Flames Forward Prospects NHLE 2011-2012



We did this in the middle of February previously, so I figured with all the regular seasons finished it was about time to update things.

For those who don’t recall, "NHLE" is short for NHL equivalency, which is mathy way to compare prospects across different leagues. To get a kid’s NHLE, you multiple his point-per-game rate by a "translation factor" based on the leagues quality relative to the NHL. The translation factors were originally determined by Gabriel Desjardins of behindthenet.ca fame.

So without further ado, here are the results:

Player League PPG Translation NHLE Age
Sven Baertschi WHL 2.00 0.30 49 19
Michael Ferland WHL 1.41 0.30 35 20
John Gaudreau NCAA 1.00 0.41 34 18
Makus Granlund SM-liiga 0.72 0.54 32 18
Max Reinhart WHL 1.28 0.30 31 20
Bill Arnold NCAA 0.86 0.41 29 20
Greg Nemisz AHL 0.57 0.44 21 22
Turner Elson WHL 0.82 0.30 20 19
Ryan Howse AHL 0.23 0.44 8 21
Gaelan Patterson AHL 0.11 0.44 4 21


– Like in February, Sven Baertschi is on an island all by himself. Teenagers who post NHLE’s higher than 40 are typically a pretty good bet to be offensive producers in NHL, assuming they didn’t score all of their points on the PP (cough *Rob Schremp* cough) and/or weren’t riding coattails. Baertschi’s NHLE in his draft year was about 32 as a point of reference.

I haven’t looked at all the guys drafted last June, but my guess Baertschi is easily top-5 amongst that draft class by this metric, if not top-3.

– Johhny Gaudreau moved up the list with a bullet thanks to his outbusrt down the stretch. Keep in mind, not only is Gaudreau the smallest guy on this list, he’s also the youngest with an August 1993 birthday. Baertschi was born in October 1992 and Granlund in April of 1993.

I’m not sure what to expect out of the tiny titan after such an incredible freshman season, but if he can take even a few more modest steps forward and put on some size/weight the Flames may have really found something in Gaudreau. Remember, Baertschi’s NHLE at about the same age was actually marginally lower at 32.

– Ferland is also a big surprise given his draft pedigree. The former 5th rounder was one of the key cogs for the Brandon Wheat Kings in his 19-20 year old season. His impressive NHLE should be noted with caution, however – he was older than a lot of his cohorts and he played on a line with Mark Stone, who tore up the league to the tune of 123 points in 66 games.

Still, Ferland is poised to turn pro this coming season with an NHL ready frame (6’2", 208 pounds) and some skills that are probably better than your average 5th rounder.

– Max Reinhart’s NHLE might be disappointing to some. We’ll add more context to his results later this off-season, but keep in mind his Kootenay Ice was one of the lowest scoring outfits in the WHL this year. By all accounts, not only did Max lead the team in scoring, he was also integral in just about every situation on the ice.

– Greg Nemisz’s number fell since the last time we checked and it was already fairly disappointing. Although reports about his play from the farm are never overtly negative and he seemed to at least keep his head above water during his brief stint with the Flames, it’s becoming pretty apparent that Nemisz probably isn’t going to do much scoring as a pro. Consider: Nemisz’s scoring rate over his first two seasons in the AHL is 0.52 PPG, which translates to an 19-point season in the bigs.

The former first rounder turns 22 in June and next year will be his final season under an entry level deal. He’ll have that year to convince the Flames he’s anything more than a replacement level skater.

– Many of the other guys were added for context, outside of Bill Arnold who I think might have a future as big league third line center. He turns 20 in May, but probably has at least one more season left at Boston College.

– Obviously I applied this analysis to the Flames forward prospects only, since offensive numbers rarely give much insight into a defenders worth. Particularly in the Flames case, since they don’t really have any blueliners with futures as point producers as things stand.

  • RexLibris

    As I see it, this would probably equate to Baertschi as a 2nd line winger (as a league average roster placement) as a reasonable expectation two years from now.

    Ferland, Gaudreau, Reinhart, Arnold and Granlund look, to me, like they might challenge for 2nd or even 3rd line depth scoring in a few years’ time.

    Kent, I know you have lamented the lack of elite talent in the Flames of late, but on the bright side it appears that they at least have a number of prospects that might provide some depth to the club and help to moderate any coming collapse.

    I have to wonder if, to start the 2013 season, the Flames roster will list more than a handful of these names.

    • SmellOfVictory

      That’s assuming Baertschi doesn’t improve. A 49 point NHLE at age 19 is something that I’d say projects to 1st line material more often than not.

  • MC Hockey

    Nice job Kent. I really hope the Ffames don’t retain too many veterans and that at least 3 of the above prospects make (or are given spots on) the team for start of 2012-13.

    My young guy bets to make it would be: Baertschi (as 1st to 2nd liner), Nemisz (as 3rd-4th liner), and Ferland (2nd-3rd liner). I would also hope Reinhart gets a chance in a 2nd-4th line role sometime during season (after AHL experience) but I am probably dreaming. Gaudrea and Arnold should finish college and grow in Johnny’s case while Granlund should come to the AHL. The rest…stay junior or maybe AHL.

    As for the veterans part, hopefully Flames are wise enough to part with veteran forwards like Olli (will ask for 3 year contract and then be crappy in non-renewal years), Comeau (did not do enough to impress), Moss (perhaps injury prone and replaceable), Kostopolous (great character and effort always but need to make room for the young guys in his role). I am not sure about Stempniak, but I like Jones and Backlund but not sure Backs will ever score over 40 points.

      • PrairieStew

        Horak and Byron ?

        It is a bit disappointing that Byron took a step backwards. His progress through junior and first 2 years of pro looked to be pretty linear, but dropped this season.

        Horak was a pleasant surprise to start the year, but seems to have fallen off the map in terms of discussion at least.

          • MC Hockey

            Horak may have been in over his head however he is only 20. I thought his play was good early in the season and just like many other young player, tailed off near the end. Plus, he played more NHL games than Tim Erixon :). He might make the team out of camp, what does the centre situation look like for training camp?

      • MC Hockey

        You are likely correct as I do see Olli and Comeau and even Kosto retained as the Flames don’t wish to give young guys the opportunity to learn at the NHL level but instead in Abby. But then again if Ward is still coaching there perhaps that is best and that IS sort of the idea of the minors…But I want change so I am hoping Flames will sort of “rush” guys like they did with Horak this year. I do see Bouma back with the Flames too.

    • Granlund is a long term project. Like his older brother, he’ll likely stay in Finland until he completes his mandatory military service.

      Therefore, don’t expect him to cross the pond until he’s 20 at least.

      In addition, it will be intresting to see how he does without Mikael on the same team next year. My suspicion is he was helped quite a bit by having big bro on both the home and international teams, given just how good Mikael is.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Regarding Howse: he had a really rough year (much of it his own doing, admittedly). I don’t think we should read too much into his numbers just yet. Next year would be the one I’d pay attention to. Not saying that I think he’ll blow us away, just that this year is probably a throwaway, given the context of his situation.

  • Arik

    For whatever it’s worth, I have it on decent authority that the Flames have offered an ELC to Gaudreau already and want him on the Heat next year so they can monitor his strength training and eating while getting him adjusted to the pro game earlier.