PCS is still in its infancy. You could think of it as being in its “alpha-testing” stage. There are some issues and also some quantitative factors that could be (and eventually will be) added into the model.
Still PCS offers some interesting insight on how players who are of similar age, height, and scoring in the same league did in making the NHL.
With the draft nearing we thought we’d break down Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets previous draft selections and how they did relative to what was immediately available.
We continue our series with the Jets second turn, the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
For those that do not know, PCS is a model developed by four of us at Nation Network (predominately Money Puck and Josh Weissbock) that looks at how statistically similar player performed in reaching the NHL and how they did when they did reach the NHL.
To reduce the impact of shooting percentage variance, we will combine players 16 and 17 year old numbers by averaging their PCS percentage and PCS NHL points per game. The NHL points per game has also been adjusted per an 82 game season.
Scoring, age, and height all have a relationship with prospect success. However, it is possible that outside factors can skew scoring, such as usage. PCS is currently agnostic to these while NHL scouts and GMs are not. To see if a NHL GM was right in discovering these, we have added their two years after draft-eligible age just to compare.
Ninth Overall, Jacob Trouba
While some were hoping for Filip Forsberg over Jacob Troubar, the numbers place the two in the same approximate tier. When it comes to top picks, I would suggest a larger qualitative allowance as scouts generally perform better here and also see the players at a far more regular occurrence.
PCS seems fine with the Jets pick of the young stud defender. It places Cody Ceci as a safer pick but estimates a smaller average upside. Zemgus Girgensons seems like the strongest analytical pick although he came with a very small sample size and so lower confidence intervals.
With guys like Ryan Suter, John Carlson, and Justin Faulk (not shown) as draft comparables, you can see how Winnipeg would want a player who performs similarly but also carries a mean streak for their potential star, top-line, all-minutes defender.
Thirty-Ninth Overall, Lukas Sutter
You can’t go wrong with a Sutter they say. I think most Jets fans knew and dreaded this coming up.
Truth is, the 2013 Draft wasn’t exactly the strongest of draft classes. To compare, this year only has one player in the entire “consensus top sixty” that has a PCS percentage less than 10 per cent and a tonne in the 30-60 range with 20-30 PCS percentages.
Now, while the possible replacement players may not have been as strong as years past, the numbers suggest that the Jets did leave better chances on the board.
Dylan Blujus is part of the intensely deep prospect pool that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Blujus’ point per game pace at the pro-level is nearly twice that of Lukas Sutter, while AHL while Sutter’s is predominately from the ECHL, and Blujus is also a defender. Hockey’s Future ranks Blujus as the Lightning’s 5th best defender prospect.
Now, if we really want to talk about deep prospect pools, we should be talking about the Buffalo Sabres. Jake McCabe analytically was the best pick available at the time, and currently looks to be the best of the lot. He’s scored over a point per two game pace in the AHL and has already accumulated nine games in the NHL. Hockey’s Future ranks McCabe as the Sabres best defensive prospect, although it considers Nakita Zadarov and Rasmus Ristolainen as graduated prospects. McCabe would like fall only behind Joshua Morrissey as the Jets best defensive prospect.
Dillon Fournier is another pick the numbers suggested to take over Lukas Sutter. While his NHL upside is likely lower than that of Blujus and McCabe, Fournier has still performed well. He started in the ECHL more due to Chicago’s AHL depth in defenders than talent. He eventually pushed his way into the AHL, but injury issues have placed some question marks on the puck-moving defender.
Seventieth Overall, Scott Kosmachuk
Prior to my delve into hockey draft analytics and the day after the 2012 draft, I called that Kosmachuk would be the better prospect between himself and Sutter. It’s nice to see the numbers confirm the same thing.
Scott Kosmachuk has been performing well in the AHL since the second half of his rookie season. The numbers however suggest that there may have been some better talent on the board.
PCS suggests a team should draft either Esa Lindell or Shayne Gostisbehere prior to selecting Kosmachuk. It does look like both players draft numbers could potentially have been inflated, although it’s also possible that those numbers are more accurate than their post draft numbers.
Qualitatively both players look to be potential steals. Gostibehere started the season in the AHL but eventually earned a call-up with the Flyers. He fit well during his call-up time, and Flyer fans were pretty excited for his future, but he suffered a major injury right after moving back to the AHL. Lindell meanwhile finished off a very successful career in the Finish pro-leagues and looks to start his North American career this fall.
One Hundred and Sixtieth Overall, Ryan Olsen
Ryan Olsen was drafted in the late rounds, and at this point there is not much available. It is depressing though that analytically and performance Olsen has surpassed the Jets second round selection that year.
In terms of safety and probability of making the NHL, Olsen is well within the same tier as any of the players listed above.
Unlike in our Sutter or Kosmachuk situations, there are no clear players where the numbers suggest someone to be selected over Olsen; there are two other interesting players though.
Jake Dotchin was a player PCS considered to have similar upside as Olsen in projected scoring, but as a defender. While neither prospect has lit the world on fire and moved up the ranks, Dotchin has doubled Olsen’s AHL point pace as a defenseman.
It is understandable how a team may want to go all upside with a late selection. In that case, PCS suggests go for Riley Barber. Barber was an under viewed and under appreciated American scorer who slipped into late rounds. He then moved into the NCAA and proceeded to become one of the nation’s top collegiate players.