pGPS 2016 Draft Extravaganza: Metropolitan Division

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 1:57 am by Jeremy Davis

Draft Review - met

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.

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’re diving into the division with the silliest name: the Metropolitan Division!


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.

Carolina Hurricanes

13 Jake Bean D WHL 18 -5 68 64 50% 45% +5% 24.4
21 Julien Gauthier RW QMJHL 15 +6 54 57 6% 38% -31% 1.5
43 Janne Kuokkanen C/LW Liiga Jr.A 101 -58 47 53 12% 27% -15% 6.5
67 Matt Filipe C/LW USHL 70 -3 56 36 8% 20% -12% 3.9
74 Hudson Elynuik LW/C WHL 94 -20 56 44 20% 18% +2% 9.1
75 Jack LaFontaine G NAHL
104 Max Zimmer LW USHL 107 -3 55 37 0% 13% -13% 0.0
134 Jeremy Helvig G OHL
164 Noah Carroll D OHL 199 -35 67 14 2% 6% -4% 0.5

The Hurricanes kicked off their draft by grabbing Calgary Hitmen blueliner Jake Bean. A clear offensive defenceman Bean spent much of the 2015-16 working his way into the conversation as one of the draft’s top D-man options, eventually becoming the third defenceman taken, following Vancouver’s Olli Juolevi and Montreal’s Mikhail Sergachev. Bean led all CHL rearguards in goals last season, and earned a 50 percent pGPS score. Close comparables include Darrel Sydor and Scott Niedermayer.

Julien Gauthier is an interesting case. With 57 points in 54 games, the 6-foot-4 Val D’Or winger’s cohort showed just six percent of similar players becoming regular NHLers.

Finnish forward Janne Kuokkanen is regarded as a smart player with good hands and skating ability. Going along with solid production at the U20 level in Finland, Kuokkanen made his pro debut in 2015-16, playing one game in Mestis (the Finnish tier 2 league), and one game in Liiga – in each game, he collected two points. For his time in the Liiga Jr. A league, Kuokkanen has a pGPS score of 12 percent, with Jussi Jokinen and Sean Bergenheim as successful matches.

Matt Filipe is a strong skater with a good skill set and a physical presence, but doesn’t quite have the hockey sense to put it all together yet. Eight percent of his statistical comparables became regular NHL players, including David Backes, Justin Abdelkader, and Alex Chiasson.

Spokane Chiefs centre Hudson Elyniuk ound his offensive game when moved up the lineup following an injury to Kailer Yamamoto. Hands and vision are strengths, while speed and stickhandling leave something to be desired. At 6-foot-5, his size is a plus, and he uses it well in the offensive zone. Among the 20 percent of comparables that became full-time NHLers are Troy Brouwer and Brandon Sutter.

Max Zimmer is among the USHL best skaters, possessing both impressive top speed and acceleration. While he had no successful comparables in the USHL, Canadian major-junior players like Scott Walker and Martin Erat met the similarity threshold to be considered matches.

CAR Scouting

The Canes took all of their picks besides Gauthier (21) before they were projected to go. Janne Kuokkanen (43) was the most egregious in this regard, going 58 spots before his CSS ranking.

CAR Delta pGPS

Carolina gained some value on their first pick, Jake Bean, but for the most part they lost it. Julien Gauthier (21) was the worst by this metric, but again, his lopsided goal and assist proportions make him a bit of an odd case.

CAR xPts

Not the most offensively charged class, Kuokkanen (43) leads the Hurricanes picks in Expected Points per 82 games with 


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Carolina Hurricanes 7 0.99 1.67 -68% -9.8% -118 46.0

The Hurricanes lost value both in the eyes of traditional scouting ranks and in the view of pGPS. They’ll still get an NHLer out of this class (more than likely it will be Jake Bean), but by the numbers, their draft decisions cost them a chance to get multiple players. One other thing that will be interesting to follow from this draft class is the divergence of opinion on both Gauthier – scouts were bullish on the QMJHL sniper, while pGPS was skeptical.

