Tyson Jost, a mid-first round projection for 2016, is our next prospect target. There’s little chance he is legitimately in the sixth overall conversation but his stock rose after an exceptional U18 tournament and he is the most highly-touted prospect to come out of the BCHL since Kyle Turris, who went third overall in 2007, so let’s dive into the player.
Jost is a native of St. Albert, AB but has spent the past half decade in the Kelowna area, chasing the hockey dream. Jost was born March 17, 1998 (not an old player in the draft but not a young one either) and is average sized, by hockey standards, standing 5’11” and weighing 190 pounds. He just completed his second season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL where he posted 104 points (42 goals and 62 assists) in 48 games (2.17 points per game). He has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2016-17 season.
Jost served as the captain of the Vees this season and, as somewhat of a surprise to many, made Canada’s U18 team and served as captain there as well. He did not disappoint in the tournament, registering 15 points in seven games (breaking Connor McDavid’s record for points in the U18 tournament) and was named the MVP of the tournament.
Jost is a very interesting case and has a background that isn’t very typical of first round selections in the NHL. Unlike 95% of elite Canadian junior hockey players that are eventually drafted into the NHL, Jost played in the BCHL system rather than one of the three CHL Leagues (WHL, OHL and QMJHL). However, he was also drafted by the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder (generally thought of as a much higher calibre hockey program than the BCHL) as a 16-year-old, but chose to stay with the Penticton Vees.
Jost’s upbringing was also atypical from the average hockey player. Jost’s mother, Laura, raised him and his sister alone as a single mother, with the help of his grandparents. Jost didn’t have the prototypical hockey dad pushing him through hockey and showing him the way but it seems he didn’t need it. Laura is described as an incredibly hard-working fitness enthusiast with a sound knowledge of hockey and has passed along such qualities to Tyson. By all accounts, he is an extremely hard-working player, does whatever it takes to succeed and has great hockey sense and a nose for scoring goals.
“Because of where he plays, Jost has been forced to prove himself over and over again to some pundits this season. Well, the University of North Dakota commit leads Canada in offense at the under-18s with eight points in three games, so that should probably do it, right?” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“Tyson Jost is a crafty goal-scorer that carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. As someone who thinks and plays at a fast tempo, it comes as no surprise that he creates a lot of energy as an offensive catalyst. He sees the ice very well and has the willingness and determination to win battles in the tough areas. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive forward with top-6 potential at the next level.” – Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
“We consider the North Dakota-bound Jost a deceptive prospect, and it had nothing to do with playing in the less-visible BCHL. He is a star on the ice without question, and nobody can deny his high standing as one of the draft’s super-skilled puck wizards. So what keeps him off the radar? Well, we’re talking about on the ice, people. And let’s just say his opponents have trouble dealing with his elite anticipation skills and prodigious instincts on a nightly basis. Jost is a shark, appearing out of nowhere with speed and tenacity to ruin the breakout play a coach worked on for weeks. Once the puck is on his stick is where his artistry comes to the forefront, as he protects it with his head up while travelling at a high rate of speed before shifting down a gear, curling and weaving in and around the offensive zone for as long as he has to.” – The Draft Analyst
Goals: 42 (5th)
Assists: 62 (1st)
Points: 104 (3rd)
Points Per Game: 2.17 (1st)
ES Point Split: 58%
There’s not really any advanced player stats available on BCHL players but it’s easy to see Jost was one of the best – if not the best – player in the entire BCHL this year. He ranked at or near the top in every category. As well, the players that beat him out in goals and total points were all much older than him by up to nearly three years.
As stated before, the BCHL is not a league where players are drafted into the NHL from as it’s generally considered a lower league to the CHL leagues and the USHL. Looking back over the past 35 years (1980 to 2015), only 131 of 7,925 skaters were drafted from the BCHL (only six were drafted in the first round). Of the BCHL draftees, only 16 of them played 200 or more games to date: a 12% success rate. The overall success rate during that period was 18%.
Below is a comparison of counting stats between Jost and some other recent draftees, as well Ferraro and Hull, arguably the two best BCHLers of all time. How does he compare?
Jost is quite obviously one of the best talents to come out of the BCHL, having the fourth highest point per game pace of the most notable names drafted from the BCHL and the second highest point per game pace if we remove Hull and Ferraro who were drafted over 30 years ago and were nearly 20 and 19, respectively, when they were drafted. Although, besides Hull, Ferraro, Benn and possibly Turris, the BCHL hasn’t bred a ton of elite NHL talent.
From his upbringing to his hockey development through his formative years, Jost is very different from most elite prospects you read about. Jost’s unorthodox rise towards the NHL will continue as he is set to do something that only six other players in the past 35 years have done: be drafted into the NHL in the first round straight out of the BCHL. The question is should the Flames consider him at sixth?
Jost’s season with the Penticton Vees was no doubt impressive. His point per game pace this year puts him in the company of the best NHLers that have come through the BCHL system. His surprise performance at the U18s was massively impressive and likely an indicator that he can bring it at more difficult levels. However, at sixth, there’s likely too much unknown for the Flames to seriously consider him. There are numerous players that will be available at sixth that tick all the boxes and come from a league with a big enough sample size of draftees to say with near certainty that the players will be decent to very good NHLers (Dubois, Tkachuk, Nylander, Keller all fit this bill) that it’s not worth taking any sort of risk, even if small, on Jost.
If the Flames sneak back into the late first round or keep their first second rounder and Jost is still there… pull the trigger.