

Whitby: 5 (2%)

Woodbridge: 5 (2%)

Barrie: 4 (1%)

Courtice: 4 (1%)

Kitchener: 4 (1%)

London: 4 (1%)

North Bay: 4 (1%)

Orleans: 4 (1%)

Stittsville: 4 (1%)

Stoney Creek: 4 (1%)

Most common given names

Jack: 9 (3%)

Tyler: 9 (3%)

Christian: 7 (2%)

Ryan: 6 (2%)

Alex: 5 (2%)

Connor: 5 (2%)

Jacob: 5 (2%)

Luke: 5 (2%)

Matt: 5 (2%)

Riley: 5 (2%)

Draft picks, by hockey system

Greater Toronto Hockey League: 81 (27%)

U.S. Youth: 54 (18%)

OMHA Eastern Triple A: 53 (18%)

Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario: 36 (12%)

OMHA South Central Triple A: 33 (11%)

Ontario East Minor Hockey League: 22 (7%)

Northern Ontario Hockey Association: 12 (4%)

U.S. High School Prep: 4 (1%)

Jr. Ontario: 3 (1%)

Jr. U.S.: 1 (less than 1%)

Hockey Northwest Ontario: 1 (less than 1%)

Other: 1 (less than 1%)

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec

Breaking it down: what OHL draft data tells us about the 2016 picks

What the data reveals about this year’s OHL draft picks

Sports Apr 15, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

If you were drafted to the Ontario Hockey League this year, there's a decent chance you are around six feet tall, from Toronto and your name is Jack.

Oh, and you're probably a centre.

In the wake of last weekend's priority selection, The Spectator examined data for all 301 draftees — 292 of which were born in 2000. The analysis uncovered a wealth of facts, such as the most common month of birth (January), the most drafted minor midget team (the Mississauga Rebels) and the most prevalent feeder system (the Greater Toronto Hockey League).

It also showed that middle men dominated this year's draft, with 86 centres — around 29 per cent — selected. The picks were tall yet comparatively small, with the average player tipping the scales at slightly less than 170 pounds. That makes it the second-lightest draft class in a decade.

Joe Birch, the OHL's senior director of hockey development and special events, wasn't shocked by the findings, except for the fact that a disproportionate number of players were named Jack or Tyler — that wasn't really on the league's radar. The other trends, such as feeder teams or players by position, tend to move in cycles, he explained, and fluctuate with coaching changes or the depth of a particular age group.

Take the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.

In 2015, when the squad finished second-last in its league, only a single player — Liam Stevens — was selected. Ten players, by contrast, were chosen this year when the Jr. Bulldogs made it to the heavily-scouted OMHA final and OHL Cup.

Draft picks, by top 11 development teams

"One thing you always hear from hockey people is team success first and foremost will lead to individual success," Birch said. "No doubt about that."

In Hamilton, the Bulldogs' selections generally aligned with OHL norms. Half their picks were centres, for instance, and most played minor hockey in Hamilton, Mississauga or Whitby. They were, however, slightly shorter than the league average and a little bit heavier. A quarter of them were born in February, the OHL's third-most common month of birth.

Draft picks, by playing position

Draft picks, by birth month

When asked about whether or not the team looks at these types of statistics, associate coach and assistant general manager Troy Smith said "sure" — no surprise considering he's an outspoken fan of analytics.

"I think information is power and the more information you have, the more tools you have to improve your hockey club," he said. "Information like this is always important and always valuable."

It also has limitations. Since fewer than half the players drafted in any given year ever go on to play in the OHL, the trends tell little about league demographics.

The OHL doesn't dig too deep into the draft data, Birch admits, although it does help the league better understand where players come from and where it needs to beef up support.

"If we're seeing as a big trend good hockey players coming out of the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, for example, we want to make sure we have a presence in Windsor and make sure we're working with those families from an information, education and development standpoint."

MORE DRAFT DATA

Most common hometowns

Toronto: 20 (7% of draft picks)

Mississauga: 13 (4%)

Oakville: 7 (2%)

Gloucester: 5 (2%)

Whitby: 5 (2%)

Woodbridge: 5 (2%)

Barrie: 4 (1%)

Courtice: 4 (1%)

Kitchener: 4 (1%)

London: 4 (1%)

North Bay: 4 (1%)

Orleans: 4 (1%)

Stittsville: 4 (1%)

Stoney Creek: 4 (1%)

Most common given names

Jack: 9 (3%)

Tyler: 9 (3%)

Christian: 7 (2%)

Ryan: 6 (2%)

Alex: 5 (2%)

Connor: 5 (2%)

Jacob: 5 (2%)

Luke: 5 (2%)

Matt: 5 (2%)

Riley: 5 (2%)

