Not long ago we discussed Team USA not taking their best players while looking at NHLEs. The NHLEs allowed us to compare the invited and non-invited players across the multiple different leagues, like the CHL and NCAA.
It should be noted that since that article went out, Jets’ prospect Kyle Connor went hot and scored 6 points in 2 games, which would have given him the third highest NHLE on the team if he had been invited. So Kyle Connor is one of the 3 highest scoring eligible Americans.
Looking at the numbers though, there is another piece of evidence that suggests passing on Jets’ prospect Jack Roslovic was an error as well.
Team factors play a role in how a player performs. It’s easier to score well on a high-scoring team (which has been beneficial to Connor). The opposite is also true, with it being hard to score well on a low-scoring team.
This is why we often adjust for team scoring when constructing prospect metrics such as PCS. Part of that process is adjusting for linemates and QoT, while another part is looking at what percentage of the team’s offense went through the individual.
Here are three of the Jets’ NCAA prospects that were eligible for Team USA with those invited to the Preliminary Roster:
The first two columns are the players’ individual points and shots per game. The next two are each player’s team’s numbers for the same statistics. The last two are then what percentage of the team’s point and shot generation was the player part of.
Connor again looks good. While he has played for a high-octane offense team, most of the production has flowed through Connor. Connor is the highest scoring player for a winning team in a tough division, a team that also carries a World Junior Championship Team USA alumni.
Mason Appleton has never dominated leagues in the same way Roslovic and Connor have, but has been performing well this season. Appleton has been exceeding expectations exceptionally for an overage sixth round draft pick. The most interesting aspect though may be Appleton transitioning to a high shot volume player, which he was not in the USHL.
The best performer though in this particular set has been Roslovic. An amazing 49 per cent of Miami’s point production has come with Roslovic being a part of. That is over 10 percentage points above the next highest performer in the metric.
Now offensive production is not the only thing that matters when building a team. It is however a sign that a player is dominating the game in a particular facet. One thing we have not discussed is that neither Connor nor Roslovic are considered one-dimensional players. Connor is excellent at tracking the puck and catching players off-guard with his elite speed, this makes him especially effective at killing penalties. Roslovic meanwhile was well respected for his defensive game by many prior to his rise in the draft rankings as he developed his scoring prowess.
No matter which way you slice the cake, it seems that Team USA has only hurt their chances by excluding some of their best players from the squad.