A Look Back At Past Draft Classes

Earlier this weekend, we discussed progression a bit. With that in mind, let’s have a brief look back at the past three Calgary Flames drafts. Each player chosen is listed with their draft year statistics and how they’ve fared since then.

Wherever possible, players are listed with their calculated NHLE – their projected NHL equivalent points production over an 82-game season based on their performance in the league they spent that season in. (e.g., “Monahan’s X points in the OHL would be the equivalent of Y NHL points’)

UPDATE: To make it a bit clearer, NHLE is basically the equalized NHL production of every player that played in a league and ended up in the NHL. For instance, Johnny Gaudreau had two points per game in the NCAA during his final season. Past NCAA players who made the NHL saw their NCAA production converted to NHL points at a 0.41 ratio, so if you multiply Gaudreau’s NCAA production by that ratio (and then by 82, for a season-long comparator), you get a decent equivalent. The numbers themselves are more illustrative that anything else, and league-to-league comparisons need to be taken with a grain of salt because some leagues send more bodies to the NHL who are successful with greater regularity than others. But the nice thing about NHLE is that it treats the people that go to the NHL and struggle the same as those that pull a Gaudreau and excel, so even with smaller sample sizes, they are internally reasonably fair. They are most useful as an illustration of how a player progresses through their careers in terms of production.

And to keep things simple, everything is regular season games (except for the college kids, whose stats are combined because the NCAA is wacky like that).

2012 DRAFT

Mark Jankowski

  • Draft Year: 87 points in 54 games with Stanstead College [NHLE=N/A]
  • 2012-13: 18 points in 34 games with Providence College (Hockey East) [NHLE=17.8]
  • 2013-14: 25 points in 39 games with Providence College [NHLE=21.6]
  • 2014-15: 27 points in 37 games with Providence College, won NCAA championship [NHLE=24.5]
  • Well, Jankowski hasn’t become the be-all, end-all for the Providence College Friars, but he has become an important piece of their team as a tough minutes center and his offensive production has progressed every year.

Patrick Sieloff

  • Draft Year: 12 points in 84 games with the U.S. National Development Team [NHLE=N/A]; Also played on Team USA at World Under-18 Championship.
  • 2012-13: 11 points in 45 games with Windsor Spitfires (OHL) [NHLE=6.0]; Also played on Team USA at World Juniors.
  • 2013-14: 0 points in 2 games with Abbotsford Heat (AHL) [NHLE=0]; Missed basically entire season with bad staph infection.
  • 2014-15: 5 points in 48 games with Adirondack Flames (AHL) [NHLE=0.8]; Played entire season in a depth role, was tried out as a fourth line winger at times.
  • Sieloff doesn’t project as a player that will put up offensive numbers in the NHLE to begin with, but man, these are some bad, bad numbers. If he doesn’t turn things around, I’m not sure where he fits.

Jon Gillies

  • Draft Year: .915 save percentage in 53 games with the Indiana Ice (USHL)
  • 2012-13: .931 save percentage in 35 games with Providence College (Hockey East). Also was back-up for Team USA at World Juniors.
  • 2013-14: .931 save percentage in 34 games with Providence College. Also started for Team USA at World Juniors.
  • 2014-15: .930 save percentage in 39 games with Providence College, won NCAA championship.
  • Gillies is incredibly consistent. In college, he got to .930 save percentage regardless of the quality of his team, whether he was injured, or whatever else is going on. And let’s be honest – it would’ve been tough for his underlying numbers to get that much better than they were.

Brett Kulak

  • Draft Year: 24 points in 72 games with Vancouver Giants (WHL) [NHLE=8.2]
  • 2012-13: 44 points in 72 games with Vancouver Giants [NHLE=15.0]; 0 points in 4 AHL games with Abbotsford.
  • 2013-14: 60 points in 69 games with Vancouver Giants [NHLE=21.4]; 3 points in 6 AHL games with Abbotsford.
  • 2014-15: 30 points in 39 ECHL games with Colorado; 13 points in 26 AHL games with Adirondack; 0 points in 1 NHL game with Calgary. [NHLE=22.6, based on AHL numbers]
  • Kulak more or less stayed at the same level he was last season. He had strong progression throughout his WHL years, and he played at three different leagues last season and was pretty good in the AHL and ECHL. His NHL appearance isn’t really anything to write home about.

