European Undrafted Success Stories Revisited

I haven’t updated my undrafted success stories out of Europe article in a couple of years and there’s no time like the present. I’ve focused on the post-lockout NHL because of the different parameters in which players are viewed (particularly undersized players).  I’ve set the “European pro” bar at 23 (anything earlier and I consider the player to still be a prospect, drafted or not).  The numbers next to the player’s name are their stats prior to being signed.

2006 (3)
Niklas Backstrom (G, Liiga) 32-9-10, 1.68, .940 – 413 NHL games
Patrick Thoresen (SEL) 50-17-19-36 – 106 NHL games
Patrick Fischer (NLA) 44-21-32-53 – 27 NHL games

2007 (4)
Jonas Hiller (G, NLA) 28-16, 2.60 – 404 NHL games
Cory Murphy (D, Liiga) 45-13-37-50 – 91 NHL games
Erik Ersberg (G, SEL) 41GP, 2.39, .908 – 69 NHL games
Jaroslav Hlinka (Cze) 46-19-38-57 – 63 NHL games

2008 (7)
Antti Niemi (G, Liiga) 26-14-6, 2.35, .926 – 386 NHL games coming into this season; won a Cup with Chicago
Ville Leino (Liiga) 55-28-49-77 – 296 NHL games
Tim Stapleton (Liiga) 55-29-33-62 – 118 NHL games
Anssi Salmela (D, Liiga) 56-16-16-32 – 112 NHL games
Fabian Brunnstrom (SEL) 54-9-28-37 – 104 NHL games
Ryan Vesce (Liiga) 56-26-18-44 – 19 NHL games
Per Ledin (SEL) 52-16-17-33 – 3 NHL games

2009 (5)
Jonas Gustavsson (G, SEL) 42GP, 1.96, .932 – 179 NHL games coming into this season
Mika Pyorala (Liiga) 55-21-22-43 – 36 NHL games
Henrik Karlsson (G, SEL) 34GP, 2.45, .914 – 26 NHL games
Alexander Salak (G, Liiga) 20-20-9, 2.40, .923 – 2 NHL games
Johan Backlund (G, SEL) 2.56, .907 – 1 NHL game

2010 (3)
Mats Zuccarello (SEL) 55-23-41-64 (1.16) – 303 NHL games coming into this season
Jussi Rynnas (G, Liiga) 14-13-1, 2.71, .911 – 4 NHL games
Marcel Muller (DEL) 53-24-32-56 – 3 NHL games

2011 (3)
Raphael Diaz (D, NLA) 45-12-27-39 (0.86) – 201 NHL games
Victor Bartley (D, Allsvenskan) 52-11-23-34 – 121 NHL games
Iiro Tarkki (G, Liiga) 20-20-14, 2.09, .924 – 1 NHL game

2012 (4)
Viktor Fasth (G, SHL) 2.04, .934 – 63 NHL games
Roman Cervenka (KHL) 54-23-16-39 – 39 NHL games
Daniel Bang (SHL) 50-8-10-18 – 8 NHL games
Harri Pesonen (Liiga) 60-21-14-35 – 4 NHL games

2013 (2)
Michael Raffl (Allsvenskan) 49-24-22-46 – 217 NHL games coming into this season
Antti Raanta (G, Liiga) 1.85 .943 – 64 NHL games coming into this season

2014 (6)
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (SHL) 52-20-15-35 – 155 NHL games coming into this season
Melker Karlsson (SHL) 48-9-16-25 – 118 NHL games coming into this season
Dennis Everberg
(Allsvenskan) 47-17-17-34 – 70 NHL games
Dennis Rasmussen (SHL) 52-16-24-40 – 44 NHL games coming into this season
Ronalds Kenins (NLA) 39-8-17-25 – 38 NHL games
Borna Rendulic (Liiga) 57-11-21-32 – 14 NHL games

2015 (8)
Artemi Panarin (KHL) 54-26-36-62 – 80 NHL games coming into this season
Sergei Kalinin (KHL) 58-12-13-25 – 78 NHL games coming into this season
Andreas Martinsen (DEL) 50-18-23-41 – 55 NHL games coming into this season
Yvgeni Medvedev (D, KHL) 43-3-13-16 – 45 NHL games
Sergei Plotnikov (KHL) 56-15-21-36 – 45 NHL games
Joonas Kemppainen (Liiga) 59-11-21-32 – 44 NHL games
Jakub Nakladal (D, Liiga) 50-3-12-15 – 30 NHL games
Vojtech Mozik (D, Czech) 51-10-19-29 – 7 NHL games

2016 (5)
Nikita Zaitsev (D, KHL) 46-8-18-26 – playing for Toronto
Michal Kempny (D, KHL) 59-5-16-21 – playing for Chicago
Roman Lyubimov (KHL) 52-7-7-14 – playing for Philadelphia
Yohann Auvitu (D, Liiga) 48-6-15-21 – playing for New Jersey
Tim Heed (D, SHL) 52-8-15-23 – has played for San Jose

No players have been directly signed from the Slovak Elite League, Erste Bank Liga (Austria), Get Ligaen (Norway), or Al-Bank Ligaen (Denmark).

There are 50 players above (27 forwards, 11 defensemen, and 12 goaltenders); to get a sense of their value there are 6 skaters who have played two seasons worth of games, along with 7 goalies who have played at least 60 games.  Excluding this years players (for obvious reasons) that’s 13 of 45 (28%), which as risks go is pretty solid (it’s slightly above the rate of 2nd round picks, whose success rate stands at 26% in recent times).  Understandably there are far fewer impact players–no defensemen of note, just two forwards (Zuccarello and Panarin), along with three starting goaltenders–but given how few high end players go undrafted it’s still significant.  A notable change from when I first started looking at this is that there hasn’t been a starting goaltender found since Niemi way back in 2008, suggesting that NHL scouts have improved in that area (and clearly the desperate need for blueliners has prevented any uber-talented defender from reaching this list).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2016 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/ISS: 25/30
FC/RLR: 22/30
The easiest round to pick (Bob McKenzie was 27/30), it went fairly well for me.  Of the five players picked that I missed three (CholowskiJohansen, and Steel) were slotted in the first-half of the second round, so only Borgstrom and Frederic were true surprises (I had them in the third; no one had anyone other than Cholowski slotted in the first).

Second Round
EOTS/HP: 18/31
FC: 17/31
RLR/ISS: 15/31
Virtually identical numbers across the board (the third straight year of such consistency).

Third Round
HP: 8/30
EOTS/FC: 7/30
RLR/ISS: 5/30
Here’s where publication consensus starts to diverge with individual team scouting.  The first players not from my list were taken here (Peeters, Ingram, and Nassen).

Fourth Round
FC: 8/30
HP: 7/30
EOTS: 4/30
RLR/ 2/30
ISS: 1/30
The first unranked players (those appearing in no publication) were taken in this round (Golyshev, Aktell, Noel, Dostie, and Ryan Jones–the middle three were listed by CS, but not highly; three are overage).

