In the opening chapter of his 2008 book Outliers, journalist Malcolm Gladwell mentions how the majority of elite Canadian hockey players were born in the first few months of the year. The reason, he deduced, is minor hockey determines eligibility by calendar year, which means kids born on January 1st compete against children born on December 31st of the same year. It becomes more complicated in Canada, as some provinces like Ontario make players only compete against players in their birth year (one year), where provinces like Alberta tier by two years.
Hockey Alberta needs to realize this does not help kids, and more players would keep playing if they only played against their birth years growing up. And please don’t tell me that elite seven year olds need to compete against elite eight year olds to have success. Ontario produces many superstars in the NHL and the vast majority of them grew up only playing against those in their birth year.
But I digress. Today, I’m curious to see if NHL success due to birth month has changed over time.
Courtesy of QuantHockey.com, I was able to see NHL players separated by birth month. Let’s look at the end of each of the past five decades to see if anything has changed.
1979/80
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
January
73
3077
580
932
1512
2538
2
March
62
3428
732
1011
1743
2824
3
April
61
2663
472
772
1244
1996
4
February
61
2423
440
663
1103
2022
5
September
60
2812
549
868
1417
2671
6
October
55
2447
501
870
1371
1935
7
May
54
2438
527
801
1328
1911
8
June
53
2297
394
729
1123
2025
9
July
51
2331
498
786
1284
2003
10
August
42
2164
413
793
1206
1572
11
December
41
2317
436
794
1230
2464
12
November
41
1779
360
573
933
1144
The first four months produced the most players, while November and December produced the least.
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1989/90
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
January
75
3279
581
970
1551
4677
2
April
75
3015
446
987
1433
4177
3
June
75
3504
801
1349
2150
3569
4
March
72
3408
556
1040
1596
4115
5
February
71
3214
681
965
1646
4077
6
May
67
2726
474
818
1292
3853
7
July
55
2307
505
803
1308
2718
8
August
55
2451
546
872
1418
2955
9
October
52
2389
492
793
1285
2669
10
September
49
2345
544
789
1333
2882
11
December
44
2018
377
600
977
2633
12
November
35
1411
186
361
547
1635
June moved into the top four, while the the final third months were all at the bottom of total NHL players.
1999/00
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
January
99
4430
621
991
1612
3596
2
February
96
4724
860
1306
2166
3380
3
March
90
3890
490
905
1395
2791
4
April
89
3916
476
831
1307
2691
5
June
83
4121
563
1060
1623
3000
6
July
82
3962
620
1136
1756
2903
7
May
80
3595
486
786
1272
3004
8
September
69
3235
415
669
1084
1883
9
October
69
3516
544
814
1358
2346
10
August
57
2928
444
791
1235
1979
11
December
54
2885
444
770
1214
1999
12
November
53
2592
343
588
931
2273
In 2000, NHL expansion was almost complete and had 921 players compared to 725 in 1979/1980. To that point, most players were born in January, including 11.1% of the players in 1980 and 10.7% in 2000, while November was at bottom each year — 6.2% in 1980, dropping to 5.7% in 2000.
2009/10
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
March
105
4563
531
987
1518
3300
2
February
96
4495
719
1115
1834
2703
3
January
89
4099
537
872
1409
3092
4
June
86
4161
544
869
1413
2733
5
April
86
4491
679
1200
1879
3338
6
May
80
3854
537
973
1510
2117
7
September
78
3871
642
1093
1735
2550
8
July
76
3855
628
1099
1727
2552
9
December
71
3645
537
1032
1569
2371
10
October
71
3455
507
890
1397
2044
11
August
68
3524
542
899
1441
2340
12
November
56
2917
400
748
1148
1841
By 2010, January wasn’t first — for the first time — having dropped to third, while December for the first time wasn’t 11th, and now ranked 9th.
2019/20
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
March
103
4027
589
1017
1606
1757
2
May
102
4307
677
1145
1822
1727
3
July
100
4400
662
1249
1911
1752
4
February
99
3804
512
904
1416
1970
5
April
90
3738
575
878
1453
1480
6
January
86
4044
525
1023
1548
1694
7
October
77
3270
586
996
1582
1449
8
June
68
2766
398
676
1074
1259
9
August
64
2831
485
774
1259
1120
10
December
63
2823
474
779
1253
1260
11
September
61
2713
510
737
1247
967
12
November
57
2532
455
638
1093
1147
Most recently, January moved to sixth and now made up 8.8% of NHL players, but November was still 12th at 5.8%. But this is only for games played. Now let’s look at point totals to see the differences.
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POINT TOTALS BY MONTH…

