2009 NHL Draft: The OHL Forwards Vs. Oilers Draft Picks

Jonathan Willis
June 20 2009 07:46AM

NHL Draft Hockey

I recapped this year’s group of draft-eligible OHL forwards last week, but it occurred to me that it might be nice to compare them against recent Oilers picks in their draft years, just for the sake of reference.  How does Sam Ganger match up against John Tavares and Matt Duchene, anyway?

What I’ve done is put this years group of forwards into this list, with one addition: percentage of offense. I calculate percentage of using the following formula:

[% OFF] = Points / ((GP/68) X (Total Team Goals Scored) )

In this way, we can adjust for the strength of different OHL teams and more accurately determine offensive ability. Without further ado, here is this year’s list of draft-eligible forwards, with Oilers OHL picks since 1998 in bold:

  1. John Tavares: 85G – 67A – 152PTS [52.0%]
  2. Sam Gagner: 54G – 128A – 182PTS [48.7%]
  3. Matt Duchene: 45G – 69A – 114PTS [35.7%]
  4. Alex Hutchings: 44G – 44A – 88PTS [34.3%]
  5. Liam Reddox: 37G – 40A – 77PTS [33.5%]
  6. Zack Kassian: 32G – 52A – 84PTS [33.4%]
  7. Nazem Kadri: 37G – 78A – 115PTS [33.0%]
  8. Ethan Werek: 40G – 40A – 80PTS [33.0%]
  9. Peter Holland: 34G – 47A – 81PTS [29.6%]
  10. Lou Dickenson: 26G – 31A – 57PTS [29.6%]
  11. Ryan O’Reilly: 19G – 60A – 79PTS [28.3%]
  12. Rob Schremp: 39G – 59A – 98PTS [27.8%]
  13. Michael Henrich: 51G – 27A – 78PTS [27.5%]
  14. Taylor Beck: 27G – 44A – 71PTS [26.0%]
  15. Michael Latta: 28G – 44A – 72PTS [25.8%]
  16. Michael Fine: 23G – 30A – 53PTS [25.2%]
  17. Darren Archibald: 30G – 29A – 59PTS [22.9%]
  18. Philip Varone: 27G – 47A – 74PTS [21.2%]
  19. Garrett Wilson: 26G – 28A – 54PTS [19.9%]
  20. Casey Cizikas: 23G – 30A – 53PTS [19.4%]
  21. Jordan Mayer: 27G – 27A – 54PTS [19.2%]
  22. Zach Stortini: 17G – 21A – 38PTS [18.2%]
  23. Jordan Szwarz: 21G – 42A – 63PTS [16.6%]
  24. Matthew Tipoff: 16G – 33A – 49PTS [15.5%]

My Impressions

  • Sam Gagner shows very strongly here; his offensive numbers are incredible and there’s very little doubt in my mind that he’ll clear Hemsky once all is said and done.
  • Nazem Kadri really suffers here. His point totals have been inflated by playing in London, and I’m now much more wary of him than I was just a couple of days ago; he probably shouldn’t be a top-ten pick based on the numbers here, particularly if his two-way game is as bad as reported.
  • Hello, Liam Reddox! People tend to forget that the pint-sized coach’s favourite was once a very talented junior player. Could that offense reappear? It’s doubtful, but when Lowetide compares the guy to Pisani it isn’t without reason.
  • Peter Holland, who I didn’t like before, looks even worse by this measure. Ethan Werek, on the other hand, surpasses expectations and is one of six guys in the 33% and up club.
  • Zach Kassian, who I figured should drop down to between 15th and 20th oberall, looks much better by this measure. He still wouldn’t be my choice, but it won’t be the end of the world if the Oilers grab him with the 10th pick; I’ve probably been underrating his offensive game a little bit.
  • Finally, Alex Hutchings (who is being projected as a late second-round pick in most places) looks very good. The scouting reports on him were highly complimentary of both his passion and his willingness to play in traffic, and he’s a guy that I like more and more with each passing day.
  • Look where Rob Schremp is on this list.  I get the feeling that his slide on draft day had a lot more to do with his disappointing draft year production than it did with attitude.
  • What have I missed?  Chime in below please.  I'm also curious if there's interest in me doing something similar for the WHL and QMJHL forwards.
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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 The Pestival
June 20 2009, 08:35AM
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The math portion of this is kicking my hangover in the nuts right now but it seems like you've found yet another geniusly clever way of telling us that Sam Gagner is awesome and will deliver the holy grail! Well done.

I go to quite a bit of WHL games, I'd love to see a chart thingy on that league.

