Flames 1st Round Comparables



A couple weeks ago, we looked at Sean Monahan’s NHL comparables. He appeared to line up quite favourably compared to his notable peers.

But just using the NHL leaves out a huge swath of data, so I went back and looked for players that were comparable to each of the Flames first 3 picks to try and get an idea of what we should expect from them in the future. 

The qualifications are as follows:

  • Drafted within +/- 10 spots of the player in the last 10 drafts
  • Scored within +/- 0.1 PPG of the player
  • Played in the CHL in his draft year 

Here’s what we came up with.

Sean Monahan

Logan Couture 1.44 35.4 1.14 28.0
Josh Bailey 1.43 35.2 .37* 30.1
Jeff Skinner 1.40 34.6 .77* 63.0
Matt Duchene 1.39 34.1 .68* 55.7
Marek Zagrapan 1.39 34.1  1.47  36.2
Zach Hamill 1.35 33.2 1.12  27.6
Alex Bourret 1.32  32.5 1.70 41.8
Sven Baertschi 1.29 31.7 2.00 49.2
James Sheppard 1.27 31.2 1.71 42.1
Scott Glennie 1.27 31.2 1.35 33.2
Brayden Schenn 1.26 31.0  1.68 41.3
Nazem Kadri 1.26 31.0 1.66  40.8
Gabriel Landeskog 1.25 30.6 .63* 52.0
Cody Hodgson 1.25 30.6  1.74 42.8
Gilbert Brule  1.24 30.5 1.41  34.7
Average 1.32 32.5 1.66** 41.2**
Sean Monahan 1.34 33.1 ? ?

*Played in NHL in +1 Season **Adjusted 

Logan Couture, Jeff Skinner, Matt Duchene, Sven Baertschi, Brayden Schenn, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog and Cody Hodgson are all legit top-6 players and as a whole are generally trending towards being excellent-to-elite players at the NHL level – eventually.

Josh Bailey is starting to reach his potential and Gilbert Brule has had some off ice issues that may have contributed to his lacklustre play. They’re not elite players in any sense, but they’re NHLers.

Marek Zagrapan was a good prospect to start, but didn’t improve much year-over-year in junior. It seems as though he was good enough to play bottom-6 minutes in the NHL, but for whatever reason he went to play in the KHL at the age of 22. Since then, he’s bounced around leagues with minimal success.

Zach Hamill scored at a pretty good pace in the AHL, but not at the level a top-10 pick needs to score at. He also had a significant drop in his draft +1 year, which suggests that his scoring in his draft year was influenced by PP scoring – 17 of his 32 goals were on the PP. His team was also the WHL’s best in his draft season.

Alex Bourret was an Atlanta Thrashers draft pick, so that’s all you need to know. Judging by his stats, he should’ve been an NHLer, but he wasn’t able to make the jump.

James Sheppard is in the same boat as Bourret: he had a few more PP points in his draft season but it didn’t appear to me that that number was egregious. Another guy that for whatever reason couldn’t make the jump, perhaps because he was rushed to the show by the Wild and played in some tough circumstances from day 1.

Scott Glennie played on a stacked team with Brayden Schenn for two seasons and scored a significant amount of points on the PP. He also recorded a secondary assist percentage of 52% in his draft year, indicating his output was inflated.

Emilé Poirier

Ty Rattie 1.18 29.0 1.75 43.1
Zach Boychuk 1.18 29.0 1.33 32.7
Mark McNeill 1.16 28.5 1.02 25.1
Stefan Noesen 1.13 27.8  1.30 32.0
Joey Hishon 1.11 27.3 1.74 42.8
Nick Foligno 1.08 26.6 1.33  32.7
Radek Faksa  1.08 26.5 .80 19.7
Jordan Eberle 1.07 26.3 1.21 29.8
Wojtek Wolski 1.06 26.1 1.09 26.8
Kenndal McArdle 1.06  26.1 .99 24.4
Philip Danault 1.04 25.6 1.15 28.3 
Dave Bolland 1.03 25.3 1.29  31.7
Zack Kassian 1.03 25.3 .82 20.2
Quinton Howden 1.00 24.6 1.32  32.5
Vladislav Namestinkov 1.00 24.6 1.13 27.8
Brendan Gaunce 1.00 24.6 1.00 24.6
Peter Holland .99  24.4 1.34 33.0
Ryan O’Marra .99  24.4  1.26 31.0
Greg Nemisz .99 24.4 1.19 29.3
Average 1.06 26.1 1.15 28.3
Emilé Poirier 1.08 26.5 ? ?

