23Jakob Pelletier
Photo Credit: Rob Wallator/CHL Images

A closer look at Jakob Pelletier

With their first first round pick since 2017, many figured that the Flames would look to draft based on need. Perhaps if Spencer Knight fell far enough, they would pick up a goalie. If that didn’t happen, maybe they would address the need for righties, both at forward and on defence. Perhaps size would be something to look at. With a lot of the undisputed talent off the board by the time they would go up, the Flames had plenty of options available to them.

They went with Jakob Pelletier, a left winger with speed, intelligence, and an energetic style of play, but a player who only stands 5’9. Some may critique the pick based on what the Flames need versus what they drafted, but make no mistake: Pelletier is a solid draft pick.

The numbers

Games played Goals Assists Points Primary points 5v5 points 5v5 primary points NHLe
65 39 50 89 64 52 36 31.89

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There’s a lot to like about Pelletier. He’s a consistent scorer, and scores in volumes: his longest scoring drought lasted two games and he recorded 30 multi-point games. Especially promising is that he s a very productive 5v5 scorer, nearly doubling up his powerplay totals. His impact on his team also deserves praise. He recorded a point on 34.36% of all Moncton goals, and was the primary contributor on 24.71% of goals. Again, he shone at 5v5, where he contributed to 32.77% of 5v5 goals, 22.69% being primary contributions.

Among all QMJHL first time eligible players, Pelletier stands nearly a head above the rest (at least stats wise). He led the league’s draft crop in points, points per game, NHLe, estimated points per 60 (4.06), and high danger shots (72). Based on these numbers, the Flames drafted the best QMJHL forward of the entire group.

But that’s also the only area you can find a negative to Pelletier’s totals. The QMJHL has a reputation (not entirely founded, but occasionally deserved) as the weakest of the three CHL leagues; a league where players inflate their stats but wind up underperforming at the NHL level. Although given his level of dominance relative to the rest of his competition, I don’t think this disqualifies Pelletier, but it’s something to be wary about.


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

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Perhaps seeing how past QMJHLers did will ease some of that concern.

Of the players who scored similarly to Pelletier in their age 17 year, 48% of them went on to have NHL careers that lasted longer than 200 games, going on to score around 0.62 PPG for their careers (~50 points over 82 games). Although there’s a drop off from 48% to 20% when looking only at 5v5 numbers, that 0.62 PPG number remains constant. Players who matched Pelletier’s production in both all situations and 5v5 went on (or are on their way) to play over 200 games 55% of the time, again hitting around 0.6 PPG.

Two interesting comparables include Ales Hemsky and Jakub Voracek, who jumped from the QMJHL into the NHL after their draft + 1 years and went on to have very productive careers. These two probably represent Pelletier’s ceiling: very effective top six winger who can reliably produce year after year. It’s certainly not a definite trajectory, but if that’s what Pelletier can become, get very excited.

Final thoughts

Pelletier is, at the very least, a solid junior player who has a really good shot at becoming something great at the next level.

The next steps are the crucial ones. He’ll spend another season in the QMJHL (he might get the nine game cup of coffee, but that’s just speculation) and should hopefully improve on some already impressive numbers. If he can work some magic, it could be possible that he jumps to the NHL in time for the 2020-21 season.

Pelletier has been on an upward swing since he hit junior. If it continues, the Flames could have a player within a few short years.

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  • T&A4Flames

    Anyone think BT goes after Taylor Hall in FA next summer? The local kid may want to come home, especially if we have a solid year again as he wants to play in the playoffs.

  • freethe flames

    Hard to access a guy after a skating session and 1 drill dominated practice session but he looked fine. The truth of the matter is that at 26 he is likely 2-4 years away from the NHL. Let’s sit back and watch him develop in the Q. Maybe the Heat make the play offs and he gets some pro experience. I have no problem with that; statistically at 26 he has roughly a 50/50 chance of becoming an NHL player; good luck to him.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Now that the dust has settled, I am able to look at the draft objectively. My preference for our first round pick was Tomosino but I was not surprised that he was gone when it came to Calgary’s turn to pick.

    With several top forward candidates still available my choices moved to Lavoie or Suzuiki. But I can honestly say Pelletier appears to have a higher ceiling than most in this tier.

    It is hard not to be impressed with a player who can dominate his league in a 5’9” 160 lb package. It is much easier dominating boys when you have a man frame. There is a consensus that we landed a player at 26 that is top 5 in skill…which is really impressive. He has been described as a player with no holes in his game yet he can dominate a game offensively. To me he appears to be a Johnson (TB) or Schwartz (SL) type player which excites me. I am interested to see what type of career he has compared to Caulfield and Tomasino.

    It sounds like Tre tried desperately to secure a second round pick but the cost was too high. I don’t know much about our next 3 picks but I trust the scouting staff is dialed in. The last pick for us in the 7th round has me excited. I knew Wolf had some big shoes to fill when Hart graduated but he had a stellar season. It is only fitting that the Flames who were the first to buck the system by drafting an elite small winger would take a chance on a smaller goalie by today’s standards. I think I am equally impressed with the man as much as the goalie…having a 100% school average will do that.

    Wolf clearly has an elite IQ on and off the ice. He feels that his skating is his biggest strength, and he has been described as a very good puck handler with a great glove hand. I have watched enough hockey to come to the conclusion that size is less important than compete level. The bio on all our players appears to be strong IQs and some bite to their respective games…which is what this team was lacking. Wolf will invariably be linked to the other goalies that were drafted before him like Knight, Sogaard, and Konovalov.

  • Flamesforever

    At first I was confused by the pick, I thought for sure based on our playoff performance we would be drafting a bigger player preferably a RH shot. But the more numbers I see and the more I think about the pick the more excited I become. Pelletier is a stud. He’s been looked over because of his size. In 2-3 years I think teams will be kicking themselves because they passed on him. GFG. Is it hockey season yet?