pGPS 2016 Draft Extravaganza: Central Division

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 1:58 am by Jeremy Davis

Draft Review - central

Image created by the great and wonderful Matt Henderson.

Well we’re inching closer to the start of the hockey season, but before we get there, it’s time for the Big Unveiling of the full 2016 NHL Entry pGPS data set. I know. Try to contain your excitement.

Taking on the entire draft at once already produces a massive amount of information, but this year’s review is so replete with beautiful charts fashioned by our very own Petbugs, it would simply be outrageous to try to fit it into one article. That’s while we’ll be taking this journey one division at a time, with a league wide overview at the end.

Today we’ll be examining the Central Division, where another Nation Network team resides. (Hi Jets Nation!)

Terminology

This article is chock full of pGPS information. For an full initial review of the system, follow this link. A quick rundown of the columns used in the charts below will also include some quick info on pGPS metrics used in this article.

  • Draft #, PLAYER, POS, LEAGUE – Actual draft position, name, position and primary league in which they spent the 2015-16 season. (Note: a + next to a player’s name indicates that he was in his second, third, or fourth year of eligibility – otherwise known as an overage player).
  • Rank – A ranking derived from a hybrid list of the 2016 CSS North American and European final rankings.
  • Δ Pick – The difference between the rank and the actual selection. (+) indicates perceived steals, while (-) indicates perceived reaches.
  • GP, P – Games played and points accrued during the player’s draft season.
  • pGPS % – The percentage of statistical comparable players that went on to play at least 200 NHL games. Statistical similarity is determined by a Euclidean formula using exact age, stature and production. Matches are determined by a predetermined threshold that the statistical similarity must meet to qualify. In some cases, the threshold must be lower to find a respectable number of matches – in these cases, pGPS is adjusted by a certain factor to account for a potential decrease in accuracy due to slightly lower similarity.
  • Exp. pGPS – The expected pGPS % of the player’s actual draft position, based on all players selected at the 2016 draft.
  • Δ pGPS – The difference between the player’s pGPS % and the expected pGPS percentage at his draft position. (+) indicates value gained on the pick, while (-) indicates value lost, according to the model.
  • pGPS – A combination of the player’s pGPS percentage and the average NHL points per game of his successful matches (pGPS P/GP). Balances likelihood of success with potential upside.
Three graphs are presented for each team. They visualize the following information:

  • Scouting ranking plotted against actual draft position. A demonstration of steals or reaches based on traditional scouting rankings.
  • Delta (Δ) pGPS plotted against actual draft position. A demonstration of value weighted by where the player was selected.
  • Expected Points (xPts, sometimes displayed as pGPS P/82) plotted against actual draft position. A demonstration of potential offensive upside based on their pGPS cohort.
All three graphs use pGPS R as the bubble size. Therefore it stands to reason that larger bubbles indicate a more positive overall projection in the eyes of the pGPS model.

The Team Overview chart reviews the selections made by a total and makes inferences based on the total and averages of the individual picks.

  • Selections – Number of draft selections, not including goalies. Goalies are not part of the pGPS model and thus are roundly ignored through this whole process.
  • Expected NHLers (pGPS) – The number of NHL players (200+ NHL games) that pGPS expects the team to pull from this draft. Based on the sum of pGPS percentages.
  • Expected NHLers (Pick position) – The number of NHL players that the model expects based on where the team picked, disregarding who the actual selections were. Based on the sum of Expected pGPS percentages.
  • Δ pGPS – The total Delta pGPS of the team’s selections. A metric that is designed to measure value above (+) or below (-) what was expected based on the team’s draft picks.
  • Δ pGPS / Selection – The value gained (+) or lost (-) per selection. Determined by dividing Team Delta pGPS by number of selection.
  • Δ Picks – The sum of player’s pick delta. An overall number indicating how far the team strayed from the standard scouting rankings, indicating tendencies of perceived steals (+) or reaches (-).
  • Overall Rating – The sum of the drafted player’s pGPS Ratings. The bigger the number, the more pGPS liked the draft class.

