# NHLE

Lowetide
July 16 2010 06:59AM

I promise not to bore you with too much math here at ON. However, based on my early experience it looks as though math is regarded as a guide along with observation at Oilers Nation, so there's an opportunity to discuss some very useful tools that some very smart people have created or derived over the last few years.

Gabriel Desjardins is a brilliant writer and problem solver. His blog is here and his stats mountain is here. Gabriel (among others) gives bloggers and math fans a chance to explore the NHL universe: lines, zone starts, shots for and against, even-strength scoring per 60 minutes, shooting percentage, he has all kinds of reasonable measurements that tell us more than the boxcars. I encourage you to read Gabriel's stuff, he is a generous fellow with his time (if I had to pay a dollar for every visit he'd own my house). Beyond that, I won't mention him here a lot, save for giving Gabriel credit for the things he created or derived. It is only fair.

Desjardins supplies us with a rational NHL "production equivalency" for lower leagues. He projects those leagues into the NHL, and explains it here. It is an exceptional tool, and has been tracking very well since we started using it for Oiler picks and prospects.

By way of example, here are two season's worth of quality picks (2007 and 2008) and their NHLE. It is followed in brackets by their actual NHL numbers the following season:

• Patrick Kane, OHL: 26-36-62 (ACTUAL: 82gp, 21-51-72)
• Sam Gagner, OHL: 16-39-55 (ACTUAL: 79gp, 13-36-49)
• David Perron, QMJHL: 13-14-27 (ACTUAL: 62gp, 13-14-27)
• Steve Stamkos, OHL: 23-19-42 (ACTUAL: 23-23-46)
• Drew Doughty, OHL: 6-23-29 (ACTUAL: 6-21-27)
• Luke Schenn, WHL: 3-9-12 (ACTUAL: 2-10-12)
• Mikael Boedker, OHL: 12-17-29 (ACTUAL: 11-17-28)
• Josh Bailey, OHL: 11-24-35 (ACTUAL: 7-18-25)

Those are really good projections. Gabriel has arrived at a solid number in terms of letting air out of the tires, and so we can look to the future with some confidence. I'm using his CHL, AHL, SEL and other equivalencies below, if you'd like to read more I would refer you to both blog and stats mountain.

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE'S for Oilers top level F prospects (per 82 GP)

1. R Jordan Eberle 22-24-46
2. L Taylor Hall 17-29-46
3. L Magnus Pääjärvi 16-22-38
4. L Linus Omark 20-15-35
5. C Chris Vande Velde 13-21-34
6. L Philippe Cornet 10-17-27
7. L Teemu Hartikainen 12-14-26
8. R Toni Rajala 11-15-26
9. C Robby Dee 13-12-25
10. C Ryan Martindale 8-16-24
11. C Milan Kytnar 8-14-22
12. C Anton Lander 9-12-21
13. L Liam Reddox 9-9-18
14. C Tyler Pitlick 9-8-17
15. L Curtis Hamilton 7-8-15
16. R Colin McDonald 6-5-11
17. C Ryan O'Marra 6-3-9
18. L Drew Czerwonka 2-4-6
19. R Cameron Abney 2-3-5
20. L Matt Glasser 2-3-5
21. L Matt Marquardt 1-4-5

This is an outstanding list, the Oilers best prospect list for forwards in a long, long time. Three top drawer offensive talents, followed by a long-in-the-tooth prospect (Omark) who can score and then an exceptional college face-off man with enough offensive skill to do well when he turns pro. Cornet and Rajala are in the "tweener" zone, as is Hartikainen but he brings enough things to his game that you can see him winning a job in a 2-way role (outside the top 6F). Martindale is also interesting, and the best defensive forward on the list (Lander) does pretty well by this metric. There are no less than 6 quality prospects on this list (Top 5 and Lander) and we haven't even looked at Pitlick (whose numbers suffered due to lack of playing time in the NCAA).

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE'S for Oilers top level D prospects (per 82gp)

1. Jeff Petry 4-22-26
2. Taylor Chorney 5-10-15
3. Jeremie Blain 1-13-14
4. Brandon Davidson 0-14-14
5. Kyle Bigos 4-6-10
6. Alex Plante 2-5-7
7. Theo Peckham 0-6-6
8. Johan Motin 1-3-4
9. Troy Hesketh 1-3-4

Martin Marincin's number isn't here, he played in Slovakia U-20 this past season and there aren't a lot of comparable defensemen who jumped to the NHL the following season. We'll get a read on him (WHL) this season. Petry is the best offensive option, and considering his wide range of skills should be a player we see in the NHL sometime this season. My preference would be for Petry to play an entire AHL season (the lesson of Chorney) before making the grade, but if the Oilers encounter injury he should be in the mix for callup. Plante, Peckham and Motin are stay-at-home types as is reflected here.

