Kodachrome

Lowetide
April 11 2011 06:03PM

Scouting reports are like snapshots of people we don't know. They hold our interest, we might pursue more information (or photos) but the bottom line is that nothing is as good as personal experience. So, when Central Scouting released their final list today, we must remember it's a quick snapshot of a moment in time. It is a guide, it is not the bible. The bible arrives on draft day.

I'm always impressed with the intelligence of the NHL's scouting community. These are hockey men with resume's that date back to the 1960's (and earlier in rare cases) and have documented thousands of games filled with prospects. I'm a stats guy--I remain stubbornly convinced that Sean Couturier should be inside the top 5--but these NHL scouts have trained eyes and something about the big man from Arizona has caught there eye and remains a problem.

Central Scouting releases 4 lists on their final release day: North American skaters, European skaters, NA goalies and the goalies from across the pond. CS has a website but no one goes there; instead, that monstrous list is published all over the place every year. TSN, nhl.com, hell it might be in tomorrow's newspaper.

The important list this season is NA skaters. D Adam Larsson headlines the Euro list, but the lottery selections (Larsson aside) are extremely likely to be North American kids. So, let's have a look at the top 10 players on CS's NA list (final edition):

  1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins: The kid's WHL team is in trouble now, but only because RNH can't play goal. A stunning run from the Top Prospects game through last week has this young man in some rarified air. It's likely even money now that he'll be the #1 ranked prospect on the Bob McKenzie (it's not the bible either, but he's at least spoken to the authors by now) list from tsn. NHL dot com has a splendid quote from scout (former skill F) Peter Sullivan: “A couple of people high up in the Oilers organization-- and not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That's the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that.”  Quote is here.
  2. Gabriel Landeskog: An ankle injury appears to be hurting his final draft number, but he performed very well during the OHL regular season. I've nominated him in my own mind as the guy I'll regret the Oilers not drafting, because his scouting report would fit wonderfully on the current roster. If Hall or Eberle ever move to center, my guess is this guy would be an ideal linemate. Sullivan again: "Gabriel does remind me of former Kitchener Ranger (and Philadelphia Flyers captain) Mike Richards. He sticks up for his teammates and is as strong at both ends of the rink as any player in the draft this year. He competes as hard if not harder than anybody. He's got all the assets that you need to be a team leader and, for a potential No. 1 overall, that's what you would want."
  3. Jonathan Huberdeau: He was coming on before the Top Prospects game, but a strong showing there and then a terrific scoring spree at the end of the season improved his final draft number. Quick hands, he's played a lot on the wing although there are some scouting services that list him at center. Despite his impressive season, there's been no hint that he's under consideration by the Oilers.
  4. Dougie Hamilton: If I had a vote (and you should be glad I don't) Hamilton is a guy who would be in my final four. This guy is an absolute load, plus he has has some skills too. You never know with these kids, but Hamilton's size and skill combination suggest he'll be a complete player should he continue to develop and avoid injury. He should be gone by #5.
  5. Nathan Beaulieu: I know a few draft followers who were hoping he'd slide, but a strong playoff in the Q means he won't slide too long. I do believe this is a very high slot for him and would lay odds Beaulieu won't be the first QMJHL player to be drafted. Favorite TV show is Jersey Shore.
  6. Sean Couturier: I keep wondering what we're missing. It's clear the scouts (and these are smart men) have found a hitch in his giddyup (skating, toughness are mentioned) but math adores him. Couturier gets a passing grade from scout (and former skill player) Chris Bordeleau: “At his size, he'll be hard to pass up in the draft. He possesses a very good work ethic and he's out there for every important faceoff. He's very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game -- a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey." I still have him #1 on my list. No one in hockey has emailed requesting my list, however.
  7. Sven Baertschi: Undersized Swiss winger had all kinds of success in the WHL. I think it's a bit of a reach to place him here, but there is a case ot be made for him. One of the things he accomplished in the second half of the season was to maintain his scoring pace. First half: 36gp, 21-26-47; after the WJ's: 30gp, 13-25-38, and he continues to score for Portland in the playoffs.  
  8. Ryan Strome: Outstanding talent here, he's got all kinds of ability. Kyle Woodlief from Redline Report: "He's a guy who's got just great puck skills; he dangles with the puck and has got great speed. Really, he doesn't need any time or space to get his shot away. He has a knack for getting to open ice."
  9. Ryan Murphy: Ridiculous numbers for this puck mover tell the story. Murphy is going to slide a little because of size, but the offense is so good that some NHL team will reach up and grab him before the Oilers make their 2nd pick of the first round. Nashville doesn't need him, so they'll probably take him and we can watch him rip in the western conference for the next decade. 
  10. Duncan Siemens: Huge defender impressed with a fight at the Top Prospects game and he's a guy the Oilers are probably eyeing closely should they trade up with the LAK pick. He's big, strong and can skate, and those qualities in a stay-at-home type (he's skilled but isn't going to run your powerplay) are extremely valuable. 