1979/80
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
2
March
62
3428
732
1011
1743
2824
1
January
73
3077
580
932
1512
2538
5
September
60
2812
549
868
1417
2671
6
October
55
2447
501
870
1371
1935
7
May
54
2438
527
801
1328
1911
9
July
51
2331
498
786
1284
2003
3
April
61
2663
472
772
1244
1996
12
December
41
2317
436
794
1230
2464
10
August
42
2164
413
793
1206
1572
8
June
53
2297
394
729
1123
2025
4
February
61
2423
440
663
1103
2022
12
November
41
1779
360
573
933
1144
It is interesting to see how February had the third most players, but was 11th in points. While April had 20 more players than December, but only 14 more points.
1989/90
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
3
June
75
3504
801
1349
2150
3569
5
February
71
3214
681
965
1646
4077
4
March
72
3408
556
1040
1596
4115
1
January
75
3279
581
970
1551
4677
2
April
75
3015
446
987
1433
4177
8
August
55
2451
546
872
1418
2955
10
September
49
2345
544
789
1333
2882
7
July
55
2307
505
803
1308
2718
6
May
67
2726
474
818
1292
3853
9
October
52
2389
492
793
1285
2669
11
December
44
2018
377
600
977
2633
12
November
35
1411
186
361
547
1635
January and June had the same amount of players, but June’s players scored 600 more points. November is consistently at the bottom.
1999/00
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
2
February
96
4724
860
1306
2166
3380
6
July
82
3962
620
1136
1756
2903
5
June
83
4121
563
1060
1623
3000
1
January
99
4430
621
991
1612
3596
3
March
90
3890
490
905
1395
2791
9
October
69
3516
544
814
1358
2346
4
April
89
3916
476
831
1307
2691
7
May
80
3595
486
786
1272
3004
10
August
57
2928
444
791
1235
1979
11
December
54
2885
444
770
1214
1999
8
September
69
3235
415
669
1084
1883
12
November
53
2592
343
588
931
2273
January produced the most players, but their point totals were fourth.
2009/10
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
5
April
86
4491
679
1200
1879
3338
2
February
96
4495
719
1115
1834
2703
7
September
78
3871
642
1093
1735
2550
8
July
76
3855
628
1099
1727
2552
9
December
71
3645
537
1032
1569
2371
1
March
105
4563
531
987
1518
3300
6
May
80
3854
537
973
1510
2117
11
August
68
3524
542
899
1441
2340
4
June
86
4161
544
869
1413
2733
3
January
89
4099
537
872
1409
3092
10
October
71
3455
507
890
1397
2044
12
November
56
2917
400
748
1148
1841
January was third in players, but down to 10th in points, while December was ninth in players, but up to fifth in points produced. But most notably, the gap between April (most points produced) and November (fewest produced) was only 673. But was it just a bit of an outlier?
2019/20
Month
Players
GP
G
A
P
PIM
3
July
100
4400
662
1249
1911
1752
2
May
102
4307
677
1145
1822
1727
1
March
103
4027
589
1017
1606
1757
7
October
77
3270
586
996
1582
1449
6
January
86
4044
525
1023
1548
1694
5
April
90
3738
575
878
1453
1480
4
February
99
3804
512
904
1416
1970
9
August
64
2831
485
774
1259
1120
10
December
63
2823
474
779
1253
1260
11
September
61
2713
510
737
1247
967
12
November
57
2532
455
638
1093
1147
8
June
68
2766
398
676
1074
1259
November wasn’t last in points produced, it was June-born players. Actually, the 2018/2019 season it was also June.
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This is only five seasons, so I will need to look at more to see if anything has changed significantly. The reason I originally looked at it was due to late birthdays for the draft, and how I think that can be an advantage for different reasons, and now I want to start looking more in-depth at birth month.
One main question I have is: Are we seeing elite scorers coming from specific months, or countries?

