Senators News & Notes

wikstrand

The Sens temporarily loaned Mikael Wikstrand to Farjestad to participate in Champions Hockey League group games (ongoing), but he’ll be back in Ottawa to take part in the rookie tournament.

Rookie Tournament Logo-600x300-NEW_1

Speaking of the rookie tourney, the roster has been announced (2015 picks in italics, AHL/ECHL contracts noted in brackets):

Forwards (15): Filip Chlapik, Vincent Dunn, Ryan Dzingel, Travis Ewanyk, Gabriel Gagne, Alex Guptill, Tobias Lindberg, Max McCormick, Nick Paul, Ryan Penny (AHL), Francis Perron, Matt Puempel, Buddy Robinson, Alex Wideman (AHL), and Matthew Zay (AHL)
Defensemen (7): Chris Carlisle (AHL), Thomas Chabot, Marcus Crawford, Ben Harpur, Chris Rumble (ECHL), Troy Rutkowski, and Mikael Wikstrand
Goaltenders (2): Matt O’Connor and Chris Driedger

The only FA invitee is Marcus Crawford (Saginaw); the Ajax-native is a draft-eligible player, but I think he’s here because he’s local and to round out the numbers.  Incidentally, while I didn’t mention it when he was signed, Carlisle was nominated for the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy (overage player of the year in the OHL).  Before you get too excited about that trophy (and the fact that Ryan Callahan won it in 2006), it’s worth noting previous winners include non-entities like Tyler DonatiMichael SwiftJustin DiBenedetto, and Bryan Cameron.  That doesn’t mean he won’t be a useful ECHL (or AHL) player, but keep expectations at a minimum.

The rookie tournament is a lot of fun, albeit the caliber of play is not very high.  I don’t think we’ll see much of Penny, WidemanZay, or Crawford, incidentally.

matt o'connor

Callum Fraser‘s latest post echoes my sentiments:

While Matt O’Connor has never played a professional game of hockey before and Andrew Hammond still only has a couple months in the NHL under his belt, if Craig Anderson has any sort of injury, the Senators will have their hand near the panic button. As for the bottom six, losing arguably their best player [Condra] will likely not go over well. Especially now that Chris Neil, Colin Greening and Zack Smith are getting ready for a possible reunion tour.

Fans with a better memory than mine will know the answer to this, but have reporters ever asked David Cameron if he’s aware of just how bad that trio is?  They don’t pass the eye test or the analytics test.

senshirp-simple6

I don’t typically read SensChirp, but with the dearth of Sens news I was floating around the blogosphere and popped onto the site.  It’s interesting how popular it is–judging by the number of comments it’s more popular than the similar looking SenShot and the similar news digest format of The Silver Seven.  I think the regularity of the blog helps (although it’s not quite as frequent as Silver Seven), but there must be more to it.  I’m always surprised The 6th Sens isn’t more popular, but perhaps the sober tone and less frequent posts makes that impossible.  Putting the speculation aside, there’s a good break down of the Sens draft picks by Craig Smith that I missed from a couple of months ago, so I recommend checking that out.

NHL-Draft

That reminds me that I didn’t do my usual Sens draft review, largely because Nichols followed my format this year by quoting scouting reports on all the players (he splits them into two posts: here and here).  There was no point in replicating what he’d already done (my comments on the picks can be found here).  There’s a lot of chatter about draft picks in the fanbase and for me the touchstone always has to be their statistical performance and the collective reporting of scouts.  Too often fans get excited only by the former or else the hype from just one particular scout/organisation/reporter.

travisyost

Travis Yost has an excellent article that focuses on Individual Point Percentage (IPP) and how it relates to predicting trends for players.

Travis also looks at the difficulty in assessing goaltenders:

To start, there’s either no rhyme or reason to how goaltenders develop, or teams do a very poor job of scouting talent. I’m inclined to believe it’s a mixture of the two – the position, generally, being complex in nature, and the eye test failing us in ways it may not with goal-scoring forwards.

Goaltenders are voodoo. Statistical analysis has proved only mildly helpful as it pertains to identifying goaltending talent and forecasting future performance. Teams also struggle mightily with goaltender evaluation – from the time of the draft, to the time in which they decide to fork over the first (or second) lucrative contract. Down the road, technological improvements may pay significant dividends here, as metrics will be crafted to better identify goaltending talent, and separate skill from the noise.

He followed this article up with one trying to figure out who were the best goaltenders in the league (concluding they are Henrik LundqvistTuukka Rask, and Carey Price).

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

Evansville has signed two more players: Adam Stuart (SPHL 54-21-32-53), a 26-year old forward who will likely spend the year back in the SPHL, and re-signed 31-year old Jarret Lukin (56-12-26-38), one of their few productive forwards from last season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

NHL Draft Success (2005-2009)

There have been a sprinkle of articles reviewing draft accuracy over the years (like TSN’s Scott Cullen‘s awhile back) and as engaging as they are I’ve always had problems with the way they are constructed. Examinations of the draft that cover a long period of time fail to account for the changes in the league and the draft itself, so the comparisons don’t really work. When articles cover more recent drafts (Hockey Futures does them at five-year intervals) they are forced to make judgement calls on players whose futures are yet to be defined (just two examples, Colin Greening hadn’t started his pro career five years in, while Carl Soderberg didn’t jump to the NHL until he was 27).  All this preamble is to make two key points: 1) the attitude and approach to the draft in the NHL changed seismically after the 2004-05 lockout (due to the cap), 2) the typical make-or-break moment for a draft pick varies considerably.  On top of that, the raw overview I’m about to give is simply a window into the study, since I’m not focussed on management changes or know how much money/emphasis is being allocated on scouting by teams year-by-year (nor am I comparing the quality of those players).  What follows is a very broad examination of levels of success within the draft by team.  I’ve cut off at 2009 because even the ’10 draft class still hasn’t completed their cycle of development (’09 has some ambiguity, so the results there aren’t included fully included in the comparative data).  All of this presupposes the importance of the draft, something that could not be assumed at points in NHL history.

My framework: what is a successful pick?  Any skater who has played 200+ NHL games (along with some judgement calls, particularly when it comes to goaltenders).  With that many games the player has managed at least two and a half seasons of NHL work and that’s a solid return on the investment.  It’s not the only metric you could use, but it seems both broad and specific enough to be a place to start.

