Forwards and NHLE – 2010 Draft

Taylor Hall

Photo by Alesiaxx via Wikimedia Commons

Over the last couple of days, I’ve looked at all of the forwards chosen in the 2012 and 2011 entry drafts. Today, we’re moving on to the great Taylor v. Tyler debate of 2010. Two years out, those two players are still at the top of the pile, but many of the others in the top ten aren’t yet playing in the NHL. If you’ve read the methodological explanations already, feel free to skip down to the results. 

In the chart below, I’ve taken each player’s goals, assists and points, converted them to a "per game" rate, multiplied them by the league equivalency number, and then expressed them as an "NHL equivalency" assuming an 82-game NHL season. As you may have guessed, each league has a different equivalency number. I’ve used this article for the translations from the KHL (multiply offense by 0.83), SEL (0.78), CZE (0.74), FNL (0.54), NCAA (0.41), WHL (0.30), OHL (0.30) and QMJHL (0.28),and this article for the translations from the USHL (0.27), AJHL (0.16), and BCHL (0.14). With these players getting older, there are now only a few leagues that have drafted players but no translations, and if you’re playing there (ECHL, minor European league), that’s probably a bad sign.

Before I go ahead and put up the chart, a bit more explanation is needed. Not all of the players drafted in 2010 were actually the same age; in fact, several players had already passed through the draft at least once (and sometimes twice). All of these older players are included in the chart but are marked in yellow. There were also some players who were first eligible for the draft in 2009 or 2010 but weren’t drafted until 2011 or 2012. I’ve also included these players in the chart with "N/A" written in the "Draft Number" column. If 2010 was the player’s first year of eligibility, the yellow highlighting is removed.

The "Draft Number" column is not the player’s actual draft position but the player’s position among forwards. So, for example, the Carolina Hurricanes drafted Jeff Skinner 7th overall, but he was the 6th forward to be drafted, so his "Draft Number" in the chart is "6". Some of these players have also gone unsigned or been traded, so I’ll just note that the "Team" listed is the one that drafted the player.

These numbers may also be slightly different than the NHLE numbers you may have seen elsewhere for these players. That’s because I include both regular season and playoff games in the results, which I think probably gives a better estimate. None of these teams are playing a balanced schedule anyway, so it seems to me that including the larger sample of games is the way to go.

The "Rank" column is organized by NHLE. Anyone without an NHLE ranking is placed at the bottom in the order that they were drafted.

 

Points of Interest:

  • There are quite a few very promising prospects who spent last season playing in one of the best European leagues. If those players all come over (Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Jarnkrok, Granlund, Fasth, and Larsson), it will be interesting to see whether or not their offense holds up. All six of those players are given over forty points by the translations, something that just 138 forwards achieved last season. Will these players all arrive as top six forwards? Probably not. Fasth in particular seems doubtful based on the small sample of games in 2011-12 and his past performance.
  • One of the problems with the NHLE system is that it only captures the performance of the "winners", i.e., the players who come directly to the NHL. At this time last year, Ondrej Palat, Curtis Hamilton, Tye McGinn, and Ryan Martindale were all among the top twenty-five, putting up big numbers in the CHL. None of them came directly to the NHL, and all of them struggled in the pro game. Palat survived the best of that group, finishing 94th on this list after posting 39 points in 79 AHL games. Most of the other junior players will join these four in the AHL next season, and that year of AHL experience will likely push this group back up the chart (though probably not back into the top twenty-five).
  • It is helpful, though, in reminding us to take the numbers put up by the CHL kids with a grain of salt. No matter how good Mark Stone looks playing in the OHL, the step to pro hockey is substantial, and not everyone is going to make it.
  • But not everyone makes a stop in the AHL. There are few other top picks well down this list who are already playing in the NHL. It’s safe to say that all of Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Brett Connolly and (to a lesser extent) Alexander Burmistrov weren’t quite as good as their teams had hoped offensively in 2011-12, but all four have already played more NHL games than some of the men listed above them ever will.
  • The St. Louis Blues had a very successful draft with two players in the top ten. Adding Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko to an already excellent forward group is going to make this team very difficult to defend for at least the next four or five years (Backes, Oshie, Perron, Steen, Stewart and Berglund are all twenty-eight years old or younger).
  • Some players made a huge leap this season. Chris Wagner, for example, scored just 19 points in 41 games in his freshman year at Colgate, but upped that 51 points in 38 games as a sophomore. Other players who made a big leap include Brock Nelson and Nick Bjugstad, both of whom likely got much more ice time as sophomores than they did as frehsmen coming out of high school hockey.
  • With each league being different, it’s always fun to pick out the best guy in each league. In 2011-12, that was Taylor Hall (NHL), Vladimir Tarasenko (KHL), Calle Jarnkrok (SEL), Mikael Granlund (FNL), Jaden Schwartz (NCAA), Mark Stone (WHL), Charlie Coyle (QMJHL), 2012 first-round pick Tanner Pearson (OHL), and Ondrej Palat (AHL). 
  • OilClog

    Hall vs Seguin.. One on one, Hall wins 9 out of 10 times, so yes he is the better player. Seguin wouldn’t have the numbers that Hall has playing for the Oilers, Boston’s team dynamic and play help Seguin make up lots of ground on Hall stat wise. Compare Bruin to Oiler team stats, Halls numbers tower above Seguin in contribution.

