Now that we are through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I thought it would be fun to look at the data behind the rosters and try to evaluate how they were built.
Player acquisition type
NHL Entry Draft, free agency, trades, and waiver wire acquisitions are all the various ways a team can build a roster. To build a contender, you need to use every tool at your disposal. Let’s look at how the 16 playoff teams built their rosters.
There is an adage in hockey that to be successful, you need to build your team through the draft, but three teams (Florida, Seattle, and Vegas) of the eight that are still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have less than 15 percent of their rosters constructed through the draft.
It’s interesting to see the Dallas Stars have the highest percentage of players that were acquired via the NHL Entry Draft, being that they are facing the Kraken in the second round who have the lowest percentage of players from the draft. From the Seattle perspective, that is expected due to the team only having two entry drafts under its belt.
To add some context around the roster composition, we should look at which players are scoring each team’s goals by acquisition type.
Generally speaking, more goals are scored by players that were acquired via the draft compared to players acquired in other ways. The big outlier here is the Florida Panthers. 70 percent of the Panthers’ goals this postseason have come from players acquired via trade. Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, and Brandon Montour have 19 combined goals in the playoffs heading into Game 2 of their series against Toronto.
Here is a look at the average contributions this playoff by acquisition type:
Regardless of the acquisition type, it is also fun to look at how many players each team has from each draft round.
As one would expect, players that were selected in the first-round account for the highest percentage of drafted players on the rosters. Vegas is the lone exception, as they have notoriously traded away a lot of their prospects (Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Peyton Krebs) over the years to acquire players in their prime and give themselves a chance to win now.
The average age of a team is also an appealing data point to evaluate.
Boston was the oldest team to make the playoffs, with New Jersey being the youngest. It is also interesting to see that most teams have an elder statesman (over 35 years old), but the Kraken, Rangers, and Devils do not.
Height and weight of NHL playoff rosters
Here is a quick peek at the height and weight of all Stanley Cup Playoff teams.
It is important to point out that this aggregated view is not a weighted (no pun intended) average of minutes played and could be a little misleading when it comes to which players are logging the most minutes and how it could relate to the team height and weight.
Here is a look at the player detail behind the weight of the players:
How about the Big Rig, Jamie Oleksiak, weighing in at 257 pounds? Amazing to see how tight the Kraken are weight-wise, compared to other teams. I don’t think that is an advantage or disadvantage, just interesting to see the range compared to the other teams.
Roster breakdown by nationality
Finally, we will take a look at the nationality of the players on Stanley Cup Playoff rosters.
Vegas is the most Canadian team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. Is that because of the “snowbird” connection? Perhaps.
This was a very simple view at evaluating the rosters, but we hope it gives you a different perspective when watching this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you have questions about the data or some additional angles you would like me to consider, let me know in the comments section.
Love the team size breakdown… I would have never guessed Colorado was that same when playing them.
loved your graph from last year highlighting yamamoto’s size compared to everyone else. still hilarious this year to see & even more emphasized with big rig standing out in the opposite direction!
This is great, John! It would be interesting to know how the expansion players for SEA and VGK were acquired by their former teams to see if that aligns with the averages or is slanted toward, say, high draft picks.