Chicago Blackhawks

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
39 Alex DeBrincat C OHL 26 +13 60 101 36% 28% +7% 27.5
45 Chad Krys D USHL 72 -27 18 13 22% 26% -4% 8.2
50 Artur Kayumov LW MHL 73 -23 39 31 11% 24% -14% 7.8
83 Wouter Peters G RBHS U20
110 Lucas Carlsson+ D SHL 81 +29 35 9 17% 12% +4% 9.8
113 Nathan Noel+ C QMJHL 247 -134 61 57 3% 12% -9% 1.6
143 Mathias From RW/LW SuperElit 134 +9 36 21 1% 8% -8% 0.4
173 Blake Hillman++ D NCAA N/A 39 11 4% 5% -1% 1.1
203 Jake Ryczek D USHL 162 +41 18 20 17% 3% +14% 6.9

Alex DeBrincat is a dynamic scorer who has been fighting against the height narrative his whole career – despite putting up elite goal and point totals (he broke 50 goals and 100 points in both his draft and draft-minus-one seasons), DeBrincat is just 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds. Derek Roy and Marc Savard are among DeBrincat’s matches, though both have a couple of inches on the on the Erie Otters forward. Hopefully he has a growth spurt in him, though even without it, his innate goal scoring ability may carry him far.

Chad Krys is a puck moving defenceman from the U.S. National Team Development Program. He was taken quite a ways before his hybrid CSS ranking, and even further ahead than some other services had him (Hockey Prospect had him at 126th), though his pGPS percentage is just four percent below expected for 45th overall. His comparables include Keith Ballard and Torey Krug.

MHL players present quite an issue for models like pGPS, as the MHL has only been in existence for about half a dozen years – not much historical data there, and even less of it is useful for this type of endeavour – which means that some creativity is required. Chicago’s third selection, Artur Kayumov, garnered a pGPS score of 11 percent when compared against the European elite league databases, using NHLe to account for differences in competition. His comparables using this method include Tomas Plekanec (from Extraliga) and Marcus Johansson (from the SHL).

Lucas Carlsson was in his second year of eligibility, but having stuck for nearly the entire season in the SHL as a 18-year old, he wasn’t likely to go undrafted again. Carlsson only had a couple of successful pGPS matches, but one of them was Erik Karlsson – a lofty comparison, but not unwarranted from a statistical perspective: Lucas Carlsson had nine points in 35 SHL games last season, while Erik Karlsson had 10 points in 45 games in his respective draft-plus-one season.

David Perron and Matthew Lombardi were among the few NHL players that met the similarity threshold of Saint John’s Sea Dogs centre Nathan Noel, as 97% of his cohort went bust before hitting 200 NHL games. Danish born winger Mathias From had just a one percent pGPS score using his SuperElit season, but that improved to an impressive 40 percent when using the four points he scored in 16 games in the SHL. His SHL comparables include Kristian Huselius, Jakob Silfverberg and Loui Eriksson.

University of Denver defenceman Blake Hillman has a cohort that inludes Rob Scuderi and Aaron Ward, following his draft-plus-two season, while Jake Ryczek, who spent 2015-16 in the USHL, had Keith Ballard among his matches.

CHI ScoutingCHI Scouting

Chicago had picks on both sides of the line, with Noel (113) constituting the biggest reach. From (143) and Ryczek (203) were both grabbed later than they were thought to go.

CHI Delta pGPS

The Blackhawks broke roughly even in terms of total delta pGPS. According to the pGPS model, they lost the most value on Kayumov (50), and gained the most on Ryczek (203). DeBrincat (39) and Carlsson (110) also provide greater than expected value.

CHI xPts

With a two players hovering around 60 expected points per 82 games, and two others close to 50, the Blackhawks certainly came away with some offensive upside at the 20116 draft.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Chicago Blackhawks 8 1.10 1.19 -10% -1.2% -92 63.2

Despite their eight selections, pGPS sees the Blackhawks coming away with just one NHLer. They lost a small amount of value based on what was expected of their draft positions, and did a fair bit of reaching according to Central Scouting. Still, more bullets in the chamber is always the best way to go, and the Blackhawks have a penchant for getting lucky with later round picks.