2005 (here)
First Round
18 players have played 200+ games, including 9 of the top-10 (Luc Bourdon tragically died and is the only exception).  Only 3 players never suited up in the NHL (Marek Zagrapan #13, Sasha Pokulok #14, and Alex Bourret #16)
Second Round
8 players hit 200+ games (the best are James Neal #33 and Paul Statsny ##44), with 12 never hitting the ice; only Marc-Andre Cliché might break that 200 barrier.
Third Round
6 players hit the mark (the best are Kris Letang #62 and Jonathan Quick #72; I’m including Ben Bishop #85); 12 never played
Fourth Round
6 players have reached the plateau (the best is Keith Yandle #105); 17 never played; Chris VandeVelde still has a chance to break the barrier
Fifth Round
5 players hit the mark (the best are Darren Helm #132 and Nathan Gerbe #142); 23 never played
Sixth Round
Only Matt D’Agostini qualifies; 22 players never played
Seventh Round
5 players reached the plateau (all serviceable players); 26 players never played

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – Columbus (MacLean), Montreal (Gainey)
3 – Detroit (Holland), Dallas (Armstrong), Pittsburgh (Patrick), St. Louis (Pleau), New York Rangers (Sather)
2 – San Jose (Wilson), Ottawa (Muckler), Los Angeles (Taylor), Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett), Toronto (Ferguson), Nashville (Poile), Buffalo (Regier), Chicago (Pulford/Tallon), New Jersey (Lamoriello)
1 – Anaheim (Coates/Burke), Carolina (Rutherford), Minnesota (Risebrough), Edmonton (Lowe), Philadelphia (Clarke), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Colorado (Lacroix), Vancouver (Nonis), Boston (O’Connell)
0 – Washington (McPhee), New York Islanders (Milbury), Florida (Keenan), Calgary (Sutter), Tampa Bay (Feaster)

2006 (here)
First Round
20 players hit the plateau (I’m including Jonathan Bernier), including all of the top-ten picks; 3 players did not hit the ice for an NHL game (Mark Mitera #19, David Fischer #20, and Dennis Persson #24)
Second Round
9 players (I’m including Michal Neuvirth) hit the mark, with only Jhonas Enroth having a chance to join them; 14 players never played
Third Round
While only 3 players have reached the plateau, but another 3 will or should join them (Brian Strait #65, Ryan White #66, and Eric Gryba #68); 16 never hit the ice
Fourth Round
2 players (Matt Beleskey #112 and I’m including James Reimer #99); 22 players never played
Fifth Round
No player has hit or will hit the 200 game-mark (or even 100); 23 never played; Chad Johnson #125 was the best player picked
Sixth Round
3 players hit the mark (Andrew MacDonald #160, Viktor Stalberg #161, and Mathieu Perreault #177), with Leo Komarov #180 having an outside shot of also getting there; 23 prospects never played
Seventh Round
2 players qualify (Derek Dorsett #189 and Erik Condra #211); 24 players never played

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – Washington (McPhee), Toronto (Ferguson)
3 – Boston (O’Connell/Gorton/Chiarelli), Columbus (MacLean), Ottawa (Muckler)
2 – St. Louis (Pleau), New York Islanders (Milbury/Smith), Minnesota (Risebrough), Los Angeles (Taylor/Lombardi), Pittsburgh (Patrick/Shero)
1 – Chicago (Pulford), Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett/Maloney), Florida (Keenan), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Vancouver (Nonis), Colorado (Lacroix/Giguere), Philadelphia (Clarke), San Jose (Wilson), Edmonton (Lowe), Detroit (Holland), New York Rangers (Sather), Buffalo (Regier), Carolina (Rutherford), Anaheim (Burke), Montreal (Gainey)
0 – Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Dallas (Armstrong), Nashville (Poile)

2007 (here)
First Round
16 players hit the mark, including 9 of the top-ten, but Ian Cole, Riley Nash, and Brendan Nash will all get there (so 19); 5 picks never played a game (Alexei Cherepanov #17 died; Logan MacMillan #19, Angelo Esposito #20, Patrick White #25, and Nick Ross #30)
Second Round
4 players have reached the plateau; 15 never played a game
Third Round
One player has reached 200 games (Yannick Weber #73), but Alex Killorn, Robert Bortuzzo, Joakim Andersson, and Corey Tropp should all get there (so 5); 16 players never hit the ice
Fourth Round
3 players qualify (Alec Martinez #95, Dwight King #109, and Matt Halischuk #117); 16 never played; Brad Malone #105 is on track to join them
Fifth Round
2 players (Jamie Benn #159 and Jake Muzzin #141) reach the mark; Chris Terry #132 has a shot to join them; 23 have never played
Sixth Round
Carl Hagelin (#168) and Nick Bonino (#173) qualify; Patrick Maroon #161, Brett Bellemore #162, and Paul Byron #179 should get there (so 5), with two others having outside shots (Luke Gadzic and Anthony Peluso); 17 prospects never played
Seventh Round
2 players (Carl Gunnarsson #194 and Justin Braun #201) reached the mark; 24 have never played; there’s a chance Paul Postma #205 will eventually get there

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – Los Angeles (Lombardi), Montreal (Gainey)
3 – San Jose (Wilson), St. Louis (Pleau), Colorado (Giguere)
2 – Edmonton (Lowe), Carolina (Rutherford), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Buffalo (Regier), Pittsburgh (Shero), Detroit (Holland)
1 – Chicago (Pulford), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson/MacLean), Florida (Martin), Nashville (Poile), Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Dallas (Armstrong), New York Rangers (Sather), Toronto (Ferguson)
0 – Ottawa (Br.Murray/Muckler), Boston (Chiarelli), Anaheim (Burke), Vancouver (Nonis), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), New York Islanders (Snow), Minnesota (Risebrough)

2008 (here)
First Round
17 players have reached 200 games, including 9 of the top-ten, with another 3 on their way (so 20); four prospects never played (Kyle Beach #11, Chet Pickard #18, Anton Gustafsson #21, and Daultan Leveille #29)
Second Round
5 players (Derek Stepan #51, Travis Hamonic #53, Roman Josi (#38), Justin Schultz (#43), and Marco Scandella (#55) have reached the plateau, with Vyacheslav Voinov (#32), Patrick Wiercioch #42, and Jimmy Hayes #60 locks to join them (so 8); 7 players have never suited up
Third Round
4 players (Michael Stone #69, Lance Bouma #78, Zack Smith #79, Adam Henrique #82), with Brandon McMillan #85 possibly getting there, and Jori Lehtera #65 if he can stay healthy (I’ll include him, so 5); 17 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
Two have reached 200 games (Dale Weise #111 and T. J. Brodie #114)), with Braden Holtby (#93) and Gustav Nyquist (#121) arriving there this upcoming season (so 4); 15 players never suited up
Fifth Round
Two players (Matt Martin #148 and Matt Calvert #127) qualify; 18 prospects never played
Sixth Round
4 players qualify (Jared Spurgeon #156, Cam Atkinson #157, Tommy Wingels #177, and Zac Rinaldo #178), with Ben Smith #169 joining them in the upcoming season (so 5); 19 players never suited up
Seventh Round
Only Jason Demers (#186) hits the mark; 22 have never played; Matt Bartkowski #190 could join him soon; I’ll include Anders Lindback (#207) as well (so 3)

