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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Side-by-side comparison: 2008 NHL Draft Guides

With more NHL draft publications hitting the streets than ever before, we thought it would make for interesting reading to take some of the established guides from the past three seasons and do a side-by-side analysis on their content and rankings.

No scouting service- be it independent or an NHL staff- is infallible. If that were the case, no team would ever have draft picks who were busts. Scouting is an art, not a science. We've read some mind-numbingly dense posts about judging the validity of draft guides based on where their rankings are, so we figured we'd take several recognized publications going back to 2008 and show you who they had in their rankings, then look at where the actual draft shook out and give you some insights into value and bang for the buck.

Because HockeyProspect.com only came out last year with their first draft guide, they are not included int he study. All others featured in this analysis have draft publications going back to 2008 and earlier. The Hockey News set the standard in the early 80s, and Red Line Report will put out its 18th draft guide next month, for second-most longevity when it comes to the hockey lottery.

Beyond the hard rankings that appear here, we will not delve into opinions of which publications are better- but will leave that to the reader to decide based on the information presented.

Let's get started.

Here is the actual draft order from 2008

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
3. Zach Bogosian, Atlanta
4. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis
5. Luke Schenn, Toronto
6. Nikita Filatov, Columbus
7. Colin Wilson, Nashville
8. Mikkel Boedker, Phoenix
9. Josh Bailey, NY Islanders
10. Cody Hodgson, Vancouver
11. Kyle Beach, Chicago
12. Tyler Myers, Buffalo
13. Colten Teubert, Los Angeles
14. Zach Boychuk, Carolina
15. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
16. Joe Colborne, Boston
17. Jake Gardiner, Anaheim
18. Chet Pickard, Nashville
19. Luca Sbisa, Philadelphia
20. Michael Del Zotto, NY Rangers
21. Anton Gustafsson, Washington
22. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
23. Tyler Cuma, Minnesota
24. Mattias Tedenby, New Jersey
25. Greg Nemisz, Calgary
26. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo
27. John Carlson, Washington
28. Viktor Tikhonov, Phoenix
29. Daulton Leveille, Atlanta
30. Thomas McCollum, Detroit

The Hockey News Draft Preview
Publication type: Print only (e-version available on Zinio.com)
Release Date Late April (to subscribers); In stores May 9, 2011 (in Canada, may be delated in U.S.- check with store beforehand)
Price $6.99
What you get: 70 pages of articles, prospect capsules, team draft analyses and other features. THN publishes a top-100 each year, but only the top-60 have dedicated profiles. THN interviews and polls NHL scouts who provide input on the player capsules and help with the formation of the overall rankings.

THN 2008 Rankings
1. Steven Stamkos
2. Drew Doughty
3. Zach Bogosian
4. Nikita Filatov
5. Alex Pietrangelo
6. Luke Schenn
7. Colin Wilson
8. Cody Hodgson
9. Mikkel Boedker
10. Kyle Beach
11. Tyler Myers
12. Zach Boychuk
13. Colten Teubert
14. Josh Bailey
15. Mike Del Zotto
16. Mattias Tedenby
17. Luca Sbisa
18. Colby Robak
19. Jacob Markstrom
20. Mikhail Stefanovich
21. Greg Nemisz
22. Jordan Eberle
23. Yann Sauve
24. Anton Gustafsson
25. Joe Colborne
26. A.J. Jenks
27. Daultan Leveille
28. Tyler Cuma
29. Zac Dalpe
30. John Carlson

No. of 1st-round picks in rankings: 24

Red Line Report Draft Guide
Publication type: Print
Release Date 1st week in June; usually arrives between 7th-10th of the month
Price: $45
What you get (2008 version): 32 pages of prospect profiles, team needs analyses, 2 mock drafts and an "awards" section, plus two in-depth spotlight articles on two select first-round prospects. Red Line does a complete ranking of 300 players, with the top-110-114 having in-depth scouting reports gleaned from the entire season (and in some cases the previous year and beyond). RLR also releases its preliminary rankings for the next year in the draft guide. There are no photos, stats or anything of the like- it is printed on red paper and you are getting hard information with no frills whatsoever (unless you consider the "Wizard of Oz Tinman Trophy- for those who lack heart" award a frill)
Ordering information: Red Line website

Red Line 2008 Rankings
1. Steven Stamkos
2. Nikita Filatov
3. Drew Doughty
4. Zach Bogosian
5. Mikkel Boedker
6. Luke Schenn
7. Alex Pietrangelo
8. Kirill Petrov
9. Cody Hodgson
10. Tyler Myers
11. Colin Wilson
12. Mattias Tedenby
13. Zach Boychuk
14. Kyle Beach
15. Josh Bailey
16. Colten Teubert
17. Nicolas Deschamps
18. Tyler Cuma
19. Romas Josi
20. Luca Sbisa
21. Brandon Burlon
22. Jordan Eberle
23. Aaron Ness
24. Colby Robak
25. Chet Pickard
26. Andre Petersson
27. Zac Dalpe
28. Joe Colborne
29. Jake Gardiner
30. Max Sauve