Colorado Avalanche

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
10 Tyson Jost C/LW BCHL 19 -9 48 104 47% 49% -2% 30.7
40 Cameron Morrison C/LW USHL 63 -23 60 66 43% 28% +15% 26.0
71 Josh Anderson D WHL 82 -11 39 6 9% 19% -10% 2.2
131 Adam Werner G SuperElit
161 Nathan Clurman D USHS 268 -107 20 16
191 Travis Barron LW OHL 132 +59 60 37 19% 4% +15% 8.1

Tyson Jost was the highest regarded member of an impressive BCHL class that saw three players taken in the first round. Jost possesses an elite skill set, including strong skating and an excellent shot, as well as a high hockey IQ. The BCHL MVP stayed out of Major-Junior to retain his NCAA eligibility (he’ll be joining the national champions, the University of North Dakota, this season). As such, comparables for a player of his calibre are limited in Junior A. Former third overall pick Kyle Turris is his closest match.

While Jost tends to be more of a playmaker, Cameron Morrison is a shoot first type of winger. He had the best USHL season of any first time eligible player outside of the U.S. National Team Development Program, garnering a 43 percent pGPS score. Thomas Vanek, Kyle Okposo and R.J. Umberger are all among his successful matches.

Prince George Cougars defender Josh Anderson represents a big step down in projected success from Colorado’s first two picks, with a calculated likelihood of NHL success of 9 percent. His closest matches include mostly bottom pairing defenders like Mark Fistric, Nolan Pratt and Aaron Rome, though Shea Weber and Johnny Boychuk are also in his cohort.

Nathan Clurman, selected of out the U.S. high school system, doesn’t have any pGPS data, owing to the inconsistencies in finding reliable USHS raw data. While he doesn’t necessarily do any one thing particularly well, he does have a steady all around game.

Travis Barron has struggled to live up to expectations brought on by a high selection in the OHL draft, and it’s pushed him down the draft board. Ranked by a few services in the fifth round, Barron looks to be a valuable pickup in the seventh. His cohort is dotted with impressive names like Mike Fisher, James Neal, and Nick Foligno, as well as Andrew Brunette, a fellow seventh round selection that went on to score 733 NHL points.

COL Scouting

Jost (10), Morrison (40), and Anderson (71) all went a little earlier than CSS expected them to go, while Clurman (161, not charted) went a lot earlier than expected, and Barron (191) was expected to go much earlier.

COL Delta pGPS

With the Jost selection, the Avs got about the value we’d expect out of a 10th overall pick, while Morrison (40) and Barron (191) represent the largest gains in value.

COL xPts

Jost (10) and Morrison (40) are both hovering around 50 expected points per 82 games, which is solid offensive upside.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Colorado Avalanche 5 1.19 1.00 +19% 3.8% -91 67.0

Colorado’s draft class appears to have scouting and statistically modeling at odds with one another, as the Avalanche appeared to do plenty of reaching based on Central Scouting rankings, but gained value over expected value in the eyes of pGPS. Cameron Morrison is a prime example of this, as is their top pick Tyson Jost, though to be fair, most other services has Jost ranked higher than this CSS hybrid did.

Dallas Stars

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
25 Riley Tufte LW USHL 20 +5 27 14 10% 35% -25% 2.1
90 Fredrik Karlström C SuperElit 269 -179 44 33 0% 15% -15% 0.0
116 Rhett Gardner++ C/LW NCAA N/A 41 18 6% 12% -6% 2.0
128 Colton Point G CCHL
146 Nicholas Caamano RW OHL 95 +51 64 37 18% 8% +10% 7.7
176 Jakob Stenqvist D SuperElit N/A 36 7 1% 5% -5% 0.2

Riley Tufte‘s 2015-16 campaign was a tale of two season. He began with the Fargo Force of the USHL, tallying six points in 12 games, before dropping to the high school system, which he absolutely dominated, putting up 78 points in 25 games. He returned to the USHL after winning a high school championship, and scored eight points over the remaining 15 games. Unfortunately for Tufte, I only have a database for the USHL, so his USHS numbers will be unappreciated by pGPS, while his subpar numbers in junior afford him a 10 percent likelihood of success. Among his USHL matches, only Dave Steckel stuck in the NHL.

Stockholm’s Fredrik Karlstrom is sizable two-way centre, and though he doesn’t have much in the way of dynamic skills, he has plenty of smarts. Our statistical model wasn’t impressed however, and even his a 67 player cohort, Karlstrom didn’t have a single match that played 200 NHL games.