TOP SCORERS…

Mar 14, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) watches the puck as he is defended by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser (65) during the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports – 12347833
Here are the top-20 scorers from the past three seasons combined.
Connor McDavid: 321 points, January 13th.
Nikita Kucherov: 313 points, June 17th.
Nathan Mackinnon: 289 points, September 1st.
Leon Draisaitl: 285 points, October 27th.
Brad Marchand: 272 points, May 11th.
Patrick Kane: 270 points, November 19th.
Artemi Panarin: 264 points, October 30th.
David Pastrnak: 256 points, May 25th.
Steven Stamkos: 250 points, February 7th.
Blake Wheeler: 247 points, August 31st.
Evgeni Malkin: 244 points, July 31st.
Alex Ovechkin: 243 points, September 17th.
Johnny Gaudreau: 241 points, August 13th.
Claude Giroux: 240 points, January 12th.
Jonathon Huberdeau: 239 points, June 4th.
Sidney Crosby: 236 points, August 7th
Aleksander Barkov: 236 points, September 2nd.
John Tavares: 232 points, September 20th.
Mitch Marner: 230 points, May 5th.
Jack Eichel: 224 points, October 28th.
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Some other young players who are emerging as top-end scorers include:
Auston Matthews: September 17th.
Elias Pettersson: November 12th.
Kyle Connor: December 9th.
Sebastian Aho: July 26th.
Brayden Point: March 13th.
Of these 25 scorers, nine were born after September 15th, so they were drafted in their 19-year-old season, and 17 of them were born after July 1st.
Some top D-men:
Victor Hedman: December 18th
Roman Josi: June 1st.
John Carlson: January 10th.
Alex Pietrangelo: January 18th.
Drew Doughty: December 8th.
Quinn Hughes: October 14th.
Cale Makar: October 30th.
Shea Theodore: August 3rd.
Shea Weber: August 14th.
Thomas Chabot: January 30th
Four of them were late birthdays, while six of them were born in the back half of the calendar.
Top goalies and some young up-and-comers:
Carey Price: August 16th
Andrei Vasilevskiy: July 25th.
Connor Hellebuyck: May 19th.
Jacob Markstrom: January 31st.
John Gibson: July 14th.
Frederik Andersen: October 2nd.
Jordan Binnington: July 11th.
Tuukka Rask: March 10th
Sergei Bobrovsky: September 20th.
Carter Hart: August 13th.
McKenzie Blackwood: December 9th.
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Three were late birthdays and seven in the second half of the calendar.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I will need to look at more data to make any sort of accurate conclusion. It is interesting to see the point production compared to players and their birth months. Do forwards born later in the year have an advantage? I have started looking at the development model in Canada, as Ontario and other provinces have young players only play those in their birth year, while Alberta and other provinces have players from two years compete in the same divisions. I strongly believe it would help more players, and likely develop more players, by having 2012 birth years only compete against 2012 up until they are 15 or 16 years of age. Sure, there might be the odd exception, but those are very rare and unnecessary for 99% of the players.
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PARTING SHOT…

I’ve long argued the benefits of moving the draft age back one year, which technically would only impact players born between January 1st and September 15th, as those born after are already being drafted in their 19th year.
It would help teams, but it would also help players?
Compare Dylan Holloway and Carter Savoie.
Holloway was drafted 14th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2020, while Carter Savoie was taken 100th overall by the Oilers. Holloway was born September 23rd, 2001, while Savoie was born on January 23rd, 2002. They are exactly four months apart, but Holloway’s birthday meant he wasn’t draft eligible until the 2020 draft.
I consider a player’s 17-year-old season the year he turns 17. Hockey begins in September, so if you turn 17 in January or in November, that is still your 17th year.
Now let’s look at their 17-year-old seasons.
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Holloway scored 40-48-88 in 53 games for Okotoks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).
Savoie scored 53-46-99 in 54 games for Sherwood Park in the AJHL.
Holloway had a late birthday and wasn’t drafted, and then went to play at the University of Wisconsin and produced 8-9-17 on a deep team. He was drafted 14th this past October.
Savoie, after scoring 99 points in 53 games was drafted 100th overall.
Now in his 18-year-old season he has 4-1-5 in his first three NCAA games and people are raving about him.
If Savoie was entering his draft year this season, how much higher would he have gone?
Last year 25 players born in 2001, and two in 2000, were drafted before Savoie. So that would jump him up to 72nd right away. If he continues to score like this in NCAA, he probably would have moved up even higher and teams would have had a better read on him and other 2002 born players. Moving the draft to a 19-year-old draft helps both organizations and players.
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With so few games being played this season, there is no better time for the NHL to strongly consider altering the 2021 draft in some form. I’d move the cut off to April 30th, and then next year slide it back to December 31st.

MONTH OF GIVING…

Friday we raised an amazing $20,000 in our Pyramid of Giving. Huge thank you to Nex Gen Transportation who offered to match the original $7,100 we planned to reach for the pyramid. We reached in two hours and listeners kept donating, including a listener, who wanted to remain anonymous, donating $2,900 in the final minute of the program to push us to $20,000. Unreal.
DAY FIVE: Five Course Meal at Chop Steakhouse
  • Dinner for six at Chop Steakhouse Ellerslie. You  and five of your friends will dine with Jason Strudwick, Connor Halley and me along with our significant others.
  • This will occur in the 2nd half of 2021
  • It will be a five-course dinner with wine pairings and your choice of beverages in their private room.
You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today. All proceeds will help out The Christmas Bureau.
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