Klimchuk is FlamesNation’s 5th ranked prospect in 2015.
third of three first round picks in the much lauded 2013 Draft class has
probably contributed to Morgan Klimchuk’s status as the forgotten man in
Calgary’s prospect pool. Having the two 1st rounders ahead of him be 30 goaler
Sean Monahan and AHL All-Star Emile Poirier probably haven’t helped in that
the reasons, Morgan Klimchuk seems to have slipped through the cracks of
everyone’s memory, only occasionally resurfacing when prospect development
camps take place. The few fan opinions about him that do exist, seem to be
lukewarm, as the kid hasn’t set the world on fire in the WHL point wise and
isn’t the “sexy” player that will live on highlight reels.
doesn’t mean Morgan Klimchuk isn’t still an excellent prospect. Not even close.
comes in at slot number 5 on our top prospects list and does so completely on
his own merit. This isn’t a case of a weak system elevating ones status within
it by necessity. This isn’t Greg Nemisz being the team’s best prospect because,
well, there isn’t anyone else.
Flames prospect cupboards are chock full of talent and Morgan Klimchuk is a big
reason why we can say that. Yet, when thinking about Morgan Klimchuk, it
feels difficult to associate him with some of the words usually associated with
Top 5 prospects in deep systems.
“Blue-chip.” “Electric.” “Exciting.”
those words feel natural when addressing the former 1st rounder.
want to call him vanilla, but nothing about Morgan Klimchuk on the surface
screams out at you. He’s a pretty standard six-foot, 185 pounds. He scores in and
around a point per game in the WHL, as is expected of just about anyone with a
prayer of making the NHL, and plays an extremely responsible brand of
well, has a good vision and a solid hockey IQ, which contributes significantly
in keeping things tidy in his own zone, with a good stick here and blocked shot
there, and most of his goals come from his close-to NHL caliber shot. Nothing
to get highlight reel producers all hot and bothered.
surface, Morgan Klimchuk is just another prospect. I could write this entire
profile with the following sentence: “He’s a good skater with a good shot
and good passing ability, with good defensive awareness and good hockey IQ as
well as good vision and a good frame but also with a good attitude on and off
the ice”, and no one would give it a second thought.
want to find the real beauty of Morgan Klimchuk, you need to dig a little
deeper. You need to peel back that beige, bland top layer of the onion, and
look not at the score sheet, but through the score sheet.
had an NHLE of 28, stringing from 80 points in 60 games last WHL campaign,
split between the Regina Pats to start and the beast Brandon Wheat Kings to
isn’t a number that’ll make you tingle, but a brief comparison exercise will
reveal it’s actually really quite good.
NHLE in the WHL belonged to Oliver Bjorkstrand with 42, coming from 118 points
– showing NHLE’s corrosive nature when it relates to the WHL, as even
astounding numbers won’t produce that high of an NHLE.
some additional perspective, point hoarders Nic Petan and Leon Draisaitl both
had NHLEs of 35, and Sam Reinhart had an NHLE of 29.
digging further into Klimchuk’s numbers, even more good news bubbles to the
top. Of his 46 assists, 34 of them (76%) were primary assists, meaning he
created a lot of his own points. That’s an extremely important statistic
because when coupled with the fact that only 57% of his points were assists, it
means he wasn’t riding anyone’s coattails, he was driving the bus.
contributed about 30% of his team’s offence, another bright positive given the
powerhouse he played on. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle with all the
weapons in Brandon.
our dig into the numbers, noticing at first glance that 47 of Klimchuk’s 80
points came even strength, you might think that’s quite a low number. 33 of 80
points on the power play, to me at least, felt like a large number. However, he
had the 5th highest ES P/60 in the entire WHL and 10th highest ES Goals For%,
so that dilutes any concern that his numbers are overinflated by a ridiculously
talented Brandon power play.
Josh Weissbock and MoneyPuck have created the PCS tool, which
basically measures a prospects likelihood of playing 200+ NHL games based on
the success ‘cohorts’ possessing similar frame, age and numbers in the same
league. You can read more about PSC here.
Basically, your PSC% number is the percent
chance you’ll play over 200 NHL games based on the success of previous players,
of similar height, who had similar numbers in your league at your age – the
success of your cohorts.
discussions with MoneyPuck, prospects with a PSC% of over 50 will be labeled
elite, over 30 are ‘A’ prospects, over 10 are ‘B’ and everyone under is a ‘C’
prospect, according to PSC.
Klimchuk, has an amalgamated 23.61 PSC% between his two stretches of games in
Regina and Brandon, meaning he’s not quite an elite prospect, but
definitely a much better one than people seem to give him credit for.
offer some perspective, Sam Reinhart has a PSC of 27.12%. Although Reinhart was
drafted a year later, Klimchuk was a young ’13 pick and both players played
their 19 year old campaigns in the ‘Dub this past season, so the comparison is
actually quite relative.
such similar stat lines, if I asked you who would you rather have: ‘Sam
Reinhart or Morgan Klimchuk?’, you probably wouldn’t hesitate with your answer.
standard and uninspiring a prospect Morgan Klimchuk appears to be on the
surface, he really is quite good. I saw many “Klimchuk has looked surprisingly
good” comments from this year’s development camp, and these last few paragraphs
should show those statements did not come without merit.
Fact of the
matter is, none of this is really news to scouts and keen observers of the WHL,
because Morgan Klimchuk has been a really good National Hockey League prospect since
the moment he was drafted, he simply fell victim to the impressive influx of
depth the Flames have amassed over the past few years and, in combination with
the fact he isn’t the type of prospect that demands attention with his play, he
became the forgotten man.
Klimchuk is the Swiss Army Knife you get on Christmas and get excited about how
useful it will be for about 10 seconds, until you unwrap your other presents
and find you also got an iBennett and Monahan 360. You forget all about that knife
until you find it again a few years later and finally appreciate its tremendous
value to you.
Flames – or at least its fans – will soon rediscover the Swiss Army Knife that
is Morgan Klimchuk – if they haven’t already – and will finally begin to
appreciate what he really is as a hockey player.
Klimchuk is FlamesNation’s 5th ranked prospect in 2015. And he
deserves to be.