Predicting Future NHL Scoring Success with NHLe Thresholds & Related Factors

Byron Bader
July 17 2015 12:00PM

NHL Equivalency (NHLe) is a formula used by some in the hockey analytics community to normalize scoring rates in different prospect feeder leagues. The object of finding a similar "score" for players across different leagues is to help project future NHL scoring/performance. It’s a method developed by Gabe Desjardins of a number of years ago and has been expanded upon by hockey analytics pioneers like Rob Vollman and Kent Wilson. Here's Gabe's original piece to give you a context if you're not fully versed in NHLe.

Previously, I looked at draft year NHLe and forwards drafted in the first round from 2005 to 2010. In that investigation, I found that of players who had scored a career 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL (approximately 50 points or more a season) 22 of 32 in total had an NHLe of at least 34 in their draft year.  

In fact, of all the first round forwards who had an NHLe of 34 or more in their draft year, only five hadn’t scored at a rate of 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL to that point, though all had already made the NHL. While draft year NHLe provides certain insights, I was curious how you could project future impactful point producers (0.6 PPG or higher) overall, beyond the 1st round and beyond a player’s draft year equivalency.  

The following analysis provides insights into the following questions:

  • Are there differences between players who score a high equivalency in their draft year compared to later on? 
  • Do elite scorers tend to hit certain NHLe thresholds (e.g., 30+ or 40+) more often and/or more frequently than average, replacement-level scorers and busts?
  • What impact does age have in hitting an equivalency threshold and future NHL success? 

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Flames First Round Targets 2015: Daniel Sprong

Byron Bader
June 18 2015 01:00PM

Daniel Sprong is a Dutch-born RW from Amsterdam that was raised in Canada (moving to Montreal at age seven to aid his hockey development). He stands 6'0'' and 190 pounds and projects to be a skilled winger that electrifies offensively. His speed and shiftiness sets him apart from his peers. The kid has wheels and can get away from opponents in a hurry.

He finished 14th in QMJHL scoring; 5th among similarly-aged, draft eligible, peers.  Last year, Sprong was the only 16 year old in the entire CHL to score 30 goals. Offensively, he is by far and away Charlottetown's best player and has lots of offensive jam.  On the other hand, Sprong apparently strives to play well in the defensive zone as well although various scouting reports would indicate, today, he's not very good at this part.  

Here's what the scouting reports say about Sprong:

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The 2014-15 Calgary Flames vs. the 2003-04 Calgary Flames

Byron Bader
April 13 2015 09:00AM

Well, folks, for the first time in six years, the Flames are in the playoffs and ready to take a swing at Lord Stanley.  Very exciting times indeed.  The odds would suggest that Flames might be an early exit from the post-season, given they are in year two of a rebuild and their advanced fancy stats are mostly in the toilet. In fact, they have the worst 5 vs. 5 corsi percentage of any team to make the playoffs in the corsi tracking era (the last eight years or so).  Concerning? Certainly. But the playoffs is a small sample set of random amazingness where anything can happen.  Case in point, the 2003-04 Calgary Flames.  A loveable group of characters that probably had no business going past the 1st round. Let's see how they compare to your 2014-15 Calgary Flames.

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Gaudreau's Rookie Season in Context

Byron Bader
March 20 2015 09:00AM

Johnny Gaudreau, the 2011 4th round choice of the Flames, has been having something of a rookie year. He sits at 53 points in 69 games, becoming the highest scoring Flames rookie since 1996-97, nearly two full decades, when Jarome Iginla registered 50 in 82 game. He's electric, shifty and one of the most exciting players in the league with his ability to turn a game on its head with one play. How does he compare to the Flames all time best rookie seasons?  

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A Comparison to the 2007-08 Chicago Blackhawks

Byron Bader
March 17 2015 09:30AM

It's been said that this Calgary Flames team is reminiscent of the Blackhawks right before they became a powerhouse (2007-08). Both teams injected a lot of youth into their line-up (each team having an average player age of 26), started off hot and vastly exceeded expectations. The Blackhawks fell short of the playoffs that year while the Flames, to this point, remain in the race. Do they share any other similarities?

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