Fifth Round
FC: 6/30
HP: 3/30
EOTS/ISS: 2/30
RLR: 0/30
Six more unranked players were taken here, including four overagers.

Sixth Round
HP: 4/30
ISS: 1/30
Ten unranked players were selected (with four overage).

Seventh Round
EOTS: 4/30
FC/HP: 2/30
RLR/ISS: 1/30
Eleven unranked players were drafted (six overagers).

Total (changes from last year noted)
HP: 68/211 (32.2%) (-1)
FC: 64/211 (30.3%) (+11)
EOTS: 62/211 (29.3%) (-4)
ISS: 50/200* (25%) (-7)
RLR: 47/211 (22.2%) (-10)
* because ISS doesn’t designate goaltenders by round they’re excluded

For the third year in a row HP was the most accurate (by round) of all the sources, although it’s worth noting if you eliminate the first round it’s still less than a quarter of all the players picked.  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):

HP: 158/211 (74.8%) (even)
EOTS: 153/211 (72.5%) (-5.5%)
FC: 148/211 (70.1%) (+1%)
RLR: 141/211 (66.8%) (-5.5%)
ISS: 140/220* (63.6%) (-4.5%)
* because of ISS’ weird goaltending listing they’re compared to a larger number

I slipped back to my average pick percentage for this draft (regressing to the mean–neither Travis Yost or Dmitri Filipovic read this blog, so that reference is wasted).  HP had their third strong year of predictions, just ever so slightly lower than last year (160 in 2015).  The other three publications are all near their usual batting average.

The highest ranked player left hanging was Maxime Fortier (#83 for me)–he was listed by all sources, but perhaps his size (5’10) played against him.  Other players universally slotted who were left out: Vladimir Kuznetsov (#93–listed as a 3rd or 4th rounder in all sources, but perhaps the Russian factor kept him out), Simon Stransky (#94), defenseman Benjamin Gleason (#96), William Knierim (#100; a second-round pick for one publication), undersized Brayden Burke (#140), Patrick Bajkov (#154), Ondrej Vala (#161), and Alan Lyszczarczyk (#165).  This tally of 9 players is slightly lower than last year (where 11 weren’t picked).  As for the publications themselves two players listed as second-rounders were left on the outside (the aforementioned Knierim as well as Russian defenseman Ilya Karpukhin).

A couple of highly ranked players passed over in the 2015 draft were taken this year (Soy and Noel), while others (like Salituro) remained on the outside looking in.  Speaking of highly ranked, Central Scouting’s Europeans were again largely ignored (of those not appearing in the aforementioned publications only Oleg Sosunov (#25) and goaltender Filip Larsson (#8) were taken among the top selections (leaving players like #35 Artur Shepelkov and #3 Veini Vehvilainen on the shelf, among others)).  Conversely the highest NA player left out from CS’ rankings were Brogan O’Brien (#97) and Zach Sawchenko (#6)–perhaps we can say their goaltending picks are as ignored as their European selections.

Of the 32 players picked that weren’t on any list (a slight increase from 29 last year), 15 were from Europe (8 from Sweden, 5 from Russia, 1 from Finland and 1 from the Czech Republic), 8 are from the various US systems (3 from the NCAA), and the remaining 9 from Canadian leagues (1 from tier-2).  This group includes 15 defensemen and 4 goalies.  There are also 24 players from just one publication: 7 from Europe (4 from Sweden and 1 each from Russia, Switzerland, and Denmark), 8 from US systems (5 NCAA), and the remaining 9 from the CHL (1 from tier-2); with 8 defenseman and 2 goalies in the group.  Combined the 56 players are heavily composed of Europeans and prospects from the US (38, or 67% of the total), with a heavy emphasis on position players (23 D and 6 G, more than half the total).  There are also a lot of older players (21), most (18) from the unranked group.

Conclusions from the draft remain much as they’ve been since I’ve started doing this: there’s a very broad consensus on the top-90 or so players, with growing eccentricity the later the draft gets.  Scouting in Europe continues to lag behind (thus the wider variety of rankings and greater number of off-the-board picks).  There’s clear uncertainty behind what makes for a good goaltender, creating a lot of eccentricity in the selections; the draft also indicates a difference of opinion between NHL teams and scouting publications over what makes for an NHL blueliner once you get beyond the top-30 prospects (a lot of the late pick defenseman were big men, so taking risks on size continues to be a factor rather than skill).  As for the predictions themselves, I’m content with how this year went, although the goal remains beating the publications consistently.

[One correction from my big analysis article prior to the draft, I missed mentioning one player from two sources–as Patrick Harper–who ultimately wasn’t drafted.]

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2016 Draft

The 2016 NHL Draft is in the books so we can take a look at how the Senators did at this year’s draft.  My predictions for who they would pick went down in flames (expectedly, although I hoped to get one or two).  Pierre Dorion’s first draft featured just one trade, sending the Sens first round pick (#12, Michael McLeod) and a third round pick (#80, Brandon Gignac), for the #11 pick.  Otherwise we saw most of the usual Bryan Murray drafting trends continue (preference for size, a player from Sweden, a player from the US junior systems, no Russians, and a (pseudo) local boy in Brown).  Things that changed from the norm include drafting a player from Finland (the first since 2005), not drafting a player from the QMJHL (the first time since 2007, but Lajoie if from Quebec so….), and drafting a player under 6’0 (first time since 2011, although 5’11 is not much of a reach).  Without further ado, here are the players (I reference my master list for when I say where they were slotted):

1-11 Logan Brown (C 6’6 OHL 59-21-53-74); Rankings 7-13; slotted #9

I expected the son of former NHLer Jeff to be gone earlier, but Clayton Keller and Olli Juolevi went early leaving him available; Dorion made a trade to move up to get the 6’6 forward which echoes the trade for Gabriel Gagne last year (also with New Jersey where they sent a 2nd and 4th to get the pick).  I echoed Trevor Shackles’ sentiment about the trade, but it will be several years before we can truly assess the move.  Brown finished second in scoring for Windsor (well behind Christian Fischer and, by points-per-game, Brendan Lemieux; both older players and both 2nd round picks).

The scouting assessments of Brown are all very similar, agreeing on the following: he’s not a physical player, has a good shot but doesn’t shoot enough, is a great passer, has a good hockey IQ, protects the puck down low and is good on the cycle, and he’s TALL.  Disagreements: one (of four) didn’t think he was very good off the rush and the same thought he needed to improve defensively; opinions on his skating are mixed.

2-42 Jonathan Dahlen (C/LW 5’11 Allsvenskan 51-15-14-29); Rankings 24-149; slotted #41

Son of former NHLer Ulf, he’s another player I expected to be gone before this pick, although it’s not like he tumbled down the draft very far.  The Sens always pick a Swede and Dahlen is the first under 6’0 player they’ve taken since 2011.  It’s worth noting that Dahlen spent the year in the tier-2 men’s league, not Swedish junior, so his numbers are quite good (he lead the lackluster Timra roster in scoring–in points-per-game he’s just ahead of Victor Ejdsell and Johan Persson, both older, undrafted players).

