When teams draft in the late rounds, they know the chances of finding an NHL player -- much less a good one -- are slim. But as Tampa Bay Lightning amateur scout Chris Snell told NHL.com, "The late-round picks are really what makes your draft. If you can hit on one or two of those late guys it's an added bonus."
In the end, it's about getting the most value out of each pick. And if a team hits on a late-rounder, they gain significant value because so little is expected of them.
With that in mind, we set out to find the top overachievers; this week we'll focus on forwards.
We looked at the past 20 drafts and calculated the expected points per game for each draft slot. To find expected performance, we averaged the performance of players at each draft slot in the past 20 years. Then we took all the numbers and calculated a trend line, which is the black line below. This is because, for example, it's not reasonable to expect the No. 31 overall pick (average PPG: 0.124) to perform worse than the No. 210 overall pick (average PPG: 0.195). The black line below represents those expectations and, as you can see, they plummet from pick No. 1 to No. 30. Then it begins to drop more linearly.
But we're not interested in the guys who land on that black line. We're looking at the players who are the furthest above it.
Here are the top 10:
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