Flames Darkhorse Targets: JC Lipon


 Via the CHL

I’m a bit surprised JC Lipon went undrafted last year. After posting an NHLE of 23 in his 18 year old season, he was passed over 240ish times by every team in Pittsburgh – for Lipon, perhaps the third time is the charm?

Scouting Reports

Lipon was only 17 when his first draft rolled around. His size (at the time, 5’9 and 165 pounds) and lack of production were enough to dissuade anyone from drafting him. The season after, Lipon scored 65 points in 69 games and grew a couple inches but it still wasn’t enough for NHL teams to take a flyer.

This year, he was 19 and put up some nice numbers: 89 points in just 61 games, for an NHLE of 36 in, technically, his first real draft+1 season. Lipon started strong, collecting 40 of his 89 points before Halloween rolled around. He’s also grown a little: the WHL site now lists him at 6 feet and 181 pounds – only 10 or so pounds away from being average NHL size.

Lipon is ranked 118th overall on Corey Pronman’s top 250 list and the CSS puts him at 83rd among North American skaters. Lipon is a fast guy and played in all situations this season for his club, the Kamloops Blazers. His skating is considered good, but it isn’t elite. He has struggled on the defensive side of the puck in the past, but his substantial PK time for the Blazers this year seems to suggest those worries might be history.

Lipon’s playmaking skills (i.e., his passing) seem to be the most attractive feature of the kid’s game. On the flipside, he seems to take a lot of penalties, but I’m unsure if that is a direct result of his physical game (okay) or discipline problems (less okay). His only elite talent is likely puck distribution, but he doesn’t have any major deficiencies in his game either.

The Numbers

Lipon has some pretty attractive offensive splits:

  • 32 of his 53 assists were primary assists (60%),
  • Only 30 of his 89 points (10G, 20A) were powerplay points (34%),
  • He contributed to 89 of the team’s 214 goals for when dressed (42%),
  • Scored 3 ENG, 2 SHG, 1 SHA and 1 ENA.

Let’s take a look at a couple of his comparables, shall we? I found players who were drafted in 2011 and still played in the WHL this season – needless to say, Lipon looks pretty impressive. Only one player is younger than Lipon on this chart (Stransky). Everyone else is at least 3 months older.

Ty Rattie 62 48 62 1.77 44
JC Lipon 61 36 53 1.46 36
Michael St. Croix 72 37 55 1.28 31
Adam Lowry 72 45 43 1.22 30
Marek Tvrdon 18 8 14 1.22 30
Matej Stransky 72 40 45 1.18 29
Mark McNeill 65 25 42 1.03 25
Shane McColgan 69 19 47 0.96 24
Colin Jacobs 66 25 28 0.81 20
Kale Kessy 60 21 22 0.72 18
Travis Ewanyk 58 8 15 0.38 9

These numbers seem to be on Lipon’s side as well. Of course, there is a little bit of reverse survivorship bias, as some players playing in the NHL and AHL will likely have higher NHLEs because they are “better” players playing at higher levels.


I don’t think it’s fair to say that Lipon’s point totals this year were a result of cushy situations, his age, or good linemates. His PPG rate has climbed steadily since coming into the WHL 4 seasons ago, he played the entire season at the age of 19 and he has a very good PP point split. To me, all signs point to this guy being a legit 2/3W in the NHL.

I have no idea where he’ll go, but if he’s available with one of the Flames 3rd or (seemingly unlikely) 5th round picks, it’d be hard to say no.

Flames Darkhorse Targets

Around the Nation

    • Lordmork

      That’s actually an interesting question. Does anyone know if people from hockey organizations pay attention to fan opinion/thoughts? Companies do investor/public relations research to see what people are saying about them all the time. Do hockey organizations do that as well?

          • My guess is they monitor folks like us for brand protection – so if we’re being libelous, overtly nasty or exploiting their brand for profit explicitly, they’d, uh, let us know.

