Hockey Prospectus’ 2012 NHL Draft Rankings

Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman has a list of his top-125 2012 NHL draft rankings, so here’s a look at his top-30 rankings along with my thoughts about his reasoning.

1.  Nail Yakupov, Left Wing, Sarnia-OHL
2.  Mikhail Grigorenko, Center, Quebec-QMJHL
3.  Alexander Galchenyuk, Center, Sarnia-OHL
4.  Filip Forsberg, Right Wing, Leksands-Allsvenskan
5. Teuvo Teravainen, Left Wing, Jokerit-SM-Liiga
6.  Matt Dumba, Defense, Red Deer-WHL
7. Morgan Rielly, Defense, Moose Jaw-WHL
8. Ryan Murray, Defense, Everett-WHL
9. Pontus Aberg, Left Wing, Djurgarden-SEL
10. Radek Faksa, Center, Kitchener-OHL
11. Sebastian Collberg, Right Wing, Frolunda-SEL
12. Jacob Trouba, Defense, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL
13. Cody Ceci, Defense, Ottawa-OHL
14. Zemgus Girgensons, Center, Dubuque-USHL
15. Griffin Reinhart, Defense, Edmonton-WHL
16. Hampus Lindholm, Defense, Rogle-Allsvenskan
17. Anton Slepyshev, Left Wing, Novokuznetsk-KHL
18. Tomas Hertl, Center, HC Slavia Praha-Czech Extraliga
19. Matt Finn, Defense, Guelph-OHL
20. Ludvig Bystrom, Defense, MODO-SEL
21. Olli Maatta, Defense, London-OHL
22. Nikolai Prokhorkin, Center, CSKA-MHL
23. Slater Koekkoek, Defense, Peterborough-OHL
24. Derrick Pouliot, Defense, Portland-WHL
25. Brendan Gaunce, Center, Belleville-OHL
26. Tim Bozon, Left Wing, Kamloops-WHL
27. Nicolas Kerdiles, Left Wing, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL
28. Daniil Zharkov, Right Wing, Belleville-OHL
29. Ville Pokka, Defense, Karpat-SM-Liiga
30. Scott Laughton, Center, Oshawa-OHL

Pronman talks about his process of ranking the players, “these reports are not based on the work of an independent scouting service. While the reports are based somewhat on my personal viewings of most of the prospects profiled of whom I have seen most play at least once, predominantly though video scouting, a significant portion of my notes come from talking to scouts and NHL execs and accumulating a lot of information from different sources throughout the year. The way I feel I can do my job at its peak is to accumulate as much information as I can, and then use that information to independently assess the value of players. The information I use to assess players does come from sources aside from my own eyes, but the ranking process has zero influence from others. I am a fan of something I’ve borrowed from the baseball scouting world and have adapted to hockey scouting called the 20-80 scale. In short, it is a distinct scouting language, derived originally from using standard deviations to assess talent distributions. To avoid confusing readers, I do not use number grades at all due to the lack of popularity of the scale in hockey circles, however the language I use throughout my reports have a rhyme and reason to which you should be informed about. Here is how I use the 20-80 scale with certain words that you will see in all of my reports: 40 is fringe/replacement level 45 is below average 50 grade is NHL average/average/pro-level/decent 55 is above average 60 is plus/top tier 70 is amongst the NHL’s elite/plus-plus 80 is a generational talent but it is never used in this draft preview.”

I don’t think the 20-80 scale is any clearer than any other numerical or alphabetical system.  Pronman “Together, Fenwick/Corsi and Luck account for around 3/4 of team winning percentage.  What’s the remainder?  Goaltending talent – which Tom Awad estimates at about 5% – and special teams, along with a very small sliver that’s due to shooting talent and the oft-mentioned “shot quality.”  So I don’t think there’s a false dichotomy here – there are five factors in this model, all of which are given credence in proportion to their predictive power.”  He also puts a large emphasis on possession (puck-control).

Because (or despite) Pronman’s approach his rankings are largely in line with other publications except for his shuffling of goaltenders down the rankings.  His first-round selections all match at least one other draft source except for Slepyshev, Prokhorkin and Zharkov.  It’s worthwhile checking Pronman out–there’s no cost and it’s yet another resource for draft fans.

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