The First Overall Pick: Avoid Nugent-Hopkins

 

 

As it stands today, at least four players have a legitimate shot at going first overall: defenceman Adam Larsson of the Swedish Elite League, and forwards Sean Couturier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog.

After looking through the numbers, I’m convinced that Nugent-Hopkins would be the wrong selection.

Over in Lowetide’s gameday thread, commenter PunjabiOil made mention of an interesting point with regard to Nugent-Hopkins: 

[Ryan Nugent-Hopkins] concerns me. 47 of his 69 points (someone on HF did a breakdown) have come on the powerplay. [Sean Couturier] appears to be a vastly superior prospect, IMO.

Naturally, that caught my attention. From what I’ve seen, junior players that put up a massive percentage of their points on the power play tend not to carry that production with them into the NHL. Generally, young forwards simply don’t get the same amount of minutes on the power play in the big leagues that they get in junior, and thus it’s essential that they also have production at even-strength.

In light of that, I decided to break down the offensive production of the three forwards in major junior by game state. This required going through the game sheets on the OHL, WHL and QMJHL websites, so it’s possible I made an error adding somewhere – the QMJHL website in particular is not especially user-friendly – but these numbers should be either bang on or very close to it.

Power-Play Scoring

Player Goals Assists Points
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 8 39 47
Sean Couturier 6 20 26
Gabriel Landeskog 7 4 11

Even-Strength/Shorthanded Scoring

Player Goals Assists Points
Sean Couturier 19 29 48
Gabriel Landeskog 18 17 35
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11 21 32

*Note: Couturier’s numbers include six points while short-handed: two goals and four assists. He’s the only one of these three players to be adding offence while short-handed.

The dichotomy between Nugent-Hopkins’ results in these two tables is incredible. On the one hand, he contributes more offence on the power-play than Couturier and Landeskog combined. Clearly, the diminutive forward is an ace with the man advantage.

However, at even-strength Nugent-Hopkins is actually the least effective of the three players, particularly when we take into account games played: Couturier’s played 44, Landeskog 33 and Nugent-Hopkins 52. In other words, while both of the other forwards are slightly above the point-per-game mark in even-strength offence, Nugent-Hopkins is well below it.

I’m actually surprised at how well Gabriel Landeskog holds up by this measure – he’s pretty much on par with Sean Couturier’s even-strength results, and although he doesn’t compare on the power play that might indicate he’s a better scorer than his reputation would suggest.

This is hardly a comprehensive evaluation of the three players, but based on the results I have no hesitation in saying that I’d rank Nugent-Hopkins well back of both Couturier and Landeskog.



  • Ducey

    Agreed JW.

    He would be a particularly bad pick for the Oilers (although they should go BPA). They have enough small shifty guys as it is.

    I don’t think RNH will be any better than Gagner.

      • IHeartHemsky

        It is going to be a really hard choice if they get the #1 pick…I think it will come down to Larsson or Landeskog.

        Landeskog – Would bring immediate impact next year…Larsson…well look at Hedman..will be good but guys like Doughty don’t come along often.

        If you take Landeskog…you STILL end up with massive holes at D & C.

        maybe another year of rebuild is coming in 2012 as well 🙁

        • Larsson’s offensive game is a major concern for me. All the scouting reports indicate he has the tools, but he’s just not putting up the points.

          I like Landeskog, but honestly I’m leaning towards Couturier. I don’t have my mind made up, but I’d probably rank them:

          1. Couturier
          2. Larsson
          3. Landeskog

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I wouldn’t look at the league he plays in as much as the player himself. Sidney Crosby and Hemsky were both from the Q. And according to a lot of scouting reports the Q is contributing a lot more ranked prospects in the draft than in previous years.

      Also looking at the even strength/PK scoring numbers if you say the league is weaker than he is at the very least on par with Landeskog.

