Flames Weekly Prospect Updates: Off we go!

Hello, and welcome to FlamesNation’s weekly prospect updates. Now that all Flames prospects (except Adam Fox) have started their seasons, it is fitting that we keep you in the loop. Without much further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Intro

Here is our fancy table that I am updating on a weekly basis. It is full of numbers that I will be providing my interpretation of. Yes, it is that simple.

But it is also not that simple. Over the past year, I’ve learned a bit more about prospect tracking and analysis that is featured in the week-to-week tracking. They are mostly NHL concepts applied to junior leagues, but just to make sure everyone is on the same page, here’s quick refresher.

  • NHLe: This is the basic stat of advanced NHL prospect analysis. It was invented by Rob Vollman to estimate how prospects’ success in junior would translate to the NHL based on historical successes and failures. The formula is to find the player’s PPG, multiply it by 82, and then multiply it again by the NHLe coefficient. Factoring things like age, league, and position, we can try to project where a player’s ceiling is. There are variations in the factors (you can see the ones I used in the spreadsheet), but most remain around what Vollman lies out in that post.
  • eTOI: There is rarely accurate TOI tracking in junior leagues, so we estimate. Based on the findings of the folks at Hockey Graphs, we can take the amount of goals, for and against, a player was on for and divide it by total goals scored to get an idea of his TOI (about 80% accurate). In the first few weeks, the number will be wonky because of sample size, but it should be more accurate later in the season.
  • Note: the WHL (for whatever reason) only tracks who was on the ice for even strength goals, so Dube, Phillips and Tuulola’s numbers are essentially EV only. Everyone else has PK and PP time factored into their estimates. They also don’t track shot data, so SOGs are missing for those players too, along with HDSV%, MDSV%, and LDSV% for Nick Schneider. The WHL does however track “insurance goals.”
  • % of team offence: This was an idea introduced by Kent way back when. It’s a measure of how many goals a player contributed on, adjusted for games played. Okay, that one is pretty simple, too.

Since we’re starting out mostly fresh, let’s remember that the sample sizes are small and that now is not the time for jumping to conclusions.

Forwards

  • Dillon Dube and Eetu Tuulola are injured for an unspecified amount of time. A shame, since they performed so well at Young Stars and were poised to break out.
  • The leader among prospects so far is the other WHLer, Matthew Phillips. The tiny winger has yet to record a point that isn’t primary. He exploded in Victoria’s last game against Edmonton, scoring three goals and adding an assist on another one in a 6-1 route of the Oil Kings.
  • I don’t know where the Flames stand with Pavel Karnaukhov since he went back to Russia, but I guess he’s slowly improving his results. He lit it up with Zvedza, CSKA Moscow’s VHL affiliate, and has recently earned a spot on the big team. Here’s hoping he comes back (lol).
  • Linus Lindstrom is struggling with the big league Skellefteå, but he’s certainly made it with the big club, which is a sign of good development.
  • Tim Harrison exists.
  • Mitchell Mattsson started off his USHL season in impressive fashion by scoring four in his first six games while placing third on Bloomington’s roster.
  • The Stockton Heat have only played one game, but even in their 3-2 win there were no real surprises. Jankowski, Hathaway, and Shinkaruk – all of whom are probably the next in line for callups – appeared on the scoresheet.

Defenders

  • In 47 combined games, the defensive prospects have scored eight total points. Yes, that figure is heavily skewed by Rushan Rafikov and Adam Ollas Mattsson.
  • The only prospect of note who has done serious work thus far (three games) is Brandon Hickey, who is currently scoring at a point-per-game rate. The BU Terriers opened up with an easy one against Tim Harrison and the Colgate Raiders and then hosted the Denver Pioneers, the same team that whipped them out of the Frozen Four. From the initial looks of it, Hickey has established himself as a top-pairing defender on a Terrier team with defensive depth. That’s very, very good news for Hickey, who had a bit of a frustrating 2015-16 season.
  • Otherwise, I guess we can talk about Oliver Kylington, who is still great and also potted an assist in Stockton’s game.

Goalies

  • Jon Gillies is looking good one game into the season.
  • Tyler Parsons has run into an uncharacteristically cold streak to begin the season. He does have a shutout, but he’s also been in the net for 7-1 and 5-4 games. London is showing a little bit of faith and continuing to roll with him. He’s probably going to bounce back in the next few weeks.
  • Nick Schneider has been the pleasant surprise so far, possibly being the primary reason the Medicine Hat Tigers are sitting at the top of their division. He’s won all but one start, a loss to Matt Phillips and the Royals. It’s surprising from a guy that could barely crack .900 SV% the past two years. If this development doesn’t change, then the Flames have found money.
  • Mason McDonald has two wins to his name, but a sub-.900 SV%. He is still not very good.

And we’ll be back next week, hopefully with some more substantive data. Until next time.