Scouting opinions on him are very similar: a natural goal-scorer who is very good around the net; a good forechecker; good skater (some debate about his acceleration); very competitive, but not very physical.  The only real disagreement is about his defensive abilities, which range from average to good.

4-103 Todd Burgess (C/RW 6’2 NAHL 60-38-57-95); Rankings 94-145; slotted #135

Not ranked by a couple of publications, the overage American is set to play for RPI in the NCAA next season.  Because he’s overage his numbers aren’t quite as impressive as they would be otherwise, but he lead the entire league in scoring (something that clearly caught many scouts by surprise)–Michaela Schreiter notes his totals are the highest since Pat Maroon a long time ago.

There was only one scouting profile of him and it indicated he was a good playmaker with good vision and hockey IQ; a puck-battler and decent stickhandler, but his puck skills are average for the NHL level; solid on the forecheck; he needs to improve his skating and defensive skills.

5-133 Max Lajoie (DL 6’0 WHL 62-8-29-37); Rankings 52-102; slotted #72

Tumbled considerably in the draft, perhaps because of his stature (small for a blueliner; although I have seen him listed at 6’1); he was the top scoring defenseman for Swift Current (the alma mater of Zack Smith).

Scouts largely agree on him: a good skater with above average hockey IQ, solid offensively with good puck distribution and a sneaky wrist shot; a good first pass and very calm.  There are disagreements on his defensive play (average to good) and one said he was a bit too passive.

6-163 Markus Nurmi (RW/LW 6’4 Finnish Jr 49-19-17-36); Rankings 69-185; slotted #128

Another player who fell from where I slotted him; the big Finn finished third in scoring on TPS (just behind Juho Virtanen, but well behind Matias Lehtonen in points-per-game; both slightly older, undrafted players).  I’m curious what prompted the Sens to finally draft from Finland, since they haven’t done so in over a decade (Janne Kolehmainen in 2005).  His size is obviously appealing, but there have been plenty of big Finns available over the intervening period, so clearly something changed–maybe they finally had bus fare for scout Mikko Ruutu to tour in his own country (jk).

There were only two scouting reports on him and they are pretty harmonious: he’s a straight-line player, a good forechecker who is very competitive; one said he had good hockey IQ; he’s very raw and there are some differences over where he tops out (either as a depth checker or a more productive two-way forward).

Overall I’m pretty happy with the picks.  In studying the draft we can expect at least one of these picks to pan out, but we can hope for two.  From an AHL-perspective the hope is higher as it’s likely most or all of these players will eventually suit up.  It’s a much better draft for the Sens than 2014, but not with the top-end of 2015–likely similar in value to 2013.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft

The 2016 NHL draft is around the corner 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 (a part of the NHL system that lacks good comparative data; it’s also fun to make predictions).  Before we get into my list I’ll explain my methodology.

With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL (2005) 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.  The wide variety of sources covering the draft are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. My purpose is to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected.

This is my seventh year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class.  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 a little higher than a quarter and when you subtracted the first round it bottomed out completely).  These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period.  Back to the totals: in 2011 I picked 70%; 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report); 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s); 2014 71% (again tied with HP), then hitting a high of 78% in 2015 (ahead of HP by three points).  Overall I’m batting 72%.  Here’s the average of sources used over those years (excluding 2010 when I didn’t track it):
Me: 70%, 75%, 69%, 71%, 78% (avg 72%)
HP: 47%, 72%, 69%, 71%, 75% (avg 66%)
ISS: 60%, 70%, 65%, 62%, 68% (avg 65%)
FC: 44%, 71%, 68%, 69%, 69% (avg 64%)
RLR: 44%, 74%, 67%, 64%, 72% (avg 64%)

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 averaged to create his aggregate total). This gives me a number I can use for comparison. I then engage in comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y wins the head-to-head comparison, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 loses to 12, 13, 16, 69, because the latter’s number is sunk by one bad score). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between trying to assess who is the best player versus who will be drafted.  My interest is in figuring out who will be taken given the available data draft guides provide–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), instead simply showing how closely their assessments match those of NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

A wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), but not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (as 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), but due to their limitations I no longer do so.

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, then further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders.  As such I don’t integrate CS into the aggregate number (it’s simply not possible), instead it’s simply a point of reference (it’s also worth noting NHL teams and draft guides show little interest in CS’ European assessments). ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking. This separation used to have draft positions associated with them (by round), but for whatever reason ISS no longer provides that, making it impossible to include them in the aggregate score.


-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 (G) and defenseman (D); any player listed as “undersized” means they are officially listed as 5’9 or shorter; players with an asterisk (*) are overage

First Round
1. Auston Matthews (1.0) – the consensus pick across the board
2. Patrik Laine (2.0) – picked #2 across the board
3. Jesse Puljujarvi (3.0) – as above
4. Pierre-Luc Dubois (4.5) – opinion between he and Tkachuk is split, but CS provides the tiebreaker
5. Matthew Tkachuk (4.5) – son of the former NHL star
6. Alexander Nylander (8.5) – although his aggregate is close to four other players, he beats them all head-to-head; son of the former NHLer
7. Jakob Chychrun (D) (9.25) – hurt by his HP rating, he beats Jost and Sergachev head-to-head; he’s the son of former NHLer and the highest defenseman listed
8. Tyson Jost (9.0) – it’s rare for a BCHL player to be so highly touted, but everyone has him in their top-10
9. Logan Brown (9.75) – it’s essentially a wash between he and Sergachev, but his threshold is higher giving him the edge; his father is former NHL defenseman Jeff Brown
10. Mikhail Sergachev/Sergachyov (D) (9.5) – perhaps hurt by the Russian factor, his ratings are in a very tight band
11. Olli Juolevi (D) (10.0) – HP has him higher, but on aggregate he comfortably slots here
12. Clayton Keller (11.5) – undersized; FC and HP put him in the top-ten
13. Dante Fabbro (D) (13.25) – another BCHL player
14. Jake Bean (D) (13.75) – very close between he and McLeod below
15. Michael McLeod (D) (15.25)
16. German Rubstov (18.5) – beats Bellows head-to-head, although the Russian factor could slip him further down
17. Kieffer Bellows (17.5) – son of the former NHLer
18. Luke Kunin (19.25) – beats Jones head-to-head and has a very tight range of rankings
19. Charlie McAvoy (D) (20.5) – the comparison to Jones is a bit of a toss-up, but he’s given a higher ceiling
20. Max Jones (18.75)
21. Riley Tufte (20.5)
22. Julien Gauthier (20.75)
23. Vitali Abramov (25.75) – undersized; Russian factor a consideration
24. Alex DeBrincat (26.0) – undersized
25. Brett Howden (27.0)
26. Boris Katchouk (28.75)
27. Rasmus Asplund (29.75)
28. Pascal Laberge (31.5)
29. Tage Thompson (38.25) – his number is sunk by one bad ranking; son of former NHLer Brent Thompson
30. Logan Stanley (D) (31.75)

Eleven other players are slotted in the first round, but none by more than one source (which I believe is a first since I’ve done this–there’s usually one or two players with a couple of first-round picks that fall out by the ratings).