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – New York Islanders (Snow)
3 – Nashville (Poile), Ottawa (Br.Murray), New York Rangers (Sather)
2 – Buffalo (Regier), Anaheim (Burke/Bo.Murray), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson), San Jose (Wilson), Los Angeles (Lombardi), Calgary (Sutter), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), St. Louis (Pleau), Toronto (Ferguson/Burke)
1 – Tampa Bay (Feaster), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Vancouver (Nonis/Gillis), Edmonton (Lowe), Minnesota (Risebrough), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Detroit (Holland), Chicago (Pulford), Florida (Martin), Carolina (Rutherford), Boston (Chiarelli)
0 – Colorado (Giguere), Montreal (Gainey), Dallas (Armstrong/Hull-Jackson), Pittsburgh (Shero)

2009 (here)
First Round
14 players have hit the threshold (including 9 of the top-10), with another 8 who will get there (so 22); only one player never played (Philippe Paradise #27), with Scott Glennie (#8) as the only top-10 bust
Second Round
2 have reached the threshold, with another 7 on their way (so 9, possibly to be joined by Dmitri Orlov #55); 9 players never made it
Third Round
2 players hit the mark, and I’ll include Tyson Barrie #64 and Brayden McNabb #66 as well (so 4), although it’s worth noting several other players whose careers have just started could bump this number considerably; 12 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
2 reach the threshold, with another 4 on their way (so 6, with the same caveat as above); 13 players never suited up
Fifth Round
2 players hit the mark, with Mike Hoffman #130 likely to join them (so 3); 21 players never suited up
Sixth Round
No player is at 200 games, but Anders Lee #152 should get there; 18 players didn’t make it
Seventh Round
Zero players hit the mark, but Jordan Nolan #186 will get there and Erik Haula #182 has a decent chance; 26 players never hit the ice

The preliminary success by team:
4 – New York Islanders (Snow), Nashville (Poile)
3 – Los Angeles (Lombardi), Ottawa (Br.Murray), Buffalo (Regier), Anaheim (Bo.Murray), Colorado (Giguere/Sherman)
2 – Minnesota (Risebrough), Columbus (Howson), Dallas (Hull-Jackson/Nieuwendyk), Washington (McPhee), Edmonton (Tambellini), Tampa Bay (Lawton), Chicago (Pulford), New Jersey (Lamoriello)
1 – Detroit (Holland), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Toronto (Burke), Florida (Martin/Sexton), St. Louis (Pleau), New York Rangers (Sather), Pittsburgh (Shero)
0 – Boston (Chiarelli), Calgary (Sutter), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Philadelphia (Holmgren), San Jose (Wilson), and Vancouver (Gillis) with 0.

My hope is that others will dig a little deeper to get the how and why behind the numbers–a few basic factors (poor coverage of Europe and the dismissal of smaller players) are clearly a factor (as explored here in a look at undrafted success stories).

Overview (2009 is not included for the reasons mentioned above)
Round-by-round success rate:
First: 77/120 (64%)
Second: 30/123 (24%)
Third: 22/120 (18%)
Fourth: 16/124 (13%)
Fifth: 9/127 (7%)
Sixth: 14/123 (11%)
Seventh: 12/128 (9%)

The scaling between rounds is not surprising.  Of the 39 top-ten picks (excluding Bourdon for obvious reasons), only 2 were misses, making them 95% reliable.  Excluding the top-ten picks, the first round is still significantly stronger than the second round (40/79, 50%, excluding Cherepanov for the same obvious reason).  The third round is more meaningful than the rest, but the fourth is only a bit better than the rounds that follow; the fifth-seventh rounds are roughly all on equal footing in terms of results, which suggests there’s still room to improve scouting (as ideally there should be a decline each round; albeit the above data is a small sample size).

Team Performance (GM’s in brackets; the average is 6)
Los Angeles (Taylor/Lombardi), St. Louis (Pleau), Columbus (MacLean/Howson) 10
Montreal (Gainey), Toronto 9 (Ferguson/Burke)
San Jose (Wilson), Ottawa (Muckler/Br.Murray), New York Rangers (Sather) 8
Washington (McPhee), Detroit (Holland), Pittsburgh (Patrick/Shero), Buffalo (Regier) 7
Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett/Maloney), Nashville (Poile), New York Islanders (Milbury/Smith/Snow), Philadelphia (Clarke/Holmgren) 6
Boston (O’Connell/Chiarelli), Carolina (Rutherford), Chicago (Pulford/Tallon), Colorado (Lacroix/Giguere/Sherman), Edmonton (Lowe/Tambellini) 5
Dallas (Armstrong/Hull-Jackson/Nieuwendyk), Anaheim (Coates/Burke/Bo.Murray), Minnesota (Risebrough), New Jersey (Lamoriello) 4
Calgary (Sutter), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Vancouver (Nonis/Gillis), Florida (Keenan/Martin) 3
Tampa Bay (Feaster/Lawton) 2

It’s difficult to imagine any scouting staff completely whiffing on an entire year, but organisations do (an average of 5 per season, so a sixth of the NHL).  It’s interesting that LA and St. Louis are benefitting from their excellent scouting (and draft position), whereas Columbus is experiencing much more modest gains (this is where the difference in quality of players manifests itself over quantity).  It seems like a good year for scouts is 2 NHL players (more than that is excellent), while there should always be at least one found (5 teams average less than one).

There’s plenty of room to assess GM’s independent of their teams (from 05-08 half, 15, of the GMs remained the same, although that drops to 13 in 2009).  A quick glance at the variance in performance for those without the same GM (up through 2008):
LA: Taylor 2/1; Lombardi 8/3 (the 2006 draft would have included some or all of Taylor’s scouting staff)
Columbus: MacLean 7/2, Howson 3/2 (the above caveat for 2007, where 1 player panned out)
Toronto: Ferguson 7/2, Burke 2 (the above caveat for 2008, with 2)
Ottawa: Muckler 5/2, Br.Murray 3/2 (the above for 2007, with 0)
Pittsburgh: Patrick 3/1, Shero 4/3 (the above for 2006, with 2)
Arizona/Phoenix: Barnett 2/1, Maloney 4/3 (the above for 2006, with 1)
New York Islanders: Milbury 0/1, Smith 2/1 (the above for 2006, with 2), Snow 4/2
Philadelphia: Clarke 2/2, Holmgren 4/2
Boston: O’Connell 1/1, Chiarelli 4/3 (the above for 2006, plus interim GM Gorton, with 3)
Chicago: Tallon 5/4 (the above for 2005 via Pulford, with 2)
Colorado: Lacroix 1/1 Giguere 4/3 (the above for 2006, with 1)
Dallas: Armstrong 4/3 Hull-Jackson 0/1 (the above for 2008, with 0)
Anaheim: Burke 2/3 Bo.Murray 2/1 (the above for 2005 via Coates, with 1; the same for 2008 with 2)
Vancouver: Nonis 2/3 Gillis 1/1 (the above for 2008, with 1)
Florida: Keenan 1/2 Martin 2/2

A few stray observations in the numbers above: Doug MacLean drafted better than expected in Columbus; my belief that Brian Burke doesn’t draft holds up; Ray Shero was awful; the lauded Peter Chiarelli did not do well at the draft; Dale Tallon’s reputation in Chicago was overrated for the draft.  As for the 15 franchises who kept the same GM’s throughout these four years, Jay Feaster was the worst, followed closely by Darryl Sutter and Don Waddell.  Larry Pleau and Bob Gainey had the best success rate.

