Flames Forward Prospects NHLE



To help wash away the..unpleasantness of last night, here’s an update on some Flames prospects.

We’ve been breathlessly tracking Sven Baertschi’s incredible season a lot in this space and the exploits of John Gaudreau and Bill Arnold werementioned by Ryan Lambert a couple of weeks back. To put their output in context, I decided to calculate their NHL equivalencies this season, based on past work done by the venerable Gabriel Desjardins.

Player League PPG Translation NHLE Age
Sven Baertschi WHL 1.98 0.3 49 19
Michael Ferland WHL 1.43 0.3 35 20
Max Reinhart WHL 1.29 0.3 32 20
Makus Granlund SM-liiga 0.71 0.54 31 18
John Gaudreau NCAA 0.88 0.41 30 18
Bill Arnold NCAA 0.83 0.41 28 20
Greg Nemisz AHL 0.63 0.44 23 22
Turner Elson WHL 0.88 0.3 22 19
Gaelan Patterson AHL 0.1 0.44 4 21
Ryan Howse AHL 0.09 0.44 3 21

The purpose of NHLE is to compare kids across leagues by controlling for the relative strength or weakness of each league in question. In the table above, you see the "translation" ratio for each player based on his current league. The final NHLE number is each guys current point per game pace, multiplied by the translation factor and then applied to an 82-game NHL season. For Baertschi, for instance, an NHLE means his current output in the WHL is the equivalent to a 49-point, 82 game regular season in the NHL.


– Baertschi’s rate is obviously the cream of the crop and is likely one of the best of his draft class. By looking at his points splits, we know he’s scoring a lot at even strength and has accounted for 40%+ of his team’s scoring while in the line-up. All good news.

– Ferland was named WHL and CHL player of the week recently after scoring nine goals and 13 points in a four game stretch. The former 5th round pick is having a massive season beside Mark Stone (40 goals, 83 points in 58 games) for the Brandon Wheat Kings and is rapidly climbing up Calgary’s prospect charts. Originally drafted because he was big and mean, Ferland is adding a few more bullet points to his resume this year.

– Gaudreau and Markus Granlund are putting up pretty good numbers in rather diffult leagues. The Finnish elite league is professional and populated with grown men, making Granlund’s 0.71 PPG pace and 31 NHLE especially notable. Not only is it tough for teens to play against fully developed players, but it’s usually pretty tough for them to get ice time. Same goes for freshmen in College hockey, albeit to a lesser extent.

– Elson, Patterson and Howse were mostly added mainly for context.

– Nemisz is the oldest of the bunch, so further along his development path and therefore ceiling compared to everyone else. His NHLE is fairly disappointing.

– Max Reinhart is the oldest of the minor league prospects, but he also plays on the lowest scoring team. We’ll take a closer look at his point splits down the road to see how much he scores at ES vs the PP.

– Excluded here are defensemen and goalies for obvious reasons. Points don’t tell the story with most rearguards and goalies are a mystery at the best of times. I also skipped guys like Horak, Byron and Bouma who had split their time between the AHL and NHL this year.

  • Kent,

    One thing to note is that Bartschi and Rattie have not been playing much together in past weeks. Portland looking to diversify offence has given Sven a lot of icetime with Leipsic (2012 draft eligible) and Oliver Gabriel.

  • When is Baertschi eligible to move up to the AHL? It would be interesting to see how his WHL numbers actually translate into a more professional league. Even 50 points in the NHL would be sweet, 25-25-82 would do us nicely, and be a lot more of a contribution than some of our current slackers.

    Good to know we have SOMETHING in the pipeline and aren’t totally boned.

    One final thing – did the Sedins play in the SEL? Any idea what their PPG paces were in those leagues, and how they originally projected? I ask because if Granlund has similar numbers, or anything even close, that could be even more of a positive thing for the Flames’ future.

    • Tough to find comparables for Granlund, since not a ton of NHLers play in the SM-liiga.

      His brother Mikael scored 36 points in 39 games as a 18-19 year old (0.95 PPG = 42 NHLE).

      Olli Jokinen scored 41 in 50 (0.82).

      Jussi Jokinen managed 16 in 54 (0.30).

      I’ll probably do a full list at some point.

    • From the article:

      The purpose of NHLE is to compare kids across leagues by controlling for the relative strength or weakness of each league in question. In the table above, you see the “translation” ratio for each player based on his current league.

