To evaluate draft eligible CHL forwards, I created a point prediction model called NHLP which predicts their career season point totals in an 82 game season. In a previous post, I applied the NHLP formula to every CHL forward selected top three overall in the draft since 1998. To continue along in the series we now look at the players selected 4th to 6th overall. The results are broken down into total points and non-power play points.
NHL POINT PREDICTION (TOTAL)
- While there were seven projected point-per-game players in the top three overall picks, only three players meet that threshold with picks 4 to 6. Leaf Nation will be excited to know that Marner is the new leader for this range of players, as his numbers of 85 points with 55 non-power play points are similar to those projected of Pat Kane (90 points, 57 non-PP), Jonathan Drouin (83 points, 55 non-PP) and Sam Reinhart (83 points, 57 non-PP).
- Pavel Brendl is widely considered as one of the biggest busts of all time as the numbers project him to be a superstar goal scorer. In terms of CHL snipers, Brendl’s projection of 45 goals is second only to Stamkos with 47 goals. Instead of being a great pick, what Brendl ended up being was a great learning tool for scouts and General managers that magic hands cannot make up for poor skating and work ethic.
- Sam Gagner is another case of buyer beware because sometimes the stats can be misleading. In this case, Gagner seems like a steal at 6th overall and a potential future star player with point-per-game potential. However, warning signs should go off when one looks at the non-pp projections and see Gagner sitting at 12th with only 47 points. That means that Gagner projects to be an amazing power play specialist in the league with 37 points, which is ahead of the predictions for Kane (33), RNH (31), Crosby (31) McDavid (30) or Marner (30).
- Sometimes when you look back at where a player is chosen in the draft some may come as a surprise such as Torres being a 5th overall pick. While he has become synonymous with head hunting, at one point and time Torres was a talented offensive threat in the OHL. While Torres always had the tools to be a top line scorer, the toolbox seemed to be lacking.
- Sam Bennett was my choice for 1st overall in the 2014 draft but would likely not have been if I had invented the NHLP formula before that draft. Instead, of creating a statistical model to evaluate the actual value of various factors I was working off many assumptions. Therefore, a younger player who put up strong even-strength numbers on a strong team such as Bennett were overrated. Meanwhile older players that carried there teams like Reinhart and Draisaitl were underrated.
- Dylan Strome edged out his brother Ryan in terms of draft selection (3 vs 5) and NHLP (73 vs 71). Will he do the same in the NHL and edge out his big brother for career points?
- The median NHLP is 67 points for a pick in the 4-6 range, which would be a player such as Evander Kane, Stephen Weiss or Sean Monahan.
- I remember the love affair some WHL fans had with Gilbert Brule thinking that he could push Crosby for first overall. The numbers on the other hand suggest Brule (66 points) was not in the same league as Crosby (100 points) and is rather the type of player one would expect in the 4-6 range in an average draft year.
- Pouliot and Johansen were both late bloomers in terms of their development and were taken 4th overall with the thought that their future progression would occur at a steeper curve than their peers will. Guess it works 50-50 as Pouliot has progressed at a rate closer to the 58-point total while Ryan Johansen has exceeded the prediction formula already.
- As for the low end of the spectrum, it is two of the more recent picks, in Virtanen and Zacha, which sit on the bottom of the list. With Virtanen, a Canucks fan can make the argument that Virtanen’s NHLP is understated due to his low power play numbers. Meanwhile, a fair amount of Zacha’s scoring occurred on the power play and is a player that I believe was picked a few spots too early in the 2015 draft.