Do Draft Rankings Really Matter?

Do draft rankings really matter?

I received a message from a draft eligible player over the last few weeks.

“Hey Craig my draft ranking just got demoted I tought I was playing good, is this something super important?

My reply,

“Don’t pay any attention to that stuff at all.”

Many draft eligible players feel unbearable pressure throughout the season. Obviously, everyone understands and is fully aware of draft year pressure going into the season, but many don’t understand the scouting process and that’s why there’s so much confusion around lists.

Are draft rankings really important?

What do draft rankings mean?

How are draft lists put together?

Why are these lists so fluid throughout the season?

Are draft rankings important? Yes, well sort of. Come draft day, it’s the teams list that are the most important. Central Scouting and other scouting services all have their lists, their opinions and projections on players. Are they the be all end all of rankings? Sometimes they’re close and sometimes they are off when draft day rolls around, that’s the nature of the beast. It is what it is.

Those scouting entities will always evaluate their processes and look at percentages and where they had players ranked and where they went in the draft.

That’s how they hold themselves accountable and show credibility, but at the end of the day every team or organization are going to have their own list, their own draft rankings.

So what happens if Player A slips in their draft rankings, what does that mean? Well, they could have had the player ranked too high on their first ranking, that player could have had a tough stretch of games or they might not have been ranked by the same scouts over that that time.

Different scouts, different opinions, different projections, different rankings.

What does all this mean?

Well, one group might have you ranked in the first round and the second group might have you ranked to go in the third or fourth.

Is that important? Is that the be all end all of rankings? No, it’s just their opinions and projections.

To get back to the player that reached out to me with his question.

He is playing very well. A matter of fact he’s playing some of best hockey of the season, but that’s just my opinion or perspective.

Draft rankings are so subjective, that’s why draft lists are so fluid throughout the season.

Scouts might see 30 players and make their first list based off of those 30.

In the next two months they might see 20 more players and evaluate and project them.

So their original 30 now turns into 50.

Their supposed Top 50 will look a lot different than their Top 30.

You see lists are supposed to be fluid, but when players, their families and the general public have access to these lists or rankings that’s when things get a little sketchy especially if the rankings or placement changes.

How are these lists put together?

Well, it’s team of scouts that usually put these lists or rankings together.

Final say where players end up on those lists usually fall on the Head Scout or there’s a vote taken between the team of scouts where the player ends up.

That’s how the list or rankings are made. Each scout has their region and obviously there’s instances where there’s crossover.

These conversations or the voting process is always quite intriguing especially when scouts don’t see eye to eye on a player and where they should be ranked.

Do regional scouts get overruled? Yes at times they do.

That’s part of the process, but potentially also part of the problem.

Regional scouts usually see the players in their zone more than others, they know them inside and out. That’s why it’s healthy to do crossover to see what’s on the other side so to speak. Nevertheless, when it comes time to vote, those that might be watching from a far or have seen the player only a select few times might vote differently.

That’s where the confusion sets in and that’s where scouts dig in and go to bat for certain players that they believe to be wrongly placed on the list or rankings.

Those tough conversations are often resolved, but it takes time, but that’s why there’s also fluidity within the list. These rankings and projections change due to the amount of viewings.

When I first announced #InFocusScouting I wrote that I was going to provide rankings, I haven’t done that at all because my opinion on publicizing rankings has changed.

Writing “A Player to Watch” feature is completely different to draft rankings. Some would argue that and that’s fine because they are entitled to their opinion just like I’m entitled to mine.

Are draft rankings misleading?

Depends on what you see in them or make of them.

There’s countless surprises come draft day, especially over the last several years. It’s those “surprises” which brings excitement and intrigue to the game and draft day.

My message to all the players wondering about their rankings or lists or lack there of is simply this.

As difficult as it might be, try to control what you can control.

I know this can all be confusing and that the pressure has been crazy, but at the end of the day you shouldn’t have any regrets if you left it all on the ice every time you laced them up.

Control what you can control, keep working hard, have a great spring and summer of training. If you get drafted, remember it’s not where you got selected, it’s what you do after that matters most. If you don’t get drafted, the journey is far from over.

Do draft rankings really matter? Well, I guess that all depends on the eye of the beholder.

See you at the rink,

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