            That said, They gave me a press pass this year, so they’re aware we have enough traffic to be worth something like that.

          • Lordmork

            From a communications standpoint, you’re probably best off to be watching for all the things you’ve mentioned, and maybe more, but not letting anyone know that you’re watching.

          • Lordmork

            Yeah that makes a lot of sense, well it was certainly good to see FN get that sort of access. Having a press pass can only up the overall value of the articles written here and provide further insight.

          • The Last Big Bear

            I’ll bet you there’s a Flames staffer or two out there who monitor this site for more than just brand protection… I mean why not? * the more you know * Original ideas are hard to come by so why not scoop a few ideas from the collective knowledge of the masses…they would be fools not to so um… Well actually on second thought, maybe they don’t.

            Unrelated, I’ve decided that whatever Roger Millions tweets is about to happen so I’m combing through the Senators prospects to see who we’ll get for Cammy. Haha, Noesen and maybe a pick?

      • SmellOfVictory

        Brian Burke’s son (man, Burke has come up a lot recently) confirmed on Twitter that a lot of NHL scouts read HFBoards trade proposals for entertainment value. But that’s scouts, who have a lot of downtime. I don’t know if anything is done regarding these sites in a professional capacity or not (probably very franchise-specific).

        • McRib

          Personally some teams might but the Flames hardly seem to pay attention to fans opinions. Considering last year calgaryflames.com featured numerous “Potential Flames Draft Targets” on the website (Pouliot, Girgensons, Ceci, Matta, and Faksa, etc). None of which were Mark Jankowski, it shows how little they even communicate with their IT Department let alone pay attention to fans. If their own website is not considered I doubt fans are, although FN has been bang on about the ROR/CK rumors. So maybe some of them are leaking downward but its doubtful things are going uphill.

          When HF Boards first came out it was actually a issue teams would have prospects calling GMs or scouts asking if the rumors were true, but because they were so often incorect its not really even credible anymore. It might be a question players ask their agents at one point early on in their junior careers and then move on quickly, now its all just laughable, but a family friends is a NYI scout and for awhile back in 05-06ish HF Boards was creating issues for them.

          • McRib

            well just because a few fans wanted them to draft certain players doesn’t mean they will. It also doesn’t mean they are ignoring their fans. They have experienced staff in place and don’t need armchair scouts to tell them who they should pick and when. They obviously felt that janko was the bpa in the draft at that point and felt they could acquire him a little lower and traded down.
            I’m sure though if there were a name of an unranked player that was blowing minds of flames fans from a certain region and they saw everyone talking about said player, they would at least do some preliminary research to see if it would be worth sending someone to have a look.

  • Bikeit

    Living in Kamloops here, I got to see alot of Lipon. He is most of what Justin wrote, but when you look at him i just do not see the NHL tools.

    Lipon cares about winning, has a bit of a mean streak which is good, will fight when called upon. He also scored alot of one timers just in the circle with a Stamkos type shot. Then teams figured him out and took that away and his points were harder to come by (After Haloween). Colin smith also probably elevated his points a bit as he knew how to slide the puck under goalies after Lipon took the shot.

    He is a long shot i think but I remember watching other flames picks over the years come through town and said no way will he make it. Adam cracknell is now showing up on the St Louis roster.

    Take him if he is available in the late rounds.

  • McRib

    Really like JC Lipons game and think he has the potential to be a future superpest who can score ala Brad Marchand lite, but the Flames need to focus on forwards with size in the later rounds considering the talk of drafting Nic Petan in the first to go along with Johnny Hockey.

    How about drafting local Springbank resident and thrice passed over prospect Myles Bell… Thats a good dark horse for the Flames, since he went up to forward this season has looked at home, also seems to have put off ice problems behind him. Considering they are going to go around the same time 5th round prefer Myles Bell.

    • The Last Big Bear

      jc lipon isn’t small, and teams don’t need size. smallest team in the playoffs this year iirc was/is the blackhawks.

      bellsy is a good guy, went to school with him… but he’s got a 10 cent head. flames won’t pick him for that reason alone.

      generally the farther you get away from #1 the worse the players will be. every draft if rife with replacement-level players past the 2nd round… doesn’t make sense to me why you would want to give yourself a lower chance of success.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Teams with unbelievable talent and depth don’t need size to be successful. One team has that. All the rest need to level the playing field with a mixture of size, skill, physicality and goaltending. The playoffs reward those teams more often than not.

        • The Last Big Bear

          every team in the league this year was within about 2 inches in height on average.

          how tall a guy is should matter exactly zero when deciding on draft picks or players.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            I agree generally about size. Playing ability is most important. However the way Toews uses his size to protect the puck is impressive. The notion of size as some kind of intimidation is false. McGratton scares no one sitting on the bench. Toews, Kopitar knock d men off the puck and protect the puck when in offensive zone.

            I understand both those guys have great skills but their size is part of it.

      • McRib

        I’m not saying I want a lower chance of success the more picks the better, but it just seems 4-5 rounders pan out, as often as 6-7 rounders. So I thought it would be interesting to see in the last decade the amount of legitimate NHLers that were produced from each round. Outside of the 1-3 rounds it seems that the rest of the rounds are fairly consistant with each other. 2000-2010 Draft Picks in NHL games played per round:

        4) 13,393 5) 12,423 6) 10,330 7) 10,419

        Figures don’t lie the 4-7 rounds are freakishly even for producing legitimate NHLers with the 4-5 rounds only producing one or two more players every year (4th rounders only averaged 297.4 games played more than 7th rounders every year). Broken down further considering the average career is 1 1/2 seasons 8.47 players from the 7th play in the NHL compared to 10.88 4th rounders thats only a 12.44 % chance that a 4th rounder will pan out over a 7th. So as long as the Flames make the (135, 157, 187, 198) picks count we shouldn’t be affected after loosing our fourth to the Corbin Knight trade. Which honestly was probably worth a first or second, in hindsight it leads you to the question… Whats worth more a 4th rounder or two 7ths?? If we draft well that 7th we got for Henrik Karlsson could turn into a better NHL than the 4th anyway. That’s all I was saying, also after looking at Games Played by 2nd rounders (33, 559) the Flames really need to stop trading away those picks.

        • McRib

          There you go FN you like “statistical analysis” so there is only a 12.44% better chance that the 4th Rounder we traded for Corbin Knight turns into an NHLer over the 7th we recouped from Henrik Karlsson. Wish we would aquire 6-7ths more often as they are very underrated and considering Matt DeBlouw was our 7th last year and many had him predraft in the Top. 100, I am not worried about loosing our 4th.

          • SmellOfVictory

            I think he’d agree that the top 3 rounds should stay pat, but definitely move the 5th rounder for a 6th and 7th or two 6ths if possible. I’d be totally okay with the long-term drafting strategy involving the movement of 4th/5th round picks for a higher number of picks in the rounds below.

          • piscera.infada

            I don’t think he’s saying that at all. It sounds to me like he’s simply stating that in the grand scheme of things; trading a 4th round pick isn’t a huge deal (when you have 6th and 7th to fall back on). Likewise, acquiring two 7ths over one 4th also seems to make sense.

          • The Last Big Bear

            i am so confused haha.

            i’ll explain my philosophy:

            • don’t trade down in the first
            • move 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 picks for first rounders
            • move 4, 5 picks for 6, 7 picks
            • picks for young established players is almost always preferable than drafting and waiting for them to develop unless the pick is a lottery pick
          • piscera.infada

            Wow, too early in the morning – I read that “makes sense” as sarcasm. It appears we’re all on the same page, I agree with all above.

            Just a quick question. What exactly does “lottery pick” mean? Is it any top 14 pick (which seems presumptuous)? Or, is it only the 1st overall (thus the actual “lottery pick)? Or, is it some arbitrary top-3,4,5 situation?