Ryan Culkin

  • Draft Year: 25 points in 60 games with Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) [NHLE=9.6]
  • 2012-13: 45 points in 67 games with Quebec Remparts [NHLE=15.4]
  • 2013-14: 60 points in 65 games with Quebec Remparts and Drummondville Voltigeurs [NHLE=21.2]
  • 2014-15: 18 points in 37 games with Adirondack Flames (AHL) [NHLE=21.9]
  • Culkin’s progressed fairly well since he was drafted. He had a bit of a slow start in the AHL and then got going really well, until he had a gnarly wrist injury that cut the season short. And a few tendons (which required surgery. He probably would’ve gotten a couple games in the NHL had he been healthy.

Coda Gordon

  • Draft Year: 53 points in 66 games with Swift Current Broncos (WHL) [NHLE=19.8]
  • 2012-13: 59 points in 70 games with Swift Current Broncos [NHLE=20.7]
  • 2013-14: 71 points in 59 games with Swift Current Broncos [NHLE=29.6]
  • 2014-15: 61 points in 62 games with Swift Current Broncos [NHLE=24.2]; 0 points in 1 ECHL game with Rapid City.
  • The Flames cut bait with Gordon after the 2013-14 season, and then his production dipped a bit the year after. The two probably aren’t connected, but it does make them seem like they had a clue here.

Matthew Deblouw

  • Draft Year: 33 points in 58 games with Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) [NHLE=N/A]
  • 2012-13: 21 points in 42 games with Michigan State Spartans (NCAA) [NHLE=16.8]
  • 2013-14: 4 points in 23 games with Michigan State Spartans [NHLE=5.8]
  • 2014-15: 13 points in 35 games with Michigan State Spartans [NHLE=12.5]
  • Well, Deblouw’s a bit inconsistent from year-to-year, but hey, he’s a seventh rounder. It’s basically a coin toss whether or not Calgary signs him after his senior year.

    2013 DRAFT

    Sean Monahan

    • Draft Year: 78 points in 58 games with Ottawa 67’s (OHL) [NHLE=33.1]
    • 2013-14: 34 points in 75 games with Calgary Flames
    • 2014-15: 62 points in 81 games with Calgary Flames
    • Monahan was flung straight from the junior to the NHL. His NHLE didn’t really drop off at all, which is pretty impressive. And then he got better this past season. Way to go, Monahan.

    Emile Poirier

    • Draft Year: 70 points in 65 games with Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) [NHLE=24.7]
    • 2013-14: 87 points in 63 games with Gatineau Olympiques [NHLE=31.7]; 4 points in 2 AHL games with Abbotsford.
    • 2014-15: 42 points in 55 AHL games with Adirondack; 1 point in 6 NHL games with Calgary [NHLE=34.4, based on AHL numbers]
    • Poirier continues a steady progression. He jumped up from his draft year to his final Q year, and then again as he transitioned to the AHL. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s plateaued yet, or if he can improve a bit more.

    Morgan Klimchuk

    • Draft Year: 76 points in 70 games with Regina Pats (WHL) [NHLE=26.7]; Also played for Team Canada at World U-18 Championship.
    • 2013-14: 74 points in 57 games with Regina Pats [NHLE=31.9]; 0 points in 4 AHL games with Abbotsford.
    • 2014-15: 80 points in 60 games with Regina Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings [NHLE=32.8]
    • Klimchuk has remained pretty constant since he’s been drafted in terms of his production, even when changing teams and roles. Based on this, it’s probably about time for him to turn pro and see if he can improve any further.

    Keegan Kanzig

    • Draft Year: 7 points in 70 games with Victoria Royals (WHL) [NHLE=2.5]
    • 2013-14: 8 points in 63 games with Victoria Royals [NHLE=3.1]
    • 2014-15: 22 points in 70 games with Victoria Royals and Calgary Hitmen [NHLE=7.7]
    • He’s not in a scoring role, so these numbers are more or less meaningless. That said, his numbers jumped up a bunch when he moved to the Hitmen.

    Eric Roy

    • Draft Year: 39 points in 72 games with Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) [NHLE=13.3]
    • 2013-14: 44 points in 66 games with Brandon Wheat Kings [NHLE=16.4]
    • 2014-15: 45 points in 66 games with Brandon Wheat Kings [NHLE=16.8]
    • Roy hasn’t moved the needle too much over the past couple years, though he has improved a tad. Probably not to the degree you’d expect an overage defenseman to produce, though.

    Tim Harrison

    • Draft Year: 43 points in 28 games with Dexter Prep School [NHLE=N/A]
    • 2013-14: 5 points in 34 games with Colgate University (ECAC) [NHLE=4.9]
    • 2014-15: 11 points in 37 games with Colgate University [NHLE=10.0]
    • Harrison’s not really in a scoring role. But he’s nudging his meager numbers up a bit, I suppose.

    Rushan Rafikov

    • Draft Year: 10 points in 53 games with Loko Yaroslavl (MHL) [NHLE=N/A]; Also represented Russia at the World Under-18 Championship.
    • 2013-14: 20 points in 47 games with Loko Yaroslavl [NHLE=N/A]
    • 2014-15: 18 points in 35 games with HK Ryazan (VHL); 1 point in 2 games with Loko Yaroslavl [NHLE=N/A]; Also represented Russia at the World Juniors.
    • Rafikov doesn’t play in leagues with established NHLE numbers, but he improved his points-per-game from season to season and his points-per-game didn’t dip much at all when he went up to Russia’s secondary pro league.

    John Gilmour

    • Draft Year: 13 points in 38 games with Providence College (NCAA) [NHLE=11.5]
    • 2013-14: 18 points in 39 games with Providence College [NHLE=15.5]
    • 2014-15: 11 points in 30 games with Providence College, won NCAA championship. [NHLE=12.3]
    • Gilmour’s numbers have wobbled around a bit. He showed some progression, but bear in mind he did miss a big chunk of last season due to injury.

    2014 DRAFT

    Sam Bennett

    • Draft Year: 91 points in 57 games with Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) [NHLE=39.3]
    • 2014-15: 24 points in 11 games with Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) [NHLE=53.7]; 1 point in 1 NHL game with Calgary, also played playoffs. Missed several months recovering from shoulder surgery.
    • Warning of the small sample size this past season, but man, Bennett’s pretty good.

    Mason McDonald

    • Draft Year: .900 save percentage in 29 games with Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
    • 2014-15: .906 save percentage in 56 games with Charlottetown Islanders
    • McDonald played a TON for the Islanders this year after being a back-up functionally for two different teams. His numbers moved up very slightly. But for context, his save percentage was second-best in the “What’s defense?” QMJHL.

    Hunter Smith

    • Draft Year: 40 points in 64 games with Oshawa Generals (OHL) [NHLE=15.4]
    • 2014-15: 49 points in 57 games with Oshawa Generals [NHLE=21.1]
    • Smith’s older than most players of his cohort, but at least his numbers are moving in the right direction.

    Brandon Hickey

    • Draft Year: 22 points in 49 games with Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) [NHLE=N/A]
    • 2014-15: 17 points in 41 games with Boston University (NCAA) [NHLE=13.9]
    • There’s no commonly accepted comparison for the AJHL, but Hickey’s established a pretty decent NCAA baseline for himself.

