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 15 overall in the draft since 1998.
To continue along in the series we now look at the players selected 16th to 20th overall. The results are broken down into total points and non-power play points.
NHL POINT PREDICTION (TOTAL)
- There are many Oilers fans, like myself, that believe we overpaid for Griffin Reinhart when they traded the 16th and 33rd overall pick. To add more fuel to the fire, Matt Barzal has the highest NHLP of any forward selected in the 16-20 range while just a few spots below him is Evgeni Svechnikov. With the median point totals being 67 points for picks #4-6 and 62.5 points for picks #6-10, both players look to be steals in this range and would likely be top 10 picks in an average draft years. This is just further evidence that the Oilers did not need to add the 33rd overall pick in the trade.
- In the deep 2003 draft, Steve Bernier was considered one of the top offensive prospects due to his size and hands. I can recall even some Q fans hyping Bernier over the more heralded Nathan Horton and based purely on their NHLP scores, they were correct (Bernier-69, Horton-64). However, once again skating comes into play and is the number one factor that will keep an offensive player from reaching his potential. Therefore, instead of a 1st line forward as projected, Bernier has been a 0.368 point-per-game player over his career.
- Having a new method of analysis has caused me to question some of my past rankings. One of the more recent selections is Kerby Rychel, who I had as the 20th overall player in the 2013 draft. That ranking now seems too low for Rychel due to the fact he projects to have higher offensive potential than I first expected. With a median NHLP of 67 points for a top ten selection, it suggests that in an average year Rychel should have been a top 10 pick and probably at least a top 15 in his draft class.
- Mantha is a big forward that projects to being a 30+ goal scorer in the pros. However, his offensive production was not the question people were concerned with during his draft year but rather his compete level, which ultimately is the reason why he fell outside the top 15. Another big forward who had questions about his compete level and projected to be a 64 point player is Chris Stewart. Whether Mantha reaches the same upside as Stewart is yet to be known, he has put up similar numbers in his first pro season in comparison (Stewart .571 Pts/G, Mantha .532 Pts/G).
- As the point projections get lower in value, the amount of star players becomes increasingly less and less. For players taken in the top 20 who project to be less than 60 point players and have gone to be star players, there is arguably only two. One is Ryan Johansen. who is just establishing himself as a star player, while the other is Ryan Getzlaf who has turned into one of the best players in the world. It is good to remember that forwards like Johansen and Getzlaf are outliers and best not to be used as a statistical comparable, in most cases.
- Curtis Lazar is a player whose low point totals were of concern to me in the 2013 draft. However, the rest of his game was no concern, as he is a very responsible player without the puck. While he is on his way to becoming a strong pro, he likely tops out as a 2nd line player at best. Players that have gone on to long careers with Lazar’s point potential are Paille, Chipchura, Fehr and Gordon. Therefore, Sens fans should not expect big point totals but rather a career points-per-game in the range of those four players (0.223-0.390 Pts/G).