Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moving Up in the Draft

Are you baffled by some of the trades GMS make on draft day? I am, so here's a stab at trying to understand what's going on.
The way I see it trades involving draft picks only have two components. The first is economic, a cost in Optimal or Probable salary savings (OPS and PPS). The second is an exchange of probabilities. The chart below lists some of the trades that took place on Draft Day in 2008 and 2007. Most are two for one exchanges in which the team in Column 1 acquired the right to move up x positions in the draft (column 3 in the chart). Column 4 "Probability Cost 1" shows the % of probability the team gave up. It's the difference between the probability of the pick acquired and the probability that one of the picks surrendered will make it to the NHL. Column 5 "Probability Cost 2" shows the probability that 2 of those surrendered will make it: there is such a miniscule probability that 3 will make (some trades were 3 for 1) that it doesn't deserve its' own column. Some observations after the grid:

1. What the hey, there is some consistency here, at least if you throw out Doug Wilson's snaky, unpredictable transactions. For moving up an average 3.3 draft positions on Round 1, GMs paid 9% probability cost and $707k in PPS. If I'm a GM at Friday's draft, that's my minimum price. 2. Doug Wilson loves this shit. Or else he caught the bug from Dean Lombardi who used to occupy his chair. And he's pretty good at it: Devin Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski, Matt Carle, Steve Bernier, Lukas Kaspar, Thomas Greiss are all players acquired by moving up or down who have played at least one game for the Sharks since 2003.

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