My 2009 NHL Draft List: Ranking the Top 50 CHL Forwards

tavares

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):

  1. John Tavares (OHL, 52.0%)
  2. Matt Duchene (OHL, 35.7%)
  3. Evander Kane (WHL, 35.5%)
  4. Brayden Schenn (WHL, 30.7%)
  5. Scott Glennie (WHL, 31.1%)
  6. Zack Kassian (OHL, 33.4%)
  7. Alex Hutchings (OHL, 34.3%)
  8. Ethan Werek (OHL, 33.0%)
  9. Landon Ferraro (WHL, 33.9%)
  10. Ryan Howse (WHL, 33.7%)
  11. Nazem Kadri (OHL, 33.0%)
  12. Jordan Caron (QMJHL, 30.5%)
  13. Benjamin Casavant (QMJHL, 34.9%)
  14. Ryan O’Reilly (OHL, 28.3%)
  15. Kellen Tochkin (WHL, 37.2%)
  16. Peter Holland (OHL, 29.6%)
  17. Cassidy Mappin (WHL, 29.2%)
  18. Gabriel Bourque (QMJHL, 33.6%)
  19. Byron Froese (WHL, 28.6%)
  20. Taylor Beck (OHL, 26.0%)
  21. Tomas Vincour (WHL, 27.7%)
  22. Linden Vey (WHL, 28.5%)
  23. Andrej Nestrasil (QMJHL, 26.8%)
  24. Michal Hlinka (QMJHL, 26.2%)
  25. Michael Latta (OHL, 25.8%)
  26. Guillaume Goulet (QMJHL, 33.5%)
  27. Michael Fine (OHL, 25.2%)
  28. Carter Ashton (WHL, 22.7%)
  29. Justin Dowling (WHL, 25.9%)
  30. Jeremy Boyer (WHL, 25.6%)
  31. Cody Eakin (WHL, 24.8%)
  32. Darren Archibald (OHL, 22.9%)
  33. Levko Koper (WHL, 24.5%)
  34. Willie Coetzee (WHL, 24.4%)
  35. Philippe Paradis (QMJHL, 16.7%)
  36. Jimmy Bubnick (WHL, 23.6%)
  37. Steven Anthony (QMJHL, 21.9%)
  38. Garrett Wilson (OHL, 19.9%)
  39. Philip Varone (OHL, 21.2%)
  40. Burke Gallimore (WHL, 19.0%)
  41. Jordan Mayer (OHL, 19.2%)
  42. David Gilbert (QMJHL, 15.5%)
  43. Stepan Novotny (WHL, 17.0%)
  44. Gabriel Dumont (QMJHL, 18.9%)
  45. Jonathan Lessard (QMJHL, 16.0%)
  46. Kristopher Foucault (WHL, 15.9%)
  47. Philippe Lefebvre (QMJHL, 13.9%)
  48. Jordan Szwarz (OHL, 16.6%)
  49. Casey Cizikas (OHL, 19.4%)
  50. 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.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis:

    According to the comments section at LT the Kadri split before and after Tavares is the following:

    Prior to Tavares:
    29 16-29-45 +13

    After Tavares:
    27 9-24-33 E

    It's worth noting that Kadri broke his jaw right before the WJC so that will also coincide with the timing of this split.

    To clarify further, I'm not pro-Kadri. I think there are a lot of holes in his game and he is neither large nor fast.

    I just think that he gets a raw deal by this metric unless we look at it separately before and after the arrival of Tavares.

  • Hippy

    @ roughneck:
    I preferred it when Burke was in a market that didn't get much exposure, but since that hot air maker has been in Toronto he is getting entirely too much press and it is making me a little irritated listening to all his bluster being repeated by every website.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan deserves some recognition so that's nice to see.

    Jonathan certainly didn't come up with advanced statistics but he lays it all out in a way that the average fan can read and enjoy the math side of the game and want to learn more. Some other guys I think are a little too arrogant and unwilling to budge on views and that just makes the average fan dislike stats.

    I think Willis does a wonderful job of bridging the gap between the two sides.

  • Hippy

    @ Jon Kerber:

    Thanks, Jon. That's very interesting and you're probably right; particularly since I'd imagine London scored more goals after Tavares came over too. I'm not sure how I missed that over at LT's.

  • Hippy

    Thanks all.

    I emailed Scott this morning just to toss out the idea of using percentage of total team offense to compare between eras, and he was nice enough to link to me.

    As for the hundreds of wives, pass, thanks 😉

  • Hippy

    What's the departure time of the Gregor train to Information Town? He heading out a day early or what?
    Why can't the draft happen on a work day so I can get nothing done and get paid 😀

  • Hippy

    Bob Loblaw wrote:

    Can we get a site like this for the Eskimos too? If we linked the 2 sites then I’d never have to go to another internet site ever again.

    AGREED!

  • Hippy

    DK0 wrote:

    What’s the departure time of the Gregor train to Information Town? He heading out a day early or what?
    Why can’t the draft happen on a work day so I can get nothing done and get paid

    If it did I think most employers would get suspicious seeing a bunch of guys get sick on draft day and trade deadline day. Hell just the lack of production overall from the others that couldn't take it off would be overwelming lol.

  • Hippy

    @ scorecoff hemmercules:
    Ryan Rishaug told Gregor that on 1260, he did an article about it the next day on tsn.ca and here's a link to the ON blog where it was discussed:
    oilersnation.com/2009/06/heatley-or-j-bo-the-oilers-cant-have-both/

    Maybe he was just making nice, but I will take him at his word.