Second Round

31. Kale Clague (D) (37.75)
32. Libor Hajek (D) (38.0)
33. Nathans Bastien (39.0)
34. Adam Mascherin (40.75) – undersized; number hurt by a single ranking
35. William Bitten (44.0) – undersized; as above (from the same source as well)
36. Dennis Cholowski (D) (39.75) – another BCHLer
37. Carl Grundstrom (41.0) – Swede beats Hart head-to-head
38. Filip Gustavsson (G) (42.66) – also beats Hart head-to-head; top-ranked goaltender
39. Carter Hart (G) (40.66)
40. Tyler Benson (44.25) – opinions are split over whether he’s a borderline first-rounder or a late second-rounder
41. Jonathan Dahlen (68.5) – his number is tanked by one rating; he’s the last player on this list with a first-round selection; son of the former NHLer
42. Lucas Johansen (D) (44.25)
43. Taylor Raddysh (44.25)
44. Samuel Girard (D) (45.5) – as an undersized defenseman this is high ranking
45. Sam Steel (48.0)
46. Ryan Lindgren (D) (50.0) – score sunk by one rating
47. Markus Niemelainen (D) (48.5) – very split opinions on him
48. Adam Fox (D) (49.0)
49. Dillon Dube (50.75) – beats Parsons head-to-head
50. Tyler Parsons (G) (50.0)
51. Janne Kuokkanen (73.25) – his number sunk by one ranking
52. Jordan Kyrou (56.5)
53. Cameron Morrison (53.5) – wildly divergent opinions on him
54. Noah Gregor (61.0) – far more consistent rankings than Moverare
55. Jacob Moverare (D) (57.25) – floated by one ranking
56. Cameron Dineen (D) (62.5) – split opinions on him
57. Evan Fitzpatrick (G) (64.66)
58. Tim Gettinger (64.75) – beats Pu and Anderson head-to-head
59. Cliff Pu (62.5)
60. Joseph (Joey) Anderson (63.5)
61. Frederic Allard (80.75) – number wrecked by one ranking

Three players with two second-round picks do not appear above.

Third Round

62. Victor Mete (D) (72.0) – undersized; his number is sunk by a single rating
63. Wade Allison (88.75) – another player whose number is sunk by one rating
64. Luke Green (D) (66.5) – the final prospect with two second-round rankings
65. Filip Hronek (D) (68.25)
66. Josh Mahura (D) (69.5) – beats Lindstrom head-to-head
67. Andrew Peeke (D) (71.0) – as above
68. Linus Lindstrom (69.33) – unlisted by one source
69. Eetu Tuulola (100.0) – his ranking is thrown off by one rating
70. Brandon Gignac (77.66) – beats Krys and Lajoie head-to-head; unlisted by one source
71. Chad Krys (D) (76.66) – not listed by one source
72. Max Lajoie (D) (76.75) – wide ranging rankings for him (second through fourth)
73. Jacob Cederholm (D) (78.75) – split opinions on him (second through fourth)
74. Joseph Woll (G) (84.33) – highest ceiling of those remaining
75. James Greenway (87.75) – his number takes a beating from one ranking
76. Artur Kayumov (91.0) – wide range of opinions; Russian factor could be in play
77. Mitchell Mattson (92.0) – split opinions on him (second through fifth), but beats Borgstrom head-to-head
78. Henrik Borgstrom* (91.5) – split opinions as well (as above)
79. Trent Frederic (84.0)
80. Sean Day (D) (84.75)
81. Jack Kopacka (92.0) – wins head-to-head against the better aggregates below
82. Vojtech Budik (D) (87.25) – beats Middleton head-to-head
83. Maxime Fortier (103.0) – score hurt by one rating
84. Keaton Middleton (D) (83.0) – not listed by one source
85. Jordy Stallard (105.75) – score sunk by one source
86. Otto Somppi (91.0) – has a higher ceiling than Kaspick
87. Tanner Kaspick (89.25)
88. Matt Filipe (92.25)
89. Connor Bunnaman (95.75)
90. Jordan Sambrook (D) (100.75) – wide range of opinion (second to fifth)
91. Dmitri Sokolov (95.25)

Six players with two third-round (or lower) selections don’t make the list (Mathias From in particular is hurt by not being listed by two sources).

Fourth Round

92. Artyom Maltsev (96.75) – rating hurt by one ranking
93. Vladimir Kuznetsov (93.75)
94. Simon Stransky (107.25) – his ranking takes a pounding from one source
95. David Bernhardt (D) (97.75) – a second-rounder according to one source
96. Benjamin Gleason (D) (98.0)
97. Mathias From (80.0) – being listed by just two sources makes him hard to slot
98. Connor Hall (D) (99.5) – a second-rounder via one source
99. Matthew Cairns (D) (100.66) – not listed by one source; OJHLer
100. William Knierim (117.5) – ranked all over the place (second to seventh)
101. Ty Ronning (114.75) – undersized; number is thrown off by one rating, but otherwise has the tightest ranking; son of the former NHLer
102. Yegor Korshkov (104.75) – one second-round nod
103. Beck Malenstyn (105.25) – one second-round nod
104. Hudson Elynuik (116.75) – score hurt by one ranking; son of the former NHLer
105. Jesper Bratt (110.5)
106. Dylan Wells (G) (104.33)
107. Michael Pezzetta (110.0) – rankings are all over the place (third to sixth)
108. Josh Anderson (120.25) – ranked everywhere (third to seventh)
109. Max Zimmer (114.0) – tight rankings
110. Tim Wahlgreen (107.33)
111. Zach Sawchenko (G) (109.66)
112. Mikhail Berdin (G) (103.0) – not listed by one source
113. Marco Miranda (103.5) – not listed by two sources
114. Lucas Carlsson* (D) (119.0) – has a higher threshold than Candella
115. Cole Candella (D) (117.75)
116. Brett Murray (128.75) – number hurt by a single ranking; CCHLer
117. David Quenneville (D) (120.25) – undersized
118. Dylan Coghlan (D) (122.0) – not ranked by one source
119. Rem Pitlick* (121.75) – undersized; son of the former NHLer
120. Nicholas Caamano (123.66) – not ranked by one source
121. Carsen Twarynski (126.5)

Four players with two-fourth round selections do not appear above.

