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Surprise surprise: business professor says that all drafting is guessing

Most team scouts will offer you a simple bottom line regarding the thousands of hours they put into picking seven players on draft day: they end up working incredibly hard to make educated guesses about 18-year-olds who may or may not grow up into men who have the desire, drive, physical and mental assets necessary to invest themselves in the 24-7-365.25 lifestyle that is working one's ass off to become a professional hockey player. As most scouts will suggest, drafting is just the start of a process of player development that doesn't pan out for every player drafted, and if they can get 1 or 2 NHL players out of every draft, they're very happy.

The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran reports that a business professor who thoroughly analyzed the drating patterns of NHL teams found that honest scouts are telling the truth about that guessing game:

It’s all a bit much to Peter Tingling, a business professor at Simon Fraser University in B.C. who has analyzed years of NHL drafts looking for insight into how decisions are made.

His conclusion:

“It’s all guesswork,” asserts the professor. “Our research says nobody is particularly good at making (draft) decisions. There are people who have the reputation of having made great decisions. There’s this myth of Detroit as a great late-round chooser.

“I would tell you it’s a bit of a myth. They do a great job (scouting) in Europe, not so good in North America. But what Detroit is absolutely tremendous at is retaining and developing players. At some point, drafting well is useless if you can’t develop and retain (the players), as many teams know.”


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Mandingo's avatar

A couple things about this article:

1) Tingling looked at the 1995-2003 draft years — he even presented a paper called “Better Off Guessing” before reaching his conclusions.

Why on earth would the author only look at 9 years when there are 50 years of draft results available?

2) You’re telling me the Wings have just been extremely lucky for 25 years and the Leafs have just been extremely unlucky for 40?

Not that I really give a sh*t since the Wings’ draft results speak for themselves, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this research wasn’t peer-reviewed and was cherry picked by an ass-chapped Maple Leafs fan.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 06/30/13 at 08:06 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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