Rhett Gardner is an overaged forward who put up 18 points in 41 games with the University of North Dakota as a 19-year old freshman. His play style has been described as “industrious”, and his cohort is largely populated with fourth liners and replacement level players, with Rene Bourque and Brian Savage being among the “highlights”.

Flint Firebirds winger Nicholas Caamano projects as a third liner according to the pGPS model, with comparables that include Chris Kelly, Chris Stewart, and Grant Marshall. The only successful match for Jakob Stenqvist, a defenceman out of the SuperElit league, was Carl Gunnarsson.

DAL Scouting

While Caamano (146) went later than expected, most of the Stars’ other picks weren’t ranked anywhere close to where the Stars selected them, and a couple weren’t ranked at all.

DAL Delta pGPS

Dallas lost value with every selection except Caamano (146), with Tufte (25) being the worst of the lot in terms of delta pGPS.

DAL xPts

There isn’t a lot of offensive upside to speak of here. Again, Caamano (146) is the bright spot, being the closest to 40 expected points per 82 games. Tufte (25) will have to prove that he can score more like he did in high school that he did in the USHL if he wants to produce more than Dave Steckel did as an NHLer.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Dallas Stars 5 0.34 0.75 -41% -8.2% -123 12.0

According to both the eye test and number crunching, the Dallas Stars punted the 2016 draft. With five selection, their draft class has a total pGPS of 0.34, indicating that the Stars can expect about a third of a single NHLer from this year. Riley Tufte will be their best bet at redemption, but he’ll have to vastly improve his numbers as he heads off to the NCAA.

Minnesota Wild

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
15 Luke Kunin C NCAA 14 +1 34 32 47% 43% +4% 23.4
106 Brandon Duhaime+ LW USHL 130 -24 39 32 2% 13% -11% 0.5
196 Dmitri Sokolov C/W OHL 183 +13 68 52 16% 3% +12% 6.5
204 Braydyn Chizen D WHL N/A 45 2

Playing in the NCAA during your first draft eligible season typically bodes well for statistical projection models, and that’s certainly the case with Luke Kunin, who is rocking a 47 percent pGPS score after his 2015-16 season with the University of Wisconsin. Kunin is a natural goal scorer, and potted nine goals in the final 10 games of the season. His cohort includes Colin Wilson, David Booth, Drew Stafford, and U of Wisconsin alumnus Kyle Turris.

Brandon Duhaime split the 2015-16 season between the Chicago Steel and the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, where he scored under a point per game in what was his draft-plus-one year. Just two percent of Duhaime’s comparables became full-time NHLers, with the list comprised of Erik Condra and Adam Burish. He’s set to play for Providence College this season.

Dmitri Sokolov fell like a sack of bricks over the course of the season. Once ranked by some in the first round, Sokolov found his way to a 183rd overall ranking by the hybrid Central Scouting numbers, and then ended up going at 196th, just 15 selections before everyone was set to pack up and go home. Sokolov had issues with his weight, his fitness level, injuries, and maddening inconsistency to his all around game, but he still managed to score 30 goals with the Sudbury Wolves. Hockey Prospect’s Mark Edwards noted: “I heard everything from ‘Beer League player’ to ‘Gifted goal scorer’ from scouts this season”, in regards to Sokolov. Viewing only the results and not the frustrating inputs, pGPS pegs Sokolov’s chances of NHL success at 16 percent, with Mike Fisher and Ryan Callahan as a couple of his comparables.

The Wild drafted Kelowna Rockets defenceman Braydyn Chizen 204th overall for reasons I can’t begin to fathom. He had just two points in 45 WHL games last season, and wasn’t ranked anywhere.

MIN Scouting

Most of the Minnesota picks were pretty close in line with the CSS scouting rankings, with the exception of Chizen (204), who wasn’t ranked anywhere.

MIN Delta pGPS

The Wild broke roughly even on total delta pGPS, with Kunin (15) and Sokolov (196) being a bit above expected value and Duhaime (106) being a bit below.

MIN xPts

Kunin represents the highest offensive upside according to the pGPS model, hovering at about 40 expected points per 82 games.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Minnesota Wild 4 0.65 0.59 +6% 1.4% -10 30.5

With just four selections, the Wild won’t likely see multiple NHLers coming out of this class, but they should have a decent chance at developing a solid goal scorer in Luke Kunin. Minnesota’s total delta pGPS was a smidge into the black, while scouting ranking showed a wee bit of an overall loss in value. Overall, the Wild look to have gotten just about exactly the value expected based on their draft positions.