It’s worth noting that given top-ten picks are essentially gimmies, GMs who have those picks have their numbers inflated somewhat, so in terms of which scouting staffs can assess after the automatics, here are the adjusted numbers:

Los Angeles, New York Rangers, St. Louis, Montreal, Toronto 8
Columbus, Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa 7
San Jose 6
Washington, Nashville, Colorado, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh 5
New York Islanders, New Jersey, Boston, Edmonton, Carolina, Dallas 4
Arizona, Calgary, Anaheim 3
Minnesota, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Chicago 2
Florida, Tampa Bay 1

After the first round:

Columbus 7
Montreal, New York Rangers, Toronto, San Jose 6
Los Angeles, Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa, Nashville, Pittsburgh 5
New York Islanders, New Jersey 4
St. Louis, Washington, Colorado, Boston, Carolina, Dallas 3
Philadelphia, Arizona, Calgary, Anaheim, Minnesota, Chicago 2
Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Florida, Tampa Bay 1

The most noticeable drop is by St. Louis, where outside the first round they’ve had middling success (Edmonton’s drop is much less surprising).

At any rate, this all just scratches the surface.  Further analysis and time is required to draw conclusions, but I think this sheds some light on the draft in the current era.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2015 NHL Draft

It’s time to look back over the draft and assess my prognostication as well as that of the draft guides I used (I’m not interested in the declared intentions of the guides, but rather how they function as predictors).  Without further ado, here are the numbers (this isn’t about Player X at position X, so what’s below is simply the correct player by round).  Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), and ISS (International Scouting Service).

First Round
HP: 26/30
EOTS/FC/Bob McKenzie: 25/30
ISS/RLR: 24/30

As I’ve mentioned before, picking first round players is quite easy–there’s a general consensus on most of them and these numbers are typical.

Second Round
EOTS: 18/31
HP: 17/31
ISS: 16/31
FC/RLR: 14/31

These are very similar numbers to last year.

Third Round
EOTS/RLR/ISS: 8/30
HP: 7/30
FC: 6/30
Also typical numbers (as they are for the remaining rounds).  This first player not on my list (goaltender Mike Robinson).

Fourth Round
EOTS: 7/30
ISS/HP: 6/30
RLR: 3/30
FC: 2/30
Three players were taken who were not on my list (Andrei Mironov, Christian Wolanin, and Daniel Bernhardt).

Fifth Round
EOTS: 4/30
RLR/HP/FC: 3/30
ISS: 2/30
Team eccentricity began to hit here and 11 players were taken who did not appear on my list.

Sixth Round
HP: 5/30
RLR: 3/30
EOTS: 2/30
FC: 1/30
ISS: 0/30
Another 16 players were selected who don’t appear on my list.

Seventh Round
HP: 5/30
EOTS/RLR/FC: 2/30
ISS: 0/30
A final 15 players were selected that did not appear on my list.

Total (change from last year noted)
HP: 69/211 (-2)
EOTS: 66/211 (+6)
RLR/ISS: 57/211 (+4/+4)
FC: 53/211 (no change)

Despite a slight decrease, HP again had the most accurate by-round predictions (32%).  I improved in this regard (to 31%), but the more important number is how many players selected were actually taken in the draft, and here’s how we all did (with variance from last year noted; ISS’ weird number has to do with the way their guide is structured):
EOTS: 165/211 (78%) +7%
HP: 160/211 (75%) +4%
RLR: 154/211 (72%) +8%
ISS: 151/220 (68%) +6%
FC: 146/211 (69%) +0%
I achieved my goal of picking the most players this year, which is gratifying (it’s also the highest percentage since I started doing this).  My sources and I had 29 players in common that none of us picked to be in the draft (close to 14% of the draft).

The highest ranked player not to be selected was mighty-midget (5’8) Dante Salituro; he was followed by center Nathan Noel, Swiss center Pius Suter (his second time through the draftm perhaps influenced by him signing with ZSC in the NLA in May), and center Tyler Soy.  In all eleven players selected by all sources for the draft were not selected (Lalonde, McBride, Huska, Kielly, Askew, McNiven, Hunt, Leveille, along with Soy, Suter, and Noel).  In terms of source ratings, Salituro and Chebykin were second-round talents for one guide each.  Virtually none of the CS catalogue of European players were taken after the top-30 or so.

For those who like completeness, here’s all the players selected who weren’t on my list: Mike Robinson (R3), Andrei Mironov (R4), Christian Wolanin (R4), Daniel Bernhardt (R4), Luke Stevens (R5), Niko Mikkola (R5), Sam Ruopp (R5), Karlis Cukste (R5), Matt Schmalz (R5), Dominik Simon (R5), Spencer Smallman (R5), Rudolfs Balcers (R5), Carl Neill (R5), Karel Vejmelka (R5), Luke Opilka (R5), Kris Oldman (R6), Brett Seney (R6), Adam Parsells (R6), Sergei Boikov (R6), Markus Ruusu (R6), Cameron Hughes (R6), Frederik Tiffels (R6), Mason Appleton (R6), Patrick Holloway (R6), Andong Song (R6), Colby Williams (R6), Tyler Moy (R6), Liam Dunda (R6), Steven Ruggiero (R6), Garrett Metcalf (R6), Bokondji Imama (R6), Ivan Chukarov (R7), Erik Kallgren (R7), Steven Lorentz (R7), Ivan Fedotov (R7), Markus Nutivaara (R7), Gustav Olhaver (R7), Jake Kupsky (R7), Matthew Roy (R7), Jack Becker (R7), Riley Bruce (R7), Joey Daccord (R7), Evan Smith (R7), Miroslav Svoboda (R7), Ziyat Paygin (R7), and John Dahlstrom (R7).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft

The 2015 NHL draft is not far away so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down.  It’s worth noting that I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft–an area that lacks good comparative data and in pursing that it’s interesting and fun to make predictions.  Before we get into my list I’ll explain my reasoning and methodology.

With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well. Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agents. That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction, but the wide variety of sources are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. It is my purpose here to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected.

This is my sixth year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class (well ahead of my sources).  When I talk about predicting the draft class, I don’t mean player X went in X round at X position–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (in the years I tracked it, the number was little higher than a quarter and when you subtract the first round it bottoms out completely).  These numbers and percentages are pointed at which players will be selected, period.  So back to the totals: in 2011 I picked 70% (again well ahead); 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report); 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s); and in 2014 I hit 71% (again tied with HP).  Overall I’m just over 71%.  For the sake of clarity, here’s the batting average of sources used over those years (excluding 2010 when I didn’t keep full data):
Me: 70%, 75%, 69%, 71% (avg 71%)
HP: 47%, 72%, 69%, 71% (avg 65%)
ISS: 60%, 70%, 65%, 62% (avg 64%)
FC: 44%, 71%, 68%, 69% (avg 63%)
RLR: 44%, 74%, 67%, 64% (avg 62%)

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then added and averaged). This gives me a number I can use to compare that player to others. I then engage in further comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y has the higher median score, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 vs 12, 13, 16, 69). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between trying to assess who the best player is versus who a team will draft.  My interest is in figuring out who will be taken and given the available data draft guides are the only real way for me to do so–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), since they are assessing talent not the decision-making of GMs, but simply showing how closely their assessments match those of NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

While a wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (since that’s my purpose here), but otherwise simply based on results. For that purpose I use the International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), Future Considerations (FC), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Central Scouting (CS). I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc).

