3 Countries with the Best Chances of Being Drafted into the NHL
Ask which country had the highest number of draft picks relative to their population and the answer may surprise you.
Finland: 0.26% Chance
Finland tops the charts, with 0.26% of their population reaching the NHL since 2012. In total, there’s 146 players from Finland in the league in this period, which is the fifth-highest overall country total. If you lived in Finland, one out of every 1,438,000 people would make it to the NHL based on trends since 2012.
Sweden: 0.24% Chance
After Finland, the next highest percentage of the population comes from Sweden, with 0.24% of the country reaching the NHL since 2012, or 253 out of 10.4 million of it's residents reaching the highest level of professional hockey in that time period.
Canada: 0.21% Chance
Canada might be number one overall in terms of prospects produced but it is the third country in terms of chances to be drafted in the NHL, with 0.21% of its population reaching the National Hockey League over the last 20 years. For context, that's 817 Canadians drafted out of a possible 38,000,000 residents.
There’s then a significant drop off on what is already a miniscule percentage. 0.07% of people from Czech Republic reach the pinnacle of professional hockey, and 0.06% of those from Latvia have reached the NHL since 2021. Needless to say, the odds are slim.
Players Who Beat the Odds to be Drafted in the NHL
When examining the draft prospects from the past ten years and where they come from, it’s worth noting who has beaten the odds to represent their country. There are nine countries that have produced just one NHL prospect in this span.
Some notable names from the above list include Washington’s Daniel Sprong (Netherlands) and Los Angeles’s Jordan Spence (Australia) and Arthur Kaliyev (Uzbekistan). All three of the above are suiting up for their teams in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. Just goes to show that if you have talent, it matters less where you come from, but who you work to be.
To determine the which country has had the most players drafted into the NHL as well as which country's residents have the best chances of being drafted, we collected the birth place of every player drafted into the NHL from 2012 to 2021.
For each prospect, we collected the year and round they were drafted in, the team they were drafted to, their position in the draft and their birthplace. We then totaled the number of prospects from each country and compared them to the total population of each country.
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