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A closer peek at D’Artagnan Joly

Beneath the intriguing name, there is an intriguing player. D’Artagnan Joly was an eyebrow raiser for many scouts, but didn’t hear his name get called until the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft.

Scoring only 48 points in 66 games in the point-friendly QMJHL will do that to you, but digging into the data reveals that the Flames could potentially have a diamond in the rough. Let’s look at what convinced the team into spending a sixth round pick on him.

Points and such

All data is from prospect-stats.com.

I guess if there’s one place to start, it’s with Joly’s stat line. In 66 games last year, he potted 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points.

That should be an immediate red flag, especially in the QMJHL, a league where scoring a point per game is a very normal occurrence. Perhaps a part of the problem is that Baie-Comeau just wasn’t very good last year, finishing 15th in goals for (200, or just under three per game), and 13th in 5v5 goals for (143, just over two per game). In terms of percentage of team offence, Joly contributed on 24.73% of all goals and on 23.77% of 5v5 goals, which are some pretty strong numbers.

Joly is also one of the stronger primary contributors to Baie-Comeau’s offence, which is an added bonus:

Joly almost tied for second on the team with Jordan Martel, a player one year his senior, with regards to primary points per 60. Joly leads the entire team in terms of primary assists per 60, 0.26 per hour ahead of Chekhovich.

It’s a similar story at 5v5. While BAC’s total numbers took a major hit (they were not very good in this department), Joly still hangs around with the leaders on the team. Although he now has some competition from players with smaller sample sizes (Noah Corson, Antoine Girard), Joly was still the best producer of primary assists on the team. He also hangs high with regards to total points/60 and primary points/60.

Versus draft class

Despite some low totals on initial glance, Joly was actually one of the better QMJHL draft eligibles this year.

AS value AS rank (/75) 5v5 value 5v5 rank
G/60 0.81 26th 0.6 29th
A1/60 1.11 5th 0.96 6th
P1/60 1.91 9th 1.56 13th
P/60 2.42 6th 1.98 11th
SH/60 8.06 8th 6.89 18th

There are some incredibly promising numbers from Joly. He has top 10 ability for primary points and points in general. He has some struggles relative to the rest of the draft class, particularly with regards to 5v5 (although, as demonstrated earlier, the entire Baie-Comeau team wasn’t great at 5v5 either), but is still a ways ahead of his peers.

The major problem is goals, compared to both his team and his draft class, but perhaps there are a few explanations. Joly didn’t shoot as high as his fellow first time eligibles, finishing 41st of 75 with 10% shooting (8.7% at 5v5), despite finishing ninth overall in shots per game. That could just be bad luck, or a flaw in his game. A potential problem may be because of his tendency to shoot from low danger areas (fourth in LDSOG: 105) compared to high (18 total shots, 17th in the league) and medium (tied for ninth with 37) danger zones. Although this could perhaps be taught out of him, his unwillingness to drive the net – strange, given his 6’3″ frame – could be holding him back from greater things.

Final thoughts

It’s very tough to get an accurate read on Joly, and that’s no fault of his own. The Drakkar are one of the youngest teams in the QMJHL: they employed five first time draft eligibles and four 16-year-olds at forward this year. They’re also rebuilding after a disasterous 2015-16 season which saw them win only 14 games (they were up to 26 this past season, 13th in the 18 team league). The majority of the team was/still is inexperienced in QMJHL hockey. Joly himself had only played in 38 Q games before last season, pretty much forced into action out of Midget after being acquired by Baie-Comeau.

Basically, if you weren’t impressed by Joly’s counting numbers, you’re not going to be impressed by any other Drakkar player’s stats. Next year should be a different story. Youth and inexperience hampered their past two seasons, but that’s just no longer the case. The entire team is primed to take a step forward and could be a more legitimate contender in the Q.

It goes without saying that the experience of 2016-17 should be especially beneficial to Joly. Scouts rave about his raw talent, but warn that he still needs to put it all together before thinking about pro hockey. Given that he was thrust into a top role in his first full QMJHL season, you could argue that he was not put in a position where he could properly thrive. It’s gotta be hard to be inexperienced and underdeveloped compared to the majority of the league and then handed the keys to the worst team in the league.

When CanucksArmy did their prospect countdown, they gave him a 9.4% probability with an expected production per 82 games of 42.4 points. Given some of the difficulties in his 2016-17 season, the Flames took a very safe, high reward bet on Joly. If he bucks some of the issues surrounding him in his draft year, he could have an explosive 2017-18. Don’t sleep on him.