In which Dan realizes his true calling: TSN statistician

So after yesterday’s sampling of NHL rosters, I decided to do a little more digging. And to be truer to the group of players that Gladwell used in Outliers I pulled the list of the top 211 draft picks in the 2008 NHL entry draft, courtesy of NHL.com. Of those, 33% were born between January and March. 66% were born between January and June.

More interesting, though, is when I cut that list down to the top 3 rounds of the draft (in other words, the top 91 players drafted): of that group, 43% were born in January, February or March. Under an even distribution you’d expect 25%, so that’s a significant difference.

The more I think about it, the more I think I was looking in the wrong place yesterday. I’d be surprised if NHL rosters were good representations of Gladwell’s hypotheses since developmental factors would be dampened over time by skill, resistance to injury, coaching systems, etc. It’s going to be hard not to waste my next few nights analyzing the last ten draft classes…

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