Columbus Blue Jackets

3 Pierre-Luc Dubois LW QMJHL 4 -1 62 99 67% 67% -1% 49.0
34 Andrew Peeke D USHL 77 -43 56 30 17% 30% -14% 7.6
65 Vitali Abramov LW/RW QMJHL 34 +31 63 93 27% 20% +6% 19.2
155 Peter Thome G NAHL
185 Calvin Thürkauf C/LW WHL 298 -113 61 45 7% 4% +3% 2.9

There was a fair amount of shock at the 2016 NHL draft when Pierre-Luc Dubois managed to dislodge one of the elite Finns and go to the Blue Jackets at third overall. Much of this was predicated on position, as Columbus was in need of a future top line centre, but that didn’t really make the pick any less jarring. A hulking forward with the versatility to play all three forward positions, Dubois is a complete player, with a particular dangerous wrist shot and high level playmaking skills. Two thirds of Dubois’ comparables went on to play at least 200 NHL games, including Brad Richards and Jakob Voracek.

Andrew Peeke, a blueliner out of the Green Bay Gamblers organization in the USHL, is a smart, shutdown defenceman. Breakout passes and defensive awareness are strengths, while foot speed is an area in which he needs to improve. Ryan Whitney and John Moore are among his statistical comparables.

How Vitali Abramov was still available at 65th overall is a mystery – the Gatineau Olympiques winger was tagged as a first round pick by some services. He’s a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but the strengths of his game – speed and hockey IQ – are the exact attributes that often compensate for lack of size. Martin Lapointe, Danny Briere, and Claude Giroux account for some of his successful comparables.

With their final pick, the Blue Jackets grabbed Calvin Thurkauf, a Swiss born forward in the Kelowna Rockets organization. Thurkauf plays a physical game and uses it to create offensive opportunities. His vision and hockey IQ are good, while skating and defensive play need work. Some of his closest statistical matches are Fredrik Sjostrom, Dale Weise, and Michael Grabner.

CBJ Scouting

Andrew Peeke (34) and Calvin Thurkauf (185) were the biggest reached according to the scouting rankings, while they got Vitali Abramov (65) well after he should have been off the board.

CBJ Delta pGPS

Dubois at third overall was dead on expected value, while Peeke (34) represents a loss and Vitali (65) represents a win.

CBJ xPts

No surprise that Dubois (3) has the most offensive upside of Columbus’ draft picks, but Vitali Abramov (65) is right on his tail.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Columbus Blue Jackets 4 1.17 1.22 -6% -1.4% -126 78.6

The Blue Jackets only had four picks (plus a goalie), but it sure helps when one of them goes third overall. pGPS is estimating one surefire NHLer and a mediocre shot at another – I’m bullish of Vitali Abramov, so I’d say that he’s the most likely candidate to join Dubois in the NHL someday.

New Jersey Devils

12 Michael McLeod C OHL 16 -4 57 61 48% 46% +2% 26.0
41 Nathan Bastian RW/C OHL 42 -1 64 59 35% 27% +8% 19.9
73 Joey Anderson RW USHL 76 -3 25 20 12% 19% -7% 3.4
80 Brandon Gignac C QMJHL 138 -58 67 61 5% 17% -12% 2.1
102 Mikhail Maltsev LW MHL 184 -82 29 23 18% 13% +5% 8.7
105 Evan Cormier G OHL
132 Yegor Rykov D Russia 180 -48 10 1 8% 10% -2% 2.8
162 Jesper Bratt LW/RW Allsvenskan 88 +74 48 17 28% 6% +21% 14.7
192 Jeremy Davies D USHL N/A 60 49 0% 4% -4% 0.0

The Devils swapped adjacent picks with the Senators early in the draft, and although I’d argue that Ottawa got the better player out of the deal (Logan Brown at 11th), Michael McLeod is a fine consolation prize, with the added benefit of receiving an extra third round pick. McLeod’s game is built around speed and puck distribution – he’s not a natural goal scorer, and his decision making has been questioned. He flew up some rankings during the OHL playoffs, where a burst of production earned him a coveted “playoff performer” tag. 48 percent of his statistical cohort became full-time NHLers, including a number of top line centres like Logan Couture, Jeff Carter, and Ryan O’Reilly.

