Why heavy NHL players are underrated
In early 2003, it seemed NHL scouts didn't know what to make of Dustin Byfuglien. On one hand, he had great size. But, on the other hand, he might've had too much size for his own good, tipping the scales at a reported 255 pounds. So the NHL Central Scouting Bureau tacked him on at the very end of its Midterm Rankings at No. 240.
In retrospect, Byfuglien -- a 2011 NHL All-Star -- obviously was underestimated. But it's heavier hockey players as a group that seem to slip a bit in a draft.
First, a little context: Hockey players are generally not heavy, so when a hefty prospect comes along, the sample size for those body types is fairly small. That said, "heavy" in hockey terms isn't really that heavy at all; compared with other sports, the variation in weight is relatively small, with most players hovering around 200 pounds.
So, although Byfuglien was an extreme outlier at 255 pounds, the heaviest 5 percent of prospects are only about 225 pounds and up -- and that 25 pounds makes a huge difference. And if we just look at that top 5 percent, those guys set themselves apart:
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