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#2 Milli
June 20 2009, 08:43AM
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Gagner's number are incredible. I'm thinking he's in for a big year, the other factor for him, I think, is he is crazy competitive. That too me is the most important thing, skill is great, but without the want, never will be fully realized.

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#3 BigE57
June 20 2009, 08:50AM
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@ Jonathon Willis

You know alot of people go out and drink on Friday night usually making it impossible to read stuff like this on a Saturday morning let alone create equations as The Pestival so eloquently points out.

Anyhow, pretty interesting I hope you're right about Gagner surpassing Hemsky though I think it would be even better if the Oilers could find a way for them to line up together with a power forward and maybe do some real damage.

Also, it would be interesting to know how Andrew Cogliano ranks in this type of analysis.........not sure if you can modify it to fit the college mode though.

Good post.

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#4 Librarian Mike
June 20 2009, 08:53AM
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The Pestival wrote:

I go to quite a bit of WHL games, I’d love to see a chart thingy on that league.

Jonathan, in your profile at the end of your posts I think you should add 'makes chart thingies' to it. Hilarious.

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#5 Taylor
June 20 2009, 09:01AM
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Interesting post.

Scott Cullen over at TSN did a similar list and adjusted it for goals being more important than assists using a factor of 1.6.

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#6 Lofty
June 20 2009, 09:02AM
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I dont mean to sound like Debbie Downer but Gagner's numbers are a little inflated because of the line he played on in the O. Still great numbers but those assists come when you play with Kane, Kostitsyn and Adam Perry.

Scary thing is the 2004-2005 Nights team with Schremp had a much better goals for/against average than when these boys played.

Still they are all studs!

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#7 Tommyjr
June 20 2009, 09:11AM
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A better stat would take into account, who they played with. Yes Gagner's numbers look impressive, but he played with a more talented forward in Pat Kane. JW see if you can create that variable. Find outstanding Jr and pro player who played with great players and then the following year one of the players graduated or was traded.

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#8 RobInALab
June 20 2009, 09:55AM
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It'd like to see you applied a modifier to that based on the player's size. Everyone to from the fan to the GM talks about us needing to get bigger. How do our selected draft picks fair against the current offering then?

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#9 Travis Dakin
June 20 2009, 10:39AM
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The Pestival wrote:

it seems like you’ve found yet another geniusly clever way of telling us that Sam Gagner is awesome and will deliver the holy grail!

He's also found a way of telling management that Gagner is going to want a 10 yr $97 million contract next year. HAHA

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#10 Ogden Brother
June 20 2009, 11:38AM
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Tommyjr wrote:

A better stat would take into account, who they played with. Yes Gagner’s numbers look impressive, but he played with a more talented forward in Pat Kane. JW see if you can create that variable. Find outstanding Jr and pro player who played with great players and then the following year one of the players graduated or was traded.

I'd love to see that done so we can finally put this "stat pumping" theory to rest.

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#11 kingsblade
June 20 2009, 12:20PM
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Interestingly, because of the Sept 15 cut-off date Tavares will be essentially a year older than a player like Gagner was, although Tavares has been putting up big numbers for 3 years, so it hardly matters.

I don't know how some of you guys think that Gagner's numbers are questionable because of his teammates. How do good teammates put you at 48.7% of team offense?

Lets look at what playing with other stars does.

Kurri with Gretzky: 82-83, 24.5% 83-84, 31.7% 84-85, 36.9% 85-86, 31.6% 86-87, 29.4% 87-88, 26.4% Kurri without Gretzky: 88-89, 33.0% 89-90, 32.3%

Aftert that Kurri went to LA and soon began showing age, but only once in Edmonton did Kurri have a better percentage playing with Gretzky than without. If Gretzky couldn't have the effect you mentioned do you really believe Gagner's percentage was inflated by Kane?

Here is another example:

Jagr's best year without Lemieux: 53.1% Jagr's best year with Lemieux: 41.2%

Seems to me that playing with prolific offensive talents is more likely to reduce your percentage of team offense than increase it.

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#12 JF
June 20 2009, 01:11PM
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@ kingsblade: agreed. that makes alot of sense

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#13 David S
June 20 2009, 03:19PM
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Kingsblade - nice work man.

As far as Sam goes, well I get to go to a few games every year in some pretty ace seats. To say he's competitive is putting it mildly. That kid was one of the few last year who had the fire in his eyes every freaking game. Not to mention that he's pretty much fearless too. It was also obvious he wasn't firing on all cylinders until the latter part of the season. I think that ankle injury was worse than we knew.

