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 previous posts, I applied the NHLP formula to every CHL forward selected top 6 overall in the draft since 1998.
To continue along in the series we now look at the players selected 7th to 10th overall. The results are broken down into total points and non-power play points.
NHL POINT PREDICTION (TOTAL)
NHL POINT PREDICTION (NON-PP)
- The median point prediction for a CHL forward, chosen 4th to 6th overall, is 67 points. With the forwards selected in the 7-10 range, that project to be 67 point players or better, one could make a case that many of them were worthy of being a top 6 pick in an average draft year. In some cases, forwards like these were in a draft year that had a strong top end to it, which is what pushed them back to being selected in the 7-10 range. In other cases, like the 2007 draft, scouts made some interesting choices. They were poor choices, but interesting none the less.
2002: Lupul and Bouchard were taken after Pitkanen, Whitney and Upshall.
2007: Voracek and Couture were taken after Van Riemsdyk, Turris, Hickey, Alzner and Gagner. Couture was also taken after Hamill.
2010: Skinner was taken after Gudbranson, Johansen, Niederreiter and Connolly.
2011: Couturier was taken after Huberdeau, Larsson, Strome, Zibanejad and Scheifele.
2014: Ehlers was taken after Virtanen, Fleury and Nylander.
2015: Meier was taken after Zacha, Provorov and Werenski.
- Last year, Don Cherry weighed in on the Leafs selecting Nylander over Nick Ritchie and it was of no surprise to see Cherry support the big, strong Canadian forward over the smaller but more talented Swedish forward. While I do not have a NHLP for Nylander, one could make an argument that he has a similar upside to Ehlers (72 points). For my money, the Leafs still made the right choice taking skill over size.
- Being a top 10 pick does not guarantee success and there are many cases of busts in the top ten. Two forwards that jump out from the middle of the list are Scott Glennie and Alexandre Picard. Both players were seen as solid bets to make the NHL, but have a combined total of 68 games played and 2 points between them.
- If you look at the forwards that project to be less than a 60 point player, there are many useful NHL players such as Boedker, Pyatt, Bell, Setoguchi, Malhotra and Rupp who have all gone on to have 350+ NHL game careers. However, none of these players would be considered stars and it goes to show that typically offensive star forwards in the NHL were also offensive stars when in juniors.
- A general rule of thumb in drafting is when all things are equal between two players, take the bigger player. However, it does not say take the big physical player over a smaller more skilled player, as you tend to lose that bet. Therefore, when you see Mike Rupp’s low point totals, one can’t help but wonder what the scouts were thinking. In this case, one only needs to remember he was drafted by the Milbury era New York Islanders and sound judgment was not a hallmark of that team.