    RNH will be a more dominate center then Seguin when it gets down to it.

    • DSF

      1 on 1, 40 players would have beaten Gretzky too but were they better in a game? That is the thing, Hall thinks he is the only guy out there. RNH will be nowhere near as good as Seguin. He looks as fragile as Hall already.

      • RexLibris

        I would take Nugent-Hopkins over Seguin. Seguin is phenomenal, and I was firmly in the draft-Seguin camp in 2010. But Nugent-Hopkins has astounding vision and creativity that makes the other four skaters better players.

        Seguin is good, but he hasn’t shown me that he improves more than his immediate linemates. Hall is about on the same level as Seguin in how he uses his linemates. His passing isn’t as good, but to be honest it isn’t far behind and is probably underrated. Hall often creates plays as though he is the only player on the ice because of his speed (few can keep up) and his youthful enthusiasm. By the end of his season I saw him begin to create more plays and open up more passing lanes for his linemates.

        Out of curiosity, where does the “fragile” tag come from for Nugent-Hopkins (or Hall, for that matter)? His shoulder injury? It was a rut in the ice and there really aren’t many players who could slide at that speed into the boards like that without sustaining some sort of sprain.

        If Hall were fragile he wouldn’t have gotten up from the Hamonic hit in the Memorial Cup. Fragile is Sami Salo or Rick DiPietro. If Nugent-Hopkins were fragile he wouldn’t have survived the WHL. I watched a lot of him in his last season of junior and he was willing to initiate and give back as much as he got. Heck, he put Brendan Morrow out with a concussion when Morrow tried to lay him out at the blueline.

        • RexLibris

          Perhaps the fragile tag is too early for RNH. He does work hard but is often almost totally un noticeable for long periods of time. He was dominated by Huberdeau, Johansen , Coutierier and even Strome at World Junior Camp. Personally, I am not as sold as many seem to be. Time will tell.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I’ve actually taken the time to compile an NHL:KHL equivalence, rather than relying on old Super League numbers.

    The result is an equivalence in season totals of essentially 1:1. Despite a relatively small sample size, the data is surprisingly homogenous, with very few outliers.

    Good examples of the near-parity in points totals are Jaromir Jagr, Jiri Hudler, Pavol Demitra, and Sergei Zubov. Many other examples are less statistically rigorous but pass the eye-ball test, like Sergei Fedorov, Jamie Lundmark and Anton Babchuk.

    If anything, the numbers suggest that the KHL has become the harder league in which to put up points (per season, rather than per game).

  • The Last Big Bear

    I’ve taken it on myself to do an NHL:KHL equivalency, rather than use the old Super League numbers.

    The result is an approx 1:1 equivalence over the course of a season. If anything, it leans toward the KHL being a more difficult league in which to put up numbers (over a season, rather than per game).

    The numbers are surprisingly uniform, with very few outliers. Good examples of the 1:1 equivalence are Jaromir Jagr, Jiri Hudler, Chris Simon, Pavol Demitra, Sergei Zubov, and Alex Radulov.

  • RexLibris

    @cLyde

    That is true, he was overshadowed by the other centers in camp. His making the Oilers speaks partly to his ability and partially to the lack of center depth on the team last September, though.

    All of the other players you have mentioned look like terrific talents, and Hockey Canada is going to have to make some very tough decisions in the years to come about that position. They might even leave Crosby off a team or two based on health concerns over the next ten years.

    Having said that, looking at all of those players, and having taken some time to watch many of them play (save Strome), while I would love to add any of them to the Oilers, I wouldn’t do it at the expense of Nugent-Hopkins. I honestly think that he is the most talented of that group.

    I don’t blame you for being skeptical, though. There were many in Edmonton last year prior to the season who felt that the Oilers ought not to have drafted him.

  • RexLibris

    @beloch

    That is partly why I’m not really worried about Hall. All young players develop. They make the rookie mistakes, forget to keep their heads up, try one move too many in tight, and so on.

    Like you said, he’s still young and his recovery time may be indicative of his age as much as a natural ability to heal quickly.

    However, perhaps then he is better to have suffered these lessons now than later in life when the consequences might have been more significant. I have no doubt he has learned from them. His drive is to be the best player on the ice every shift, that extends to off-ice training and down to the minutiae of his shifts.