Draft picks, by hockey system

Greater Toronto Hockey League: 81 (27%)

U.S. Youth: 54 (18%)

OMHA Eastern Triple A: 53 (18%)

Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario: 36 (12%)

OMHA South Central Triple A: 33 (11%)

Ontario East Minor Hockey League: 22 (7%)

Northern Ontario Hockey Association: 12 (4%)

U.S. High School Prep: 4 (1%)

Jr. Ontario: 3 (1%)

Jr. U.S.: 1 (less than 1%)

Hockey Northwest Ontario: 1 (less than 1%)

Other: 1 (less than 1%)

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec

Breaking it down: what OHL draft data tells us about the 2016 picks

What the data reveals about this year’s OHL draft picks

Sports Apr 15, 2016 by Teri Pecoskie The Hamilton Spectator

If you were drafted to the Ontario Hockey League this year, there's a decent chance you are around six feet tall, from Toronto and your name is Jack.

Oh, and you're probably a centre.

In the wake of last weekend's priority selection, The Spectator examined data for all 301 draftees — 292 of which were born in 2000. The analysis uncovered a wealth of facts, such as the most common month of birth (January), the most drafted minor midget team (the Mississauga Rebels) and the most prevalent feeder system (the Greater Toronto Hockey League).

It also showed that middle men dominated this year's draft, with 86 centres — around 29 per cent — selected. The picks were tall yet comparatively small, with the average player tipping the scales at slightly less than 170 pounds. That makes it the second-lightest draft class in a decade.

Joe Birch, the OHL's senior director of hockey development and special events, wasn't shocked by the findings, except for the fact that a disproportionate number of players were named Jack or Tyler — that wasn't really on the league's radar. The other trends, such as feeder teams or players by position, tend to move in cycles, he explained, and fluctuate with coaching changes or the depth of a particular age group.

Take the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.

In 2015, when the squad finished second-last in its league, only a single player — Liam Stevens — was selected. Ten players, by contrast, were chosen this year when the Jr. Bulldogs made it to the heavily-scouted OMHA final and OHL Cup.

Draft picks, by top 11 development teams

"One thing you always hear from hockey people is team success first and foremost will lead to individual success," Birch said. "No doubt about that."

In Hamilton, the Bulldogs' selections generally aligned with OHL norms. Half their picks were centres, for instance, and most played minor hockey in Hamilton, Mississauga or Whitby. They were, however, slightly shorter than the league average and a little bit heavier. A quarter of them were born in February, the OHL's third-most common month of birth.

Draft picks, by playing position

Draft picks, by birth month

When asked about whether or not the team looks at these types of statistics, associate coach and assistant general manager Troy Smith said "sure" — no surprise considering he's an outspoken fan of analytics.

"I think information is power and the more information you have, the more tools you have to improve your hockey club," he said. "Information like this is always important and always valuable."

It also has limitations. Since fewer than half the players drafted in any given year ever go on to play in the OHL, the trends tell little about league demographics.

The OHL doesn't dig too deep into the draft data, Birch admits, although it does help the league better understand where players come from and where it needs to beef up support.

"If we're seeing as a big trend good hockey players coming out of the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, for example, we want to make sure we have a presence in Windsor and make sure we're working with those families from an information, education and development standpoint."

MORE DRAFT DATA

Most common hometowns

Toronto: 20 (7% of draft picks)

Mississauga: 13 (4%)

Oakville: 7 (2%)

Gloucester: 5 (2%)

Whitby: 5 (2%)

Woodbridge: 5 (2%)

Barrie: 4 (1%)

Courtice: 4 (1%)

Kitchener: 4 (1%)

London: 4 (1%)

North Bay: 4 (1%)

Orleans: 4 (1%)

Stittsville: 4 (1%)

Stoney Creek: 4 (1%)

Most common given names

Jack: 9 (3%)

Tyler: 9 (3%)

Christian: 7 (2%)

Ryan: 6 (2%)

Alex: 5 (2%)

Connor: 5 (2%)

Jacob: 5 (2%)

Luke: 5 (2%)

Matt: 5 (2%)

Riley: 5 (2%)

Draft picks, by hockey system

Greater Toronto Hockey League: 81 (27%)

U.S. Youth: 54 (18%)

OMHA Eastern Triple A: 53 (18%)

Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario: 36 (12%)

OMHA South Central Triple A: 33 (11%)

Ontario East Minor Hockey League: 22 (7%)

Northern Ontario Hockey Association: 12 (4%)

U.S. High School Prep: 4 (1%)

Jr. Ontario: 3 (1%)

Jr. U.S.: 1 (less than 1%)

Hockey Northwest Ontario: 1 (less than 1%)

Other: 1 (less than 1%)

tpecoskie@thespec.com

905-526-3368 | @TeriatTheSpec