In hockey, the goalie is one of the most significant components of a team. Because of this, many general managers like to use their first round picks with the hopes of getting that next “star” goalie. But is it worth it?
To start off here are some basic goalie statistics. First is that goalies are about 6’1’’ and weigh about 198 pounds. Throughout their career they allow an average of 2.7 goals per game resulting in them winning about 53% of their games. Though facing about 27 shots on goal per game, they still manage to save 91% of them. The average goalie also has about two shut out games per season. A shut out is when the starting goalie does not allow a goal throughout the entire game, thus ensuring a guaranteed win for their team.
If we compare average goalie statistics to our characteristic we see some interesting effects. The first is that goalies drafted in the first round play, on average, about one extra season. In addition to that goalie’s born in the U.S.A., plays about a half season more than those drafted in the first round. The goalies that are both drafted in the first round and are a U.S. Native play an extra two season, compared to the data overall. Interestingly, out of the 139 goalies in the database, only five goalies were both born in the U.S. and drafted in the first round.
After creating a predictive model, by running a regression analysis, we are able to reaffirm this theory and see that both being drafted in the first round and being born in the US are statistically significant. This goes on to show that having either one of these traits results in players playing about an extra 2.28 seasons than the average. And if they were born in the US and were skilled enough to be drafted in the first round, these players then played an additional 1.07 seasons in the NHL.
A theory of why U.S. Goalies seem to play more seasons during their career, is that they may get “discovered” at an earlier age. This early discovery would allow them to be able to get drafted at an earlier age, and thus be able to play more seasons before retiring.
A few theories arise when we ponder why being drafted in the first round would result in a longer career. The first theory is that General Manager’s and Scouts may be good at evaluating players, which would be why we see that they experience longer careers.
In contradiction to this, is that overall similar careers statistics were observed between the two differentiating parties. So why do they experience longer careers? Well one hypothesis may be that General Managers feel invested in these players after using their first round pick on them and thus believe that they are better than their later round counterparts. In conclusion, based on the statistical analysis, it is fairly safe to say that Owners and Managers should save their first round pick for a different position.
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