In the second round, the Devils grabbed Nathan Bastian, a teammate of McLeod’s with the Mississauga Steelheads. Along with eighth overall pick Alex Nylander, McLeod and Bastian formed a seldom seen all-first time draft eligible top line. While McLeod was the distributer and Nylander was typically the finisher, Bastian fits the mold of a power forward. He employs a heavy, though inaccurate shot, and has great size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) but less than great speed.

Joey Anderson spent much of the 2015-16 season riding shotgun on a line with Clayton Keller and Kiefer Bellows on the USDP Under-18 squad – a plum assignment to be sure. His solid offensive zone awareness and positioning made him a good complement to the two star players, and his skill set was at least strong enough to not look out of place on their line. Successful members of Anderson’s USHL cohort include Ryan Johnson and Chad LaRose, while Jack Skille and Kyle Palmieri are among his USDP cohort.

Labelled one of the QMJHL’s fastest skaters, Brandon Gignac can wreak havoc on defenders while coming down the wing. Once established in the offensive zone, he spends a bit too much time on the perimeter. Gignac’s few successful comparables include Mathieu Perreault and Eric Belanger, while another match, Senators forward Mike Hoffman, will cross the 200 game barrier this year.

At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, Mikhail Maltsev already has pro size, and he moves quite well with it. He has a tendency to try to do too much in the offensive zone, but the physical tools are there. Maltsev’s two successful comparables are a pair of Artem’s: Chubarov and Anisimov.

Yegor Rykov split time between the MHL, KHL, and VHL in 2015-16. He shows strong defensive awareness with good application of pressure, positioning and coverage. His skating and passing both make him an asset on the breakout. Rykov’s successful comparables were mostly rated as second pairing defencemen, including Ruslan Salei and Alexei Emelin.

Stockholm native Jesper Bratt is a speedy, skilled winger with a lot of creativity and slipperiness to his game, which he’ll need at 5-foot-10. Bratt’s list of comparables include a pair of first round picks in Mikael Backlund and Robert Nilsson.

The Devils final pick was Jeremy Davies (which is like one letter away from being a really awesome name), a defenceman who spent last season with the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. With his 49 points in 60 games, the 5-foot-11 forward pulled zero successful USHL comparables, though there were some successful matches if he was measured against other leagues – Stephane Robidas (QMJHL), Trevor Daley (OHL) and Dan Hamhuis (WHL) are some examples.

NJD Scouting

Many of the Devils mid-round selection constitute reaches in terms of scouting rankings – Mikhail Malstev (102) is the furthest from his projected draft spot. They got Jesper Bratt (162) far later than they should have been able to – both the scouting ranks and pGPS agree that this was a steal in the sixth round.

NJD Delta pGPS

While McLeod (12) and Bastian (41) have the best chances at reaching the NHL, but given that he was taken in the middle of the sixth round, Bratt (162) is seen as the best value for position. pGPS also sees value gained on Maltsev (102), which is in contrast to the scouting opinion.

NJD xPts

Mississauga teammates McLeod (12) and Bastian (41) rate highly in terms of Expected Points per 82 games, with both approaching 50. Bratt (162) is creeping up in this regard as well.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
New Jersey Devils 8 1.53 1.43 +11% 1.3% -122 77.6

With eight selections, the Devils gave themselves a great chance to pull some NHL players out of the 2016 draft class. While the cumulative scouting-to-selection differences suggest that they reached on a few players, pGPS sees a very modest increase in value. pGPS predicts at least one full-time player with a good shot at two, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see each of McLeod, Bastian and Bratt getting a shot in the NHL – who sticks there is a matter for a later date.