This list has a lot less NHL-quality talent, but in recent years the comparables for Poririer have improved. Many of those guys are high-end prospects in their respective organizations or are enjoying NHL success at varying degrees. 

I view Ty Rattie, Mark McNeill, Stefan Noesen, Radek Faksa, Philip Danualt, Quinton Howden, Vlad Namestinkov and Brendan Gaunce as good prospects, most of whom are tracking well.

Nick Foligino, Jordan Eberle, Wojtek Wolski, Dave Bolland and Zack Kassian are all top-9 NHLers to varying degrees.

Kenndal McArdle started out as a good prospect, but there were plenty of warning of signs as to why he might not turn out: first, his PPG year-over-year skyrocketed (.29 in his draft-1 year) and then he kind of regressed in the next season even though the team improved significantly. He is now playing in the SHL-2.

Joey Hishon has struggled with head injuries lately but improved his NHLE from 30.7 in his 18 year old season to 42.8 in his 20 year old season. He is currently suffering from post-concussive syndrome, but possible future injuries are rarely taken into account when determining the quality of a player.

Zach Boychuk was drafted after his 17 year old season, where he posted an NHLE of 29.0. However, that was a sharp drop from his 16 year old season, where his NHLE was 32.5. Lack of improvement year-over-year (especially when factoring physical development in) is generally a warning sign. He has torn up the AHL, however, and is still just 23, so he still has a chance to play meaningful bottom-6 minutes.

Peter Holland is one of Anaheim’s best centre prospects. In his 20 year old season he recorded an NHLE of 30.5 at the AHL level and in this past year he managed to improve on that by almost 10 whole points – 39.1.

Greg Nemisz can’t skate and was carried by Josh Bailey, Adam Henrique, Ryan Ellis, Andrei Loktionov and Taylor Hall during his time in Windsor.

I have no idea what happened to Ryan O’Marra.

Morgan Klimchuk

Stefan Noesen 1.13 27.8  1.30 32.0
Nick Foligno 1.08 26.6 1.33  32.7
Jordan Eberle 1.07 26.3 1.21 29.8
Wojtek Wolski 1.06 26.1 1.09 26.8
Kenndal McArdle 1.06  26.1 .99 24.4
Boone Jenner 1.05 25.8 1.14  28.0
Philip Danault 1.04 25.6 1.15 28.3 
Dave Bolland 1.03 25.3 1.29  31.7
Quinton Howden 1.00 24.6 1.32  32.5
Vladislav Namestinkov 1.00 24.6 1.13 27.8
Brendan Gaunce 1.00 24.6 1.00 24.6
Greg Nemisz .99 24.4 1.19 29.3
Ryan O’Reilly .97 23.9 .32*  26.3
Nicolas Deschamps .96 23.6 1.00 24.6
Nicklas Jensen .95 23.4 1.02 25.1
Average 1.03 25.3 1.15** 28.4**
Morgan Klimchuk 1.05 25.8 ? ?

*Played in NHL in +1 Season  **Adjusted 

A lot of players here are also on Poirier’s comparable list, but there are a couple intriguing new names.

Boone Jenner was drafted after his 17 year old season and is one of Columbus’ best prospects. His NHLE this season (19 years old) was 36.0. He has played with Scott Laughton and Nicklas Jensen in Oshawa, which has been one of the OHL’s better teams the past couple of years.

Ryan O’Reilly made the jump straight to the NHL, playing his 18 year old season in Denver. O’Reiliy’s underlying stats paint him as a first line centre in the same mould as Daymond Langkow. Langkow is also a good offensive comparable, but given that O’Reiliy scored at a .7 PPG pace this season in the NHL, he may have more offensive upside than previously thought.