      • Fair enough but just look at the elite players in the league….not too much comin out of the Q. Right now im in the pandeskog camp but havent seen the prospects play enough to judge. I really like the perception of lands as it sits now. Also as wanye had stated…ELPH (ebs, lands/lars, Pjarv, Hall). No possible argument can be made for Couturier or RNH with that logic!! LoL

  • Ducey

    How about Ryan Strome?

    82 pts in 50 games. He has only 5 on the PP and 2 SH. Thats kind of hard to believe but thats what the OHL site says.

    Why wouldn’t the Niagra coach play the second highest scorer in the OHL on the PP? Weird.

    And he is a 6ft 1″ C with 60 PIM – so presumably has some grit.

    Edit: Good thinking K!

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I don’t wish to advertise here, but I will be putting up situational scoring numbers for top chl prospects over at C&B. Should make your work easier!

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    You’re killing me JW.
    I’m a rebel season ticket holder and just love the skill RNH brings. The team would be nowhere near where it is now without him.
    I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen of Couturier (wjc and prospects game). Larsson just seems blah.
    I’m gonna say RNH will be the best player to come from 2011, but don’t think he’d be ready next fall.

  • IHeartHemsky

    there is little or no difference between the o and the dub. as for rnh he lacks the strength to be an effective pro for a minimum of 3 years, whats he truly weight a buck and a half.

  • IHeartHemsky

    I’d like to see strome listed with the other 4, just cause hes rated lower by Mackenzie and THN doesn’t mean we should overlook him. theres something behind those numbers and hes younger even then RNH. Am I missing something between him and the top four? hes plus 7 and RNH is -6 even with all of his PP time.

  • Zed

    A player who knows how to work on the pp? No, we don’t need that at all. Our pp is fine. I kid. I agree with JW, except on the Landeskog thing. Looking at those numbers for Landy, they don’t look any better than RNH if you ask me, and the W is harder to play in 5 on 5, especially for small players.
    Couturier is ahead by a country mile, with Landy and RNH tied for 2nd.
    Having said all that, we’d be happy to land an RNH.

  • I live in Red Deer and have seen a dozen Rebels games and all I have to say is that you really need to watch RNH before you judge what kind of player he is gonna be. He makes the most ridiculous passes in the tightest of areas but a lot of the supporting cast that he has doesn’t really finish that well. I really encourage anyone who is a doubter of RNH to go and watch him play. You will be surprised at his poise and playmaking abilities.

    See him before you let the numbers do the talking.

    • You are right Conner RHN does make some wicked passes but he also seems like a man among the boys in Red Deer. He will take a little longer to mold into a NHL player but if whoever drafts him has the patience they will have a solid player. Reminds me of Mike Rebeiro in top form.

  • Hack The Bone

    You look at this guy’s frame and you got to wonder what he could do when he fills out. I look at those numbers, and I’m not sure what to interpret. Is this guy a PP only guy? Or is this a guy that will translate his PP skills to ES as well when he fills out?

    One thing, I do know for certain is that I’m not ruling a guy out because he’s on the lower end of the 5 on 5 numbers.

    In their draft years:
    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 0.62 EV points/game
    Corey Perry 0.46 EV points/game
    Jeff Carter 0.61 EV points/game
    Matt Duchene 0.70 EV points/game

    One thing in RNH’s favour…he absolutely destroys these guys in terms of PP numbers.

    IMHO, when I watch the top 4 prospects play and when I look at the numbers, the only thing I can say without hesitation is that RNH is probably the least ready to jump in right away. And IMHO that’s probably what the lower EV numbers compared to Landeskog and Couturier mean.

    • Zed

      Does not really matter who scores at even strength more. I am concerned about who is going to score the winning goal in game 7 during the Stanley cup finals in 2013.

      That is who you would want to pick in the draft this year.

      Being the logical and analytical guys that Stu and I are, we know that that player will be picked in the 3rd round 95th overall.

      And his name will be Frumpus Boodleshnit.

  • @ Jon:

    Thanks, that’s a lot quicker (though it doesn’t help with the QMJHL site).