An important note: both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions, and further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders.  As such I don’t integrate their rankings in creating an aggregate number, instead I use it largely to help mediate between players with close scores (it’s also worth noting NHL teams have shown little interest in CS’ European assessments). ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking. This separate ranking used to have draft positions associated with them (by round), but for whatever reason this year ISS hasn’t done that, making it impossible to include them in the aggregate score.

Notes

-Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations)
-For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders and defenseman in the player comments; any player listed as “undersized” means they are officially listed as 5’9 or shorter
-Ranking depth: CS 371, RLR 316, ISS 220 (200 skaters and 20 goaltenders), HP 211 (plus 187 unranked), FC 211.
-This draft is considered strong and deep (although not as strong as the 2003 draft).

First Round

My sources have 23 players in common for this round, with a total of 38 players selected for it; all have the same player slotted for both the #1 and #2 picks.

1. Connor McDavid (1.00) – picked by all sources so there’s no analysis necessary
2. Jack Eichel (2.00) – Boston University player is also universally picked
3. Noah Hanifin (3.75) – the Boston College defenseman is slotted here by everyone (including CS) except ISS
4. Mitchell Marner (4.5) – in a dead heat with Strome (below); the crux seems to be whether a GM (Toronto) prefers a bigger man with slower feet, or a smaller one who is quick–I’m thinking the latter with the addition of Babcock in Leafs land, but I am picking against a slight preferences in sources (CS would normally be the tie-breaker)
5. Dylan Strome (4.5) – in a dead heat with Marner (above); CS prefers him; I have to wonder how much playing with McDavid has boosted his numbers
6. Ivan Provorov (7.0) – the Russian blueliner (currently plying his trade in the WHL) slots here comfortably, but the Russian factor remains a potential obstacle (although New Jersey, who currently has this pick, isn’t that shy with them); HP has him ranked lowest (9th)
7. Mikko Rantanen (8.5) – the top-ranked player in Europe according to everyone, the big Finnish winger’s rankings top out at this position, but he suffers far less variation than anyone who follows him
8. Lawson Crouse (8.75) – ISS has the OHL-winger at #4; there’s nothing bad said about the big man other than an implication that his ceiling is lower than those listed above him (scouts call him a safe pick)
9. Mathew Barzal (9.5) – the OHL-center is a bit like Rantanen in that he’s not ranked particularly high (8th from ISS is his best), but everyone except HP has him in the top-10 (they put him twelfth; CS also has him outside the top-10 in NA)
10. Pavel Zacha (10.5) – the Czech center (playing in the OHL) suffers from FC’s assessment (15th), but otherwise he places better than Werenski below (HP has him highest at 7th)
11. Zach Werenski (10.25) – FC puts the Michigan defenseman in the top-ten (7th), but otherwise he’s just outside that margin
12. Kyle Connor (14.25) – USHL-center gets a wide disparity of placements that puts him in a dead heat with Meier below; HP has him fifth
13. Timo Meier (14.25) – the Swiss-QMJHL winger has very steady numbers across the board
14. Travis Konecny (14.75) – the undersized OHL-center ranges from an FC high (11th) to an HP low (19th); there’s a universal concern about him being injury-prone (partially related to his size)
15. Nick Merkley (16.0) – the WHL-center has steady numbers ala Meier above
16. Evgeny Svechnikov (16.5) – the Russian-QMJHL winger also has a tight band of ratings
17. Denis Guryanov (18.0) – I’ve seen his name spelled with an “i” as well, but this spelling appears more often; the Russian winger spent most of this past season in the MHL and his ratings range from in the top-ten to the latter part of the first round (24th from both FC and ISS)
18. Jeremy Roy (18.25) – the QMJHL-defenseman is either near top-ten or towards the end of the round
19. Joel Eriksson Ek (19.25) – the Swedish center spent a lot of time with Farjestad in the SHL this season; HP has him highest (15th) while FC has the low (23rd)
20. Thomas Chabot (19.5) – ISS is highest on the QMJHL blueliner (#16)
21. Colin White (23.5) – USDP winger is the first player listed not selected by all sources to be a first-round pick; ISS has him highest at #15
22. Jakub Zboril (23.5) – despite the Czech QMJHL-defenseman having the same score as White above, his numbers are a bit more pedestrian (a high of #20 from FC); his higher CS ranking keeps him above Bittner below
23. Paul Bittner (24.0) – WHL-winger’s scores are split between the top-20 and the end of the first-round; ISS has the high (#17) and HP the low (#30)
24. Jansen Harkins (25.5) – there’s some variance in the rankings of the WHL-center; HP slots him in the second-round
25. Jake DeBrusk (26.75) – the WHL-winger is the last player picked by all sources to go in the first-round (all of them slot him towards the end of the round)
26. Brock Boeser (27.25) – USHL-center is a second-rounder for ISS (#35), but otherwise comfortably fits in the first, with HP putting him in the top-20 (#18)
27. Noah Juulsen (27.75) – WHL-defenseman has a high of #22 (HP) with FC putting him at #32
28. Ilya Samsonov (28.0) – Russian goaltender spent the year in the MHL; HP is the high (#21) with FC putting him in the second-round (#40)
29. Daniel Sprong (29.75) – QMJHL-winger is the first with only two first-round votes (FC and ISS)
30. Oliver Kylington (30.0) – Swedish defenseman has a very tight prediction band

Eight other players were slotted in the first-round; Brandon Carlo and Jeremy Bracco by two sources; Nicolas Meloche, Jack Roslovic, Alexander Dergachev, Gabriel Carlsson, Jacob Larsson, and Matej Tomek appeared in just one.  Bob McKenzie’s popular list differs from mine in terms of placement, although we have the exact same players in the top-ten; Carlo and Carlsson are in his first-round list, while Juulsen and Sprong are not.  For the remaining rounds I’ll keep details to a minimum unless there’s something specific to explain; it’s worth noting a number of players who follow have their overall number derailed by RLR (19 players, the majority European), which has me leaning towards removing them from my data collection.