NHL.COM is the best place to view the lists, it is here.  I'll follow this up later in the week once we know where the Oilers pick (1 or 2?) and we'll have plenty of time to discuss it. PLENTY of time.

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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 Team 1260.
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#51 Peterborough
April 12 2011, 10:30PM
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rickithebear wrote:

Draft Wiz: I know whta it is like to were my countries colors on my back!

I know the two years of preperation. I know what is like to train up to 5 times a day.

I know what it is like to run 3000M on top of the Rink, do fartleks, then stairs and walk over to the puke bucket at the end.

I know what is like to sit in front of the tele and do 3000 sit-ups.

I know whay it is like to Do triathalete set in the gym using 100 to 500lbs.

I know what it is like to break a mans Jaw, Leg, Arm, balls to win a game.

I know what it is like to make plays you know only ten players in the world can make.

I have played with a broken ankle, Cheek, Hand.

I know the beauty Oxegenated blood being put in your body and the altimate adrenalin ruches that occur doing performnces the next week.

I have made decisions for the sake of sport that has messed my body at a young age.

I know from natinal testing there are not many who haven gotten there body to the level I achieved. So please do not question my heart. Just know this.

The one thing I am most certain of is Stats do matter! I know Psat player history is used as a measure of the future.

Seeing Daigle, Bonsignore, Kelly, Stefan as markers and you not being scared tells me all i need to know about you r sports knowledge.

Passion counts for something. but results count more. I am not using the 1st pick an any risk. and RNH is the biggest Since Gagner.

Stats do matter. Big time. But their are anomilies , it happens. Like Pisani, that magical run re had on our magical run. But thats why they play the games. Stats will be right over the long hall most of the time.

It's like poker: you put your money in with top set and when some A-hole hits his runner runner flush keep playing you'll take his money 19/20.

I'm okay with those odds.

PS If anyone who reads this isn't, its not too late to book a spot in this weekends big game!!!

PPS Bring a LOT of cash!!!

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#52 TigerUnderGlass
April 12 2011, 11:19PM
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@Peterborough

PS If anyone who reads this isn't, its not too late to book a spot in this weekends big game!!! PPS Bring a LOT of cash!!!

Has anyone good at poker ever said anything like this?

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#53 TigerUnderGlass
April 12 2011, 11:39PM
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@rickithebear

Nate my first game of junior hockey was in Flin Flon Manitoba in 68-69.

Interesting. So apparently you were teammates with Bobby Clarke. Coincidentally he was a hall of fame player who, as an 18 year old junior player, only scored 30% of his points from goals.

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#54 Lyxdeslic
April 12 2011, 11:43PM
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@rickithebear

Congratualtions on being in such physical shape and making it nowhere, you must of lacked what Nugent-Hopkins as an extreme abundance of.... hockey sense and vision.

Ps. Anyone can be anything they want to be on the internet, so without further adieu congratulations on playing for team Canada.

