June 23 2009 11:17PM
I’ve now run the math (percentage of total team offense) against NHL scouts over the course of three drafts. The math isn’t perfect, but it clearly beat the NHL scouts two times out of three and tied them in the third instance; something which is clearly ridiculous.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a believer in the value and practicality of statistics. What I do find ridiculous is that looking back at first round picks from 1998 to 2000, I can do a better job with my calculator drafting forwards out of Canadian junior than those scouts can. I mean, heck, I’m just using point totals, with no context whatsoever; that’s flat-out scary (although not quite as scary as Barry Fraser’s draft record).
With that in mind, I’ve decided to rank CHL forwards. I’ve extensively drawn on their percentage of total team offense in using these rankings; I’ve made minor adjustments for scouting reports, injuries and player size, but that’s it. Here then are my rankings (percentage of total team offense and league played in listed in brackets):
- John Tavares (OHL, 52.0%)
- Matt Duchene (OHL, 35.7%)
- Evander Kane (WHL, 35.5%)
- Brayden Schenn (WHL, 30.7%)
- Scott Glennie (WHL, 31.1%)
- Zack Kassian (OHL, 33.4%)
- Alex Hutchings (OHL, 34.3%)
- Ethan Werek (OHL, 33.0%)
- Landon Ferraro (WHL, 33.9%)
- Ryan Howse (WHL, 33.7%)
- Nazem Kadri (OHL, 33.0%)
- Jordan Caron (QMJHL, 30.5%)
- Benjamin Casavant (QMJHL, 34.9%)
- Ryan O’Reilly (OHL, 28.3%)
- Kellen Tochkin (WHL, 37.2%)
- Peter Holland (OHL, 29.6%)
- Cassidy Mappin (WHL, 29.2%)
- Gabriel Bourque (QMJHL, 33.6%)
- Byron Froese (WHL, 28.6%)
- Taylor Beck (OHL, 26.0%)
- Tomas Vincour (WHL, 27.7%)
- Linden Vey (WHL, 28.5%)
- Andrej Nestrasil (QMJHL, 26.8%)
- Michal Hlinka (QMJHL, 26.2%)
- Michael Latta (OHL, 25.8%)
- Guillaume Goulet (QMJHL, 33.5%)
- Michael Fine (OHL, 25.2%)
- Carter Ashton (WHL, 22.7%)
- Justin Dowling (WHL, 25.9%)
- Jeremy Boyer (WHL, 25.6%)
- Cody Eakin (WHL, 24.8%)
- Darren Archibald (OHL, 22.9%)
- Levko Koper (WHL, 24.5%)
- Willie Coetzee (WHL, 24.4%)
- Philippe Paradis (QMJHL, 16.7%)
- Jimmy Bubnick (WHL, 23.6%)
- Steven Anthony (QMJHL, 21.9%)
- Garrett Wilson (OHL, 19.9%)
- Philip Varone (OHL, 21.2%)
- Burke Gallimore (WHL, 19.0%)
- Jordan Mayer (OHL, 19.2%)
- David Gilbert (QMJHL, 15.5%)
- Stepan Novotny (WHL, 17.0%)
- Gabriel Dumont (QMJHL, 18.9%)
- Jonathan Lessard (QMJHL, 16.0%)
- Kristopher Foucault (WHL, 15.9%)
- Philippe Lefebvre (QMJHL, 13.9%)
- Jordan Szwarz (OHL, 16.6%)
- Casey Cizikas (OHL, 19.4%)
- Matthew Tipoff (OHL, 15.5%)
This is going to be an odd list, likely unique; unfortunately, we won’t know for five years or so how well it does. A lot of guys are close, and there are just a few things I want to touch on:
I don’t understand the love for Peter Holland. Aside from the fact that he didn’t light the world on fire offensively, his biggest problems are (according to scouting reports) lack of effort and a limited defensive game.
I understand the love for Carter Ashton even less. He’s got NHL bloodlines, but while he’s big he isn’t overly physical, and is another guy for whom “competitiveness” and defensive play are generally cited as negatives. He’s a big kid, and he’s got a good shot, but I don’t see him as a first-round pick.
Nazem Kadri’s totals are inflated by playing in London. Yes, he had a good playoffs, but he probably shouldn’t be a top-ten pick.
I really like Alex Hutchings; I liked his scouting reports before I saw a scoring number. He’s supposedly a leader, intensely competitive and a clutch player. On top of that, his offensive totals were excellent, and while some projections have him as a third-round player I think he’s probably a top-thirty talent. Here’s a fun quote for those of you who are interested:
The thing I would hate to be called is a soft forward," said Hutchings. "That's something I despise being called. I like to get into the exciting stuff. I like being known as a guy who plays both ends of the ice, go into the corner and take the hit. I'm always willing to battle in the corners. I'll do some things other guys wouldn't do, like take a hit from a 6-4 defenseman and try to get the puck again."
Zack Kassian fairs well by these marks, while Schenn and Glennie don’t look quite so good. All three of those were a big surprise to me, but scouting reports convinced me to slot them where I did.
There are a couple of guys who are likely to be available in the mid-rounds this weekend who I really like – Benjamin Cassavant, a big power forward out of the QMJHL and Kellen Tochkin, a pint-sized WHL scorer. I’m going to follow their careers with interest.