Quant Hockey does some pie charts for various data types by NHL season. They use the full cohort of players who appeared in NHL games, and it's very revealing to look at how the various draft rounds are represented. The most revealing thing? It barely changes from season-to-season.

I collected up the pies since the last lockout, and I was actually expecting something more than the very gentle increase in the percentage of NHLers who were drafted in the first round.

That very gentle rise in the first rounders could very well dip right back down again and disappear. The second round and the undrafted have been neck-and-neck for over a decade in their representation in the NHL.

Remember, this isn't the percentage of each draft round that become NHLers, this is the percentage of total players by the round they were drafted in.

Rounds five, six and seven add up to a number almost identical to the second round or undrafted percentages. If the NHL were to shorten the draft, the worst that happens is that the undrafted number goes up, and teams can select more players by scouting and inviting them to development camps.

The opportunities for young, borderline players to pick where they live and to find the right opportunity on the right team would give them better hockey careers. After all, anyone can find a place on their roster for a top five pick, right? But it's the late-rounders who tend to be depth players who need a team that needs them. How many people is this every draft year? Maybe 10 to 15 who ever play more than part of a season. That's out of 128 drafted in those rounds.

The real business of the draft really is pretty much over by pick 60. So maybe it's time to cut it back.

The other question that I like to return to is where do players come from. We know the NHL opened up to European players in the 70s, but those countries are small in population, save for Russia, and they can't produce more and more NHLers. The only place that can do that is America. And for a time they were on a tear.

The Other category sharing the bottom with Czechia is made up mostly of Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany and Denmark. No other country has hit 1% in any year.

Remember, this is percentage of the total players in the NHL that year by country.

Has the decline of Canadians and the rise of Americans levelled off? If you'd looked at this data in 2019, you might have thought no. You might have also written an article claiming the Swedes were taking over, but that blip didn't last. Finland was once thought to be a country storming the NHL, and then their modest increase levelled right off too.

The more interesting small supplier of NHLers is Russia. The global political situation has fuelled fears that Russians won't play in the NHL, and so far that's the opposite of what's happened.

It's very easy to look at a line graph and see a pattern that will continue. But things change you can't forecast. And in the case of the small population countries in Europe, they really are punching over their weight already. So ignore the breathless pronouncements that Switzerland is on the rise because they got to the final at Worlds. And consider that the NHL Four Nations tournament really could never have more than the four it's got.

Oh, and two Norwegians who might be taken in the first round? That's not the sign of a sea change, that's a statistical blip.