Bill Arnold, the product of Needham, Massachusetts, was selected in the 4th round (108th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2010. Arnold is described as a strong two-way centre that is very, very good in all three zones. While not a tall player, standing at 6’0’’, Arnold is a big boy, tipping the scales at 210 pounds and certainly doesn’t get pushed around on the ice. He comes in at #7 on our 2014 Flames 15.
The Flames prospect pool has gotten so much better over the past few years that Arnold, along with Max Reinhart, have actually gotten drastically better year after year since being drafted but their ranking in the Flames 15 has dropped from last year to this year. This is not a bad thing. This is a very, very good thing. The prospect pool is changing in dramatic fashion and it’s about to change all over again in a few weeks when the Flames select their 1st Top-5 draft pick in club history.
Arnold, who turned 22 in May, just finished his senior year of NCAA college hockey with Boston College, one of the very best teams of the Hockey East conference. Arnold’s resume includes three Frozen Four appearances, an NCAA championship, two conference championships, four straight Beanpot titles and a World Juniors invitation. His career started as a bottom-six college player and he became one of the best two-way centers in the NCAA by the time he finished.
This past year, Arnold played alongside Johnny Gaudreau (highly-touted 2011 Calgary Flames draft pick) and Kevin Hayes (2010 1st round pick of the Blackhawks) for the majority of the year and the three created the most potent line in the entire NCAA. They outscored the next closest line by a landslide and put up most of the offense for BC.
At the time Arnold was drafted, out of the USHL, he had an NHLE of 18.13, putting up 23 points in 26 games – pretty typical numbers of a 4th round pick, if not even a little bit higher than what’s generally left at that point. In his four years at Boston College, Arnold amassed 144 points (58 + 86) in 169 games; good for a ppg of 0.85. His NHLE (and PPG obviously) steadily rose every year in college – freshman 17.24; sophomore 28.81; junior 31.00; senior 44.54. His last year he jumped up in a big way but a lot of that jump probably comes from playing with Gaudreau and Hayes. The positive jumps year after year are very positive, regardless.
|% Team Scoring||% PP Points||% Primary Points||% Johnny Points|
|32.30% (53/164)||18.88% (10/53)||60.38% (32/53)||81.13% (43/53)|
Here’s a look at some relevant offensive stats concerning Arnold from his last season at BC. While he received more time on the PP near the end of the season, Arnold was seldom used on the PP throughout the year. In fact, only 10 of his 53 points came on the powerplay. Generally players putting up points comparable to Arnold’s would have at least 20%- 30% of their points coming from the PP, if not more. So that is a big positive that he was amassing most of his points at even strength and not with the extra man.
On the other hand, Gaudreau was in on 81% of Arnold’s points. Is that concerning? It might be but Johnny, the best player in the entire NCAA by a country mile, basically created a goal every time he was on his ice and Arnold was his centerman so maybe there’s no way around that. We’d see the same thing from Kevin Hayes I would imagine. Plus, the Flames also drafted Johnny Gaudreau so no worries there… they’ll just play together for eternity!
Conversely, of his 53 points, 60% of them were primary points (either the goal scorer or the 1st assist on the goal). This suggests that although Johnny had something to do with a lot of Arnold’s points, Arnold wasn’t just riding Gaudreau’s bus all over the ice. He was chipping in a fair bit.
Arnold’s shooting percentage last year was 18.9% (14 goals on 76 shots) which is a little high. Additionally, Arnold doesn’t appear to shoot very much. While Arnold took 76 shots in 40 games, Kevin Hayes took 140 shots and Gaudreau took 159 shots. But Arnold was believed to be the defensive pillar of the line which allowed Hayes and Gaudreau to cheat a little bit on the offense. Perhaps this helps to explain why he only got about half the shots of his linemates.
A 4th round pick has about a 12% chance of playing in the NHL and about a 7-8% chance of hitting 200 games. So, in essence, if a team gets an NHL player out of the 4th round that’s a massive win. Arnold appears to not only be a future NHLer but a pretty decent future NHL player at that. I would say he looks like he winds up being a very good two-way 3rd line center with the chance to become a 50 point 2nd line centre that plays the tough minutes. I, for one, am very high on Arnold and believe he has the ability to turn into the latter option.
He’ll most likely start his pro career next year in the AHL with a few call-ups throughout the season. My guess is he’s a full-time NHLer by the end of the 2015-16 season.