New York Islanders

19 Kieffer Bellows C/LW USHL 13 +6 23 32 52% 39% +13% 43.0
95 Anatoli Golyshev+++ LW/RW Russia N/A 56 44 11% 15% -4% 6.6
120 Otto Koivula LW/RW Liiga Jr.A 143 -23 49 58 8% 11% -3% 5.8
170 Collin Adams LW USHL N/A 59 61 6% 6% +1% 2.5
193 Nick Pastujov LW USHL 159 +34 21 8 2% 4% -1% 1.1
200 David Quenneville D WHL 206 -6 64 55 31% 3% +28% 13.5

The Islanders have been cleaning up at the past couple of drafts, and while this one doesn’t look quite as fruitful as the previous one, the Isles still walked away with a few impressive players – chief among them being USDP star Kieffer Bellows. Bellows is a shoot first winger that was lucky enough to reap the benefits of playing with Clayton Keller – that said, he is extremely talented in his own right, and his goal scoring ability is not to be questioned. Over half of Bellows’ comparables stuck in the NHL, including Thomas Vanek, Paul Stastny, Kyle Okposo and R.J. Umberger.

Anatoli Golyshev is a bit of a folk hero on the Nation Network. He drew a lot of attention early in the 2015-16 campaign as he began to tear up the KHL with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. A less than inspiring performance so far in 2016-17 has led to a demotion, as Golyshev has been sent to the tier 2 Russian league.

Otto Koivula had a strong year in the Finnish U20 league, scoring 58 points in 49 games, and another 12 points in seven playoff games. He earned himself a single start in the top Finnish league, Liiga, last year, and has played their exclusively this season. He’s a smart player with good puck skills, though he doesn’t use his 6-foot-4 frame to its full advantage. Olli Jokinen was Koivula’s lone comparable that broke 200 NHL games.

Collin Adams went unranked by central scouting, or by other popular services like Hockey Prospect and Future Considerations, but the Islanders thought enough of him to grab him in the fifth round. He scored a little more than a point per game in the USHL last season, though he’s a little on the small side at 5-foot-9. His only successful USHL comparable was Chad LaRose.

Nick Pastujov is a promising winger with a decent skill set, but he struggles to maintain game-to-game and even shift-to-shift consistency. Pastujov’s cohort contains a lot more busts than successes, but those successes do include T.J. Oshie, Eric Nystrom and Trevor Lewis.

Despite being the Islanders’ last pick, Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman David Quenneville may be one of the best players they picked up at the 2016 draft. At 5-foot-8, he is noticeably undersized, and lack of strength has been an occasional issue for him, but Quenneville has a ton of offensive potential. His rushing, passing, and shooting are all impressive. His cohort includes Jared Spurgeon, Tyson Barrie, and Ian White.

NYI Scouting

The Islanders should be very happy that they got Kieffer Bellows (19) where they did, but the rest of their draft class was a little at odds with the scouting rankings – although the fact that Golyshev (95) wasn’t ranked should exactly reflect on him: in his draft-plus-three season, it’s unlikely that CSS would even consider including him. Koivula (120) was also taken earlier than expected, and Adams (170) wasn’t ranked either.

NYI Delta pGPS

The Isles gained plenty of value on Bellows (19), but was the biggest boost when they grabbed Quenneville (200) in the back half of the seventh round. Most of New York’s other picks hovered right around expected value.

NYI xPts

With a number of top line scorers for comparables, Bellows (19) rocked the Expected Points metric, earning a value of 62. Golyshev (95) and Koivula (120) showed well in this regard too, with 50 and 57 Expected Points per 82 games respectively. Quenneville (200) who had nearly 40 Expected Points, was one of the better defencemen available outside the first round in terms of potential upside.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
New York Islanders 6 1.12 0.77 +34% 5.7% +11 72.6

With six selections, the New York Islanders gave themsevles a good chance at improving their team going forward, and made a number of good choices that boosted their efficiency. At least one NHL player should be expected in Bellows. Golyshev and Koivula could all be viewed as boom-or-bust candidates – iffy percentages for success with high offensive upsides. Quenneville should get a chance to show what he’s capable of, but could well be hampered by his size and late draft position, both of which often lead to fewer opportunities given.