Desjardins NHLE's are at the very least a marvelous toy. I believe they are more than that: a strong prediction about a player's offensive ability at the NHL level, and as such this is an extremely valuable measurement.

One final item. Gabriel's number tells us we have something special in Taylor Hall. Desjardins: Based on the performance of thousands of drafted players, we can predict how many points a player will score in the NHL when he’s 21-years-old. If he’s 17, four years later, we expect him to score at 72% of his junior rate. But if he’s 20, on average, he’ll retain just 26% of his scoring.

There is some number massaging required to account for age, but this would make (with help from spOILer, comment #87 in this comments section) Taylor Hall's 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 32-52-84. We don't know Hall's TOI number (that had a major impact on Rob Schremp's 19-year old OHL season), but it is clear that the kid is an exceptional offensive talent. Gabriel Desjardins NHLE's are a strong predictor of the future, and for Oilers fans it is an extremely exciting time.

Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
#1 Lofty
July 16 2010, 07:18AM

Great stuff... After such a bad year a little optimism doesn't hurt.

#2 westy
July 16 2010, 07:43AM

Though I am mathematically challenged, I found this to be an interesting read. Let's hope that Halls's numbers at 21 are close to what is projected!

LT, based on Petry's projection and overall skills do you see him as a better prospect than Peckham?

Oh and kudos for having a pre-7am post (is that an Oilersnation first? :-)

#3 SirFozz
July 16 2010, 07:49AM

"This would make Taylor Hall's 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 41-69-110."

I would accept that.

#5 westy
July 16 2010, 08:14AM

Thanks for the reply, LT. I have been rooting for Peckham for awhile (even more so after he gave Claude Lemieux reason to consider retirement again). Do you feel that Peckham will make the big club given his waiver eligibility?

All that said, Petry seems to be a guy to watch.

#7 Souby
July 16 2010, 08:28AM

Good Read LT. I gives an interesting look at how some of these projections are attained. With that said, if Hall comes closes to those 21 year old numbers, Oil fan will be jacked!

One question though. Where do you see Lander fitting in to this team? He is interesting because he has skill and he has history/chemistry with MPS, but where does he project to sit on the depth chart?

#8 Racki
July 16 2010, 08:47AM

I'm pretty excited about Jeff Petry, to be honest. I do have some concerns about him based on seeing him play a bit this year, but that's going to be the case with any young player. I don't think we'll see him much at all this year, unless we have another wave of catastrophic injuries. But at any rate, I can speak of him being a complete d-man. I saw him rushing the puck up ice (very forward like in that regard, he was leading the charge several times in several games), I saw him beating guys up who stood in his "office" in front of his net, and I saw him playing positionally sound when the other team was rushing into the zone (what I didn't like was his tendency to "run" around in the defensive zone once the play was in there, but that will correct itself with some time in the AHL).

As for the NHLE numbers... if any of Hall, Eberle, MPS, Omark or Vande Velde play up here this year and reach those numbers, I'll be really impressed. It is pretty exciting, the amount of talent we have here.

And I agree.. no way we send Peckham down and risk waivers with him. We might overvalue him a bit here, but he's one of the other young d-men I'm most excited about.

#10 vishcosity
July 16 2010, 08:52AM

Most of the players on the first list probably never spent any time on their farm team, while most of the Oiler list will be spending a fair bit there probably.

That Tambo is picking up players for the Barons will likely bode well for the future development of the bottom half of the Oiler's list, but how much?

July 16 2010, 08:53AM

Stats are somewhat indicative of what most Oiler fans feel about the youth of this organization without the use of stats to support it . Nice to see eyeballing approach and stats are that closely aligned on a lot of them , however . Still find it hard to believe the Oilers passed on Perron twice after picking Gagner . To think we probably should have had Gagner , Perron and Plante in that first round and Nash probably gotten without having to give up anyone still is haunting . Nash of course turned out to be a bust for us ,and Plante we rushed on to soon i felt . Oh well , thats water under the bridge now .

