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  • Analyzing past Hockey Wilderness mock drafts


    As our 2018 Mock Draft wrapping up I thought it was a good time to take a look at how our past mock drafts have gone and see who is good at finding gems with their picks. For this analysis I have gone through the 2014-2017 mock drafts and each writers choices in those mock drafts and applied a points system to them to find out who has done well and who has not.

    The Points system

    The points system is based on three values. First is the difference between the mock draft pick a player is taken at and the pick they are taken at in the real draft. Second is the difference between the mock draft choice and a redraft for that player. Third is the difference between the real draft choice and their position in the redraft.

    The points system used was based on those differences. If the difference is 0, -1 or 1 the writer would get 1 point, if the value is +2, +3 or +4 the writer would get 3 points, while if the value is -2 to -4 they would be given -3 points. Then if the value is +5 or higher it is worth 5 points, while -5 or worse is -5 points.

    So for example with Clayton Keller, in our 2016 redraft he was taken at 13th while he went 7th in the real draft meaning there was a difference of +6. In the redraft Keller was placed 4th giving a difference of +9 compared to the mock draft and compared to the real draft the difference was +3.

    That means that Dustin Nelson who picked Keller would get 5 points for picking Keller later in the mock than he went in the real draft, 5 points for taking a player who improved their position between the mock draft and the redraft significantly and also 3 points for Keller’s rise compared to his real draft position. That gave Dustin a total of 13 points for that pick.

    2014 Mock Draft

    Now to start the actual analysis we are starting from the oldest mock draft I went through which is 2014. In 2014 we saw six writers take part. Those writers were Tony Abbott, Joe Bouley, 1sadclown, mntrumpterguy, Gerdevine and The Noogie. Each of them took 5 players in the 30 draft choices. You can see the complete mock draft in the image above. For the 2014 draft I made my own redraft based on my evaluations and using some older redrafts I found. You can find the redraft here. Applying the points system to the mock draft using that redraft gave the following result:

    1st: The Noogie 15 points (3 points per pick)

    2nd: Gerdevine 11 points (2.2 points per pick)

    3rd: Tony Abbott 1 point (0.2 points per pick)

    4th: mntrumpterguy -1 points (-0.2 points per pick)

    5th: 1sadclown -3 points (-0.6 points per pick)

    6th: Joe Bouley -31 (-6.2 points per pick)

    For all the ranking images the following definitions for rounds apply, Round 1 = Comparing the mock draft to the real draft, Round 2 = Comparing the redraft and the mock draft, Round 3 = Comparison between the redraft and the real draft.

    Noogie had an interesting draft. With his picks he scored a -13 comparing to the real draft but then gained 21 comparing the redraft to the real draft and 7 comparing the redraft to the mock. Travis Sanheim proved to be a top pick for him at 24th overall as he went 17th and improved to 15th in the redraft being worth a total of 13 points of a maximum 15. Sanheim plus some points from Ehlers and Demko were enough to make him the “winner” of the 2014 Hockey Wilderness mock draft.

    Joe on the other hand had a shocker of a draft with -21 points comparing to the real draft and -13 points comparing the redraft to the mock. He did in fact gain 3 points when comparing the redraft and the real draft but due to picking players way earlier than they originally went that didn't help him much. He picked players such as Nick Ritchie and Jared McCann who are fine players but he just picked them too early, then he also had a disasterous pick with Jack Dougherty who went at 51st overall in the real draft while Joe picked him at 26th and he hasn't improved on that position since. Even a fantastic pick of David Pastrnak at 20th couldn't save Joe’s 2014 mock draft.

    2015 redraft

    For this redraft I used Scott Wheeler’s redraft for the Athletic. As the content is behind a pay wall I won’t reveal the order here, but if you have an Athletic subscription do check it out. For the 2015 mock draft not everyone had an even amount of picks as mntrumpterguy and Joe had 5 picks and others had 4 picks.