Second Round

31. Brandon Carlo (31.75) – WHL defenseman
32. Jacob Larsson (45.75) – Swedish defenseman playing in their junior system
33. Nicolas Meloche (34.0) – QMJHL defenseman
34. Jack Roslovic (35.5) – USDP center
35. Jeremy Bracco (36.5) – an undersized USDP winger; he’s given a higher ceiling by those who like him (FC and ISS)
36. Anthony Beauvillier (36.75) – QMJHL winger
37. Filip Chlapik (39.5) – Czech center in the QMJHL
38. Gabriel Carlsson (40.5) – Swedish defenseman playing in their junior system
39. Vince Dunn (41.25) – OHL defenseman
40. MacKenzie Blackwood (43.66) – OHL goaltender
41. Yakov Trenin (44.75) – Russian QMJHL forward
42. Zachary Senyshyn (46.0) – OHL winger
43. Jordan Greenway (47.25) – USDP winger; HP’s low rating doesn’t impact where he lines up in the numbers
44. Thomas Novak (48.5) – USHL center
45. Travis Dermott (49.5) – OHL defenseman
46. Jonas Siegenthaler (54.25) – Swiss defenseman in the NLA
47. Christian Fischer (50.0) – USDP winger
48. Guillaume Brisebois (51.5) – QMJHL defenseman
49. Robin Kovacs (54.25) – Swedish winger in the Allsvenskan
50. Austin Wagner (51.75) – WHL winger
51. Nicolas Roy (54.5) – QMJHL center; HP has him in the third round
52. Julius Nattinen (57.0) – Finnish center in the Mestis; split opinions, with half putting him early in the second-round and the others slotting him in the third
53. Nikita Korostelev (59.25) – OHL winger
54. Matthew Spencer (59.75) – OHL defenseman
55. Alexander Dergachyov (60.75) – Russian center in the MHL; wide variance on his talent-level
56. Mitchell Stephens (66.75) – OHL center
57. Jeremy Lauzon (62.0) – QMJHL defenseman
58. Roope Hintz (62.25) – Finnish winger in the Liiga
59. Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson (63.75) – Swedish center in the USHL
60. Dennis Yan (64.25) – QMJHL winger; wide variance (early second to fourth)
61. Rasmus Andersson (67.0) – Swedish defenseman in the OHL; an ISS casualty, he’s the last player with three second-round selections

The second-round includes an extra-pick due to compensation for Chicago (they weren’t able to sign 2010 first-round pick Kevin Hayes).  Four other players received two second-round placements (Ryan GroppParker Wotherspoon, Alexandre Carrier, and sort-of Daniel Vladar–it’s hard to know what ISS goalie rankings really mean).  My list varies from Bob McKenzie’s with the two first-round players mentioned above along with Gropp, Vladar, Erik CernakGraham Knott, Callum BoothRyan Pilon, and Gabriel Gagne.  So our variance through the two rounds is 7 players.  Excluding McKenzie, another 22 players have at least one second-round placement.

Third Round

62. Ryan Gropp (67.25)
63. Gabriel Gagne (90.5)
64. Daniel Vladar (67.66)
65. Parker Wotherspoon (69.5) – defenseman; hurt by HP’s rating
66. Mitchell Vande Sompel (69.25) – defenseman
67. Erik Foley (70.0)
68. Matej Tomek (70.33) – goaltender; rankings are all over the place (from first to fourth round)
69. Alexandre Carrier (72.5) – defenseman
70. Keegan Kolesar (74.5) – beats Pilon on aggregate
71. Ryan Pilon (74.25) – defenseman
72. Graham Knott (75.75)
73. Callum Booth (74.66) – goaltender; other than Bob McKenzie no one has him in the second-round (he is CS’ #2)
74. Glenn Gawdin (79.75)
75. Erik Cernak (80.75) – defenseman; rankings all over the place
76. Michael Spacek (84.0) – hurt by HP’s rating
77. Brendan Guhle (80.75) – defenseman
78. Adam Musil (84.25)
79. Blake Speers (84.75) – beats Ahl on aggregate
80. Filip Ahl (84.75) – beats Looke on aggregate
81. Jens Looke (84.75)
82. Denis Malgin (86.75) – undersized
83. Ethan Bear (85.25)
84. A. J. Greer (88.0) – rankings all over the place
85. Thomas Schemitsch (89.5) – defenseman
86. Vladislav Gavrikov (93.25) – defenseman
87. Dante Salituro (93.0) – undersized; huge variance of opinion; the first player not in the draft for all sources
88. Dmytro Timashov (97.0) – undersized; beats Noel on aggregate
89. Kirill Kaprizov (98.75) – undersized; also beats Noel on aggregate
90. Nathan Noel (96.75)
91. Sami Niku (100.25) – defenseman

Fourth Round

92. Connor Hobbs (95.66) – defenseman; despite decent ranks from elsewhere, HP doesn’t have him in the draft
93. Brent Gates (101.5)
94. Kyle Capobianco (102.5) – defenseman
95. Andrew Mangiapane (103.0)
96. Pavel Karnaukhov (104.0)
97. Simon Bourque (105.25) – defenseman beats Aho on aggregate
98. Sebastian Aho (104.75) – worth noting this is the Finnish forward, not the Swedish defenseman also eligible for the draft with the exact same name
99. Kevin Stenlund (108.0)
100. Pius Suter (108.0)
101. Dennis Gilbert (110.75) – defenseman
102. Jesper Lindgren (110.75) – defenseman
103. Joseph Cecconi (110.75)
104. Mathieu Joseph (106.66) – only listed by three sources
105. Tyler Soy (111.75)
106. Samuel Montembeault (114.66) – goaltender; he’s difficult to slot given ISS’ meaningless ranking
107. Andrew Nielsen (115.25) – defenseman
108. Conor Garlard (116.75) – undersized
109. Jonne Tammela (119.0) – gets the edge of Borgen by his consistent rankings
110. Will Borgen (117.33) – rankings are all over the place, including not being listed by one source
111. Cooper Marody (122.0) – beats Gabrielle on aggregate
112. Jesse Gabrielle (121.0) – beats Bednard on aggregate
113. Ryan Bednard (119.0) – goaltender
114. Adam Marsh (123.5)
115. Brendan Warren (124.0) – rankings are all over the place
116. Anthony Richard (124.0) – undersized
117. Brad Morrison (125.0) – divided opinions on him
118. John Marino (125.75) – defenseman; beats Sideroff on aggregate
119. David Kase (148.25) – undersized
120. Deven Sideroff (125.25) – similar split as Morrison above
121. Anthony Cirelli (125.33) – wildly variant rankings and not listed by one source

Fifth Round

122. Ales Stezka (126.5) – goaltender; beats Herbst on aggregate
123. Liam Herbst (126.0) – goaltender
124. Jack Sadek (126.75) – defenseman; widely divergent opinions on him
125. Loik Leveille (128.75) – defenseman; as above
126. Radovan Bondra (131.75) – beats Rykov on aggregate
127. Egor Rykov (129.0) – defenseman; not listed by one source
128. Jake Massie (129.66) – defenseman; not listed by one source
129. Jean-Christophe Beaudin (130.33) – not listed by one source; HP has him in the second-round
130. Dryden Hunt (131.75) – very tight ratings for this late in the draft
131. Samuel Dove-McFalls (132) – not listed by one source
132. Nikita Pavlychev (134.66) – not listed by one source
133. Chaz Reddekopp (135.75)
134. Nicholas Boka (137.75) – defenseman; beats Saarijarvi on aggregate
135. Vili Saarijarvi (136.66) – undersized; defenseman; not listed by one source
136. Adin Hill (139.33) – goaltender; split opinions on him
137. Aleksi Saarela (139.5)
138. Veeti Vainio (140.5) – defenseman; split opinions where he’s either a third-rounder or a late pick
139. Christian Jaros (141.25) – defenseman; widely divergent opinions
140. Veini Vehvilainen (143.33) – goaltender
141. Matt Bradley (145.0) – not listed by one source, but everyone who does puts him in this round
142. Grant Gabriele (145.66) – defenseman
143. Troy Terry (145.75) – widely divergent opinions
144. Marcus Vela (148.25) – very similar rankings for him
145. Michael McNiven (152.66) – goaltender; gets a boost from HP
146. Gustav Bouramman (153.33) – defenseman; not listed by one source
147. Felix Sandstrom (155.0) – goaltender; rankings all over the place
148. Lukas Jasek (156.25) – three sources slot him in the fifth
149. Jeremiah Addison (156.5) – beats Askew on aggregate
150. Cameron Askew (156.5) – varied opinions
151. David Cotton (157.75) – as above (HP is high on him)

This is the first round where we start to run out of players unanimously selected to be taken in the draft; that situation only gets more exaggerated the deeper we go.  At this point only 5 players remain whom all sources agree should be taken in the draft (Kielly, Huska, Gennaro, McBride, and Lalonde; as such I won’t note every occasion where a player isn’t universally selected going forward).

Sixth Round

I’ve privileged players who appear in three or four sources over those in just two (the latter begin at #174).

152. Cavan Fitzgerald (180.75) – defenseman
153. Stephen Desrocher (159.0) – defenseman
154. Justin Lemcke (196.25) – defenseman
155. Ryan Larkin (161.66) – goaltender; CS gives him the edge over Pearson
156. Chase Pearson (161.66)
157. Lucas Carlsson (164.66) – defenseman; beats Hansson on aggregate
158. Petter Hansson (164.33) – defenseman
159. Jake Jaremko (166.33) – undersized; almost slotted in the exact same spot by the three who rank him
160. Adam Gaudette (169.25)
161. Samuel Laberge (167.0)
162. Hayden McCool (170.5) – divergent opinions on him
163. Sebastian Aho (173.66) – undersized; the Swedish defenseman is the #13 player in Europe according to CS
164. Kameron Kielly (175.25)
165. Adam Huska (175.66) – goaltender
166. Caleb Jones (179.5) – defenseman; beats Freytag on aggregate
167. Matthew Freytag (176.66)
168. Matteo Gennaro (182.0) – beats Fortin on aggregate
169. Alexandre Fortin (181.33)
170. Karch Bachman (186.0) – beats McBride on aggregate
171. Nick McBride (185.33) – goaltender
172. Bradley Lalonde (189.25) – defenseman; the last player considered draft-worthy by all sources
173. Alexandre Alain (201.5) – the last player picked by three non-CS sources
174. Chris Martenet (89.0) – defenseman; marks the beginning of players with just two non-CS sources behind them
175. Ryan Zuhlsdorf (111.0)
176. Austin Strand (121.5) – defenseman
177. Nikolai Chebykin (123.0) – unranked by CS
178. Jason Bell (126.5) – defenseman
179. Joni Tuulola (128.75) – defenseman; edges Reilly via his CS ranking
180. Will Reilly (128.0) – defenseman
181. Colton White (136.0)

The scouting consensus falls apart here as the various guides look for homeruns, surprises, and what not.  Because of the shortage of numbers it’s easy for a player to benefit from one good ranking, which makes the assessments hard to gauge.

Seventh Round

182. Fredrik Forsberg (182.66)
183. Tate Olson (137.0) – not ranked by CS
184. Roy Radke (142.0)
185. Alexander Younan (149.0) – higher CS score than Wilkie
186. Christopher Wilkie (149.0)
187. Tyson Baille (142.5) – unranked by CS
188. Martins Dzierkals (143.0) – unranked by CS
189. Artyom Volkov (176.33) – defenseman; #22 player from Europe according to CS
190. Giorgio Estephan (170.66)
191. Sebastien Olsson (152.5) – unranked by CS
192. David Henley (156.5) – gets the nod via his CS rank
193. Tim McGauley (153.5)
194. Sergei Zborovsky (161.0) – defenseman; edges Murray/Laczynski via CS
195. Troy Murray (159.5) – defenseman; not ranked by CS
196. Tanner Laczynski (161.0) – not ranked by CS
197. Luke Philp (166.0)
198. Kirill Pilipenko (166.5) – undersized; not ranked by CS
199. Mikhail Vorobyov (169.0) – beats Davis via his CS rank
200. Vladimir Tkachev (186.66) – undersized
201. Kevin Davis (169.0) – defenseman
202. Connor Ingram (170.5) – goaltender
203. Ryan Shea (176.0) – defenseman
204. Adam Helewka (176.5) – not ranked by CS
205. Lukas Vejdemo (179.0)
206. Ken Appleby (180.0) – goaltender; not ranked by CS
207. Philippe Myers (182.0) – defenseman
208. Taggart Corriveau (186.0) – beats Burke via CS
209. Callahan Burke (184.0) – not ranked by CS
210. Joe Gatenby (189.0) – defenseman
211. Jorgen Van Pottelbeurghe (198.0) – #5 goaltender in Europe via CS

Here are the remaining players (6) picked by two non-CS sources for the draft: Liam Dunda (190.0), Brandon Lindberg (191.5), Cameron Lizotte (198.5), Jack McNeely (202.33), Dmitri Zhukenov (205.0), and Devante Stephens (224.66).  Also of note, here are players picked for the third or fourth round by just one source: Hughes (3rd), Yudin (3rd), Masonius, Sidorov, Bukarts, Sharipzyanov, Schweri, Pfiefer, Tiffels, Fiala, Paigin, Afonasyevsky, Leandersson, Karrer, Olhaver, and Fronk.  Additionally, these are the highest CS European selections that didn’t make it: Dufek (#28) and Dvorak (#35).  Three goaltenders from both the CS NA and EU top-ten weren’t selected (#8 the highest in NA, Robinson, and #7 in EU, Godla).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Assessing NHL Draft Guides

With all the major hockey draft guides out it’s time to compare them.  I’m not examining every draft guide available, just the ones I consider the pick of the litter.  Each guide (Red Line Report, International Scouting Service, Future Considerations, and Hockey Prospect) has two common elements: players listed numerically along with player profiles (sometimes comprehensive, sometimes selective); for last year’s review go here.  Some of the guides have mock drafts, organisational comments, and/or a look at eligible overage players and European free agents.  Other elements often included are a look at top players for future drafts, but personally I don’t see the value in that (unless you manage a fantasy junior team).  Interestingly, Elite Prospects now includes listings from ISS, CS, and FC for prospects, but only the top-30 are organised in list, making the data impractical unless you are targeting an individual player.