Fifth Round

122. Nick Pastujov (134.0) – number hurt by one ranking
123. Oskar Steen (120.0) – undersized; unranked by one source
124. Aapeli Rasanen (131.5) – gets a second-round nod
125. Adam Brooks* (130.0) – has a second-round selection
126. Dmitri Alexeyev (D) (133.0) – rankings all over the place (third to seventh)
127. Tobias Eder (125.66) – similar to the above; injuries hurt his season; only player listed from the German leagues
128. Markus Nurmi (125.33) – rankings third to seventh
129. Travis Barron (124.25) – fairly tight range of predictions
130. Dylan Gambrell* (123.66) – not listed by one source
131. Evan Cormier (G) (131.33)
132. Matthew Murray (G) (129.0) – not listed by one source; AJHLer
133. Stepan Falkovsky* (D) (127.5) – not listed by two sources (ahead due to threshold)
134. Samuel Rossini (D) (117.5) – as above
135. Todd Burgess* (119.5) – as above
136. Ross Colton* (127.5) – as above (higher threshold than Koppanen)
137. Hayden Verbeek* (132.0) – as above (ibid)
138. Joona Koppanen (126.5) – as above
139. William Lockwood (137.5) – number hurt by one ranking; has two-fourth round placements
140. Brayden Burke* (148.75) – undersized; rankings all over the place, but ranked by everyone and tops out in the third-round
141. Riley Stillman (D) (149.75) – very similar to Burke above; son of the former NHLer
142. Matthew Phillips (141.0) – undersized; relatively tight range (3rd-5th), but absent from one source
143. Otto Makinen (141.0) – as above
144. Graham McPhee (135.25) – picked in all sources with a fairly tight range (4th-6th); son of former NHLer George
145. Jonathan Ang (141.75) – as above
146. Ondrej Najman (134.33) – extremely tight range (just 17 spots in this round); not picked by one source
147. Jeff de Witt (140.0) – wide range (3rd-7th); not picked by one source
148. Colby Sissons (D) (148.) – as above
149. Brandon Hagel (150.0) – as above
150. Hugo Danielsson (D) (144.33) – highest threshold of a group of three similarly ranked players
151. Jack LaFontaine (G) (145.33) – second of the aforementioned group

Nine players with two fifth-round (or higher) selections did not make the above list.

Sixth Round

152. Domenic Commisso (144.66) – last of the aforementioned group
153. Yegor Rykov (D) (146.66) – one of the last players with a 4th and 5th round ranking
154. Patrick Bajkov (157.0) – another player with 4th-5th selections (higher threshold than Neveu)
155. Jacob Neveu (142.0) – the final player from at least three sources with 4th-5th round picks
156. Griffin Luce (168.75) – while most put him as a late round pick, he has a 3rd round selection and is one of the last players placed by all sources
157. Casey Fitzgerald* (154.33) – the last player picked by three-sources slotted in the 3rd round; son of the former NHLer
158. Garrett Pilon (169.75) – a fourth-round high and appears in all sources; son of the former NHLer
159. Kyle Maksimovich (151.66) – undersized; fourth-round selection
160. Jaime Armstrong (152.33) – has a fourth-round nod; son of former AHL pugulist Bill
161. Ondrej Vala (D) (161.75) – fourth-round selection and appears in all sources
162. Vojtech Zelenak (D) (161.66) – fourth-round pick and beats Graham head-to-head
163. Michael Graham (170.33) – the last player to appear in three-sources with a fourth-round selection
164. Kasper Bjorkqvist* (144.0)
165. Alan Lyszczarczyk (163.75) – the last player to appear in all sources with two fifth-round selections
166. Jake Ryczek (D) (156.66)
167. Andrei Svetlakov* (157.66) – the last player to appear in three sources with two fifth-round selections
168. Jake Kryski (163.66)
169. Grant Jozefek (161.33) – the last player from three sources to have a 5th and 6th selection
170. Otto Koivula (168.5) – his number is skewed by one ranking
171. Kristian Reichel (180.75) – despite some underwhelming scores he appears in all sources and does get a 5th-round pick; son of the former NHLer
172. Colin Grannary (183.5) – the last player to appear in all four sources; BCHLer
173. Tanner Laczynski* (174.33) – second last player from three sources with a 5th-round pick
174. Gabriel Sylvestre (D) (169.33) – last player from three sources with a 5th
175. Joseph Raaymakers (G) (174.0)
176. Daniil Miromanov* (179.0) – among the final players from three sources
177. Filip Lestan (186.66) – as above
178. Jiri Karafiat (190.66) – the last player to appear in three sources
179. Jakob Stukel* (137.5) – a 3rd-round pick to one source
180. Filip Berglund* (D) (139.0) – as above
181. Dante Salituro* (136.0) – undersized; a fourth-rounder to one source; decent ranking in last year’s draft

This round exhausts the supply of prospects picked by all or three of my sources.

Seventh Round

182. Dawson Davidson (D) (139.5) – as above
183. Colton Point (G) (140.0) – as above; CCHLer
184. James Sanchez (140.5) – as above
185. Frederik Karlstrom (148.5) – as above
186. Tyler Steenbergen (153.0) – as above
187. Josh Dickinson (128.5) – gets a fifth-round nods where he appears; OJHLer
188. Tyler Soy* (134.0) – as above; was fairly highly ranked in the previous draft
189. Brandon Duhaime* (137.5) – as above
190. Max Gerlach (141.5) – undersized; the last player with two fifth-round nods where he appears
191. Samuel Solenksy (146.5) – undersized
192. Brandon Saigeon (149.0)
193. Austin Osmanski (D) (150.0)
194. Mathieu Sevigny (151.0)
195. Greg Printz (152.0)
196. Mitch Eliot (D) (154.0)
197. Luke Coleman (154.5)
198. Noah Carroll (D) (156.0)
199. Tarmo Reunanen (D) (161.5)
200. Yevgeni Mityakin (162.0)
201. Matthew Boucher (169.0) – undersized; son of former NHLer Philippe
202. Dean Stewart (D) (173.0) – MJHLer
203. Casey Staum (D) (173.5)
204. Olivier Galipeau* (D) (171.5) – the last player with a fifth-round selection
205. Zach Walker (155.5)
206. Cameron Clarke* (D) (166.5)
207. Brinson Pasichnuk (D) (173.5) – AJHLer
208. Gustaf Westlund (176.0)
209. Dmitri Zaitsev (D) (181.5)
210. Evan Sarthou (G) (186.5)
211. Kristians Rubins (D) (187.0) – the final player to appear in two sources

This is the first draft since I started doing this where I’ve had no players with two scores left off the list (last year there were six).  I’ve felt that scouting opinions have gradually been moving towards consensus and this is evidence of that.  There are four goaltenders who appear somewhere other than ISS (including the delightfully obscure Belgian goaltender Wouter Peeters), but given that publication’s insistence on not providing metrics for those selections I can’t use them practically (the highest appears as a fourth-rounder elsewhere).

As for individual picks left out, the highest is a late second-rounder, followed by three third-rounders.  Central Scouting’s European selections were (again) largely ignored, as 13 of the top-50 skaters/top-10 goaltenders were ignored, including Pius Suter and Veini Vehvilainen who were both ranked in last year’s draft.  Given how NHL teams like bloodlines Tony Amonte’s son Ty, Paul Coffey’s son Blake, Dale Hawerchuk’s son Ben, or Petr Klima’s son Kevin could be picked, although none are ranked by any of my sources.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing NHL Draft Guides

With the draft just a week away it’s time to take a look at this year’s guides.  As I’ve done for the last few years I’m only looking at guides covering the entire draft, so in that light: Future Considerations (FC), Hockey Prospects (HP), International Scouting Service (ISS), and Red Line Report (RLR) are on the menu.  The top-30 lists for the first three are all publically available (you can see them on their various websites or posted up elsewhere).