New York Rangers

81 Sean Day D OHL 80 +1 57 22 8% 17% -9% 2.4
98 Tarmo Reunanen D Liiga Jr.A 250 -152 11 6 0% 14% -14% 0.0
141 Timothy Gettinger LW/RW OHL 45 +96 60 39 17% 9% +8% 7.5
171 Gabriel Fontaine C QMJHL N/A 63 45 4% 6% -1% 1.7
174 Tyler Wall G GOJHL
201 Ty Ronning RW WHL 124 +77 67 59 17% 3% +14% 9.0

The New York Rangers had no picks in the first two rounds, and when they first selection came around, they used it on controversial Mississauga defenceman Sean Day. Day has a boatload of skills and has had a man’s body since midget – despite being 6-foot-3 and over 230 pounds, he can fly around the ice. He was the fourth ever player to be granted exemption status to play in the CHL in his 15-year old season, following in the footsteps of John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Connor McDavid – pretty heady company. All that potential seems to be floundering, as Day makes consistently poor decisions on and off the ice. His fitness is constantly in question, and his hockey IQ seems to be well below average. We all knew that some team was going to take a chance on him, as he is one of the biggest “boom-or-bust” prospects in recent memory – his ceiling and floor as a hockey player are miles apart. His closest successful pGPS comparables are Mike Weber, Rory Fitzpatrick and Sean O’Donnell.

Finnish blueliner Tarmo Reunanen is an offensive defenceman that likes to rush the puck, but isn’t a defensive liability either. He’s calm and positionally solid in his own end and doesn’t shy away from physical play. Reunanen’s 2015-16 campaign was marred by an injury that kept him out of all but 13 games. For his 11 games in the Liiga Jr. A league, Reunanen had no successful comparables. He made his pro debut just recently, starting the 2016-17 season in the Finnish tier 2 league, Mestis.

Soo Greyhound winger Tim Gettinger is a 6-foot-5, 200 pound forward with an “extremely skilled” set of hands. Despite having just average skating ability, defenders have an enormously difficult time removing the puck from him, especially when he combines his stickhandling with solid body positioning. Gettinger’s finish is lagging behind his ability to possess and protect the puck, and he put up just 39 points despite getting top six minutes and power play time. Among the 17 percent of his cohort that stuck in the NHL are Todd Bertuzzi, Shawn Matthias, and Bryan Bickell.

Gabriel Fontaine, a centre who was in his second year of eligibility, benefited a lot from an offseason trade to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, as he shifted from a bottom of the standings team to a QMJHL powerhouse. Four percent of Fontaine’s pGPS comparables became regular NHLers, including Matthew Barnaby, Pascal Dupuis, and Max Lapierre.

Ty Ronning, son of former Canuck Cliff Ronning, was originally thought to go somewhere in the fourth or fifth round. His stock increased after his appearance in the CHL top prospects game, where he was a replacement for oft-injured Vancouver Giants teammate Tyler Benson, where he even scored a goal before his home crowd. A spark plug on the ice with a potent wrist shot, concerns of his size (5-foot-9, ~160 pounds) are largely responsible for his drop down the draft board. Tampa Bay Lightning star Tyler Johnson is Ronning’s closest successful comparable, with a 93.5% similarity score. Scott Gomez and Scott Nichol also qualify as matches.

NYR Scouting

This nice little pentagon indicates that the Rangers did some reaching, and also some stealing. Reunanen (98) and Fontaine (171) were taken for earlier than expected, while Gettinger (141) and Ronning (201) were taken far later.

NYR Delta pGPS

The pGPS opinion is pretty much in line with the scouting opinion here. Value gained on Gettinger (141) and Ronning (201), value lost on Reunanen (98) and Fontaine (171). Ronning is seen as the best value pick relative to where he was taken.

NYR xPts

Interestingly enough, not only does pGPS see Ty Ronning (201) as the Rangers’ best value pick but also as its pick with the highest potential upside.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
New York Rangers 5 0.46 0.48 -2% -0.4% +22 20.6

pGPS is pretty bearish on New York’s draft class. While Ronning appears to be a decent bet, he is far from a sure thing, and their highest pick, Sean Day, is about as volatile a selection as any in the entire draft. Whether this draft is a success for the Rangers will likely hinge on whether they can reign Day in and get him straightened out and living up to the potential that allowed him a CHL age exemption a few years ago.