The four publications that cover the entire draft have 132 players in common–that’s close to two-thirds (62%) of the entire draft (a 5% increase over last year).  ISS has the most unique selections (33), followed by RLR (28), HP (27), and FC (17).  This is a decrease from last year (when RLR had the most at 40).  Most of these one-publication players are late round picks (5th to 7th rounds), with 15 listed in the 4th round and 2 in the 3rd.  Traditional these kinds of players are either European or from the American junior system–this time around the proportion of Europeans amongst the unique’s is 23 of 105 being from across the pond (21%; less than last year); while 36 of the players (34%) are from the various US systems (including the NCAA).  A final note: there were another 29 players to appear in 3 of the 4 sources, which is yet another indication that, despite some variance, the scouts from these disparate sources have fairly similar ideas of how to assess talent.

A universal trait from the guides is the disdain they have towards Central Scouting’s (CS) European rankings.  A huge number of European players (49 of the top-100) have been left out, while including those with just one appearance pushes the number to 72–that’s an enormous percentage and indicates a massive disconnect between how CS assesses Europeans versus the various guides (this disparity is not echoed in their NA choices, interestingly enough).

There are a few odd choices (or non-choices) from the publications that are worth noting:

Cameron Hughes (#71 RLR): the center plays for the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA; RLR notes he’s been underscouted and might not be drafted (which seems on-point given his absence elsewhere)

Dmitri Yudin (#86 ISS): passed over in last year’s draft; he spent this season playing with St. Petersburg in the KHL; as both a Russian player and one not cited elsewhere, he seems unlikely to be picked

Tristen Pfeifer (#94 HP): right-handed blueliner is an overage player who put up unremarkable numbers with Everett in the WHL; he’s an odd choice for HP

Dante Salituro (not listed by HP): this is an interesting choice by HP to leave the Ottawa 67s center out–he receives decently high marks from most guides, but in HP’s report they include multiple quotes from NHL scouts saying he’s not an NHL talent

The highest ranked CS European player not selected in any guide is Jan Dufek (#28), a Czech player participating in the local junior scene.  This is slightly better than last year when the #16, #22, and #26 players weren’t listed (nor were they drafted, although the high-ranked CS goaltenders who were ignored were all picked–Jonas Johansson (#2, Buffalo), Linus Soderstrom (#3, Islanders), and Ilya Sorokin (#5, Islanders)).  Speaking of CS goaltenders, this time it’s just three in the back-half who are ignored (#7, #9, and #10).

So, at last, the comparison:

ISS $99.99
Players listed: 220 (divided between skaters and goaltenders)
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: yes
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR $50.00
Players listed: 316
Player profiles: top-115 (with a single line on another 63)
Organisational assessment: yes
Mock draft: yes (two of them)
Overage eligible/European free agents: yes

Hockey Prospects $39.99
Players listed: 398
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: no
Overage eligible/European free agents: no
Other: includes game reports on players

Future Considerations $19.99
Players listed: 211
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: yes (including the second round)
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

As has been the case the last couple of years, the best is Future Considerations–for the cost and the content, it’s the best available.  Hockey Prospect‘s would be my second choice; not only is it the next cheapest, it has by far the most scouting reports available.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the ISS (International Scounting Service’s) 2015 NHL Draft Guide

ISS

The most expensive guide on the market (by far), it (like Red Line Report) is an independent scouting service whose goal is not predicting where players are selected in the draft, but simply offering assessments of their talent (although their guide expresses none of this–in fact, there’s no mission statement or declaration of criteria in it at all).  For previous reviews go here, here and here.  Inexplicably they still segregate goaltenders in their own list (despite this not being how the draft works and the fact that no other guide does this).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to Future Considerations, RLR, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2014: 62% (4th), 2013: 65% (4th), 2012: 70% (4th), and 2011: 60% (2nd).  I used to include top-30 lists, but given their availability everywhere (eg here), I’ve omitted it.

ISS includes profiles of all 220 listed prospects (20 goalies plus 200 other players).  This is roughly equivalent to what FC offers.  Previous to this year the goalies were at least assigned an expected round (first, second, third, etc), but for some reason this year they are simply ranked against each other without any sentiment on when they will be selected.

In their mock draft they have Ottawa selecting Evgeny Svechnikov, which seems ludicrous as under Bryan Murray the Sens have drafted zero Russians since 2008.  There’s no organisational assessment or statement of team needs, although ISS claims the org likes what they see in the Russian.

The guide includes an irrelevant graph of draft success by team (I say irrelevant because it not only crosses over eras–cap and no-cap–but because it doesn’t account for changes in management and scouting staffs).  The “historical” charts by team are a bit more useful, but as they start in 2010 and (again) don’t account for the above factors, don’t really mean much.  There’s also a list of “sleepers” and “wild cards”.

There’s no reason to purchase this $99 USD guide–at nearly twice the cost of it’s nearest competitor (RLR) it needs to offer a lot more value to even be considered.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Hockey Prospect’s 2015 NHL Draft Guide

HP

The most accurate draft guide for the past two years (for previous reviews go here, here and here).  Like Future Considerations (but unlike Red Line Report or ISS), Hockey Prospect‘s is a guide made for fans.  Here is their accuracy since I started tracking it (compared to RLR, ISS, and FC, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2014: 71% (1st), 2013: 69% (1st), 2012: 72% (3rd), and 2011: 47% (3rd).   I used to include their top-30 list in my preview, but given that the information is publicly available everywhere (eg here), it’s pointless to do so and I’ve omitted it.

The guide provides not just scouting assessments for all 211-players listed, but reports for many prospects not included in their overall rankings (187 by my count, and given that, they have more scouting reports and players listed than any other guide).  One quirk is that the players are listed alphabetically rather than by ranking–it’s not horrible, but it would be more convenient if they followed the conventional format.  Another unique aspect of the guide is that it includes actual scouting reports from games; I don’t see much value in that, but it might be interesting for draft fans who want insight on how the scouts for the publication do their work.

There’s no organisational assessments or mock draft, which isn’t the biggest of deals other than it’s something offered everywhere else.  At a reasonable price ($39) it’s cheaper than the “pro” guides, but costs more than FC (the only other fan guide to cover the entire draft).  One final quibble: HP is published later than any other guide and I’m uncertain why that is (I presume the reason isn’t arbitrary [the lovely folks at HP tell me it’s so they can attend the combine before publishing]).  For those who don’t pay attention to these things, Central Scouting (CS) puts out their final rankings first, with ISS and FC following not long after, then RLR, and finally HP.  It’s an oddity, but all-in-all not the biggest of deals.

For fans who want the most scouting reports for the draft, HP is the place to go; for those who want the best deal, it ranks second behind FC.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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