  • NHLE: NHLE is an equivalency formula designed to give us an idea of how a player would perform at the NHL level using counting numbers (points). Each major NHL feeder league has it’s own NHLE value, which is based on a series of calculations. NHLE is also a nice way to compare counting numbers between players in different leagues. Currently, the NHLE values are as follows:

    KHL : .83

    SEL : .78

    FNL : .54

    AHL : .44

    NCAA: .41

    OHL : .30

    WHL : .30

    QMJHL: .28

    USHL: .27

    AJHL: .16

    BCHL: .14

    To calculate a player’s NHLE, we use the following formula:

    [(Points ÷ Games Played) x 82] x League NHLE Value = NHLE

    Taken from a Justin Azevedo article @


    I didn’t know what NHLE was either, so I searched it out. It is cool to be able to look at everything from an advanced statistical stand point so we can assign real world values. Thanks for article Kent

    • Does this mean that the KHL is a better league than say the SEL or the AHL, and more equivalent to the NHL, or does it mean that its simply mean that its harder to score in the KHL than in the AHL, SEL, ECHL, etc?

  • DieHard

    The biggest concern with Bartschi is size. I know there are quite a few 5’10” players that are good and can be dominating but not a lot and at 13th overall it’s a risk. A top 5 at that size would be a much better risk.

    • 5’11” and 185 pounds doesn’t strike me as all that risky. It’s the low end of the range, but it’s not really “small” in the modern NHL. Giroux and Eberle are both that size for instance. So is Zach Parise. The Sedins are taller by an inch or two, but about the same weight.

  • thymebalm

    I think Granlund has 22 points in 24 games since the November break, which is .92PPG or 41 NHLE over 82 GP. But I guess you’d want the bigger sample size….

    Also, Nemisz started the year with 18pts in 22games before the wheels fell off and injuries started to affect him and his linemates.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    A few days ago I looked at PPG pace for all players in the CHL, not just the WHL – Baertschi led in all three leagues (for the top 20 scoring players in each respective league).

    The WHL has the more defensive minded stigma attached to it & usually it’s the OHL & QMJHL that are regarded as the higher offensive output leagues. If that is actually true, him leading all 3 leagues is impressive. Could he be scoring more in one of the other two leagues – or is this stigma more of a myth than reality I wonder?

  • RKD

    Patrick Holland Tri-City Americans
    59 21 63 84
    Michael Ferland Brandon Wheat Kings
    58 40 43 83
    Sven Bartschi Portland Winterhawks
    41 24 57 81
    Max Reinhart Kootenay Ice
    52 24 42 66

    Here is how they sit currently, nice to see three players round out the top 10 in WHL scoring.

    How exactly is the translation ratio calculated?

    Bartschi at 49 points in NHL is something the Flames could use for sure. If you extrapolate Bartschi’s ridiculous pace he should have 116 points for tops in the league had he not been hurt.

    What was Backlund’s NHLE? Curious to find out where he should be barring injury.

  • doesn’t this point comparison only work if they get equivalent ice time in the NHL. What are the chances Sven or granlund will enter the flames roster with 1st or 2nd line ice time? almost nill. So it’ll be completely relative to their ice time

    • It’s a conversion based on strength of league to compare the kids to their peers. It naturally assumes a similar role and ice time to what they’re getting now – which of course is unlikely in the NHL.

      We’re using a broad brush here. There’s only so much nuance that can be added, particularly since no one publishes ice time and such for these various leagues.

      • At the same time it’s worth noting, that NHLE doesn’t account for player growth. This is what they’d likely be scoring in the NHL this season specifically. Many players, especially upper-tier ones, show improvement over their previous year’s NHLE once they hit the NHL, despite significantly tougher competition and potentially less playing time.


        Crosby went from an NHLE of ~0.9 PPG to a 1.25 actual PPG rate in the NHL.

        Patrick Kane went from an NHLE of ~0.75 to a ~0.88 (fitting) actual PPG rate in the NHL.

        I’m not saying this is how it’s always, or even likely, going to happen, but we should consider the possibility for variation on either side of the expected scoring pace rather than just a potential decrease.

  • febreze

    Even though Holland is Habs property now I still check up on him but after this season I’ll be ready to let go. I don’t know what I was holding onto because those late round guys really are unlikely to be impact guys in the NHL. Anyway, Ferland’s character is considered to be strong because of his humble upbringing and that might be the difference maker that takes him to the NHL. Good to see Baertschi rolling again. He started a bit slow coming back from injury but that could have been because he was learning the new line mates.

  • everton fc

    I love Ferland. Man, can he fight. He might be able to take on some NHL middleweights now.

    Two guys on the Wheat Kings the Flames should keep an eye on – defencemen Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy. Both are big, physical, and can score. Roy seems a humble kid, like Ferland. A product of the Meadow Lake, SK system.