Philadelphia Flyers

22 German Rubtsov C MHL 25 -3 28 26 31% 37% -6% 22.3
36 Pascal Laberge C/RW QMJHL 33 +3 56 68 31% 29% +1% 21.4
48 Carter Hart G WHL
52 Wade Allison RW USHL 84 -32 56 47 25% 24% +1% 15.1
82 Carsen Twarynski LW/D WHL 87 -5 67 45 13% 17% -4% 4.7
109 Connor Bunnaman C OHL 122 -13 68 38 11% 12% -1% 4.2
139 Linus Högberg D SuperElit N/A 39 25 5% 9% -4% 1.3
169 Tanner Laczynski C USHL 139 +30 33 40 20% 6% +14% 11.5
172 Anthony Salinitri C OHL 118 +54 62 30 7% 5% +1% 2.5
199 David Bernhardt D SuperElit 191 +8 45 38 6% 3% +3% 3.2

Centre German Rubtsov was the top Russian forward taking at the 2016 draft, though it’s been stated that he plays more a North American game. While he can put up plenty of points, his two-way ability and defensive responsibility garnered plenty of attention last season. Some of his pGPS comparables (using European elite leagues, since the MHL is quite new) include Milan Michalek, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jiri Tlusty.

Victoriaville Tigres forward Pascal Laberge seem to have more success offensively this season after switching to the wing full time. His shot is a strength, while his decision making needs some work. James Sheppard, Simon Gagne, and Radim Vrbata are a few of his successful comparables.

A bit of a late bloomer, Tri-City Storm winger Wade Allison came on strong in the second half of the 2015-16 season. A power forward type player, Allison likes to drive the net to collect dirty goals. Max Paciorrety, Tim Jackman, and Alex Chiasson are his three closest comparables, with 25 percent of his cohort sticking in the NHL.

Calgary Hitmen winger Carsen Twarynski is a relentless forechecker who uses physical play to create scoring chances for his linemates. Comparables include Kyle Chipchura, Steve Konowalchuk, and Josh Green. A positionally sound two-way forward, Connor Bunnaman makes his biggest impact in the defensive zone. He has a good shot, and a bit of an awkward skating stride. Grant Marshall, Mike Fisher, and Brian Willsie are among the 11 percent of his cohort that became regular NHLers.

Swedish defenceman Linus Hogberg played mostly in the SuperElit league last season, putting up 25 points in 39 games, though he also made two appearances in the SHL, which is always good for an 18-year old. His only successful pGPS comparable was Niklas Hjalmarsson. Tanner Laczynski is a “silky handed” centreman that excels at surveying the offensive zone and setting up teammates. His pGPS cohort includes Joe Pavelski and Trevor Lewis.

Anthony Salinitri is an opportunistic, smooth-skating forward with some offensively ability, but he struggled with consistency, appearing disengaged from the play far too often. Ryan Callahan, Trevor Letowski, and David Clarkson are some of his statistical comparables. David Bernhardt was one of the better producing draft eligible defenceman in the SuperElit league last season, and is a physical presence on the ice. Those attributes are compatible with his only pGPS match: Alex Edler.

PHI Scouting

While there is some slight fluctuation, most of Philly’s pick stay pretty close to where they were supposed to have gone – even if all of the earlier picks are on the wrong side of the line. Allison (52) was taken the furthest ahead of his ranking, while Hogberg (139) wasn’t ranked at all. Salinitri (172) was taken the furthest after his expected spot.

PHI Delta pGPS

Most of the Flyers’ picks hovered with 10 percent of expected value – they got their biggest boost at 169, with Tanner Laczynski.

PHI xPts

There are certainly some hotshots in terms of expected production is Philadelphia’s draft class, with Rubtsov (22), Laberge (36) and Allison (52) leading the way, with Expected Points of 58, 57, and 50 respectively. Laczynski (169) is the most impressive of their late round selections.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Philadelphia Flyers 9 1.49 1.43 +6% 0.7% +42 86.2

The Flyers made life easier on themselves with nine draft picks altogether. Rubtsov is their best bet, but Laberge, Allison and Laczynski should all be pushing for opportunities to graduate to the NHL as well. They also grabbed Carter Hart, who was arguably the best goaltender available at the draft. This class has the potential to be a home run for Ron Hextall and his crew.

