As I impatiently wait for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, I often take a look at some hockey data. Yes, I know, it’s a ridiculous pastime of mine but the heart wants what the heart wants. Here are some of the things I’ve been looking at over the weekend.
I started actively looking at Nationality of the playoff teams ever since I caught myself sitting next to two Canadians that were from Edmonton but were actively rooting for Calgary, against the Anaheim Ducks. Their explanation was that Calgary was a Canadian team. I then called out that Anaheim had more Canadians on its roster than Calgary, including 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. It didn’t matter. They were rooting for Calgary.
Here is a Nationality breakdown of the current playoff rosters:
Age is often talked about in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The popular narrative is that you don’t want to be too old, but of course you can’t be too young and without veteran leadership in the locker room.
Average age is not the best metric since people like Zdeno Chara (42.1), Matt Cullen (42.5) and Joe Thornton (39.8) can inflate the average age on a club. Let’s look at the age distribution of the roster. The size of the circle is the # of regular season points that player had this season.
First Round draft picks
To get a high-level overview of how a team is built, I enjoy seeing how many first-round draft picks are on a particular playoff team. The first-round of the NHL entry draft is the only “can’t miss” round and even that is debatable as periodically a first rounder might never develop into an NHL player. As a whole, odds are pretty good that a first-rounder will make it to the NHL. Clubs that have a lot of first-rounders tend to be teams that were not good for a long time as they accumulate first-round draft picks.
We all love an underdog which is why I love the undrafted players in the NHL. Players have 2 years to be drafted in the NHL, then they become free agents. These are the guys that no one thought would amount to much but beat the odds to play in the NHL. Tyler Johnson, Artimi Panarin, Jonathan Marchessault, and Mark Giordano were all undrafted. Should their teams make it through a couple rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you can bet they will be contributors.
I hope this gives you another perspective on the team’s rosters and makeups as we are about to head into the abyss known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs.