Ottawa 2014 Draft Thoughts

Just a brief thought on who the Sens may draft today and tomorrow.  Ottawa is a difficult team to predict, regularly taking players who are off the radar (Emil Sandin in 2008, Brad Peltz in 2009, Marcus Sorensen in 2010, Jordan Fransoo in 2011, Tim Boyle in 2012, and so on).  The best fans can do is look at player rankings and pay attention to what the organisation is saying and doing beforehand.  The mantra of best-player-available has been consistent.  The only firm trend the Sens have had under Bryan Murray has not picked from Europe unless it’s from Sweden.  I don’t think this is an actual “rule”, but clearly their scouting is strong in Sweden and circumstances have worked against Finnish or Czech or any other European league.  We can be assured there will be players from the CHL, US leagues, and Sweden taken, but not preclude other possibilities.

The Sens currently have the following picks: 2nd (40), 3rd (70), 4th (100), and 7th (190).  Here’s who they would pick according to each guide I’ve seen (Future Considerations, Hockey Prospect’s, ISS, and Red Line Report) and my own list list:
2nd: Markus Pettersson (FC), Julius Honka (ISS), Aaron Irving (RLR), Sebastian Aho (HP), Alex Nedelijkovic (me) – I don’t believe Pettersson or Honka will be available at this point and it’s unlikely the Sens will take a goalie (Nedelijkovic), so from this list I’d go with Aho
3rd: Nick Magyar (FC, ISS), Edwin Minney (RLR), Miro Keskitalo (HP), Oskar Lindblom (me) – my list (Lindblom) works here
4th: Michael Bunting (FC), Ryan Donato (ISS), Jonathan MacLeod (RLR), Matt Iacopelli (HP), Logan Halladay (me) – I don’t believe Bunting, Donato, or MacLeod will be available, so I’ll stick with my pick here (Halladay)
7th:  Nicholas Jones (FC), Ryan Hitchcock (ISS), Waltteri Hopponen (RLR), Arkhip Nekolenko (HP), Nikita Lyamkin (me) – the Sens won’t touch Russians and I don’t think Hitchcock or Hopponen will be available, so this defaults to Jones

Take it all with a grain of salt, and remember it’s likely the Sens will get a pick from trading Jason Spezza, but it’s food for thought.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

The 2014 NHL draft is tomorrow and it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  Before we get to the list is a short preamble explaining my reasoning and methodology.

With the advent of the NHL salary cap after the 2004-05 lockout, 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 agent talent. 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 in this year’s upcoming NHL entry draft.

This is my fifth 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), while in 2011 I picked 70% (again well ahead), 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report), and 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s).  What follows is a continuation of the same analysis.

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, by different sources, 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). Precise predictions (player X at pick #29) are much more difficult and rare outside the first round (25% is a very good ratio overall). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between assessing who the best player is versus who a team will draft. Some publications give weight to the latter, while other sources do not. My purpose here is to slot players where they will be picked rather than assessing who is the best.

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 the professional scouting community itself and those sources that they rely on. For that purpose, the International Scouting Service (ISS), Kyle Woodlief’s Red Line Report (RLR), and Central Scouting (CS) are included. Central Scouting is the NHL’s own scouting service, while ISS and RLR are independent scouting services used within the NHL.

Rounding out my sources this year are the only two magazines to predict the entire draft: Aaron Vickers’ Future Considerations (FC) and Mark Edwards’ Hockey Prospect‘s (HP). They provide extensive predictions and are put together by knowledgeable hockey people.  I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, The Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc), but have found they generally just muddy the waters so I’m keeping things tight this year.

It must be noted that 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. ISS separates their goaltenders into a separate ranking. These drawbacks are part of the reason I load up with the additional data.

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.

Ranking depth: CS 394, RLR 320, ISS 220 (200 skaters and 20 goaltenders), HP 210+ (it’s not tallied beyond that), FC 210.

I compared the guides recently where I pointed out some of their difference (as well as what I thought made for the best buy).

This draft is considered a weak one without much depth, which makes rankings more tenuous than normal.  It also helps explain the larger than usual number of 25 and under Europeans signed as free agents beforehand (I’ve included a list of them at the end of the article).

A final comment: the most obvious struggle for accurate scouting assessment remains players in Europe, who are underrepresented in lists for the obvious reason that it’s more expensive to cover Europe.

First Round

My sources have 21 players in common for this round, with a total of 40 players selected for it; three different players are slotted at #1.

1. Sam Bennett (2.25) – despite not having the highest score, he’s the only player with multiple #1 selections (RLR and HP; also first with CS)
2. Aaron Ekblad (2.00) – defenseman has the identical score as Reinhart below, but CS’ score pushes him over the top
3. Sam Reinhart (2.00) – the last player who could go #1 (ISS)
4. Leon Draisaitl (5.25) – ties Dal Colle below, but gets the edge via CS
5. Michael Dal Colle (5.25) – the final player whom all sources list within the top-ten
6. William Nylander (7.00) – the first player out of Sweden; listed as high as #4 (FC)
7. Nikolaj Ehlers (7.25) – HP makes him their #4 pick in the draft
8. Nick Ritchie (7.5) – HP with the high of #5
9. Jake Virtanen (10.5) – two picks at #7, he drops largely because of HP’s #18
10. Hayden Fleury (11.0) – defenseman has a very narrow range (#9-#13)
11. Robby Fabbri (14.0) – score hurt by HP’s #24 (CS isn’t high on him either), he has two top-ten selections from ISS and RLR
12. Dylan Larkin (13.5)
13. Kevin Fiala (14.5) – ISS has him all the way down at #20
14. Brendan Perlini (15.0) – very split opinions; he’s the last player with a top-ten selection (#9 ISS)
15. Sonny Milano (15.5) – HP with the high (#12)
16. Alex Tuch (15.75) – gets the edge over Barbashev due to the Russian factor and CS love
17. Ivan Barbashev (15.75)
18. David Pastrnak (20.5) – score thrown off by ISS’ second round placement (#33), which is a heavy outlier compared to all other sources
19. Josh Ho-sang (30.25) – score tilted by HP’s third round placement (#61)
20. Jared McCann (18.75) – widely different placements (#12-#25)
21. Kasperi Kapanen (21.75) – widely divergent rankings for the first player playing in Finland (#13-#29)
22. Nikita Scherbak (21.75) – the second player carrying a second-round selection (FC)
23. Nikolay Goldobin (24.5) – RLR has him at #18
24. Conner Bleackley (25.25) – a second-rounder for RLR
25. Jakub Vrana (26.0) – the final player that all sources slot in the first round
26. Adrian Kempe (27.0) – second-rounder for RLR
27. Roland McKeown (40.25) – defenseman’s score thrown by HP’s third-round ranking (#83; against three first round selections)
28. Travis Sanheim (31.0) – HP loves the blueliner (#16)
29. Jack Dougherty (31.5) – defenseman’s number drops due to ISS (#42)
30. Nick Schmaltz (35.25) – edges out Kamenev (one of the other remaining player with two first-round selections) due to the Russian factor, while beating Lemieux head-to-head

Here are the other 10 players who received first-round selections: Lemieux (2), Kamenev (2), Honka, DeAngelo, Demko, Pettersson, Glover, MacInnis, Quenneville, and Cornel.  The list above has 28 players in common with Bob McKenzie‘s list (with Honka and Demko not making mine; Dougherty and Goldobin not making his).

Second Round

Of the players not listed above, there are only 3 players who only received 2nd round picks (McDonald, Point, and Nedelijkovic).

31. Brendan Lemieux (31.75)
32. Valdislav Kamenev (32.75) – the final player with two first-round selections (ISS, RLR), the Russian factor could push him further down
33. Julius Honka (31.50) – HP slots the defender in the first round (#23)
34. Thatcher Demko (32.0) – the top goalie for ISS and CS, FC has him in the first round (#22)
35. Anthony DeAngelo (32.25) – blueliner is a first-rounder for FC (#29)
36. Markus Pettersson (35.25) – defenseman is slightly behind McDonald in numbers, but his higher first-round placement (#25 from RLR) and the fact that goaltenders tend to slide slots him here
37. Mason McDonald (34.33) – the second goalie on the list (for both ISS and CS)
38. Ryan MacInnis (46.75) – suffers from RLR’s ranking (#87); ISS has him in the first round (#25)
39. Brayden Point (42.5) – while he has no first-round selections, he’s one of the only players consistently slotted in the second
40. Alex Nedelijkovic (46.33) – the next goaltender on the list
41. Jack Glover (46.5) – boosted by RLR (#23), he’s a third-rounder for HP (#66)
42. John Quenneville (47.5) – another RLR favourite (#24) that HP doesn’t agree with (#81)
43. Eric Cornel (51.5) – much as above, except FC likes him (#30) while HP doesn’t (#89)
44. Anton Karlsson (47.0) – Swede suffers from HP’s ranking (#67)
45. Brett Pollock (48.25) – only FC puts him in the third round (#68)
46. Justin Kirkland (49.25) – once again HP slots him in the third (#68)
47. Dominik Masin (68.5) – suffers from FC’s fifth-round slot (#130) which is a clear outlier from his second-round placement elsewhere
48. Josh Jacobs (54.75) – blueliner suffers from HP’s ranking (#69)
49. Adam Mattsson (86.0) – Swedish defender is punished by his FC ranking (#195), which is an outlier compared to his otherwise second-round slots
50. Andreas Englund (54.0) – split opinions on the Swedish defenseman, with RLR and HP having him in the second and FC and ISS in the third
51. Gustav Forsling (56.33) – Swedish defender is strangely not ranked by RLR
52. Vaclav Karabacek (60.5) – suffers from HP’s ranking (#79)
53. Ryan Collins (61.75) – defender hurt by HP’s ranking (#84)
54. Hunter Smith (62.25) – marks the beginnings of divisive opinions; two second-round picks, with a third (RLR) and fourth (FC)
55. Ryan Donato (62.5) – as above, with RLR putting him in the third and ISS in the fourth
56. Emil Johansson (63.33) – Swedish defenseman is put well out of the draft by RLR, but he’s a second-rounder for HP and ISS
57. Chase De Leo (64.0) – slightly less radical rankings, with two seconds and two thirds
58. Nicolas Aube-Kubel (67.5) – suffers from a fourth-round hit from RLR (#106)
59. Jayce Hawryluk (64.75) – two second-round picks with a third (FC) and fourth (ISS)
60. Dylan Sadowy (69.75) – yet another split opinion with two seconds (ISS, HP) and two fourths (RLR, FC)

There are eight players remaining with two second-round selections: MacLeod, Tkachev, Lammikko, Bunting, Eiserman, Hickey, Watson, and Lindblom.  Bob McKenzie and I have the differences mentioned in the first round, along with Martin (3rd), Foegele (4th), Thomas (3rd), Peters (3rd), MacLeod (3rd), Kase (3rd), Iverson (4th), and Walman (3rd); he excludes Sadowy, De Leo, Johansson, Collins (gets an “honourable mention”), Forsling, Mattsson, Jacobs, and Kirkland.