Nicolas Deschamps is currently not doing much in the Capitals organization, managing an NHLE of about 15.4 this season. However, in his draft year, he had a lot of ice time with 20 year old on a playoff team.

Nicklas Jensen’s 27.5 NHLE this season was a bit up from his draft season, but not terribly encouraging. Although, it is worth noting he spent the majority of the season in Sweden’s top league playing against men. I believe he has a chance to make the Canucks this year in a bottom-6 role.


All three players are above average when compared to those drafted around them year to year, which is a good thing. For the most part, all three lists have a large amount of NHL talent. It’s unrealistic to expect that the Flames just drafted Couture, Bolland and O’Reiliy – but it’s a pretty safe bet that at least one of these guys turns out to be a decent player. 

In terms of results for next season and what I’d like to see – for Monahan, a PPG of 1.55 or higher would be nice (if he plays in the OHL) and Klimchuk and Poirier should be expected to hit 1.25 PPG.

  • mk

    So what you’re saying is that we have younger versions of Couture, Eberle and O’Reilly in our organization? Good.

    At least, that’s what I wanted to read from that. 🙂 I really wanted ROR to get himself here.

  • thymebalm

    Now I know what to expect: Somewhere between a complete bust and Logan Couture. That really narrows it down.. 😉

    Thanks for this article. At the very least we can see how they should be performing against their peers next year to keep on the NHL curve.

    There is -so- much data on this site, but it gets buried deep in articles and then deeper in the blog roll. I think it would be great to see a link the menu bar to all of these charts, advanced stats, player comparisons, ie anything that required a table to organize.

    Just a thought.

    • 24% body fat

      I second thymebalm’s request for an area on the site that organizes these projections/charts etc.

      Would be nice to be able to easily look back at these comparables mid-next season to see where these players are falling

        • Joe Flames

          What about even a section with links to articles giving these kinds of stats and predictions? Just something to make it easier to check back on prospects and how they are progressing. That shouldn’t be too hard.
          You could sort them by position, draft year, etc.

  • RexLibris

    I’ve noticed that prospects, when grouped into similar age ranges and positions/strengths can often fall into a “one-out-of-three” ratio when it comes to making the NHL.

    Hardly scientific, and it gets harder and harder the further one goes down the draft order, but I would argue that one of Klimchuk, Monahan and Poirier should become an NHL regular eventually. If two can make the cut then the Flames will be laughing.

  • Marc


    As Jujhar Khaira and Mark Jankowski have similarish stats:

    2011-12 PG Spruce Kings (BCHL)
    54 29 50 79 69

    2012-13 Michigan Tech WCHA
    37 6 19 25 49

    2011–12 Stanstead Cl. (Que-HS) 57 53 40 93 34

    2012-13 Providence Cl. H-East 34 7 11 18 10

    And Marco Roy and Emilé Poirier have similarish stats:

    2012-13 B-B Armada QMJHL 65 29 38 67 68

    2012-13 Gat Olympiques QMJHL 65 32 38 70 101

    why not run regular side-by-side updates on them on both Oilersnation and Flamesnation next season?

  • PrairieStew

    Well done JA.

    I hope everyone noticed how few of the comparables play in the NHL in their draft +1 year, only 4 of Monohan’s 15. There is a tendency to pin hopes on the current draft crop and begin penciling them in to the lineup.so for those expecting Monahan to be the#3 xentre on opening day, hold your horses. Its probably in the best interests of the team, both long term and short term for all of these guys to gio back to junior.

  • supra steve

    How many of Mackinnon, Barkov, Drouin, Jones, & Lindholm do we expect to see in the NHL for a full season in 2013-’14? Not that this tells us anything about where Monahan should spend the season, just curious.

    • PrairieStew

      I say 4 of the 5, with the exception Lindholm. Jones will be not be great, he will get 3rd pair minutes the occasional view from the press box. The forwards will start strong and fade after Christmas.