Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Which year gave us the best draft class at each position?

Today’s draft week time-waster is a simple one: Which entry draft produced the best class at each of the five positions?

That’s a nice easy one to work with, right? I’m not even sure we need the traditional ground rules, other than to note that we’re doing the entry draft era (meaning back to 1979), and that we’re not counting left and right-shooting defenseman as different positions because we’re not lunatics.

There is one question to figure out before we can start, though: What exactly does it mean to be the “best” draft class for a position? How many guys do we need before we make a call?

On the one hand, I don’t think we want to go too deep, because then we’re debating the 14th best left wingers taken in competing years, and neither is a guy you’ve ever heard of. But I also don’t think we want to go too top heavy – after all, you could make the case that whichever year produced Mario Lemieux or Nicklas Lidstrom is the best one no matter who else was involved, but then we’re just listing the greatest players of the era and nobody’s learning anything.

In the end, I made the call that I want enough players to fill out a full roster, plus a spare. That means three goalies, seven defensemen and five each at center, left wing and right wing. That feels like it’s workable without being too daunting. After all, it can’t be that hard to find a bunch of drafts that have that many stars at a given position, right? Huh, interesting, the “ironic foreshadowing” symbol on my dashboard just lit up, I’m sure it’s nothing.

Let’s build from the net out and see where this takes us.

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