When evaluating talent, scouts always give a range for a player’s potential such as a generic go to saying like “top 6” upside. However, that was not good enough for me and I always believed there is value in the numbers. Therefore, to evaluate draft eligible CHL forwards, I created a point prediction model called NHLP. For CHL forwards, who play 250+NHL games, over 1/3 of their future NHL production can be explained be their junior production, in the season they become draft eligible. Therefore, rather than saying a player has top 6 upside, the model may predict a player to have a career season of 0.78 Points/Game or 64 Points/82 Games. The formula for the model is:
(0.201645 + 0.220766 X Non-PP Pts/G + 0.563435 X Non-PP Contribution %) + (0.699759 + 0.179796 X PP Pts/G – 0.036095 X Age on Sep 15 of Draft Year + 0.250900 X PP Contribution %)
Note that point totals include playoff games and that percentage contribution to team scoring does not include the games missed by the player.
Therefore, if we use Sidney Crosby as an example:
(0.201645 + 0.220766 X 1.640 + 0.563435 X 50.2%) + (0.699759 + 0.179796 X 1.013 – 0.036095 X 18.11 + 0.250900 X 58.9%)
Overall: 1.223 Points/Game or 100 Points/82 Games
Non-Power Play: 0.847 Points/Game or 69 Points/82 Games
Power Play: 0.376 Points/Game or 31 Points/82 Games
If Crosby scored at the same ratio of goals to assists, for both non-power play and power play scoring, his totals would be:
Non-Power Play Goals: 61 Goals/123 Points X 0.847 Points/Game = 0.420 Goals/Game or 34 Goals/82 Games
Power Play Goals: 19 goals/76 assists X 0.376 Points/Game = 0.094 Goals/Game or 8 Goals/82 Games
Overall Goals: 0.514 Goals/Game or 42 Goals/82 Games
Non-Power Play Assists: 62 Assists/123 Points X 0.847 Points/Game = 0.427 Assists/Game or 35 Assists/82 Games
Power Play Assists: 57 Assists/76 Points X 0.376 Points/Game = 0.282 Assists/Game or 23 Assists/82 Games
Overall Assists: 0.709 Assists/Game or 58 Assists/82 Games
Therefore, Sidney Crosby’s scoring in the 2004-2005 QMJHL season projects him to have a career season of 42G-58A-100P.
If Crosby projects to be a 100 point player, how does the model project for every top 3 overall pick from the CHL since 1998?
NHL POINT PREDICTION (TOTAL)
- The only 3 players that reached the 90 point threshold are Crosby, McDavid and Kane. Two of the three players were hyped as generational talents in their draft year while the other was one of the most talented offensive players in CHL history. Where Crosby and McDavid outdistanced Kane in non-power play production.
- Another couple of hyped junior prospects in the last 20 years were Lecavalier and Spezza. Based on the stats, the hype was warranted, as there are only 7 players that project to be a point-per-game player, with Spezza and Lecavalier being the only ones with above average size.
- The 2014 NHL Entry Draft did not get the buzz for 1st overall pick as many other draft seasons. The stats however disagree with that, as both Reinhart and Draisaitl project very well, as both were able to put up big point totals while carrying a large portion of their team scoring.
- Stamkos, Tavares, Crosby and Kane projected to be the top goalscorers of the group with Stamkos leading the charge as being the only player predicted to have a career season of 45+ goals.
- There was much discussion for the 2010 draft in regards to Tyler vs Taylor. Statistically they projected virtually the same with Seguin being the slightly better goal scorer. Therefore, in a case like this where stats are similar, one would than turn to the scouting reports to evaluate which player has the higher potential and greater likelihood of reaching that potential.
- Until the 2015 draft, the Oilers 1st overall picks of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov occurred in years where the top end talent was average to below average. Out of the eleven first overall picks, they finish 7th (Hall), 9th (Yakupov) and 10th (Nugent-Hopkins) for NHLP. The median or middle of the road first overall pick is Tavares with 77 points.
- In some years it can be a real close race between 1st and 2nd like in 2010. Other times it is not fair to pick second, such as the case of the 2005 draft where Crosby (100 point projection) was followed by Bobby Ryan (69 point projection).
- Every first overall pick projected to have a career season of 70 points or better with Rick Nash coming in last place. For non-power play production Nash and RNH sit at the bottom of the list for 1st overall picks. While there tends to be a focus on even strength scoring, one should not simply discount a player due to being a PP star, as there is value in being able to expose another team when given time and space.
- If you do not include Galchenyuk, who missed almost his entire draft year due to injury, it clearly leaves Jordan Staal as having the weakest NHLP of the bunch. In the case of Staal there were more talented players available (Toews, Kessel) but the theory was the Staals were late bloomers and Jordan had untapped offensive potential. Looking back, scouts were projecting too much of his brother Eric onto him and he never had the offensive ability to begin with to be a top line player.
- For a top 3 overall pick from the CHL, the median point prediction is 75.5 which falls in between Eric Staal and Taylor Hall.