33Milos Roman
Photo Credit: Chris Relke/Vancouver Giants

Flames 2018 draft: A closer look at Milos Roman

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

GP G A P Primary Points 5v5 points 5v5 Primary points NHLe
WHL 39 10 22 32 18 21 12 18.84

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.

Comparables

Methodology explained here. Roman’s full data can be found here.

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.

Final thoughts

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.

Previously

Demetrious Koumontzis | Martin Pospisil


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  • Sobueno

    Sounds like the type of guy you target in later rounds – higher potential but dropped down due to other factors (injury in this case). Should be fun to see how he does next year now he’s acclimated to NA.

    • Jobu

      Agreed. Putting up good numbers with both injury impedement and ramping up to the north american game… this is a great pic to gamble on. Jobu like’s the thinking here, Tre.

  • canadian1967

    “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.”

    Who cares about that? Give us the all important Corsi figures! LOL

    Backlund is a 0.5028 PPG player and he’s a F-ing Stud! ;-/
    (propped up by MT)

    Sorry, I can’t help myself. I like Backlund (as a 3C) but I can’t help but remember 4 years ago when Most posters on here went on and on and on about how Backs is a 1st line C and Corsi is the greatest thing since sliced bread while shouting down anyone who dissented.

    Grudge, consider yourself held, but Honestly, I feel that he should have been moved on last year at the Deadline.

    By the way, Welcome Milos!

    • super6646

      Backlund would be better than any center that montreal has…

      He’s more of a fridge #1C or an elite #2 center. The only reason he isn’t an absolute #1 is because he doesn’t produce enough offensively. Still has a great defensive game, and has improved in regards to his offense (also an analytical darling with Tkachuk), but 45 points and a great defensive game doesn’t make Backlund a #3C.

      • canadian1967

        “Elite 2C?” LOL!!!
        He is weak in the circle and ain’t all that great in coverage in our end, how does this make him an elite shutdown guy?
        Take Matty off his line and he will be a 35 point guy again.

        • Baalzamon

          He is weak in the circle and ain’t all that great in coverage in our end

          I always love it when an eye test person comes up with an “observation” that’s demonstrably and laughably false. Here’s a trip for you: my eye test disagrees with yours. Categorically. Seems we’ve reached an impasse.

          Except that the stats back me up, not you. “But Baalzamon, +/-!” Uh huh. He was also a +10 the year before Tkachuk entered the league, with 47 points, on a non playoff team. +/- isn’t indicative of anything regarding a player’s ability, and Backlund is perfect proof of that.

          “But if he’s so good defensively then why was he scored on so much?” Because the goalies couldn’t stop a beach ball when he was on the ice. Hard to look good defensively when your goalie is only stopping 89.4% of the shots he faces.

          “But a low save% is indicative of high shot quality against! Ha! got you!” Nope. Backlund was one of the better scoring chance suppressors on the team, right up there with Tkachuk (and better than Tkachuk at suppressing the high-danger variety, btw).

          He’s also literally always been one of the better shot suppressors around. This isn’t new. The only thing about his “defensive” stats that changes year-to-year is his on-ice sv% (and thus his +/-).

          Also, Backlund hasn’t scored below a 40 point pace in six years, so there goes your “35 point guy” argument too.

    • Getpucksdeep

      I don’t recall “most posters” here claiming Backlund is somehow a #1 center at all. +- is impacted by a ton of things such as being the guy always taking defensive face offs and late last year when Monahan went down he was out on the ice with empty nets as they were usually behind on the score board. He drew 50% when there were no right hand draw guys (sure are now!) and when you only have to take your strong side draws and not have to do the righties draws you will improve. Also his shot gun guys both went down during the year. Frolik broke his jaw and wasn’t the same when he returned and Tkachuk banged his head. He was almost alone out during the final 15-20 games. The 1st string goalie also went down and on and on it goes. He was still 4th in balloting for the Selke. Considering the circumstances I’ll give Backlund a pass on his last season. For added entertainment he is the flat out fastest skater on the team.

      • Baalzamon

        For added entertainment he is the flat out fastest skater on the team.

        IMO Dube will claim this particular title when he graduates (psst no one mention Bartkowski).

  • super6646

    Seems like a good pick. Was ranking as a late 2nd rounder/early 3rd rounder. We’ve seen some really good picks from Treliving the last few years, and hopefully a couple of guys from this draft can make up for us not having a 1st rounder.

    • deantheraven

      Top six in minutes, including special teams play, my Southern friend. But if the line up is to include two scoring lines and one shut-down line, then Backs centres it. The balance of minutes depends on coaches and, hopefully, performance. I’d be one happy fan if any two centres show more scoring results than Backs.
      And we’ll all be grateful for the $5 mil contract for as many years as he doesn’t fall off a cliff. I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

  • Kzak

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the 4th rounder next year we traded away for this one was part of the Hamonic trade? If so, we technically got this guy as part of that trade.