    1st: mntrumpterguy 3 points (0.6 points per pick)

    2nd: The Noogie -2 points (-0.5 points per pick)

    3rd: Joe Bouley -6 points (-1.2 points per pick)

    tied for 4th: 1sadclown and Dustin Nelson -18 points (-4.5 points per pick)

    6th: Gerdevine -20 points (-5 points per pick)

    7th: Tony Abbott -22 (-5.5 points per pick)


    As you can see by the points totals 2015 has not held up well. Even at compared to the draft only 1sadclown and Joe were able to get plus points with Joe scoring 13 and 1sadclown scoring 4. The redraft to mock comparison was even worse with only Noogie scoring any positive points with his 4 points. Compared to the real draft our writers were able to find some solid players as only Joe, 1sadclown and Tony were negative in that comparison.

    Mntrumpterguy’s top score came mostly from the comparison of the redraft and the real draft. His draft was a bit of a weird one with big misses Jeremy Bracco at 23rd overall, who slid down to 61 and Jeremy Roy at 16 who ended up going at 31st. Bracco was not placed in the redraft top-30 or honorable mentions but I believe him to have improved from 61 so I awarded him a +3 compared to the real draft. Roy was also not ranked, but due to his high draft spot and the honorable mentions extending the list to about 40 I counted him as a -5 on all points values. Though mntrumpterguy managed to steal Brock Boeser at 30th overall awarding him a +5 for all three points possibilities, and a solid pick with Ivan Provorov at 9th also scored good points. Getting an easy 3 points from Jack Eichel also helped him top the draft year.

    We can also see that Noogie again performed well in finding talent that succeeds after the draft and improves their position but loses points due to the players sliding in the real draft. Unlike 2014 Joe managed to take players near their original draft positions but failed to find talent that was able to stay at that level compared to the rest of the draft class. Though due to poor success overall Joe was still able to rank 3rd overall in the draft class.

    2016 Mock Draft

    For the 2016 draft I asked Hockey Wilderness writers to rank the prospects from 1 to 30 and asked for a rank for all the players that were taken in the mock but would likely not rank in the top 30 currently. I then came up with an order based on those results, you can see that result here. The 2016 mock draft was a bit of a weird one as only 29 picks were made according to the group and what I could find, and also the picks were not made in perfect order as Joe ended writing for the 27th overall pick while in order that would ahve been Dustin’s pick. I have taken to account the 29 picks I could find and counted the 27th overall pick for Joe’s tally.

    The ranking for the draft ended up being as follows

    1st: Dustin Nelson 29 points (9.6667 points per pick)

    tied for 2nd: Tony Abbott and Barry Campbell 16 points (4 points per pick)

    4th: mntrumpterguy 1 points (0.2 points per pick)

    5th: 1sadclown -14 points (-3.5 points per pick)

    6th Joe Bouley -21 points (-4.2 points per pick)

    7th: The Noogie -40 points (-10 points per pick)

    As we can see from the results Dustin Nelson managed to pull of what is by far the best mock draft performance of Hockey Wilderness history (2014 onwards)! And he did it in only three draft picks, which is the least in the mock draft. Both Clayton Keller and Luke Kunin ended up being worth 13 points per my points system and Matthew Tkachuk was also a solid pick that ended up being worth 3 points. Some luck was obviously involved with Luke Kunin maybe going a tad early to the Wild, plus maybe some bias in the redraft voting to rank him at 12th plus Clayton Keller falling far in the mock obviously helped.

    Barry and Tony were both able to draft players who went nicely ahead of their mock draft positions and also held up well after the draft. Meanwhile Noogie had by far his worst draft, and the worst performance of all mock drafts in this analysis. His redraft to real draft comparison held up decently well but he took his players way too early resulting in a horrid score of -38 points after the comparisons to the mock draft. Dante Fabbro, Julien Gauthier and Max Jones aren't all that bad prospects, especially Fabbro is promising but not worth the picks they were taken at.

    2017 Mock Draft

    Now it’s time to go over the 2017 mock draft and how that has held up after one year. Obviously it’s still way too early to get a good result from the 2017 draft as the players will still develop and change positions but I have counted results for it anyway, and maybe I’ll come back to it next year. I will also include a final ranking without taking the 2017 draft to account. For this draft I have used The Hockey News’ redraft of it from earlier this year. For the 2017 draft we had a total of 10 writers participate so the amount of picks per writer is less than in most other cases. All writers made 3 picks except for Tony Abbott who made 4 picks.


    1st: Greguisition 25 points (8.333 points per pick)

    2nd: Velgey 21 points (7 points per pick)

    3rd: Jim Dowd’s Pants 5 points (1,666667 points per pick)

    4th: Alec Schmidt 2 points (0,666667 points per pick)

    5th: The Noogie -5 points (-1,66667 points per pick)

    6th: mntrumpterguy -7 points (-2,33333 points per pick)

    7th: Tony Abbott -24 points (-6 points per pick)

    8th: dsm_captive -31 points (-10,3333 points per pick)

    tied for 9th: Kine and Joe Bouley -33 points (-11 points per pick)

    As the rankings show Greg and Velgey were miles ahead of the rest of the field and look like they have an eye for drafting. Greg wasn't far off Dustin’s top draft and has another shot at repeating his win this year having taken Filip Zadina, Joel Farabee and Isaac Lundeström. Velgey also put together an extremely solid performance which came from doing well compared to the real draft and his mock draft performance compared to the real draft also held up well. The difference to Greg came from the fact that while Greg’s picks did fall a bit from where he picked them the scored a perfect 15 points comparing the real draft and the redraft and a great 11 points even when comparing his mock draft picks to the redraft.

    On the other hand we had 3 absolute shockers with my own draft performance, Joe’s draft and dsm_captive’s draft. All three of us ended up with a score below -30, which had only happened twice in the previous three drafts (Joe in 2014 and Noogie in 2016) and both the previous -30 or worse scores had happened with more picks than the three picks that each of us had. Though there is still light at the end of the tunnel for us to improve the 2017 draft performance in the future. Klim Kostin looks quite promising and could well improve his current rank and Owen Tippett isn’t too far off the 8th place where I took him, Nicolas Hague has a good season following his draft and Timopthy Liljegren looked quite good with the Marlies this year. Cody Glass is still quite promising and had a good year while Cal Foote and Isaac Ratcliffe still look solid.

    Overall result

    Now due to the changing roster of writers putting together an overall result is not easy. I have compiled three different results, one which includes all four drafts and all writers who participated with any number of picks, a second result which is all the drafts prior to 2017 and one which only includes writers with 5 picks or more. The results will be ranked by points per pick of the accepted drafts.

    This is the overall ranking if all drafts are included and no pick minimum is set. In this rank Greg is crowned Hockey Wilderness’ mock drafting champion with his 8.333... points per pick.He is closely followed by Velgey with his 7 points per pick and in third we have Barry with 4 points per pick.

    When the 2017 draft is excluded we still have eight writers to be ranked and we have a more accurate result. Barry takes home the bragging rights with first place according to this ranking having scored a total of 16 points with an average of 4 points per pick in his only mock draft. Dustin gets second place with his 11 points and 1.57 points per pick though with still a fairly small sample size of only 7 picks. Joe, with a whopping -3.866 points per pick average over 15 picks, ranks last.

    Now then, what I believe is the most indicative ranking, the minimum 5 picks ranking. This ranking gives Dustin Nelson the bragging rights and first place thanks to a 1.571 points per pick average. Dustin is the only one to have managed to average positive points in this system for more than 5 picks. In second we have mntrumpterguy who managed just slightly below 0 points and in third we have Ger who managed an even -1 point per pick. This ranking is even less glorifying for Joe’s stats as he has almost twice as bad points as 1sadclown who ranks 6th. Joe’s -91 is almost 60 points worse than the next worst score, though it is slightly helped by the fact that Joe has made the most picks of all with 18.

    So in conclusion if you are, say, an NHL GM looking for a scout or an Assistant GM to help you out with the draft and you are looking at Hockey Wilderness writers it’s tough to say who to hire. Greg, Dustin and Velgey have performed well though in slightly smaller sample sizes while mntrumpterguy has done solid with 17 picks ranking 7th, 3rd and 2nd. Joe’s specialty doesn't seem to be in drafting but he is not the only one to have struggled there as I have also done that well and same can be said for dsm_captive.


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