The purpose of the Projectinator has always been to determine an objective ranking of 17-year-old hockey players, based on their estimated future value to an NHL team. But let's say, for a moment, that the system worked perfectly (it doesn't and it never will) and you were able to project each player's future value with 100% accuracy. Would that be the end of it? Would you simply draft the best player when your turn in the draft comes?
The NHL Entry Draft is essentially an economic activity, since it involves the allocation of scarce resources in the guise of draft picks. Any advantage a team can derive in the allocation of these draft picks can produce real benefits on the ice and the bottom line. One area of economic studies is game theory, which can conceivably have some application to the Entry Draft in the sense of developing a strategy that maximizes the value you derive from a game. Rather than drafting the best player available with a particular draft pick, you could try to use what you know about other teams' strategies to inform your decisions. The draft is a game with 30 participants; one player may be able to use what he knows about the other 29 participants to game the draft.
To illustrate the basic idea, let's say you have three players you're interested in drafting. You have ranked the players in both their estimated value (V) and also an expected draft placing (D), both amongst all available players. The expected draft ranking is based on what you know about how the other teams perceive the players. You have the first overall pick in the draft, and subsequent picks at #31 and #61. Details of the three players are as follows:
Player V D
A 1 31
B 2 1
C 3 61
You believe that the consensus first overall pick is actually only the second-best player available. The best player is only expected to be drafted 31st overall; he must be about 5-foot-9. If you take player A with the first overall draft pick, you'll get player C with the 31st pick but will have no shot at player B, who will probably be drafted second overall. But what if you drafted player B first? Wouldn't you then get player A and player C with your next two selections? In that way, you could score the top three players in the draft, producing a gain in value equal to the value of player B over the value of the player you would otherwise draft at #61 (who might be close to 61st in estimated value).