Height Bias and the NHL Draft

shinnystats

I have something of a vested interest in researching how NHL teams view short players, and to what extent any height bias is warranted. In recent years, a number of the Winterhawks’ most prolific players have been on the shorter end of things when drafted. Sven Baertschi (5’10”), Brendan Leipsic (5’8″), Nic Petan (5’8″), Oliver Bjorkstrand (5’10”), and Derrick Pouliot (defenseman, 5’11”) all come to mind.

There are a number of intriguing perspectives on teams’ motivations for preferring tall players, and whether they are justified. This Arctic Ice Hockey question post aggregates a number of observations from members of the analytics community.

(When I was introducing my dad to this project (he’s an NBA fan), he pointed out, “Teams like to draft the player with the most potential. If you draft the small guy and he’s a bust, there’s not much you can say. If you pick the big player, at the…

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