#13 Velo
July 16 2010, 08:54AM

Nerds!

#15 Souby
July 16 2010, 08:58AM
Lowetide wrote:

Souby: Do you remember Doug Jarvis? He was an outstanding defensive center, elite PK guy and a master in the faceoff circle.

Lander will probably bring a little more offense than did Jarvis (Bowman used Jarvis differently than Gainey. Gainey would play many shifts with Jarvis but would also skate on the Lafleur line at times) because of the way Jarvis was used in Montreal.

But I think he'll fill that role if he continues to develop. Todd Marchant served that role for a long time with the Oilers. That kind of player.

I like him a lot, have him ranked as the #8 prospect in the system.

I like him too. I really hope the Oil give him a chance to grow into a Doug Jarvis/Guy Carboneau type of role where is can play well defensively and on the PK, but then toss in some PP and offensive situations. Just a thought.

July 16 2010, 09:01AM

Did Peckham not just sign a two year two way contract ? If so , why this talk of waivers ? Out of curiosity , would /can the Oilers pass Horcoff thru the waiver route ?

#18 Matt Henderson
July 16 2010, 09:09AM

I believe Horc has a "No Movement Clause", which prevents him from being sent down to the minors.

And the two way contract just means he has two different salaries (1 for the NHL and 1 for the AHL), but doesnt stop him from having to clear waivers.

#19 vishcosity
July 16 2010, 09:12AM

@Lowetide

How much will the farm team affect their development though? I wonder how important environment really is, and I don't think Dejardins includes this potentially signficant variable.

Can you figure out the levels of success of players that come from teams that have competed for the Calder in the last five years compared to the level of success for players who come from teams that finished bottom five in the AHL over that same period?

Could be curious to see how much better is the correlation when adjusted for the level of success of the transitional farm teams.

#21 vishcosity
July 16 2010, 09:20AM

Or, Dejardin as a function of actual results, with some kind of multiplier determined by the success of the farm team.

Could also work in reverse, maybe we can measure the farm team by its ability to produce players who match their Dejardin projections.

#23 JJmorrocco
July 16 2010, 09:27AM

Was Peckham not at top of the physical testing last year at training camp??? Gregor keeps saying he was not conditioned. Any chance Peckham has skills to play O and stand in front of the net? (our version of Byfuglen - stats are similar)

#24 mike
July 16 2010, 09:34AM

Without TOI Junior NHLE's are a bit fuzzy. I'd imagine the scouts all have a good handle on EV, PP, PK time for the 1st rounders.

#25 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 16 2010, 09:35AM
Lowetide wrote:

westy: I see him as a different prospect than Peckham. Petry has a nice range of skills and is in fact tracking very well as a puck moving type. However, he also has size and some grit, so there's a chance he'll be that very rare complete defenseman. He had a poor year in 08-09 but recovered nicely in 09-10.

Peckham is more of a defensive specialist but is much closer to being the player he'll become (if that makes any sense). He won't top 25 points in a season (in his NHL career) but he can be a useful player in a defensive role.

Petry has the higher ceiling, Peckham is the better bet.

Petry sounds like another Ryan Whitney. That'd be a great addition in a year or two and really solidify the defense.

#26 DC
July 16 2010, 09:35AM
Lowetide wrote:

That's an interesting question. I don't know that a study has been done that directly addresses your question, but in the larger view we do know that some organizations (Detroit, as an example) seem to develop their players on a different timeline.

By the time they arrive in the NHL, they are older, bigger, stronger and better prepared because they have played in an extremely difficult league (AHL).

So, in that way, we do have evidence that playing on a competitive level before the NHL impacts how well you play upon arrival.

However, there isn't a study that I know of that suggests minor league players who play for good teams have better careers than the ones who play for poor teams.

The Oilers of the mid 00's did prove (imo) that having NO team in the AHL--or a shared team--seems to have an impact on development.

2 great examples LT, the Oilers not having their own farm team really set back development of some of our prospects. If I remember correctly, we had a hard time getting Dubnyk ice time earlier in his career. (In Wilkes Barrie I think.) When he did get the shot to play he was one of the best goalies in the AHL. How good would Dubnyk be today if he played more sooner? I see good things in Dubs.

#27 Nate Full of Hate
July 16 2010, 09:38AM

@ Lowetide,

Don't worry I'll keep doing the hard work,

Thieving hack

#28 Matt Henderson
July 16 2010, 09:39AM

@Nate Full of Hate

~?

