The 5’9 centre Nic Petan was ignored by many teams due to concerns with size, which was lucky for the Winnipeg Jets as they were able to draft an elite offensive talent at 43rd overall.
We continue our summer prospect profile series, checking in at #5.
Here is Petan’s Player Cohort Success over the since his pre-draft eligible season:
PCS% is the percentage of similar players in height, league, scoring, and age that made the NHL, while PCS points per game is the production typical of those that did make it.
At only 17 Petan became one of the WHL’s most prolific scorers. In his draft eligible season Petan posted 120 points in only 71 games.
Despite his strong production and obvious talent, Petan fell all the way to the second round. It was clear that many teams were skeptical that Petan could translate to the NHL with his stature, a fault GMs are overly prone to making.
Statistical studies have shown that height does matter in terms of advantage into making the NHL, although it is unclear whether this is merely the same bias diffusing from amateur scouting to professional levels. However, the same studies have also shown that players better than their peers tend to stay better than their peers.
Size is often looked as a separate entity to other skill sets like skating, vision, and IQ, when in reality it is simply just one of the many factors that makes up a player.
Petan scored at elite levels, and this is why that players comparable to Petan tend to make the NHL, and why Petan has a solid shot in being an above average NHL player.
Petan’s PCS numbers fell over the next two seasons, but only from “elite player” to “really good player” levels.
Part of this fall may come from Petan working on rounding out his overall game, giving up offensive opportunities to play defensive hockey. Another portion may just be due to limitations on just how much someone can physically score at a particular level.
The major factor though is likely a reverse survivorship-bias, with most players who score at Petan’s level being moved to the NHL after their draft age. After all, if Petan was 6’3, he’d likely already been given two seasons in the NHL already.
Petan had a really strong camp, including some exceptional play during preseason, which made it difficult for the Jets to send Petan down last year. While Petan most likely will start out in the Manitoba Moose’s top-six, one should not be surprised if Petan ends up earning a spot with the Jets.
Here are some highlights of Petan’s hattrick at the 2015 World Juniors, courtesy of Jets Nations’ own Anthony Lenting: