Slicing and Dicing the Jets Drafts: 2013

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 2013 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.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

NHLE2013

Where are they now:

  • The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was the first real “big” draft for the Jets. The team left with nine drafted prospects, and have picked up two more from this draft via trade and free agency.
  • This draft also represents a bit of a shift in behaviour for the Jets, and set the stage for their next two drafts. The Jets shifted away from big Canadians, and placed emphasis on skills like skating, puck handling, and hockey IQ. This was also the year the Jets started a trend in drafting players passed on previous drafts to spread out the influx in talent.
  • The Jets’ drafted Morrissey much later than their other first round selections up to this point. Talent increases exponentially when moving up in the draft and the later pick meant quite a significant decrease in talent. That said, Morrissey does present some value as a potential top four defender.
  • Marko Dano arrived to the Jets via the Andrew Ladd trade. Dano’s numbers are suppressed due to time spent in the KHL while developing but he has been scoring well and has potential as a middle-six winger.
  • The Jets’ grabbed some exceptional skill with Nic Petan, who dominated the WHL for multiple seasons as the top point per game producer. Petan had a slow start in the NHL but the talent is obvious and he’s improved exponentially as the year went on.
  • The next selection was Jimmy Lodge, who has been quite enigmatic for a North American player. Lodge seems to alternate between high and low scoring seasons. Lodge was coming off of a point per game OHL season in his draft year, but struggled to score in the AHL this year aside from a hat-trick in the last game of the season. There is still some potential with high level skill there but the door is closing quickly.
  • The Jets grabbed Lipon next, who had been passed over the two previous drafts. Lipon had just gone through a growth spurt, making his agitative game a bit more transferable to the NHL level. Lipon was actually the third highest point per game scorer on the Moose, falling just behind Dan DeSalvo and Nic Petan.
  • Copp was also and older draft selection, although had only been passed over for one draft year. Copp moved into Jim Slater’s vacant role of fourth line centre, and performed reasonably well relatively speaking.
  • Jan Kostalek was drafted as a highly touted defensive defensemen in the QMJHL. The Czech was the first European drafted by Jets 2.0. His point production developed quite well and was a positive sign of future potential as a bottom-four defensive defender, but Kostalek took a step back this season, which is a trend for all of the Jets AHL rookies.
  • Tucker Poolman, like JC Lipon, was an older player passed over the previous two drafts. Poolman has a history of scoring well relative to the league but also tends to be one of the older players in said leagues (for prospects). Poolman’s team won the NCAA Championship, with Poolman sixth in drafted defenders points per game and second in shots per game.
  • Brenden Kitchon was even older than Poolman and Lipon. Kitchon was passed over in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but then drafted in the 5th round by the New York Islanders. The team and player were unable to come to terms though for an Entry Level Contract and Kitchon re-entered the draft. The Jets took Kitchon and he has consistently been one of their top defensive scorers on the farm team.
  • The Jets drafted their first player from a European league with Marcus Karlstrom. Karlstrom demonstrated some offensive skills and led his league in defensive goals per game for his Draft+1 season. He was unable to hold on to a pro-level job though, and the Jets pulled some strings to have him try out in the USHL last season. He was ultimately cut, and played the year in the NAHL. It is likely the Jets do not give him a contract this season and Karlstrom will return to Sweden.
  • The Jets also picked up a player who was eligible for the 2013 draft when they signed UFA Axel Blomqvist from training camp. Blomqvist’s scoring has developed similarly to Lodge, especially with a disappointing rookie AHL season, but has size and hands for potential.

More Draft Breakdowns: