Yesterday, I looked at all of the forwards drafted in 2012 using NHL equivalencies. There were some interesting questions raised about methodology (and what multiplier to use for each league), but we’ll continue for the next three days using the same multipliers before re-evaluating what changes might be appropriate to use in the future. That said, today, we move on to tracking the progress of those forwards drafted in 2011.
In the chart below, I’ve taken each player’s goals, assists and points, converted them to a “per game” rate, multiplied them by the league equivalency number, and then expressed them as an “NHL equivalency” assuming an 82-game NHL season. As you may have guessed, each league has a different equivalency number. I’ve used this article for the translations from the KHL (multiply offense by 0.83), SEL (0.78), CZE (0.74), FNL (0.54), NCAA (0.41), WHL (0.30), OHL (0.30) and QMJHL (0.28); this article for the translations from the USHL (0.27), AJHL (0.16), and BCHL (0.14); and this article for the translations from US High School hockey (0.0625). Unfortunately, especially at this early stage in player development, there are some leagues that don’t have an NHL equivalency number yet including the European junior leagues (although as I mentioned at the outset, Bruce Peter has done some work in this area).
Before I go ahead and put up the chart, a bit more explanation is needed. Not all of the players drafted in 2011 were actually the same age; in fact, several players had already passed through the draft at least once (and sometimes twice). All of these older players are included in the chart but are marked in yellow. There were also some players who were first eligible for the draft in 2010 or 2011 but weren’t drafted until 2012. I’ve also included these players in the chart with “N/A” written in the “Draft Number” column. If 2011 was the player’s first year of eligibility, the yellow highlighting is removed.
The “Draft Number” column is not the player’s actual draft position but the player’s position among forwards. So, for example, the St. Louis Blues drafted Ty Rattie 32nd overall, but he was the 20th forward to be drafted, so his “Draft Number” in the chart is “20”.
These numbers may also be slightly different than the NHLE numbers you may have seen elsewhere for these players. That’s because I include both regular season and playoff games in the results, which I think probably gives a better estimate. None of these teams are playing a balanced schedule anyway, so it seems to me that including the larger sample of games is the way to go.
The “Rank” column is organized by NHLE. Anyone without an NHLE ranking is placed at the bottom in the order that they were drafted.
Points of Interest:
- I spoke a little bit about Kevin Roy yesterday, and his number holds up well against his draft class. Granted, the USHL isn’t the strongest league, and I suppose there’s some chance that Roy will have trouble playing against bigger, stronger players that will also force him to make decisions more quickly. We should get the chance to find out soon. Roy was originally going to play with Brown, but has apparently de-committed, and is listening to offers.
- Sven Baertschi and Ty Rattie were teammates in Portland of the WHL, and both players had excellent seasons. It’s tricky to know who’s driving the bus in situations like that, but it seems safe to say that both the Flames and Blues must be extremely pleased so far.
- The Oilers and Panthers both have two players in the top twelve, both with one guy who should be there and another guy who’s a surprise. For the Oilers, it’s Calder finalist Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tobias Rieder of the London Knights. Rieder was highly rated coming into his draft year, but was less than stellar at the World Juniors and had a disappointing season offensively in the OHL. I’d say that he made up for it this year.
- For the Panthers, the two players are top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau and Kyle Rau who had an excellent frehsman year at the University of Minnesota. There were five forwards on that team with a PPG of 0.8 or better, and four of them are slated to be coming back, a year older and a year better. At 5’8”, Rau is very small for the NHL, but if he’s helping to create that kind of offense in the NCAA, he’s sure to at least get a chance in the pros.
- Ryan Strome and Mark Scheifele both had pretty disappointing post-draft seasons. Neither player was downright poor, but they’ve fallen back into the pack of their draft class instead of remaining a cut above. Strome actually saw his NHLE drop from 36.7 in his draft year to 31.1 this season. If there was a re-draft today, I think there’s a pretty good chance that both of those players don’t get picked in the top ten overall.
- But the biggest disappointment out of the players chosen in the first round is likely Tyler Biggs. I know that he’s expected to bring more than offense, but boy oh boy, he’d better. Some players struggle as freshmen in the NCAA because they don’t get much ice time. That might be the case here, but Biggs did get enough ice to finish second on the team in penalty minutes, so it doesn’t seem too likely. Biggs won’t return to the University of Miami (Ohio) next year, so it’ll be interesting to see how much offense he puts up in the CHL (if that’s where he plays).
- Some leagues are just tougher to score in. That makes the numbers put up by the NHL players and guys like Matthew Nieto (NCAA), Mika Zibanejad (SEL), and Joel Armia (FNL) a little bit more impressive than they look on the chart above, especially the players in the top European leagues.