Third Round

61. Juho Lammikko (71.25) – hurt by FC’s ranking (#120)
62. Vladimir Tkachev (70.75) – a toss-up between he and MacLeod, but his scores are slightly better in comparison; oddly not ranked by CS
63. Jonathan MacLeod (70.5) – benefits from HP’s ranking (#50)
64. Jake Walman (64.0) – consistent third-round picks for the defenseman, but his number is boosted by HP (#55)
65. Sebastian Aho (62.0) – Finnish blueliner is oddly not ranked by RLR; he’s a second-rounder for HP (#40)
66. Michael Bunting (72.25) – a second-rounder for both ISS and HP
67. Spencer Watson (84.25) – ranking is thrown off by HP (#131)
68. Shane Eiserman (74.25) – either a second-round player (FC, ISS) or a fourth (RLR, HP)
69. Brandon Hickey (80.75) – defenseman is another two second, two fourth prospect (ISS, HP; RLR, FC)
70. Oskar Lindblom (108.0) – Swede’s number takes a pummelling from RLR (#203), but he’s a second-rounder for ISS and HP
71. Blake Siebenaler (70.25) – defender gets a second-round nod from FC (#49)
72. Brycen Martin (76.75) – blueliner is highly touted by FC (#39), he’s a fifth-round pick for HP (#132)
73. Alexis Vanier (82.5) – defenseman has a similar issue–#51 for FC, he’s #143 for ISS (gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie)
74. Connor Chatham (83.25) – RLR puts him in the fourth round (#119), gets a second-round nod from ISS (#54)
75. Aaron Irving (87.0) – blueliner is a second round pick for RLR (#40), but a sixth-rounder for HP (#151)
76. Alex Peters (85.0) – defender is a second-round pick for ISS (#47), the fifth for FC (#131)
77. Maxim Letunov (87.25) – second-round for HP (#51), he’s in the fifth for FC (#139)
78. Dysin Mayo (90.75) – defender is in the second round for RLR (#46), he’s in the fifth for ISS (#149)
79. Noah Rod (92.5) – Swede gets a second round nod from HP (#39), but is a sixth-rounder for FC (#165)
80. Aaron Haydon (94.25) – blueliner gets a similar split; #48 for FC, #158 for HP
81. Igor Shestyorkin (90.66) – goaltender goes unranked by ISS and CS; a second-round pick for RLR (#41)
82. Luc Snuggerud (102.75) – defenders ranking is hurt by HP (#179); a second-rounder for ISS (#56)
83. Ben Thomas (82.75) – defenseman gets three third-round votes with a fourth from FC (#94)
84. Jacob Middleton (81.33) – blueliner is not ranked by HP or CS, but gets a pair of third-round nods (FC, RLR)
85. Nick Magyar (84.75) – punished by RLR (#134), he’s otherwise solidly a third-rounder
86. Daniel Audette (90.25) – split between third and fourth picks (FC, RLR; ISS, HP)
87. Nelson Nogier (102.0) – blueliner is hurt by RLR’s ranking (#168)
88. Summers (87.0) – outside the draft for RLR, but a pair of early thirds from FC and ISS
89. Miles Gendron (111.75) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by FC (#176)
90. Ondrej Kase (103.25) – ISS makes him a fifth-rounder (#150)

Five other players receive two third-round selections: Franklin (RLR, HP), Duke (HP, FC), Bishop (FC, ISS), Kulda (HP, ISS), and Gardiner (RLR, FC).

Fourth Round

91. Reid Gardiner (98.75) – very narrow range between the third and fourth round (#84-#118)
92. Clark Bishop (104.5) – gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie
93. Reid Duke (106.25)
94. C. J. Franklin (79.5) – another run through the draft; not listed by FC or ISS, he’s the last player with two-third round selections
95. Edgars Kulda (117.0) – overager not selected by FC, but two third-round picks slots him here
96. Matt Berkovitz (91.0) – defenseman not selected by ISS
97. Alex Schoenborn (98.0) – not picked by FC
98. Darby Llewellyn (100.0) – ISS with the high (#78) and no picks outside the fourth round
99. Ville Husso (108.0) – CS’ top goalie out of Europe, ISS ranks him highly but he’s a fourth or fifth-round pick otherwise; not picked last year
100. Logan Halladay (102.0) – goaltender’s rankings all over the place, with a second-round slot from HP (#59) down to the sixth-round for FC (#166)
101. Matthew Mistele (110.0) – a third and two fourth-round picks give him more consistency than those with a better score who follow
102. Austin Poganski (112.75) – three fourth-round picks (ISS is the outlier)
103. Alexandre Goulet (113.5) – his ranking is thrown off by RLR (#157)
104. Julien Nantel (108.5) – HP is a fan (#63)
105. Tyson Baillie (109.25) – RLR likes him (#71)
106. William Lagesson (112.66) – defenseman inexplicably not ranked by RLR; #71 for ISS
107. Rourke Chartier (111.75) – FC gives him the highest rank (#78)
108. Keagan Iverson (113.25) – ISS is a fan (#85)
109. Mike Amadio (111.5) – ISS puts him in the third round (#87)
110. Brett Lernout (116.25) – ISS has the blueliner in the third round (#83)
111. Nikita Tryamkin (100.5) – not ranked by either RLR or HP, ISS has the Russian defenseman in the third round (#66)
112. Dakota Joshua (98.0) – not ranked by FC or ISS
113. Edwin Minney (98.5) – RLR is a fan of the goaltender (#70)
114. Richard Nejezchleb (110.0) – ISS has him highest (#84); RLR does not list him
115. Francis Perron (110.0) – HP does not list him; RLR has him at #78
116. Max Willman (113.0) – FC and ISS do not list him
117. Warren Foegele (115.5) – ISS and HP do not list him
118. Hayden Lavigne (120.0) – ISS and RLR do not list the goaltender
119. Christian Jaros (134.33) – Swedish blueliner is not ranked by HP, but is listed high in the fourth round by RLR and ISS
120. Kaapo Kahkonen (130.66) – Finnish goaltender is hurt by HP’s ranking (#189); gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie

Twelve players remaining have two fourth-round (or better) selections: Wolff, Mangiapane, Iacopelli, Starrett, Pelletier, Jenkins, Moran, Holmstrom, Dvorak, Valiev, Fazleev, and Sharov.

Fifth Round

121. Nick Wolff (128.0) – defenseman’s number takes a hit from HP (#181)
122. Julien Pelletier (128.0) – has a third round pick (FC) to go along with a pair of fourths
123. Beau Starrett (127.75) – HP is not a fan (#174)
124. Brent Moran (133.66) – goaltender suffers from RLR’s ranking (#193)
125. Axel Holmstrom (140.33) – put out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS, his fourth-round scores by FC and HP are excellent
126. Kyle Jenkins (131.0) – defenseman is not listed by FC, but gets fourth-round picks from ISS and HP
127. Andrew Mangiapane (120.33) – not listed by ISS
128. Matt Iacopelli (123.33) – not listed by ISS
129. Alexander Sharov (176.0) – Russian put well out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS
130. Shane Gersich (120.5) – gets a second-round nod from RLR (#52)
131. Brandon Montour (125.25) – overage defenseman is a second-round pick for HP (#57)
132. Christian Dvorak (128.0) – a second-rounder for RLR (#38); “honourable mention” from McKenzie
133. Rinat Valiev (131.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR’s rating (#209), which is ironic because they were very high on him last year
134. Radel Fazleev (134.75) – bolstered by RLR’s ranking (#75)
135. Olivier Leblanc (133.75) – defenseman is among the last ranked in the draft by all sources
136. J. J. Piccinich (137.25) – hurt by HP’s ranking (#207)
137. Karson Kuhlman (143.5) – a third-round pick for RLR (#74)
138. Blake Hillman (120.5) – defenseman is not listed by FC and ISS
139. Colby Cave (121.0) – not listed by FC and HP; he was passed over last year as well
140. Dylan Gambrell (124.0) – not picked by FC and ISS
141. Pavel Kraskovsky (128.0) – FC leaves the Russian off their list
142. Miro Keskitalo (126.0) – Finnish blueliner not selected by FC and RLR
143. Matthew Highmore (126.5) – not ranked by ISS and HP
144. Stefan Leblanc (131.5) – unlisted by ISS and HP
145. Duncan MacIntyre (132.0) – blueliner left out by FC and HP
146. Lucas Wallmark (137.0) – plodding Swede was the highest ranked player not taken in the last draft; left off the ISS list
147. Joni Tuulola (147.0) – Finnish defenseman gets a high of #93 from ISS
148. Pierre Engvall (139.66) – Swede not listed by RLR
149. Luke Philp (137.25) – picked by all sources to be selected in the draft
150. Vladislav Gavrikov (146.66) – blueliner a third-rounder for FC (#80), he’s not listed by FC and not in the draft by RLR

Fifteen players have two fifth-round (or better) selections: Belpedio, Bayreuther, Donaghey, Bird, Pyrochta, Rosdahl, Baltisberger, Descheneau, Hitchcock, Muzito-Bagenda, Phelps, Pepin, Bergman, Jenys, and Halverson.

Sixth Round

151. Ryan Mantha (143.66) – a second-rounder for ISS (#59); he’s not listed by HP
152. Louis Belpedio (143.25) – defenseman gets a high of #111 from FC
153. Julius Bergman (173.0) – Swedish defenseman takes a hit from RLR which puts him out of the draft; not ranked by HP
154. Pavel Jenys (175.66) – RLR puts him out of the draft; HP does not rank him
155. Tyler Bird (146.0) – not ranked by ISS
156. Alexis Pepin (145.75) – FC with the high (#117) and RLR the low (#202)
157. Ryan Hitchcock (155.25) – all sources place him in the draft
158. Jaedon Descheneau (154.5) – as above; undersized forward went undrafted last year
159. Phil Baltisberger (152.33) – defenseman is not picked by HP
160. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda (157.0) – Swede goes unlisted by HP
161. Chase Phelps (163.66) – ISS leaves him off their list
162. Cody Donaghey (139.5) – defenseman is a fifth-rounder for HP and FC while being left off the other lists
163. Gavin Bayreuther (139.0) – as above
164. Brandon Halverson (186.0) – goaltender is listed outside the draft by RLR, but otherwise is a solid fifth-round pick
165. Kim Rosdahl (148.5) – the last player with two selections in the fifth (or higher); he goes unlisted by FC and ISS
166. Yegor Korshkov (137.5) – unlisted by FC and RLR
167. Dominic Turgeon (142.33) – HP has him in the fourth (#113), FC leaves him off their list
168. Filip Pyrochta (140.0) – defender a third from FC (#87), ISS puts him in the seventh and HP and RLR don’t list him
169. Blake Clarke (139.0) – doesn’t make the cut for FC and HP
170. Austin Lotz (146.0) – goaltender was passed over in the draft last year and ISS leaves him out this year
171. Brandon Prophet (150.5) – defender gets a fourth-round slot from FC (#113)
172. Anders Bjork (152.75) – a fourth-round nod from ISS (#104)
173. Rihards Bukarts (155.5) – a third-rounder for RLR (#86)
174. Riley Stadel (150.0) – defenseman has solid scores across the board, although FC has him out of the draft
175. Waltteri Hopponen (150.33) – buoyed by FC’s ranking (#73), he’s unranked by HP
176. Ryan Verbeek (155.0) – among the last players ranked in the draft by all sources; he’s a fourth-round pick from HP (#116)
177. Yannick Rathgeb (155.33) – defenseman’s rankings all over the place, with a fourth from FC (#109) and out of the draft for HP
178. Henrik Tornqvist (158.33) – Swede gets solid fifth-sixth round ranks except from RLR who doesn’t include him
179. Vitek Vanecek (160.5) – goaltender is given a pass by HP, but gets consistent numbers otherwise
180. Chase Perry (173.33) – goaltender is put out of the draft by RLR, while HP has him in the third round (#86)

There are three players with three selections in the fifth or sixth rounds: Kalapudas, Spinner, and Evans; no player remains that all sources pick to be drafted.

Seventh Round

181. Ryan Foss (177.25) – takes a pummeling from RLR putting him out of the draft; three sixth-round picks otherwise
182. Jake Evans (188.0) – RLR puts him well out of the draft
183. Steven Spinner (183.5) – hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
184. Antti Kalapudas (174.0) – Finn is not ranked by RLR
185. Dallas Valentine (159.33) – defenseman is a fourth-rounder for ISS (#104), but out of the draft for FC
186. Aleksander Mikulovich (183.25) – blueliner is the last player with three sources putting him in the draft; RLR has him on the outside looking in
187. Seamus Malone (162.0) – a third-rounder for FC (#62)
188. Arkhip Nekolenko (171.0) – Russian is a third-rounder for ISS (#76)
189. Michael Prapavessis (177.33) – defenseman is a third-rounder for HP (#82)
190. Nikita Lyamkin (159.33) – Russian blueliner is a third-rounder for HP (#86)
191. Daniel Walcott (168.0) – another defenseman who is a fourth-round pick for HP (#91)
192. Jaden Lindo (163.66) – ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
193. Kevin Elgestal (153.0) – a fourth-rounder for ISS (#101)
194. Josh Wesley (173.33) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
195. Mark Friedman (159.0) – blueliner is a fourth-rounder for HP (#109)
196. Chandler Yakimowicz (157.5) – yet another fourth-rounder for HP (#118); he’s the last player picked twice for the draft with a rank this high
197. Ryan Rehill (146.5) – defenseman is outside the draft for FC and ISS
198. Liam Pecararo (148.5) – outside the draft for ISS and HP
199. Dryden Hunt (150.5) – ranked by ISS and RLR
200. Maxim Lazarev (155.0) – ranked by RLR and HP
201. J. D. Dudek (173.0) – outside the draft for ISS and RLR
202. Zach Yon (156.0) – not ranked by FC and RLR
203. Hunter Garlent (156.5) – FC and ISS include him; pint-sized forward was passed over last year
204. Julio Billia (197.0) – goaltender’s rank is thrown by RLR putting him well out of the draft
205. Tanner MacMaster (162.5) – ranked by FC and ISS
206. Tomas Havlin (178.0) – defender picked by FC and ISS
207.  Mitch Slattery (183.0) – outside the draft for RLR and ISS
208. Ty Edmonds (168.0) – goaltender goes unranked from ISS and HP
209. Sam Ruopp (172.0) – blueliner is listed by RLR and HP
210. Dylan Malmqvist (211.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR; ISS has him in the fourth round (#109)

Just missing the cut: Joe Hicketts (the defenseman is picked by three sources, but all place him in the seventh round); there are 15 other players with at least two selections in the draft (none ranked higher than the fifth-round).  Of note, there are five players picked in the top-100 by just one source: Dexter Dancs (RLR #59), Tyler Sheehy (FC #76), Ilya Sorokin (RLR #90), Dmitri Sergeev (ISS #92), and Hayden Hodgson (HP #93); there are eleven more players uniquely selected to go in the fourth round.  As per usual there are a number of highly ranked Europeans from CS who did not make the list: Lawrence Pilut (#16), Nikita Cherepanov (#22), Leon Bristedt (#24), Andrei Kuzmenko (#26), Artur Boltanov (#29), Andreas Soderberg (#30), Eetu Sopanen (#31), Semyon Koshelev (#35), and David Kampf (#36); along with goaltenders Jonas Johansson (#2), Linus Soderstrom (#3), and Sorokin (#5; see RLR above). There’s no real comparable among their NA rankings among skaters (the highest not appearing is Daniel Moynihan at #77), but one goaltender is in the same boat (Kevin Reich #5).

Given the weakness of this year’s draft there’s been a slew of free agent signings out of Europe: David Wolf (Cal), Roman Will (Col), Borna Rendulic (Col), Dennis Everberg (Col), Johan Alm (Nsh), Melker Karlsson (SJ), Simon Hjalmarsson (Clb), Michael Keranen (Min), Dennis Rasmussen (Chi), Petr Zamorsky (NYR), Tomas Nosek (Det), and Iiro Pakarinen (Edm) [subsequently Jiri Sekac (Mtl)]; this is in addition to older players like Joakim Lindstrom (Stl), Jori Lehtera (Stl), and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Phi).

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 what they offer versus their cost.  Each guide has two common elements: players listed numerically along with player profiles (sometimes comprehensive, sometimes selective).  The guides may 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 information for these products.

The four publications that cover the entire draft have 121 players in common–that’s close to two-thirds (57%) of the entire class.  Red Line Report remains the most radical of the guides and taking it out leaves 136 players shared (64%).  In terms of unique selections, HP has the fewest (16), followed by FC (20), ISS (35), and RLR (40).  Most of these players are late round picks (5th to 7th rounds), with only 11 listed in the 4th round, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 2nd–there is a high proportion of Europeans amongst the unique’s (the region scouts struggle with the most), with 36 of 111 being from across the pond (32%; it’s 52/226 otherwise, or 23%).

There are a few odd choices (or non-choices) from the publications and these are the most interesting:

Gustav Forsling: the Swedish defenseman is slated as a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick, but Red Line Report doesn’t include him at all–not in over 300 selections.  There’s no reasoning provided for that, he simply does not appear.  RLR is known for its strong opinions, but I can’t recall another time (since I started reading the publication back in 2010) where they’ve completely delisted a player that highly touted elsewhere

Sebastian Aho: the Finnish forward is a second or third round pick except (again) from RLR, who just like Forsling above do not have him listed

Emil Johansson: the Swedish blueliner is another 2nd-3rd round pick that RLR lists well outside of the draft (267)

Igor Sheshyrokin is a 2nd to 5th round pick most places, but ISS (and Central Scouting) do not list the Russian goaltender

Dexter Dancs: the winger is a second round pick in RLR’s eyes, but listed by no one else (not even CS)

Other picks with at least two third or fourth round selections that are excluded by a single publication (included in brackets): Matthew Berkovitz (ISS), Alex Schoenborn (FC), Francis Perron (HP), William Lagesson (RLR), Edgars Kulda (FC), Andrew Mangiapane (ISS), Matheson Iacopelli (ISS), Kelly Summers (RLR), Kyle Jenkins (FC), Rinat Valiev (HP), Christian Jaros (HP), and Axel Holmstrom (ISS).  Finally, there are two players slotted in the third round that appear in no other publication: Tyler Sheehy (FC) and Ilya Sorokin (RLR).

When looking for commonalities above we can see that RLR is usually involved and that most of the players are European.  The latter isn’t much of a surprise given the limited capacity these publications have to scout in Europe.

Finally, it’s time to assess the publications by their broad categories–I’ve arranged them by their cost (changes in price from last year are noted):

ISS $99.99 (+$40)
Players listed: 220 (divided between skaters and goaltenders)
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: yes, but only as a grade
Mock draft: yes
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR $50.00
Players listed: 315
Player profiles: top-115
Organisational assessment: yes
Mock draft: yes (two of them)
Overage eligible/European free agents: yes

Hockey Prospects $39.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all (including additional players who do not make their top-210)
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: no
Overage eligible/European free agents: no
Other: includes game reports on players

Future Considerations $19.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: yes (including the second round)
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR lists the most players, but offers the fewest scouting reports, while HP has the most scouting reports (above and beyond their list), but lacks any of the extras of the other guides.  Mock drafts aren’t a selling point for me and organisational assessments only matter if there’s reasoning behind them.  As such, of the extras only RLR’s are meaningful, but at their price point is not worth it for casual fans.  For my money Future Considerations remains the pick of the litter.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Hockey Prospect’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Hockey Prospect‘s draft guide is out and here are my thoughts on it (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy, this is how they’ve performed the last three years (compared to Red Line Report, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 69% (1st), 2012 72% (3rd), and 2011 47% (3rd).  [Note: A few readers are confused about the nature of "accuracy" when referring to any hockey guide's success in predicting the draft when their lists are (often) intended to simply list the best players in their opinion.  The “accuracy” I’m referring to is for fans in judging which list comes closest to how the draft plays out (so how accurately their list reflects what will actually happen at the draft)–it has nothing to do with the quality of any particular guide's scouting (which would be an entirely different question). If you’re interested in draft selection versus quality of player I suggest you check out my NHL Draft Success article from April to get a sense of it, but I don't data old enough from the guides to relate their predictions to draft success yet.] Here’s their top-30 list:

1          Bennett

2          Reinhart

3          Ekblad

4          Ehlers

5          Ritchie

6          Draisaitl

7          Dal Colle

8          Nylander

9          Larkin

10        Fleury

11        Tuch

12        Milano

13        Barbashev

14        Scherbak

15        Fiala

16        Sanheim

17        Pastrnak

18        Virtanen

19        Kapanen

20        Perlini

21        Kempe

22        Bleackley

23        Honka

24        Fabbri

25        McCann

26        Lemieux

27        Dougherty

28        Schmaltz

29        Goldobin

30        Vrana

The guide has 16 unique players listed (compared to the other big guides), all of whom are peppered throughout the sixth and seventh rounds; they have much more in common with the ISS and FC player lists than the more radical Red Line Report.  Despite the girth of the guide (nearly 700 pages) it does not include any specific organisational material or a mock draft.  The contents, beyond the list, consists of scouting profiles and lengthy game reports–the latter are the one unique element in the product, but I’m dubious of its value and would rather see that cut for other content.

In general I’m not fond of HP’s guide, as they offer less than FC at almost twice the price.  If they can repeat their accuracy from last season, however, it remains a useful resource.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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)

Reviewing the ISS 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Clocking in at a ridiculous $99 price (far more than any other guide, even for those who pre-ordered and received a 40% discount), what has ISS added to its previous guide to justify the huge increase?  A slight expansion of their scouting reports (instead of just a consensus description, they include a few lines from specific scouts), expanded their organisational analysis in a very cheap way–simply added a draft list to their meaningless grade and “best picks” in recent history; and that is that.  Are the additions enough for the price?  Not even close.  Other lists do the same (or more) for less.  There is no reason to pay for the guide.

Putting price aside, here’s a look at their top-30 rankings and my 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, Red Line Report, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 65% (last), 2012 70% (last), and 2011 60% (2nd).  Last year I considered their guide the second worst deal next to McKeen’s.

1 REINHART, Sam C 11/6/1995 R 6.00.75* 185 Kootenay WHL

2 EKBLAD, Aaron RD 2/7/1996 R 6.03.5* 216 Barrie OHL

3 DAL COLLE, Michael C 6/20/1996 L 6.01.5* 182 Oshawa OHL

4 BENNETT, Sam C 6/20/1996 L 6.00.25* 178 Kingston OHL

5 NYLANDER, William RW 5/1/1996 R 5.11 176 Modo SweE

6 DRAISAITL, Leon C 10/27/1995 L 6.01.5* 204 Prince Albert WHL

7 VIRTANEN, Jake RW 8/17/1996 R 6.00.75* 208 Calgary WHL

8 FABBRI, Robby C 1/22/1996 L 5.10.25* 170 Guelph OHL

9 PERLINI, Brendan LW 4/27/1996 L 6.02.75* 205 Niagara OHL

10 RITCHIE, Nicholas LW 12/5/1995 L 6.02.25* 226 Peterborough OHL

11 EHLERS, Nikolaj LW 2/14/1996 L 5.11* 162 Halifax QMJHL

12 FLEURY, Haydn LD 7/8/1996 L 6.02.5* 203 Red Deer WHL

13 KAPANEN, Kasperi RW 7/23/1996 R 6.00 181 Kuopio FinE

14 TUCH, Alex RW 5/10/1996 R 6.03.5* 213 USA Under-18 NTDP

15 LARKIN, Dylan C 7/30/1996 L 6.00.75* 190 USA Under-18 NTDP

16 MILANO, Sonny LW 5/12/1996 L 5.11.5* 183 USA Under-18 NTDP

17 MCCANN, Jared C 5/31/1996 L 6.00.25* 179 S.S. Marie OHL

18 HO-SANG, Joshua RW 1/22/1996 R 5.11* 175 Windsor OHL

19 BARBASHEV, Ivan C 12/14/1995 L 6.00* 180 Moncton QMJHL

20 FIALA, Kevin LW 7/22/1996 L 5.10 180 HV71 SweJE

21 VRANA, Jakub RW 2/28/1996 L 6.00 187 Linkoping SweE

22 KEMPE, Adrian LW 9/13/1996 L 6.01.5 187 Modo SweE

23 MCKEOWN, Roland RD 1/20/1996 R 6.00.75* 195 Kingston OHL

24 SCHMALTZ, Nick RW 2/23/1996 R 5.11.5* 172 Green Bay USHL

25 MACINNIS, Ryan C 2/14/1996 L 6.03.25* 183 Kitchener OHL

26 BLEACKLEY, Conner C 2/7/1996 R 6.00.25* 192 Red Deer WHL

27 SCHERBAK, Nikita RW 12/30/1995 L 6.01* 175 Saskatoon WHL

28 GOLDOBIN, Nikolay RW 10/7/1995 L 5.11.75* 178 Sarnia OHL

29 KAMENEV, Vladislav C 8/12/1996 L 6.02 185 Magnitogorsk Rus Jr

30 SANHEIM, Travis LD 3/29/1996 L 6.03* 181 Calgary WHL

ISS’ mock draft doesn’t extend beyond the first round, so they have nothing to say about Ottawa (although, without any reasons given, they rate the Sens organisation as a B+).  Unlike Future Considerations (which I discussed last week), there’s no effort to address the draft class as a whole (although many comments have been made about how weak it is, particularly after the top-ten).  Speaking of FC, there are 58 players in ISS’ list of 220 (10 more than the former) that they list which don’t appear in FC–these difference begin late in the third round.

The guide includes profiles of 220 players, although they continue their irritating separation of goaltenders from skaters (something no other guide does, although it echoes Central Scouting’s practice).  These profiles are expanded from previous seasons, but that small difference is simply not worth the cost.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Future Considerations 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Future Considerations 2014 NHL draft guide is out and here’s a look at their top-30 rankings and my 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 ISS, Red Line Report, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 68% (2nd out of 4), 2012 71% (3rd), and 2011 44% (4th).  Last year I considered their guide the best deal available for fans and we’ll see how this one holds up.

1). D Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL), 6 ‘4, 215

2). C Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL), 6 ‘1, 185

3). C Sam Bennett, Kingston (OHL), 6 ‘0, 180

4). RW William Nylander, MODO (SHL), 5 ‘11, 170

5). C Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert (WHL), 6 ‘2, 210

6). C Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL), 6 ‘2, 180

7). LW Nick Ritchie, Peterborough (OHL), 6 ‘2, 230

8). LW Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax (QMJHL), 5 ‘11, 165

9). D Haydn Fleury, Red Deer (WHL), 6 ‘3, 200

10). C Jake Virtanen, Calgary (WHL), 6 ‘1, 210

11). LW Brendan Perlini, Niagara (OHL), 6 ‘2, 205

12). C Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), 6 ‘0, 180

13). LW Kevin Fiala, HV 71 (SHL), 5 ‘10, 180

14). C Dylan Larkin, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘1, 190

15). C Robby Fabbri, Guelph (OHL), 5 ‘10, 165

16). LW Ivan Barbashev, Moncton (QMJHL), 6 ‘1, 185

17). LW Sonny Milano, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 5 ‘11, 185

18). RW David Pastrnak, Sodertalje (Allsvenskan), 5 ‘11, 170

19). RW Alex Tuch, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘3, 215

20). RW Josh Ho ‘Sang, Windsor (OHL), 5 ‘11, 165

21). RW Conner Bleackley, Red Deer (WHL), 6 ‘1, 195

22). G Thatcher Demko, Boston College (NCAA), 6 ‘4, 180

23). RW Nikolay Goldobin, Sarnia (OHL), 6 ‘0, 175

24). D Jack Dougherty, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘1, 185

25). C Jakub Vrana, Linkoping J20 (SuperElit), 5 ‘11, 185

26). RW Kasperi Kapanen, KalPa (SM JLiiga), 5 ‘11, 170

27). C Adrian Kempe, Modo J20 (SuperElit), 6 ‘2, 190

28). D Roland McKeown, Kingston (OHL), 6 ‘1, 200

29). D Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia (OHL), 5 ‘11, 175

30). C Eric Cornel, Peterborough (OHL), 6 ‘2, 175

In FC‘s mock draft they have Ottawa selecting Marcus Pettersson in the second round, saying:

They need skilled defenders and a couple [of] high-end talents at the forward positions.

Last year they expected Ottawa to take Samuel Morin, but he was not available when Ottawa made their selection (Philadelphia picked him at 11th overall).

There’s no assessment of the various NHL organisations (or their scouting staffs), but they do offer a comment about the quality of this year’s draft:

The truth of the matter is, while there are no sure-fire ‘Next Great NHL Superstar’ types of talents available, there are a few kids who project to have very strong NHL futures ahead of them. Sure [many of] these prospects all have the potential to bust, but that potential is realized more than a handful of times in every draft class. The forward prospects are the real strength of this draft class with big power forwards, smaller skilled pivots and goal-scoring wingers deep into the third or fourth rounds. Also, add the odd agitating winger or two-way specialist into the mix and the forward position should be well represented in Philly. Plenty of strong goaltending prospects are also available this year. The list includes a couple calm and poised technical tenders, the bigger bodies with raw but potentially impressive upsides, as well as the more acrobatic types who are less blocker and more old school reflex stoppers. Defense is a weak area of this draft as there are very few guys who look like they can be developed into impact NHLers, but instead there appears to be a few blue-chippers and a bunch of guys who could be bottom-pairing contributors or career minor leaguers.

The guide contains profiles of varying extent for all 210 prospects listed and once again it’s very reasonably priced ($20.99).  I haven’t seen the other guides yet, but they are all more expensive than FC so it’s likely it will be the best bet for fans again this year.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.