As for the risk factor, yes i agree his size is a risk, but he powerplay points has extremely no effect on me. Quite frankly the Oilers powerplay BLOWS and we need someone to step up and create offense on it. This powerplay success just demonstrates his incredible talent to find holes in defense.

As for my hockey knowledge, I come from a family of 5 and all of us boys played either Juinor A or some form of post secondary hockey. My brother is currently a hockey trainer in Edmonton and works with players from bantam AAA to the Oil Kings, i have another brother who currently plays for Cornell. I ended my hockey career 2 years ago and since then have been eating sleeping and breathing any form of hockey.

Being from Red Deer/Sylvan Lake Area I also became great friends with Brooke Sutter (brent Sutter's daughter) and have had the privelage to spend time with him and some of the people in his organization. (yes i hate the flames but who wouldn't want to talk to someone in the NHL buisness) I got to talk to meet Tod Button (director of scouting) and asked who he thuoght was the best player in the draft, he simply said "Hopkins" stating that he vision is unmatched in the last 3-4 drafts. So im not an expert on the situation, but i dont think im out to lunch by any means.

I understand stats are important, but ive said it before, you are selective in your stats and base all opinions on stats rather then watch them play.

When its unanimous on all draft rankings that you are the number one player in the draft... the risk is probably not all that much.

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#55 Lyxdeslic
April 12 2011, 11:51PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

You my friend are absolutely brilliant!

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#56 TigerUnderGlass
April 12 2011, 11:54PM
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When its unanimous on all draft rankings that you are the number one player in the draft... the risk is probably not all that much.

Is it really unanimous though when the favorite to go number one changes 86 times during the season? Will you change your mind in 2 weeks when someone puts Larsson at the top of their list? I doubt it, but it's too close to be so sure about it.

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#57 TigerUnderGlass
April 13 2011, 12:00AM
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Lyxdeslic wrote:

You my friend are absolutely brilliant!

I do agree with many of his points. I just found this particular bit of information to be amusing.

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#58 Lyxdeslic
April 13 2011, 12:04AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

ISS -Nugent-Hopkins Craig Button- Nugent-Hopkins Central Scouting- Nugent-Hopkins Bob Mckenzie- Nugent-Hopkins Every mock draft on NHL.com, Adam Kimelman, Mike G Morreale and Steven Hoffner's Mock drafts - Nugent-Hopkins (all the most recent updated draft lists) SEEMS PRETTY UNANIMOUS TO ME.

Yes someone else might be taken 1st but im making point that NuHo cant have that much risk with these draft rankings the way they are.

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#59 Lyxdeslic
April 13 2011, 12:16AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

The quote referring to your brilliance also corelates with Willis' "playoff prediction project" Im the third person to give my predictions when i went and looked at other peoples predictions, oddly enough your were: Chicago 7 SJ 5 Det 5 Anahiem 6 Was 6 Phi 7 Bos 4 TB 5

all winning teams are the exact same as mine... the games played barely differ from mine as well, one again, Brilliant.

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#60 TigerUnderGlass
April 13 2011, 12:38AM
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@Lyxdeslic

Right... technically it's unanimous.

...but the term unanimous generally implies more of a dominating sense than his current situation. A player who has only been the #1 favorite for a fraction of the season doesn't really meet the expectation that come from using the term. Just think, if the season happened to end a month ago he would probably not been ranked #1.

So yes, technically it is unanimous, but only a month or so ago he was considered #2. Hardly an overwhelming vote of confidence. I do agree that earning the #1 ranking does indicate a good chance that he can play however...I'm just having a hard time convincing myself he should go first overall.

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#61 Lyxdeslic
April 13 2011, 01:02AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

yes i do see where your coming from, but even last year Stu Mcgregor changed his mind is a couple of time whether or not Hall or Seguiin should be taken first overall. So im not too concerned with his late claim of the number one spot.

I understand that point aswell, i too have some worries after watching this playoff series against Med Hat but once again, the vision he has is unbelievable and i have faith in scouting especially Stu Mcgregor, and right now NuHo looks on top of the scouting charts.

