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 21st to 25th overall. The results are broken down into total points and non-power play points.
NHL POINT PREDICTION (TOTAL)
- The player sitting middle of the pack for NHLP is Emile Poirier with 59 points, which is comparable to the median NHLP score of 60 points for players ranked 11-20. Therefore, in terms of offensive potential there is not much difference in terms of upside between picking 11th or 25th. This is a good nugget on information for General Managers to have in their back pocket, as the numbers suggest a wise strategy would be to trade a pick in the 10-15 range for a pick in the 15-25 range while collecting more draft picks.
- If another hockey fan says “junior production does not matter when evaluating forwards” give him a swift kick in the ass and say Blue Bullet said so. When you compare the players on the list from Wolski up against the players from Noesen down the results are night and day. The biggest item that stands out is that the players with the top 12 NHLP have over 3.5X the career NHL points of those player with the 13 lowest NHLP.
- In the 2003 draft I, like many Oilers fans, wanted the Oilers to take Zach Parise who had fallen to the Oilers pick at 17. Instead they traded the pick for the 22nd and 68th overall pick, selecting Marc Poulot and J-F Jacques. While I said earlier that it is a good strategy to trade down at this point in the draft, when a player that was considered a top 10 pick falls into your lap than you select him. That being said, Pouliot did project to be a 1st or 2nd line centre so it was not a terrible pick. Sometimes a good selection just does not pan out.
- Josh Bailey, Cody Hodgson, Zach Boychuk and Mikkel Boedker were all top 15 picks in the 2008 draft, with NHLP scores between 59-65 points. Despite being statistically as good as those player, Jordan Eberle was never given much consideration of being a top 20 pick as he needed to work on his speed. In the end, Eberle has much improved his skating since juniors and has passed by these 4 players taken above him, turning into the best player of the lot.
- There are wolves in sheep clothing and there are also sheep in wolves clothing. Rob Schremp was the latter, as he was a player whose skillset looked good to the eyes but his numbers fail him. Once considered a top 5 pick, Schremp’s posted numbers that are nowhere near what you would expect for such a highly touted prospect. Instead, the NHLP of 54 points reveal Schremp projected to have 2nd line upside and that his scoring was inflated due to his powerplay production. Combine that with the fact he was neither a big player or a fast skater, it is hard to fathom why he was ever held in such regard. Even Eager projects to be a better 5×5 player.
- Speaking of Eager, it is not a good idea to take coke bottles in the first round. If a player is struggling to score in juniors that trend will likely continue into their NHL career. Of the 156 CHL forwards taken in the top 25, only 7 had a NHL of less than 45. Those players are Alex Galchenyuk, Tom Wilson, Colton Gillies, Zachary Senyshyn, Mike Rupp, Nathan Smith and Ben Eager. Putting too much stock on toughness and not enough on skill can be a recipe for disaster.