Nashville Predators

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
17 Dante Fabbro D BCHL 21 -4 45 67 31% 41% -9% 16.2
47 Samuel Girard D QMJHL 46 +1 67 74 17% 25% -8% 5.3
76 Rem Pitlick+ C USHL 131 -55 56 89 28% 18% +10% 17.7
78 Frédéric Allard D QMJHL 39 +39 64 59 29% 18% +12% 8.2
108 Hardy Häman Aktell D J18 Allsvenskan 284 -176 16 16
138 Patrick Harper C USHS 205 -67 27 59
168 Konstantin Volkov G MHL
198 Adam Smith++ D NCAA N/A 22 3 2% 3% -2% 0.4

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Nashville, long hailed as a goalie factory would grab three well regarded blueliners among their first four selections. The first is BCHL standout (and Boston University commit) Dante Fabbro, who lit up the BCHL last year on the same Penticton Vees squad as fellow first rounder Tyson Jost. Fabbro had no matches whatsoever, which isn’t entirely surprising, after scoring a point and a half per game as a defenceman. I instead compared his numbers against other North American second tier junior leagues, and found a number of matches in the OJHL and NAHL, including Kevin Shattenkirk.

As a 5-foot-9 defenceman, Samuel Girard is facing an uphill battle to make it to the NHL. However, the modern NHL is beginning to show that point production is finally valued above all other attributes, and this is Girard’s greatest strength. The Shawinigan Cataractes rearguard led all CHL defecemen in points last year, with 74 in 67 games. That combination of size and production makes it hard to generate a list of comparable players. Of the sample that pGPS found, 17 percent went on to become regular NHLers, including Stephane Robidas and Dmitri Kulikov.

Rem Pitlick is an interesting case. He’s an overager that spent both his draft and draft-plus-one seasons in the USHL. In 2014-15, he struggled to produce playing with the Waterloo Black Hawks, scoring just 16 points in 47 games, and unsurprisingly went undrafted. Traded to the Muskegon Lumberjacks prior to the 2015-16 season, Pitlick exploded for 89 points in 56 games – an outrageous 73 point year-to-year increase in the same league – running away with the USHL scoring title. He didn’t have many USHL comparables, but using other North American major-junior leagues, Pitlick’s matches include Derek Roy, Darcy Tucker, and Mathieu Perreault.

The Predators got another promising defenceman at 78th overall in Frederic Allard. Allard was actually ranked ahead of Girard by Central Scouting, while the Nation Network had him ranked 50th. He has a higher pGPS percentage than Girard, but there is some crossover in comparable players, including both Stephane Robidas and Dmitri Kulikov.

Nashville selected Hardy Haman Aktell in the fourth round out of the Allsvenskan under-18 league – a league for which I do not have a database, and subsequently no pGPS score. The same can be said for their next pick, Patrick Harper, taken out of the U.S. high school system. With their final pick, the Predators selected Adam Smith, a defenceman from Bowling Green State University who just completed his draft-plus-two season. Among Smith’s comparable are Rob Scuderi and Bowling Green alumnus Kevin Bieksa.

NSH Scouting

Pitlick (76) looks like the biggest reach according to the scouting rankings (though pGPS likes the selection), while Allard (78) could have gone a lot earlier.

NSH Delta pGPS

It’s easy to miss at first, but the delta pGPS markers for Pitlick (76) and Allard (78) are right on top of each other, as both were determined to have value of about 10 percent than what was expected at their draft positions. pGPS perceives the Preds to have lost a bit of value on Fabbro (17) and Girard (47).

NSH xPts

While Fabbro’s (17) pGPS percentage isn’t fantastic, his offensive upside is notable. With over 40 expected points per 82 games, he has one of the draft class’ highest such values among defenceman. With a expected points value of 53, Pitlick (76) also shows well in this regard.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Nashville Predators 7 1.07 1.05 +2% +0.3% -262 47.9

The Predators stuck to what they knew best when it came to their higher picks, grabbing a number of promising young defenders, most of the offensive variety. From a scouting perspective, they lost a lot of value, mainly from taking Hardy Haman Aktell at 108th. If they are going to get a player (or players) out of this draft, you can bet on it being a defenceman.

