Tomorrow we kick off our draft coverage with in depth profiles of the top 60 ranked players from the 2016 NHL draft class, but before we get that started, I figured it would be a worthwhile venture to look back at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft one year later.
The Hockey News did a similar thing last week, but it was still based on a subjective polling of scouts looking at the players. This is to say that there’s likely a few players slotted way above their appropriate mark. We need a more objective measure to really drive the conversation, and I hope to provide just that with a series of stature and statistics based players with which to compare the next wave against.
We will continue to use this model throughout the 2016 NHL Entry Draft profiles and will also use them throughout the summer when completing Canucks prospect breakdowns.
Some notes before we dive in:
- Goalies are voodoo – so Samsonov is unmatchable given the variation from year to year in a goalie’s performance. We cannot fault the Capitals for taking him with the 22nd overall pick, he looks to be trending towards being an NHL starter, but only time will tell.
- Comparable % is the percentage of players who were of the same stature
and statistical breakdown that went onto becoming NHL regulars.
- The ‘comparable %’ numbers are based on the players recent season and exclude international competition (like World Juniors)
- There is no drafting by need, it is solely BPA. Some defenceman will rate very well when compared to their counterparts.
- Some players will have limited numbers of comparables due to size or their point totals for the season. They may be trail blazers or just too good (or bad) for there to be a match.
- This is not the be all end all of draft evaluation. It’s just a good snapshot of where the player is at this moment and who are better bets to becoming NHL players.
- For curiosities sake, I will look at the top 35 picks of the draft to see if anyone got a steal (and yes, someone did) – to do the full 210 would’ve been a large undertaking. With that, there were some players who likely would’ve climbed into the first round like Conor Garland and Andrew Nielsen.
2015 NHL Entry Draft First Round:
The 2015 NHL Entry Draft using ‘Comparable %’:
- Obviously, Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin are bona fide NHL players, so they don’t have a rating.
- Mitch Marner and Sebastian Aho have no comparables. They had such a good season, that there are zero matches. Marner is not surprising, but Aho looks like a steal of a pick at 35th overall. We all saw how dominant he was at the World Juniors with Laine and Puljujarvi, but as mentioned above, the comparable % excludes that.
- Mikko Rantanen and Kyle Connor come in at 100% – Rantanen had a very successful season as an 18-year-old in the AHL while Connor ripped up the NCAA. Neither are surprising and both appear to be ready to make an impact in the NHL as soon as next season.
- Timo Meier, drafted by the Sharks at 9th overall, is the only sub 50% player in the Top 10.
- Guryanov has no comparable due to being an 18-year-old in the KHL – there aren’t too many of those.
- Oh the Bruins! – The picks were heavily criticized at the time, and still do not look favourable. Former Canucksarmy writer Rhys Jessop sums it up perfectly on what they missed out on (mind the S word):
Oh shit, Boston could get Barzal, Connor, and Kylington here
— Rhys Jessop (@Thats_Offside) June 27, 2015
- Kylington is at 25% when looking at comparables, so still better than all three of Boston’s first round picks.
- Canucks pick Brock Boeser looks to be very good here. Somehow in the Hockey News re-draft he would still only go 21st, as we’ll see at the bottom, he would go higher based on this model. Travis Konency isn’t too far behind.
- The two Swedish defenceman, Gabriel Carlsson and Jacob Larsson look very good here with only Zach Werenski (8th), Ivan Provorov (6th) and Noah Hanifin (NHL) rating higher.
- Arizona got great value with Christian Fischer at 32nd and as mentioned, it looks like Carolina knocked it out of the park with Aho.
Redrafting using the ‘Comparable %’:
The players below are listed solely based on their Comp %. I have removed Guryanov and Samsonov from the equation, as there is no way to objectively place them. This is why I wanted to look at the top 35, to ensure that the entire first round was re-drafted. In theory, the two Russians would be 31st and 32nd, but I would suspect that they would likely be in the late teens.
When two players had matching comparable %, the higher drafted player in real life was placed higher. So for example, Werenski and Boeser have the same percentage, but since Werenski was taken 8th and Boeser was 23rd, Werenski is slotted higher.
Here is the re-drafted 2015 NHL Entry Draft 1st round :
- Sebastian Aho, Kyle Connor, Christian Fischer, Brock Boeser, Gabriel Carlsson and Jacob Larsson are the risers of the group.
- Confirming what we already know all of Boston’s picks were reaches with Zboril falling way down. If I had to guess, he likely would fall into the third or fourth round.
- Mitchell Stephens and Travis Dermott squeak into the first round along with Fischer and Aho. Taking the spots vacated by the Russians, Zboril and Noah Juulsen.
- Carolina Hurricanes are probably not happy with these results – instead of Hanifin and Aho, they take Aho at 5th and then whoever is left at 35.
- Oliver Kylington would sneak into the 25th overall slot.
- Philadelphia walks away with Kyle Connor and Thomas Chabot instead of Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
- Vancouver gets Eriksson Ek instead of Boeser.
Once again, the key here is to not use this as the only tool to evaluate talent. Arguments could easily be made for a couple of the close players. But at the very least it gives us a view into how these players are trending after the draft plus one season.