#29 DC
July 16 2010, 09:41AM
Nate Full of Hate wrote:

@ Lowetide,

Don't worry I'll keep doing the hard work,

Thieving hack

~Facepalm~

#30 Ribs
July 16 2010, 09:41AM

Great post, LT.

Maybe some step-by-step instructions on how to use the advanced statistics would be useful for everyone as well (not that this one is extremely difficult. For future articles, though). Gabes site can be hard to follow for some people.

#32 Shepso
July 16 2010, 09:49AM

@LT... Nice to see your standards, insights and use of math haven't changed since you've moved here. Too bad some of the commentary has dropped. I've been reluctant to post anything here because of it. Let's be honest, you've been doing the math vs observation thing for how many years now? I think you're absolutely spot on re: Lander. One more year of SEL and he'll be a beauty player, NHLe or not. Between the math and the observable intangibles, he's a heck of a prospect. @Natefullofhate... Go away. Please. You're not nearly as clever as you think you are. LT doesn't need this daily load of crap from you.

#33 SirFozz
July 16 2010, 09:52AM
Lowetide wrote:

Nate: I haven't stolen anything from you, mostly because there's been nothing of value. If you read the article above you can see that I'm only too happy to pass along credit where due.

So far, everything I've read from you concerns ownership of ideas that are clearly universal, internet aggression that we've all seen and are tired of, and an assumption that your comments have a special value "just because" it is you.

I'll post my items and let ON decide. Should they tell me that my articles are not welcome, I will withdraw.

Good enough?

Or did you invent that too? :-)

No no, your articles are more than welcome here, keep up the great work.

Let's put it to a poll. Who leaves: Nate or Lowetide? Decision is binding.

#34 Crackenbury
July 16 2010, 09:59AM

@Lowetide

Nice reply LT. A well written article supported by referenced material will always be welcome here, even if I'm not particularly fond of stats.

I like your comment about internet aggression. I think we've all been guilty of it at some point, but eventually most of us realize people are entitled to their opinions. Some guys just thrive on being d-bags.

#35 BUCK75
July 16 2010, 10:01AM

@SirFozz

I vote N8 off the island.

I like the article. As a person who doesn't really put a lot of stock into these numbers that I don't understand, the examples clearly speak to this Desjardin guys track record. If Hall gets even the same production as an Ales Hemsky gets now we would all be quite happy.

#36 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 16 2010, 10:09AM
SirFozz wrote:

No no, your articles are more than welcome here, keep up the great work.

Let's put it to a poll. Who leaves: Nate or Lowetide? Decision is binding.

Time to IP ban NFOH

#37 Hoos
July 16 2010, 10:09AM

Consider my choice to vote Nate off the island. Nate .... where's your value added?

#38 mike
July 16 2010, 10:09AM

Looked for Nate's profundities in the last thread and saw this gem stolen from chance the gardener: "stats are black & white, you need colour to get the real picture" Yay for Captain Obvious.

Top of the page it says "based on my early experience it looks as though math is regarded as a guide along with observation at Oilers", so yeah comments in the last thread (even beyond Nate's seminal ones) have something to do with LT observing that.

Don't worry about Nate, LT. At least his nick makes it clear what he's here for. You're doing just fine.

/blatant theft follows:

Buzz: It looks as though I've been accepted into your culture. Rex: With permanent ink, too!

#39 BUCK75
July 16 2010, 10:10AM
Lowetide wrote:

westy: I see him as a different prospect than Peckham. Petry has a nice range of skills and is in fact tracking very well as a puck moving type. However, he also has size and some grit, so there's a chance he'll be that very rare complete defenseman. He had a poor year in 08-09 but recovered nicely in 09-10.

Peckham is more of a defensive specialist but is much closer to being the player he'll become (if that makes any sense). He won't top 25 points in a season (in his NHL career) but he can be a useful player in a defensive role.

Petry has the higher ceiling, Peckham is the better bet.

With us signing Shawn Belle don't you think it is time for Peckham to prove something? Hockey's Future has Belle as a 5/6 dman when he gets the chance to play in the NHL.

On paper it looks like both guys are the same - except Belle is maybe not as tough, but can skate better. Advantage Belle IMO.

#40 Senator Theo
July 16 2010, 10:10AM
BUCK75 wrote:

I vote N8 off the island.

