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How important is the WHL draft if you want to play in the WHL? Here is the data.

The Western Hockey League Draft typically takes place on the first Thursday in May every year.  It is an opportunity for second year Bantams to be chosen by one of 22 WHL Teams and be placed on their protected lists.  Players from the four Western Provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba), the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and from the WHLLogo3015Western United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) are eligible.  WHL teams have scouting staffs that observe and evaluate players throughout the year.

The Draft order is determined by the team’s position in the final regular season standings.  However, in the first round of the draft, the first six selections are determined by a lottery for the six teams that missed the playoffs.  In the following rounds, the teams select in order of fewest to most regular season points.

Players selected in the WHL draft are added to the team’s 50 player protected list (PPL).  The 50 PPL includes the team’s current roster of players (23) and the remaining 27 spots are players that were drafted or listed.  In the draft, a team may only draft as many players as they have open list spots.  It is not uncommon for a team to drop a listed player prior to, or during, the draft.  A player may be added to the PPL as a listed player at any time, following the Bantam Draft and up to the age of 20.  A team’s PPL may change throughout the season as a drafted or previously listed player may be dropped in favour of new players being added.  All additions and deletions to the PPL are filed through the WHL Office.

While selection in the draft can be an exciting and rewarding experience for players, it isn’t a guarantee that you will play in the WHL.  As well, being passed over in the draft doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on an opportunity to play in the WHL.  From year to year, approximately 20% of the players in the WHL went undrafted in their Bantam Draft year.  Some very successful players who were undrafted to the WHL include:  Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Darcy Tucker, Jeff Friesen, Dan Hamhuis, Scottie Upshall, Jeff Woywitka, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Ennis, Josh Gorges, Colton Sissons, and Jamie Benn.  Current examples include NHL Draft Prospect Jake Bean and the WHL’s Player of the Year, Dryden Hunt.

The following table is an analysis of players drafted from 2010 – 2014.
WHL Draft Analysis - Years 2010 - 2014

     
             
Round

# of Draft Picks

% That Played

Average # of Seasons

Ave. GP

Ave. Total Pts.

% Drafted to NHL

1st

110

96.3%

3.30

151

84

27.5%

2nd

110

87.3%

2.48

103

37

8.2%

3rd

110

79.8%

2.25

94

37

10.1%

4th

110

55.5%

1.46

56

13

6.4%

5th

110

48.6%

1.21

47

22

5.5%

6th

110

37.3%

0.86

34

12

0.9%

7th

110

31.8%

0.65

27

8.7

4.5%

8th

110

23.6%

0.70

32

13

2.7%

9th

106

28.3%

0.61

23

7

2.8%

10th

95

21.1%

0.52

20

6

3.2%

11th

46

19.6%

0.39

13

4

0.0%

12th

20

15.0%

0.40

17

5

5.0%

13th

4

50.0%

0.75

31

13

0.0%

All

1151

49.4%

1.35

57

23

6.9%