The season is over, the draft is coming soon, and Winnipeg Jets fans look to the future for a sign of hope.
The Jets have now taken part in five NHL Entry drafts, and typically speaking after five years you have a good idea of where a draft stands in accumulating talent. While players do not peak statistically until about 24-26, at 23 years of age we are fairly confident where Scheifele and Lowry likely end up as players versus Austen Brassard.
Let’s take a look at the offensive development of the Jets draftees and accumulated prospects, turning to the Jets 2012 Draft.
A few quick notes about the numbers:
The more refined PCS model has gone proprietary with the Florida Panthers purchasing the model that was developed over Canucks Army (and a bit here at Jets Nation). There is a replacement being worked upon; however, since it is not ready at this time we will use the more archaic NHLE model.
NHLEs uses regression modeling to predict how much the average player in a particular league will score in the NHL relative to their performance in their older league, using players who have moved from one league to the other. For example, the average OHL graduate will retain 33% of their point pace in the NHL. This puts players scoring from different leagues into a common currency: NHL points.
The largest issue with NHLEs is that they were designed to look at players moving directly into the NHL, not to rank prospects.
The model uses players who move directly from their league to the NHL, but the typical player who makes the NHL the next year is different depending on the league. The standard player graduating from the OHL to the NHL is a young prospect, while European leagues tend to be older developed players who move into defined roles, and the AHL contains mostly depth players being called up for fourth line roles. This is why European prospects tend to have extremely low NHLEs.
The NHLE model is also age agnostic. We expect a player to score more the next season through development, but NHLEs does not adjust for age differences when you compare players of a different age. An older player with a higher NHLE could be performing relatively worse.
Finally, offensive production is incredibly important in prospect analysis. Offensive production highly predicts NHL success and even most depth and defensive players in the NHL were relatively strong producers at lower levels. However, it is not the end all, and production can be impacted by coaching deployment as well as linemates, team, and opponent quality.
To make things fun, I looked at NHLEs in three different ways. Last NHLE (lNHLE) is the player’s NHLE over their last season. Cumulative NHLE (cNHLE) is the players NHLE point pace over their entire career. Marcels NHLE (mNHLE) uses a weighted average, where most recent production is worth more than past production.
Where are they now:
- The Jets took Jacob Trouba 9th overall. Trouba has shown himself to be a strong promoter of shot differentials in the NHL, although his scoring has slumped since his rookie season. He still has a lot of upside and played extremely well on Dustin Byfuglien’s left side.
- Lukas Sutter was selected in the second round as a bit of a head scratcher for some (including myself). Sutter did not score very well in junior and was thought as having limited offensive potential. He was never offered a contract by the Jets, and was re-drafted by the Islanders only to be let go again after performing poorly in the ECHL. It’s unfortunate the Jets missed on LHD Jake McCabe.
- Scott Kosmachuk started off slow in his AHL rookie season, but things picked up in the latter half. His scoring (especially the mNHLE) is primarily driven by a outlier 40 NHLE season in his last OHL year, which he probably will never hit, but he does offer some potential NHL depth forward possibility, or at the very least being a competent AHL winger.
- Connor Hellebuyck was drafted next and needs no real introduction. The netminder has been one of the most dominant forces in the NCAA and AHL, and proved he could play with the big boys with posting a 0.918 sv% in a 26 game call up. If it were not for Hellebuyck (who the Jets discovered accidentally while scouting a different goaltender), this draft would have looked very similar to the Thrasher’s efficiency of old.
- While the door is closing fast on Olsen being a NHL calibre forward, he has at least earned an Entry Level Contract and played as a competent defensive-depth centre on the Manitoba Moose.
- Jamie Phillips was the second netminder drafted by the Jets. Phillips performed adequately in the NCAA but may not be earning a contract from the Jets. Phillips turns into a UFA this summer if the Jets do not sign him.