I have been doing monthly NHL equivalence updates for Flames prospects this year and recently decided to take a look at Jets prospects to see how the two teams compare.
For those unaware, NHL equivalencies (NHLE) are a method of adjusting a prospects points according to how good his league is relative to the NHL (called a "translatation factor") which allows us to compare kids playing from major junior to Europe. Gabriel Desjardins of behindthenet.ca did a lot of the initial work which informs articles like this, although the AHL translation factor for a lock-out season was recently sussed out by Eric T. at NHLNumbers.
With the pre-amble out of the way, let’s see how the Jets youngsters are doing this year.
First up, the forwards…
*NHLE is the players PPG pace translated to NHL production over a full 82 game schedule. So, Mark Schiefele’s 1.66 points-per-game in the OHL translates to 41 points in 82 games in the NHL.
Aside from Scheifele’s results, it’s almost all bad news for Jets fans. A good rule of thumb for NHLE is:
– 40+ future NHL scorer
– 30+ might be an NHL support player
– 20+ Unlikely to make NHL full time
– less than 20, better be huge and able to drop the gloves
As you can see, a majority of Jets prospects through the first third of the season fall into the "future replacement level player or worse" category. Particularly disheartening is the output of AHLers like Klingberg, Maxwell, Burmistrov and Telegin. The St. John’s Ice Caps have one of the lowest goal per game rates in the AHL this year (2.34/game) and I suspect the club will begin to find the back of the net more as a matter of chance at some point in the near future. No way 28 year old defender Derek Meech continues to lead that team in scoring over the long-term.
The completely middling stats lines of other recent draftees is also bad news. The Jets took Lukas Sutter in the second round in June and although he wasn’t necessarily drafted to be a scrorer, an NHLE of 7 is a monumental step backwards for a guy who managed 0.84 points-per-game in his draft season (NHLE of about 21).
The only good news here is the sample size is relatively small, so there’s lots of time to right the ship for many of these guys.
There’s not as much to talk about on the back-end. Although the Ice Caps have mostly been shooting blanks this season, Paul Postma has nevertheless put up a respectable number. Former first rounder Jacob Trouba’s value probably isn’t completely captured in scoring totals, but his NHLE of 23 is good if unspectacular.
It’s been a pretty ugly start for nearly every Jets prospect not named "Scheifele" so far, which is bad news for a club that has picked inside the top-10 five consecutive times and still isn’t really a playoff contender. Winnipeg has some good, young graduates in the NHL already (Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little), but are in need of significant improvement if they are to firmly and finally take a step out of the basement.