St. Louis Blues

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
26 Tage Thompson C/RW NCAA 24 +2 36 32 39% 34% +5% 18.0
35 Jordan Kyrou RW/C OHL 41 -6 65 51 18% 30% -12% 7.7
59 Evan Fitzpatrick G QMJHL
119 Tanner Kaspick C/LW WHL 110 +9 53 31 7% 11% -4% 2.1
125 Nolan Stevens++ C NCAA 300 -175 41 42 42% 10% +32% 22.5
144 Conner Bleackley++ C WHL N/A 55 46 4% 8% -4% 1.6
209 Nikolaj Krag Christensen C/LW Denmark N/A 30 4 0% 3% -3% 0.0
211 Filip Helt LW Czech U18 N/A

Tage Thompson, a freshman forward out of the University of Connecticut, is known for his heavy shot, and responsible play in all areas of the ice. His cohort includes fellow first round picks Ryan Kesler and Drew Stafford.

Sarnia Sting forward Jordan Kyrou spent some time on OHL highlight reels last season, noticed for both his playmaking and finishing abilities. With relatively average size and production, Kyrou had a ton of comparables – some of those with the highest degree of similarity include Jan Bulis, Mike Peca, and Matt Beleskey.

While he played on a powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings side, Tanner Kaspick flew a bit more under the radar, with less flash and more responsibility. A crash-and-bang forechecker, Kaspick is the type of player adored by coaches, though his production is underwhelming. Close comparables include Blake Comeau, Colin Fraser, and Lance Bouma.

Nolan Stevens was a bit off the radar of most scouting services, but pGPS was enthralled by the Northeastern University sophomore. Scoring at roughly a point per game in his draft-plus-two season, 42 percent of Stevens’ comparables became regular NHLers. All 16 successful members of his cohort were drafted following either their draft or draft-plus-one season, while Stevens’ draft and draft-plus-one seasons, in the USDP and NCAA respectively, were unremarkable. Comparables include Anson Carter, David Backes, and Daniel Winnick.

Another player who just finished his draft-plus-two season, Conner Bleackley is on his second go round at the draft, after being selected 23rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2014. Despite the fanfare surrounding his name as a former first round pick, Bleackley’s pGPS score is just four percent – largely a result of scoring well under a point per game as a 19-year old in the WHL. Some of his successful comparables are Michael Backlund, Jannik Hansen, and Chuck Kobasew.

The Blues grabbed Nikolaj Krag Christensen out of the top Danish league, where he put up four points in 30 games. It’s not overly surprising that a late round pick out of Denmark doesn’t have any successful comparables, and so Christensen is tagged with a pGPS score of zero percent. The Blues’ final pick, Filip Helt, was selected out of the Czech under-18 league, and thus isn’t in the pGPS system.

STL Scouting

Thompson (26), Kyrou (35), and Kaspick (119) were taken about where they were projected to go, while Stevens (125), Christensen (209), and Helt (211) weren’t ranked anywhere close to where they were picked. Bleackley (144) wasn’t ranked at all, as he only re-entered the draft after Colorado neglected to sign him on June 1st.

STL Delta pGPS

Most of the Blues’ picks hover within plus or minus 10 percent of expected value, pGPS was enthralled by late bloomer Stevens (125), who was assigned a delta pGPS of +32 percent.

STL xPts

Three of St. Louis’ selection have expected points per 82 games values up around the 40 mark, with Stevens (125) netted the highest value.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
St. Louis Blues 7 1.11 0.96 +14% +2.0% -170 51.9

From a scouting perspective, it appears that the Blues did plenty of reaching – three of their last four picks weren’t expected to be in the top 211. Nolan Stevens will provide an interesting case study, as his scouting rank and his pGPS are in contention with one another. In his third year of eligibility, it’s not surprising that he would be ignored, but after a breakout year, he’s production at a rate that often leads to cracking the NHL. Even if he doesn’t pan out, first round pick Tage Thompson is a good bet to be a Blue one day.