No doubt Sam's training his a** off this summer and having alot of good talks with his dad (I can't imagine what an advantage that must be!). My gut tells me next year will be the beginning of something amazing.

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#14 David S
June 20 2009, 03:20PM
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Jonathan - isn't Sam already ahead of Hemsky's numbers (when he was the same age)?

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#15 Colin
June 20 2009, 03:33PM
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Nice. Keep up the good work Willis.

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#16 Lofty
June 20 2009, 04:57PM
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kingsblade wrote:

How do good teammates put you at 48.7% of team offense?

What team was Gagner 48.7% of the offense? Kane and Kostitsyn both had more points than him in 06-07?

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#17 Chris
June 20 2009, 05:19PM
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@ kingsblade:

Great offering. Thanks for two solid examples that nicely illustrate something common sense would dictate, but is rarely acknowledged...

I wonder if this kind of thinking can be applied to overall offensive totals in certain instances; and not just as a percentage of total team offence. Theoretically, playing on a stacked team may LOWER an individuals TOTAL offensive output largely due to availability of premium ice time/PP time etc. (Think of a guy like Getzlaf playing on the Olympic team) Many who dabble in hockey pools consider such things...

Any thoughts?

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#18 Ogden Brother
June 20 2009, 06:49PM
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Chris wrote:

@ kingsblade: Great offering. Thanks for two solid examples that nicely illustrate something common sense would dictate, but is rarely acknowledged… I wonder if this kind of thinking can be applied to overall offensive totals in certain instances; and not just as a percentage of total team offence. Theoretically, playing on a stacked team may LOWER an individuals TOTAL offensive output largely due to availability of premium ice time/PP time etc. (Think of a guy like Getzlaf playing on the Olympic team) Many who dabble in hockey pools consider such things… Any thoughts?

I would agree with you 100%. Lots of guys go to stacked teams only to see their stats go down. Same as guys will put up more points moving from a deep team to a thin one.

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#19 kingsblade
June 20 2009, 09:13PM
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Lofty wrote:

kingsblade wrote: How do good teammates put you at 48.7% of team offense? What team was Gagner 48.7% of the offense? Kane and Kostitsyn both had more points than him in 06-07?

Maybe you should try to understand the stats you are looking at before commenting. Especially since the players listed were ranked in order of the very stat you don't understand.

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#20 kingsblade
June 20 2009, 09:31PM
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Chris wrote:

@ kingsblade: Great offering. Thanks for two solid examples that nicely illustrate something common sense would dictate, but is rarely acknowledged… I wonder if this kind of thinking can be applied to overall offensive totals in certain instances; and not just as a percentage of total team offence. Theoretically, playing on a stacked team may LOWER an individuals TOTAL offensive output largely due to availability of premium ice time/PP time etc. (Think of a guy like Getzlaf playing on the Olympic team) Many who dabble in hockey pools consider such things… Any thoughts?

It's hard to say without looking, which I might do later unless someone else does first. In my mind it seems as though good linemates are likely to improve your scoring totals but lower your percentage of team offense. Unless, as you mentioned above, your team is so deep that your playing time gets cut drastically.

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#21 Jonathan Willis
June 21 2009, 11:13AM
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kingsblade wrote:

It’s hard to say without looking, which I might do later unless someone else does first. In my mind it seems as though good linemates are likely to improve your scoring totals but lower your percentage of team offense. Unless, as you mentioned above, your team is so deep that your playing time gets cut drastically.

I'm pretty sure that's exactly right. And thanks for clearing that up over here; I had to move folks yesterday, and was gone from about 6AM to 12PM so I couldn't explain ;)

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#22 Jonathan Willis
June 21 2009, 11:18AM
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As for Gagner's numbers, here is the calculation:

118 points / ((53 games played / 68 games) X 311 Total goals scored)

118 /( ( 53 / 68) X 311 ) = .4868 = 48.7% offense

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#23 kingsblade
June 21 2009, 01:57PM
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Something I noticed while looking at Kurri's numbers but is kind of unrelated:

I think I want everyone (I don't mean here I just mean in general) who says Kurri was just a product of playing with Gretzky to shut the hell up.

In 88-89 he led a team in scoring that had Messier, Anderson, Simpson, Carson, and Tikkanen in the top six.

For the life of me I cannot remember who centered his line for most of 89-90, and he still put up 93 points and was second to Messier in scoring, not to mention 25 points in 22 playoff games?

Seriously who played with him and Tikkanen and why can't I remember? This is frustrating. I must be getting old.

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