Canada’s World Junior Team And NHL Success

IIHF U-20 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship

With the NHL stuck in another lockout this year’s IIHF World U20 Championship is eagerly anticipated. Since a number of players that were expected to be in the NHL this season will be participating in the tournament, this year’s competition should be better than normal.

Team Canada’s selection camp opens up today and the media is ready to anoint this crop of players as the greatest thing since sliced bread.  However, the truth is for every Sidney Crosby that becomes a superstar in the NHL there is a Christian Dube that hardly gets a sniff.  Yet if you watched Dube play in 1997 you would have thought that he was the second coming of Wayne Gretzky.  I understand the media’s need to build these players up as they are trying to increase viewership, but it does not mean that we all have to believe it.

I have taken a look back at every Team Canada roster from the 1990 to 2005 IIHF World U20 Championships.  There were 267 different players that suited up for Team Canada over this period and I rated each player using the following system:

Rating Criteria

100

Star, Top 3F, Top 2D, Elite Starting Goalie

75

Good Player, Top 6F, Top 4D, Starting Goalie Multiple Years

50

Good Role Player, 500+ Games in NHL for F and D, Goalie > 300 starts

25

Role Player, 200-499 Games in NHL for F and D, Goalie 100-299 starts

10

Depth Player, 51-199 Games in NHL for F and D, Goalie 50 – 100 starts

5

Minor Leaguer, 1-50 NHL games, Goalie < 50 starts

0

Busts, Zero NHL games

This was the same system that I used for my NHL Draft Pick Value Chart last week.  The summary of results is below:

 

Rating

Total

D

F

G

100

22

8.2%

4

4.8%

15

9.4%

3

12.5%

75

44

16.5%

18

21.7%

23

14.4%

3

12.5%

50

82

30.7%

18

21.7%

54

33.8%

10

41.7%

25

35

13.1%

14

16.9%

21

13.1%

0

0.0%

10

30

11.2%

10

12.0%

20

12.5%

0

0.0%

5

38

14.2%

11

13.3%

22

13.8%

5

20.8%

0

16

6.0%

8

9.6%

5

3.1%

3

12.5%

More than half the players (55.4%) who played on Team Canada at this tournament have gone on to play at least 500 games in the NHL, which I am using as a proxy for being a regular every day NHL player.  What is surprising (or maybe it isn’t?)  is how few players from Team Canada actually ended up being true STAR players in the NHL.  This includes two tournaments that were affected by the NHL lockout, although many of the players during the lockout year had already played in a prior tournament.

These numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone as they are only slightly lower at the top end ratings (100 and 75) as compared to first round picks. Since not all players who play in this tournament are first round picks we should expect it to be lower.  Considering that a majority of players that play in this tournament are already drafted, we see the effect of an extra 6-18 months on the development and evaluation of a player.

There is nothing wrong with sitting around the television this holiday season and watching the tournament.  The games are usually exciting and with the lockout this year it will at least fill the void for staring hockey fans. It’s also a good chance to see some future NHL talent as there will be many players from Team Canada and others that will be regulars in the NHL.  Just don’t buy into the hype that every player will be a superstar in the league.

 

Follow Tony on Twitter: @TheDailyBites

 

 

Topics: Team Canada, World Junior Championships

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