Center of Attention: NHL Draft Trends by Position
Centers dominate the 1st round of the NHL draft. In the last 10 drafts, 105 centers were taken in the 1st round which equals almost 35% of the total 1st round choices. Consider that a center constitutes 17% of the starting lineup; that's a large percentage of draft choices focusing on one position. At the other end of the spectrum is the player at the loneliest end of the rink, as Gordon Downie said. The goalie. That position claims only 6 selections - or 2% - in round 1 in the last 10 drafts.
How about the d-men? They represent 32% of all players taken in the first round. But consider that in every game, there are approximately 1.5 d-men dressed for every center; the d-men can't be called the kings of the first round.
The more fascinating trend is the drop off of centers as the draft does deeper. The graph below show a peak of centers taken in round one (105 selections) down to only 59 selections in the final round. Goalies have the opposite trend, while drafting d-men is somewhat steady with some spikes in rounds 5 and 7.
My guess is that there are a myriad of factors that produce these results. I will leave it up to the amateur scouts to provide some insight.
data source: hockey-reference.com
data visuals found here