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  • Rick Traugott

Hockey Futures When You Are in Grade 10

After the 2016 NHL draft, I wrote a post called The NHL Draft and the Reality of "Making It". The post explored the simple statistics of playing 100 games in the NHL, as well as the chances of playing NCAA Division 1 college hockey on the men’s side, and playing on the Canadian Olympic team on the women’s side. I thought they were eye-opening numbers.



This season, for a number of reasons, I was keenly interested in the Ontario Hockey League priority selection (the OHL draft). So, it seemed like to good year to look at The OHL draft and the reality of “making it”.


A few ground rules and assumptions:

1) All information is from lists and statistics at eliteprospects.com.

2) I did all the counting/calculations myself, so there may be one or two mistakes.

3) All goalies are based on the same criteria.

4) Assuming 20 picks per round, 300 picks per draft year.

5) NCAA is both division 1 and division 3.

6) All percentages are based on having played a total of “one season” of games at each level: OHL = 60, NHL = 100, NCAA = 30, uSports = 50

7) Unless noted otherwise, numbers are based on the following draft years: OHL and NCAA - 2008-20017 (10 years), NHL - 2008-2013 (6 years), uSports - 2008-2011 (4 years).


These numbers are not exact but they will give a sense of rates of “success”. I also want to present them with no bias or personal commentary, but let the numbers and the analysis speak for itself.


Let’s start with the following graphic, looking at the last three OHL drafts (2017-2019):



What this chart shows is that:

- 2019 OHL Priority Selection (1 year out) - 46 players chosen (15.3% of drafted players) have played 45 games in the OHL. 20 of those 46 went in the 1st round, 12 in the 2nd round, 8 in the 3rd round. 6 in rounds 4 to 15, 2 in rounds 8 to 15.

- 2018 OHL Priority Selection (2 years out) - 59 players chosen (19.7% of drafted players) have played 60 games total in the OHL. 20 of those 59 went in the 1st round, 13 in the 2nd round, 7 in the 3rd round. 26 in rounds 4 to 15, 6 in rounds 8 to 15.

- 2017 OHL Priority Selection (3 years out) - 89 players chosen (29.7% of drafted players) have played 60 games total in the OHL. 20 of those 89 went in the 1st round, 19 in the 2nd round, 15 in the 3rd round. 35 in rounds 4 to 15, 15 in rounds, 7 in rounds 8 to 15.


Here are the raw numbers:



Further, here are the overall numbers for the draft years 2008-2017 (keeping in mind that numbers are based on having played the equivalent of one season’s worth of games in each league):



Clearly, there are lots of takeaways from these numbers. What stands out to me is that, generally speaking, after the fourth or fifth round of the OHL draft, the numbers aren’t great for playing in the OHL, NCAA, NHL or uSports. And, I need to remind myself that these are players who may only play one season in any of these leagues let alone having a “career”.


Again, I am going to let the numbers speak for themselves. But, my big takeaway? You better be having fun playing this game. It becomes “big business” very quickly. And, if going to the rink everyday isn’t the best part of your day, maybe it’s time to figure out how to make it that way.

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