Setting expectations for the 2015 Flames draft class

Training camp is almost here, so we’re taking a trip down memory lane and checking out previous Calgary Flames draft classes. Which picks are doing well?
Which are doing poorly? And what are reasonable expectations for their
performances this coming season?

Onto the 2015 NHL Draft class! (NHLE calculations from the most recent Hockey Abstract revisions.)

RASMUS ANDERSSON

Second round selection, 53rd overall in 2015.

  • 2015-16: 60 points in 64 games (OHL) – 24.6 NHLE

(Draft year NHLE was 25.1.) Andersson’s had a couple really nice years, with consistent production on a consistently good hockey team. Granted, he seems like a sure bet to dip in production a bit this coming season (since history says defensemen typically do so as they adjust to the pro game), but he also seems like a player that will get a ton of special teams time (and top four minutes) with Stockton. For the curious, maintaining last season’s 24.6 NHLE in the AHL would take 40 points.

OLIVER KYLINGTON

Second round selection, 60th overall in 2015.

  • 2015-16: 12 points in 47 games (AHL) – 9.8 NHLE

(Draft year NHLE was 13.7.) Kylington was drafted out of the Swedish Hockey League and saw his numbers dip ever-so-slightly (when controlling for league differences) when he made the jump to the smaller North American ice. The Flames seem confident that this is as rough as his game is going to get, so don’t be shocked if his production upticks significantly this season, since he’ll get a ton of ice time both at even strength and the power-play. And he’s only 19 years old.

PAVEL KARNAUKHOV

Fifth round selection, 136th overall in 2015.

  • 2015-16: 31 points in 49 games (WHL) – 14.0 NHLE

(Draft year NHLE was 13.5.) Karnaukhov fought injuries last year, resulting in him running in place rather than improving. Then he opted to sign with CSKA Moscow… and ended up not making their KHL roster, so he’s in the Russian junior league. His production points-wise will be good, but he’s in a league that produces so few NHLers that there’s no commonly accepted NHLE conversion.

ANDREW MANGIAPANE

Sixth round selection, 166th overall in 2015.

  • 2015-16: 106 points in 59 games (OHL) – 47.1 NHLE

(Draft year NHLE was 40.1.) Drafted in his second year of eligibility, Mangiapane followed up a really good season with another, even better, season. He’s almost destined to under-perform in the AHL (relative to his OHL mastery): a 47.1 NHLE in the AHL would be 83 points (in 68 games). Heck, a point-per-game year would be a 38.5 NHLE. He’ll get a ton of opportunities from the AHL coaching staff and be put in situations where he can score… but there’s a big difference between scoring against teenagers and scoring against grown-ass men. If he cracks 40 points as a rookie, that’d be good. If he cracks 50 points as a rookie, do a cartwheel.

RILEY BRUCE

Seventh round selection, 196th overall in 2015.

  • 2015-16: 11 points in 52 games (OHL) – 5.5 NHLE

(Draft year NHLE was 1.5.) Let’s be honest here: Bruce was not drafted for offense. I mean… his NHLE was 1.5. That’s insanely low. He’s played two full seasons in the OHL and barely scored any points. If you combine his NHLE from his first two seasons in the OHL, it’s still crazy-low. Anyway, he’ll be a regular in the OHL this year. His scoring rate will be slightly higher. It still won’t be very high.

  • smith

    I always understood that NHLe was the average of how players did stepping from their league into the NHL. As such why is everyone predicting that all these players (Prybl, Tkachuk, Mangiapane, Anderson etc) will do worse when they make the NHL? With their NHLe’s maybe we should be predicting them all making the NHL.

    • L13

      Because the dark secret about NHLe is that it’s kinda bullshit. The OHL conversion factor is based on the performance of OHL players who stepped into the NHL immediately, which means high-end prospects who are now a year older. The AHL conversion factor is based on the performance of AHLers who moved on to the NHL, and they are usually at a later stage of their development, if they’re developing at all, so their NHLe doesn’t reflect a year-on-year production jump. These are small and unrepresentative player samples.

      Not sure how it’s calculated here in particular–e.g. if there are weights, bonuses and coefficients I’m not aware of–and there are all sorts of tricks you can try to control for the issue, but fundamentally it’s inescapable, especially when you’re converting from one league to another league to the NHL and one of the first two leagues hasn’t produced many NHLers or only sends a particular type of player to the NHL.

  • Derzie

    The Ras vs Oliver debate is an odd one. Because Oliver is a flashy skater, he gets a lot of attention. Looking at NHLe though, it’s not even close. Different leagues to be sure but NHLe takes care of that. Oliver has a long way to go.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It is so clearly obvious (to me at least) that Burke was behind the 2014 Flames draft. The past 2 drafts are very different. Thank god, BB understood he needed to hire someone smarter than him as his GM.

  • OKG

    Kylington is a top 3 prospect in our system. His upside is Duncan Keith level, that’s not insignificant. Teams like Columbus, Philly, and Anaheim have Wersenski, Provorov, Theodore, and I think Kylington will pan out as well as those guys when it’s all said and done. Incredible pick.

    I like Andersson too, gotta fast-track him as Wideman’s replacement.

    Mangiapane is a wild card, can’t guess how he turns out but I’ve been a fan since his first dev camp where he was making his mark in the corners despite being the smallest guy out there.

    By the way Kylington’s NHLe was incorrectly calculated. NHLe for 18 and 19 YO AHLs is a different value than for 20+ year old AHLers. An NHLe close to ~0.68 was suggested for an 18YO, which puts his NHLe closer to 14.2 and on a low-scoring team like Stockton that is probably deflated as-is compared to a North Division team like Toronto.

    • wot96

      I don’t see a Keith upside to Kylington. He doesn’t have the nasty that Keith has, or the physical element, and yes I am distinguishing the two. Offensively, yeah, maybe but I don’t see the all round game there. More of a Larry Murphy, Phil Housley type – which would be okay, I guess.

      Andersson – dunno. Could be a really solid all round player.

      As for Mangiapane, I think you just hope he turns into a middle six guy with a little grit, a little play making, etc.

      There is real promise to those three and Burning Sensation is right, the fact that you got Dougie out of that draft means anything with any of these other picks is a bonus. Pure gravy.

      • OKG

        When Keith was 18, he had just wrapped up his freshman season at MSU. Doubt he had the “nasty” or “physical” elements at the same age either. It takes time.