The Winnipeg Jets have traded their hockey gear for golf clubs with the season’s end. With the end of the playoffs for the Jets comes a look to the future, like the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Jets first three selections are looking more and more like they will be the 17th, 24th, and 47th picks.
Corey Pronman released his Top 100 Prospects for the 2015 Draft. If you have the cash (it is for ESPN insiders only), I highly suggest you check it out. For me, Pronman’s work on draft and prospects has made having an insider account worth it. (No, I don’t receive commission)
Looking at prospects is one of my favourite parts of hockey.
Let’s take a look at which players Pronman rates closest to the Jets selections.
I won’t give too much scouting information on the players, as I believe Pronman has done that better than I could through his article. I will however give somethings Pronman does not provide.
Using a similar system to Canucks Army contributor Money Puck, I used height, age, and scoring to find closest drafted cohorts. The probability shows the percentage of cohorts that made the NHL, followed by their points per game. The system however is quite crude relative to the more advance models currently being built by contributions from Josh Weissbock, Money Puck, Rhys Jessop, and a little bit of myself.
Pronman ranked Daniel Sprong of the QMJHL as the draft’s 17th best prospect. Sprong went into this year as one of the highest ranked prospects, with many considering the winger as a legitimate top 10 selection. At 6’0 tall Sprong is neither big nor small. He is dynamic however and has scored well above a point per game pace, even if it is lower than what many expected of Sprong last year.
Jeremy Bracco was ranked just before the 17th pick and is an interesting player. He has scored at a high pace and is a dynamic player to watch. He is fairly small though at 5’9. While the model likely stipulates correctly that Bracco’s probability of success is lower due to his size, my guess would be that it over exaggerates the risk factor. Bracco is highly rated despite his size, which does not always happen with high scoring smaller players. Many of the cohorts that busted are late round selections who were in the 4th through 7th rounds for a reason. To me, if I’m right, this would be evidence of why and how qualitative and quantitative scouting should work together.
Pronman’s 18th ranked Nick Merkley was a fun player to watch as a teammate of Jets’ prospect Josh Morrissey. Merkley is a setup man, often to a fault. He likes to play make and can even miss scoring opportunities from trying to force the play. He is however a pretty good player as can be seen from his numbers.
Proman ranks Jansen Harkins right at Jets’ 24th pick. He is a player that supposedly exudes all the character and intangibles that Kevin Cheveldayoff covets. At 24th, the Jets could do far worse than a two-way player who has scored above a point per game pace, has a 30 per cent cohort success rate, where cohorts on average score around a point every two games in the NHL.
Interestingly, Pronman ranks Mitchell Stephens quite highly. Stephens point production is quite low for a player selected in the first round, although he played on a fairly weak Saginaw Spirit squad. Picks like Stephens does not succeed as often as similarly ranked Harkins. Still, this represents probability, not destiny. Our sister site Canucks Army wrote about Stephens and two other highly ranked prospects here.
Mitchell Vande Sompel may be the most interesting player in the entire draft. He’s tiny and he plays a position where tiny players rarely succeed unless they are elite. However, he’s put up elite numbers. Also, Vande Sompel has an unique situation where he sometimes plays as the team’s top line centre. Maybe Vande Sompel ends up being drafted and moved to forward?
Pronman’s 47th ranked Jonas Siegenthaler has played in the NLA and the NLB, two leagues that have not produced many draft selections, let alone a tonne of NHL talent. Yannick Weber and Roman Josi have come from these respected leagues though. Siegenthaler scored at lower rate than Josi in the NLA but out paced Weber’s NLB point production.
Filip Chlapik has been a solid defensive player who can also offer some secondary scoring. He plays hard and is a decent play making centre. You could do a lot worse than drafting a player with Chlapik’s comparables in the second round.
Pronman ranks Nicolas Meloche right after Jets 47th pick. I have long been a fan of Meloche and would love to get a player of that calibre from the Jets second round pick. Meloche can skate, pass, defend, and loves to hit. He has a very high cohort success rate and the ones who have succeeded have been pretty solid players. Meloche represents great potential value out of a mid-second round selection.