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#62 aaron
April 13 2011, 07:22AM
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Seeing the new order of the top dozen or so in the draft order, several of the teams in our potential sweet spot for trading up with our LA pick (and getting an Oleksiak, Siemens, McNeil, or Zibanejad...) are division rivals:

10. Minny 11. Col 13. Cgy

No one will be doing us any favours....

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#63 FastOil
April 13 2011, 11:18AM
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hoil wrote:

RNH is listed at 6'-1/2".

Landeskog is listed at 6'-1/2".

I realize that Landeskog weighs 40+lbs more and would obviously be much stronger, but adding 20 lbs of muscle to a guy that just 18 isn't unheard of. And, it's more likely than banking on a guy developing first-line NHL speed and skills.

Actually I like Landeskog a lot and would love to have him on the Oilers.

@Oilfan00 Couturier is so far ahead of his team mates (and I think others) in +/- that the last player was Crosby I believe, that had such a gap. He has the best numbers in even strength play, lots of goals, etc. and size this year. There is something the scouts aren't liking however.

Players that rack up PP points in junior and don't score goals don't fare as well in the bigs. This is the concern with RNH, and of course he's unusually slight for an NHL'er.

The other scary thing is of the 6 low goal high draft guys ricki mentioned who did not become dominant NHL players (Gagner is not going to be dominant), 3 were Oiler drafts.

"Vision" doesn't necessarily translate to the NHL level, goals scored by the player himself does. It's the difference between former linemates Kane and Gagner, Crosby and Pouliot.

When you add in issues with a player's game it gets worse, like that Kane skates really well and Gagner doesn't, Gagner has a weak shot etc..

There is more of a gamble with RNH - could be a superstar, could bust with the size thing and his weak shot. Couturier is going to be at least a good player because he has size and plays all aspects of the game really well already.

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#64 hoil
April 13 2011, 02:18PM
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FastOil wrote:

@Oilfan00 Couturier is so far ahead of his team mates (and I think others) in +/- that the last player was Crosby I believe, that had such a gap. He has the best numbers in even strength play, lots of goals, etc. and size this year. There is something the scouts aren't liking however.

Players that rack up PP points in junior and don't score goals don't fare as well in the bigs. This is the concern with RNH, and of course he's unusually slight for an NHL'er.

The other scary thing is of the 6 low goal high draft guys ricki mentioned who did not become dominant NHL players (Gagner is not going to be dominant), 3 were Oiler drafts.

"Vision" doesn't necessarily translate to the NHL level, goals scored by the player himself does. It's the difference between former linemates Kane and Gagner, Crosby and Pouliot.

When you add in issues with a player's game it gets worse, like that Kane skates really well and Gagner doesn't, Gagner has a weak shot etc..

There is more of a gamble with RNH - could be a superstar, could bust with the size thing and his weak shot. Couturier is going to be at least a good player because he has size and plays all aspects of the game really well already.

I didn't mention Courturier when I was pointing out that the Hopkins wasn't exactly tiny. Personally, I am pretty surprised that a big centre with all of those great stats has slipped so much in the rankings. It would be interesting to hear some of the scouts explain it. I would hate to see him end up here and get chewed up by the fans because he has the big guy "looks slow" syndrome and fails to meet expectations. Let's face it, none of the guys in the mix are up to the Taylor Hall level.

I don't know how much of the game the Rebels play has to do with RNH's heavy PP points, and how he is used in their system to exploit the PP. I do know that he doesn't have a problem with his defensive game (respectable +/-), skates better than most and has uncanny hockey sense and skill.

He needs a bit of muscle and could improve his shot, but those are things that can be improved on with time, diet, excercise and practice. The say you can't teach size, but you can't teach speed & vision either.