    Adam Ollas Mattsson

    • Draft Year: 9 points in 33 games with Djurgardens U20 [NHLE=N/A]; 2 points in 6 games in Allsvenskan
    • 2014-15: 7 points in 19 games with Djurgardens U20 [NHLE=N/A], 2 points in 34 SHL games with Djurgardens
    • Ollas Mattsson has been a damn fine junior defender in Sweden, but so far he hasn’t moved the needle much in a depth role for the SHL club.

    Austin Carroll

    • Draft Year: 57 points in 70 games with Victoria Royals (WHL) [NHLE=20.0]
    • 2014-15: 77 points in 69 games with Victoria Royals [NHLE=27.4]
    • Pretty decent jump in Carroll’s numbers, but bear in mind he was an over-ager (and bigger and older than most of the other kids).

    SUM IT UP

    The majority of Calgary’s recently-drafted prospects have seen statistical progression over the past few seasons. Only a handful haven’t, really, and most of them are late round picks which the Flames haven’t invested a ton into anyway.

    • OKG

      John Gilmour definitely wasn’t “right” after his injury, you could see him struggling in the NCAA tournament, but one thing that really stood out was his compete level. He’s got that innate leadership quality to him that is encouraging. If he were 6’1 and not 5’11, we’d probably be really excited about him. But even then I could see him pulling a Kris Russell and making the NHL anyways.

    • OKG

      This is pretty much useless without an explanation of what a certian NHLE tells us about a player, no? What’s good? What’s bad? Where do these players need to be if we expect them to be NHLers?

      More extraneous stats.

      • BurningSensation

        You must be new around here;

        NHLE is a way of projecting a players offense based on how succesful they were the year prior in a lower league. Depending on the league they played in will affect the modifer used to translate their stats from one level to the next.

        It’s not exactly rocket science as far as advanced stats go, as it isn’t as useful at predicting outcomes as say Fewick adjusted Corsi is, but it does give a reasonable benchmark for a player based on his past.

        ***

        As for the review of our drafts, along with the quality of the prospects we have developing in the system, we should note the quantity.

        An ‘average’ team drafts 1.5 NHL players out of any given draft., but I’d suggest the Flames had several drafts in a row where the # is going to be 3-4 players per draft – a huge improvement over average.

        These extra assets may never be trophy winners, or All-Stars, but they are assets, assets that will bring back value in trade, or by bringing depth to the team.

      • Here’s a rule of thumb for you:

        – 20-25 NHLe, low chance of NHLer aside from a depth role
        – 25-30 NHLe, slightly better chance, but ditto
        – 30-35 NHLe, Decent chance of a quality NHLer
        – 35-40 NHLe, approaching above average status
        – Above 40 NHLe, almost certainly a future star

        This goes for kids in their draft year and draft+1 season. The older they get, the less impressive a higher NHLe is. For example, a lot of overager’s score at high levels in junior, but thats’ because they are 21 year olds playing teenagers.

        This year, there are 4 draft eligible players with NHLe’s over 40: McDavid (63), Marner (52), Eichel (46) and Strome (45)

    • T&A4Flames

      Here’s hoping that both Janko and Mattsson are at development camp so we can compare them to their peers. I believe that Janko has missed both camps with injuries and Mattsson was recovering last season. Hopefully now that Sieloff has had a healthy year he can turn hi career around and be that physical stay at home defenseman every team needs.

    • T&A4Flames

      To all the Janko haters, he may not be Mr. 100 point man, but he has progressed as people tought…slowly but upwards. He may still prove to be a good 3rd pairing guy behind Mony and Beny.

      All in all, the last 3 years have been good for drafting and development. A great sign. I’m starting to get excited about a Hunter Smith. I’m certainly excited about Hickey. I think he could be that future top pairing guy with Brodie.

    • T&A4Flames

      Partick Sieloff does not appear to be the same player he was before his serious illness. I wonder if he will ever be able to recover to that level. As he is only 21 I hope the Flames show a bit more patience with him. I suspect they have written him off already based on management having him play on as a forward this past season at times.