A Diversion: NHL Draft Nationality Data

So I was reading Darren Barefoot (as I often do) and he made some passing comment about the NHL Draft. I don't really follow the NHL (too many games! I've made my choice of which single sport to watch and it's the one with the fewest games: NFL [ok, maybe the CFL has fewer, but I don't get the sport]). I found myself wondering about the NFL drafts in general and, particularly, about how many of us Canadians were being drafted these days. It seems that there are more and more of us Americans intruded on our Canadian game. So I did what any normal person would do: I leafed through the 1st round draft info (assuming 1st round gives a representative sampling of the entire draft) from 1970 - 2007 in Wikipedia, threw it in a spreadsheet and charted it. The result was this:

This first pass is a bit hard to read. So I grouped the data and got this:

That's a bit better. We can see that Canada still has the most incoming players, the US has made a significant dent and there are a few other grouping of countries as well. Based on the recent years, the US may be trending upwards. If that is the case, they may pass Canada in the next 3-4 years.

If you prefer unstacked line charts, here is the same data:

Interesting tidbits:

  • Canada has always had more first round players than any other single nation.
  • In many of the years, Canada entered the majority of players. (i.e. > 50%)
  • There is 1 entry from Venezuela and 1 from South Africa - that's the sum total of "all other" in the final grouping.
  • Why did I break Sweden, Finland, & Denmark out by themselves? Because they are often thought of together (in hockey, at least in my mind) and because they represent a large enough grouping.
  • It was definitely an early 90s phenomena that saw a larger number of European players entering the NHL.

Saturday, May 31, 2008, 12:00 AM

tagged: charts, drafts, nationality, nhl, statistics

series: Diversions (2 other posts in this series)