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#65 hoil
April 13 2011, 02:59PM
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rickithebear wrote:

Hotoil or Hoil? NHLE league value NCAA .45 WHL .28

I did not use Kariya because he was NCAA a much tougher league 1.6 times harder than CHL. However lets look: Kariya had 2.59 RNH Had

Kariya 2.59 PPG his draft year. At october 18 yr season which is nhle projected @ (.5*1.60) = .80 ; 2.59 X .8 ; nhle 2.0 ; Actual NHLE 1.30 The key is when you lok at the below #0% guys you get around .65 of NHLE. Unless you are points freak like Kariya or Gagner. Then good luck.

RNH As a April 93 would have a .65 equivalency. So he would need 3.07 ppg in the WHL tp produce like Kariya. RNH 1.53ppg X .65 = .99ppg NHLE but what you have shown me is the NHLE reduction for Kariya is not as dramatic for NCaa guys. Howefer the best I have seen is a 35% reduction for Kariya and the best Chl reduction is Gagner.

Gagner 2.2PPg X .7 = 1.44ppg this year 1.2ppg Actual .65ppg 45% reduction.

So these low point from goal guys get 45% or worse reductions relative to NHLE.

Jesus Hoil. you just made it look worse for RNH. based on this he will likey be worse than .65ppg.

I made it worse?

By taking a specific argument you made about Goals to Assists being a predictor of future performance and pointing out ONE specific contradiction that you ignored because it didn't help your case against RNH?

Here's another: Doug Wickenheiser and Denis Savard: which one had the better G to A ratio in their draft year? Hint: he was 3 inches and 26 pounds heavier.

Then you changed the argument to something entirely different, NHLE by player's background, took it to your own jury and amazingly won with yourelf as judge. Of course nobody outside yourself understood your post the way it is written, and I can do simple percentage guzintas thank you.

I threw a dart at the 2001 draft to check out their NHLE. Chuck Kobasew NCAA NHLE should have given him 0.51 ppg according to your generic numbers (0.45), yet he has only managed 0.41 ppg in the big show. Only in his two best years did he meet and exceed his NHLE.

The next forward in the dartboard with a WHL background was Colby Armstrong (another Rebel!). With your NHLE for WHL of 0.28 his NHL ppg should be around 0.30. But he manages to meet Chuck's NHLE quite nicely.

To find these nice stats, I simply picked a year, picked the first NCAA forward selected and went down the order to the next WHL player chosen. No doubt these two are statistical anomolies, but they work for my argument so I used them.

The problem with any of these stats is averages are just that; averages. They do not account for statistical freaks who are outside of the bell curve. NHLE are a very useful tool for analysis, but they are far from being law.

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#66 TigerUnderGlass
April 13 2011, 04:13PM
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hoil wrote:

I made it worse?

By taking a specific argument you made about Goals to Assists being a predictor of future performance and pointing out ONE specific contradiction that you ignored because it didn't help your case against RNH?

Here's another: Doug Wickenheiser and Denis Savard: which one had the better G to A ratio in their draft year? Hint: he was 3 inches and 26 pounds heavier.

Then you changed the argument to something entirely different, NHLE by player's background, took it to your own jury and amazingly won with yourelf as judge. Of course nobody outside yourself understood your post the way it is written, and I can do simple percentage guzintas thank you.

I threw a dart at the 2001 draft to check out their NHLE. Chuck Kobasew NCAA NHLE should have given him 0.51 ppg according to your generic numbers (0.45), yet he has only managed 0.41 ppg in the big show. Only in his two best years did he meet and exceed his NHLE.

The next forward in the dartboard with a WHL background was Colby Armstrong (another Rebel!). With your NHLE for WHL of 0.28 his NHL ppg should be around 0.30. But he manages to meet Chuck's NHLE quite nicely.

To find these nice stats, I simply picked a year, picked the first NCAA forward selected and went down the order to the next WHL player chosen. No doubt these two are statistical anomolies, but they work for my argument so I used them.

The problem with any of these stats is averages are just that; averages. They do not account for statistical freaks who are outside of the bell curve. NHLE are a very useful tool for analysis, but they are far from being law.

You can't talk that way to a guy who played with Bobby Clarke and witnessed first hand as Clarke beat the overwhelming odds of becoming an impact NHL player despite a terrible goal ratio.

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