Pittsburgh Penguins

55 Filip Gustavsson G SuperElit
61 Kasper Björkqvist LW Liiga Jr.A 112 -51 45 66 5% 21% -16% 3.2
77 Connor Hall D OHL 141 -64 39 9 4% 18% -14% 1.1
121 Ryan Jones D USHL N/A 60 30 4% 11% -7% 0.7
151 Niclas Almari D Liiga Jr.A 292 -141 39 7 0% 7% -7% 0.0
181 Joseph Masonius D NCAA 167 +14 34 21 33% 5% +29% 13.0

Despite the emergence of Matt Murray, the Penguins used their first pick on a goaltender – Sweden’s Filip Gustavsson.

Kasper Bjorkqvist was one of the best players in the Finnish U20 league last year, but didn’t want to make the move to pro hockey, as he wanted to retain his college eligibility (he is attending Providence College this year). He’s a smart winger, he’s quick on his feet, and at 6-foot-1 and almost 200 pounds, he has the size to muck around in the corners. Bjorkqvist’s statistical projection likely suffered from his decision to stay out of professional hockey for now. His only successful comparable from his Jr. A season was Valtteri Filppula.

The Penguins took Kitchener Rangers defenceman Connor Hall next. Hall projects as a defensive first defenceman, and thrives in physical situations, but he’s a strong skater and is very capable of carrying the puck up the ice. He didn’t put up much in the way of points this season, and as a result has a pGPS score of just four percent. Some of his closest successful comparables are Jakub Kindl, Mike Weber, and Jake Muzzin.

Ryan Jones spent the 2015-16 season, his draft-plus-two campaign, with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. There were two members of his cohort that went on to play at least 200 NHL games: Mark Eaton and Nate Prosser.

Niclas Almari, a defenceman who split last season between Espoo and Jokerit of the Finnish U20 league, is a mobile defenceman who is decent is all aspects of the game. He’s 6-foot-1, but was listed at just 167 pounds last year. His physical immaturity made it hard to defend using his body last year. Rather, he used his solid positioning to handle his own zone. None of Almari’s pGPS matches stuck in the NHL, with only four out of 111 played even a single NHL game.

Another overage defenceman, Joseph Masonius completed his draft-plus-one season as a freshman at the University of Connecticut. Dan Boyle, John Michael-Liles and Rob Scuderi are a few comparable players.

PIT Scouting

Outside of grabbing Joseph Masonius at 181st, this was basically reach-fest for the Penguins, at least in terms of juxtaposition with the scouting ranks. But hey, they’re champions, so I’m sure that Pittsburghians (?) don’t even care about the draft right now.

PIT Delta pGPS

The Pens bled value pretty much across the board, until to get to Masonius (181), who looks like a steal at the end of the sixth round, at least according to #math.

PIT xPts

This is the only metric in which Masonius (181), a defenceman, isn’t the Penguins’ best pick. That distinction goes to Kasper Bjorkqvist, who, despite a pretty who success percentage, has an expected prodution value over 50 – that’s the type of player we slap the boom-or-bust tag on.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Pittsburgh Penguins 5 0.47 0.62 -15% -3.0% -242 17.9

As the Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t likely overly concerned about the cumulative value of their draft positions. They started with a little more than the potential for a half a player, and then managed to lose a little bit on top of that. Their best bet may well be their last pick in Joseph Masonius.

Washington Capitals

28 Lucas Johansen D WHL 31 -3 69 49 45% 33% +12% 16.3
87 Garrett Pilon C WHL 155 -68 71 47 11% 16% -5% 4.9
117 Damien Riat C/RW NLA N/A 45 21 0% 11% -11% 0.0
145 Beck Malenstyn C WHL 102 +43 70 25 5% 8% -3% 1.9
147 Axel Jonsson Fjällby LW SuperElit N/A 39 29 1% 8% -7% 0.3
177 Chase Priskie D NCAA 179 -2 43 26 22% 5% +17% 8.2
207 Dmitri Zaitsev D NAHL N/A 53 22 7% 3% +4% 2.2

Lucas Johansen, younger brother of NHL all-star Ryan Johansen, is an offensive defenceman with good skating ability. His defensive game improved considerably over the course of his draft season, as he became calm and poised in his own end. Part of the Kelowna Rockets organization that has a habit of turning out NHL caliber defenceman, Johansen could be next in line, with 45 percent of statistically similar players playing at least 200 NHL games.

