Reviewing Red Line Report’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Red Line Report is an independent scouting service who unapologetically does not aim to predict when and where players will be picked, but offers their opinion of who the best players are.  This is my look at their top-30 rankings and thoughts about the publication (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to Future Considerations, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 67% (3rd), 2012 73% (2nd), and 2011 44% (3rd).

1. Sam Bennett

2. Aaron Ekblad

3. Sam Reinhart

4. Leon Draisaitl

5. Michael Dal Colle

6. Nikolaj Ehlers

7. Jake Virtanen

8. Nick Ritchie

9. Robby Fabbri

10. Kevin Fiala

11. William Nylander

12. Nikita Scherbak

13. Haydn Fleury

14. David Pastrnak

15. Ivan Barbashev

16. Dylan Larkin

17. Sonny Milano

18. Nikolay Goldobin

19. Alex Tuch

20. Brendan Perlini

21. Jared McCann

22. Josh Ho-Sang

23. Jack Glover

24. John Quenneville

25. Markus Pettersson

26. Vladislav Kamenev

27. Roland McKeown

28. Jakub Vrana

29. Kasperi Kapanen

30. Brendan Lemieux

While the other comprehensive guides I’ve looked at offer full scouting reports on all listed players, RLR cuts it off at 115 (based, presumably, on the size of their print edition), although there are single lines through player 178.  This has always been a flaw in the guide, although it’s a handful more than last year; however it’s worth noting the guide lists more players than any other guide (only Central Scouting names more players).  There are significant differences in player lists compared to FC (126, so a 60% difference) and ISS (91, or 43%).

Since Ottawa has no first round pick, neither of the guide’s mock drafts offer insight.  They do offer this organisational analysis:

It seems as if the long-rumoured trade of center Jason Spezza might finally happen. Milan Michalek is expected to test free agency. The Senators should try to re-sign Ales Hemsky, particularly if Spezza is going to be dealt. The team’s defence looks set. It makes sense to move Spezza because the core of the team has grown a bit stale, but there is some risk because he generates a large chunk of offence and makes his wingers better. If Michalek does indeed go elsewhere, it becomes imperative to get scoring potential in any Spezza deal. The loss of Tim Murray will be felt at the draft table, and we’re not sure who will emerge with the most powerful voice in the war room now.

This isn’t very informative about the prospect pool or what the team would look to do at the draft, but it’s better than nothing.  On the plus side, the guide looks at a pair of older European players still eligible for the draft (Victor Arvidsson and Kasimir Kaskisuo), as well as European free agents who might be signed (they suggest ten players; it’s something I looked at a few weeks ago)–we both identified Michael Keranen who was just signed by Minnesota.

Overall I quite like Red Line Report, but it’s not inexpensive ($50) and does lack some of the scouting depth draft fans might want for prospects–it’s definitely not worth it for casual fans.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Pete,
    Not to be nitpicky – but I don’t think Red Line report would agree with your statement on their “accuracy” the past two years. They don’t bill their ranking as a draft prediction, so therefore how it corresponds to the actual draft isn’t relevant to them – they’d just argue that the NHL GMs and head scouts were wrong, not them.

    Their list (and maybe the others too?) is a player ranking, so to calculate their “accuracy” we’d have to look at the actual players careers and make some kind of assessment on the ranking of the players based on careers stats.

    I’d be very interested to see that kind of analysis of RLR accuracy – put the supposed experts to the test – but of course we’d have to go back to their report from 10 years ago or more. Did their report even exist that long ago?

    • I pointed out RLR’s policy in the article (perhaps not forcefully enough), the “accuracy” I’m referring to is for fans in judging who gets picked from their list (so how accurately their list reflects what will actually happen at the draft)–it has nothing to do with the quality of RLR’s scouting. That’s actually the point of all of this. I would also be interested in judging their accuracy over time (and yes, RLR has been around for a long time–so has ISS), but I don’t have access to their draft packages any further back than 2010, so it’s far too soon to attempt that. If you’re interested in draft selection versus quality of player I suggest you check out my NHL Draft Success article (http://eyeonthesens.com/2014/04/19/nhl-draft-success-2005-08/) from April to get a sense of it, but without data from RLR etc I can’t relate that information to their predictions (I can only say that RLR’s college free agent assessment has been wildly inconsistent).
      I hope that answers your comment. As always, I appreciate the feedback!

      • Sorry, re-reading the first few sentences I see that you did state that there list is a player ranking! I need to stop skimming things!!


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