Junior Defensemen: Age + Size = Roster Spot?
This is the 3rd and final analysis of statistical data on BCHL Junior A Defensemen from 2012-13. Article #1 covered “Does Size Matter?” and Article #2 focused on ‘Import D-men”.
Today we combine Age and Size and see if we can come up with any interesting or useful conclusions?
There are 17 or 15.3% of defensemen in the BCHL who are between 5’8 and 5’10. 15 of 17 players who were 5’10 or shorter were 20, 19 or 18 year old players. Only two 17 year old D-men but zero 16 year old D-men 5’10 or shorter.
This means that as a 1st or 2nd year eligible defensemen (in 2013-14 that means a 1996 or 1997 Birth Year), and you are under 5’11 tall, then you are not likely to play at the Junior A level as a regular.
The opposite can be said if you are a final year veteran player (20 year old) as 4 of the 6 total D-men who were 5’8 or 5’9 were year old players. This means that over 15% of all final year veterans were height challenged! Overall, the information leads one to believe that you have a better chance making a roster as a defenseman the older and more experienced you are.
4th Year Players: 19 Year Olds
But wait; only 2.7% of all 19 Year Old D-men were less than 6’0 tall. The other three D-men outliers were still 5’11. So it’s pretty clear that the established core veteran defensemen (27 of 111 or 24.3%) are typically taller than the average player. This works out to almost 2 4th Year D-men per team.
3rd Year D: 18 Year Olds
This is the largest group of players in the league with 38 of 111 or 34.2% of D-men being 18 year old players. The good news for the average sized player is that 12 of 38 or 31.6% of all D-men in this age group are between 5’9 and 5’11. Considering that this is one of the key years for players to solidify their Junior Careers and build interest from College teams, our data bodes well for players of all sizes. This is undeniably the year where D-men, especially those who are less than 6’0 tall to establish themselves as regular contributors or they will find it hard to earn a roster space as a 4th Year player.
All 3 16 Year old players in the league were 5’11 while 2 17 year olds were under 5’10. When you combine both years, 6.3% of 1st-2nd year players were less than 6’0 in height. This allows us to conclude that undersized D-men are not likely to be a regular Junior A Defenseman in their first two years of Junior aged eligibility.
When we look back at this analysis as a whole, it allows us to see that most players make the Junior A level in their 3rd year of eligibility or later and it doesn’t hurt if you have some extra height, when you are younger. Lastly, at the mid-point of your Junior Career and at the end, size seems to matter less than at other times.
***2021 NOTE – I will have to update this research soon as the game has moved towards more speedy, puck moving defensemen – that said – the same scouts are still picking players and their values/opinions dont change quickly if ever.