    I’m not saying that Nugent-Hopkins won’t be a player, either – as you point out, there are others who’ve become impact players with lesser PPG rates – but I’d still argue EV scoring is more important than PP scoring.

  • Stats Schmatts:

    Interesting analysis. Save this post and let’s check it out say…oh I don’t know…5-7 years from now. Statistical breakdowns on 18 year olds is really a limited sample. It’s somewhat like picking pepper out of fly shit. Five years from today we’ll know who the Oilers chose and if there is any correlation whatsoever in your analyis. For example I have often wondered if you have a breakdown on Gagner for example. What did you see then in statistical terms and how has he shaken out since his draft year when the only stats would have been generated by a then 18 yr old out of junior.

    The really successful organizations are in my view the ones who pull out the stars from the 3 to 7th round of the draft and are deep in solid talent yearly.

    Just a thot.

  • Stats Schmatts:

    Interesting analysis. Save this post and let’s check it out say…oh I don’t know…5-7 years from now. Statistical breakdowns on 18 year olds is really a limited sample. It’s somewhat like picking pepper out of fly crap. Five years from today we’ll know who the Oilers chose and if there is any correlation whatsoever in your analyis. For example I have often wondered if you have a breakdown on Gagner for example. What did you see then in statistical terms and how has he shaken out since his draft year when the only stats would have been generated by a then 18 yr old out of junior.

    The really successful organizations are in my view the ones who pull out the stars from the 3 to 7th round of the draft and are deep in solid talent yearly.

    Just a thot.

  • …take Frumpus Boodleshnit for example …he has what god like prognosticators call ‘big po’ yes? he’s now just turned seventeen and hasn’t a clue who he is or how he’ll control his raging hormones from one moment to the next.Chrikey he doesn’t even know what hormones are but he likes the nocturnal emissions …When he’s on the ice though Frumpus hasn’t a worry in the world but boy he likes scoring goals,hitting the bigger kids hard and always always stands up for his teammates.Other than having his very own special bottle of blue gatorade on the bench,the only other thing he’s really looking forward to is spending his first NHL pay cheque on a new car that the chicks will love to see him driving.

    Then comes along a man in a suit …Mr Tambolini…he’s with the storied Edmonton Oilers and wow he thinks Frumpus is the next player who gets picked in the draft to round out his young team UP in Edmonton. Mr Tambolini says …but Frumpus my boy, there’s a fellow on the internet, his name is Jonothan Willis…no matter what you and your family do Frumpus, don’t read what this Willis man says on OilersNation about how you “add up” or that
    your “corsi ratios”, whatever they are, are out of kilter for a hockey player with your type of ‘big po’… For the life of me i can’t understand anything about these numbers willis churns out about you young up and comer prospects, i say why doesn’t he just let you fellas play Frumpus… Just play hard and fast Frumpus, play until we’re all up on the draft stage together like a new family,you,me,Taylor and my boss Kevin. We’ll have our picture taken and have a great time Frumpus, you’ll have a great career, i’ll keep my job for a couple more years and you’ll have all the money in the world to buy cars and nail young girls…

    whadaya say Frumpus?…are ya in boy?

    • O.C.

      There’s some quality logic there. Well done.

      =======

      Yes he comes to play. Yes he is good on the pp and can pass. Those aren’t the questions the Oil need ask.

      Is he going to spend his time on the I.R. being another Hemsky?
      Is he another Boyd Devereaux? (remember he was sixth overall when selected)
      Does he fill a need?

      I’m more convinced than ever that the Oil need to trade the pick away with one of the forward prospects of either Gagner or Cogliano for someone like LA’s Alex Pietrangelo and their first rounder…

      …and use that pick to select a goalie

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Im torn between keeping this years 1st round pick and trading it in a package deal that would get the Oilers really good player(s) to push the “re-build” along. Don’t get me wrong i love the Oil and would like nothing more than for them to be the next penguins, hawks, or wings but the team NEEDS players NOW that will really compliment the likes of Hall Eberle and PRV not players like Fraser, Foster, GILBERT, Khabby. but thats just me and my opinion.