    I think this also speaks to the value of having had a teacher like Tom Renney for his first two years. I suspect there may be some changes to Hall’s game now under Krueger and it will be interesting to see if there are any noticeable adaptations with this new coach.

  • RexLibris

    personally, I think Hall will be fine. He might never play a full season, but I really don’t think he’s ever going to be truly fragile either. So far he hasn’t had anything chronic (though the concussion is a concern) and with experience will come wisdom. He’ll learn to pick his spots better.

  • SmellOfVictory

    @The Last Big Bear: very interesting. You should forward your findings to some of the stats guys (Gabe Desjardins being the central one I would think).

  • RexLibris

    @Baalzamon

    So here is a loaded question then…

    If the Flames were to start a rebuild through the draft (crazy idea, I know, but let’s suspend disbelief for the time being) of Eberle, Hall, and Nugent-Hopkins which player-type would you argue ought to be the first player taken as a cornerstone for a new core? I’m not limiting it to position either, but also taking into account personality and playing styles.

    I’m not including Yakupov because until he plays an NHL game he can’t really be compared to the other three.

    Just curious for the perspective of someone on the outside looking in.

    • RexLibris

      that’s a tough one, considering I like all three. I think I have to go with Nugent-Hopkins type. That may just be because the Flames have lacked a top center for so long, but the center position is just so important, and being able to snag a talented playmaking type through the draft is a great way to go.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Speaking of the three, I think Hall might actually be the most effective one so far; that said, he does play a relatively risky playstyle in comparison to the other two.

  • SmellOfVictory

    The best glimpse of Scheifele is his preseason stats. Gotta be worth something. Like the league-by-league comparison. Leagues like KHL and especially international ice: it is harder for a physical player to get points and easier for a smaller players to play a full season.
    If the Jets make it to the Finals over the next two years, a player in J.Brown’s position would be better off being a distraction; messing with the heads of the other team.
    Enstrom’s contract is big; we can’t take a run at Malkin now. Which is fine; means last minute to be UFAs at deadline instead.

  • hold the stats!

    I have loved the game of hockey for over 40 years. I have played, coached and officiated up through collegiate levels. It is the fastest, smoothest, game that is fluid and exiting. It can go long periods without a whistle and is the best game of act, react and improvise. I get bored to tears as soon as I see words or phrases such as (Corsi) )Corsi Rel) and other stat related terms. what has happened to just watching the games and observing the players compete at their best or worst, head to head????? Have we become such slaves of the computer and internet that we can’t understand something unless it is broken down into meaningless stats???? Get NHL gameday and ENJOY the games and the players. It is a fast paced fluid game and can never be done justice by pulling out charts.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Statistical analysis is not a result of computers; they just make it easier to accomplish. Statistical analysis in sports adds another dimension to them, and gives you something to talk about when the games aren’t on. Given your distaste for stats, I’m actually a little surprised you put forth the effort of creating an account for this site.

  • RexLibris

    @hold the stats!

    Amen to this ” It is the fastest, smoothest, game that is fluid and exciting.” It is a beautiful game.

    I envy you your level of involvement. You must have a lot of experiences and stories you could share.

    I’m not a stats guy, personally. I have to try and remember what CorsiRel and QualComp numbers mean. I know +/-, faceoff %, shooting %, save % and Goals Against. So basically I am a neophyte in this stats based world.

    That being said, as one who has watched the game intently from the outside for most of my life, I can understand the interest in statistics that many of the people here share. Not everyone, but certainly many here on Flamesnation, at least.

    My take on it is this, for years fans watched the games but weren’t privy to the rest of the “story” of the game. Why one player succeeded while another failed or how one player managed to retain a high-level of performance and competition where others fell off, and so on. The internet provided a forum for people to share information in a new way. Discussions could be posted and reviewed for days on end with more information about the sport and players than had ever before been available.

    The interest in advanced sports stats is a reflection, to me, of how passionate the fans in Canada are about this game. Having coached, played, and officiated it I am sure that you can attest to the “passion” that people often bring to the sport.

    I think it has allowed fans to feed their interests and hobbies throughout the year, rather than just on game days. I’m not sure if that is the healthiest of obssessions to have, but that is a deeper issue in our society.

    FlamesNation has a number of contributors, as well as a Dark Lord of All He Surveys (Kent Wilson), that have a passion for the analytical side of the game, hence the focus. There are others who don’t have the same interest. If you are a Flames fan you could try Ryan Lambert or Ryan Pike. If you are interested in other teams Robin Brownlee, Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Jason Gregor, and Jason Strudwick at OilersNation tend not to spend too much time on statistics. You’d have to explore the other Nations to get a feel for who does and doesn’t focus on the numbers.

    Sorry for the long post here. It’s a bad habit.