Winnipeg Jets

Draft # PLAYER POS LEAGUE Rank Δ Pick GP Pts pGPS Exp. pGPS Δ pGPS pGPS R
2 Patrik Laine RW/LW Liiga 2 0 46 33 94% 74% +21% 65.7
18 Logan Stanley D OHL 22 -4 64 17 13% 40% -27% 2.3
79 Luke Green D QMJHL 49 +30 61 35 11% 17% -7% 3.8
97 Jacob Cederholm D SuperElit 86 +11 35 5 5% 14% -10% 1.1
127 Jordy Stallard C WHL 89 +38 68 49 14% 10% +4% 5.3
157 Mikhail Berdin G MHL

The Jets are automatically winners at the 2016 draft because they walked away with Patrik Laine, an elite goal scoring winger who spent most of 2015-16 competing with and against men, be it in the Finnish Liiga, the World Championships, and most recently the World Cup. Like Puljujarvi with the Oilers, Laine’s closest comparable is Olli Jokinen, though I’d be shocked if Laine didn’t blow Jokinen’s numbers out of the water.

The Jets flubbed their other first round selection, grabbing towering Windsor Spitfires defender Logan Stanley. Stanley had been maligned by many stats-oriented analysts, and pGPS is no exception, calculating that just 13 percent of his cohort played 200 of more NHL games, a very poor rate for 18th overall. Those that made the cut are Bryan Allen, Eric Cairns, and Alexei Semyonov.

Saint John’s Sea Dogs defenceman Luke Green went to the Jets next. Though his production has stayed steady at 35 points over the last two seasons, Green’s game has improved structurally and defensively. His calling card is his skating, with Hockey Prospect calling him one of the best skaters in the QMJHL. Though his pGPS score is a bit low at 11 percent, his list of successful comparables contains impressive names like Francois Beauchemin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Kris Letang.

Elite Prospects describes Jacob Cederholm as “an aggressive shutdown defenceman with limited offensive skills”, which is contributing to his low pGPS score of five percent. The Helsingborg, Sweden native has leadership written all over him, as he captained both his SuperElit team an the Swedish IIHF U-18 World Championship team in 2015-16. Mattias Ekholm, Henrik Tallinder, and Niklas Grossman are among his successful comparables.

Calgary Hitmen centre Jordy Stallard completes Winnipeg’s 2016 draft class. A two-way pivot with good faceoff skills, Stallard played a secondary role with the Hitmen, but still managed decent point totals. He has projected as a late third/early fourth round selection, so getting him at 127 seems to be a good deal in the eyes of the scouts. pGPS also saw value gained by getting him there. Comparables include Dale “Dutch Gretzky” Weise, Marcel Hossa, and Troy Brouwer.

WPG Scouting

All of Winnipeg’s selection came within a fairly reasonable range of their CSS ranking. Green (79) and Stallard (127) were both expected to be off the board earlier.

WPG Delta pGPS

Even at second overall, Laine represents better than expected value. Stanley (18) is by far the biggest loss my this metric, while the remainder of the Jets’ class is located within plus or minus 10 percent of expected value.

WPG xPts

No surprise here that Laine (2) is projected to have the highest offensive upside. The rest of the class is pretty average in this regard.

TEAM OVERVIEW

TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Winnipeg Jets 5 1.36 1.55 -19% -3.8% 75 78.1

Winnipeg had five selections to work with, and would have broke about even in terms of delta pGPS if it weren’t for the Stanley pick. Laine is a lock, and a superstar at that, so this draft is still a win for the Jets. They may get another NHLer out of this set, and while Stanley will likely get the most opportunity, a later selection like Green or Stallard could surprise.


That wraps up the Central division. Colorado and Chicago both look like winners here, while Winnipeg gets an automatic pass for coming away with Laine. Minnesota had a rough go outside of their first round selection, and Dallas was a bit of a mess.

Central

I hope you’re not too sick of this (I know some of you seem to be), because we’ve still got two more divisions to go. Keep in mind that statistical modeling of draft picks is just one part of the draft picture. It is important to add context to these numbers, as they themselves are often context to a scouting profile. Determining whether a player has certain attributes that may well him beat the odds is as important as determining the odds in the first place, since the model is purely statistically based, and there are always factors that influence a player’s ability to accrue points.

Next, we’ll move to the Eastern Conference, beginning with the Metropolitan Division.