The four publications have 129 prospects in common–that is to say, 128 players they all agree should (or will) be taken in the draft.  That’s 61% of the total, which represents a very small drop from last year (-3 players).  As you would expect the further we get into the draft the greater the variance.  As for unique selections, ISS leads the way with 39 (RLR 31, FC 28, and HP 24).  This represents an increase from 2015, but its on par for 2014.  As for what leagues the common group comes from, it’s no surprise the CHL dominates: 82 CHL (5 via tier-2), 27 Europe (9 Sweden, 7 Finland, 3 Russia, 2 Czech, 1 Swiss), and 25 US (3 via NCAA).

As for those unique selections, the vast majority are mid-to-late selections (only one player hits the second round, and just five in the third).  These unique picks are much less commonly CHL players (just 39% vs the 60% they represent among common selections).  The breakdown (123): CHL 49, US junior 27, Russia 12, Sweden 11, NCAA 6, tier-2 6, Czech 5, Finland/Switzerland 2, Slovakia/Denmark 1.  As per usual the guides ignore some highly ranked Central Scouting European players (you can see their lists here), as Oleg Sosunov (#25), Artur Shepelkov (#35), Pius Suter (#40), Ivan Kovalev (#41), Artur Lauta (#43), Sebastian Repo (#44), Alexander Bjurstrom (#45), Andrei Kuzmenko (#47), Alexander Yakovenko (#50), Veini Vehvilainen (#G3), Sergei Bolshakov (#G8), and Filip Larsson (#G10) are completely absent (most, not surprisingly, are Russian).  In comparison the highest ranked NA player that doesn’t appear on the lists is Anthony Salinitri (#84).  I’ve always believed this wild variance has to do with the spotty scouting in Europe (if CS’ approach had issues you’d see the same avoidance in their NA lists).

Future Considerations ($22.99)
Scouts: 31
Prospects listed: 211
Prospect profiles: 211
Mock draft: first and second round
Future watch: 2017 and 2018 drafts
Miscellaneous: critical piece on scouting bias

This always affordable product has been my best-buy for several years now.  With that said, there’s nothing new in this years version (save 7 more scouts listed versus 2015), although I do think the piece on potential bias (written by Daniel Deschenes) is excellent and well worth reading through.

Hockey Prospects ($39.99)
Scouts: 22 (Canada 16, US 2, Europe 4); they are not listed in the book, but are available on the website
Prospects listed: 211
Prospect profiles: 411
Mock draft: N/A
Future watch: 2017 and 2018 drafts
Miscellaneous: scouts’ game reports

This expansive publication consistently has more profiles than any other and has been the best predictor of the draft the past two years.  There are no meaningful changes to the product from last year (with extras included in the more expansive “team” version that I’m not reviewing here).

International Scouting Service ($99.99)
Scouts: 53 (Canada 28, US 18, Europe 7)
Prospects listed: 220
Prospect profiles: 110
Mock draft: first round
Future watch: 2017, 2018, and 2019 drafts
Miscellaneous: team draft success from 2000-2014

While the price-point for ISS is unchanged from last year the content has undergone a significant change: the number of profiles has been cut in half, despite an increase in the number of scouts listed (an additional 15 from 2015).  ISS continues to separate its goaltending lists from the rest of the players for no good reason, and provides no rubric for their inclusion in their draft lists.  As the most expensive (and expansive) scouting group included, this year’s product is a disappointment.

Red Line Report ($50.00)
Scouts: N/A
Prospects listed: 312
Prospect profiles: 116 (plus one-line notes on another 61)
Mock draft: 2 (both of the first round)
Future watch: 2017 draft
Miscellaneous: European free agent watch

Constricted by limitations of space for their print-version the publication, they can’t really compete with the heavyweights (HP and FC); that said, it offers it’s own unique opinions and with ISS scaling back the number of profiles included this is certainly a better value.

So what’s the best value?  FC has been the easy choice the last few years, but the pure tonnage of profiles from HP makes this a toss up for me.  For casual fans FC is the way to go in terms of cost and value (most fans aren’t going to care about late round profiles), but for those with a stronger interest it’s hard to ignore the extra coverage offered by HP.  I don’t think the different way they organise their prospects matters (by ranking for FC and alphabetical by HP)–it’s moot in PDF because you have a search function.  Either way, I enjoy both products so whatever choice you make is a good one.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

NHL Draft Success (2005-2009)


There have been a sprinkle of articles over the years reviewing draft accuracy, but I’ve always had issues 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 they don’t really work (you’ll see 20 and 30 year swaths as if everything about those periods is the same). 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 one example, 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 more in depth analysis, since I’m not focused on all the nuances of scouting departments and only lightly touch on management changes.  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 could still see some slight adjustments and you’ll see below there are players in the ’06 class still up in the air).  All of this presupposes the importance of the draft, something that could not be assumed at points in NHL history (there have been times when teams could buy their way out of trouble).

My framework: what is a successful pick?  There are a lot of complicated ways to decide, but the simplest is to say any skater who has played 200+ NHL games has returned value on the investment (I also make a few judgement calls, particularly when it comes to goaltenders).  Two and a half seasons of NHL work isn’t the only metric you could use, but it’s a good 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
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
7 players have reached the plateau (the best is Keith Yandle #105); 17 never played; Chris VandeVelde is 3 games away so I’ve included him in the total
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; 26 players never played

Here’s the success by team:
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), Edmonton (Lowe), New Jersey (Lamoriello)
1 – Anaheim (Coates/Burke), Carolina (Rutherford), Minnesota (Risebrough), 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, 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 hit the mark, but I’d throw Jhonas Enroth in there (so 10); 14 players never played
Third Round
5 players have reached the plateau, but another should join them (Brian Strait #65, so 6); 16 never hit the ice
Fourth Round
2 players (Matt Beleskey #112 and James Reimer #99); 22 players never played
Fifth Round
No player has hit the 200 game-mark (or even 100); 23 never played; Chad Johnson #125 was the best player picked
Sixth Round
4 players hit the mark (Andrew MacDonald #160, Viktor Stalberg #161, and Mathieu Perreault #177), with Leo Komarov #180 likely getting there (I’ve included him); 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):
5 – Toronto (Ferguson)
4 – Washington (McPhee)
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), Buffalo (Regier)
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), Carolina (Rutherford), Anaheim (Burke), Montreal (Gainey)
0 – Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Dallas (Armstrong), Nashville (Poile)

2007 (here)
First Round
19 players hit the mark, including 9 of the top-ten; 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; 14 never played a game
Third Round
3 players have reached 200 games (Yannick Weber #73, Alex Killorn #77, and Joakim Andersson #88), with Robert Bortuzzo and Corey Tropp having a slim chance to get there (I didn’t include them in the totals); 16 players never hit the ice
Fourth Round
3 players qualify, with Steven Kampfer #93, Brad Malone #105, and Colton Sceviour #112 getting there (so 6); 16 never played
Fifth Round
2 players (Jamie Benn #159 and Jake Muzzin #141) reach the mark; Chris Terry #132 has a shot to join them (not included); 23 have never played
Sixth Round
4 players qualify; Anthony Peluso #160 could join them (not included); 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 (not included)

