The less significant Flames trade on the second day of the draft, almost forgettable given the significance of the other trade, was a straight swap of fourth round picks: the Flames traded their 2019 fourth rounder for Montreal’s 2018 fourth rounder. Without a pick in the fifth round, the Flames made sure they got their man in Milos Roman, a productive import WHLer whose injury-shortened season damaged his draft stock.
The 6’0″, 187 lb. Slovakian centreman has been praised for his high hockey IQ and solid play, which is probably why the Flames couldn’t wait to pick him up.
Numbers and such
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Roman took a few games to find consistency, but when he was on, he could be trusted to pick up a point per game. He trailed off towards the end, likely because he returned from the World Juniors, got injured, and then returned from injury two months later. If Roman could keep up his production from earlier in the year, he would be a guaranteed second rounder.
The odd thing about Roman is that the generous scouting reports occasionally don’t show in his numbers. Despite being praised as a playmaker, he has a pretty even amount of primary points to secondary. His 5v5 numbers are alright, but he seems to rely a lot on powerplay scoring to get points. Again, he’s a rookie playing in North America for the first time so things aren’t always going to be spotless, but there are a few concerns.
Despite the stat line, Roman actually shows up favourably compared to other draft eligibles. Among the 83 first-time eligible forwards in the WHL, Roman actually ranks third in points per game and ninth in primary points per game at both 5v5 and all situations. Factoring in estimated time on ice, Roman ranks second in the entire league in estimated points per 60. The WHL draft crop was not as strong as other developmental leagues’, but the Flames certainly got one of the better players from the WHL in Roman.
For a fourth round pick, Roman actually has some good comparables. Around 18% of players with similar all situations production or 5v5 players production eventually made it to 200 NHL games, which is pretty good. When you consider players with similar AS and 5v5 production, that number jumps to 25%. The odds are still against him, but a fourth rounder with a one-fifth chance of making it to the NHL is always good value.
The problem for the time being is that similar players eventually go on to third and fourth line careers. Similar AS players eventually hit a 0.31 PPG rate in the NHL, whereas similar 5v5 players hit a 0.4 PPG rate in the NHL. Players who had similar production in both categories went on to score at about a 0.29 PPG rate. That’s 25, 33, and 24 points respectively. Not that great.
Canucksarmy’s PGPS system has Roman in similar territory, giving him a 12.6% chance of hitting 200 NHL games with an expected production of about 33 points per 82 games. They do include caveats about his injury and transition, however.
Roman strikes me as a Glenn Gawdin type prospect. He is a pretty solid pick in the later rounds of the draft who, with patience, could develop into an NHL player. The difference is the situation. Roman had to come in cold with no previous North American experience compounded with an injury that took away the majority of his playing time. He could reach new levels next year with a year of experience under his belt.
But despite some promising numbers, Roman still needs a lot of work before he’s at that level yet. Look for him to be a bigger part of the Vancouver offence, and hopefully a starring role with Slovakia’s World Juniors team. His future in North America would be clearer with a full season to look at, so hopefully all goes right.
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