Back in 2011, Michael E. Schuckers published a study called “What’s An NHL Draft Pick Worth? A Value Pick Chart for the National Hockey League” that details a way in which to attach a numeric value or worth for each pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Mr. Schuckers used statistical models to assign the values. The paper details how the model essentially bases the values on the number of NHL games each draft pick can be forecasted to play during his career. The values assigned do not forecast the quality of the player of course so there are differences in what a team will actually get but the number of games is helpful in general terms.
The picks near the top of the draft have the highest values, while the picks near the bottom have the lowest. We all know that large numbers of drafted players never actually play a game in the NHL. So the decrease in value is logical and makes practical sense. The stated purpose of the paper was to help NHL decision makers figure out how to package picks for trades and other transactions.