No. of 1st-round picks in rankings: 21

International Hockey Services
Publication type: Print and electronic
Release Date Late May/early June (site lists May 25 as release date, but allow 1-2 days normally for delivery of electronic product)
Price $50
What you get (2008 version): Mock draft, team depth charts, best/worst of the ISS top-250 (plus top-20 separate goalie rankings), prospect profiles on the top-30, with scouting reports on the additional 31-100 prospects. A look ahead at preliminary rankings for the next two draft classes also contained therein. Like Red Line, there are no photos, though ISS does include season statistics for players profiled.
Information: Website

2008 ISS rankings

1. Steven Stamkos
2. Zach Bogosian
3. Nikita Filatov
4. Drew Doughty
5. Alex Pietrangelo
6. Luke Schenn
7. Mikkel Boedker
8. Colin Wilson
9. Cody Hodgson
10. Josh Bailey
11. Luca Sbisa
12. Zach Boychuk
13. Kyle Beach
14. Mattias Tedenby
15. Tyler Myers
16. Joe Colborne
17. Kirill Petrov
18. Colten Teubert
19. Colby Robak
20. Zac Dalpe
21. John Carlson
22. Erik Karlsson
23. Mike Del Zotto
24. Evgeny Grachev
25. Nicolas Deschamps
26. Corey Trivino
27. David Toews
28. Greg Nemisz
29. Aaron Ness
30. Jordan Eberle
*ISS does not include goalies in rankings, but instead lists them separately.

No. of 1st-round picks in rankings: 22

Future Considerations NHL Entry Draft Guide
Publication type: Electronic only
Release Date: Early June
Price: $20
What you get: Format varies from year to year; FC did profiles of top-100 prospects on their list for 2008 version, plus team depth charts/analyses, mock draft, and other features.
Information: Website Sample profiles of FC's Top-10 available by following the link.

2008 FC rankings
1. Steven Stamkos
2. Drew Doughty
3. Zach Bogosian
4. Alex Pietrangelo
5. Luke Schenn
6. Nikita Filatov
7. Cody Hodgson
8. Mikkel Boedker
9. Colin Wilson
10. Kyle Beach
11. Tyler Myers
12. Zac Boychuk
13. Mike Del Zotto
14. Mattias Tedenby
15. Jordan Eberle
16. Josh Bailey
17. Thomas McCollum
18. John Carlson
19. Colby Robak
20. Joe Colborne
21. Chet Pickard
22. Greg Nemisz
23.Colten Teubert
24. Jacob Markstrom
25. Luca Sbisa
26. Zac Dalpe
27. Mitch Wahl
28. Brandon Burlon
29. Yann Sauve
30. Jake Gardiner

No. of 1st-round picks in rankings: 24 (Rankings mirrored order of1st six picks in '08)

McKeen's Hockey Draft Guide
Release Date Not publishing a 2011 draft guide
Price NA

McKeen's 2008 draft guide rankings
1. Steven Stamkos
2. Zach Bogosian
3. Alex Pietrangelo
4. Drew Doughty
5. Luke Schenn
6. Mikkel Boedker
7. Nikita Filatov
8. Chet Pickard
9. Cody Hodgson
10. Erik Karlsson
11. Josh Bailey
12. Colin Wilson
13. Jacob Markstrom
14. Colten Teubert
15. Luca Sbisa
16. John Carlson
17. Tyler Cuma
18. Nicolas Deschamps
19. Tyler Myers
20. Jake Gardiner
21. Kyle Beach
22. Zac Boychuk
23. Mattias Tedenby
24. Corey Trivino
25. Thomas McCollum
26. Zac Dalpe
27. Joe Colborne
28. Mike Del Zotto
29. Mitch Wahl
30. Jake Allen

No. of 1st-round picks in rankings: 24

Summary: The highest rate of correct picks was 24 (FC, McKeen's), but most guides are not laid out like a mock draft, but are rather rankings based on where they assess the players. All four draft guides averaged 23 out of 30 prospects ranked correctly as 1st-round picks. While Red Line had the fewest number of 1st-round picks correct (21) they had 2010 NHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Myers ranked the highest of any draft guide (10th)- Myers went 12th to Buffalo. By the same token, Red Line was the only guide to not feature Washington standout rookie John Carlson in its first round (they had him 37th), and Carlson was a steal at 27th to the Capitals, the second of two first-rounders for them that year. There will always be variance, and just like all 30 NHL teams- the scouting services out there will miss on prospects too. No one has a 100 percent success rate.

Conclusion: Draft guides are a great way to familiarize yourself with the prospects in the class, but understand what you are getting before you buy. If visual presentation is important to you, then the RLR guide will be the least appealing of the options. However, if hard information gained over multiple viewings by a network of scouts is what is a priority, then that publication will likely satisfy your interests depending on your budget.

Final thoughts: The 2008 class had a clear-cut, consensus choice at No. 1 in Steven Stamkos. The 2011 pool has no real separation, and therefore, you are likely to see a ton of variance between the different lists and among the teams who make the picks. At the end of the day, where the players are ranked/listed is not as important as the scouting reports are. Remember that most of these kids are not finished developing, so things can and will change between now and when they hit their peak. While the draft guides provide good information, they are not designed to be the definitive last word on anything, but will help you to gain a perspective on players most do not have access to see play live. Take that into consideration when deciding what to purchase and what the product looks like when you receive it.

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