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), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Detroit (Holland), Dallas (Armstrong)
1 – Chicago (Pulford), Carolina (Rutherford), Pittsburgh (Shero), Buffalo (Regier), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson/MacLean), Florida (Martin), Nashville (Poile), Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), New York Rangers (Sather), Toronto (Ferguson), Anaheim (Burke)
0 – Ottawa (Br.Murray/Muckler), Boston (Chiarelli), Vancouver (Nonis), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), New York Islanders (Snow), Minnesota (Risebrough)

2008 (here)
First Round
18 players have reached 200 games, including 9 of the top-ten; four prospects never played (Kyle Beach #11, Chet Pickard #18, Anton Gustafsson #21, and Daultan Leveille #29)
Second Round
7 players have reached the plateau, with Vyacheslav Voinov (#32) joining them absent his legal problems–I’d also include Jake Allen (#34), so 9; 7 players have never suited up
Third Round
4 players (Michael Stone #69, Lance Bouma #78, Zack Smith #79, Adam Henrique #82), and Jori Lehtera #65 if he can stay healthy (so 5); 17 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
Four have reached 200 games; 15 players never suited up
Fifth Round
Two players (Matt Martin #148 and Matt Calvert #127) qualify, but Philip Larsen (#149) should join them this season (so 3); Mark Borowiecki (#139) could join them, but is not included; 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 likely joining them in the upcoming season (so 5); Mark Barbeiro (#152) has a shot to make it; 19 players never suited up
Seventh Round
2 players make it (Jason Demers (#186) and Matt Bartkowski (#190)); 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), St. Louis (Pleau)
2 – Buffalo (Regier), Anaheim (Burke/Bo.Murray), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson), San Jose (Wilson), Los Angeles (Lombardi), Calgary (Sutter), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), 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), Dallas (Armstrong/Hull-Jackson), Boston (Chiarelli)
0 – Colorado (Giguere), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Pittsburgh (Shero)

2009 (here)
First Round
18 players have hit the threshold (including 9 of the top-10), with another 3 who will get there (so 21); only one player never played (Philippe Paradise #27), with Scott Glennie (#8) as the only top-10 bust
Second Round
6 have reached the threshold, with another 4 on their way (so 10), with a chance Richard Panik (#52) will join them (not included); 9 players never made it
Third Round
3 players hit the mark, with Brayden McNabb #66, Andrej Nestrasil (#75), Kevin Connauton (#83), and Nicolas Deslauriers (#84) likely to make it (so 7); 12 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
6 reach the threshold (including Sami Vatanen); Linden Vey (#96) and Ben Chiarot (#120) have a solid chance to get there (so 8); 13 players never suited up
Fifth Round
3 players hit the mark (including Mike Hoffman); 21 players never suited up
Sixth Round
Anders Lee #152 should get there; 18 players didn’t make it
Seventh Round
2 players have or will hit the mark (Jordan Nolan #186 and Erik Haula #182)

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

I’ve been writing this piece for years in the hope that others will dig deeper, but as yet I’ve seen nothing like it.  A few things continue to be true: coverage of Europe still lags behind North America (likely due to cost) and smaller players still need to do more to be selected (both these categories are where the majority of undrafted success stories come from).

Round-by-round success rate (with year-by-year in brackets):
First: 96/150 (64%) (18/20/19/18/21)
Second: 41/154 (26%) (8/10/4/8/10)
Third: 27/150 (18%) (6/6/3/5/7)
Fourth: 26/153 (16%) (7/2/5/4/8)
Fifth: 13/157 (8%) (5/0/2/3/3)
Sixth: 15/153 (9%) (1/4/4/5/1)
Seventh: 14/158 (8%) (5/2/2/3/2)

The scaling between rounds is not surprising.  Of the 49 top-ten picks (excluding Bourdon for obvious reasons), only 3 were misses (HamillFilatov, and Glennie), making them 94% reliable.  Excluding the top-ten, the first round is still significantly stronger than the second round (50/99, 50%, excluding Cherepanov for the same obvious reason).  There should be a steady decline throughout the rounds, but between the fifth-seventh it’s a crapshoot with no meaningful difference in terms of success (this could be due to sample size or there may be something else going on–my guess is either the fifth is where they start swinging for the fences or it’s the last round where team’s are conservative).

Team Performance (the average is 8)
15 – Los Angeles
12 – Columbus, Ottawa
11 – Toronto, St. Louis
10 – Nashville, New York Islanders, Washington, Buffalo
9 – Detroit, Montreal, New York Rangers
8 – Colorado, Edmonton, San Jose, Anaheim, Dallas
7 – Arizona, Chicago, Philadelphia
6 – Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh
5 – Winnipeg/Atlanta, Boston
4 – Florida, Vancouver
3 – Calgary, Carolina, Tampa Bay

It’s difficult to imagine any scouting staff completely whiffing on an entire year, but it happens (an average of 5 per season (5/5/6/5/7)).  It’s important to note these numbers don’t distinguish the quality of players and there are certainly a number of prospects who were in the NHL much longer than made any sense.  The average successful pick by team per year is c.1.5, so a good year for scouts is 2 NHL players, while there should always be at least one.

There’s plenty of room to assess GM’s independent of their teams (from 05-09 thirteen teams have had the same management in place).  A quick glance at the variance in performance for those with GM changes:

LA: Taylor 2/1; Lombardi 13/4 (the 2006 draft would have included some or all of Taylor’s scouting staff, with 2 panning out)
Columbus: MacLean 7/2, Howson 5/3 (the above caveat for 2007, where 1 player panned out)
Ottawa: Muckler 5/2, Br.Murray 7/3 (the above for 2007, with 0)
Toronto: Ferguson 8/3, Burke 3/2 (the above caveat for 2008, with 2)
New York Islanders: Milbury 0/1, Smith 2/1 (the above for 2006, with 2), Snow 8/3
Colorado: Lacroix 1/1 Giguere 4/3 (the above for 2006, with 1), Sherman 3/1 (the above for 2009, with 3)
Edmonton: Lowe 6/4, Tambellini 2/1
Arizona/Phoenix: Barnett 1/1, Maloney 6/4 (the above for 2006, with 1)
Anaheim: Burke 3/3 Bo.Murray 5/2 (the above for 2005 via Coates, with 1; the same for 2008 with 2)
Philadelphia: Clarke 2/2, Holmgren 5/3
Chicago: Tallon 5/4 (the above for 2005 via Pulford, with 2), Pulford 2/1
Dallas: Armstrong 5/3 Hull-Jackson 1/1 (the above for 2008, with 1), Nieuwendyk 2/1 (the above for 2009)
Pittsburgh: Patrick 3/1, Shero 3/4 (the above for 2006, with 2)
Boston: O’Connell 1/1, Chiarelli 4/4 (the above for 2006, plus interim GM Gorton, with 3)
Vancouver: Nonis 2/3 Gillis 2/2 (the above for 2008, with 1)
Florida: Keenan 1/2 Martin 2/2, Sexton 1/1 (the above for 2009 with 1)
Tampa Bay: Feaster 2/4, Lawton 1/1

