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Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

THE TRUTH AT 20 (and 18)

One of the cool things about modern life is very smart people answering difficult questions for free. And not just the big stuff, like finding the perfect mixture for gorilla tape, but really cool stuff nerds like me wonder about all the time. In about 1975, as I was wandering through the summer ‘stats’ edition of The Hockey News, I wondered about ice time and scoring, and how to put all those numbers on a level playing field. Seriously. Now? The answer is available via NHL.com, if you have an hour or two to figure out where they put it.

There are even sites to help us suss out the minor leagues. We know that a player who scores well as a teenager (or at 20) in the AHL has a better career trajectory than a 26-year old who has been in the league for four seasons. So, it behooves us to find out who is scoring well at 20 (or less) in the minors at 5×5 offense. A year ago (here), Bogdan Yakimov ranked No. 19 and Kyle Platzer No. 31 among qualified AHL players. This year, I’m wondering about teenage phenom Jesse Puljujarvi and am looking at the brilliant site Prospect-Stats.com.

Prospect-Stats estimates time on ice (and scoring rates) across the AHL. This is extremely valuable (if imperfect) information because it allows us to view players across teams and deployment range in one quick glance. The numbers below are all prospects aged 18.0 through 20 years old and their estimated points-per-60 (20 or more games, in all situations).

  1. Kevin Fiala (20) (Nashville) 2.62
  2. Nikolay Goldobin (20) (Vancouver) 2.45
  3. Ivan Barbashev (20) (St. Louis) 2.28
  4. Jakub Vrana (20) (Washington) 2.27
  5. Jake DeBrusk (19) (Boston) 2.20
  6. Samuel Blais (21) (St. Louis) 2.16
  7. Kasperi Kapanen (20) (Toronto) 2.14
  8. Vladislav Kamenev (20) (Nashville) 2.10
  9. Timo Meier (19) (San Jose) 2.07
  10. Josh Ho-Sang (20) (NY Islanders) 2.06
  11. Jesse Puljujarvi (18) (Edmonton) 2.03
  12. Denis Gurianov (19) (Dallas) 2.01
  13. Kyle Connor (19) (Winnipeg)1.99
  14. Mike Amadio (20) (Los Angeles) 1.95
  15. Christian Fischer (19) (Arizona) 1.92
  16. Evgeny Svechnikov (19) Detroit) 1.90
  17. Jayce Hawryluk (20) (Florida) 1.90
  18. Alex Tuch (20) (Las Vegas) 1.87
  19. Sonny Milano (20) (Columbus) 1.83
  20. Nikita Scherbak (20) (Montreal) 1.82
  21. Source

Some notes:

  • There are a lot of players from the Pacific Division, league plays 68 games. I don’t think there’s a reason beyond randomness, but thought it was curious.
  • That’s a helluva number for Puljujarvi.
  • Vancouver made an excellent trade getting Goldobin.
  • Louie DeBrusk’s son appears to be a player.
  • Kaspanen doesn’t get a lot of attention because the Leafs are running wild with terrific forward prospects, but he’s going to have success.

I love this stuff, it’s a lot of fun to find the real (or estimated real) numbers behind the boxcars. Jesse Puljujarvi looks good via this metric, only 18-year old in the group and he was over 2.00/60 at 5×5. Will it translate to NHL success? Good arrows. We wait.

    • Leaking5w-30

      I don’t mind the number…. but give us an opinion about what they mean. Personally I think these numbers mean next to nothing. Just looked at his list from last year. The top 3 have still not got more than a few games in the NHL. If I take anything away from this article it is that Jesse is not anywhere near NHL ready

      • Leaking5w-30

        Oh and I’m requesting a follow up article looking at the progress of last years top 20. That would give us a feel for if the numbers in this post indicate anything

      • sumo

        Really? Because, for 2015, I see:
        1. William Nylander 2.95
        2. Mikko Rantanen 2.89
        4. Anthony Mantha 2.5
        Plus a bunch of NHLers. Only Rantanen was 18 at the time.

  • madjam

    Lowetide : Will Jesse be playing in Penticton tourney this year ? Like to see how he is doing and fairing playing with some of new Oilers like Yamamoto , Gambardella , etc.. I preferred Jesse to Laine and Matthews up to last year , now we shall see if he can close that gap ( back step) he had last season .

  • Toofun

    I really enjoyed the article. Interesting, thought provoking and well written but that’s not the point. I’m tired of Oilersnation posters wrecking Flamesnation comment sections so I’ve come over to troll… You guys paid $1 million per year too much for Drai.

    There, take that…

      • Toofun

        Really, that’s what you come back with, name calling? You should feel ashamed.

        Here, how about something half intelligent like… “Well I’d rather pay an extra million a year to lock up a young stud goal scorer through 8 years of his prime than overpay a plug like Brouwer $4.5 million dollars per year for 4 years in a half hearted attempt to make my team bigger and tougher”…

        • I am Batman

          @toofun- you aren’t fun at all……. your type of reply might be smarter but there’s no fun in it, non whatsoever.

          How about we split the difference: “i would rather play an extra million to a centre that is showing that in 85% of the teams (including the Shames)he would be a 1C than paying one dollar to a guy who can’t pull his own weight up a bar, let alone drive offence”
          Happy now?

        • DerpSolo

          I feel “toofun” is suffering from jealousy. He has to rely on johnny hogwash and mike smut to make the playoffs, while Oilers have McJesus and Draisaitl. Sometimes this jealousy has been deemed “McEnvy”. Many flames fans suffer from it, and the best thing we can do is let them wallow in it for the next eight years while McDavid and the boys bring home lord Stanley’s mug

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        @batman

        Did you just call Johnny “Jenny” ? Okay, even I have to admit that’s pretty funny.

        Oh, and uh, your team is not as good at ice hockey as our team!

        Uh, yeah! Eat it!

  • madjam

    Vancouver site already running the top 50 draft choices for next season. Considering we might win Stanley this year , guess who is NBR.31 – 6″2″ Riley Sutter (RW) .

  • nuge2drai

    JP is going to have a great nhl career.

    His defensive game is years ahead of many prospect I’ve seen come through the system

    Kids going to be a big force once he gets familiar with everything.

  • OilCan2

    JP has a good shot at the roster with Ebs gone. Nurse and Draisaitl both spent extra time in the lower leagues and looked good in the show last season. Jokinen is going to be a big plus factor for JP with the language and the pro experience. JP will get a good pre season look.