Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – When Scouting For Size Fails

I am back from the holiday break and the timing to renew the scouting for size debate return at the perfect time.

For the last three year, TJHN has written a series of story on how “size” of player does not equate to success of development of player.  Largely because we always hear the coach say “you cant teach size”.  Yet time and time over the “size” argument is disproven.

Yesterday I read the great story from the Hockey Writers that time with my writing today.  They use the perfect example of this by saying:

“This fetish for size happens year in and year out.  A good example of this is the Vancouver Canucks who drafted Kyle Pettit with a late round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.  Listed at 6’4″ Pettit scored 10 points in over 50 games with the Erie Otters, a team boasting high quality of teammates.  Pettit was selected for his size and his “tools” rather than his ability to excel at playing hockey.  The Canucks wasted a pick on someone, who could barely hold on to a 4th line Centre position in the OHL, while leaving the shorter Spenser Watson on the board.  Spenser Watson lead all CHL draft eligible players last year in even-strength scoring and almost went undrafted until he was selected by the LA Kings with the 209th pick.”

So lets look further….

Five of the top ten scorer in the WHL are all under six feet tall.  In fact the top four WHL scorer are all under six feet tall.

Five of the top ten scorer in the OHL are all under six feet tall.

Eight out of top ten in scorer in QMJHL are under six feet tall.

In the USHL three of top ten scorer are under six feet tall.

In the NAHL five of the top ten scorer are under six feet tall.

In BCHL six of top ten scorer are under six feet tall.

I have left out all player listed at six feet tall for purpose of this argument.  So if you look at the top sixty scorer in the top six junior league in North America, thirty two of them are under six feet tall.  If you include the ones measured at six feet tall and you arrive at close to forty of the top sixty.

So what do that say?  Size do not equal success or potential for success.  What it really say is that more often than not, usually two out of three time, size has no impact on player development.

Even more telling is when you look at the NHL free agent signings.  Fifty three percent of NHL free agent player come from NCAA hockey.  Who provide NCAA with player?  The USHL, NAHL and BCHL.  What do that say about development as relate to size?

Looking further, the size argument remain steady through defense and goaltender as well.

The six foot four exceptional player is the freak of nature it is not the norm.  The search for size is what lead to many team being big but slow.  The search for size is often why team fail.

The average size of the NHL player is just over six feet tall.  That include the “freak of nature” player like Zedeno Chara and Tyler Meyers.

Size do not equate to skill.  Size do not equate to hockey sense.  Size do not determine who score goal or who get scored on less.

The big player have to prove he can not play, while the smaller “undersized” player have to prove he can play.  This is simply wrong, and show how narrow mind people can get caught up in the fad of the day.  Size is only an advantage when the player is equally as skilled and smart as a smaller player, and only then is it an advantage if the big player can actually skate.

The obsession with size simply that, an obsession.  The search for the next “freak”.  Meanwhile the smart coach and the smart scout keep finding the next Patrick Kane.  He a pretty good player no?

Coach

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.