The teams where the GM remained the same:
St. Louis (Pleau) 11/5
Nashville (Poille) 10/5
Washington (McPhee) 10/5
Buffalo (Regier) 10/5
Detroit (Holland) 9/5
New York Rangers (Sather) 9/5
Montreal (Gainey) 9/5
San Jose (Wilson) 8/5
Minnesota (Risebrough) 6/5
New Jersey (Lamoriello) 6/5
Winnipeg/Atlanta (Waddell) 5/5
Calgary (Sutter) 3/5
Carolina (Rutherford) 3/5

Since top-ten picks are essentially gimmies, GMs who have those picks have their numbers inflated, so in terms of what they can do outside of that here are the adjusted numbers:

(Average is 6)
12 – Los Angeles (-3)
10 – Ottawa (-2), Buffalo
9 – Columbus (-3), Toronto (-2), Nashville (-1), Washington (-1), Detroit, New York Rangers, St. Louis (-2)
8 – Montreal (-1), Dallas
7 – New York Islanders (-3), Colorado (-1), Anaheim (-1)
6 – Edmonton (-2), San Jose (-2), Philadelphia (-1), New Jersey
4 – Chicago (-3), Minnesota (-2), Pittsburgh (-2), Boston (-1)
3 – Arizona (-4), Winnipeg/Atlanta (-2), Vancouver (-1), Calgary
2 – Florida (-2), Carolina (-1)
1 – Tampa Bay (-2)

Arizona had the most top-ten picks (with 4), which forms the majority of their success; Los Angeles (which had 3), still produced a huge number of successful prospects, so those are the two clearest examples of teams whose scouts true colours are revealed this way.

All of this just scratches the surface.  Further analysis and time is required to draw conclusions, but it sheds some interesting light on the draft in the current era.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Tim Murray and Ottawa at the Draft

A reader took me to task for a comment I made in my last post reflecting how how Ottawa has suffered at the draft table in the absence of Tim Murray.  I’m not sure anyone doubts Tim’s abilities (he’s probably most famous for helping the Rangers land Marc Staal) and some would argue he’s had it easy with Buffalo because of their draft position.  However, having high draft picks doesn’t guarantee anything if the GM is terrible (witness Edmonton now or Columbus in the past) and I would contend Ottawa has suffered in his absence.

There are a couple of ways to determine draft success, but the best is not available to us as we’re not 7-8 years out.  What we can do it is look at how players were drafted relative to their rankings going into the draft and their relative success since then (we do the former to represent the aggregate scouting opinion and the latter to see if there’s a significant trend since).  This encompasses 15 picks (Buffalo) vs 13 (Ottawa)–I’ve differentiated them by making Buffalo’s players blue.  A couple of other notes: the risk in drafting goaltenders is well known (eg), but it’s important to remember how risky defensemen are as well (see for example here and here).  It’s also worth noting 2014 was considered a weak draft and 2015 a strong one.

2. Sam Reinhart – #3; he’s coming off a successful rookie season with Buffalo where he finished tied for third in team scoring
31. Brendan Lemieux -#31; had a career year in the OHL (his PPG went from 1.05 to 1.37)
40. Andreas Englund (D) – #50; mindnumbingly low numbers with Djurgardens (0.10 to 0.13)
44. Eric Cornel – #43; career year in the OHL (PPG from 0.78 to 1.22)
49. Vaclav Karabacek – #52; unimpressive numbers in the QMJHL (0.67 to 0.63)
61. Jonas Johansson (G) – NR (CS had him high, but no one else listed him); personal bests in the Allsvenskan (GAA from 2.58 to 2.39, save percentage from .896 to .913)
70. Miles Gendron (D) – #89; unremarkable rookie season with Connecticut (0.22)
74. Brycen Martin (D) – #72; no real improvement in the WHL (0.55 to 0.56)
100. Shane Eiserman – #68; numbers dropped in his sophomore season with New Hampshire (0.42 to 0.39)
121. Maxwell Willman – #116; a solid sophomore season with Brown (0.37)
151. Christopher Brown – NR (son of former NHLer Doug Brown); decent rookie season at Boston College (0.27)
181. Victor Olofsson – NR; career year with MODO (0.46 to 0.59)
189. Kelly Summers (D) – #88; slight improvement in his sophomore season with Clarkson (0.30 to 0.37)
190. Francis Perron – #115; career season in the QMJHL (1.18 to 1.74)

2. Jack Eichel – #2; playing in the NHL as a teenager and clearly belongs
18. Thomas Chabot (D) – #20; career year in the QMJHL (0.62 to 0.95)
21. Colin White – #21; excellent rookie season with Boston College (1.16)
36. Gabriel Gagne – #63; numbers were about even in the QMJHL (0.88 to 0.85)
48. Filip Chlapik – #37; numbers dropped in the QMJHL (1.17 to 1.03)
51. Brendan Guhle (D) – #77; production unchanged in the WHL (0.44)
92. William Borgen (D) – #110; a good rookie season with St. Cloud (0.37)
107. Christian Wolanin (D) – NR; good rookie season with North Dakota (0.48)
109. Filip Ahl – #80; excellent numbers in Swedish junior (1.23 to 1.72), but he should be a regular in the Allsvenskan by now
122. Devante Stephens (D) – #224; unremarkable numbers in the WHL (0.15)
139. Christian Jaros (D) – #139; modest improvement with Lulea (0.04 to 0.20)
152. Georgio Estephan – #190; career year in the WHL (0.79 to 1.25)
182. Ivan Chukarov (D) – NR; an okay rookie season with UMass (0.22)
199. Joel Daccord (G) – NR; middling numbers in the USHL (3.15 and .904)

Clearly Eichel and Reinhart are the best players here and just as unsurprisingly Chabot and White are next–the first round picks appear to be legit.  What about beyond that?

For Senators fans the only player from the 2014 class who has intriguing numbers is Perron, although high numbers in junior don’t always translate (look up Tyler Donati, for instance).  That’s not to say other prospects couldn’t turn out, but we’re looking at the evidence that’s in our face right now.  As for 2015, other than Wolanin there’s no stand outs.

How about Buffalo?  Lemieux, Cornel, and Olofsson all showed significant improvement and make for intriguing prospects from the 2014 group.  As for the 2015 class, Estephan is the one whose numbers standout.

To my eyes the score is Buffalo 6, Ottawa 4.  This doesn’t look like a massive difference, but it does mean the Sabres are averaging one more prospect per draft and that’s actually a significant difference (if you remove the first-round selections it’s 4-2 which is even more stark).  Again, let me emphasize that these are early returns and a lot can change, but within the constraints of what we’re exploring, that’s how things stand.

A few numbers just for the fun of it:
Number of unranked players taken: Buffalo 4, Ottawa 2
Number of players taken well above their ranking: Buffalo 4, Ottawa 3
Number of players taken long after their ranking: Ottawa 4

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)