Assessing NHL Draft Guides

With all the major hockey draft guides out it’s time to compare what they offer versus their cost.  Each guide has two common elements: players listed numerically along with player profiles (sometimes comprehensive, sometimes selective).  The guides may have mock drafts, organisational comments, and/or a look at eligible overage players and European free agents.  Other elements often included are a look at top players for future drafts, but personally I don’t see the value in that information for these products.

The four publications that cover the entire draft have 121 players in common–that’s close to two-thirds (57%) of the entire class.  Red Line Report remains the most radical of the guides and taking it out leaves 136 players shared (64%).  In terms of unique selections, HP has the fewest (16), followed by FC (20), ISS (35), and RLR (40).  Most of these players are late round picks (5th to 7th rounds), with only 11 listed in the 4th round, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 2nd–there is a high proportion of Europeans amongst the unique’s (the region scouts struggle with the most), with 36 of 111 being from across the pond (32%; it’s 52/226 otherwise, or 23%).

There are a few odd choices (or non-choices) from the publications and these are the most interesting:

Gustav Forsling: the Swedish defenseman is slated as a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick, but Red Line Report doesn’t include him at all–not in over 300 selections.  There’s no reasoning provided for that, he simply does not appear.  RLR is known for its strong opinions, but I can’t recall another time (since I started reading the publication back in 2010) where they’ve completely delisted a player that highly touted elsewhere

Sebastian Aho: the Finnish forward is a second or third round pick except (again) from RLR, who just like Forsling above do not have him listed

Emil Johansson: the Swedish blueliner is another 2nd-3rd round pick that RLR lists well outside of the draft (267)

Igor Sheshyrokin is a 2nd to 5th round pick most places, but ISS (and Central Scouting) do not list the Russian goaltender

Dexter Dancs: the winger is a second round pick in RLR’s eyes, but listed by no one else (not even CS)

Other picks with at least two third or fourth round selections that are excluded by a single publication (included in brackets): Matthew Berkovitz (ISS), Alex Schoenborn (FC), Francis Perron (HP), William Lagesson (RLR), Edgars Kulda (FC), Andrew Mangiapane (ISS), Matheson Iacopelli (ISS), Kelly Summers (RLR), Kyle Jenkins (FC), Rinat Valiev (HP), Christian Jaros (HP), and Axel Holmstrom (ISS).  Finally, there are two players slotted in the third round that appear in no other publication: Tyler Sheehy (FC) and Ilya Sorokin (RLR).

When looking for commonalities above we can see that RLR is usually involved and that most of the players are European.  The latter isn’t much of a surprise given the limited capacity these publications have to scout in Europe.

Finally, it’s time to assess the publications by their broad categories–I’ve arranged them by their cost (changes in price from last year are noted):

ISS $99.99 (+$40)
Players listed: 220 (divided between skaters and goaltenders)
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: yes, but only as a grade
Mock draft: yes
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR $50.00
Players listed: 315
Player profiles: top-115
Organisational assessment: yes
Mock draft: yes (two of them)
Overage eligible/European free agents: yes

Hockey Prospects $39.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all (including additional players who do not make their top-210)
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: no
Overage eligible/European free agents: no
Other: includes game reports on players

Future Considerations $19.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: yes (including the second round)
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR lists the most players, but offers the fewest scouting reports, while HP has the most scouting reports (above and beyond their list), but lacks any of the extras of the other guides.  Mock drafts aren’t a selling point for me and organisational assessments only matter if there’s reasoning behind them.  As such, of the extras only RLR’s are meaningful, but at their price point is not worth it for casual fans.  For my money Future Considerations remains the pick of the litter.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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  1. […] Assessing NHL Draft Guides […]


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