Garret Pilon is skilled forward from the Kamloops Blazers organization. At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, he had trouble handling physical play and stayed more in safer areas. His best asset is his shot, but passing and hockey IQ are strengths as well. He had an 11 percent pGPS score in 2015-16, with a cohort that included Byron Ritchie, Valeri Bure, and Peter Schaefer.

The Caps selected Damien Riat out of the Swiss Nation League A in the fourth round. While Riat is a decent prospect and a well rounded player, there haven’t been many successes NHLers coming out of the NLA. As a result, he has a pGPS score of zero percent.

Beck Malenstyn, a centre with the Calgary Hitmen, has boatloads of compete and work ethic, and is reliable in all three zones, but still needs to develop his offensive skill set – he had just 25 points in 70 games last week. His successful comparables include Dave Scatchard, Travis Moen, and Lance Bouma.

Axel Jonsson Fjallby, a winger with Djurgardens of the SuperElit league, uses his speed to attack defenders in transition and on the forecheck. He’s an energy player, but also a talented playmaker. Out of 98 former SuperElit players that were considered matches, only one played 200 or more NHL games: Marcus Krueger.

Chase Priskie, who just finished his freshman year at Quinnipiac, is a defender with NHL-level skating ability and loves to carry the puck up ice. His 26 points in 43 games are impressive for a first year college rearguard, and pGPS is accordingly impressed: 22 percent of his comparables went on to stick in the NHL, a fantastic rate for a late sixth round pick. Close comparables include Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole, and Jamie McBain.

Dmitry Zaitsev is a Russian born defenceman who played in the NAHL last year, and is slated to join the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors this year. Ian Cole and Jamie McBain appear in Zatisev’s cohort as well, this team its their junior years, and Andy Greene makes an appearance as well.

WSH Scouting

Lucas Johansen (28) went pretty close to his projected spot. After that, other than Beck Malenstyn (145) and Chase Priskie (177), most of Washington’s picks were reaches. At the tail end of the draft, Priskie and Zaitsev

WSH Delta pGPS

Despite going a few spots ahead of his ranking, pGPS suggests that the Caps gained value by selecting Lucas Johansen at 28th. It’s also bullish on Chase Priskie (179), and sees that as the best value for position pick of Washington’s class.

WSH xPts

Having no players over 40 expected points is not an ideal result, but two of their better selections, Johansen (28) and Priskie (179) are defenceman. Garret Pilon (87) has the highest potential upside of the group.


TEAM Selections Exp. NHLers (pGPS) Exp NHLers

(Pick pos.)

Δ pGPS Δ pGPS / Selection Δ Picks Overall Rating
Washington Capitals 7 0.91 0.84 +7% 0.9% -30 33.7

As the President’s Trophy winning team, the Capitals had the misfortune of drafting nearing the end of almost every round. As such, their expected total value was pretty low. They managed to improve upon that just a smidge with a couple of savvy selections – namely Lucas Johansen and Chase Priskie.

It’s a close race, but the winner of the Metropolitan division has to be Philadelphia, who gave themselves the best chance to turn out multiple players by piling up their picks – more bullets in the chamber usually means more hits. They get the edge over New Jersey once potential offensive upside is factored in, plus they got the potential best goalie available in Carter Hart. New Jersey certainly gave Philadelphia a run for its money, as did the Islanders, while Columbus gets a pass because they walk away with Pierre-Luc Dubois (although they could have had Puljujarvi, so there’s that).

The Penguins and Rangers were easily the worst. For the Cup Champs, this is no big deal, but for a team on the decline like the Rangers, they need to be restocking their system. Take it from a Canucks fan – neglecting the draft is gonna bite you in a few years.


Three down, one to go. The final review will of course be of the Atlantic Division, so stay tuned.