            Always been a little unclear on that.

          • The Last Big Bear

            to me, I take it to mean a top-10ish pick, depending on the year. just kinda jargon that can be adapted year to year. this year I’d classify it as any pick from 1-16 probably.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            A lottery pick is a top 5 pick, full stop. It dates back to those ancient times when any team in the top (bottom) 5 had a chance at 1st overall, and no one else.

  • McRib

    Interesting to note that the flames have some holes in the middle of the draft due to traded picks. After the first round they pick 67, 135, 157, 187, 198. Pretty big gap between 67 and 135 where it sounds like there might be some depth in this draft. On the other hand things tend to be pretty fluid after the 3rd round so may not be too bad, and getting Knight certainly makes up for it.

    • McRib

      Its interesting you mention this honestly for me after the Top 60-70 players, I see very little difference in talent with as many players panning out from the 6-7th rounds compared to 3-4 rounds. Look at the 2003 NHL Draft as an example:

      3-4 Rounds: Colin Fraser, Daniel Carcillo, Clarke MacArthur, Ryan O’Byrne, Jan Hejda, Kyle Quincey, Paul Bissonnette.

      6+ Rounds: Marc Methot, Bruno Gervais, Drew Miller, Joe Pavelski, Kyle Brodziak, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Shane O’Brien, Matt Moulson, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott

      Honestly if I was an NHL GM every trade I made I would try to stock pile 6-7 rounders because of this fact, look at that 7th Rounder we got from Chicago for Henrik Karlsson we could get an ALL-Star like Matt Moulson or Dustin Byfuglien out of that “nothing pick”.

  • the forgotten man

    O/T…love how Detroit can commit some 275 million to a new hockey stadium when on the verge of bankruptcy and wallowing in 17 billion in debt…I guess the creditors get first dibs on season tickets…what a joke.

    I hope to God there isn’t a dime of public money invested in the Flames stadium dreams…Edwards et al can cough it up and charge on ongoing surcharge on any hockey tickets or events at the new stadium until paid off. Public financing of sports stadiums is an antiquated 20th century notion.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    While waiting for something other than JC Lipon to comment on:

    -which D corp do you like better Bruins or Hawks? I mean in terms of how built, a rugged, big bodied Boston (save for a couple guys) or a fleet, offensive and transitioning one of the Hawks. Chara is a freak, so the question isn’t which guys you prefer rather the different styles. Boychuk, McQuaid vs Hjarmallson, Oduya types.

    -does anyone else think Dallas Eakiins has the ‘look’ of the next Mike Babcock?

    PS- I appreciate all the content on here, not intending first sentence to be ungrateful.

    • piscera.infada

      He may resemble Babs in actual appearance a little bit. But in all seriousness, he has a long way to go to be anywhere near that echelon of coaching.

      I take Mcquaid, Boychuck over Oduya, Hjarmallson – anyday. That said, I take the first pairing of Keith, Seabrook over any Chara pairing (that may just be my absolute seething hatred of anything Chara though).

    • The Last Big Bear

      if i took 6 players i’d prefer the hawks. keith-seabrook-hjarlmarson-leddy-oduya-rozsival sounds a lot better than chara-seidenberg-boychuk-mcquaid-krug-hamilton imo.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    When I watch games, the adjustment teams have made new NHL is blocking shots. The front of goal is covered by defenders. Boston’s D are huge.

    But Boston is really great coming out of their end. Watching them, when going good, they get out of their zone fast with short passes.

    Chicago is about instant transition to offense. Either they skate it, or make some long pass to hit their forwards in stride.

    It’s interesting watching the two styles go at it.

    If you’re building a team which one do you copy? Which one is easiest to copy by way of acquiring the players and which one is more consistent to play well?

    I think a prevailing thought has been stout defence is more consistent to achieve, while offensive minded are susceptible to streakiness (speaking just of D corp).

    Defend your net or attack the opposing net. These are the two finalists. It’s even so far.