If you have not heard, myself and three Nations Network compatriots (Josh Weissbock, Moneypuck, and Rhys Jessop in alpha order) have been working on improving draft analytics.
The project has been going on for well over a year now and is still in progress; however, we have started to release where we are at currently with Prospect Cohort Success (PCS).
Weissbock released an introduction to PCS percentage and PCS points per game to the masses. Essentially it looks at the closest comparable players in age, height, and scoring for the same league and then calculates what percentage of those cohorts made the NHL for 200 or more games played, as well as the cohorts combined points per game.
PCS can be used to look at potential draft selections, but also to look at player development.
Let’s take a look at PCS for the Winnipeg Jets first round picks.
2011 7th overall, Mark Scheifele
Mark Scheifele will always be a hot topic draft. It was the franchise’s first selection since rebranding itself as the Jets. The once highly regarded Sean Couturier had fallen, predominately due to concerns on offensive upside and effects of mononucleosis.
Regardless, Scheifele has developed into a very nice player. His statistical cohorts have tended to sit around a point every two games over their combined NHL careers.
It’s interesting to see how well PCS did in projecting Scheifele’s 0.538 NHL point per game production even when looking at Scheifele’s OJHL career and comparing him to other CJHL leagues.
2012 9th overall, Jacob Trouba
Jets next draft pick is Jacob Trouba.
Prior to his collegiate performance, Trouba was always projected as more of a defensive defensemen… which was odd, as his scoring numbers were always relatively excellent.
There is a noticeably large leap in PCS percentage in Trouba’s Draft+2 season and Scheifele’s Draft+3 season. These are their NHL rookie seasons. Graduating from one league to a higher level –especially a pro-men’s league– often leads to jump. It is meaningful that the coaches trust the players at such a young age, even if they do not score much.
This is why we would see large PCS percentages for low scoring players in levels like the SHL. Just playing in the SHL is an accomplishment which impacts the model.
In Trouba’s and Scheifele’s case, making the show at 19 and 20 is a huge deal, and all but guaranteed that they would make 200 games.
2013 13th overall, Joshua Morrissey
Josh Morrissey was called a reach by many. The Jets went high on upside when they went for the cerebral, young smooth skater.
Morrissey has not posted numbers indicative of him being as high of a scorer as Jacob Trouba, but his cohorts have been players that have produced relatively well.
Looking at Morrissey’s development, there are indications that a high shooting percentage year drove Morrissey’s jump in his Draft+1 scoring. The next year, Morrissey took a secondary role as the Kelowna Rockets split their two star defensemen. This loss in even strength and power play time likely impacted Morrissey’s projections as well.
This raises two areas of weakness with PCS. Shooting percentage fluctuations can alter a player’s performance relative to their talent level. Although, over enough sample this should even out. Lack of ice time sensitivity also raises potential bias. For the most part this is not a problem as the best players tend to play the most; however, even in the NHL there is a trend for the second best blueliners to play the third most minutes.
2014 9th overall, Nikolaj Ehlers
Nikolaj Ehlers has been one of the poster boys for the project. Long ago Jessop discussed why a team was better off drafting a player like Ehlers more often than not over a player like Jake Virtanen.
Ehler’s has been an elite performer despite being slightly “undersized” at 5’11, compared to the “significantly taller” 6’1 Virtanen (and don’t start on weight which seems to have no relationship with NHL success).
The Jets should be really excited for their future dynamic, young forward, Nikolaj Ehlers.
It should be noted that Virtanen suffered a shoulder injury and also played on the second line for parts of the season, both of which could be impacting his Draft+1 results.
PCS currently resides in its infancy.
We have factors we want to look at: shooting percentage regression, quality of team and linemates, primary to secondary assist ratios, etc.
Still, we are pretty excited with what we have and where we are going.
Scouting is about retrieving as much information as possible on players in order to try and predict as accurately as possible how a player projects in the long run. How anyone could not want more information, like how similar players in the same league projected, is beyond me.