Over the last couple of days, I’ve looked at all of the forwards chosen in the 2012 and 2011 entry drafts. Today, we’re moving on to the great Taylor v. Tyler debate of 2010. Two years out, those two players are still at the top of the pile, but many of the others in the top ten aren’t yet playing in the NHL. If you’ve read the methodological explanations already, feel free to skip down to the results.
In the chart below, I’ve taken each player’s goals, assists and points, converted them to a "per game" rate, multiplied them by the league equivalency number, and then expressed them as an "NHL equivalency" assuming an 82-game NHL season. As you may have guessed, each league has a different equivalency number. I’ve used this article for the translations from the KHL (multiply offense by 0.83), SEL (0.78), CZE (0.74), FNL (0.54), NCAA (0.41), WHL (0.30), OHL (0.30) and QMJHL (0.28),and this article for the translations from the USHL (0.27), AJHL (0.16), and BCHL (0.14). With these players getting older, there are now only a few leagues that have drafted players but no translations, and if you’re playing there (ECHL, minor European league), that’s probably a bad sign.
Before I go ahead and put up the chart, a bit more explanation is needed. Not all of the players drafted in 2010 were actually the same age; in fact, several players had already passed through the draft at least once (and sometimes twice). All of these older players are included in the chart but are marked in yellow. There were also some players who were first eligible for the draft in 2009 or 2010 but weren’t drafted until 2011 or 2012. I’ve also included these players in the chart with "N/A" written in the "Draft Number" column. If 2010 was the player’s first year of eligibility, the yellow highlighting is removed.
The "Draft Number" column is not the player’s actual draft position but the player’s position among forwards. So, for example, the Carolina Hurricanes drafted Jeff Skinner 7th overall, but he was the 6th forward to be drafted, so his "Draft Number" in the chart is "6". Some of these players have also gone unsigned or been traded, so I’ll just note that the "Team" listed is the one that drafted the player.
These numbers may also be slightly different than the NHLE numbers you may have seen elsewhere for these players. That’s because I include both regular season and playoff games in the results, which I think probably gives a better estimate. None of these teams are playing a balanced schedule anyway, so it seems to me that including the larger sample of games is the way to go.
The "Rank" column is organized by NHLE. Anyone without an NHLE ranking is placed at the bottom in the order that they were drafted.
Points of Interest:
- There are quite a few very promising prospects who spent last season playing in one of the best European leagues. If those players all come over (Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Jarnkrok, Granlund, Fasth, and Larsson), it will be interesting to see whether or not their offense holds up. All six of those players are given over forty points by the translations, something that just 138 forwards achieved last season. Will these players all arrive as top six forwards? Probably not. Fasth in particular seems doubtful based on the small sample of games in 2011-12 and his past performance.
- One of the problems with the NHLE system is that it only captures the performance of the "winners", i.e., the players who come directly to the NHL. At this time last year, Ondrej Palat, Curtis Hamilton, Tye McGinn, and Ryan Martindale were all among the top twenty-five, putting up big numbers in the CHL. None of them came directly to the NHL, and all of them struggled in the pro game. Palat survived the best of that group, finishing 94th on this list after posting 39 points in 79 AHL games. Most of the other junior players will join these four in the AHL next season, and that year of AHL experience will likely push this group back up the chart (though probably not back into the top twenty-five).
- It is helpful, though, in reminding us to take the numbers put up by the CHL kids with a grain of salt. No matter how good Mark Stone looks playing in the OHL, the step to pro hockey is substantial, and not everyone is going to make it.
- But not everyone makes a stop in the AHL. There are few other top picks well down this list who are already playing in the NHL. It’s safe to say that all of Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Brett Connolly and (to a lesser extent) Alexander Burmistrov weren’t quite as good as their teams had hoped offensively in 2011-12, but all four have already played more NHL games than some of the men listed above them ever will.
- The St. Louis Blues had a very successful draft with two players in the top ten. Adding Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko to an already excellent forward group is going to make this team very difficult to defend for at least the next four or five years (Backes, Oshie, Perron, Steen, Stewart and Berglund are all twenty-eight years old or younger).
- Some players made a huge leap this season. Chris Wagner, for example, scored just 19 points in 41 games in his freshman year at Colgate, but upped that 51 points in 38 games as a sophomore. Other players who made a big leap include Brock Nelson and Nick Bjugstad, both of whom likely got much more ice time as sophomores than they did as frehsmen coming out of high school hockey.
- With each league being different, it’s always fun to pick out the best guy in each league. In 2011-12, that was Taylor Hall (NHL), Vladimir Tarasenko (KHL), Calle Jarnkrok (SEL), Mikael Granlund (FNL), Jaden Schwartz (NCAA), Mark Stone (WHL), Charlie Coyle (QMJHL), 2012 first-round pick Tanner Pearson (OHL), and Ondrej Palat (AHL).