I like the article. As a person who doesn't really put a lot of stock into these numbers that I don't understand, the examples clearly speak to this Desjardin guys track record. If Hall gets even the same production as an Ales Hemsky gets now we would all be quite happy.

x2

#41 Milli
July 16 2010, 10:10AM

Good read, interesting numbers. The depth in the organization looks good, if the kids pan out like they should, high end talent, we will have some fun years to come, and that would be nice!

#42 Senator Theo
July 16 2010, 10:13AM
JJmorrocco wrote:

Was Peckham not at top of the physical testing last year at training camp??? Gregor keeps saying he was not conditioned. Any chance Peckham has skills to play O and stand in front of the net? (our version of Byfuglen - stats are similar)

I like that idea of trying a big guy like Peckham down low on the PP. If he could stand in front of shots, he might be a good fit there.

#43 striatic
July 16 2010, 10:16AM

Nate, the tribe has spoken.

Seriously, this post is textbook LT quality. He's made bunches of these over the years, diligently tracking prospect progress. The idea that this post is in anyway inspired by anything you or anyone else has said recently is ludicrous.

LT always does prospect projection posts, filled with math and personal insight. He talks about math versus observation all the time on his own blog, and this post has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Until now, since you've derailed the comments in the most transparently trollish way possible.

Anyway..

It would be cool if there was NHLE for advanced +/- or corsi. Would that require improved stats records coming out of the minor leagues?

#44 BBOil
July 16 2010, 10:18AM

@Nate Full of Hate

Nate, about the only thing you should be taking ownership over is useless comments.

~Please do not respond to my comment by claiming you have exclusive rights over useless comments.~

#45 spOILer
July 16 2010, 10:22AM

If he’s 17, four years later, we expect him to score at 72% of his junior rate. But if he’s 20, on average, he’ll retain just 26% of his scoring. This would make Taylor Hall's 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 41-69-110.

Huh?

Taylor Hall scored 40-66-106 in his 17 yo season. 72% of that junior rate is 29-47-76.

Patrick Kane scored 145 in his 18yo season and just had 88 points in his 21 yo season.

There's something wrong with your math LT, or you're not showing a step. Either way, I have difficulty believing Hall's 21 yo NHLE is 110 pts.

#46 GSC
July 16 2010, 10:32AM

From Desjardins himself: "We could narrow the bounds of the projection if we had more data about the players. This method tries to capture a player’s performance despite having no information about linemates, ice time, injury status, size and performance in other seasons. Who you play with can have a profound effect on your performance: Rob Brown played with Mario Lemieux and had 49 goals and 115 points. The Penguins traded him away two years later, and without Lemieux setting him up, he couldn’t crack an NHL roster."

Considering Hall played with at least above average linemates and for a stacked team overall in Windsor, you might want to be careful with the 110-point projection by age 21.

#47 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 16 2010, 10:33AM
spOILer wrote:

If he’s 17, four years later, we expect him to score at 72% of his junior rate. But if he’s 20, on average, he’ll retain just 26% of his scoring. This would make Taylor Hall's 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 41-69-110.

Huh?

Taylor Hall scored 40-66-106 in his 17 yo season. 72% of that junior rate is 29-47-76.

Patrick Kane scored 145 in his 18yo season and just had 88 points in his 21 yo season.

There's something wrong with your math LT, or you're not showing a step. Either way, I have difficulty believing Hall's 21 yo NHLE is 110 pts.

I think it's done on a per game basis.

Halls 106 in 57 = 1.86

x 82 NHL games = 152

x .72 multiplier = 110

#50 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 16 2010, 10:40AM
GSC wrote:

From Desjardins himself: "We could narrow the bounds of the projection if we had more data about the players. This method tries to capture a player’s performance despite having no information about linemates, ice time, injury status, size and performance in other seasons. Who you play with can have a profound effect on your performance: Rob Brown played with Mario Lemieux and had 49 goals and 115 points. The Penguins traded him away two years later, and without Lemieux setting him up, he couldn’t crack an NHL roster."

Considering Hall played with at least above average linemates and for a stacked team overall in Windsor, you might want to be careful with the 110-point projection by age 21.

Some counter evidence (ie line mates dont always make much of a difference at all)

Savards last year in Atlanta the top two wingers were Kovalchuck and Hossa who combined for 91 goals. His first year in Boston his top two wingers were Murray and Sturm who combined for 55 goals. Savards assists went up in Boston.